Profitability is about more than sales; it’s about knowing where to scrimp and where to spend, says Bra Queen Renee Mayne. As her series of Fashion Exposed workshops approaches, she shares some of her top tips for maximising cost-effectiveness.
Renee Mayne – Bra Queen
1. Find cost-effective ways to market your business
Often business owners think if they are going to market themselves effectively then a hefty marketing budget is needed. This is simply not the case. Furthermore, it doesn’t necessarily make good business sense. If you’re looking at advertising on the back page of a glossy magazine that’s an outlay of around $15,000 plus and there is no way you can track the success of the investment. Any worthwhile marketing campaign must be traceable.
This is where e-marketing comes in; it’s a very powerful and cost effective way to market your business. It enables you to send out newsletters, special offers and loyalty schemes directly to your customers at no extra cost. You save on postage and/or printing costs too. It also encourages customers back to your website to see what other services you offer. The only investment required is the design of your promotional e-mail material. It couldn’t be simpler. However, around 80 per cent of Australian retail businesses do not even have an email or website address…they are losing an astronomical amount of money, publicity and exposure.
2. Ensure that your business software is not costing you a fortune
Software has come down in price, so if you’re on a payment plan or you have signed a contract with a hosting or software company, be sure to shop around. There are now a lot of systems on the market that you can maintain and update yourself.
3. Reduce your staff overheads with a virtual PA or receptionist
We are extremely fortunate in this day and age because we have virtual PAs who will work for businesses on an hourly basis and require no minimum hours or holidays. As staff overheads are one of the first things that get cut when business is slow, to ensure that you get adequate phone cover for your business without having to overstretch your existing resources, you can opt for a pay-as-you-go virtual receptionist.
4. Maximise customer retention through stand-out customer care
Ask not what your customer can do for you but rather what you can do for your customer! Customers are driven by both emotional and practical needs, so make sure you are satisfying both. Most importantly, listen to what they have to say about your products and services as well as your staff, ask them to complete questionnaires – their opinion is vital to your long-term success. They may even give you new ideas that you may not have considered, so be open to change. The biggest downfall for businesses is often simply the result of stubbornness.
Understand your customers needs better…
Keep up to date with your customers, a good customer database is an invaluable investment. It can identify customers’ needs and their likes and dislikes, while also providing vital clues in helping you to cross sell other products and services to increase customer spend.
5. Reassess your products and services
Look at all the products and services that you offer in relation to how much you sell and how profitable they are. At times it is necessary to eliminate collections that are simply costing too much to carry. Work smart. Source the very best product on the market. Even if it means you’re the only one who stocks it, take the plunge and stand out from the crowd!
Renee Mayne – Bra Queen
Comprising two 30-minute sessions targeting the lingerie sector and covering key topics including cost effective, innovative marketing and boosting your business through proactive service and sales, the Bra Queen workshops will take place at 11.45 a.m. on Sunday 29 and Monday 30 August, at Fashion Exposed, Melbourne Exhibition Centre.