5 Secrets of Winter Business Success

For many industries, winter can be the most nerve-wracking time of the year. Short days, cold weather, slippery roads…it all contributes to a general feeling of uncertainty. While the months leading up to the holidays might be grand, the mid-winter months that follow that can wreak havoc on a company’s bottom line.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

With a little planning, your business can boom even in the winter – maybe even more than in the warm weather months! Here are 5 secrets of winter business success:

1. Stay Visible to your Customers
One of the easiest things you can do for your business during the winter months is to keep yourself in front of your customers. Post regularly to your social media accounts, attend any local winter events that might be happening (either as a vendor or as an individual), and ALWAYS carry business cards when traveling. You never know where your next customer might be discovered, and having a business card ready will help them remember your name once you part ways.
2. Take Advantage of Other Business’ Winter Events
If you are a restaurant owner who knows the beautiful cabin next door is a favorite spot for winter weddings, making your presence known as a potential catering service is a must. If you are a horse farm, opening up your trails to snow shoers, cross-country skiers, or even snowmobilers and creating a checkpoint can generate more awareness for your location and ultimately bring you more business. If you’re a photographer, consider attending events that might not typically have a photographer because of harsh conditions–fill a need when you find one!
3. Consider Offering Discounts
In the aftermath of the holidays, most people are more budget-conscious than usual. Try offering discounts, coupons, buy-one-get-one deals, gift cards, or referral bonuses to draw in customers. Avoid the trap of offering too many discounts before the holidays–many people wait until afterwards to make larger purchases because they are able to get better deals.
4. Host Your Own Winter Event
Maybe you’re a landscaping company whose primary source of income is tending lawns, and you want to raise awareness for your snow-removal division. Hosting a snowman-building competition at your office for local families could help you make some much-needed connections and increase business.
5. Update your Website or Blog
Take advantage of slower times of the year and update your website or blog. While a complete redesign might not be in the budget, adding or replacing photos with ones of recent projects, writing new informative articles, or sending a few new email blasts can give potential customers a fresh new take on your company.

Got another idea? We’d love to hear about it! cinderhawkcreative.com/contact


Overcoming the Business “Slump”

It happens to everyone at some point. Life gets in the way of running your business. Recently, this has been an issue for me, and so I wanted to write about it and let others know they aren’t alone.

In my case, my circumstances weren’t necessarily bad. I took a new full time job, which I happen to love, and for the first time in a long time, I hadn’t felt the need to push my own business. That being said, it was only a matter of time before it became apparent that, once again, I needed to get back into the swing of things. While there is a certain level of joy and appreciation I have for being able to come home and not having to worry about making money, at the same time, it’s hard to come home and have nothing pressing to take care of for someone. I don’t have any children, just pets, and they’re usually pretty self-sufficient. With just two people in the house, there’s not an insane number of chores. I like helping people, I found I was missing it, and life throws curveballs now and then that make you realize you could use a bit of extra income.

But what if your situation isn’t like mine? What if you NEED income, right NOW, and can’t seem to get your business out there to bring it in? What if you’ve been advertising and connecting and trying your damnedest to generate sales, but you just can’t make it happen? What’s going to happen to you?

First, you’re going to be discouraged. Discouraged because you feel like you’re working your ass off and have nothing to show for it. Discouraged because customers aren’t answering you, aren’t contacting you to begin with, or maybe they’re even unsubscribing from your emails. Discouraged because you seem to be stuck in a rut of bad luck. Discouraged because of the state of the country. Anything and everything becomes fair game for that miserable feeling, and it’s very, very hard to overcome.

Then, you’re going to get angry. You’re going to wonder “why me? What did I do wrong?” You’re going to start to wonder if maybe it’s not you, maybe it’s just that life is unfair, that maybe you really don’t have a say in how your life goes.

But, hopefully, by the time you get to that anger stage, or hopefully before you get there, you’re going to find a way to this article and read what I have to tell you.

I’ve been there. Believe me, I have. I’ve been in your shoes, I know what it’s like. I understand what it’s like to work full time, come home, and realize you need to work another 15, 20, or 25 hours to make ends meet. And I know what it’s like to need those hours, and not have any customers to fill those hours. I know what it’s like to be working a crappy, soul-sucking job that doesn’t pay enough, and tells you you can’t have the time off you need to run the business you created to make a better life for yourself. I know what it’s like to quit that job, take the leap to relying on your own business, only to find out it was a bad idea. I know what it’s like to own a business that grows exponentially over the course of 4 years, only to realize that not only are you not making enough money to survive, but you now hate what you used to love because you overworked yourself.

It’s a hard situation to be in, and it might seem like there’s no way out of it other than to give up and go to work for someone else.

But that isn’t the case, and here is what I tell myself to keep from going crazy.

Keep Pushing

No matter what, no matter how bleak or useless it might seem, keep pushing for sales. Keep advertising. Keep connecting with people. Keep helping people. Keep sharing things on Facebook, on Twitter, keep Pinning inspirational pins. Keep yourself in front of your customers. Never let them go a day without seeing you. You don’t have to scream “BUY SOMETHING!” in every post. Just let them know you’re there, let them know what you do. When you do ask them to buy something, if one method of asking doesn’t work, try a new method. Research methods you may not have tried. The entire internet is at your disposal. USE IT.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Reward Yourself for Pushing

You may not have made a sale, but if you tried a new method to obtain sales, give yourself some credit where credit is due. If you’re running a business while also working full time, you’re basically the equivalent of a crazy person. It’s crazy because it’s hard, and it’s even harder when that business starts to show some level of  success. When you’re working for someone, that someone is in charge of the problems of the business, not you. When you’re working for yourself, there’s a lot more on your plate. When that business starts to grow, it gets even worse. And when growth slows, or, God forbid, stops completely, it worsens even more. Then you’ve got personal survival stress added to the mix.

So, don’t forget to find some way to remind yourself that you deserve credit for persevering.

When Things Go Right, Push More

The worst thing you can do in a fight is stop moving.

Let’s say you’ve finally got that momentum going. Keep it going. Don’t let it stop. Hey, maybe you got a whopping 3 likes on your Facebook post today–That means 3 people saw value of some kind in what you showed off. Make sure they come back to like your next post. And your next. Then, every so often, throw in a plug for yourself or your business. Keep yourself visible. Don’t let the momentum slow. Once you’ve got someone interested, you need to make sure they keep that interest.

It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

Maybe you’ve done everything I listed above. Whether you were successful or not, you are fully entitled to change your mind. Maybe you don’t want to run a business because you simply don’t like it. Maybe you want to run a different business. Maybe you decide you love your full time job more and simply don’t need another job. Maybe you’ve given it your all, but you just can’t seem to get the business off the ground, and you’re tired.

You know what?

That’s okay.

Not every business is a success.

But it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what you did, or tried to do. It doesn’t mean that YOU are a failure. In fact, you’re probably more successful and gutsy than a lot of people out there, because you tried to make it happen. And, if your business IS a success, or sometimes even if it isn’t, you can still make it work for you by selling it to someone else. Maybe you’d rather just bring someone in to run the business end so you can focus on the portion of that business you love.

The takeaway here is that in spite of the fact that you might find yourself caught in a slump, be it personal or professional, it is possible to make it out alive. Maybe you have to change a bit to get there, or maybe even the business itself has to adapt, to morph into something totally different, but you can get out. It’s called drive, it’s called ambition, it’s called persistence. It has many more names, but you can’t ever lose it. It’s part of the human condition.

Where to Advertise Your Small Business for FREE

Many small business owners don’t fully understand the importance of advertising, and if they do, they may not have the funds to do so. Advertising is an extremely important piece of owning and operating a business–in fact, what many businesses consider their least important department is actually the complete opposite. Your advertising is your direct connection to your customers and Continue reading “Where to Advertise Your Small Business for FREE”

5 Things to Think About When Lettering Your Car

1. Use only large, legible, and properly spaced text

Most cars average between 40-45 mph while they are being driven. Keep this in mind when you are working with your designer to letter your car. If you’re trying to attract customers, the wording on your vehicle must be large enough to Continue reading “5 Things to Think About When Lettering Your Car”