Give your retail store a makeover

Even in our digital age your retail space is still important. Sure, you can have an expertly designed website and well-populated social media profiles, but for many businesses that cannot replace their physical space.

Has it been a while since your store has been updated? If so, you might not be making the right impression. That is why we are going to help you give your store a makeover.

Realise your retail store is your brand

Take a good look around your store. Now think about your brand. Do they align? It is important that you understand that your retail store is an extension of your brand and therefore needs to reflect your brand image.  Remember that your primary advertising tool is first and foremost your own store. This of course means that you should have already clearly defined your brand. If you haven’t done that yet, then you had better do it now.

Give your store layout flexibility

As part of your store makeover, why don’t you arrange the layout in such a way that it can be easily adapted again in future depending on the season or special promotions going on at the time. Use shopfitting that allows you to change the look and feel of your store without too much cost and difficulty. For example, there are standardised, multi-functional applicable components that can accommodate your changing sales promotions.

Speak to the professionals

If you feel a bit overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, have you ever considered speaking to professional shopfitters? They can help you with every element, from mapping the layout to assisting with the technical things like the electrical work and plumbing. They will also know what trends work for the locations. For instance, shopfitting in Johannesburg might have different needs than that in a small town in the Easter cape.

Remember customer experience is key

It is not just the quality and pricing of your products that make up the impression your customers have about your store and brand. At the end of the day, it is about the whole shopping experience. Does the physical layout make for fluid movement, even during peak hours? Are customers encouraged to browse around and find different points of interest? If your customers just want to rush in and get what they need, then you haven’t given enough importance to the customer experience.

These are just a few of the key considerations when giving your store a makeover. Just remember that your store needs to reflect your brand and keep customer experience in mind at all times. If you do that you are well on your way to having the ideal retail space.

Advertise your brand

vpn1

While you might think that banner ads and print ads are enough to promote your business, this is not the case. If you have a small to mid-size business, then you can basically do a lot more to advertise your brand to the nation. Investing in advertisement is an investment to your future. Ads reach people, people reach people and the best business strategies reach people. Your job is to use this incentive to strengthen your capabilities.

Sign up for Google AdWords

Google AdWords will help you bring in new business, improve online sales, keep the phones ringing and will keep customers coming back for more. The sign up is totally FREE, all you have to pay for is when someone clicks on your ad to visit your website or calls you. You get to decide who to target your ads to customers in certain countries, regions or cities – or within a set distance from your business or shop. Your business will be found by people on Google when they’re searching for the service you offer.

Get published online

An alternative to online advertising is to advertise your business by submitting articles to reputable websites. In exchange for your content they allow you to include links in the article that will take them to your website. This will provide you with potential traffic that will lead to your business. Not only that, but it also helps establish you as an expert in your related field. People generally associate businesses with their branding. Your logo should be incorporated into your site for people to be able to identify it. Get customised logo branding from shopfitting in Johannesburg if you don’t have any yet.

Incorporate bloggers

Source influential bloggers in your industry and ask them to review your product or service. They will be very keen to do so if you give them free product for them to use. However, if you can’t find a blogger to write about your service for free, there are those who will do it for a fee. This kind of endorsement is typically more effective and less expensive than a banner ad.

Add your business to local listings

It just so happens that you can add your small business to sites such as, Google Place, Yahoo Local and Bing Local for free. Take advantage of people searching for businesses in your area, by claiming your local listing and filling in the information.

This is your business, so make it a success and use what you have to your advantage. The only way to let your brand gain power is for people to know about it. You have the tools and the means and most of them are free of charge. Get to it today and start making a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for a good long-term relationship with your clients

If you have a business that deals with clients then you know that having good relationships with them is very important. This is easier said than done because a relationship with a client can be as tricky as any other inter-personal relationship. With these tips however you will be well on your way to establishing strong, long-term relationships with them.

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Open communication is one of the most important ingredients for any healthy relationship, and that includes the one with your clients. If they have a query or concern they need to know that they can contact you and be listened attentively to. Also, if there are potential issues or problems on the horizon it is good to be as frank and transparent as possible.

Be a useful resource

Share any information that your clients may find useful and valuable, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you to. This tells your client that you are on their side and have their best interests at heart. The more value you offer, the more a client will depend on you.

Deliver on what you promise

If you say you will be able to do something then make sure you really will be able to do so. If you say you will phone a client by a certain time to update them on something then be sure to do that. Even if it is something small, it can really impact how a client feels about you.

Avoid financial issues

Nothing sours a relationship quicker than financial issues. Always charge a fair price and be upfront and transparent about charges as far as possible. It can be very difficult if you have a client that doesn’t always pay on time (or “forgets” to pay now and then). You can prevent this by implementing debit order collections so your clients are automatically debited each month.

Be firm when you need to be

This one might seem counter-intuitive. There is this widespread attitude that the customer is always right and a business needs to go to the end of the earth to keep the client happy. While there is truth in that you have to have limits and boundaries established early on. Always be as obliging and polite as you can be, but push back if the situation calls for it. In the end your clients will respect you more if you don’t let them walk all over you.

Cost cutting tips for your small business

It happens to every business at one time or another: the need to cut costs. Rather than worrying that this is a sign of the end times, use it as an opportunity to reassess your finances and how you manage your budget.

Here are a few tips to help you cut your expenses.

Cash flow projections

First of all, you need to know the numbers. If you want to cut costs then it is going to take discipline and effort, and for that reason it helps to have a specific goal in mind of how much you want to save. If you aren’t doing accurate cash flow projections yet then you need to start as soon as possible. They let you know when the ice bergs are approaching, and will help you determine just how much you should be trimming your budget.

Outsource

You obviously need employees to get work done, but they are expensive. It is not just salaries you have to pay, but work space, equipment and even insurance drives the cost per employee up.

Outsourcing some of your nonessential business processes to independent contractors can save you a lot of money.

Reassess where you borrow from

If your business is going through a dry spell you might be thinking of borrowing money from somewhere. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to be smart about it. For instance, try stay away from funding your business by taking out a personal loan, or even worse, using credit cards. The interest rates on these options are not good. Rather look for specialised forms of funding such as business finance, which will likely have better rates and be more ideal for your situation.

Negotiate with suppliers

What you currently pay your suppliers does not have to be the final word on what you continue paying. Remember that your suppliers also want to stay in business. Have a frank and open discussion about what you can or cannot pay, and your suppliers very well might agree that it is in their best interest as well to keep you in business.

Barter where you can

This might seem like an odd suggestion but consider bartering with your services or products. For instance, if you need design work done for you by someone else, you could in turn offer your consultation or PR services or whatever it is that you do. You might just be doing someone else a favour as well.

These are just a few of the ways that you can spend less in your business. Even if you aren’t going through a financially tough time at the moment, it is always a good idea to examine how much money goes out the business. Just remember that cutting costs doesn’t have to mean reducing the quality of your work.

Preventing theft in the workplace

Security isn’t always about protecting your business from external forces. It’s estimated that 50 billion dollars is stolen every year by employees from US businesses alone. From heavier transgressions like embezzlement to lighter offenses like swiping office supplies, internal security is important. Even forging timesheets is a form of theft.

Don’t let your business be a victim of internal theft with these useful tips.

Access control

One of the best forms of security is quite simply knowing who goes where and when. While it sounds a bit like Big Brother, security access control systems are ideal for building-wide security.

If you can, use access cards instead of keys so a record can be kept of people’s movements. They can even be deactivated when reported missing and you can customise access control cards to limit access to specific doors by depending on the time of day or day of week.

CCTV surveillance

A simple way to prevent theft is simply to have eyes everywhere. Not only will surveillance help you get to the bottom of any discrepancies, but it will actually prevent misconduct in the first place. Even if there is only the chance of being watched, people usually behave as if being monitored constantly.

Cash register

It can be tempting to skim a bit off the top when working with a cash register. Implement a standard, clear policy that employees must follow at all times. For instance, count all the cash at the start of a shift and have the employee sign the register tape. The sales tape and cash in the drawer should always balance.  Ideally employees should work with a separate cash drawer.

If large amounts of cash move through the registers, you might want to install a surveillance camera.

Inventory control

Having unwanted hands in your stock results in a lot of loss of revenue. It’s estimated that shoplifting accounts for only 36 percent of inventory loss, while 43 percent is due to employee theft. Prevent this with careful records and checks. Conduct inventory checks regularly but also perform spot checks often.

Also, sometimes you just need to keep goods under lock and key. Make a call to your local locksmiths in Johannesburg South for a quote and how to best lockup your property.

By implementing the above tips and any others that are relevant to your particular business, you should be able to curb internal theft. Just don’t fall into the trap of complacency and think it won’t happen to your business.