The last three years have been difficult for businesses in just about every industry. The recession and the subsequent slow recovery have caused consumers to cut spending across the board. Because there is less money being spent, businesses are forced to compete intensely for a piece of the proverbial “shrinking pie.” The home staging industry is no exception—as in investment that may have been a no-brainer for a home seller in 2007 is now a much more difficult sell.
But it is important to understand that a slow economy doesn’t mean that your business has to struggle. It means that you may have to work harder, and certainly smarter, in order to generate the revenue you need. It means you have to arm yourself with the latest industry knowledge and techniques in order to maximize effectiveness. And while some home stagers may find this reality discouraging or intimidating, there is a silver lining: the techniques and strategies that work in a down economy will work just as well when the economy recovers fully. This means that, if you can develop a profitable business right now while times are still tough, you will be in prime position to thrive as the economy improves. Below are five tips to keep in mind as you grow your business in a down economy:
Zero in on your target market. You can’t afford to spend time and resources advertising to a broad market. Determine your “sweet spot” (i.e. sellers above a given income level in a specific area) and focus your efforts there.
Identify cost-effective marketing channels. Now that you have identified a precise target market, the next step is to determine the most cost-effective way to reach them. Now, understand that “most cost-effective” does NOT mean “cheapest.” Many business owners in every industry are guilty of this short-term thinking. The goal is not to find the marketing channel with the lowest cost… it’s to find the marketing channel with the highest ROI. This process demands trial-and-error… but if you’d like to dramatically reduce your learning curve, contact us today!
Streamline your operation. Once again, the reaction of many business owners to a tough economy is to slash costs anywhere and everywhere they can. But doing so may cripple your business. Look for opportunities to cut spending that doesn’t lead to increased revenue—but think long and hard before cutting your marketing budget and other expenditures that are truly investments into the future of your business.
Use downtime to establish systems. If you find yourself with more free time then you would like to have, don’t waste it. Work with your team to establish systems that lead to greater efficiency—in marketing, operations, accounting, and elsewhere. The time you invest now will pay huge dividends when business picks up.
Always highlight the value you provide. In a difficult economy, it is more important than ever that you emphasize the value your services provide. Consumers are much more reluctant to pull out their checkbook—so it is up to you to show them that your services are a valuable investment. Explain the ROI that staging provides, emphasize that it will help them sell more quickly, etc. Give them a compelling reason to write that check!
It’s difficult to run a profitable business in a struggling economy—but you can do it! At CSP International™, we can help. We offer a variety of courses and workshops proven to help home stagers thrive even in tough economic times. Contact us today to learn more!