Cardone offers five strategies for getting a small business back on track:
- Identify the real problem. Cardone, who also wrote the book Sell to Survive, says many times the heart of the issue is related to revenue, so often his first task is focusing on immediately generating revenue. “Revenue is God for a small-business owner,” he says. “Without revenue, you can’t expand, you can’t advertise, and you can’t conquer the market.” Set revenue goals for your employees, but also recognize their efforts in supporting sales. Cardone uses the analogy of a sports team: “You don’t have to just make a shot. You also get credit for assisting in shots in the NBA, and in the NFL you get credit for assisting in tackles.”
- Stop discounting your products or services. “People don’t make decisions on price, they make decisions on value,” Cardone says. “Most small-business people completely misunderstand that value has nothing to do with price.” Rather than discount your product or service, increase the value proposition by boosting the quality of the product or service. For instance, if your store sells sewing machines, you could include sewing classes or in-store repairs as part of the purchase prices rather than giving out coupons or running frequent sales. “People buy things to solve problems, not because of price,” Cardone adds.
- Fill up your pipeline. Having more orders than you can handle is a much better problem than having employees sitting around waiting for customers. Move past the latter problem by encouraging employees to become proactive. “Everybody needs to get extroverted and operate with tentacles,” Cardone notes. “Make contact with previous customers or unsold customers. Expand the pipeline of opportunities until you have new problems.”
- Focus on dominating, not competing. Cardone says this attitude shift is key to getting a small business back on track. “You don’t want to just get by, you want to win. A company needs to shift thinking from survival to domination. You want to be everywhere, become omnipresent.” As examples of this mind-set, he points to hugely successful companies like Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks, which dominate their sectors. “Figure out what other people will not do and dominate in that space,” he adds. After all, competition may mean better prices for customers, but it doesn’t benefit the business.
- Make personal visits. As more businesses embrace social media, they often overlook that personal touch. “The more we became social media-savvy, the more valuable a personal visit becomes,” Cardone says. “Personal visits, where you bring a flower or a cup of coffee, are the most valuable personal interaction you can have with your clientele. People still want to buy from people.” If you own a restaurant, your employees could walk around the neighborhood and hand-deliver flyers offering a free dessert (sliding them under doors or leaving on windshields doesn’t count). If you own a dry cleaner, you could post about neighboring businesses on Facebook, then stop by the business in person to introduce yourself and suggest you “like” each other’s businesses online.