Having written more than 100 articles for Draperies & Window Coverings magazine and other trade publications, longtime readers know the principles I believe in. You know the numbers-based management ideas I share. Now it’s your turn.
Readers want to hear your ideas as a colleague. We all learn more from a peer who has actually made an idea work. Somewhere, someone has a great idea none of us have thought about. One executive once said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” So now, let’s prove it by sharing.
Here is what I need from you: Send me your idea that has to do with marketing for appointments, or a sales technique, or hiring and managing salespeople. Readers welcome ideas about planning and budgeting, goal setting, how to take control of their business, how you balance personal and business lifestyles. And, most of all, how to get more appointments and close more sales without discounting.
So, tell us your great idea to build sales. The Top 10 ideas will earn a certificate and a free book.
FOCUS ON BUSINESS GROWTH
What this column does not want are ideas you think may be great, but have not been proven; ideas on how to buy better, how to manage inventory, or bookkeeping tips. In other words, let’s focus on proven ideas for the front side of the business, not operations, buying, installing and all the other critical things necessary after you close a sale. Instead, let’s focus on growth.
When I receive your ideas I will publish it in this column and recognize you as the source. (Of course, we will keep your name confidential at your request.) I will rate all ideas and publish every interesting entry. The Top 10 ideas will receive a certificate affirming your innovation as one of the “Top 10 Business Building Ideas” by Draperies & Window Coverings magazine’s Managing for Money. You will also receive a free copy of my book “Bootstrap Entrepreneur.”
Just send your idea by e-mail with your full contact information, so I can call you if there is a question. Entries close June 1. Publication will be in the August or September issue. Simply e-mail your great business building idea to firstname.lastname@example.org
TELL US YOUR BUSINESS SEGMENT
Help other owners understand how your idea might work for them by including your type of business. Here are business segments in our industry. These sales levels relate to a balanced business with at least 40 percent draperies and soft products. If you sell blinds only, you may add $100,000 in sales to most levels, but useable gross profit will likely be no greater.
• Personal Business, under $100,000 sales: usually workrooms, free lance designers and new persons entering business. This is a common level for 60 to 80 percent of all businesses in our industry.
• Growing Personal Business, $100,000 to $250,000: usually supplementary income earners balancing family and business to make money in a career they love. This is an ideal level for caregivers with children, a full time activity of its own.
• Advanced Personal Business, $250,000 to $500,000: this is a full-time business for one person and may include a half-time administrative assistant. This is one of the most profitable sales levels with no rent and low overhead (and one of the least profitable if you have a store).
• Managed Business, entry level, $500,000 to $750,000: this is a beginning managed business that can be highly profitable (over $200,000 a year net personal income) with no store location, one administrative paperwork person and a part-time decorator salesperson.
• Sales Managed Business, $750,000 to $1.5 million: one of the most dangerous levels for a window coverings business. This is where the owner transitions from personal management to sales management with two to four sales consultants and high overhead.
• Executive Managed Business, $1.5 million to $5 million and higher: the Mt. Everest of window coverings sales. Only a few hardy and determined souls scale this peak. If you are there, tell us how you did it.
Of course, in real life, nothing is so clear cut as these descriptions. Real transition points are more ragged and imperfect, but these segments are a good model for businesses common to our industry.
TELL US YOUR IDEA TO BUILD BUSINESS
This is important! Readers want to hear from you. If you are past your first year, someone helped you with a good idea when you needed it. The way to thank them is to pass on your good idea to someone else. As a professional, it is your obligation to raise the industry that has been so good to you. Or, as they say on the NBC TV show, “My name is Earl,” good karma will bring you good things in life.
Here is your chance to do some good. Please share your idea and receive the recognition you deserve. Best wishes for a great spring season. Good karma will make it happen!
This article is based on Steven C. Bursten’s actual experience with sales and financial information working with hundreds of window coverings businesses. Whether you are a sole manager who aspires to higher sales, or you manage 50 window fashion decorators in a multi-million dollar business, this series will help you manage sales better and increase your profitability. Bursten is the retired founder of Decorating Den Interiors and author of a how-to book on new business start up, “Bootstrap Entrepreneur,” and is a leading expert in window coverings marketing, sales systems and sales management through his company, custEmers.com. Questions and comments welcome: email@example.com or call (888) 333-8981.