Serious Trouble

Whatever you call it, the rate of growth in US business has picked up. In fact, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the government’s measure of total output, has just reached the level it was at pre-crash 2007. But at 3% overall growth, the economy is not exactly tearing it up. And since the real estate meltdown wiped out 15 years of housing gains and took more than four years of stock market earnings with it, you may be feeling a little poor, even if you have a solid income. And if you don’t…

It’s no surprise that many people I speak with are thinking that if this is the recovery, we are in serious trouble.

Maybe they should be scared. But there is a silver lining to all this: While many businesspeople ARE hurting, the smart ones are making an absolute killing. Because any business that can market harder while the rest of the world is ducking for cover will not only prosper in bad times but positively explode when things finally do come back.

Now when people feel poorer, they spend less…

But not as much less as you’d think.

Some sectors of the economy are flat or down a percent or two. Things like cars and home furnishings are off more. But on average, 95% of the kind of money that was spent two years ago is STILL BEING SPENT. If you can persuade yourself to invest some cash in lead generation, a bigger part of that pie can be yours.

There are a number of strategies that will give your business a boost when times are tough. Think of them as turnaround tactics.

Today, I’ll talk about the first one, which is…

Narrow Your Focus and Broaden Your Lines

Your first major Turnaround Move is to narrow your focus and broaden your lines. At first, this may seem impossible – narrowing and broadening at the same time. I assure you it isn’t.

You’ve got to free yourself of all distractions. Anything that is not contributing to making more money and building your business has got to go.

Especially when you feel like you’re struggling, it’s easy to get seduced by a pitch hyping “incremental passive revenue.”

Don’t believe it…  

The promise of making fast money without having to do very much isn’t real, and it isn’t going to work…

And even if it works a little bit, it’s going to end up taking a whole lot more of your precious hours than was advertised, hours you need to advance your core business.

Do this instead:

Prune all the outlying ventures and offshoots that aren’t part of your core business. How to do you know what’s core?

Does it serve one of your core customer segments? Is it related to a core competency or is it part of a core product line? Does it augment your core business with upsells, continuity sales, re-sales, or cross-sells? Does it work as a front-end or a lead generator? Finally, does it deliver on your mission? If that outlier or offshoot doesn’t do most of these things, it’s not core. Dump it… Fast.

Deliberately narrow your focus so that you lavish 100% of your scarce resources – your energy, time, and money – on strengthening the core products and services that reliably contribute most to your sales and profits. By putting all your attention on things you know and understand, those things will expand, and your business must prosper.

Maintain the discipline. Keep asking yourself, “What else can I do…?” and the answers and action plans will come.

Now, here’s the “broaden” part.

Make it easier for your good customers to spend more money with you. This means detailing all the ways you can sell them more. Take into account the whole range: upsells, resells, cross-sells, bundling, packaging, subscriptions sales, and continuity sales.

Make a grid. Put a short list of your core products and services across the top. Then start filling in the rows. Identify a sequence of at least three upsells for each leading product. Figure out at least one cross-sell for each core product and each upsell, whether it’s a product of your own or a joint-venture backend from a partner. Keep going…

Is there a resell option? What about selling replacement parts or consumables set up as a continuity model? How about a service option? Or multiple services purchased now at a slight discount and delivered in the future?

So that’s your first two-pronged strategy to turn your business around and boost profits in this sideways economy. Create a resource surplus by narrowing your focus so that your attention is exclusively on your core business. Then use that surplus to broaden your range of product and service options within the core.

You’ll find easy ways to multiply sales, and your customers will love you for it – because instead of flailing, you’re giving them more of what they really want.

[Ed. Note: Paul Lemberg helps entrepreneurs become wealthy by applying the Law of Least Effort and The Strategy of Knowing What to Do Next to increase profits while doing less work. He’s worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business CEOs, as well as dozens of executives from Fortune 100 companies, and his business growth courses are used by thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. Paul is the author of the bestselling book, Be Unreasonable.

Visit Paul’s website to download his new free video course, The 7 Master Keys to Rapid Business Profits.

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