Marketing & Small Business

How To Recession-Proof Your Creative Small Business and Make a Profit

November 13, 2021


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Article by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

“Got something for you.”

Got something for you.

I’m in the breakroom, eating an Ikea cinnamon bun when my boss approaches. He’s got a book in hand, which he reverently passes to me. 

“This is for you. Give it a read. I hope you like it.”

That’s all he says. No big build-up. Just…read the book.

I was 20 years old and had a job working in a kids’ furniture store as a salesperson. 

Up until then, I’d worked in fine dining. I got my first job when I was 14, and by the time I was in high school, I was working 20+ hours a week. But I’d never had to sell bunk beds before. 

I’d never had to sell anything before. 

Sure, I’d hung out in my parents’ wine shop, but I was just a cash-register girl. It’s not like I was selling the wine.

The book my boss gave me explained the art of sales. It was a page-turner. I remember devouring that book like it held the secrets of the universe.

Of course, I was an ungrateful 20-year-old, so I didn’t write down the title or even bother trying to remember it. I just read the book, stole the wisdom, and moved on with my life.

So here’s what I learned: the art of sales is the art of asking the right questions.

So here's what I learned: the art of sales is the art of asking the right questions.

After reading that book, I fell in love with sales. 

Before, I’d been a mediocre salesperson at best. I was the kid who bought her own girl guide cookies to avoid having to sell them door-to-door. In fact, I’d probably still do that. 

But after reading that book, I started selling more than almost everyone else at the furniture store. I still couldn’t beat the top saleswoman who was a buoyant mother of two and an aerobics instructor. She was unbeatable—but I tried. 

So here’s what I know about sales now, 14 years later:

1. Making a sale depends on having the right offer for the right person. 

2. You can’t (and shouldn’t) try to sell everything to everyone. 

3. In order to have the right offer for the right person you need to ask the right questions.

4. Sales is essentially the art of digging deep into another person’s problems and desires and helping them get what they want.

5. A great salesperson is simply someone utterly dedicated to being helpful. That means sometimes suggesting a competitor if your offers aren’t actually the right fit.

6. If done right, sales and service are actually the same things.

How do you apply these nuggets of sales smarts to your small business right now? 

In just the span of a few months, the world has gone topsy turvy.

People’s behavior has changed drastically. Your customers’ worries, fears, and purchasing behavior has changed. They aren’t in the same position that they were just a month ago.

Your customers’ worries, fears, and purchasing behavior has changed. They aren’t in the same position that they were just a month ago.

That means you need to reconsider your offers and your marketing strategy. 

Now is not the time to put your business on pause. Now is the time to step up and help your customers as best you can. Which might mean transformation or pivoting. Or it might mean doing exactly what you’ve always done but with modified marketing. It might mean simply changing your delivery format.

This isn’t a homogenous situation

There is a myriad of problems that have been created in the last two months. Being in business means being a problem solver. That’s the job. And it’s a wonderful job. You get to combine empathy with commerce. Amazing!

Alright, let’s roll to the video.

Watch the 10-minute video below and go through the exercise. It’ll take you 15-30 minutes to do the exercise. It will be worth every single minute. In fact, if you actually do the exercise you might make more money this year than you did last year.

Watch the Video: How To Make Money When Everything Has Changed

You’ll learn:

  • The five questions to ask yourself to figure out what your customers actually need
  • The one question that almost nobody asks that’ll give you huge insight into your customers needs/wants
  • How to use this info to create a clear strategy for the next 3-6 months
  • How to price your products/services based on where the world is today

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About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

If you want more, get on the waitlist for the Story Envelope Academy Solo Filmmaking Mentorship Program. It opens up one time per year and is the best way to become a filmmaking or video pro fast!

CLICK HERE to get on the solo filmmaking mentorship waitlist.

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