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Five Good Reasons To Expand Your Business – How To Switch From A Recession To An Upturn

During a long economic downturn, it is easy for businesses to fall into the trap of keeping profits and sales targets low so that they can survive until the economy improves. Whilst this is a good policy for a while, it is easy to fall into the trap of running a business as though it will always be operating in a recession.

If there is one thing that can always be guaranteed in business, it is that every economic boom and every recession eventually comes to an end. Successful businesses have excellent antennae about making the switch from survival mode to expansion mode. They keep a close watch on the key economic indicators and act decisively to expand their business at the right time. This puts them in a better position to take advantage of an increase in business as demand improves across the economy.

As a result, they do more business and less problems in the quality of service than their less agile competitors who fail to increase their staffing levels to cope with the demand. Business growth should be planned, not just allowed to happen organically.

There are five good reasons to expand a business:

  1. It can improve the financial stability of your business – expansion usually means winning new customers or moving in to other sectors, so that you have “less eggs in one basket”.
  2. It improves your level of service – the more Clients, sectors, employees or customers you have, the greater the knowledge base in your business and the better the opportunities to develop processes and systems which improve the quality of service to your customers.
  3. It helps you to reduce costs – the bigger your business, the greater the buying power you will have for the raw materials, goods and services that you buy.
  4. It helps you to spread your overheads - the bigger your business, the greater the opportunities to spread your overheads over more units of sales.
  5. It helps you to improve your profits - if you are able to improve your purchasing power and spread your overheads across more units of sales, this gives you a lot of flexibility in the way that you price your products or services and provides you with an opportunity to increase your net profit.

Growth is not a magic formula for a business. On the contrary, if you try to expand a business that is not run efficiently, the problems will get worse. However, well planned expansion can lead to a very significant increase in net profit and can help to recoup the losses or low margins of the long years in recession.

3 Reasons to Confirm Business Appointments

Most people today run their personal and business diaries on their phones, synchronised to their computers and other devices. In fact, I’m not sure there will be many people under the age of 30 who have ever owned a paper diary, or at least who would admit it!

Given the adoption of online diaries and online calendars, can we assume that we are more organised? Are we actually more likely to remember our appointments if they are in an online calendar, rather than a paper one? I don’t know the answer, but I suspect one of two answers:

  • We are at exactly the same level of organisation, or scatter-brainedness
  • We put in appointments and then forget about them, only checking in the morning over breakfast. (At least in paper diaries you scribble in a way that highlights the important stuff and you will often see a whole week at a glance).

But regardless of how our behaviour has changed, the simple fact is that people do forget their appointments! Often!

But reminding forgetful people is only one reason to confirm a business appointment. Here are three more:

1 – Your customers will be prepared

Your customers are busy. They probably had to ‘fit you in’ to their own schedule. The fact that you are meeting is an indication that there is some actual or potential benefit for them. So help them get the most out of the meeting. By reminding them of the appointment you are doing a few things at the same time:

  • You will remind them to collect any information or make other preparations for the meeting. If they are prepared, they will get more out of the meeting (and so will you).
  • You will start their mind working. In a busy world full of distractions, the appointment will be more fruitful if the mind quietly processes some thoughts in the background before the meeting.
  • You will remind them to ask you to bring or prepare something yourself.
  • If you confirm the appointment in the right way, you will also confirm the following key elements of every appointment: Time/place, purpose, attendees, objectives of the appointment.
  • So confirming an appointment will provide a real benefit to your customers and to you, by getting the preparation right.

2 – It is good marketing

Any chance to talk to put your name in front of your customers is worth taking. Especially if it is helpful. By confirming a business appointment you are making some important statements about yourself and your relationship with your client

  • You care. About your client and about your own business.
  • You are efficient. You are more likely to ‘get the job done’
  • You are polite. Particularly if you use polite words in your messaging or your phone conversation.
  • You are savvy. If you use automated confirmations, particularly texting a mobile phone, then you will be seen as savvy and up with the times.
  • You are there. It is a competitive world, so keep reminding everyone that you are there!

3 – You will make more money

Let’s face it, this is the most important bit! A business appointment is usually related, in one way or another, to making money. By confirming a business appointment you are increasing your chances of making money:

  • If you are an appointment based business, such as a plumber, physiotherapist, hairdresser, consultant, accountant or similar, then time is money. If your customer is not home, or does not show up, it is lost money. In fact, you could have booked another client into that empty spot, so it is a ‘double-whammy’.
  • If you confirm an appointment, you are more likely to ‘make the sale’, because your customer will be prepared and it is good marketing (see points above).

So if you have never really seen the point in confirming business appointments, have another think. It can feel like an overhead when you are busy yourself, but the impact can be significant and there are plenty of ways to automate the reminders.