Friday

Contractors - Don't Sit There... Do Something

During a recessionary period, it's easy to focus on all the bad news. Markets are down, consumers aren't buying anything, and our tax dollars are bailing out the big banks. What will make the most sense for you and your business is to focus on the positive. If you're not as busy as before, use this time to innovate.

Did you know that most new products and services emerge from major companies during recessions? This is because it's hard to invent something new when you're too busy and the money is rolling in. While a lot of your competitors are crying in their beers, you need to innovate, expand, experiment or shift directions.

An example - say you're a general contractor. You've always been asked by clients about design plans and ideas. But you don't really know what good design is. You'd like to increase revenue by offering designs on all your kitchen remodeling projects. In tough economic times, help your business by studying design, taking classes, interviewing designers, and practicing the craft. When the good times come around again, you have not only added a new service to your business, you have doubled the opportunity for more revenue and higher profits.

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Tuesday

Helping Others Save Money

Have you ever told a client how to save money while you were working on their project? Told them ways you could cut corners but still complete the job with quality?

If you continue to give this good advice, it could really boost your business. A recent survey by Ad Age found that 80 percent of those surveyed had changed their buying habits. They are eliminating luxury items and even some necessities. They are worried about the economy, their 401(k), and their jobs.

This means your potential clients are going to be focused on cuttings costs and saving money.

And that is where you come in. No matter what type of work you do, you know ways to help people save money. You know there are less expensive products to use, cheaper materials, and things the client can do - on their own - before and after their project. Could giving this advice cut into your bottom line? Yes. But it could get you business where you might not have any at all. And it could get you a referral or two.

Here are Some Things You Can Do:
  • If you have sales people making cold calls, have them pitch ideas to help people save.
  • Give advice over the phone when a potential client calls.
  • Type up a money-saving tips newsletter and pass it out in your neighborhood.
  • Call your local newspaper and offer advice. The journalist will like it because it keeps people reading the newspaper and you'll like it because your name will be mentioned in the column. For free.
  • Put free tips and advice on your website.
  • Start a blog and put in all the tips from your newsletter.

People will appreciate it, feel comfortable hiring you, and pass on your name to friends and family. In tough economic times like these... those referrals can be gold.

Do You Have Time to Do These Things?

Probably not. I understand that the last thing you want to do when you get done working is sit and type out a newsletter. Or call your local newspaper and talk with a journalist. You're tired.

But these activities don't have to all be done. Or any of them all done at one time. Pick a project or two and break them down into small steps. Write out when you'll perform those small steps at particular points in your day. Stick to the plan and before you know it... you've got those projects done.

However, if you just look at the entire project and all the little things you might need to do, it can seem daunting. If you focus on those first few steps, and only those, you'll be more motivated to start.

It's a great way to help you through the hard times when the phone is not ringing quite so much.

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If you like what you see, you can upgrade to a Premium Membership and contact all your future incoming leads. It's that easy.

Contractors - Save Now... Pay Later?

The financial markets are in disarray. Consumer confidence is way down. And your phone is not ringing (much.) To keep your business going through the tough times, should you tighten those purse strings? Definitely. But is it time to pull the plug on your marketing efforts?

One school of thought is to hunker down and not spend a dime on anything. Hope you have enough cash flow to ride out the storm. When things return to normal, you can start purchasing those ads in the paper, buying leads from online services, and sending out direct mail flyers.

The other school says this is a mistake. This is not an ordinary economic downturn. No one knows how long it last. People may be forgoing the expensive kitchen remodels or garage additions, but... they still own a house and it will need some work. They are going to be looking for a reliable contractor. If your competition continues to advertise and market their services during this downturn, they will be getting the jobs you need to stay in business.

Suspending your marketing campaigns during rough times seems like a great idea because you're saving money. But if you're not bringing in new business, you won't be bringing in new money. And when the old money is gone, the economic recession has just become an economic depression.