Halloween is a scary time of year. Ghosts, goblins, vampires and other creatures of the night stroll around making ugly faces and uttering growls and, like my dad used to do, they slap their shoe on the coffee table when you don’t expect it scaring the bejezzus out of you. Actually it was pretty funny because we kids could always see it coming and mom never could and she would jump a mile high.
October is also a bit scary because there are only two months left to the year and this year could prove to be a difficult one for retail businesses everywhere. I read in my newspaper’s business section this week that retailers will be stocking less for the holiday season so that they aren’t left with large inventories. Anne D’Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer’s story, “Recession-stung stores plan old-fashioned holidays,” kind of tells you that even the ‘big boys’ out there have to think creatively this year, hoping to lure in customers.
But what about those of us who are solo-preneurs? We who are home-based business owners? Sometimes the Fall of the year is a time of stalled activity. The economy this year has many people – including me – thinking more than twice about every purchase. I know people who are in such financial distress that they are putting off health care issues – delaying tests because they can’t afford the copay. I relate. I recently had a scan done as a preventive measure but the copay was a whopping $500. Can’t imagine what my choice would have been had my husband been without work at the time. Many in his company were laid off this year…in fact, his company had two rounds of layoffs. For some of us with home-based businesses, the economy’s ills are our ills.
So let’s ask the question: if your business is stalled, what could you be doing that you aren’t doing now? Now is indeed the time to think out-of-the-box. Here’s an idea. Let’s pretend you’re an artist with an online gallery [any business market niche can utilize this type of example-vitamin sales, business consulting, virtual assistant, etc]. Sales are very slow. “Art,” unfortunately, is one of those items that people put in the “luxury” category when money is tight. However, artists need to eat, too. What could you do to better promote your gallery site and drive more traffic specifically for the purpose of generating holiday sales?
- Are you advertising the gallery website? Maybe you have your site listed as a destination on your social media profiles, but are you also advertising the site? Maybe you could invest in Google Adwords ads for the holidays; or perhaps you could put out some classified ads on something like Backpage?
- Have you put out any press releases lately? I came across a great article by Janet Meiners Thaeler, “Five Killer Press Release Tips for Small Business.” Janet has some awesome ideas that just might get you some traffic.
- What about doing something really bizarre? What about setting up an account at an online business that offers customers prints? All you have to do is upload the images of your paintings and you get a percentage of print sales. It’s income and exposure. What about offering prints yourself through your gallery site? PayPal has a shopping widget that allows you to sell right from the widget. Or what about signing on with an online company that offers customers your images on everything from coffee mugs to tee-shirts? Again, it is income and exposure.
The idea is to consider what you could be doing that you aren’t. Being stalled is one thing, staying stalled is killer.