You have no doubt read a lot of tips concerning how to survive in a down economy. I don’t know about you, but frankly I’m not satisfied with survival. I’m after prospering during these times, not just surviving… and by the way, I want my customers to prosper too!
Here are three key principles that Nashville Wraps is using to survive and prosper during these times. See how they can help your business.
Cast a wider net.
I grew up fishing a lot with my dad. He always caught the most fish. His secret little trick was to keep the bait moving slightly. He covered more area and picked up more fish as a result. Sales and marketing is a lot like fishing; when the fish are thinner you need to cast a wider net, cover more area, offer more bait, etc.
Nashville Wraps is offering a wider array of goods and services and will continue this strategy throughout the year and into the future. You may have already noticed some of this in our new 2009 catalog. We are offering many more colors and sizes of paper gift bags and paper merchandise bags as an example. Recently we just launched a huge selection of factory direct gift wrap paper. It is all about casting a wider net.
Look at everything.
When business is good it is often just a struggle to keep up with your customers and top line opportunities. When business gets slower, we can take the opportunity to look deeper and reinvent our businesses for the better. Better for the slow times, and on the up side, much better for the future.
In our case we are looking at how we can better serve the needs of our customers and how we can be a more efficient company in the process. Efficiency directly relates to costs and everyone is about eliminating unnecessary expense. We have implemented several internal routines that eliminate handling, avoid paperwork, or allow software to work for us, and we have a long list of more things like this. We are not intending to eliminate jobs, but to better utilize people in more efficient and productive ways.
Another way to reduce costs is recycling. In 2008 Nashville Wraps began a company-wide campaign promoting recycling paper, plastics and metals. Today as a direct result we have collected over 1,000 cubic yards of materials for recycling and eliminated about 1.5 cubic yards of trash each day. We had two dumpsters and now we only need one… and now we are only paying for one!
Tough one… It is human nature not to want criticism, but the reality is, not a lot gets changed in business, government and life without a catalyst. It could be war, catastrophe, economy and/or criticism. In fact we abhor criticism so much that generally once criticized we will make an effort to change so that we go from criticism to praise.
Turn criticism into praise by taking action to reinvent your business if that is what it takes. Often it is those small things which have been overlooked that have grown larger as your business has grown and are now causing criticism. Our experience is that if one customer complains then 9 others have chosen to remain silent. You may think that a complaint isn’t a big problem, but you may be wrong.
It is also human nature not to complain, and most people, rather than complain or offer constructive criticism will simply shop somewhere else. This is the same reason why Americans as a whole do not write their congressmen and senators*. They think their ideas, suggestions or criticisms go unread or unheeded, but that is not the case. Government as well as business is swayed by the people it is intended to serve.
Do you have criticisms, suggestions or ideas for us? Bring it on then… Feel free to contact us with your thoughts. We always want to provide you good reasons to keep your business with us. So let us know if we need to do anything different.
Robby Meadows, Nashville Wraps
* Yes… I wrote Senator Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker from Tennessee with my suggestions on how the federal government can invest in American business of all sizes with out spending a dime or loosing one. Write your senators and congressmen/women too. Don’t complain about government if you haven’t tried to help fix it. Everyone is in this together, and I especially want our goverment to survive and prosper. That is much better than the alternatives. -RM
Heather Rosales says
I agree. In the present economic situation, I know I am not sitting back idle and moaning over the economic situation. We have turned around the decrease in sales from our current customers to expanding out our net and getting a whole bunch of new customers. We also have been actively participating in our downtown merchants association and doing joint events and more advertising. Of course we are continuously evaluating and agressively obtaining our growth, whether the economy is bad or good. I am not sure if selling packaging is in line with our business model, but I know we are vamping up for a new sleeker look and that would probably include new bags and ribbons in the near future.
candy l. says
Thank you for the ideas/pep talk/encouragement!!! In our small downtown we encourage our customers to buy a “Green bag” (any cloth bag will do) and when they bring in their bag they get 10% off of their purchase. It is agreat way to reward customers and a great way to get new ones too!!!
I love your products as well, but do find them a little more expensive than some of my competors. So I will be looking around for the best deals in this hard times. I do wish you’d make a bag in the size of a 12.5 x 12.5 for the 12×12 scrapbooking paper. Thanks Lyn
Thank you for you encouraging blogs, I just love them (and your products too)!
Barbara Potvin says
Two things. I have started a downtown Manchester (NH) retailer’s committee to help us band together to promote our downtown. We have approx. 12 participating businesses crosspromoting each other and working on developing events together (some for non-profit fundraisers). The second thing is another woman business owner sent out a survey regarding a website she will be building. She noted that she would award a New England Sampler gift basket to one entrant of her survey. However, with that said she commented that she thought my website needed updating. Although, I didn’t like hearing what she had to say, it did make me start the process of working on it. We can’t just sit back and wait for the economy to improve nor can we wait for customers to come seeking us out. We need to continually improve ourselves. Best wishes to all you privately owned businesses. May you have an extremely properous New Year in 2009.
Thank you for having an interactive perspective. Keeping in touch with your customers is smart and can be enjoyable as well. You surely will be rewarded by having loyal customers. Everyone wants to feel as though they have partners out there in uncertain times.
P.S. I always e-mail (and occasionally call) my congressional (and other state) representatives. I completely agree–this may not always lead to the changes one is seeking, but the probability is far lower if the attempt is never even made!
Overall, I love the Nashville Wraps product line. The UPS shipping fees are very high, though. Personally, when I ship items from my own business, I have found MUCH better pricing with the USPS.
Also, I haven’t checked recently, but last year I really wanted to order custom-printed ribbon. Hoewever, as an eco-company, I wanted to print on your cotton ribbon. The minimum print quantity for that ribbon was far too high for my needs (and much higher than that of other ribbon types). If I could have ordered less, you would have made a print sale, in addition to everything else that I ordered.
Overall, though, I love your emphasis on eco-products, and I will continue to buy such products from Nashville Wraps in the future.
Carolyn H. says
I ABSOLUTELY AGREE! I am a small business owner and do not plan on surviving this year but growing even more. I am committed to cutting expenses, streamlining my business, offering budget friendly options to my clients with excellent products and service and above all to keep my employees working, because without them I wouldn’t be in business. This is not an option but my mantra for this year.
Lidy Baars says
Thank you! I have to tell you that yours is the only vendor newsletter I actually read. Thanks for taking the time to offer not only outstanding products, and customer service, but also well-written, concise and extremely helpful articles.
Mike C says
Way to go Daddy “O” I agree dont set on the sidlines waiting for some else to be part of the solution for your business, it’s your business be the solution, be positive, productive and proactive. Take a long hard look at what you need to do in every area to make your business better for you and your employees, but especially better and eaiser for your customers to do business with you. Give them the things they want, do the little things that show you are going the extra mile to meet their needs. when they come in smile, be positive and helpful, make suggestions that will result in a sell and a feeling that you really helped them in the decision making process.