Economic conditions are tough at the moment for small businesses, there is no doubt about that… In our latest Sensis® Business Index we found business confidence at its lowest point since we started the survey over 15 years ago.
Australia has been enjoying many years of strong economic growth, so if your business is relatively new, this will be the first period of significant economic slowdown that your business will have experienced. So you are not alone if you are looking for new business ideas to get you through this period.
The first thing to remember is not to panic – you will be hearing bad financial news every day in the news at the moment – remember that the majority of this is coming from financial markets – you probably don’t make your business decisions on what the Dow Jones did last night. The decisions that you make now for your business need to be able to see you through the next year and beyond.
The good news is that the Australian economy is in a much better position than most other advanced economies. We saw positive growth in Australia’s GDP in the September quarter and recent data on housing finance commitments and retail sales indicate that Australian consumers might be starting to regain confidence before the Federal Government’s economic stimulus package began distribution.
We are also measuring some turn around in consumer sentiment in the latest Sensis® Consumer Report – when we look at how consumers are feeling about the year ahead, they are now telling us they think things might be starting to improve moving forward.
Economic downturn mainly means one thing to many businesses – fewer customers. When we asked the businesses that had been impacted by economic downturn what they were doing about it, most told us that they were either cutting costs or advertising more – strategies aimed at addressing the two critical factors for any business – getting customers through the door and money in the bank.
Cutting costs aims to at least keep some money in the bank, and advertising more aims to bring businesses the ingredient they need most – customers.
So here are some key tips to help you target your advertising to keep bringing customers through the door during the current economic conditions:
- Your print directory listing is the core listing on which the majority of people search – you can use innovative solutions like mobile codes that people can scan to take them to your latest offers on their mobile phone
- Make sure all your advertising, both print and online, have as much information as possible to make it easy for potential customers to choose your business – giving customers a good feel for the products and services they can expect from you, as well as locations, opening hours, payment methods and accreditation can all help customers call you first
- Measure the return you get from your advertising to make sure it works for you – develop strong relationships with your advertising account executives so that you can tap into the knowledge that they have built up working for many customers over the years.
Christena Singh is the author of the Sensis® Business Index, Sensis® Consumer Report and Sensis® e-Business report. For further commentary from Christena or for some smart business ideas, visit http://www.smallbusiness.sensis.com.au/.