Archives for April 2012

What can Small Business Owners Learn from Apple

If there is one company that is loved by its customers, employees and shareholders equally it is Apple!! It is hard to find any other company that generates the excitement that Apple does. The company is valued at almost $600 Billion that is estimated to reach $1 Trillion in too distant future. That amount will be higher than the GDP of many countries on the planet. The amazing thing is even at this size Apple manages to grow its revenue and profit at astronomical rate of 70-80%! There has never been a company in the history that has achieved what Apple has in the last 10 years.

While it may not be possible for small business owners to achieve success at the same level as Apple there are important lessons you can learn that will help you grow your business. Below we analyze Apple’s critical success factors and explain how you can apply them in your business.
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Grow your Business by Treating Customers as Human Beings

What small business owners in his right mind would not treat his customers well if that leads to business growth. Yet there is no shortage of companies, large and small, that fail to take care of this basic fact resulting in disastrous results. Try calling customer center of your telephone company and see how long you have to wait before being able to talk to someone. Or go to a mall and study look at the expressions of customer service reps when talking to customers. How come very few of them bother to smile?
So, why is it important to treat customers properly?
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Create Great Looking Online Retail Store in a Flash with Goodsie

Do you want to start an online retail store, but are always afraid of effort and money required to do so? I have come across a cheap and elegant solution that has the potential to help you with it.  The solution comes from a start-up called Goodsie. I checked out their web site and was very impressed with its functionality and ease of use. You do not need to have computer programming knowledge to use this software, which is a great relief to many of us who do not have that skill or don’t want to deal with that hassle.

While online retail stores have been around for some time, small business owners have been at a disadvantage against their larger rivals due to their lack of skills and money required to build and run online retailing. You can use Amazon or eBay, but you are likely to be drowned out amongst thousands of businesses who are jockeying for the top position. That is why I strongly believe in having your own online store with a unique identity that you can control. Goodsie lets you do that easily.
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Use Scarcity Tactics to Increase Sales

What is the best way to get rid of products that are not selling well? You can reduce the price to generate more demand. But there is a way better way to manage it. It is known as scarcity principle and it works by making customers believe that the item will not be available if they wait longer. The technique works because of human psychology that makes people want something more when they are told they cannot have it. Fear of losing out on something can be a powerful motivator.
You don’t have to use this principle to sell only slow moving items. You can incorporate it in the normal marketing practice to increase the sales of regular products. If you look around you will notice that many businesses are already using this principle in various forms. QVC always shows how many items are left when promoting their products on television. The last few items are always sold very quickly. When a sales person tells us that the item is out of stock, but he can probably find it at another store your reaction will always be to order it so as not to miss out from that store too.
There are several approaches you can take to implement this scarcity principle in practice as shown below:
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Factors that Influence Pricing

Pricing is both an art as well as science as we discussed in earlier post on Ten Commandments of pricing. There is no one right way to determine the price of products or services you are selling. To a large extent, the price is based on the value customers perceive to get from the product and what they are willing to pay for it.
The law of pricing says that you should charge each customer the exact amount he/she is willing to pay for it for maximum profit. This is how auction system works. You let each customers announce how much he wants to pay and pick the highest bid. While it would be ideal to determine the price in this fashion, in practice it becomes a challenge to sell your products this way. That’s why it is necessary for business owners to come up with an advertised price and augment it with other ways such as coupons to attract more customers.
So what factors do you need to consider when pricing your products and services?
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How Saying NO to Customers can Benefit your Business

Here is an interesting news story we came across this week – Domino’s is launching an advertising campaign in which they claimed that they will NOT allow customers to customize their artisan pizza. Customers cannot add any more toppings to the pizza recipe. Domino’s claims that they have painstakingly perfected their artisan pizza recipe over several months and they refuse to let customers mess with it.
On the face of it, this sounds a bit weird and even risky. How can you say NO to customers who are paying with their own money? They can demand whatever they want with their money. But when you think about it some more their advertising makes sense. In fact, we would argue that saying NO to customers may work brilliantly in their favor. Allow us to explain why it is necessary to say NO to customers once in a while.
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Ten Commandments of Pricing

Pricing a product or service is one of the most complicated yet important decisions that can determine the fate of your business. Most small business owners tend to price their products and services lower than the customers are willing to pay for out of the fear that increasing the price will make customers flee. However, it is possible to increase your price, and have customers love you for it. It is not only desirable, but imperative that small business owners understand how to properly price their products. After all, it is much more fun to compete on value rather than price Look at how Apple is able to charge premium for all its products
Based on our own experience and feedback from our readers we have compiled a set of rules that will help you in pricing your products. Here they are:
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