Archives for March 2012

How does Apple do it? Case Study on Premium Pricing

In the previous post we discussed how you can charge premium price without losing sales and still have customers love your products. No one does this as well as Apple, the most valuable company in the world by market value. Apple never competes on equal playing field with their competitors. They write their own rules and come up with innovative products that no one has dreamed off year after year. Their slogan explains how they have been able do this – Think Different! As a result Apple has been able to charge premium price for all its products and enjoy remarkable sales growth and margin for a long time.
What is their secret sauce? In this post we attempt to decipher their strategy by understanding how they apply the rules of premium pricing we described in the earlier post.
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How to Charge Premium Price (and Have Customers Love you for it)

Do you want to increase prices for your products without getting a hit on your sales? How about customers thanking you for charging them higher price? You probably think we have lost our minds, but trust us; it is possible do just that! We will show you how in this post.
It seems counter-intuitive to say that you will be able to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales while at the same charging more. Conventional wisdom says that if you are not doing well lower the price and customers will flock to your business. As natural as it seems, this is simply not true. Competing on price is not a sound business strategy for small business owners as explained in the previous post.
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Why is it More Fun to be Apple than Dell?

Here is a hint… It has to do with pricing power… And that can lead to lot of fun things.
Pricing products or services is a very complicated decision. And yet, it is probably the most important decision small business owners need make. Charge too little for your products and you will leave money on the table. Charge too much and you will lose customers and sales. You have to strike a perfect balance between the two ends of the spectrum to come up with the price that your customers will be willing to pay for and enable you to make money. No wonder pricing is considered both and art and science.
Many small business owners hold myth that they can attract more customers and increase their sales simply by reducing the price. Nothing could be further from truth. The move may work initially, but it will put you in trouble at the end. We will explain why in a minute.
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Tools you can use to Uncover Customer Needs

Finding and serving the “right” customers is the most important step you can take to improve your sales. Many small business owners feel that the task is easier said than done. As a result, they fail to align their business with the right customer segment. Even when they do attempt to do it they either go about finding the customer needs in ad-hoc fashion or they use wrong tools to segment the customer base.
As we have noted earlier, we firmly believe that segmenting the customers based on their needs as opposed to demographics or location can improve your sales significantly. But how do you go about finding what customers really need and want?
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How to Improve Sales 5X by Focusing on Customer Needs

In the previous post we discussed how you can find the “right” customers for your business. By segmenting your customers based on their needs you can not only identify the customers that best fit the value your business provides, but also it provides you the action plan to target those customers. This is one, and most important, reason why we prefer to segment and target customer based on their needs. Once you have identified the “right” customer base you don’t need to spend extra effort to attract them to your business.
So, how do you go about finding the customer needs? While there are several approaches you can take to find out what customers are looking for, you can start with a set of attributes that are universally valued by various customer segments. These attributes give you a good starting point towards the path of finding right customer base.
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How can you Find the “Right” Customers for your Business?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as small business owners is try to serve all customers who walk in to your business equally. We showed in an earlier post that not all customers are created equal. It is your responsibility to find the customers that are “right” for your business. Many business owners, however, struggle to find these “right” customers. They either go about finding them in an ad-hoc fashion or not worry about it at all. This could be a mistake.
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Coming Revolution in POS and Credit Card Processing Systems

Rejoice, Small Business Owners!! There is a revolution underway in the way small businesses process credit card transactions and use Point of Sale (POS) systems. This is going to help small business owners in a big way by leveling the playing field with large competitors. We have always maintained that it is possible for small business owners to beat their larger rivals by finding a niche and focusing on customer service. Now, you are getting extra help in other areas where large businesses used to have an edge. A company called Square has introduced a portable credit card device that can process credit card transactions on-the-go with just a mobile phone. Last week, they took it one step further and introduced a free POS app on iPad that will modernize the point-of-sales system for small business owners. According to Square, this new app replicates and enhances the features of cash register systems, such as order taking, inventory management and customer data analysis significantly.
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7-Step Action Plan to Deal with Negative Publicity on Social Media

For small business owners dealing with social media is equivalent to a relationship with a spouse or girlfriend. You cannot live without it nor can you (sometimes) live with it! Just like the other relationship, you still have to deal with the situation, whether you like it or not. Even if you do not want actively use social media for business marketing, you have to stay engaged to make sure your business image is not being tarnished, which can hurt your business.
You can overcome your social media fears with the 3-step approach we described earlier. We also showed best practices you can use to get the most out of social media. In this post we will show how you can deal with negative comments customers may post about your business on social media.
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Creative Perks that Keep Employees Motivated

For many employees, the lines between work and their personal lives are blurring. They’re seeking balance between the two, and are finding value in the ability to choose the specific benefits that best meet their needs at this point in their lives. And employers are learning that, when chosen and implemented effectively, benefits can demonstrate leadership’s concern for the well-being of employees, reinforce cultural values, and foster deeper employee engagement.
According to James Berkeley, Director of Berkeley Burke International, however, there’s still a disconnect. “The decisions made regarding what benefits to offer are often based on subjective viewpoints, viewpoints that are far removed from the actual needs of employees.” Rather than assuming you know what your employees want, Berkeley suggests you ask them. Though answers will vary, many people are interested in more benefits in these areas:
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