Dear M & M: Well now that we can reopen, how do I get my customers back? – Jack

Dear Jack: I think it is more of a how can I generate enough revenue to make a profit to stay open until they come back? Sure we “all” want “all” of our customers back. Think about it. Not “all” the customers serviced generated enough income from the sale to offset your expenses selling to them. I am talking about the customer that returned the item or required extra service after the sale that led to an unprofitable sale. More than likely it wasn’t “all” the customers fault. Why did the item get returned? Was it defective? Maybe, it didn’t do what they were told it would do? Did you include service after the sale as an expense before you priced the items? Were you selling certain items too cheaply to the wrong person? Going forward creating resilient business strategies redefining your role while navigating changes from the disruptive Coronavirus Pandemic will be essential. These business disruptions are also creating some opportunities. What is your role going to be as we move forward? Most businesses cannot survive without 100% of the business activities they had had before this Corona outbreak. Very few of us as we go back to re-open will experience all the sales we had prior to this shut down. By now we have all looked at the expense side of the balance sheet. We have renegotiated leases, did a comparison check on insurance coverage and costs, checked banking fees and competitive rates on third party credit card processing, reduced or cut payroll expenses and other service provider expenses. It’s now time to look at the other side of the balance sheet (income). What can I do to generate more income? Can it be as simple as adding additional streams of income by offering additional product lines? Can your restaurant sell birthday cakes? Does your automobile repair shop offer the Corona Clean? How about an accounting firm offering assistance in helping a small business with the forgiveness accounting part needed in a Paycheck Protection Program? Let’s get crazy and come up with something we can do in regards to recycling paper products and manufacturing toilet paper. Can I grow my company vertically (possible opportunities looking at the supplier or distribution chain) or horizontally (mergers and acquisitions)? In the end the ones who can navigate these profound changes and provide value delivering positive outcomes will succeed.

ASK M&M is prepared and submitted by Mark Schmitt, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cochise College; and Mignonne Hollis, executive director at the Arizona Economic Development Foundation