1. Cash Flow
SOS Advice: “Add more sales channels to increase cash flow. For example, along with normal or higher margin items, consider higher volume, lower margin B2B channels such as private label working with distributor/retail partners. Rebrand these higher volume items if necessary to avoid sales channel conflicts, which are normal in a multichannel sales ecosystem. Insisting on ‘full boat’ margins on everything will sink your ship (unless you are Apple Computer – and even they are developing lower cost items)”. Don’t know anybody to partner with? Walk the trade shows. No time or your sales people too busy at the shows or in the field? Hire an industry expert business development expert to do it.
2. Create Growth
SOS Advice: “Stick with your core business and look for your hidden product and service assets that can be applied to new sales channels. These assets may include those that can be rebranded and reformulated. Do not use in-house marketing resources for this, work with an outside industry expert and branding/product specialist to move a project like this along so that it does not get pushed to the ‘back burner’ due to day-to-day pressures”.
3. Stay Competitive
SOS Advice: “Rather than relying only on your sales people and staffers for their opinions, get market research done from an industry expert on your competitors including SWOT analyses. The data will reveal what you will need to do next”.
4. Changing Customer Relationships and Expectations
SOS Advice: “Step up your inside CSR and outside sales training, do it diligently on a regular basis. Use a facilitator that knows your business, customers, and markets. Either get a CRM program or make better use of the one you have to increase the quality of and mine your data to understand the buying habits and demographics of your customers. There are many good CRM programs including SalesForce, Hubspot, and ZoHo. The choice depends on many factors”.
5. A Challenging Economy
SOS Advice: “Plan for downturns and recessions. They happen. Develop a line of lower cost products, create affiliate and partnership relationships to offset marketing, sales, and administrative costs. Use an outside industry expert who does business development to do that so that this initiative gets done”.
6. Controlling Costs
SOS Advice: “Look at overhead factors. Do a thorough COG review annually, including all incremental costs involved with marketing, especially packaging. Look at wasted time spent on social media posting with little to no ROI from things like Influencer Marketing where click-through rates from Instagram posts are less than 1/2 of 1%. Remember that the dot com bubble burst in 2000 due to many factors including excessive spending on untrackable and ego-driven PR events and marketing. Too much to evaluate, hire an outside industry expert to evaluate your products and marketing spends”.
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