#Immediacy on speech making

Try to be realistic and unemotional in this decision. If you are ...

Try to be realistic and unemotional in this decision. If you are going to cut your losses, the quicker you do it the better, so that you can salvage as much as possible for a fresh start in some other queue. On the other hand, if you still make a reasonable profit at present prices, then you can turn your attention to the other alternative increasing sales volume. Some of the ideas discussed in the rest of this section may seem more appropriate to a 'selling' business than to 'making' or 'service' but, whatever your business, think hard about all the ideas in this section to see which could be applied to your business.

This applies also even if you do increase prices, because increasing sales volume is the only long-term road to growth. Increasing existing sales The first step towards increasing sales volume is to take a systematic look at how you can increase sales of existing products or services through existing outlets using the existing organization. Changes in this area are unlikely to be expensive and can probably be introduced quickly. What can you do to make people buy more? Can you change the quality and price? moving either up or down market? Can you extend the range to please more people? Can you narrow the range and reduce the price? Can you redesign the packaging to make it more attractive? 'Packaging' applies not only to 'selling' businesses.

A furniture-removal firm based near my home recently repainted their vans in a bright colour with their name printed boldly across the side. At the same time, their removal men were supplied with T-shirts in the same colour also printed with the name.

They make quite a striking ensemble which people are likely to remember. The high-street multiples Boots, Marks and Spencer, W.H. Smith, Gap etc. frequently enlarge the size of their sales outlets, both horizontally and vertically, and sometimes more than once. This allows them to show more wares and pack more customers Have you any opportunity to do this? Even if you can't enlarge the building, can you rearrange the layout to cope with more customers? Would it help even if you gave the place a lick of paint to freshen it up? Take a busman's holiday and spend a few hours going round a number of stores in the same queue of business as yours.

Take a critical look at the sales assistants. Observe their appearance, manner, initial approach to customers and speed of service. Go back to your own business and try to see it through the eyes of a new customer. Be honest with yourself, and see what you can learn from this exercise.

Is the general attitude of the sales staff better in any of the stores you visited? Do any of your assistants need a bit of refresher training? Are any quite plainly unsuited to the job? What incentives do you offer to attract good salespeople? Do you pay more/less/the same as other local businesses? Once engaged, what training do you give them? Is the quality of your goods or service such that, they can take a pride in their work? How much supervision do they get? What on-going incentives do you give your staff to inspire them to keep on doing their best commission, bonus, profit-sharing, partnership, or what? To what extent do you rely on your own personality and the example you set? What measures do you take to assess the effectiveness of whatever incentives you use? Increase sales outlets The second step towards increasing sales volume is to see how you can increase the market for your goods or services.

The ideas under this heading tend to need capital and will probably take longer to implement. Is there scope for opening new branches within your existing sales territory? Are suitable premises available and could you raise the money? Have you enough experienced and trustworthy people to staff the new branches, replacing them with new staff at .existing locations? How would your competitors react to such a move? Would any of your competitors be amenable to a takeover offer, eg because of age or ill-health? Are they worth taking over? How much would they expect to be paid? Could you find the money or could you arrange a phased payment? Do you want to keep the existing staff or would you rather put in your own people? Does this cause a redundancy problem? What would this add to the cost? If you feel that your existing sales territory offers little scope for new outlets, what about breaking into new territory? Usually this entails a study of several adjoining territories, assessing the total market in each and how it is distributed among the existing businesses, using the methods described in section 3. How do these compare with your existing territory? Should one or more of these new territories look attractive, then you begin the process of scouting around for new branch premises and/or considering a takeover bid for one of the existing firms. The further away from home you go, the more appealing the takeover may seem, since it saves you the time and cost of building up a new clientele, but don't allow this to cloud your judgement. The further away you go, the less effective your 'grapevine'. Consequently you must do your research that much more thoroughly to guard against unpleasant surprises.

Remember too that the further away the new branch is from your base, the more time you will spend travelling and the more money you will spend on telephones and transport. You will also need a higher-calibre branch manager who can operate without close supervision and must be compensated accordingly. Adopt new selling methods In theory, selling methods are chosen to suit the type of customer and the class of market.. In practice, the dominant factor is often the personality of the entrepreneur who, in the beginning, is often, a one-man band.

There is nothing wrongs with that, provided you are aware of it. After all, unless you feel comfortable with your goods or services, the customers and the method of selling, you-are unlikely to be very successful.

And you didn't start a business with the object of being unsuccessful' ...

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The latter is often just a glorified name for regular weekly online ...

The latter is often just a glorified name for regular weekly online advertising in the local and trade press; backed up by the occasional 'special offer' or a seaso... read more

Does it make them feel good? Does it provide an easier or ...

Does it make them feel good? Does it provide an easier or better way of doing something? Does it enable them to do something they couldn't do before? Does it allow them to avoid doing s