How to deal with business during the slow season - for new repair shop owners.
November 11, 2013
Sometimes I go out and read questions that other people are asking about our business online. Sometimes, I'll even answer them. I felt this deserved its own blog entry. The question was posted on the facebook page of another company by a small repair business owner - what to do during the slow season? Here is the gentleman's question, and my reply, direct copy & paste.
how bout some tips on increasing business during slow times of the year . The past month has been brutal here and i dont know how much longer i can stay in business . Lots of competition here with more and more Metro Pcs stores offering repair at incredible low rates to Craigslist ads .. Any advice?
How to survive the slow season, the Rossmann way.
a) Do stuff other people aren't. Does MetroPCS fix water damage? Does MetroPCS replace Macbook Air screens? Does MetroPCS do data recovery?
b) Don't compete on price. Does MetroPCS give a shit if there's pressure points on the screen? Does MetroPCS provide a one year warranty?
Here stores that sell service and fix phones at the same time, are usually bottom of the barrel. Staffed by people who learn off youtube, who use the worst quality parts, who fuck up everything. It's like a stereotype in Manhattan, they're the street merchants, the peddlers... they almost can't help but sound shady. I figure it must be different in more civilized parts of the U.S.
I use this to my advantage. I don't consider it competition. My "target demographic" wouldn't go there. Something is wrong when someone walks in and sees amplifiers, logic boards,being worked on at component level, smells the solder fumes, sees a line of happy customers picking up their items with *real* technicians at work but ignores all of this to spout "but the guy in the 99 cent store that sells red pocket and fixes phones is five bucks cheaper." The guy you pass the frozen foods section to see.
God damnit you assclown, do you really not see what separates us from them? What makes us worth the five dollars extra? It's always my pleasure to send them on their way. Fuck off. You're not my demographic. Thanks for letting me know you're not worth me spending even five seconds explaining what you get for that $5 by using comparison-based-bargaining with the motherfucker at the 99 cent store.
Don't see this as lost business. That business was never yours to begin with. Those people have no money, for you, or the guy(or gal) from the 99 cent store. And if they do, their money is best spent with the dude competing on price. Customers like that who will throw away a chance to spend 5% extra to get 100% more, they're a pretty miserable brand of people, and I'd much rather see them walking through other people's doors, giving other people money, becoming someone else's responsibility - someone ELSE'S nightmare.
c) Focus on demographics. Do the demographics you advertise to care about a one year warranty, a lack of pressure points on the screen, a lack of dust under the glass, or just price? If they don't care, find a demographic that does.
d) Do you advertise? backpage? kijiji? olx? craigslist? adwords? website? What are you doing to get more business?
e) Does your website answer all questions quickly & concisely? Do you ask each and every one of your customers why they chose you over others and then make this information readily available on the product pages & homepage of your website?
Figure out what people want to know about you. It's really easy. Unlike when you were a kid and had to read 900 page textbooks to learn & pass a test, here you can cheat. Ask people. Cheat. Seriously, there are so many books, consultants, who claim to tell you what you need to do to make people happy. I laugh talking to people who tell me for $500 they'll tell me how to better relate to my client base... how about I just fuckin' ASK them? "Why here? What led you here vs. the other place?" Figure it out, what led them to you vs. somewhere else.
Now build upon those reasons. Grow as a person & a business based on what they tell you. Then take this growth and plaster it on the front page of your website, the front window of your store, the front wall of your office, the front tree of the park you're working out of because you can't afford an office(been there, done that). And get more business.
Now, you have something to be proud of. You see, while any street peddler with a low price and a sign can get a customer, you did something different. You earned a client, and you earned it in the best possible way - by being a better version of who you were yesterday. Customers come and go, but clients are forever - if you treat 'em right, and clients, unlike customers, are earned. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your newfound financial security, because you didn't just fall into it - you earned it through self improvement. You built it from crap, and you just kicked that 99 cent store's ass. You just kicked that MetroPCS store's ass.. and while I'm not really for competition/destroying the competition like that, it sure is FUN to destroy places that get their rocks off by fucking up the market with low quality goods/services by sodomizing them properly.
I'm busy even in the dead of winter because no one else is doing the shit I do at the prices I do it at, and I'm not cheap either. Nothing keeps you warm in the winter like a client base, and there's noplace colder on MY block in the dead of winter than the prepaid phone service store.