Small Business Marketing: Overtaking Your Competitors

Written by Ben Botes

Continued from page 1

Businesses can set different profit rates, for example 15% profit on supplies and materials, 20% profit on labour/time, and 25% profit on overhead. These more complicated approaches to pricing usually emerge in response torepparttar special needs of a particular business.

If your research reveals that similar products or services are available onrepparttar 150479 market at a cost much lower than what you could offer, you may have to either adjust your profit margin,repparttar 150480 return you expect, or decide to provide enough specialized service or selection thatrepparttar 150481 market will payrepparttar 150482 extra. Alternatively, you may be forced to conclude that you cannot afford to make this item or provide this service and look for something else to do.

NOTE: Remember to cost materials atrepparttar 150483 level it costs to replace them - NOT at original prices; include salaries as a business expense; include interest in your business cost calculations -- interest that could have been accrued hadrepparttar 150484 money used inrepparttar 150485 company been invested elsewhere (i.e. a bank); make allowances for future refunds, servicing, bad debts, amortization of capital costs of equipment or machinery.

"Rules of Thumb" in Setting Prices Some types of businesses charge prices according to certain "rules of thumb": For example: price is always twice labour plus materials, or twice materials plus labour depending on which is higher; price is always materials and labour plus 20% for fixed costs, plus 25% for profits.

Calculating actual costs isrepparttar 150486 only proven way to make sure your prices cover your costs. Labour/time charges are to be covered partly inrepparttar 150487 costs of production and partly as a salary inrepparttar 150488 fixed/operating or overhead costs.

In summary, key points to consider in setting prices are: marketing strategy and your immediate goals competitors' prices, andrepparttar 150489 market market demand forrepparttar 150490 product and consumer buying trends need to cover costs and provide an adequate profit.

Step 2 Build a profile of your competitors

Ask yourself what products and services they offer. Do they overlap with yours? What customer needs and wants are they satisfying? What is their unique selling proposition? How do they position themselves? Are theyrepparttar 150491 Savoy or a McDonald’s? Is their mind-set corner shop, high street franchise or old establishment? Are they exclusive and high-priced or a dime-a-dozen? Are they as passionate and knowledgeable as you? How do they market themselves? Where do they advertise? What sales channels do they use – retail, direct mail, Internet, wholesale? What is their sales literature like? How good are their employees? Should you be considering enticing them over to you? Are they growing, level pegging or declining? If so, why? Userepparttar 150492 Internet to get hold of credit reports on them. Find out how many employees they have, and what they do.

Step 3 Develop a strategy

Develop a strategy through which you can stand out fromrepparttar 150493 rest. Two effective strategies are:

Specialization, differentiation, segmentation, concentration

Specialization is your area of excellence or core business. Differentiation is your competitive advantage, i.e.repparttar 150494 reason why customers buyrepparttar 150495 product or service from you. Segmentation involves identifying your customers or market niche. Concentration means focusing allrepparttar 150496 resources ofrepparttar 150497 business, hitting your market niche with your competitive advantage in your area of excellence. Many of us start out believing that business is about selling rubbish products to idiots who do not really need or want them, but are still persuaded to buy them at prices they certainly cannot afford. Apparently, this is notrepparttar 150498 case. If we believe inrepparttar 150499 free enterprise market system, then we believe, and a great deal of evidence suggests, that in order to run a successful business we must concentrate all our forces, hitting our market segment with our competitive advantage in our area of excellence.

Specialization Which product or service would you like to produce and sell? In which area of human activity would you like to improverepparttar 150500 lives of other people? To which area of human improvement can you bring excitement and enthusiasm? What is your area of excellence? What is your core business? For which product or service are you prepared to be a product champion? What would you love to do to improverepparttar 150501 lives of others for 16 hours each day, even if you received no financial reward? What is it that makes you feel valuable and worthwhile? Remember there is a strong relationship between high self-esteem and peak performance. The more you love doing something,repparttar 150502 greater will be your success. All successful businesses specialize in their areas of excellence. Many unsuccessful people drift into areas where they do not haverepparttar 150503 excitement, enthusiasm, energy, knowledge, etc., to establish competitive advantage and find their market segment.

Step 4 Regular SWOT

Conduct a regular SWOT analysis of your competitors to ensure that you stay ahead.

What are your competitors' Main Strengths

Main weaknesses - where are they vulnerable and how can you take advantage?

Which opportunities can you identify?

Does your competitor pose a threat to you, and how will you overcome it?

Ben Botes MSc. MBA, is an Entrepreneur, Speaker, Writer, Coach and academic. He is the founder of and the Co-founder of South African Business Hubs, Business support Hubs and incubators for the new breed of South African Entrepreneurs. Join the Reseller Program and earn 40% referral commission

Marketing Hat For Graphic Designers Or Wannabe’s

Written by Joy Gendusa

Continued from page 1

Chapter 2: Researchrepparttar Target Market

Research can be as in depth as actually phoning some ofrepparttar 150478 people inrepparttar 150479 target market and conducting surveys, or it is often as simple as talking to your client about his experiences with past customers. Start withrepparttar 150480 easiest action and survey your client. Here are some good questions to ask:

1. What do your top five customers have in common?

By this I mean, what do your top five customers' orders have in common. Do they all purchase a certain add on? Is there a service that none of them take advantage of? This will help tell you what a "good customer" actually is to that client.

2. What isrepparttar 150481 most-often-stated benefit of your service?

Is it product? Is it service? Is it price? Ask them, they know and you need to know for obvious reasons.

3. What do they think isrepparttar 150482 most beneficial part of their service to their customer?

Many companies have already donerepparttar 150483 research, or have been doing it long enough to just give yourepparttar 150484 information out right.

It is not always obvious what is going to berepparttar 150485 benefit that is going to pullrepparttar 150486 most response. Use your three assets (Reasoning, Experience and Research) to get as close as possible. As time goes on you will build up your experience, but inrepparttar 150487 beginning you will need to rely more heavily on your Reasoning and Research. Andrepparttar 150488 easiest and fastest thing you can do is to “BE”repparttar 150489 target market.

Now back torepparttar 150490 targeted family that we want to refinance their home. Pretend you are a family man or woman with a household income ofrepparttar 150491 $75k with revolving debt of $15K and you’ve got two kids! Kids can be pretty expensive. So, why would you like to refinance?

Chapter 3: You Wantrepparttar 150492 Customer to do WHAT?

Since you've now figured out whatrepparttar 150493 customer needs to hear to be interested, next you need to figure out what it is you want from them. What are you trying to accomplish? Sometimes it is as simple as getting them to go to your website for more information. Other times you are looking for them to pick uprepparttar 150494 phone and actually place an order. Whatever it is that you want them to do you need to state it clearly onrepparttar 150495 promo piece.

For example, if you want them to call and talk to a representative,repparttar 150496 card should very clearly say "Call today and speak to one of our representatives for more details." This simple statement tellsrepparttar 150497 customer exactly what you want them to do. It even tells them when to call - "today". Believe it or not, people like to be told exactly what to do in advertising. You should make it easy as possible to makerepparttar 150498 requested action. The more your prospects have to think,repparttar 150499 less likely they are to actually act.

Another key part ofrepparttar 150500 call to action is supplyingrepparttar 150501 proper accompanying information along withrepparttar 150502 request. In this case,repparttar 150503 phone number should be prominent and berepparttar 150504 closest element to your call to action. Common sense would seem to tell you that as long asrepparttar 150505 phone number is somewhere onrepparttar 150506 promo they will find it and give you a call. The reality is that ifrepparttar 150507 number isn't right there for them to see, your response rate will drop considerably.

Make sure thatrepparttar 150508 call to action is bold and easy to understand. And keep any important contact information in close proximity torepparttar 150509 call to action.

These arerepparttar 150510 three most important steps that a graphic designer needs to take to make a piece that will be aesthetic and pull atrepparttar 150511 same time. Pull = a call, a walk-in, a buy, a response – all for more money in their door. Which, byrepparttar 150512 way, gets you remunerated for your services and is actually your exchange for a job well done. Their customers buying means your customers are pleased and wanting more of your services. And it’s a happier, prospering world.

Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998, her only assets a computer and a phone. By 2004 the company did $9 million in sales and employed over 60 people. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. Visit

    <Back to Page 1 © 2005
Terms of Use