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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50 Interesting Online courses for Small Business Owners

Continuous learning and improvement is essential for small business owners. However, for many of us going to college or getting an MBA degree is not an option. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day! Online courses can help overcome this barrier by enabling us to learn at our own pace and convenience.
I came across this list of online courses offered by well-known universities and other private institutions that I wanted to pass along. Many of these courses are targeted to help you learn or improve specific skill set, which would be helpful for anyone who doesn’t want to go through the entire coursework of university degree.
Here is the link to the course listing.
Let us know which courses you like the most for the benefit of other readers. Happy Learning!

How to Start a Business with Little Money

In most budding small business owners’ mind, the important thing needed to start a business is money. We think that this is really a misconception. Because of this misconception many good, passionate entrepreneurs are discouraged because they don’t have enough cash to start a business. In fact, we are working with one such individual who is passionate about music and wants to start a music themed coffee shop; but is struggling to find money to do it.
The good news is you can start a business with little money. There are ways by which you can get started as long as you have passion to put everything you have in it. The key is to start small and not go for a big bang as well as have a well-thought plan to achieve your grand vision even while taking baby steps.
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Does Your Business have Social Media Strategy?

If you don’t have a strategy to deal with Internet and social media you might be in a danger of losing lot of business. Just look at this article in Detroit Free Press past Saturday. To summarize the article – a student from Western Michigan University claims his car was illegally towed from his apartment complex by the tow truck company. He created a Facebook page to fight with the towing company and attracted 11,000 “fans” on the page; who joined him in the revolt saying they too had similar complaints against this company. The result was that that towing company lost half of its commercial accounts.
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How can you beat large business with deep pockets?

Customer Service
It is not only possible to fight with large business; but to win big in this battle. Are you the owner of small business that is fighting for customers and sales with the big, national chains? How do you win the battle when you know you are outnumbered in every way? I just found out how one such business is doing one customer at a time.
I was at the auto mechanic shop the other day to fix the coolant leakage on my old car. The service I received there made me think what it takes to make a first-time customer come back for the rest of his life. Let me explain…
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Is this a good time to buy a business?

This question keeps coming up in many conversations with existing business owners and prospective ones. In almost all situations I encounter two diverging opinions. In one camp you have those who say the economy is so bad; consumers are spending very little money, banks are not lending and many other issues facing small businesses today. In the opposing camp there are those who say this is the best time to start a business because you have many businesses for sale at good price, your business will be ready to take advantage when things start looking up and so on.

These conversations remind me of a story of two shoes salesmen who are sent to an African village to explore business opportunities for shoes. One salesman goes to the village and finds that nobody is wearing any shoes. She sends a message to the headquarters – stop this project. No one here wears any shoes. The other salesman goes to the village and finds the same situation. However, she sends an urgent message to the headquarters saying – crank up the production in full force. No one here wears any shoes. As you can see the opportunity is in eye of a beholder!!!

Many of the well-known businesses of today were started in bad times.
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