Marketing Tips – Small Business Pricing

Pricing is a key determinant in the decision making process customers use to purchase your product or service as well as a key element in determining the profitability of your business. Setting a price for your product or service that appeals to your target market and encourages them to buy is therefore an essential part of your business and marketing strategy.

Before determining your pricing strategy for your business it is important to consider the following:

Your Customer

An effective marketing strategy begins and ends with your customer. It is therefore important to establish how much your customers are willing to pay for your product or service, how sensitive your customers are to changes in price and how price discounting will affect the level of demand and profitability of your business.

Your Product or Service’s Features and Benefits

Unless you have a product or service that offers a unique or additional benefit, and you can communicate this benefit adequately to your target market, if your price is too high you may price yourself out of the market. Look at the features and benefits your product or service offers and how they compare to your competitors. Remember the benefits you provide can either be physical, emotional or both. For example, some customers may see a high price as equalling high quality and are therefore willing to pay a premium.

The Cost of Doing Business

Before setting your price you need to determine what your small business must charge for its product or service in order for you to make and sustain a profit. Look at what the cost and expenses are of doing business and what price you will need to sell at to ensure these expenses are covered. Unless you have a sustainable cost advantage, if your price is too low, your sales volume may not generate enough revenue to cover the costs associated with your business.

The Market and Your Competitors

Your competitors play an important role when setting your pricing strategy. For example, there may be competitors nearby where customers can compare prices so you may need to price match. If it is hard for your customers to compare prices you may be able to charge a premium.

Distribution Channels

Some customers may expect to pay a different price for a product or service depending on which distribution channel they use. For example, if a customer purchases a product over the internet or by mail they may expect to pay a lower price due to the elimination of the middle person i.e. the retailer.

Life Cycle of Your Product or Service

At different stages of your product or service life cycle you may change your pricing strategy to suite your business needs. For example, when you are launching a new product or service you may adopt a low price strategy to encourage trial and repurchase of your product/service on a regular basis. Alternatively if your product or service has a unique point of difference or high cost of production you may charge a premium over your competitors. As your product or service grows in customer awareness and credibility you may be able to sustain a price increase. Alternatively as sales increase, your production costs may be reduced and you may be able to pass on some of these savings in a price reduction or regular promotional offers.

(c) Marketing for Business Success Pty Ltd 2008

Four Tips Small Businesses Should Consider Before They Outsource Accounting Services

There are several important guidelines that you should take notice of when you intend to outsource accounting services. It is no waste of time to plan carefully before engaging in anything you need to do. Proper planning in this particular case is very worthwhile since it can reduce errors by a great margin. Small businesses especially should definitely implement the following guidelines since failure to do so may lead your business into financial trouble; something that you do not want to happen to you.

1. Does the company really exist on paper or it is conning you?

First and foremost, when it comes to identifying the best outsourcing services, it is very important for you to find out whether the outsourcing company is legally registered. Now that the world is turning digital a lot of people are taking advantage of the change to dupe others and extract money from them.

It is the role of the authorities to look into this, but, at the same time, as a businessperson, it is wise to ensure that your business is safe. In order to accomplish this you should carry out comprehensive research on the legality of the outsource accounting services provider that you may want to work with. This way you will avoid losing your money to conmen. This is not just talk; these cases are on the rise, believe it or not.

In your efforts to establish the right outsource accounting services always check if there are any laws or rules that have been put in place to guide you. If laws and rules exist,then abide by them in order that you get the best result possible.

2. Will outsourcing your accounting services actually benefit you?

The next thing you need to consider is the value that the outsource accounting services actually brings to your business. Does it benefit your business, and if it does then to what extent? If your business stands to gain at the end of the day then the deal is worthwhile and it is right to go ahead. If what your business stands to gain is fairly minimal then it is just common sense to simply walk away.

3. Are they trustworthy?

You business should target building long term partnerships with those providers who administer your business with outsource accounting services. This is because long-term partnerships lead to the development of greater trust and confidence between you and the outsourcing services provider.

4. How easy is it to outsource? Is it productive or not?

The moment you realize that the outsource accounting services are productive then you are safe. At the same time,if you perceive that the service is not flexible enough and is less productive for you then you need to abandon any idea of using it.

In conclusion, if you want your business to be successful outsource accounting services can be of great use to you. However, to find the best one for you, always research prospective services thoroughly to ensure success.

Leadership Tips – Small Business Requires Faster Decisions

Introduction

This leadership tip has something in it for managers everywhere, but it’s particularly targeted at those of you with large company backgrounds who have made career moves to smaller businesses that you own and/or manage.

My background is primarily in large scale management of IT organizations. The companies where I’ve worked were places where changing a process or behavior took some time. I always thought I was quicker than most, and action oriented. As a small business owner, I found I had to be much quicker.

I’ll offer this leadership tip in the form of a story. It’s a story of how taking your eye of the ball can cost you money, and worse than that can cost you customers.

My First Small Business

I opened a small personal services business. It was located about an hour from my home office, and with all my other commitments I knew how important hiring the right manager would be for this shop. It took a few tries, but I found one with a good background and references, and she seemed to quickly develop loyalty to the business and to me.

For the first six months we grew slowly but steadily. We were behind plan in terms of customers and revenue, but the trend was up. There were a few staff issues, but overall turnover was okay. I decided to invest a little more in marketing to try and get more new faces in the door.

Over the next three months, customer counts were mostly flat, and average sale was actually down a little. Concerned, I visited the shop a few times more than usual. The people were not as upbeat as they had been. When asked about that, they attributed their moods to less business and less enjoyment of the job. I wondered about seasonality, the economy, and whether I needed even more marketing investment.

Want to know what was really going on? My trusted manager had some personal problems that I had not been aware of before, and was exhibiting some totally unacceptable behaviors:

  • Criticizing staff in front of customers
  • Intimidating staff, letting them know they were at risk of being fired, and telling them I was out to get them.
  • Stealing money by voiding transactions and other means

The Damages

I’m still figuring out how much money all this cost me, but the money is only today’s problem. The customers I’ve lost are a more serious longer term issue, because many of them won’t be coming back.

When I figured out what was going on, I moved quickly to fire the manager. There were only two problems:

  1. I was too late, and there had been several months of damage done;
  2. There was collateral damage. I had to fire two other employees who had adopted the attitude and behaviors of the manager.

Today, I’m working on putting together data to see if I can assemble a case for prosecuting the employees and the manager. An even higher priority, though, is the work I’m doing to recruit and orient new staff and develop a recovery plan for our customer service reputation.
This leadership tip was a painful lesson that I hope never to repeat.