Back-End Sales for Your Home Business Barre VT
Back-End Sales for Your Home Business
Avoid Common Mistakes that Keep You from Getting the Best Deals
By Steven Strauss
When I started my law practice — my first real business — in March of 1994, I was not even sure what sort of law I would specialize in; all I knew is that I wanted to be my own boss.
About a week after I opened up shop, I received a phone call from an ad rep at the local newspaper, inquiring if I wanted to be in the “Services Directory.” It sounded like a good idea to me, so I said, “Yes.” He then asked what type of legal ad I wanted to run. “I’m not sure,” I replied. He then said something that changed my life: “If you want the phone to ring,” he said, “you should put in an ad for bankruptcies.” I did, and business boomed. It turned out that I liked helping people out of their financial problems.
What I did not know at the time is that the bottom would fall out of my business come November and December of that year. Why? It turns out that people don’t like filing for bankruptcy during the holidays.
Not to be caught in the same trap again, the next year, I created a new “division” of my business and began a wills and trusts practice, which I emphasized as the holidays approached. It worked perfectly. In fact, my old bankruptcy clients became the best customers for my new area of practice as they were all about getting things in order.
In business terms, what I learned the hard way was that, to succeed, every business needs back-end sales. Just as an investor knows not to own just one stock (the stock may go up or it may go down), so too should the smart home-based businessperson have more than one way to make a buck. By offering additional products or services to existing or potential customers, you vastly increase your chances of long-term success.
In her great book, Making a Living Without a Job (Bantam Doubleday Dell), Barbara Winter calls this creating “multiple profit centers.” Having multiple profit centers, or back-end sales, not only lessens the effects of the dreaded business cycle, but it will enable you to grow your business as people will come to depend on your for a variety of products or services, not just one.
Creating Back-End Sales Channels
You begin to create your new sales channels by simply noticing what businesses similar to yours sell. What is it they sell or do that you could offer without a high learning curve? Look for logical extensions of what you already do.
For example, let’s say that you are a home-based massage therapist who sees people in your spare bedroom. First of all, you could buy a portable massage table and go to customers’ homes. What about also getting a gig working part-time at a local health club? Or, maybe you could go around to all of the best hotels in the area, speak with the concierges, and get on their lists of massage therapists to whom they refer guests. What about offering 10-minute massages to corporations with stressed-out execu...