Bra Queen Renee Mayne has had enough of talk about retail gloom and doom. In this issue’s column her advice is simple: when it comes to beating the recession, attack is the best form of defence!
Okay, so maybe the retail economy didn’t quite pack the punch we would all have liked and the Autumn Winter orders were played pretty safe, leaving businesses worried about their next season. But if you curl up into a ball and just accept the worst, then you’ve already lost. You might as well just shut up shop.
In any case, a downturn in the economy isn’t the end of the world. Women still wear bras and people still wear clothes. When terms like ‘GFC’ and ‘recession’ are flying around, most business give up and stop trying. However much of the time, when the economy dips it’s merely reflecting the perceptions of business owners and consumers. People clam up and act like this might just be the big one; the end of retail as we know it. That attitude is what prolongs recession.
Those who react to economic downturns with aggression, determination and passion instead of passivity and negativity will come through with a strong, successful business and a healthy bottom line. To quote Billy Ocean: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” In other words, if business isn’t coming to you then you must go get it. So without further ado, here are six steps to get you started.
One: Value add
Everyone wants to increase sales. However, the truth is you’d be better to take the focus off yourself and your business and start thinking about providing maximum value for your customers. Can your business and your product help other enterprises such as retailers or complementary businesses generate more revenue? If so, play up that aspect of your business and any prospective customer will clear their schedule to hear what you have to say.
Two: Get marketing!
The fatal mistake most businesses make during a recession is to decrease their marketing and advertising efforts. However statistics have proven that marketers who increase their spending during a recession sustain long-term gains in the market as well as profitability. In my previous column I shared with you ways to market your business without it costing a fortune and you can drive your business into territories you would never thought of. It just takes consistency, creativity and a little time.
Three: Build instant revenue with a VIP night
I do joint ventures with local lingerie boutiques. Through ‘Bras, Boobs & Bubbles’ I gather a small group of women with similar bra sizes and take them to a store that I would happily recommend. I create a bra workshop, fashion parade and a bra fitting; they pay $30 to attend and receive $30 off on the night. It will add anywhere from $1000 to $3000 onto the business takings plus a massive amount of repeat business, as all women are new to the store and they tell their friends.
Four: Provide exemplary service
I am a huge advocate of, do whatever it takes to retain every client. During a recession, client retention is crucial. Provide the best service and make your client’s experience memorable. Don’t forget to follow up and make sure that your client’s experience was more than they expected it to be.
Five: Network like crazy!
Think of networking like you’re single and looking for love. Networking is often overlooked, but it is one of the most beneficial forms of promotion and it’s free. Anytime you have an opportunity to talk about your business, product or service, do so. Don’t be obnoxious, but don’t risk missing opportunities to promote yourself either.
Six: Reassess your stock
To sell you must make an impact…to make an impact you must have stock. Instead of ordering a small amount of a line, order more so you can pack the punch you need it to. Do your research; ensure before you order it meets the right criteria, for example a bra must provide great shape, comfort and support, structure and perfect fit, so you have peace of mind that it will sell when it’s on your floor.
Renee Mayne – Bra Queen
Image: Bra Queen client Underwear of Sweden.