Running and operating your own business is usually a great thing. Flexible hours, uncapped salary, hire and fire who you want. Really rewarding stuff. However, what happens when your business is in a rut? Alternatively, the economy is slow. Is there anything a person can do to create new business? To ensure that the old customers and satisfied and remain loyal customers. I am sure there a million and one books, articles, and blogs on this very topic. Well I guess this will make it a million and two.
I have a tree trimming and service business and a few years ago business got slow. Very slow. In addition, I needed to figure out how to make money before filing bankruptcy papers. Therefore, I did a few things, created a few incentive for my employees and my customers, and develop a realistic goal with steps to get there.
First is started offering cash for referrals from my old customers with residential accounts. Tell a friend and get so much money. I also implemented a rewards system that after their tenth service they did with us they would receive a free trimming for one tree. I gave discounts and promotional offers. These gimmicks really help drum up new business and keep the older customers returning.
For my commercial accounts, I did a few different things. Like if the any person employed by one of my commercial accounts solicit my services then they will receive ten percent off any service. They just needed to have some proof of where they work. This was usually confirm with an employment badge or ID card. We also would have each commercial accounts’, that has had at least five service completed by us, business card in a bowl and once a month we would select one account to bring donuts to the office or if it were small business, we would take their office to lunch. First impression is everything notice how professional this site is and how that helps with landing commercial accounts: http://www.savannahtrees.com/
Now for my employees I had to do something to keep them novitiate and to cut back on spending and waste. Because I feel like my employees are my family I explain to them what was going on. My financial hardships that I was experiencing and where we need to be in order to keep from going under. I share with them my business plans and goals. Including the steps, we need to take in order to achieve these goals. All of them were on board and many contribute ideas for promotional products and programs. We started composting, recycling ever, and anything that we could. I had to do a hiring freeze so I went to the local colleges and universities and started accepting interns and co-op students. In addition, my workers were very meticulous about the time they spent on the job. Even doing jobs that would normally take four with only two. The best thing about having employees that you treat like family, they in return take care of you like family.
It was like this that we were able to get through that year or two. With creative and somewhat unorthodox maneuvers, I, along with my employees, are still working, it seems as if we are doing even better than we have ever done in the past. We have a lot more new customers and our returning customers seem to be even more loyal to us. However, it was truly a combined effort. An effort that has truly pain off. That just goes to show you that if you are in a rut and going through some type of hardship do not give up. Seek help and be creative. One of my customers, who has been with us for eleven years, told me after we had finish trimming and pruning her apple trees, a quote from Thomas Edison. It goes like this: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” That quote has been a light for me on many dark days.