Red Zebra Business Centre - Management Memos
December 2011 Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985! Page 1
Now is the time to really take stock!

Max Williams, Principal Consultant

No. Not the physical stock for your business - that will happen in due course. With 2011 being so beset with doomsayers and evil forecasts, it's time to take stock of what is really happening in your industry.

Right throughout 2011 there has been a continual stream of bad news for business. Some of it justified. Some not.

For instance, the year began with some large retailers saying that exemption from GST on imported goods under $1,000 was killing retail in Australia. Truly that's not fair, but it's truly not the reason retailers are under pressure.

The year went on with the Reserve Bank and trading banks playing 'ducks and drakes' with interest rates. Finally a reduction in official rates - leading only to the NAB appearing to 'make up' with the other banks. The result?

A complete fizzer of a fiscal boost that did totally nothing!

There was joy as Fair Work Australia seemed to understand the needs of the labour market and made it possible to hire students after school once more. But the year ended with the Government refusing to countenance any change that might make it possible for owners of weekend businesses to pay realistic wage rates to casual staff.

Ideology gone feral!

Then finally we saw some of those large retailers who had complained about the GST exemption join the crowd they couldn't beat - and go on-line themselves. OK.. It is time to move with the times!

But what about you? Where is your business going in all of this?

It is so easy to read this as all too hard, and create a defensive framework that just won't really cut the mustard as competition hots up.

For most people, that won't happen, but it is important to remember that the obvious 'answer' is often not the right solution to the key business issues facing you.

When the going gets tough, as they say, the really tough go back to basics. When you do that, you mostly get things right. Make no assumptions.

Case in point. In an article on retail survival last year, an author wrote "multi-channelling might not be the answer for retailers".

The problem here is that the author was writing about 'multi-channel distribution', and 'multi-channel retailing' means almost the exact opposite. 'Multi-channel retailing' means engaging retail customers across multiple channels of communication.

Had the author gone back to basics, and properly understood his topic and its language, he might not have made such a fundamental mistake.

That is just one article. Make a similar mistake in understanding your business environment and its strategic challenges, and you just might sentence your business to a long and painful decline.

Happy Christmas 2011 Christmas Tree


othing too serious for the Festive Season. It's been a tough year, and now it's time to lighten up! So, enjoy the times - but just to keep your business wheels turning, think of these important topics.

10 Steps To a Stress-Free Break
Before you shut the gates or doors for the festive season, take a few simple measures to make re-opening after Christmas a pleasure - not a disaster.

1. Contact the couriers and freight companies

That will keep things from being left or lost if delivered while you're away. Of course, if there is late delivery in the works, you can make special arrangements for that item too

2. Set the Auto-Reply email and OGM

OGM? OutGoing Message on phone. Not everyone knows your holiday arrangements. Maximise the chance of capturing stray sales leads, and help your suppliers. What a good idea!

3. Arrange phone diversions

Not everyone is happy with answering machines, and not everyone uses one. Diversions to mobiles can be lifesavers.

4. Front door sign

Simple. Most often overlooked. Contact details, when added help customers. Helps police too in case of a break-in or other emergency.

5. Tell Security!

Times and contact details. That's all it needs.

6. Turn Off!

We have a lot of electrical equipment running all day. Only your server needs to run across the shut-down, and sometimes, not even that. Turn it all off.

7. Tidy the office

Yesterday's overhanging problems kill productivity. So much more when they're the problems from last year. Clean up before you go.

8. Arrange for the cleaner to come early

Staff need a tidy workspace to get off to a good start. But the office needs to be clean and tidy too.

9. Close and lock all the doors and windows

Alright! Seems obvious, and it is. That's why it might not get done. It's everyone's job. Don't let it be no-one's!

10. Wander around

There is nothing quite so helpful and informative as 'management by walking around'. What a great way to be sure all the things that should have been done, have been! You will get a 'start list' for next year too.

None of these things is hard. All easy to forget. So check your plan before the last day, just to be sure.

Remember the 'Add-On' Sale
Just because it's Christmas let's end the year with a 'Bang!!'

Let's begin with the basics. There is up-sell, cross-sell, and sell-on. Got it?

'Up-sell' means your leader lines are working. Customers come in for a bargain, and you sell them what they really need. Even if it's not a higher margin, it will be a higher price and that means a higher gross profit.

'Cross-sell' is when you come out of the bike shop with a mountain bike, when you went in looking for a road bike. Skilful selling has identified the real need.

'Sell-on' is when you buy a suit, and walk out with a shirt as well. Or buy a shirt, and come out with a tie as well. Super-selling is when you buy a suit, and come out with both a shirt and a tie!

Selling Add-ons

With the 'rush' on, it's easy to lose sight of the basics.

Add-on sales (the 'sell-on') is a great way to help customers in a way they really appreciate, and at the same time, boost business considerably. So how can you make it happen?

1. Break down the barriers

This is not 'pressuring' people. It's helping them to not forget what they probably need. If you're finding this barrier, you have a greater sales training need - but for now, emphasise the helping aspect. We all like to help!

2. Motivate the staff

A bonus or a prize won't go astray. But you don't need this. You're the coach, right? So get the team pumped up. Get them motivated! Be positive! Stay on the front foot! And NEVER moan about a tough customer!

3. Show the results

Gross sales and gross profit grows as you sell add-ons. Chart it. Show staff the results of their work. Average sale value, percent over last year. All that kind of stuff.

Just as long as you don't forget the value of the add-on sale!
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If you'd like to find out more about how to make measurably more in your business right now, talk to us, or ask us a question here! Remember, there's no charge or obligation.

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McNicol Williams Management & Marketing Services is a Small Business Advisor listed with the Small Business Victoria, and has presented The Red Zebra program under its auspices. This listing requires that the first hour's consultation is always free. So when we say "No charge or obligation", we mean it!

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