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North Shore accountant urgently appeals to local business owners: Don’t delay – invest your time and money NOW to survive 2009 and thrive in 2010
Butch Mawdsley, director of local accounting firm RES Group and its business development division, 10X North Shore,, says that business owners who expect to sit back and rely on the usual boost in Christmas sales to pick up their revenue will be severely disappointed, with recent findings from the Westpac-Melbourne Institute showing that one in three consumers intend to spend less on presents than they did last year.
The past year has been a turbulent one for many business owners. According to Butch, the anticipated drop in Christmas spending has the potential to severely impact those businesses hoping to turn their situation around. “Many business owners are hoping for the Christmas period to deliver some relief, but the recent survey found that only 14% of consumers are willing to spend more than they did last year.
This news will certainly be a blow to the business owners that have been expecting the regular high levels of Christmas spending, especially those that rely heavily on the holiday season for their yearly revenue.”
Mr Mawdsley warns that businesses cannot afford to be idle in the intensified competitive environment, and offers the following simple strategies for staying on top of the Christmas sales slump:
• Advertise - According to Butch, Christmas is often a stressful time for customers, and they are more likely turn to businesses and brands they know and trust. Making your offering known to customers at such a time is crucial.
• Add value – “The little things will make a difference,” he says. “Anything that can save customers a bit of time or money or creates a higher perceived value – eg. Free gift-wrapping, free delivery or ready-to-go bundled products – is sure to be appealing.”
• Go online – “Online shopping is fast becoming the convenient option for customers, and increases the number of customers your business can reach. Depending on your target market, social media marketing can also be an easy, cost-effective way to connect with online consumers.”
• Prepare your staff – Business owners will need to ensure that their employees are trained-up on products and familiar with up-selling, cross-selling, and other techniques for increasing average dollar sales. Longer opening hours and greater foot-traffic may also make it necessary for businesses to hire extra staff.
• Take advantage of Christmas leads – Use any enquiries to capture customer details and start a relationship that extends beyond the Christmas period.
Mr Mawdsley says that by taking these steps, North Shore business owners should be able to enjoy a successful holiday period, and more importantly, pave the way for growth in the year ahead. “Business owners should not be disheartened this Christmas. The focus of their efforts should be on creating and maintaining relationships and capitalising on the lifetime value of Christmas customers. Business owners should be thinking ahead and preparing their Christmas follow-up campaigns now.”
Mr Mawdsley has helped many local businesses prepare for Christmas via his 10X Coaching division– teaching vital income-generating and expense-reducing strategies to ensure continued business success.
• Westpac-Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment, November 2009
• MYOB Business Monitor, November 2009