SCORE Offers Small Business Advice on Planning for Profit Success

Washington, D.C. — Many small business owners have cut costs by slowing down hiring and capital spending while reducing overhead. Although it will take some time for the economy to recover, SCORE mentors can help small business owners work out a recession strategy, seek growth opportunities and keep current customers while finding new ones.

Each month as part of the “Accelerate Your Success” Campaign, SCORE features an online toolkit to help entrepreneurs during the recession at www.score.org/accelerate. Mentors offer advice by email through Ask SCORE at www.score.org. Use the Find SCORE locator tool to find a SCORE office instantly at www.score.org/findscore.

SCORE also offers Five Tips on Planning for Profit Success:

 

  • Evaluate your business. Now is a good time to revisit your business plan, which may not have been updated since you first developed it. Look at your customer base and how many new customers you’ve obtained in the past year. Review your costs, revenue and cash flow information. Find out which products are generating sales and which ones aren’t.  
     
  • Assess your competition. Research companies that are about your size, provide the same product or service, and serve your niche group. Compare how they serve their customers and you may find a key element to your future success. Find out what products and services are in demand. Focus on why customers choose one product over another.

 

  • Consider price points. If you do cut your prices, only do it for a limited time to encourage customers to “act now.” See if you can offer a range of products and services to appeal to different customer levels. For example, high-end offerings may appeal to corporations and wedding planners, mid-range options to other small businesses and special events, and low-cost options to everyday customers.

 

  • Update your products or services. Create packages or customizable plans that give your customers greater freedom and flexibility. Let them choose exactly what they want instead of getting the standard package that may include items they don’t need. Offer a new product or service as part of a bundled deal, or provide free samples or trials with purchase of popular items. This way, customers can test new offerings they might not otherwise try.

 

  • Grow your network online. A quick and economical way to grow your customer base is offer your products and services online. Build a Web site. Start email marketing to both new and existing customers. Create a Facebook page, MySpace page and LinkedIn group. These are free and fast ways to go beyond your in-person customers to a much wider audience.

 

Since 1964, SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 8.3 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 11,200 volunteer business counselors in 370 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE on the Web at www.score.org and www.score.org/women.