Feature Articles: Business Sense

In sales, the end goal is to close the deal and write that order. Sadly, many sales professionals and novices alike are so fixated on the order that they overlook the process and are often shut down mid spiel. If you’re looking to get to the close, you have some homework to do before you approach the retailer. There will be some thoughtfulness to consider before and as you talk to the retailer, as well as some hustling to do after you leave the retailer. To help remember this process, I’ve broken down the word C.L.O.S.E.

It’s that time of year again. March Madness. No, I’m not talking about college hoops. I’m referring to the high-stakes arena of fashion magazines. Second only to the September issues, March scores the most advertising revenue each year, as design houses drop huge sums for the chance to showcase their spring lineups. In the ad game, money doesn’t decide the winner. Your publicity machine — be it print ads, paid blogger sponsorships or television spots — can only put points on the board if it reinforces your brand and pre-sells your goods. In advertising, ROI, or return on investment — both the tangible and intangible kind — is the ultimate goal.

First one discovers an unmet need. Next follows the ambition to start a business. Driving this initial momentum is the passion to contribute to the market place, the dream of business success and of course, hope for financial independence. However, once the honeymoon is over and the realities of owning a business become apparent, it can be challenging to maintain that initial momentum and enthusiasm that launched the company. Well, don’t lose F.A.I.T.H. –– Focused tasks , Attainable goals, Individual responsibility, Traceable efforts and Heart-felt support. Keep these in mind to help reignite the enthusiasm that once propelled your business.

Playtime New York
IMAGINE GreenWear

I love nothing better than a procedural television show. Whether it’s a real-life murder mystery on Dateline or a fictional CSI case, I like trying to solve a whodunit. In everyday life, I also enjoy making connections between things I hear and see through conversations and observations — putting together the pieces of the puzzle to get a full picture. So it’s no wonder that one bit of wisdom I heard recently jumped out at me. During a speech, an apparel executive said, “Whether you’re a retailer or a wholesaler, your job is to find the balance between listening to and leading your customer.”

A new mom goes into her local baby products store to shop for a stroller. The store has all the best brands and latest models, a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and sufficient on-hand inventory. The new mom kicks the tires, trades stories with the salesperson, and focuses in on the brand, model, and color that she wants. After noting the price, when she has a minute away from the salesperson, she scans the barcode using a price finder app on her smartphone and purchases the stroller from an online discounter at a lower price. Does this scenario sound familiar?

I happen to live in Las Vegas, where slogans such as “You can’t win if you don’t play,” define our local gaming community. I have to admit it’s hard to argue with that logic, Who can win at slots, poker or blackjack without opting in to play? Bystanders don’t reap any rewards. Only those who are willing to put up the cash and potentially lose it, have the chance to win and win big dependent upon the size of their bet. Most don’t win big but some do; some break even, while others lose. The same is true when it comes to marketing. Without it, you are like those bystanders, watching your competitors play.

HALO® Innovations
Satsuma Designs

There’s something motivating about a fresh start. That must be why each year we think about what resolutions we will make for the New Year. We list our aspirations and resolve with confidence to realize these goals. For many, just weeks into the new year we fall back into our old ways and the resolutions seem to fade away until the next new year when we once again make resolutions. Even after a few weeks into January, it’s not too late to start anew and resolve to make positive changes. Those who achieve success are the ones who apply a structure to their efforts, assign accountability to the goals, and define measurable milestones to ensure progress is being made.

Getting a retailer to buy your line is great — and especially exciting if the collection is new to the market — but convincing them to reorder should be your ultimate goal. And reorders are always based on how well your goods sold the previous season. If items flew off the racks, buyers will naturally seek you out the next time around. If too much of your line landed in the sale bin, however, your name will likely plummet from their must-shop list. Despite the importance of sell-throughs, it seems vendors sometimes forget the role they have in ensuring their lines take off at retail. Without you, your products are left to fly solo in the face of whatever headwinds come their way…

Whether you have a great children’s brand that you want to expand, or a great children’s product that could use the powerful boost of a well-known name, a licensing agreement can take your business to the next level of success. But to get the most out of a licensing opportunity, you need to find the right partner who knows the industry and understands your vision and goals for your brand or product. The benefits can be significant, but licensing partnerships are not without risks.

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