What’s around the corner?

5 things to think about in October…

Autumn officially began just a few days ago. Leaves are falling off the trees and winter pool covers are going on. If you want a cold shower after your sauna it won’t be long before you just have to step outside.

October seems to feel like a time to look back at the summer that’s gone and forward to the winter that is ahead; a winter in a recession.

So it’s time to stop being lyrical and start being business like.

When things are busy its easy to spend all your time running your business rather than managing your company. Now is a good time to reflect and to plan.

1. Get out of bad habits.

A recession is no time to think that you are powerless to change things.

To survive a recession demands change, in fact if you make the right changes you can even thrive during one.

Businesses tend to evolve and the way you did things in the past may not be the best way of doing business in the future. The more established your business is, the more ingrained those habits are likely to be.

Quite often, the things that seem to be the core truths about a business are the ones that might benefit the most from a change.

‘We’ve always had our premises here.’ In a recession it’s easier to re-negotiate business property rents or get a really good deal if you move.

‘We’ve always catered to as broad a market as possible.’ Some aspects of your business are going to be more profitable than others. Focussing on them might mean you have to leave some customers behind but this could benefit you in the long term.

‘We don’t need to advertise, word of mouth works for us.’ Social media marketing might just sound like the latest trend but in some ways it’s word of mouth advertising brought up to date and up to date is where you need to be.

There are some more thoughts about how to break bad habits that might be holding you back here

2. Add value rather than cut price.

A recession can look like a time to cut your prices in order to retain business or attract new customers.

The problem is, if you do that and compete on price alone, there is bound to be someone somewhere who will undercut you. What you are doing is shaving your margin and it’s going to be difficult to put your prices back up when things pick up.

Offering a pool cover or poolside furniture when someone buys a pool or even a bucket and ladle included with a sauna can make an attractive offer and it shows you value your customers and want to give them that bit extra.

If you design and build wet leisure installations, there are some thoughts about how to add value to your proposals here.

3. Review your marketing strategy.

People behave differently in a recession, so we have to as well.

And ‘review your strategy’ doesn’t mean ‘cut your budget’.

Businesses that continue to spend on marketing during a recession consistently do a lot better than those who don’t. Less people are sending out marketing messages so comparatively more customers see yours. There is less clutter to cut through.

Having said that, look at the marketing you are doing and try and see what’s working hardest. Put more resource behind that.

Are some groups of your customers being hit less than others by the recession? Can you find more like them?

Your existing customers already know and trust you. Its cheaper and easier to get more business from people you already do business with than to go out and try and find new customers.

There are some more thoughts about how to improve your marketing if you follow this link.

4. Add to your cash flow with cross selling.

Cross selling is a great way to get more revenue from your existing customers.

It’s simply selling another product or service to a customer who has already bought something else from your business. It’s an easy enough concept, but not one that all businesses carry through. Perhaps it seems too ‘pushy’ but all you are really doing is adding value to the deal for both sides.

The customer who just bought a pool from you will probably want chemicals as well but what about trying to sell them some pool furniture or pool toys.

If someone has bought a sauna then do they know how the latest fibre-optic lighting can really make a difference to the atmosphere or do they have room to install a hot-tub as well for a complete therapeutic spa experience?

You don’t know if you don’t ask.

There are some more thoughts and pointers on how cross selling works and how best to do it.

5. Keep calm, but don’t just carry on.

It is really, really hard to keep a positive outlook when stories of doom and gloom fill the news.

The power of positive thinking won’t magically protect us from the effects of this economic downturn but on the other hand if we think we are going to shrink or even sink then that can all too easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

At the end of the day, it’s actions not words that will make the difference between survive or thrive. We need to try new things and we need to monitor them to see what works and what doesn’t.

But think on this, does a recession stop people from wanting to swim or from needing to relax in a hot-tub or feel healthier after a session in a sauna?

If any of that registers with you…

We’d like the business community at Wet Leisure to grow so why not take a moment to register your details on the site.

You’ll be able to join groups and post comments on forums and if you are one of our active customers, your details will go up on one of our consumer facing sites as well.

The idea behind WetLeisure.com is to make business growth for those working in the industry a reality. Surely that’s something we’d all want to be a part of.