Web-Based Transactions and Online Shopping Carts – As a business coach, I would create an online shopping cart for the products and services you offer unless any of the following are true:
• You don’t want to publish your prices online because you custom quote every project.
• You need your customers to buy your products and services in person because you offer an experience with your products and services that cannot be duplicated online.
• You are totally unwilling to learn how to set up an online shopping cart that has the potential to produce copious amounts of cash for your business.
To learn how to set up an online shopping cart for your business, watch: www.Thrive15.com/how-to-setup-an-online-shopping-cart
SUPER MOVE #18 – Assume your bookkeeper or CFO is stealing money from you all of the time
As a business coach, I worked with three small business owners this year who discovered that the person handling their finances had stolen at least $20,000 from them. One person had over $80,000 stolen from her. Trust no one. Insist on having the weekly accounting meeting that I discussed previously.
“In God we trust. All others bring data.”
-W. Edwards Deming
(Famous management expert and best-selling author who many create as being the catalyst behind the post World War II economic miracle of industrialization that Japan experienced between 1950 and 1960)
SUPER MOVE #19 – Track your financial data so that you can better weather predictable seasonal up and down cycles in your business
Most brides want to get married in May, June, September, or October and most companies want to have their politically incorrect Christmas parties during the month of Christmas (December). Thus, I had to plan for this in my entertainment business. Every year, I had to make sure that we were fully staffed with DJs during peak seasons and with enough quality salespeople during the off months to bring in enough deposits to keep the business going until we hit the busy months again. It was very feast or famine at first. However, after about three years of tracking the cash flow cycles, I began raising the deposit amounts during the months where we weren’t doing many shows and raising the prices during the months when we were doing a ton of shows. This little move is referred to as “price elasticity.” I first learned about this SUPER MOVE when reading, Nuts: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.
“You’ve found market price when buyers complain but still pay.”
(The venture capitalist and the co-founder of YCombinator, the ultra-successful entrepreneurship incubator famous for helping to launch Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox, etc.)
To stabilize your cash flow through the year, I, the business coach, recommend to take the following five action steps:
1. Enter the income and expenses for the past 12 months into a spreadsheet.
2. List a minimum of three factors that are causing each month to be up during the peak months.
3. List a minimum of three factors that are causing each month to be down during the slow months.
4. Write down three ideas for how you could sell more to your existing customers during slow months.
5. Consider creating a sales holiday or event to stimulate business in a slow month. You could come up with a NO INTEREST FOR FOUR YEARS special during a slow month. You could come up with a buy-one-get-one-free special. You could come up with a 4th of July Blow Out Special! You could attempt to create the World’s Largest Snow Cone to attract customers who are staying inside and out of your store because it’s so cold. You could rent an inflatable gorilla and have massive inflatable slides in front of your appliance store to celebrate your Customer Appreciation Weekend. As a business coach, I actually worked with a major appliance store to invent sales events and sales holidays and it works! People see the inflatables, the signs, and the balloons and they show up and buy stuff.
Thrive15.com investor and mentor Arthur Greeno actually attempted to build the world’s largest snow cone and earned both national attention and tons of customers who treaded out into the terrible winter weather to take a glimpse at his magical snow cone and buy some chicken. Watch the story at: http://www.newson6.com/story/14008387/largest-snow-cone
Hobby Lobby is famous for placing most of their inventory on sale at 50% off at one point during each month. They basically set their prices much higher than they need to be and then they offer deep discounts each month on seemingly random items to convince you and me to come in to buy that item. Then while we are there, we end up buying a bunch of other items at full-price. I wouldn’t call this a loss leader strategy because Hobby Lobby still makes good profits on items they are selling for 50% off.
Here are a few bonus suggestions from me, the business coach:
• Write down three ideas you have to bring in more revenue by encouraging your customers to pre-book or pre-buy your services.
• Write down three ways you could trim labor costs during your slow months.
• Write down three ways you could move around the members of your team to different departments where you might need more help during certain seasons of the year.
• Write down any inventory items you could purchase in bulk ahead of a busy season to help increase your profitability during the busy months.
• Write down three ways you could increase your capacity to bring in more money during the peak seasons by being able to work with more customers.
• Consider selling a monthly or upfront service contract with the purchase of an item. For example, if you are a contractor and you install sinks, showers, wood floors and cabinets, consider selling a service contract for 5% of the price of the item that guarantees that you will come back and fix anything that breaks during the first 12 months after installation.
• Consider offering a next step service. For example, if you are a men’s grooming business that offers men’s haircuts, consider also selling style consulting, hair products, and men’s clothing items such as socks, scarves, watches, etc.
• Consider offering a long-term contract to your customers in exchange for a discount. This can help you better forecast your company’s financial future.
• EXTRA Bonus Idea: Consider eating ramen noodles for every meal. I’ve done it for a few months. Not good, but it’s cheap and loaded with unhealthy sodium. Deer will start seeking you out as a human salt-lick.