Do you need to pay off that expensive barista coffee machine you got? We know, coffee is not even your main business, but still, you were mesmerized by its beauty.
You just opened your restaurant/coffee shop/food truck/lemonade stand/anything that includes selling food or drinks to the hungry masses. First week was great. You were almost surprised that people would actually pay you for something that goes into their stomach. You are doing the snoopy dance counting your money (wait…does it even cover your expenses?)
Past the excitement of the first week(s), the Snoopy in you has been replaced by “Swim or Sink” or any other instagram motivational quotes you are desperately reading every morning before going to work. You mean business now and sadly sales have stalled. Not to worry, this is my quick fix to boost your sales:
Yes, yes and yes everyone is praising the Facebook lord, telling you how social media is the tool to get that cash flowing and how you should be devoting your time to it. However, those people are right. I get it, as a business owner you have more important things to do than to be crafting posts that get 0 likes. You are wrong.
Disclosure: I launched having a FB page and a like us on FB sign in the shop. I had 100 likes for the first month and thought I would grow it organically. The lady said it.
I started doing Facebook paid ads. Most people think that it is expensive but it all depends on the quality of your ads and their potential of attracting your audience. Facebook helps you define that audience (say female and male from 18 to 35), their interests and location. That targeting is the key. It definitely helped me interact with my community and draw them to my shop.
Your posts need to be short and appealing with a unified format. Your identity needs to be showcased in a way that appeals to your desired customers. Once you got the hang of the business and marketing side behind your page, it doesn’t take more than 20 min to craft something every day. I show you exactly how I do it here in this article:
People, rich and poor, love and will always love free goodies. Instead of going to another shop to get coffee, they’ll choose yours because you reward their consumption (assuming both coffees are of the same quality). I noticed people are actually happy when you hand them the loyalty cards. It’s almost like they already feel they have their free meal.
There are multiple ideas that you could explore in this category. The first one is to set up and advertise an offer to host birthdays, company dinners or any other events. Not only will it increase your sales, but it will also work as an advertisement for other people passing by who might be interested in hosting an event at yours. The bonus point is having a large group of people draws more customers in, especially on those deserted weeknights or afternoons.
The second one is hosting workshops. If you have a pizzeria, you could organize an afternoon teaching people how to make pizza. It will fill your empty afternoons while getting you some cash. You could advertise this on local media, through social media or post it as an experience on Airbnb for tourists to do when they visit your area. Other options that I haven’t tested myself include event catering, live music performances, and family entertainment.
Small Business Mafia
You’re not the only one living the swim or sink life. Other small business owners in your area are too. So get out of your shop and partner with them. If you’re selling healthy juices or meals, go to your local gyms and have a special offer for their members.
Better yet, discuss how you could help their value offer by setting up small fridges of healthy drinks for their members to grab after a workout. Or how people can be encouraged to show up to a gym if they knew their healthy meal would be delivered right after their shower. You could also partner with an event planner and offer your catering services. The list is endless so feel free to pick my mind and discuss via the comments.
The way I see it is those small businesses in any place are like a small mafia, you compete against each other but ultimately the survival of one helps the other thrive.
Do Some In-house Checks
Check your hygiene, the current design and state of your shop and all things that you spent so much time choosing and putting in place prior to launching. Treat your employees right, they are the ambassadors of your brand. Organize an informal monthly get together with them, involve them in your decisions. The more they see your business as their own the less you have to worry about their performance. Check and update your food costs. Keep an eye on new suppliers and stay on the hunt for new ways to decrease that spending sheet.
Also, don’t forget, the shortest distance between two people is a story. So tell yours. Share pictures of your journey to opening your food business on social media. Hang a timeline on the walls of your shop. Share details or trivia about each one of your staff members. It starts with the comments below 😉