I’m been running a business (or helping run) for the last 15 plus years. My viewpoints are different than many others but here are 10 things I’d thought I’d share that I’ve noticed in the last few years.
1. In the US the “baby boomers” are the biggest portion of our population and they are getting old. They are in their mid 60’s and they are a special category. They expect full service and cheap prices. They are a tough demographic to make happy but there is big money to be made in the areas they HAVE to have, especially healthcare. They are also the only ones buying PT Cruisers.
2. A good buy is NOT a good sell if you can’t sell it. Price is only important in determining whether or not you can get your margins out of it at the price you paid. I never worry about the price I pay until AFTER I figure out how much I think I can sell it for. Once I determine that price it’s then I try and get the best price I can for the product.
3. Customers don’t notice a lot of the little things you have problems with. I get upset about how things look or various other little things and 9 times out of ten the customer never even notices. They are more interested in the product, the service and the ease of navigation in the store or website. I’m not saying don’t pay attention to the details but sometimes we owners get bogged down in things that bother us personally and fail to focus on the big picture.
4. On the flip side. You need to have someone else take a look at things. If you look at the same store or website each and every day you start to miss things. Its the reason you have someone else proofread a paper and why you can’t tell colleagues you work with each day have lost weight. You see them every day and after looking at something hundreds of times it all starts to become one big picture instead a collection of things.
5. It’s unbelievable how many people come and use the loss leader coupons and don’t buy anything else. The hot trend is groupon and deal of the day type stuff. We track our coupons and find that the coupons that are super great deals actually draw in the cheap people who get their stuff and leave. The add on sales decrease the closer we come to losing money. Most businesses believe the hard part is just getting them to the store or website and once there they will convert. Could be true or you may just lose money.
6. You don’t pay the bills, your customers do. We business owners act like we pay everyone but the reality is your customers are paying everything and hopefully you get to take a little off the top. If you think in this manner you are more likely to respect the value of your customer a little more
7. You need to get away. I don’t practice what I preach but I think it is so valuable to let all employees step away and take multiple vacations. It will make them a better employee. Working hard is taxing both mentally and physically. If you are going to do it for the long term, enjoy your job, and keep the ideas fresh, one needs to think about other things for a little bit.
8. Insurance across the board needs an overhaul. We business owners aren’t making less or no money because of the economy, we’re getting killed because health insurance, workman’s comp, and corporate insurance rates are out of control. I am not for government regulation but something has to be done.
9. Property of all kinds is starting to pick up steam. From land, to homes, to domains, prices are gaining. More importantly, I’m seeing liquidity on a local level and reading about it on a national level. It’s always a good time to start flipping when things are on the rise.
10. Be wary of incorporating in a state that has large debt. They are going to try and extract it from the wealthy and from business. Illinois and California businesses are getting hit hard and lottery or privatization of state revenue sources is going to make up the difference