Saving money is something you should always be thinking about, regardless of whether your doors are closed or open. While we haven’t yet reached a new normal, we are still living in the “now normal”, which is where things will change every day. It is crucial to learn how to pivot. These are some tips to help you stay on track, reduce costs and improve your bottom line.
1. Talk to your landlord
Rent will remain an issue until business picks up. Talk to your landlord if you aren’t already asking for a reduction in rent.
Linda Flaherty, owner of two Once Upon a Time upscale children’s boutiques in Alabama, contacted both of her landlords. One landlord waived rent for one month, which was a $1000 savings. One tenant deferred half of the rent for a month. The difference would be due by the end the following year. It’s not perfect, but it allowed her some breathing space. The thing is, you can’t expect anything unless it happens.
2. Do it yourself whenever you can
Linda had to furlough all employees before she could reopen her shops. She also ran the business. For six weeks, this saved Linda $4500 per week.
Mike Simon owns The Little Traveler, a store within a sprawling mansion of sorts in Geneva, Illinois that takes you “around the world in 38 rooms.” The store is now closed but when it’s operational, shoppers arrive by the busload to spend the day exploring its treasures and enjoying lunch in the Atrium Cafe. A store this large requires a lot of work, but Mike is doing it all on his own.
“I have used this time in order to keep our brand visible to customers via social media and videos, without having to pay for advertising. We built an online shop quickly and had positive initial results. Since almost all our employees are on furlough, I am responsible for picking, packing, and shipping. I am learning a lot about the impact of product positioning, timing of email blasts, and how that affects sales. Although it’s exciting to try new things, I have never worked more hard in my entire life.
3. Place your merchandise on the market
You need to get product from the stockroom onto the sales floor. That’s money sitting on dusty shelves. Unlike fine wines, merchandise does not improve over time. If the item is in season and sellable, you can list it on your website. You may also include it in your Facebook Live sales events. If the product is old or no longer appealing, you can mark it down and, if not, donate it. Consider how much each month that product is costing your monthly budget. It’s time to get rid of it.
4. Take initiative with your supplier relationships and orders
You should push back shipping dates whenever possible, cancel shipments for items past their sell by date, and inquire from vendors if they are able to return unsold goods. Be proactive. Your vendors are your partners, and will help you whenever they can.
If you haven’t, you should add the “Start Ship”, Comple By, and “Cancel If Not Shipped By” dates to every order that you place. If you keep late goods, some vendors will offer a discount.
5. Find your association
Many trade associations offer member discounts on everything, from office supplies and cleaning products to email marketing and gas. To see all the benefits of being a member, visit the “members-only” section.
6. Reduce your credit card interest
You can sort through all the pre-approved credit cards you have received and find one that has a lower interest than your current rate. Tell your company that you have received a lower rate offer and ask for a rate cut. They will most likely agree to your request if you are keen to keep your company’s business. Smile and ask them to waive their annual fee.
7. Optimize your credit card processing
Cash was once the king, but in times of pandemics cash is not an option. It’s now all about credit cards and debit cards as well as contactless payments. It’s important to shop around for the best processor for your needs as credit card processing fees can quickly add up.
Instead of a myriad of confusing fees, Payment Depot charges a monthly membership fee and gives you access to direct wholesale rates for all your card transactions, putting more money in your pocket. SwipeSimple is Payment Depot’s contactless mobile payment app that allows you to accept payments from almost any iOS and Android device. It is ideal for protecting employees and shoppers.
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