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March 2012
Volume 13 Issue 4

Article of the Month

What are you doing?
Tom Shay

'What are you doing?' is a very valid question to ask each of you with regard to your business.

Are you selling what the customer wants? Or are you solving their needs?

The idea for this article came as I read a book entitled, 'The Experience Economy'. Perhaps you have heard me tell the story of a friend named, 'CB', who moved to Florida to retire.

He wanted to buy a camera to take photos he could send to his friends and family up north. Over a period of years, he purchased nine camera systems.

He was happy he had done it as he learned to enjoy a new hobby. The camera store is to be commended for helping someone find something they truly enjoyed.

Enjoy this article as I tell the story of a car and how there is opportunity to make a sale while developing a loyal customer.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

The Zappos Experience
by Joseph Michelli

A couple of months ago I shared a book review of The Starbucks Experience because the author, Joseph Michelli, had moved into the neighborhood.

Visiting with Joseph, I told him, half jokingly, how he had ruined Starbucks for me as he told of some great experiences others had in Starbucks. I felt left out as any customer would when they hear how others are having a superior experience.

With this book, I am expecting to have a similar experience. I encourage you to read the book.

More importantly, after you read the book I suggest you take a look at your business.

My belief that reading the experience in one business should prompt a person to consider how they can make an experience with their business produce great results.

Let me invite you to enjoy these books.

Click on Book Referral to see the list of small business books we have found that may be helpful to your business.

e-retailer conversations

Hey, we are blogging, tweeting, facebooking and invite your participation.

Visit our e-ret@iler conversations, find the category of interest and post your comments, questions or best practices. You may also go directly to one of our categories by clicking on one of the links below.

Employee Issues
Financial ManagementGeneral DiscussionMerchandising
Sales Techniques
Vendor Issues

And you can follow my daily posts on Twitter and Facebook.
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Profits Plus
P.O. Box 1577
St. Petersburg, FL
33731 USA
(727) 464-2182 Voice
(727) 898-3179 Fax

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Business Advisory

March 29 - Mom and Pop Business Owner's Day

This holiday is meant to celebrate us; those individuals, and families that own local businesses. The people that were brave enough, determined enough, and the desire to work for themselves instead of someone else. These are my kind of people.

Promote to the media the importance of the independent businesses in your community. Mom and Pop Business Owner's Day celebrates all kinds of businesses. While many would think of the shops on Main Street, this also includes the restaurants, diners, and independent insurance agents.

It would include doctors, lawyers, landscapers, service providers and anyone who works for themselves to provide goods and services to their community.

The date was selected to honor the opening day of someone's family business in the 1930's. As an oddity, it also happens to be Sam Walton's birthday who would have been 94 in 2012.


March e-retailer conversation conference call
8pm eastern, Thursday, March 22, 2012

As March 22 was selected, I was reminded that this is just seven days after corporate tax day in the US. So, maybe a lot of you won't be in the best of moods as we visit on that evening. Of course, if you wrote a check for your taxes, that means you had some profit somewhere.

You have likely heard me say that an accountant has two jobs; help you pay as little taxes as legally possible and to delay those taxes for as many years as possible.

Many of you tell me the accountant is not the help you think they should be. Especially after I tell you about the great accountants we have had. Let's do something about it.

The March e-ret@iler conversation conference call is going to be about accountants. We may have a few jokes to tell about accountants; you may have some experiences with accountants that you want to share.

There are some of you that are going to think they need a new accountant or to get their current one working harder for their business. I am going to share a list of questions I suggest you ask your accountant or the person you are interviewing as your new accountant.

And here is a link to the conference call from February in case you missed it. And as a reminder, all conference calls are free and we provide a toll free number for participants in the US and Canada. We do so because we want to see your business succeed.

E-ret@iler conversations

Internet Tip of The Month

Gross Margin Calculator

Perhaps the phrase 'gross margin' needs more of an explanation as compared to knowing the math behind it. I frequently hear gross margin confused with 'gross markup' as well as 'maintained gross margin'.

Let me explain all three and invite you to take a look at the online calculator to do the math.

Gross markup (often infrequently used) means the selling price is a percentage of the cost. As an example, when something costs $5.00 and sells for $10.00 the gross markup is 100%. This is because 100% of the cost is added to itself to determine the selling price. My belief is that this phrase should simply go away because of the confusion.

The term 'gross margin' should be used because the math to determine it is the same as the math used in a profit and loss statement (also known as income statement). And as will be explained in this article, it could also be referred to as 'initial gross margin'.

The same $5.00 and $10.00 are used in this example with the answer to the calculation being 50%. The cost of the item, $5.00 is 50% of the price, $10.00 it is being sold for. Again this is the same math as what is utilized on a profit and loss statement.

The third term was 'maintained gross margin'. Looking again at that $10.00 item, imagine your discounting it because of the quantity purchased, end of season, or some other reason. The discounted price you select is $9.00 which gives a maintained gross margin of 45%. Maintained gross margin considers the price you actually sell something for while the initial gross margin considers the price you hope to sell something for.

Gross Margin Calculator

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month

Selling the green

With March 17 being St. Patrick's Day, it is time to bring out your Irish. There are a lot of fun ways to celebrate with your customers. For those that sell merchandise, you could have a sale in which there is a special price for every item that has green on it. You could end all your prices in .17 or have a prize for every 17th customer that makes a purchase.

Service businesses could also have specials that use 17 as a part of the price. You could also offer a special that includes a '17 point inspection'.

And while St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday, nothing says you have to make it a one day event.

You can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.

Profits Plus Resource Center

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Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179