By Connor Wilson –
Every year, businesses the world over spend a significant amount of time and money ramping up for the holiday season, and then, just like that, it’s over. As quickly as Halloween seemingly rolled into Thanksgiving, the New Year is here, and the holiday rush is a mere memory. But what about your business efforts? After weeks, if not months, of running at max strength, what do you do once the inevitable Q1 lull hits?
As you close out 2018 and dig your feet into 2019, it’s important to address the unique needs of this slower period, and in doing so, prepare your business for not only the first quarter, but for the rest of the year. Not sure where to start? Here are six tips to help you decelerate business and make the most of down time.
1. Run an Inventory Check
Inventory is often one of the first factors to get the holiday treatment, and as the new year starts, it once again becomes a focal point in your strategy. As the expected shift in sales begins, it’s time to make the necessary adjustments to your inventory and purchasing efforts. (more…)
By Jennifer Lobb –
Pricing can and often does make or break your business, and hastily setting prices without addressing important concerns can result in a whole host of problems, including plummeting margins, decreasing market share, or brand alienation.
Every business is different, and in many cases, the pricing strategy you choose is entirely reliant on the industry in which your business exists. However, though differences are plenty, there are some steps that, when incorporated into pricing efforts, will help you set prices that will support your financial goals while growing your business.
Identify your goals
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that your goal is likely to sell things and make money. But a good pricing strategy is one that recognizes the finer nuances required to reach the ultimate goal. Are you simply trying to keep up with competition and meet last year’s benchmarks, or are you trying to increase market share? Do you want to maintain the status quo or do you need to make up enough revenue to cover a rough patch? Additionally, it’s helpful if you put a numerical value on your goals by determining your revenue target and factoring that in to your decisions. (more…)
By Jennifer Lobb –
Before long, the air will be cooler, evergreen and twinkling lights will deck homes and storefronts, and holiday music will begin to play – albeit earlier than seems necessary. Though the holiday season begins as soon as Jack-o-Lanterns end their month-long reign, when it comes to planning and sales most small businesses focus on what many consider to be the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday.
Business owners and managers alike plan meticulously for the big day, with efforts covering everything from staffing and business hour updates to marketing and sales initiatives. However, as you likely already know, when it comes to Black Friday, inventory is often the make-or-break factor.
So, how do you have a wildly successful Black Friday? Take these inventory tips into consideration as you plan for the biggest shopping day of the year. (more…)
By Linsey Knerl –
The Big Mac – the special burger from McDonald’s that features “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun” – is almost as much of an icon as the fast-food chain itself. While the world is pretty much split on the one-of-a-kind sandwich (the sauce has a way of being fairly polarizing), no one can deny that it’s an unchanging staple that’s been branded into our culture.
The sandwich is 50 years old this year, proving that some things are still a good idea half a century later. Here are some other hard truths about its success for small businesses that cannot be ignored.
Have a Signature Item
Fast food has gotten weird over the years. I remember when McDonald’s introduced what they called a more “grown-up” menu, switching their classic grilled chicken offering over to something with honey mustard, a fancy bun, and more lettuce than I would ever put into a small side salad. This was on the tail of the failed McSpaghetti, and it predated some of the chain’s experiments into the McGriddle – which has gone on to become a current classic. (more…)
By Gerri Detweiler –
“Do Schools Kill Creativity?” is one of the most popular TED Talks of all time. In his entertaining and provocative presentation, Sir Ken Robinson says (referring largely to the state of education today) that “..if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong.”
Robinson doesn’t address entrepreneurship directly in his talk, but plenty of other people question whether our educational system helps prepare students to run their own businesses, often against the backdrop of stories like that of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg dropping out of college to start their businesses.
As one example, Andrew Yang wrote in Forbes, “Schools don’t tolerate failure. Our students can’t accept it. The best entrepreneurship course would give everyone who enrolls an F. Whoever takes it probably has the makings of a decent entrepreneur.”
He’s referring specifically to university-level entrepreneurship education programs, and goes on to say: “The best programs push students out of the classroom, get business people with real problems, and give strong teams an actual chance to launch and operate with access to real angel investors. Go out and get some customers.” (more…)