Well, it's that time of the year again - Christmas is here and this is the time where all us small business owners are supposed to power through the lead up to Christmas, then "wind down" and spend time with family and friends and have a relaxing break.
But it never happens, does it?!!!
I don't know about you, but the Christmas "down time" often does my head in!!!
Sure, there is a brief "lull" before the next year's "storm", but these lulls often give you time to start thinking about the year just past and the year now ahead of you - and it can frighten the hell out of you, can't it?!!!
Where did I go wrong this year?
Where were the holes in my processes?
What strategies can I implement to make my business more successful next year?
You add your own questions to this list here ---
Well, I have just returned home from a quick, last minute dash to the supermarket because we had forgotten something needed for the Christmas dinner tomorrow (of course) and I saw something that really made me think about a way that small business owners can stand out from the crowd.
What I saw was a young couple standing out front of a vacant small business premises - with tape measures, paper and pen in hand - really excited because they are obviously in the process of opening up their own business and were working out ways in which to set up their new shop.
"Ok, so where is this going?" I hear you say, but before I explain let me take a step back:
One sad fact of business life that I have noticed around my local area over the past year is a steady increase in "For Lease" and "For Sale" signs going up in the shopping areas around where I live.
It is a fact of life that the Internet and the online shopping experience is growing at a great rate of knots and the sad consequence of this is that more and more retail outlets are closing their doors as a result.
So, here's the thing - does this present an opportunity for you?
When you are next driving around your own local shopping district, take note of the businesses that have closed and how many of these same businesses sold similar products to what you sell?
Now, if there are no longer businesses in your niche in the area, does this mean that if you moved in to one of these properties you would now be the only business of your kind in your local area that people had "in person" access to?
Let me clarify one point - I'm not talking about if you run a "vanilla" style retail outlet that sells clothes, footwear and all of life's "staples" that people know they can get for pennies on the dollar online, but what if you sell "stuff" that people won't - or can't - buy online?
Fresh fruit and vegetables.
Hairdressing and personal grooming services.
Health and lifestyle coaching services.
Add your own example of "niche" style products and services here ---
Now, something else to keep in mind - all these vacant business premises are owned by landlords who are not currently getting any income from their investments because their properties are vacant - does this provide an opportunity for you to get a long term lease for a fraction of the price it would normally cost you when all these shops were tenanted?
If you're sitting at home over this holiday period thinking about ways to drive your business to greater levels of success, spend a moment thinking about this - who knows, doing business the "old fashioned" way may actually be the best way to stand out from the crowd.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous 2017.