#Immediacy on speech making

Moreover, each individual order may be of much greater value and require ...

Moreover, each individual order may be of much greater value and require more effort to secure. Similar factors may apply when selling to government departments or public corporations. There is also a greater likelihood of having to tender for a product specified by the customer rather than selling one's own branded product; packaging becomes utilitarian rather than possessing customer appeal- One may also have to submit samples or permit inspection before despatch.

Contracts may be for very large quantities phased over a period of time. Cost inflation can erode future profits from such contracts, unless provision is made for price-escalation; fixed-price contracts should be treated with caution. Local and regional authorities occupy an intermediate position between the two categories. The larger authorities may use tendering and inspection procedures similar to those of government departments, since their purchases, are on a similar scale.

The small authorities behave more like private-sector companies. Some authorities are very wary about laying themselves open to charges of bribery and corruption, which sometimes makes it difficult to establish personal relations with purchasing officers. On the other hand, most council�s are anxious to encourage local enterprises, provided this incurs no extra cost for the ratepayer.

Another point which must be considered is whether your 'customer' is the ultimate consumer or a middleman.

Do you sell your products to a retailer or wholesaler who, in turn, sells them to the consumer? Are you a subcontractor, providing only part of the final product? Are you paid by some agency to provide a service to a third party? If your business is of this nature, with no direct contact, you must find some means of getting 'feedback' from the ultimate consumer. What are their real needs? What do they really think of the goods or service you provide? This information may be obtained by market research, by consumer surveys, by reports from sales persons or service engineers, or by a combination of these. It is dangerous to rely solely upon the information you get from the middleman since, by ignorance or design, this may be misleading. Analysis of customers Certain quantitative information about customers is useful but may not be available in all businesses Once again, some ingenuity may be needed to produce what is wanted, or at least a reasonable approximation.

Ingenuity may also be required in making the best use of whatever figures are available In the first place, if you cater for more than one type of customer, as described in the previous section, it is useful to know what volume of sales is made to each type. If your website-keeping system does not produce this easily, it may be possible to pick out the figures from the invoices for a recent period to give a 'snapshot' view. Next, we want to know the number of customers and whether the trend is up or down. There are various ways this can be defined and measured and we suggest you choose the method which requires least extra effort, provided it seems appropriate for your business and allows you to measure the trend.

For instance, if you have a relatively small number of large customers, it should be simple to pick out the number of 'active' customers each month from invoice files, sales ledger or computer records. By 'active', we mean customers who bought something during the period in question.. If you have a retail business with a till, the latter may record the number of transactions each day.

A logical follow-on froth the above is a calculation of the average sale per customer, found by dividing total sales by the number of 'active' customers for the same period. The trends for the above figures will reveal how rapidly your 'customer base' is growing or otherwise and whether your unit sales are keeping up with inflation.

Related to the above is the repeat business ratio, in other words how much of your trade arises from old customers coming back and how much from new customers Of course in some businesses this is almost irrelevant because the time cycle is so long, eg furniture removers, Even here, however, there is an indirect assessment by recording which new customers come through personal recommendation.

In other cases eg retail trade. it may seem impossible to measure. ...

In other cases eg retail trade.

it may seem impossible to measure. Nevertheless, if the business is small enough for you to know most of your regular customers by si... read more

He was a very go-ahead fellow and eventually he accounted for nearly ...

He was a very go-ahead fellow and eventually he accounted for nearly half my trade. Then one Friday he calmly told me that from Monday morning he'd be doing all hi... read more

In most businesses, however, there are other figures which are important for ...

In most businesses, however, there are other figures which are important for judging how well things are going.

Some examples of controls are given below. 'I'm Alex and I oper