Article of the Month
Jack's phone call technique
by Tom Shay
There is an old expression that everything old is new again.
Perhaps that is true with style with regard to clothes, cars and other items. It should not be true to what I am describing.
Jack Rice was a close friend and mentor. While also being a writer and speaker, Jack had also grown up in a retail family.
The first article for 2015 is about a methodology that worked for Jack's family business. There is no reason to believe that this would ever stop working.
As you read the article, think how you would respond if a business followed up with you in this manner. Their technique is not intrusive or overwhelming, but represents a locally owned business that expresses a genuine interest in their customers.
No competitor can match this.
Click on Article of the Month to read this article.
Book of the Month
Isn't it obvious?
by Eliyahu Goldratt
This is the story of a family owned retail business. It is bigger than most of us in that it is a regional chain. However, the lesson from this book does apply to all of us.
Read as the couple that owns the stores makes a series of changes to their business. The results they get can be like our businesses.
The title speaks to me as I experience so many businesses that do not see the opportunity to make these changes. They are not looking at their business from the perspective of the opportunity to impress a customer.
Click on Book Referral to see the complete list of small business books we have found that can be helpful to your business.
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Things businesses do in January
Having grown up in a family owned business, I am thinking about many of the 'tweaks' I have seen business owners do in their business as a means to maximize profits; often by finding ways to reduce taxes.
Some states have a tax that is based on the amount of inventory a business has. The tax is based on the year end of the business.To minimize the effects of this, some businesses will make January their year end.
I have even seen some businesses that make a point to not receive any inventory in the last part of January so that the inventory levels are diminished as much as possible.
Some businesses I have seen section off a portion of their warehouse and hold merchandise received until February 1. Let me suggest you talk with your accountant about this one.
You also want to look at all of the operating expenses you can pay in January if you are using the January 31 year end date. Accountants have also told me you can pre-pay expenses so they are recorded in this year even if they are for the following year.
I did promise a bit more information in January about the gift card process. If your business sold gift cards this holiday season, you did not actually 'sell' anything.
You simply took a customer's money and gave a commitment to give merchandise and or services for that money at a later date. In accounting language, there is no transaction on your profit and loss statement.
However, on your balance sheet there are changes. The money you received from the customer now appears in the assets part of your balance sheet on the line titled, 'cash'.
In the liabilities section there should be a line that is something to the effect of 'deferred liability'. This will be the same amount of the cash you have received for the gift card.
Only when the card is redeemed is there a sale. With that, you can see why some businesses make a big push to get people to redeem gift cards as soon as possible; they want to show how good their sales are.
Who has not heard of the small business movement, "Independent We Stand"?
While there are several movements to support local, independently owned businesses (Small Business Saturday and our own Independent Retailer Month to name a pair), we think our guest for January's e-ret@iler conversation is the leader of the movement.
Bill Brunelle of Independent We Stand starts what is to be a great year of our free monthly conversation call that we share with all of you.
We are going to be asking Bill how all of us as local small business owners can tap into the growing change in customer's shopping habit to look for local businesses.
Send your questions about your business and how you can become a part of this; we will make sure Bill answers all the questions we receive.
Here is a link to more than six years of conversations. Free to listen online or download.
|Internet Tip of The Month
Accounts receivable aging
Starting a new year, we also start at the top of our list with our series of monthly tips of the many free tools and calculators on the Profits Plus website.
When we have made it through the entire list, it will be November 2018, as we currently have 47 to share with you. We will likely be adding more as we have done since 2000 when we shared our first one.
This month's is for businesses that have customers that are billed on a monthly basis. It is important that you are taking the time to review how much money is due to your business with special attention given to those accounts that are past due.
Older accounts are not like fine wine; they do not get better with age. They only become more difficult to collect.
Accounts receivable aging
| The Incentive Idea of the Month
An incentive for organization
Many businesses we know give an area or part of the business as an assignment to each individual. Things are to be clean, neat and organized.
What if you were to reward a person who had done the best job of taking care of their assignment?
A really neat reward would be to give that individual a few hours off to enjoy on their own. You could also hire for that individual, a maid service for three hours to allow this individual to have their own home cleaned.
Incentives do work; giving bonuses do not. This is because with an incentive a person can understand why they are receiving it. When a business gives year end bonuses, the individual does not know what they have done to earn the bonus. Nor do they know what to do to make the bonus bigger. And in the case of some businesses, a year end bonus becomes something that is expected.
We want to recognize A Carrot A Day by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, whose book provides the basis for each month's incentive idea.