Small Businesses Perform Above Average in Holiday Season

We reported recently on data that showed an impressive performance by small businesses heading into the holiday season. Small business revenue showed a 5.2 percent year-over-year improvement in November, offsetting losses occurring as a result of super storm Sandy. Regrettably, average earnings for all retailers showed a more disappointing trend in the two months leading up to Christmas. Today we look at overall trends and what your business can do even now to boost revenue.

Real Challenges

Anemic earnings. While small businesses showed impressive earnings for November, according to a report compiled by MasterCard Advisors and Wells Fargo, the same report showed anemic average earnings among retailers across the board. Those retailers saw only a 0.7 percent increase in earnings for the last two months before Christmas, as compared to the same time last year, much lower than the 3 to 4 percent analysts were predicting. However, the last week of December generally accounts for about 15 percent of the month’s earnings, experts say, giving retailers a chance to catch up. Yahoo! News

Ask and you shall receive. If you’re having trouble making that sale in your own business, it could because you never ask for it. In this post, business to business sales coach John O’ Gorman explains how crude or premature attempts to close a sale can damage credibility and trust. Instead, O’ Gorman prescribes a new approach to sales. He also gives a list of steps that remain at the heart of modern day selling and should help your company close more sales in a changing market. Buyer Insights

New Techniques

Capture your customers. One of the reasons brick and mortar businesses are now suffering is the newly empowered mobile shopper. Mobile commerce entrepreneur and author Gary Schwartz explains in this podcast how mobile devices now enable shoppers to combine the world of online buying with the physical retail experience in ways that many businesses are still attempting to grasp. The challenge is to find a new way to capture these customers by changing the way retail marketing is done. Blog Business World

Tell your story right. An important way to boost your sales is to effectively tell your story. Here are five ways you can tell that story more effectively using the medium of video. Marketing expert Rohit Bhargava gives you the script to a better sales approach using video to explain how your product works, to show off that product’s “personality,” and to create a unique brand experience for customers. Lights, camera, action! This is the selling approach of the future. Influential Marketing Blog

Simple Solutions

Stop giving it away for free. In an era of abundant free content and services to build brand and expertise, it may have slipped some entrepreneurs’ notice that there comes a point when customers are no longer appreciative of free stuff, but only expect it as a regular commodity. As a business owner, your responsibility is to draw the line, says book publishing coach and entrepreneur Kristen Eckstein. Give away too much for free, and you destroy the value in your product or service and in your ability to serve your customer long term. Ultimate Book Coach

It’s all about the process. The key to improving your business revenue may be in creating the proper sales process. This process should be optimized to deliver four crucial sales outcomes that will make all the difference in your final sales success, says business consultant Dave Brock. Ask yourself whether your current process increases the number of sales closed, maximizes the profitability of those sales, or shortens the sales cycle. Here’s a look at how to improve your process to bring you the results you need. Partners in Excellence

Rules for revenue. There are small business people, from consultants to service providers, who face challenges in getting paid after they’ve completed work or rendered services, or who can’t get the revenue they need from the services they provide, making growth difficult. One small business group familiar with these issues is the freelancer. Here Cindy Cyr gives some advice about how to get paid more and on time. American Writers and Artists Inc.

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.