If you are a business owner then you probably know how hard it is to see the wood for the trees when you spend more than 14 hours a day working. You can waste hours looking at your sales figures and when they are good you are the happiest person in the world. However when the figures are not good enough you can feel helpless. You know something has to change – but what, and where to begin? How to improve your business?
This problem is often seen in many of Gordon Ramsey’s TV Shows where the restaurant owner seems completely oblivious to what seems completely obvious to us looking on.
A typical scene from the show will have a restaurant owner struggling to fill more than two tables in his restaurant. He has invested thousands of Euros into his business throughout the years and can’t seem to understand why he is losing so much money. He thinks that his restaurant is great, he believes that his menu is the one of the most original, authentic and tasty menus in the country.
However, we in front of the TV can see exactly what is going on – the dinner tables are filthy, they serve disgusting frozen food and the waiters have lost patience and are being rude to every single customer.
What is going wrong is crystal clear to us viewers but it takes the full height of Gordon Ramsay (1.88m) to make the Chef understand that his food is actually horrible. This problem can occur in almost any sort of business be that an American Bistro or a pharmacy – it’s nearly impossible to take your distance from the business and put yourself in the shoes of the customers.
Gordon Ramsey currently holds 14 Michelin Stars and is the owner of eleven successful restaurants so it’s probably not a bad idea to follow his 5 key principles to any successful business.
1 – Get Out There
In every single episode of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares the story is generally the same. The restaurant is struggling with debts and the owner is desperate. He sits for hours waiting for a single potential customer to look at his menu outside and would wait even longer to have a customer actually enter in his restaurant. Yet he would never go to where his potential customers actually are.
If very few customers are showing up, then you need to get out there and showcase your products and services.
If for instance you own a car dealership and you are looking to sell brand new MPV, then perhaps it’s time to bring all your salesmen with you and distribute flyers at the entrance of every shopping centre in your town.
Families buy MPV’s and families are far more likely to hang out in a shopping centre than in your industrial estate on a Sunday afternoon.
Another option if you really can’t move from your office or store is to make some cold-calls. Not spammy cold-calls where you call every single person or business in your area without knowing anything about them. You need to make the kind of cold-calls that actually work, which are always preceded by some deep research.
I strongly recommend you this book if you don’t know where to start : Cold Calling for Chickens.
2 – Get Organised
It is way more efficient to plan one single task for the day and do it perfectly, than to try and do ten different tasks while never accomplishing any of them. If your most productive time is in the morning between 9am and 11am, then you need to focus on what really needs to be done during this short time period.
Every evening you should write down the two most important things you need to get done the next day. The following morning at 9am – don’t take any calls, don’t open any emails and focus solely on doing the first of those two tasks. Once it is complete move onto the next one.
3 – Back to Basics
I mentioned this particular topic in a previous blog post How to get customers for a new business in six easy steps. For any struggling business, one of the keys is to get back to the basics.
The 14 Michelin Stars Scottish Chef recommends this to all the restaurants that he advises.
Some restaurants create their own sauce based on divine inspiration and others have 15 diffeent starters on their menu even when their head chef doesn’t know how to multitask.
Gordon Ramsay’s guidance is always the same: go back to basics.
Get rid of the forty dish menu and create a three starters, three entrees and three desserts menu.
The same advice can work for any business including yours.
Ask to your colleagues, friends and family if they understand clearly what product offering is.
- Is the price scheme easy to comprehend?
- Are the packages you created easily understandable for someone who is outside your industry?
Go back to the basics – keep your product offering simple and excel at those few things rather than trying to offer everything to everyone and being exceptional at none of them.
4 – Get Discounts
If you have a lot of different suppliers and order regular large quantities of goods, then you can save lots of money by asking for discounts.
You probably know many of your suppliers for years and it won’t hurt to ask for some small discounts. A small discount from many suppliers can add up to a large saving for you. This saving can be banked or else passed onto your customers to drive extra footfall.
In one of Ramsay’s TV episodes, he brings a young chef into a market in order to buy food for the new menu they have both put in place.
At first the young chef is scared to ask for any discounts from the vendors. However after noticing that the first few were not shocked by his request, his level of confidence increases and he manages to save more than 10% of the actual price that he would have paid without the discounts.
If you won’t ask you won’t get.
5 – Build Great Relationship
This piece of advice is closely tied to the previous because the better the relationship you have with your suppliers, the more likely you will become to get discounts.
However it is not the only reason why you should build great relationship.
According to this study, it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.
Building great relationships with your customers will keep them wanting to buy from you rather than someone else.
Great relationships have always been and will always remain, one of the pillars of great and profitable businesses.
One of the best ways to build great relationships with your existing customers is to offer them special treatment and exclusive money off deals.
Whether you choose to do that via email, snail mail or bulk sms messaging is completely up to you.
What’s your advice on how to rescue a faltering business?
Let us know in the comments!
Categorised in: Grow Your Business