home office

At the end of the day, business is about cash flow.  If you happened to look at this month’s Fortune magazine, they published a large article about how poorly brick-and-mortar stores have been achieving this goal.

Here are a few ways to avoid being the part of next class of under-performers (Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sear, J.C. Penney’s, etc).  Even with spending increasing by 4% for the holidays in 2016, you wouldn’t have known it by seeing the ever decreasing revenues for department stores.

Where’s the delta? It’s online! If you want to keep your doors open, that’s where you’ll have to be.

Get your shopping cart online.

Why?  Take this fact for instance: In 1999, stores made $230 billion in-store sales.  Last year’s sales figures were MUCH lower at $155.5 billion. No, there hasn’t been a mass exodus of people leaving our country.  In fact, we have 44 million more people than we did in 1999.

Let’s take the math even farther.  That will bring per capita sales from $824 dollars per person each year, down to $481 dollars per person. The Money is ONLINE!  It would only be wise to follow this trend.

Small companies are not left out of the equation as there are simple and cheap solutions for getting online, such as WooCommerce.  There services will provide you an eCommerce platform, where Paypal (the pioneer of Fintech) will be your best friend.  It’s important to consider your payment solutions in any eCommerce business, as well.

The usage of SquareSpace would be recommended in order to design your website, mostly for ease of use.

You can have all of that for as little as $26 a month, plus 2.9% of sales.  For further explanation on their fee structure, click here.

During the course of your due diligence, beware PayPal vendor fees.

Have exciting new offers regularly

Discounts build businesses and exciting new offers are one avenue to this approach. I, for one, am avidly scrolling through my promotions tab in Gmail for that sale I’ve been waiting for.

If you’re consistent in this approach, your competition will notice.  Launching a full court press on social media will surely flow to your bottom line.  Just as you need to innovate in your business, you’ll have to do so in your new offer game.

American business, which is now synonymous with global business, never cease to amaze us.  They are constantly leading the trends by reinventing themselves in order to survive.  Those who don’t will be left in the dust.  We must leverage history as best we can to anticipate the future.

As the great Tony Robbins says “Losers react, winners anticipate.”

Discounter’s like H&M’s are a perfect example of this.  Their “fast fashion” model are credited with their success. In not so many words, the company in the business of moving inventory from the design from and off the retail floor as quickly as possible.  This requires on point marketing and the ability to recognize fashion trends, which believe it or not every company is doing.

Exciting new offers could mean different things to different business if left undefined.  Simply put, it means new products, new styles, new changes, and in smaller quantities.

As Edited.com describes in a write up from 2015,  companies like H&M and Zara are successful for these 5 reasons:

  1. Constant levels of new product
  2. Clear strategy around discounting
  3. Focus on core customers
  4. Consistency in price architecture
  5. Communicating their brand’s identity

These reasons are relevant to any business you may find yourself into.  It’s advice that sounds like the online business guru’s we all know and love.

Niche the HECK out of a market.

What do dentist’s and bowties have in common? More than you think! Let’s start with dentists…

Dental Advisers

This financial planning network works almost exclusively with dentists.  While running a financial planning office, Reese Harper moved into a neighborhood where he befriended a dentist.

After learning some details of his friends business, he realized that niche could use specific attention to detail.  As noted in the article, “if a financial adviser doesn’t understand how a dental practice works, how would he put together a retirement plan for a dentist.”

After deciding to specialize in that niche, he is uniquely qualified to advise someone in that industry in a way that most cannot.

Their podcasts and marketing materials are geared toward how this niche specifically can save for retirement.

Other examples…

One teen loved bow-ties so much that he turned it into his own niche site. Gourmet bow-ties?  This is truly unique!

Bill Lepp is a minister with a hobby for telling stories.  After winning 5 storytelling competitions in West Virgina, he made a career out of it. He travels all over the world telling stories, signing for his fans, and storytelling competitions.

Becoming an expert in your niche is not as hard as you think.  Don’t be afraid to try something your not qualified for.  It may just be the learning experience of a lifetime.  If you read 3-4 books, attend a few seminars, and take a genuine interest in what your doing, you’ll be far ahead of most people out there.

Don’t forget to get involved in the cause of your niche.  That will allow you to connect with other influencers in a non-business environment, where their state of mind may be different than the everyday hustle and bustle.

As I’ve heard it said, “The riches are in the niches.”

Build a Cult of Raving Fans

Why? A cult of raving fans gives free marketing.  They are the ultimate return customers.  In the online space, creating a valuable email list is necessary to building such a following.  Email also makes it easier for followers can easily share your content.

Most of all, it allows you to ask your followers what you want BEFORE you create it.  That is a privilege most businesses in history have not had the advantage of doing.

For instance, let’s say you have an email list of 10,000 subscribers.  Rather than creating a product you think they might enjoy and hope for sales, you can present it to them through a free webinar.  Amy Porterfield has plenty of content on webinars and is a leading voice on the issue.  Remember, raving fans = dollars in your pocket.

Of course, we aren’t getting weird on you.  Creating a “cult” is tongue and cheek.  What we are really talking about is a community.  There is power in numbers and even more so in an engaged audience.

Take FinCon for a second, it’s sense of family and openness makes it easier for someone to come back.  I even met some people there that had nothing to do with producing financial content.  They just enjoyed the experience.  That’s to say FinCon is creating raving fans that don’t even fit into their niche! I’d call that a success story.

How about Comicon?  All they did was take something everyone loved and created an environment for them to connect.  During their event, it’s hard to miss on social media.

The moral of the story is that you must learn from history and do your best to anticipate trends others will buy into . To be successful in 2017, business’s need to leverage the internet, as well as new age marketing strategies relating to one community.

Eric Estevez is a freelance writer, blogger, finance coach, and tax accountant. He has been training in the grappling art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2010, currently holding the rank of Purple Belt. JiuJitsuFinance.com combines his passion and life's work where he teaches you how to do Financial Jiu-Jitsu! The blog focuses on financial literacy, as well as current financial issues for all ages.

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