Home – New Forums Get productive tips for surviving business downturn

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  • #979494
    Sharon Elliott
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    Hi,
    My Husband and i have a “House cleaning and Lawn Mowing Business” which we have been doing for four years now . We have noticed a downturn in business this year, we just don`t know what to do ?? to hold on .

    #1114681
    MatthewKeath
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    Um, find more business?

    If you could give some more details about your current business and marketing efforts, people would be able to give you some more specific advice.

    Cheers,

    Matt

    #1114682
    Zava Design
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    Yep, as Matthew says, a little harder to give advice without some more info. Majority of small business owners I kPnow (and myself) are very busy, so it’s not a general economy thing, so maybe there’s some area in your marketing/PR efforts that we can give advise on.

    #1114683
    Sharon Elliott
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    thank you matt,
    We live in a small country town, which we sprend our business to surrounding areas which means more travelling , and we are the wettest town in australia. We have business cards and posters in the community and we have our names in the local phone book, and the Town newsletter which comes out every month.
    we have lots of pensioners in our community and lots of rain which slows down the mowing .

    #1114684
    Sharon Elliott
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    Hi Zava,
    Thank you for your e-mail, Some weeks are very busy — sometimes we have to work six days,but some weeks are slower like this week

    #1114685
    TheGoldenGoose
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    Who are your best clients?

    Where do they eat/sleep/play? Where do they shop? Go out and find them where they are, don’t wait for them to come to you..

    #1114686
    Sharon Elliott
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    Sharon Elliott, post: 128613 wrote:
    Hi Zava,
    Thank you for your e-mail, Some weeks are very busy — sometimes we have to work six days,but some weeks are slower like this week

    each week is so different , goes up and down every week

    #1114687
    Sharon Elliott
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    thank you thegoldengoose,
    every week is different, goes up and down every week, yes i thought putting out business cards , posters and in newsletters was enough. When we started out we had lots of lots of clients by this way but maybe we need to do more !!!

    #1114688
    Greg_M
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    I actually think the economy is pretty patchy at the moment.

    If that’s the case in your area the first thing people cut back on is outsourced services, at a pinch if people don’t have the discretionary income they’ll clean their own houses and mow the lawn, can you diversify into some services people are bit more reluctant to do themselves, clean guttering, paint the letterbox or fix a fence. My experience is that there’s always demand for simple skilled maintenance job’s at the right price, perhaps you already do this sort of stuff.

    I’ve worked in construction all my life and been through some pretty tough down turns, more than once this type of handyman stuff has kept me fed .. just created a cheap flyer, walked the streets and looked for stuff that was busted or needed a coat of paint (or maybe a lawn that needs mowing), put a quote on the back of the flyer and put it in the letterbox … worked a treat.

    Hope it all comes good for you soon.

    #1114689
    tonyk
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    I agree, increasing the range of services you can offer may be the way to go.

    #1114690
    TheGoldenGoose
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    Sharon Elliott, post: 128623 wrote:
    thank you thegoldengoose,
    every week is different, goes up and down every week, yes i thought putting out business cards , posters and in newsletters was enough. When we started out we had lots of lots of clients by this way but maybe we need to do more !!!

    If you can physically go and be social/meet these people face to face rather than selling to them.. I think you will find word of mouth a better feeder for your business.

    #1114691
    Sharon Elliott
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    Hi Estim8,
    thank you so much for you email . i agree that the economy is pretty patchy at the moment and people are being cafeful with their money .
    thankyou for your ideas.

    #1114692
    Anonymous
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    Agree with what Matt has said, you can think of a new business while the other own is on its downtime. You can as well reinvent your previous business, find other ways on which you can make money out of it, other services perhaps?

    #1114693
    Zava Design
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    TheGoldenGoose, post: 128616 wrote:
    Where do they eat/sleep/play? Where do they shop? Go out and find them where they are, don’t wait for them to come to you..
    Yep, agree with this.

    You basically have two things you have to work out:

    1) Is there a demand for your services in your area?

    If not, then point #2 is moot, and you need to review what services/business you are offering, maybe expand your offering. I’m aiming to have multiple income streams rather than a single business, apart from catering for “down times” it also offers a lot more variety and interest than just one type of job.

    But if you can definitely say “yes” to #1, then…

    2) How do I reach my target market?

    If there’s a demand for your services, but you’re not getting the number of customers that demand should produce, then you’re obviously not reaching your target market. So as the quote above says, you need to work out how to reach them. Where they go, what they read …etc.

    I would have some other comments about your current marketing efforts, but unfortunately we can’t criticise businesses or services on this forum. Sorry. :(

    #1114694
    Greg_M
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    Zava Design, post: 128671 wrote:
    I would have some other comments about your current marketing efforts, but unfortunately we can’t criticise businesses or services on this forum. Sorry. :(

    If your talking about “old fashioned methods” like newsletters, flyers, phone books etc, I’d agree 100% if your in a capital city or maybe a large regional city but in the bush, don’t be so sure.

    I’m a city boy born and bred but for the last 12 years I have lived in a small country town, people actually read local newsletters and stuff that lands in their letterboxes, partly because they are still actually communities and are involved in what’s going on around them and partly because they don’t get drowned in junk mail like city residents.

    Phone books? Its taken 3 years to convince my better half to throw them out and use her phone.

    The digital divide is alive and well in rural Australia, if this (my) town of 650 people had access to the NBN tomorrow I’d happily bet a years income that there wouldn’t be 10% of households connected in the next 2 years.

    The big advantage of newsletters, flyers, whatever, is you can very tightly bunch your results into a geographic area, important if your service needs a physical presence, especially in the bush, what’s the real return on a service provided probably for under $100 if your whole day is trashed traveling to and from, plus fuel costs.

    My 2cents

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