As a small business owner, you’re always on the lookout for ways to maximize: your time, your business, your sales, your life. Below, Jamie Braddy of Parrot Bay Pools, shares her advice for doing just that. You can read more of her work on the AQUA site or on her website.
1. Know Your Numbers
I am overwhelmingly shocked by how many pool business owners do not know their profit and loss numbers. They have no idea what their No. 1 bestselling product is, much less their profit margin on each product they sell. You have to know these things — you can’t improve on what you don’t know. Make it a point to look at your numbers on a monthly basis. If you do, you will be surprised how much it will teach you.
2. Bundle Products
If you have a retail store, think of the items people typically purchase together, like algaecide and shock. Make a bundle package for it. Create a pop-up reminder in your software system that prompts your staff to ask if the customer has cleaned his/her salt cell lately. If they haven’t, sell them the salt cell cleaner. By bundling products and asking simple questions, you can easily boost sales by 5 to 10 percent.
3. Add Service
Do you only build pools? Then add service calls and maintenance. I know service is a headache, but that is what separates your store from Wal-Mart and Lowe’s. Not only can you clean their pool, you can also educate them about the in’s and out’s of their equipment. You can’t find that at a big box store.
4. Spend Funds on Education
Whether it’s consumer education like pool schools or education for your staff, it’s important for you to devote time and money to education. My retail staff is required to pass APSP’s retail service tests by mid-January. My hot tub tech has certification, CPOs etc. Customers like to know what separates you from Joe Blow down the street, so prove you’re better. Knowledge is power.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Exercise at least 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes every other day. As a business owner, I know it’s so hard to carve out time for yourself, but you need it. Sometimes, I am up early working and then by the end of the day I just want to sleep. But if I work out for just 20 minutes, I have two hours worth of energy afterwards to be more productive. That is powerful!
I can’t say it enough: If you don’t plan to succeed, you plan to fail! I sit down daily and write what needs to be done the next day. I plan things by the month, like sales goals for the company and employees, and long-term plans, like what my marketing plan will look like for the year.
You get the idea. Think ahead!
7. Take a Vacation
I knew you would like this one. Early on in my business, we were broke, I had two young kids and mounds of bills. I just wanted to hide. So go hide, take a vacation. It will put everything into perspective and you will come back rejuvenated. Do the problems go away? No, but they would be there even if you never left your business. Take some you time, especially if you work with your spouse. You need to remember what it is like to have life outside of working together.
8. Give Back
If you don’t already, set aside an amount for charity or sponsorships. Think you can’t afford it? Just remember, you will never become poor by giving. Plus, customers like doing business with people they trust, and what is more trustworthy than sponsoring local ball teams or charities? It will come back to you tenfold.
9. Turn off the TV
My husband will swear this is aimed at him, but TV is a huge time waster. You zone out and nothing productive gets done. Turn it off and you will be amazed how much extra time you have. Hey, look you have time to exercise!
This one is huge. You cannot create enough wealth with your own two hands. You must rely on people or you will work yourself to death. Don’t become a bottleneck where everything has to go through you. Give your employees some authority and see where they go with it. They just might surprise you.
11. Dive Into Social Media
If you are not advertising on the internet or through social media, I’m sorry, but you are officially living in the Stone Age. Wake up and smell the coffee. 1/3 of all people now find their spouse online. If they find a mate online, don’t you think they also find pools online? Of course they do. You are always complaining about internet pricing bringing your brick and mortar price down, but you don’t even take time to have a Facebook page. Shame on you! Make it a point to have all major social media up and running this year.
This post reprinted from Braddy's website.