Originally published in the Globe and Mail.
For a while, the stamp card was the currency of customer rewards at Presotea Co. Ltd., a bubble tea retailer with 12 locations in the Greater Toronto Area. The system was simple: Card holders got an ink stamp for every bubble tea they bought and were rewarded with a free beverage after so many purchases.
But Presotea’s managers soon realized the stamp card system came with a host of problems and disadvantages. Earlier this year, the company switched to an electronic service that lets customers tap into the loyalty programs of multiple retailers using one digital card.
“It’s so much more efficient than the stamp card, which costs a lot of money for printing, stamps and ink, and we were finding that some staff were giving away stamped cards to their friends and family members,” says Ian Tan, Presotea’s sales and marketing manager.
“Also, we couldn’t really tell how well it was working because we had no way of tracking how many customers had the cards and how often they were coming back.”
You may have heard the phrase "cash is king." In small business, cash is not king; cash is air. Without it, the business cannot survive. It is its very lifeblood.
For small businesses to grow and prosper, cash must be forecast, monitored, and ideally enhanced. Big business methodologies have some value in small business, but the priorities, tools, and most importantly, attitudes are quite different.
Cash management in small business is more important than profitability. The two are certainly inter-related; however, positive cash flow is often much more important than net income. This webcast will teach you how to allocate more of your time to work on strategies and tactics for improving cash flow.
Effective cash management requires more than financial expertise. You certainly need accounting knowledge, but you also have to think and act like an entrepreneur.
The following article was originally published in The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, Feb. 05 2014, 5:00 AM EST.
To read the full version of this article, click here.
Long-life Laptop Battery the Tech Industry Doesn’t Want you to Have
Fed up with the dwindling battery life of his BlackBerry Bold 9000, Carleton University chemistry student Tim Sherstyuk took a straightforward problem to his electrical engineer dad, Nick: Could the two of them come up with the technology to make a standard lithium-ion battery last longer?
Lithium-ion batteries are the rechargeable life forces powering most portable consumer electronics. If you have a smartphone or laptop, there’s a good chance you’ve also dashed for a power outlet in a public space once your device reached its first birthday.
So, you have a great business idea, a great product or service, and now you’re ready to get financing and make your dream a reality.
…………Skreeeeek! Better put on the brakes. You need more than a great product or service. You also need customers or clients. The best product in the world won’t make you a dime, if nobody buys it.
How do you know if your product will sell at a high enough price and in sufficient volume to earn you a profit?
Competition is almost always an issue with every business. You want your customers to spend their money with you rather than with your competition. Don’t dismiss your competitors. Unless you really do “know it all”, you have to do your market research to write a good business plan. Check out the competition. What’s their niche? Why do their customers choose them? How do you know that your competition won’t get in your way? Even if you believe that you have a unique business, there will still be other businesses competing for your customers’ money.
You may think that your larger competitors won’t be worried by your small business. Don’t make that big mistake. The larger the competitor, the more detailed market statistics they can afford to track. If they see that they are losing business, the big companies’ market analysts will try to find out why.