As business owner you frequently encounter fellow business people and no matter what the subject at hand is, in the end the conversation turns to comparing "notes".
The costs of being in business
If it is not the state of the economy, the effect or lack of effect of the big "recession" the conversation is about business practices, marketing experiences, number of prospects/clients and the likes.
And about costs of course. What are your ads costing, what is your overall marketing costing you, how about the utility bills and what new ventures/activities are you contemplating? Eventually the talk ends in "value for money" when we turn to web marketing/web presence.
Like the discussion I had recently about our secure webshop. My conversation partner - a home-based retailer - had looked into launching a webshop too, but didn't appreciate the so-called "fixed costs" attached to an online shop. Paypal didn't appear professional enough - we use it with no effort at all for our "digital products" and don't think any of our clients regard us less professional for using it - all other online card processing companies set a minimum cost per month. We know, we pay a minimum per month for the pleasure - two minimum amounts per month to be honest (online card processing plus a hardware terminal in our showroom for 'real life' and phone/email card processing). She prefers to be sent a cheque through the post, even the fixed minimum cost for hardware equipment she couldn't see as necessary.
Cost or opportunity?
The home-based retailer couldn't see the "profit" in a monthly minimum cost for her type of products to launch an online shop. I begged to differ, we are in fact more than happy to pay this "cost".
The fact is, we don't see it as a cost - like we don't see our accountant as a "cost" but as an asset, but that is a completely different story ;-) - we see offering the facility to our prospects/clients to securely purchase our products online (or over the phone) as an opportunity.
Her prospects now need to wait to purchase what they fancy until my fellow business owner is awake and answering her emails/phone calls. Contrary to The Internet, she's not working 24/7 - unlike our secure webshop and online card processing facility.
It happens frequently when we "open for business" - i.e. answer the phone, respond to emails during normal working hours - my inbox shows a purchase made online. Made during the late afternoon - after "opening hours", during the evening, even during the night or very early in the morning.
Our clients don't have to wait for us!
Facilitating "spur of the moment" decisions
The last time I've checked our online sales through our secure webshop, it counts for 5% of our total turnover. And it is rare those online purchases occur during working hours. Not world shocking, but for us more than enough to happily pay the minimum costs for our online card processing facility.
Because it also facilitates those "spur of the moment" decision we all make one time or another: you see something in a shop or online and decide there and then to buy it. Click a few buttons and voilà, purchase made. No regrets, no wavering waiting time: shall I or shan't I.
We also know that during working hours, having browsed our online shop, new clients call us to place their orders - most people want to talk to a real person and getting some extra advice. So we are also very happy to pay a minimum cost per month for our "in shop" card processing facility. The phone/email purchases from clients whom never ever set a foot into our showroom counts at the moment for 17.5% of our turnover.
22.5% turnover generated because accepting these minimum costs per month!
What do you see?
Do you, like my conversation partner, see costs or do you see extra opportunities? Opportunities for your business because you offer your prospects the simple facility to make that "spur of the moment" decision. Shorting the decision cycle.
The Internet "works" 24/7, does you business or do you limit your sales opportunities to your opening hours and old-fashion payment methods? Just to reduce your fixed costs?
You tell me - in the comment box, if you like.