Many small businesses experience difficult periods where they need to generate additional sales in the short term, and many small businesses believe discounting their stock is the best way to move it.

But if you are going through a rough patch, consider the alternatives before resorting to discounting.

Discounting is a very costly form of promotion and comes straight off the bottom line of your business. And, there are no long-term benefits.

Instead consider adding a free product or service, free consultations or vouchers to the sale. This way you are introducing the customer to something they may not have tried before and, if they like it, they may buy it from you in the future.

Ideally your business wants a reputation for having much more going for it than just being a discount barn.

Sit down and think laterally before merely discounting your sale price. Working together with other businesses, for instance, can be beneficial for both parties, especially if they want an inroad into your customer base and will sponsor giveaways. For example, a movie theatre wanting to increase its numbers might give you free tickets to hand out as part of your sales promotions.