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September 2010
Volume 11 Issue 10
Article of the Month

Was George or
Ewing Right?
Tom Shay

The September article of the month uses a baseball analogy of two professional team owners who have since passed away - George Steinbrenner and Ewing Kaufman.

I wrote the article as I watched competing wholesalers work to steal each other's customer. I challenge that wholesaler. Why not spend all of that time and money doing something better? Instead of a vendor having salespeople out there trying to convince people to change their membership or loyalty, how about teaching these salespeople how to solve problems for the businesses that buy from them?

The idea of the article is to challenge vendors to make a commitment to help a business become better instead of spending all of their effort trying to get the better accounts to move their business.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

1001 Ways to
Reward Employees

by Bob Nelson

As I write this part of the newsletter in late August, I found this book as I was waiting for a flight. The title caught my attention and I gave it a quick glance. I see this book as being a great reference book for everyone that reads the e-retailer newsletter. And, as it is from Bob Nelson, I definitely like it.

This book is definitely a great investment. The only thing I did not find, and I may have missed it, was a section on how to calculate the rewards. Here is my suggestion.

Take a look at what you want to change in your business. Determine, with a dollar amount, what it would be worth to you for that change to happen. Then as you use Bob Nelson's reward suggestions, take about 50% and use that as the reward for your employees. Keep the other 50% for yourself or the business. The 50% you use for employees can be in incentive pay or used to pay for the various rewards.

You definitely want this book.

Click on Book Referral to visit this page on our site.

e-ret@iler 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.

  1. Advertising
  2. Employee Issues
  3. Financial Management
  4. General Discussion
  5. Merchandising
  6. Sales Techniques
  7. Vendor Issues

And you can follow my daily posts on Twitter at ftomshay

Contact Us

Profits Plus
P.O. Box 1577
St. Petersburg, FL
33731 USA
(727) 464-2182 Voice
(727) 898-3179 Fax

Send Tom an e-mail:

Send our staff an e-mail:

Business Advisory

This month as readers, and attendees at trade shows have contacted me, guess what the number one issue has been? Something to do with money. It may be a cash crunch, unpaid bills, inventory control or seasonal buying, but it is definitely something about money.

What aggravates me is that almost every business owner utilizes an accountant. Nothing wrong with having an accountant; we do need them. But as people attend the session, I ask if people learned anything from one of the sessions I gave on financials. Almost everyone says yes.

What I don't understand is how a business owner can have the same accountant for many years and then attend a session in which a fellow business owner is able to educate the participant with regard to the financials. What has the accountant been doing all these years? It seems to me like the accountant is more likely just running numbers and not helping the business owner to use the financial information to make decisions.

Financials are not created to give you numbers on a piece of paper; financials are created to give you information to help you make better decisions about how to operate your business.

Let me ask you this question; what is your accountant doing for you? If your accountant is not your partner in information, let me suggest you have a conversation with the accountant about changing the arrangement, or perhaps you need to be shopping for a new accountant.


Just like last year, our August conference call was challenged by a stormy night. However, this year we were able to get the recording. You can listen to it on your computer, or download it to your mp3 player. The topic was the science behind the art of selling. There were some good questions asked, especially the one about how to handle a situation of a customer returning something. Follow this link to get this session:

E-retailer conversations

September 28, again a Tuesday, will be our next conference call. While I had something else on the schedule, a couple of recent presentations has caused me to alter the schedule. This session is going to be an ownership exclusive.

There was a phone call recently in which someone told me they had managed to cut costs to keep their business profitable in spite of a sales downturn. The challenge was that they still were having issues with writing checks. The comment was that there were too many times in which they had to hold their own paycheck for a couple of weeks before they could cash it.

This bothers me a lot, and I don't like hearing of anyone losing sleep because of challenges. So, I am making a list of the most common questions people have asked about financials in the last year. I will try to cover all of them in this session. I will be glad to take all of your questions, so don't be surprised to find this session going for more than an hour.

You will get an invitation about 6 days before the conference call and again on the morning of the call. They are always free; all you have to do is call in.

If finances are not going exactly as you planned or need them to go, mark the date to join us.

Internet Tip of The Month

Cost of inventory calculator

An extended call earlier this week came from a business owner with this challenge; it is the time of year where their vendors are asking the business to make their inventory commitments for the coming season. For a number of years, the business has made an estimate based upon previous year's sales.

That is a good starting point, but the challenge has been for all of these years that the business has had a problem with cashflow during the season as they are paying for all of these preseason bookings.

To help answer that question, we created a calculator designed to help you understand the actual cost of inventory. With this calculator you enter the cost of the item when you buy it in a preseason order and when you buy it in a smaller quantity for immediate delivery.

The calculator also asks how fast you sell the item, who pays for the freight and a couple of other aspects regarding this inventory.

When you click on the button to do the calculation, the Profits Plus website will perform a calculation to tell you the actual cost of the item for each of the next eight months. This should help you know how much to be ordering and with which method to place the order.

Our cost of inventory calculator - don't place an order without it!

Cost of inventory calculator

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month

Help with your donations

As we get back to fall and back to school, my experience was that the request for donations seemed to always increase. I think of all the people that knock on your door and ask for something for their favorite organization. It may be hard to say, 'no', but there is definitely a limit as to how much you can give.

We found a way to politely handle this challenge and at the same time allow our customers to feel like they were a part of our giving to the community.

How about your creating a format in which you ask customers which charities they want you to give to? You could ask them through your newsletter or perhaps by giving them a slip of paper to write their suggestion as they are making a purchase. In some manner, find a way to ask the customers how they would like to see you participating in the community.

To add to this idea, when you make a donation to an organization you could do so in the name of the customer that nominated the group. This would make your customer feel good as well as let other customers know you value their input.

In the red power promoting book, the second promotional book, this is idea #13.

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

What's happening next month

Melissa has been at it again. She has some more suggestions for events you can celebrate in your business during the month of October. So, here is your 30 day advance notice of ways you and your customers can have some fun during the month. There are others you can find online and in books such as Chase's Calendar of Events. These are our favorites.

All of October:
Co-operative Awareness Month - Promotes use of co-operative advertising
National Work and Family Month - Promotes a balance between work and personal life (No matter how challenging the business, your health and family are more important)
Positive Attitude Month - Successful business owners always think they can succeed
Self Promotion Month - Toot your own horn or have an event where you invite customers to tell you how great they are

October 1 World Smile Day - How about a tie in event with a dentist?
October 4-10 Financial Planning Week - Promoting financial literacy. (Need I say more?)
October 5-10 Great Books Week - Not only a reminder for you to visit the Profits Plus website to see the list of business books to read, how about a tie in promotion with a local bookstore?
October 12 National Face Your Fears Day - This could be a fun contest inviting customers to tell about their phobias.
October 15 National Boss Day - Ok, so maybe this is the day where someone takes you to lunch. We did a promo where we put my dad's desk out on the sales floor.
October 17-23 Getting the world to beat to your door week - Remember the saying about building a better mousetrap and all the world will beat a path to your door? How about an event with signs being held up by a mousetrap?
October 23 I-Pod unveiling anniversary - This could be a fun event. Give away an I-pod and maybe have a print ad where everything is called an I-something (like I-jeans)
October 23 Make a difference day - Could be a great event to promote the charities and non-profits in your community
October 27 Cranky co-workers day - How about reversing this and asking customers to nominate the most helpful person in your business.
October 31 Nevada admission anniversary day (and Halloween) - Nevada is the silver state. The silver anniversary is the 25th. How about a promo with all the prices ending in 25? For Halloween, how about a prize for every customer that comes to your business in costume? We used to offer to put 3M's reflective tape on every kid in costume to help protect them as they went trick or treating. We got 3M to donate the tape.

Copyright Notice

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