Every business wants to grow. The challenge for many businesses is not just achieving growth but finding sustainable growth. It won’t do your dry cleaning business much good if your revenue spikes and then drops again.
The most important thing you can do for your business is set it on a growth trajectory, and you can do this by adding value that will increase over time. Read on for three ways to put your business on the path to sustainable growth in 2023.
Own Your Plant
When you do the math, the costs of ownership are very often lower than leasing. Lease costs can and do rise, and they rose steeply over the last three years.
Let’s look at an example: a dry cleaner pays an average rent on a 2,000-square-foot Class B space (i.e. $19.32 per square foot). We can assume an average cost increase of 8% on the lease each year. After 10 years, that business owner will have paid almost $560,000 in cumulative rent. That’s a lot of money to spend without adding building equity or increasing the enterprise value.
On the other hand, buying that space can lock in annual costs for the term of the commercial mortgage, perhaps for 30 years. During that time, the owner builds equity and can use surplus funds to scale the business.
Let’s be clear: owning the locations where you operate your business is not the same as becoming a real estate investor; rather, you are investing in your business. And there is never a bad time to do it. It’s a long term investment that will pay off for your business. If you don’t own your plant or building yet, think seriously about the possibility in 2023.
Manage Your Brand
Another great way to grow your business is to create consistent brand messaging across your website and your storefront that tells customers who you are and reflects the service and quality they expect. What does branding mean for a dry cleaner? It’s simply an emotional connection your customers have with your business. Customer perception of your brand starts with the image you portray to the public – and the more you think about your image, the better.
Traditional advertising can help build brand visibility, but ultimately what matters to customers is their experience with your business. Customer satisfaction is the cornerstone of branding. For this reason, make sure you’re asking customers how they liked their experience with you. Give them a chance to tell you how they feel and you’ll generate customer loyalty just by asking and listening.
A further step in branding is to collect and analyze the sentiments in online reviews and have a consistent procedure for responding to comments, questions, and complaints. Through the power of branding, dry cleaners can turn satisfied customers into brand ambassadors. People love to share their favorite businesses with the world. Word of mouth, whether online reviews or person to person, can have a huge influence on acquiring new customers and keeping them coming back to your store. This is customer growth that’s rooted in genuine satisfaction and connection to your business.
In the ever-expanding world of online ordering platforms and same-day deliveries, customers today expect to have convenient options with all the businesses they use. And that includes dry cleaning. To reach more customers and stay relevant to them, you should offer pickup and delivery service.
It’s a smart business move for many reasons. Pickup and delivery service can help dry cleaners cut costs, increase the efficiency of orders, and increase cash flow. This occurs because the business owner is no longer dependent on customers finding time to come in; you enable regular service which means they might use your services more, plus you get to set a route schedule that works for your business.
From the customers’ perspective, pickup and delivery is like giving them back time. You’ll impress your customers by offering this service and turn them into long-term patrons of your business.
For more ideas on how to grow your dry cleaning business, watch for more SMRT Systems insights here, check out our past posts, or contact us at 919-849-5500.