One of the biggest challenges of owning a business that creates one-of-a kind work or provides personalized services is that your income is directly dependent on the number of customers that you serve. In many instances you’d literally have to work around the clock to make a decent living. Rather than burn out, why not expand the ways that you can generate revenue.
There are three things that creative entrepreneurs should consider to increase their incomes, while reducing their customer load.
1. Consider Hiring Understudies:
In many upscale hair salons, the owner only personally services a handful of clients, who are willing to pay a premium price. In this model the majority of clients are delegated to understudies-other stylists and colorists.
The main benefits of this arrangement are: 1) the owner can still directly engage in his or her craft; and 2) there is more income generated because there are more service providers. The only caveat is that the understudies have to adhere to the same quality standards and/or methodologies as the business owner.
An array of businesses owners could use this or a similar model including: photographers, coaches, personal trainers, day spa owners, personal shoppers, aestheticians, virtual assistants, etc.
2. Raise Your Rates:
The point is to raise your rates so that you can generate more income with fewer clients. This strategy however REALLY requires that the business owner not only present superior work, products or services but also it must be done within an environment that makes paying extra a no-brainer for the customer.
Sticking with the hair salon analogy. I could go to numerous local (cut-rate) beauty shops to get my hair washed and styled. I however am willing to travel and to pay top dollar to my stylist. Not only has she done wonders with my hair, she also works in a fabulous neighborhood in Washington, DC. The salon itself is nice, clean and the staff provides great customer service, including refreshments.
If your business is online, give some thought to how you deliver your work, product or service. What does your web site look like- it is attractive and user-friendly? Do you provide personalized, quick and professional customer service? Is your product packaging attractive? Do you offer overnight delivery? Do you have a FAQ section to help customers make decisions or learn more about your work, service or products?
3. Add Merchandising to Your Business:
Many businesses, including hair salons and day spas, earn considerable revenue selling clients products. To help their clients maintain their hair or skin between visits, a hair salon may sell various types of shampoos and conditioners, while a day spa might sell moisturizers, facial toners or exfolitating agents.
While some business sell their own brands, most simply sell products from related businesses.
Items Suitable for Merchandising, include: books, audio tapes, DVDs, clothing, exercise mats, specialized equipment, supplies, vitamins/supplements, tote bags, computer software, mouse pads, etc.
The trick of merchandising whether you’re online or in a brick & mortar store is to make sure that customer are aware of these additional products. This education can be done tactfully while the service is being provided or by making suggestions just prior to the check-out process.
About Author: Yvonne Bynoe is the creator of http://www.SoulfulAffluence.com. It’s called, “Where Women Entrepreneurs Create Inner + Outer Wealth.” She’s an inspirational speaker, the author of two books and the editor of the anthology, Who’s Your Mama? The Unsung Voices of Women and Mothers (foreword by Rebecca Walker). She’s a former commentator for National Public Radio (NPR) and her writings have appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun-Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She’s also appeared on CNN, MSNBC and Fox TV.