Small Business Tips

Is Discounting Really The Best Option?

Don't DiscountEverywhere I look I see perfectly respectable businesses tarting themselves out with slashed down prices like cheap hookers. Some of my favourite places are offering me prices so low I (almost) feel a little dirty for buying from them.

Sales have their place in the world of business. Moving excess stock after peek periods or getting rid of those old lines to bring in new products are perfectly respectable. What amazes me are the retailers offering substantial discounts on new stock. Advertising of sale stock has always been used to lure in the bargain hunter who then (hopefully) would be swayed into taking a heap of full price stock with them. Why then are some businesses marking down prices on everything?

Next time you get out the red marker pen and start pimping out your product at well below retail think about the following:

Will you customers still respect you when the discounting stops? Probably not, they will assume you were ripping them blind to begin with.

Example –I like one particular clothing chain (not naming any names but if you ever see me in the street you can check my tags). Their stock (all of it!) is on sale at least one week out of every five. So what is a girl to do? Wait till sale week of course! The strange thing is they still insist on under servicing and over staffing.

Are you cheapening your brand? Your target market may disappear and you may attract a whole new market that you never wanted in the first place.

Example – A local restaurant that I dine at regularly started offering 50% off meals and $12.50 steaks. Previously a large portion of their sales came from wine, now it doesn’t. What changed? Their clientele changed! Where once they attracted a younger crowd who loved a glass (or five) of chardy with their dinner, they now have families flooding in for a cheap feed. Guess who can’t drink gallons of booze on a weeknight? Mums and dads, that’s who! Guess who doesn’t want to sit in a restaurant with screaming (but I am sure lovely) kids? Me, and the rest of the “its fine to drink excessively during the week” crowd!

So what are the options?

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Are You Ready For A Coaching Challenge?

We recently surveyed* our small business clients and found that two of the things that people find challenging about working with a business coach are:
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9 Ways to Improve Your Sales - A Lesson from Beaurepaires

With small business doing it tough these days it pays to get back to the basics.

Here’s how I was given a lesson on marketing, sales and a touch of classy customer service this week by Beaurepaires Burwood.

It started with a thought...and ended in 4 new tyres.

I decided since I had an hour free I would get a quote for new tyres for my car before a well meaning member of the Victoria police decided they would force the issue by adding to the state coffers. It’s one of those jobs you keep putting off because ....well.... you know it’s going to hurt the hip pocket.

In my local area I have two main tyre suppliers just a block away from each other, so off I went to get two quotes (as you do).

I remembered a while ago my wife had taken her car in to the local Beaurepairs for a simple puncture repair (a $20 sale) and they were really helpful so my first thought was to call in there – after all there was a bit of a relationship already.
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Jon Survived the CEO Sleepout

Jon Dale CEO SleepoutI did it, I slept outside (sort of) with a group of equally self-righteous CEO types and we all felt good about the small contribution we made to the plight of people who are in such dire straits that they don't have a place to live. We raised some money and thank you to those who donated. I raised $1785 and my friend Matt raised $20 less so, as you can imagine, I'm feeling a bit smug.

I learned a couple of interesting things and I thought I would share.

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The Principle of Reciprocation

The principle of reciprocation says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. By virtue of the reciprocity rule, then, we are obligated to the future repayment of gifts, invitations, and the like.

Simple example: When you are invited to dinner at a friend’s home, you then feel obligated to return the favour, don’t you? And for many, this obligation weights heavily until it is repaid.

In a sales situation, customers and prospects feel obligated to say “yes” to those they owe.

Knowing this, savvy salespeople perform unexpected acts of kindness up-front; they give of their time, knowledge and occasionally product and service samples.

Guess what this does?

It obligates the other party to reciprocate.

The principle possesses awesome strength, often producing a “yes” response to a request that, except for the existing feeling of obligation/indebtedness, would have been refused.

Simple example: If you want to generate referrals from a customer, first, give a referral!

Bald Fact:
Create a sense of obligation, and you’ll make more sales. A fact that has been proven in the business community when business operators found that, after accepting a gift, customers were willing to purchase products and services they would otherwise have declined.

Looked at in this light, the apparent random, unexpected act of generosity might be regarded as a powerful marketing method that will generate future sales.

Nigel Hobbs
Small Fish Business Coaching Manly
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Somethings Fishy at the MyBiz Expo in Melbourne

If you’re going to be in Melbourne on Thursday 16th or Friday 17th June, you can meet some of the Small Fish team in person at the MyBiz Expo.

The Expo promises to be a fantastic networking event, with the opportunity to meet many people and gather some valuable and useful information that can help you in your business.

We would love the opportunity to meet with you too, to talk about your business. Could your business be more profitable? Is your business and the environment it operates within changing? Does the business leave you with enough time to enjoy your success? Are you in control of your business, or is it the other way around?

Speaking with a business coach in person is a great way to discuss these things, and to find out whether a business coach might be able to benefit you and your business.

Alternatively, you might be considering becoming a business coach yourself. Being a business coach is not for everyone. It is hard work, but very rewarding as you get to work with and help a broad range of people in business.

Come down and talk with the team to find out first-hand what being a business coach is all about. This is also a fantastic opportunity to discover the benefits joining forces with Small Fish!

The MyBiz Expo is being held at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre from Thursday 16th to Friday 17th June, and Small Fish will be at Stand 30. To find out more, and to preregister, click here.

Regards from The Small Fish Business Coaching Team
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News Flash: "Optimism - The Predictor of Life and Business Success"

Business stuck in the bog? Seems to spinning its wheels, the occasional hard revving is followed by no movement forward? Then it may be time to change something and maybe that something is you! Read More »

Picking A Business Coach

Picking A Business CoachFrom a recent article I wrote, I hoped to give some clarity between the role of a Business Coach and a Consultant.
If you have now decided that your business needs the help and expertise of a Business Coach, here are a few points to ask or consider prior to selecting one. There are many coaches and coaching options available in the market and considering coaching is not cheap, it is important to ensure that you select carefully.
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Vinnies CEO Sleepout

Even though Jon’s not really a CEO, only a director and a business coach (because we don’t believe in awarding ourselves fancy titles), he’s doing the CEO Sleepout to support Vinnies. Jon is going to sleep outdoors on the 16th of June without the benefit of warming alcohol (as it's forbidden), to experience what it’s like to be homeless and, of course, to raise money.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to donate to Vinnie’s and give Jon a pat on the back for supporting a cause to help homeless people. It seems that being homeless is not much fun rather than the easy life that some of us imagine. When Jon gets back, he’ll let you know how it was.

Click here to donate on Vinnie’s website.

Jon Dale
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay

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