Article of the Month
Having the Right Tools
The December 2008 article is a reprint of one that I wrote for Christian Retailing magazine. It talks about having the right tools for the job.
The idea first came about as I heard someone working in a hardware store tell a customer, "The job is always easier when you have the right tools".
I think the same is true about tools when it comes to running a business.
Click on Article of the Month to read this article.
Book of the Month
This book was a suggested read from one of the business magazines we get in the office. It made for an interesting flight as I found the information to be quite fascinating.
It talks about the subtle things that affect the way people make a choice about where and how they shop. As I read it, I thought about all the small details that so many businesses manage to miss as they work to attract customers.
We have more books to suggest for your reading. Click on Book Referral to visit this page on our site.
We have a lot of new information on the e-ret@iler conversations blog. We invite you to add your comments, ideas, and observations.
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 Management
- General Discussion
- Sales Techniques
- Vendor Issues
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Welcome to the beginning of year 10 of the e-retailer newsletter. Thanks for being with us over the last decade. Your business will have an anniversary in 2009. Make plans now to celebrate it; making it one more year is quite an accomplishment.
As we enter December, there are several things we want to remind you of. The first is a fun promotion that we first shared with you in the early years of the e-retailer. The Christmas promotion came to us by way of D. Wendal Attig, who is the strategist consultant for Profits Plus. He first saw the promotion in 1985, and it would make a great inexpensive tradition for you to share with your customers.
It is called, "The Legend of the Magic Dust".
The second issue we want to talk with you about is your return policy. As we finish the first week of the 2009 Christmas season, if you have not already done so, you should be posting your exchange and return policy for your customers. Predictions are that they will be an issue for this year.
One word of caution; there will always be someone that will attempt to take advantage of you and your business. DO NOT establish your exchange and return policy based on this person! No matter what your policy states, this person will still try to take advantage of you. Instead, create a policy that is fair for the majority of customers and as you do so, think about what will make a long lasting impression on your customers with regard to your customer service.
The last item is to simply say, "LISTEN". This weekend I shopped in a local store that makes very unique soap. The shop looks neat, and the customer is made to feel welcome. As we purchased several bars of soap, we mentioned that their unique design caused a person to be hesitant to use them; it was as if you saw them more as a decorative piece instead of a bar of soap to be used.
The shop owner then explained how that comment was often heard from customers, and how they knew their soaps were not often used because of this. I explained that if people would use the soap, they would have to come back in and buy more. Further, I suggested how each bar of soap sold should go out with a small card explaining that the soap was for usage, not just for art, and with the shops name and phone at the bottom of the card.
This is an inexpensive addition to each sale, and could increase the sales - both from soap used and from guests at homes seeing the soap. "That is a great idea", she said.
"It is a great idea only if you use it", I replied. From there I had to hear the shop owner explain how she was slow to get things done.
Friends, this is not the time for being slow. The economy challenging and you have to be decisive and quick to make changes to your business. LISTEN to your customers.
Internet Tip of The Month
Acid ratio calculator
The Acid Ratio is similar to the Current Ratio that we discussed last month. The difference is that the Acid Ratio does not use the inventory as a part of the calculation. It simply takes the cash, in whatever form, and the receivables, and compares it to the liabilities that are to be paid in the next year.
This is a good indication of the ability of the business to stay in business for 2009. See this and 19 other calculators on this page. It is our collection of the ratios that you are most likely to hear from your accountant; only with our page we think you are more likely to understand the information and be able to use it.
Acid ratio calculator
The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
December is the month when we see the most cars in the parking lot and you should take advantage of the opportunity to get your message to as many people as possible.
When we first did this in our business, we partnered with another business that was located on one of the out parcels of the shopping center where we were both located; for the most part each business had its' own unique customer base so by working together we could introduce our customers to each other's business.
We created 7 coupons - one for each day of the week, and we used the same 7 coupons for several weeks before making any changes. Each of the coupons were printed on a different color of paper so that a customer shopping on multiple days would easily see they were getting different coupons. One side of the coupon featured one business, and the other side was for the second business.
Each business agreed to hand out coupons to their customers as well as put coupons on the windows of cars parked in the immediate area of each store. This promotion is easy to create and implement, and costs very little.
When you visit our resources center, you can order either of our power promoting books. One has a red cover and the other has a blue cover. There are also two books on 'power managing'. These books have a green cover and a yellow cover.
You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.
Profits Plus Resource Center
Here's the end of the 2008 and the start of 2009.
December 2 Gatlinburg, Tennessee
December 8 Gulfport, Florida
January 8 Waterloo, Ontario
January 14 Orlando, Florida
January 22 Little Rock, Arkansas
January 25 Anaheim, California
The calendar for 2008 and 2009 are both posted on our website and updated daily. Click here to see when I am going to be in your area.