This summer has been a scorcher in more ways than one. The average summer temperature in the US has risen 1.7 degrees in the past five years, according to a recent analysis by The Washington Post, raising serious concerns about the environment.
And if that isn’t enough to put some sweat on your brow, economic uncertainty is boiling over amid soaring inflation and fears of a recession. As a small business owner, you might feel understandably anxious about labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and more.
So what can you do if your revenue has taken a dip? It’s time to fight fire with fire. August may be hot, but your business is hotter. Let’s look at 5 ways to turn up the heat on your revenue this summer and beyond.
1. Ignite your passion and set new revenue goals, especially since times are tough
It’s time to roast impostor syndrome and self-doubt. A positive mindset can fuel success, even when times are hard. According to an article published in Forbes, seeing optimism as a skill you can build can help you get through rough patches, discover opportunities, and find greater fulfillment for yourself and any team members you work with.
While there’s no ignoring hardships and uncertainty in business and your personal life, focusing on your mindset and mental health can aid your success. We offer free mini-courses to help you find more joy in your workday and lower your anxiety when you feel overwhelmed.
Also, tapping into your fight energy, setting new goals, and learning new skills can help to push through these hard times. We recently shared a reading list aimed at just that. We also regularly share stories of freelancers and small business owners who have overcome countless challenges for inspiration.
Then, turn up the heat on your revenue by setting a SMART goal for the next quarter. What is your desired income that’s realistic to achieve in the near future based on where you are in your business? Perhaps it’s time to update how you price your services or brush up on how to close sales. Whatever’s next for your business, it’s time to get fired up!
2. Put a match to unnecessary expenses
Let’s look in the opposite direction for increasing revenue: cutting expenses. Especially with inflation on the rise, it’s essential to protect your business and avoid any extra costs that might be burning a hole in your wallet.
If you don’t have a budget for your business yet, create one. A budget can help you operate more efficiently, ensure that you’re spending money in the right places, and avoid debt. When you have all your numbers right in front of you, you’ll gain clearer insights into your financial picture.
With this holistic view, you can review your fixed costs, subscriptions, and line items. Are there things you could negotiate, scale back on, or cut altogether? Even small reductions in expenses can add up over the year.
3. Kindle new customer relationships and rekindle old ones
Make sparks fly between your business and your customers by focusing on your communication and creating quality, long-term relationships. This is another way to heat up the numbers on your profits sheet.
Brainstorm ways you can improve your customer experience. For example, you could implement a clearer scope of work before each project to set expectations and agree on cost and timeline upfront with your customer. Customers who enjoy working with you and love your work are more likely to spread the word about your business organically.
Repeat business is one of the best ways to increase revenue. Inc reported that repeat customers typically spend 67% more on average than new ones. Are there people you’ve previously worked with that could use your services? Review your contacts and reach out to previous customers about working together again.
Also, consider cost-effective ways to market your business to find new customers. Building an email list or publishing engaging content on social media can help you to find new leads. With a bit of effort, you can create a more effective way to bring more clients to you.
4. Add some sizzle to how you manage cash flow
Taking time to focus on cash flow can help ensure your business doesn’t go down in flames. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you ensure you have the funds you need to keep moving forward.
- Give your customers multiple ways to pay. Waiting for checks to arrive in the mail and clear at the bank can put a squeeze on your business. You can have money in the bank in less time by enabling your customers to pay immediately from their phones through ACH bank transfers and card payments. If you’re an Invoice2go subscriber, you can send invoices via email or SMS, and customers can pay you directly.
- Request a deposit before you start work. To ensure your customer is invested and you get paid on time, get some cash upfront. Requesting 50% before you begin working for smaller jobs is standard. For larger projects – for example, a complete home renovation that costs $100,000+ – 10%-20% is more typical. Add payment milestones in your timeline when you build out your project scope.
- Set up payment reminders. Do you struggle with overdue invoices? Setting automatic follow-ups can help ensure your customers get you your hard-earned dough on time.
- Review your cash flow patterns and set up a forecast. While it’s impossible to predict the future or avoid ups and downs in revenue, you can discover trends and make reasonable projections. Take time each month to review your reports and anticipate seasonal trends for your industry. If possible, save more during busy months to make it easier to get through slow months.
5. Cook up incentives and build social proof
A final way to turn up the heat on your revenue is to build social proof and offer incentives for referrals or repeat business. Here are just a few ways you can do this.
- Request reviews from your customers. Virtually all customers now read reviews online before purchasing a product or service. Having reviews on your business website or a review page for services in your industry can help you build trust and acquire new customers more easily. Show off your glowing reviews – you can put quotes from happy customers on your website. Take critical reviews in stride – this feedback can help you improve your business for the future.
- Consider incentives. These can also help you win new customers and improve customer retention. You could implement a points system for discounted services for repeat customers or referrals. You could also do a mission-driven incentive like donating a small portion of your earnings to a charity your business aligns with. While giving part of your revenue away may seem counterintuitive, customers are more likely to stay loyal to a company when your values align.