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by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author's program note. If your neighborhood is like mine, you've got more immediate problems than immediate solutions. You're running a business and need more cash yesterday than is coming in today. You've got two choices: whine, complain, bemoan, and just roll over and die... or learn the essential lesson of how you get your business through difficult times by doing EVERYTHING you can to raise cash and keep your ship floating until better times roll in... as in due course they will.
To put you in the mood for the blunt message that follows, I've selected the unmatchable music and message of "Some People"; Mama Rose's soaring, gritty, determined tune from the great musical "Gypsy" (1959). Turn up the music, which you can find at any search engine, and imbibe... 'cause this baby is going straight to your brain... and your resolution, commitment, and determination are about to surge! Meet Michael Bisceglia, a man with a solution.
Michael Bisceglia is a jeweler, specifically an online jeweler, and that means, in this fall of 2011, that he's got problems. When a bearish economy blights the land, folks have other needs for their limited cash than buying bling... and this hurts Stauer... which hurts Michael. Now what?
Bisceglia has a survivor's outlook... that today must be taken care of... if there is to be a better tomorrow. To get through today, Bisceglia is trying something that most people don't know and wouldn't do even if they could: trying an audacious strategy that needed to be bold... because Bisceglia's business is bad... Here's how it works:
He selects an attractive item from stock, like a $179 pearl necklace or a $249 amethyst necklace, and GIVES IT AWAY so long as the customer pays the $24.95 shipping costs.
That's right, Bisceglia gives away a "thing of beauty is a joy forever". He's crazy, right? And what's the catch? In fact, Bisceglia is crazy like a fox... and there is absolutely no catch. That's because he is approaching business salvation and growth from a new direction. He looks upon these special promotions as a means of acquiring crucial new customers... and he KNOWS that fully 1/3 of them will buy from him in the future at full price... and thus swell his coffers.
Because he's done this unbeatable offer before, he's got a good idea of what his results will be and, thus, approaches the next promotion with serenity. But this most assuredly was not the case the first time he did this. He could conjecture... he could surmise... he could deduce... but he didn't know. And that's why Biscegia is a successful entrepreneur and survivor... because he knew when he was in trouble, brainstormed his options, did his homework, made his educated guess... and then went forward, even if he was privately sweating.
The first of his unprecedented promotions was a winner... and came to validate his audacity:
"In this economy, you have to be outrageous in your offers." Amen.
"Everybody's doin' it, doin' it."
The last time this phrase made a public appearance, it was part of a "brand-new" dance called The Turkey Trot, back in 1900. Now they refer to the deep discounts which have come to characterize this year of grace, discounts retailers are giving; not, let's remember, because they like to, but because they feel they must given the persistent rotten economy, a cocktail composed of stubborn high unemployment, stock market turmoil, and an overall fragile U.S. economy. And this... a recent Gallup poll found that eight of 10 Americans think the country is already deep in a second recession and are cutting back accordingly.
What's more you can count on more of the same as the 2011 holiday sales season gets fully underway. This season is sure to see savage price-cutting by major retailers, eager to rack up profits, no matter how meager. There will be selected deep discount items to get you into stores... and bigger discounts once you get there.
And, of course, hanging over every discounted price and incentive there will be that shopper's heaven, the 'net with prices and deals designed to motivate even the most penny pinching. Whether you're in the business of selling to folks online or off, what's happening is about you. But are you conscious of these facts and the need to take the boldest of actions as early as possible? Here are some ideas that'll help:
1) Make a point of collecting the offers people in your field are making. By paying attention to what others are doing (even if they're holding their noses when doing it) you can begin the crucial maneuver of out positioning even the most savvy marketers.
2) Be aware, too, of the offers folks in any other field are offering. See if any of these offers can be transformed into motivation you can offer your customers. ALL marketers, in the name of satisfied customers of course, are Peeping Toms when it comes to scouting the best offers... then adapting them for immediate use, motivation -- and profits.
3) Start a blog and run ads to your list every single day. Blogs work when you've got interesting content... because, then, you can piggy-back your offers without fear your customers will unsubscribe your list. The more interesting the content, the less likely an unsubscribe. And where do you find such copy? jeffreylantarticles.com is one superb place.
4) Use a loss leader like Michael Bisceglia (though yours may not be as beautiful). Remember, most people believe we're mired in a second recession (we're not), but perception is reality... and so if this is a proven way of getting new customers, use it. Your objective is to get through the malaise to prosper on the other side. Far too many business people made the crucial mistake of trying to sustain profits at pre-recession levels, when that wasn't possible or realistic... and they paid the price with an "out of business" poster on the door.
The good news: there is still profit out there!
Despite the challenging environment, revenue in November and December is expected to rise about 3 percent from those months last year. Such an increase -- below last year's 5.2 percent spike over 2009 -- would be above the 2.6 percent average gain during the last 10 years.... but this is still money in your pocket... and more importantly, the opportunity to make more when the gloom rises and happy days are here again.
I know Michael Bisceglia of Stauer will be amongst that number; he's proven his understanding and willingness to do EVERYTHING it takes to be tough, taut, and thoroughly prepared. Now what about you?
Have you already given up the ghost; thrown in the towel; brainstorming how you can live on Social Security and prune your lifestyle accordingly? If you've fitted out your coffin, all that's left is to get in.
But that's not really what you want, is it? It was certainly not what Mamma Rose wanted. When her father wouldn't give her a few bucks, she took the solid gold award he had been given for a lifetime of service on the railroad and pawned it... She was determined to do what was necessary. Are you?
About the Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc. , providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. What do you think? We invite your comments below. http://www.CyberWealthZone.com/?rd=lu9mWg47 Republished with author's permission by Italia or Linda Elze http://CyberWealthZone.com
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