Steve-Strauss--in-article-Medium.pngWhile the summer days may still be remain long and hot, we all know that fall is just around the corner. For the small business person, that is significant. Aside from all of the spending that goes with kids heading back to school, fall is also the time when business people’s full focus turns back to work. Vacations are over, visiting relatives have left town and it’s time to get cranking again.

 

The upshot? Plans are made, budgets are solidified, change is in the air and there are ways to start the new season with your best foot forward.

 

So the question is, will your business be ready? When people are out there shopping and buying, will your store be the one where they drop their dough?  It should be and here’s how:

 

 

  • 1. Mix it up: The same “ol’ store décor” and the same “ol’ office” layout signals business as usual. So, consider switching things up. A fresh coat of paint, a new display, or simply a rearranging of furniture is an easy and inexpensive way to kick-start the feeling that fall is a whole new season. Invest in banners or new signs or even some balloons. Even simple changes are noticed by customers. The added bonus? Your staff too will be energized by the refresh.
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    A new environment is a great way to shake off summer lethargy and get people thinking anew.

     


    2. Give them what they want:
    Given the state of the economy, what is it that customers want these days? You know the answer: A deal. Indeed, if they are not shopping around and looking for a better deal, then they are asking you for one – consider your pricing or the additional value you can provide.

     

    Have a sale, offer something for free, cut your prices. Loss leaders, when done right, lead to more sales.

     

     

  • 3. Spruce up your online presence: This is a huge one as the online world is ever changing.
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    Begin with your website. When was the last time you gave it a makeover? Far too many small business owners think “we built our website in 2003 – so we are done.” In this Web 2.0 world, if your site is still nothing more than an online “Yellow Page” ad, you are making a big mistake.

     

    By doing some simple things like adding a blog or some video to your site, you immediately begin to make a better impression.

     

    Similarly, make sure that you have some sort of social media presence. It doesn’t have to be “the Big Three”, but having some exposure on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is vital these days. Customers check these things out.

     

     

  • 4. Work to lower your overhead: One secret to small business success is to keep your overhead low. The fall is a great time to make sure you are on track in this regard:
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    • Check to see if you can get a better deal from your landlord or service providers
    • Shop your insurance
    • And while you are at it, shop your vendors and see if you can find some less expensive ones or better payment terms from existing ones. 

     

     

    Finally, fall is intern time, so now is also the time to get your fall internship program in order. Students will soon be back in college and it would be smart to get ready to hire an intern or two or three. They can help you grow and save you some money in the process – not a bad deal at all.

     

     


     

    About Steve Strauss

    Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.

     

    You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here.