Today, the U.S. government shutdown for the first time in more than 17 years. Reading the paper and listening to the news there’s a lot of debate about what a shutdown will mean.
But one thing is certain, the shutdown will be temporary.
The government will soon be back doing what it does for better or for worse.
However there is no debate about what that would mean should a “shutdown” occur in your business. It could fold with devastating consequences to the livelihood of everyone involved. For some business owners, it’s a real looming threat that they live with on a constant basis. For others, unfortunately they aren’t aware of the dangers lurking, until it’s too late.
Just last week I was talking with a friend about a retail business in her area that had been thriving. She said that changes in Google caused this business to shutdown virtually overnight. The owner had to move in with relatives and is struggling to build a new business.
A small restaurant owner in Jacksonville, Florida recently talked about how new changes to tax laws pertaining to staffing were making it more difficult for him to be profitable. He had to eliminate staff causing him to increase his personal workload to 80 hours a week and is now debating whether it’s worth it to continue running his business.
It can happen to large companies too of course. After being considered in danger of closing for several years, aerospace giant Boeing announced they would be closing their plant in Long Beach, California for good in 2015, affecting 3,000 workers who will lose their jobs.
The thing is, you don’t have to live with that looming “shutdown feeling.” Here are six things you can do to create growth in your business and feel confident you can prevent yourself from going out of business.
1) Choose the right market for your business. When you target exactly the right market, you will eliminate wasting valuable marketing dollars and instead get maximum results from every marketing piece you release. Do this by creating a very detailed and clear picture of your ideal customer and limit yourself to a responsive market willing to spend money.
2) Make your business the clear choice for your prospects and customers. When you make your product or service stand out as the only clear choice for your prospects, you’ll eliminate competition. Do this by making your Unique Selling Proposition irresistible.
3) Diversify your marketing. Unfortunately for the retail business I mentioned earlier, they limited their advertising to using one vehicle—which meant that when Google made some changes, they were put out of business. Had they built up an email list and a mailing list, they would have still had other ways to market and sell their products. If you are relying on only one channel, you are putting yourself at great risk of being shut down—maybe even without warning. Be sure to integrate both online and offline marketing campaigns and you won’t have to worry about changes in rules and regulations shutting you down.
4) Learn how to craft compelling messages. There are fundamentals of writing a message that gets your prospects to take notice, pay attention and open their wallet and buy from you. Invest the time to learn these fundamentals, even if you hire someone else to write your messages. (Note, if you are hiring someone to write for you, be sure you ask these seven questions) .
5) Have a few campaigns ready to execute when you need immediate cash flow. When you have campaigns proven to generate cash each time you do them, you’ll relieve a lot of worry and stress and be able to bring in money on demand. For example, the “Lost Customer Campaign” we teach at Fast Implementation Bootcamp is one of attendees favorite campaigns as it always generates business and is a strategy many businesses have used to solve a cash flow problem.
6) Expand what you offer. Boeing is closing its doors because they are no longer going to make C-17 cargo plane which is what is built at the Long Beach facility. If the facility would have looked toward expanding what they do, they may have had a plan in place that would have derailed their closing. For instance, they could have looked at building parts for repairing multiple types of planes.
Just as putting all your “eggs in one basket” for your marketing can lead to closing your doors, so can focusing too much on one product or service. Think about what else you can offer in order to have multiple streams of income coming into your business. For example, the restaurant owner I mentioned might think about offering his own line of products—special salad dressings and sauces. This would add income without having to increase staff. He could also add recipe cards or create information products that teach people how to cook.
The government shutdown is a harsh reminder of a reality no business owner ever wants to face. If you want to stop living in fear of having your business being shut down and grow your business instead, implement as many of these ideas as possible. You’ll eliminate wasteful spending, frustration, worry and fear and find you’re not only more relaxed, but more profitable too.
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