3 Ways to grow your business in a recession

By: Caesarea Howard

First of all, provide extra payment channels.
Credit cards
Do you let your customers pay using a credit card ? For some customers this makes all the difference. Your customer doesn't have to deal with a cheque or bank transfer, your customer gets credit payment terms and you get your payment in just 4 days. Its a win win.
Procurement cards
Many Local and Central Government Agencies are using procurement cards to pay for frequent low to medium value transactions. Being able to accept the card can get you onto a list of capable suppliers.
It is inexpensive.
The ITS Bureau service will process your invoices into procurement card transactions for you. The ITS Bureau charges 25 for joining fee and 1 per transaction for small to medium volumes.
If your business has larger volumes, ITS Procurer online can be up and running in 2-5 days at a cost of 350 to authorize you to process telephone and mail order procurement card transactions online.
Due to increasing fraud of credit/debit card, many people wouldn't like to share their financial details when they shop online. PayPal is the largest and most respected online payment processor for money transactions on the Internet. With PayPal, your customers can pay you by their credit card/bank numbers but you receive the money without their credit/debit card details. Your customers' financial information remains secure. Therefore, they are willing to purchase from you.
You could also avoid bank charges by using e-bay/PayPal for all your transactions with your suppliers/customers. This allows you purchase and sell without having to go through any bank at all.
Option number 2: Design a low-cost variant of your current business.
Primark outperform Marks & Spencers !!
It's understandable that you wouldn't want to undermine your current business or disappoint your existing customers who are happy with your current products/services. However, have you realised some of your customer are already buying from your competitors for a better value product/service?
Think about what you can do without lowering your prices. Can you create a value offering that runs alongside, so your customers can have more options without buying from your rivals?
Differentiate the product or service: The value product or service needs to be specific so that you don't undermine your mainstream product. Can you find a lower cost equivalent; this can have a less elaborate package, or lower cost ingredients, a smaller pack size, lower service levels, shorter warranty. Have a look at Tesco's value offering, these are just the same products the cut price stores have always been offering, but now given shelf space by the big boys to give their customers the choice without going across the road.
Differentiate the delivery: These offerings are for customers who are looking for a way to save money, not an invitation to existing customers to pay you less!!
Therefore, place them in a separate room, advertise in a separate brochure, set them on a separate website, let your buyers know they exist but let them know this is a low cost option with lower levels of customer experience and product/service differences.
Thirdly, search for new customers
Many situations change during a recession, and this creates extra opportunities for some businesses.
We have all seen the redundant investment bankers on TV. Others will also be looking for new opportunities. Many will be starting new businesses.
What can you offer them: Can you market to the redundancy program with a franchise opportunity, business service or supplies?
Nevertheless, bear in mind that it is not easy to survive- Don't expose yourself to large amount of debt; let them pay by credit card.

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This article has been published by Caesarea Howard, who works for Davies McLennon Chartered Accountants. If you are looking for a St. Albans Accountant or Hemel Accountant , visit Davies McLennon website to find out more info.

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