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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best comments and advice from the forums.
Well, what a week. Let's start with the obvious: it looks like football isn't coming home yet. On the bright side, though, we have a team and manager we can actually be proud of, and I don't have to listen to any more renditions of 'Three Lions' from the pub next door.
Then there was the miraculous rescue of the Thai Wild Boars teenage football team, which felt like the first bit of good news we'd had in a long time. Check out atmosbob's imagined casting for the inevitable Hollywood film here.
Without further ado, here are this week's picks from the forums:
Noah, General Business
Noah’s currently “in a tussle” with a customer who damaged goods after accepting delivery. The damage occurred during the moving of stock, and the customer’s arguing that Noah’s company a) shouldn’t have left the stock where they did and b) packaged the stock incorrectly.
While the actual value of loss is fairly insignificant to both parties, it’s a matter of principle for the customer and the issue of setting a precedent and not allowing customers to take advantage for Noah.
“I am fairly confident that we’re in the right, but it struck me that our business is selling product, not being right. In this sort of case, we should just write off the loss and carry on, albeit with greater caution in handling this specific customer – and refresh a few lessons on delivery practices too.”
Haunted Worlds: If the goods were delivered and were in good condition upon delivery, the customer damaged them and therefore it is their issue not yours. Whether or not the goods were placed in the correct position or not, you were delivering them, not checking them off or merchandising the products.
Estwig: Having strong principles in business can be expensive, I've learned this the hard way. Equally expensive can be bending to the unreasonable requests of a client, especially if those requests disrupt a system you have.
Compromise is king, so take a hit on the damaged goods – it will show good will. Explain it is a one-off, freak occurrence and greater care will be taken in future, but your systems cannot be bent. If the client doesn't see this as reasonable, then do you want an unreasonable client? Perhaps not.
Gecko001: Not only does it show good will, if you actually state that the payment to the customer is a "goodwill gesture" in your correspondence that means in law that you do not accept that you are at fault.
Thehappyappy is getting worried that their business hasn’t made any money yet. Their site, which launched at the end of May, allows people to search for proteins and supplements and then buy directly from the seller at the best price.
They’ve spent around £50 on Facebook adverts and only made one sale, which didn’t come through Facebook.
Is there anything else they can do to help sales?
MBE2017: Success depends on out performing your competition – what extra value are you offering? As an example, writing an article on the importance of vitamin D with a link in the article is more likely to be used than a straight forward affiliate scheme.
Mr D: When you will make money? When the customers come beating down your door to get your product. How likely they are to do that is down to you. You spent £50 on Facebook adverts. There was a guy on another thread spending a couple of grand a month on Google ads. What other marketing have you been doing? A million websites started up since yours, how are you standing out?
Finleydesign: So you might need to step back a bit and reevaluate your business model and plan. If you sadly dived in with a "build it and they will come" plan then this is where you will fail, so start at the beginning:1. Why would they buy from you?2. What’s your marketing strategy (please don't say it's spend £50 on Facebook)?3. Consider your site’s layout. It's quite clean, but looks a bit American if that makes sense. There’s also a tonne of choice, which makes it look complex.4. What authority are you? Why should anyone believe you regarding comparisons or recommendations?5. Price – as above, product base tends to be led by price. How competitive are you?
Lankyshire, General Business
Lankyshire’s thinking of paying a weekly fee for the rental of a coffee machine for their shop. Coffee isn’t the main focus of the business and would make up additional sales – is renting a good solution or an expensive way to go?
Awinner2: It mainly depends on your coffee-based sales volume and margins (which should be high on coffee), plus the actual contract terms: contract length, are you tied to the company for supplies, the prices they will charge etc. Coffee machines are by nature complex and fail regularly!
Obscure: Please fully read and understand the contract now, rather than after you sign it and find out something is wrong. Pay special attention to the length of the deal, all the costs involved (do you have to buy supplies from them) and the specific termination clauses. If there is anything you don't like or understand, talk to a lawyer now, before you sign.
Wevet: Work out the whole life of the cost of renting a machine rather than buying. Renting always looks good at the outset, but way down the line you will look at a machine and think, "How many times over have my rental payments paid for this machine?”
Ali_SA, Sales, Marketing & PR
Ali_SA’s business runs summer tech camps and term time classes for kids, and he’s considering using billboards and buses for advertising. Has anyone tried this before and had any success?
Calvin Crane: I tend to think that stuff is for the big brands for brand awareness. If I saw your services on a side of a bus it would just seem weird. However, inside the bus on the TV would be okay. Just my 2p's worth.
ethicalPR: You may be better promoting it at a leisure centre or taking a stand at a shopping centre; places where your target audience hang out. Out of the two mediums, buses will probably work better. As always the quality of the message (design, call to action, copy) is as important as the medium.
Fisicx: There is a local after school club that covers all sorts of activities and they are always in the shopping centres promoting their classes. They have posters in supermarkets and in the local free sheets. Marketing is an iterative process – you need multiple impressions before people start to remember you.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Thank You for sharing this stuff!
After all said and done, not all businesses or websites need to worry about it. Most small businesses will not be affected right?