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What Do High Growth Businesses Do Differently?

Over the past 5 years the importance of the “High Growth Business” and how this relatively small group of businesses disproportionally impa...

Friday 30 December 2011

The Problem with Sales Meetings......

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Some while ago I wrote a short piece on the problem with board meetings, following work with recent clients it seems that there is also problems with sales meetings. Let me recount recent experiences to illustrate what I mean. The meeting starts well and their is an Agenda of sorts. What happens next is that a member of the team is asked to describe what they have done for the preceding month. There follows a long rambling commentary about how busy they have been and what opportunities their are and a volley of reasons why they haven't sold us much as they thought. This monologue took about 20 minutes.
Image by Nils Geylen via Flickr

The next member of the sales team them repeated the process with one objective in mind; to spend more time talking that the person before him. Repeat that four times and your have a very long sales meeting. In the worst case it was 6 hours, yes, 6 hours I kid you not. Worst still, at least from my point of view, was that very little valuable information was provided either to management or from management. It was also clear that the sales team saw the meeting as largely a waste of time, and at 6 hours who can blame them. Having said that the sales team were also part of the problem.

Sales people by definition quite hard to manage. This is because they are trained to handle objections (management questioning) and get around obstacles (management questions and reporting). Put another way without a strong focus its difficult to put sales people on the spot. Except of course when they've just made a big sale and then of course they will remind you at every turn. We shouldn't criticise but simply understand that this is the nature of sales people and we just have to learn to manage it. 

So the problem with sales meeting is that they are run by managers who are not trained as sales managers and who have to deal with trained sales people. In many cases it's just an unfair fight. The result is often that sales people don't treat the meeting with the respect it deserves and take advantage of their managers' lack of experience. This is not universal but in my experience it is a common situation.

So if you fall in this category as a manager/owner what can you do about it?

It all starts with asking the right questions. Sales meeting reporting need to be precise and unequivocal. By that I mean getting information from your sales people that is binary either a yes or no. So to keep control of a sales meeting its best to get your sales people to report on items such as business won in the month business lost in the month and business expected to close in the next month (or weekly depending on your sales cycle). 

Getting sales people to report on numbers makes it easier for you to understand what is really going on. It also leaves much less wriggle room about what has or hasn't been achieved. As a manager/owner you will have a target for monthly sales you need to know  are they being achieved and if so is thee significant over or under achievement. Depending on the answer, which by the way can be identified from the reports, you will know what kinds of questions to ask. It also means you can get through the meeting more rapidly because it becomes a Q&A session rather than a series on monologues. Further it will be easier to identify actions to take place before the next meeting thereby providing focus for future meetings and making it easier for you to stay in control.

You can get a sample of reporting formats I've been discussing by clicking here and downloading them.

Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business. 

Thursday 15 December 2011

I’m Sorry; But I’m Too Rich to Come into Work Today.

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Česky: Logo Facebooku English: Facebook logo E...
Image via Wikipedia
Success produces some unusual problems for a business. I was reminded of such when I read recent article in Business Insider that the proposed Facebook IPO will create over 1000 millionaires. This article goes on to give examples of some of the more exc
essive plans of these potential millionaires. The big question for Facebook, is how many of them will want to go back to their mundane jobs with such a big bank account balance.

There is no doubt that a fair percentage of them will at least for the short term continue with their day jobs, but as the realisation about what their wealth can do for them you can expect to see an increasing number having days off because they are just too rich. 

 The immediate problem for Facebook is that there are just so many of them. Can you imagine the problem facing Facebook if they all left at once, the loss of intellectual as well as cultural capital would be enormous. The difficulty for Facebook is that the normal rules of engagement don’t apply. Withholding pay, gets the so what response, as does any disciplinary procedure even being sacked would hold little fear. In a curious way Facebook are in a similar position to the banks and loan defaults; that is there comes a point when the large numbers of potential leavers (defaulters) becomes more of a problem in itself than putting sanctions against individuals. 

This by no means a unique problem although it is rare, Microsoft faced a similar situation when they went public for the first time in 1986. There were faced with a large number of employees becoming millionaires and recognised the risks to the organisation. There is no silver bullet solution for this type of scenario as it is rarely faced by any business. From the scraps of information I have been able to assemble it seems that Microsoft tried to focus on staff attitudes and attempts to promote the non financial reasons why people go to work as a way of minimising the potential impact of such significant staff attrition. 

They sought to identify reasons why very wealthy people would continue to come into work particularly if their jobs were relative low level. Senior Managers tend to be very driven and are often financially secure to a windfall would make a difference but not a significant one, for the most part. 

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase
Technical staff were a different problem in that typically they are not motivated by money but the size of the windfall may disprove those assumptions. It seems that by offering ore technically challenging roles would go some way towards addressing the issue for this type of individual although equally you ant give them all more technically challenging rolls. 

The biggest batch of potential leavers is this in administrative jobs where a million dollars is a mind boggling sum of money. This group is the most difficult to deal with, so spending some 
time helping staff to prepare for the impending event will go some way towards exorcising the euphoria before the event. 

Microsoft managed reasonably well in coping with this problem but things have changed a little since the 1980’s and we are a much more materialistic in our outlook so the problem could be much worse for Mark Zuckerberg and friends.
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Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business. 

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Managing a High Growth Business: Getting your Vision Right

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Very First Corn Flakes Package: http://www.kip...Image via    Wikipedia
Getting Your Vision Right 
I have worked with many high growth businesses and contrary to much of the published research it is clear that many owners of successful and high growth businesses do not have a clear vision of where they want to go or indeed and why they should need  to know.  Many of the business owners I have worked would describe themselves as accidental success stories. That is to say they can't explain why their business is consistently successful or what actions they put in place got them to where they are now. However what is common, they all recognise that this is not a satisfactory state of affairs. Formalising their thoughts into a vision is not just an academic exercise it is important to be able to articulate why you are business. 

A vision is not about targets or goals, it is about the reason you are in business for example Disney's vision is simply "To make people happy" Whilst Google's is "Make internet advertising better - less intrusive, more effective, and more useful" Kelloggs is  "To be the food company of choice"

You will all have some kind of vision in your head but to communicate it effectively to your staff and the outside world it needs to be put down on paper, in doing so it will help you clarify your vision. You will see from the examples I have shown that a company vision is not about targets or goals but why you do what you do and how you do it. It should not change and it should be just as valid whether you are a 5 person company or a 5000 person company. It should be timeless.

Getting your vision right is important for any business, but for a fast growing business it is essential. Having a vision will provide the common sense of direction that will focus peoples’ activities to the benefit of the business. This common purpose is vital for the maintaining of consistent fast growth.

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Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business. 

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Managing a High Growth Business: Its the Culture, Stupid!

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Culture is one of the most under rated aspects influencing a business. Get it right and you can support and promote cooperation to support and reinforce success. Get it wrong and you can say goodbye to a successful business and say hello to a world of hurt.
British poet and critic Matthew Arnold viewed ...Image via Wikipedia

Every business has a culture whether you know it or not, whether you've consciously tried to set one or not.  Culture is set the day you start a business as it is a reflection of you, the owner, your values and personality. So if you like playing politics, politics will become an integral part of the business. Your values on customer service, sales, staff management in fact everything you do in business both internally and externally is influenced, if not dictated, by your culture.

Given its importance why is Culture not higher up on the list of things to explore when building a business.  In fact it’s often completely overlooked. The reason for this I would suggest is that the critical impact that Culture has on a business is not well understood. It is often completely overlooked by advisers and start ups alike, under the misguided impression that culture is something for a big business to consider. This totally ignores the fact that having the wrong culture is likely to prevent you from getting to a big company in the first place.    It is also because Culture is one of those soft touchy feely issues that tend to be avoided by by business people and is shunned by an ever more materialistic society. This is not intended to be a commentary on the importance of culture in our society but rather impact ignorance as an owner of what your business culture is and what it should be.

Taking this analysis further; incompatible cultures, or rather a lack of interest by the sellers of business and ignorance of the importance by buyers is the number 1 reason why so many acquisitions fail or at least fail to deliver a significant portion of the expected benefits. More worryingly ignorance of the importance of culture is the most common reason why the cost of integration is substantially more than projected.

How do you identify your culture?

This is a two step process. Firstly identify what you would like your culture to be then secondly ask your staff what they think it is. In order to make it easier for your staff to explain what they think is the company culture, distil the description of your culture into a few words. So for example; customer service, quality and price. Also recognise that the order of the words indicates their importance. For example a business with the keyword priority customer service, quality and price will have a significantly different culture to a business whose keyword priority is price, quality and customer service. Try it, you’ll find the answer illuminating.

If the culture is not what we want, how do we change it?

Changes in culture are notoriously difficult to implement because we are trying to change people’s attitudes. Change starts with you, as in all probability, you created the original by your actions or the appearance of your actions.

Step 1 clearly define what you want your culture to be in as much detail as possible, explain your rationale, then go on to describe how you will expect your management and staff to act. Then you follow a long process of reinforcing the culture across the business, but how you do this is the subject of a future article.
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Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business.  

Thursday 6 October 2011

Cash is King -Yes, But Not at Any Price

I was reminded the other day how people can get so focused on a mantra that they lose sight of context. Yes in a tough market Cash is King but not to the detriment of everything else.

Cash Is King
Let me explain, I was having a discussion with an internet business owner who was moaning about poor sales, and the fact that to get cash in he needed to reduce his margin. The more we talked the more I began to question the strategy of reducing price to get the cash in. His response always started with "well you know in these times Cash is King... 

Eventually I got him to show me an example of how this worked for him. Once he had finished I asked him a question "Ok, so if you are giving away margin, are you making any profit at the reduced level?" 

"Well that doesn't matter what is important is to get some cash in to pay suppliers and re order product." came the response.

"But surely if you are losing money on each sale getting the cash in, you are making the situation worse, not better. " 

"At the moment getting cash in is whats important"

"How regularly are you doing this? Is this just to clear dead stock for example?"

"Quite frequently because when we put our products out at full price we are losing sales to cheaper providers so we use this to strategy to get the cash in"

At this point I was getting a little concerned, "But surely you must know if you are making a profit otherwise you will only be building up bigger and bigger losses, after all if you are only losing £1 per item if you sell 1000 of them you've lost £1000!"

"Yes but if you don't get the cash in when you need it you can't pay suppliers and they put you on stop"

We were in danger of getting into a circular argument, so I suggested that if he wanted we could look in detail at his pricing to see if he was making the situation worse or better. What we discovered subsequently was that he was indeed making a loss on his reduced items but more worryingly also on some of his regular priced items, and that his dedication to blindly follow the Cash is King mantra was killing his business.  

So the moral of this story is yes "Cash is King" but getting cash in is only worth pursuing if its in the interests of your business. I do appreciate that there are times when you may make a loss sometimes; for example if you are off loading poor moving stock, but generating cash flow by cutting your margin without understanding the consequences of your actions is a dangerous strategy.

Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business. 

Thursday 22 September 2011

Managing a High Growth Business: The Problems of Badly Managed Growth

Running a high growth business, requires a good deal of planning, and active management. It also requires a longer term view, unfortunately in very many cases fast growth happens by accident and therefore without sufficient planning to maintain growth and certainly not as a result of any long term view.  

Never is this more relevant than when talking about plans for growth. The chart explains what happens all too frequently during a period of high growth. This is that after a year of rapid growth the organisation struggles resulting in little or negative growth for the next 18 month to 2 years before resuming . This is extremely stressful for businesses and often results in management backing away from further high growth because of the difficulties experienced 

These difficulties include :
  1. Huge effort from owners and staff delivering little or no rewards
  2. Minimal or even negative financial returns as the cost of correcting the consequences wipe out most or all of the financial gains.
  3. Deteriorating customer relationships because service levels cant keep up with revenues.
  4. Low staff morale leading to lower productivity and high staff attrition which is made worse because typically that attrition is made up with a disproportionate amount of your best people.
  5. Finally lost opportunity as management adopt a very cautious growth strategy because their experience of high growth was so painful.
It needn't be the case, making sure you manage the special circumstances that come with a high growth business you can maintain consistent growth over a longer period and consequently become a larger business more quickly and with much less pain.
Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business. 

Friday 29 July 2011

Managing Fast Growing Businesses: The Planning Process

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Cost-Volume-Profit diagram, decomposing Total ...Image via Wikipedia
Managing Fast Growth
Whilst planning is important for all businesses it is vital in a high growth company. More importantly planning needs to be more thorough and detailed than in companies where growth is at a more leisurely pace. Its obvious really, issues come at you faster and more frequently in a high growth scenario and you and your management team need to be ready to deal with it. You can’t do this in a purely reactive mode, you and your management team need to have explored in detail the key linkages in your business and have some understanding of the potential stress    points as well as solutions for different scenarios.   If this seems a bit of overkill, it isn’t. Having been in the senior management team of a business that grew from 250 to 3500 staff in less than 10 years I know the pressures consistently fast growth puts on an organisation. One of the key reasons why so few businesses can consistently manage a high growth rate is because of this management commitment. It also demands that owners/directors have confidence in their management team and that they are able to properly delegate responsibility to this team.

So How Much Detail is Enough?

The answer is as much detail as you can get. The more detail you can obtain the better. I’m not just talking about P and L information but key metrics that drive the business, for example production metrics, recruitment metrics, detailed overhead costs, detailed variable costs, machine performance, average earner income, average earner output, recruitment costs, sales cycle length, average order value, and so on.  The benefit of this information is to provide you with a very detailed understanding of your business. It also offers you a broad range of levers to use in guiding your business through the inevitable ups and downs of life. Most importantly it gives you a number of early warning indicators that if acted upon will require only a gentle nudge on the tiller, rather than a last minute heavy handed yank.

So Now You’ve Got it What Do You Do With It?

Business Information SystemsImage via Wikipedia
Managing Fast Growth
Once you have all this information, you develop a reporting mechanism/model which requires all 
key members of your management team to understand report and manage their functions or business using this standard. This is vital to provide the management team with the same business information where ever they are in the organisation, it also means that whatever job they do they can quickly get to the key information because they will be familiar with the format. In a high growth business, management regularly move around a so need support of model so they can quickly get to grips with their new position as the information and its format will be the same. 

In a personal example I was relocated from the UK to Australia. When I arrived I was able to get up to speed very quickly because the model used down there was exactly the same as that which I used in the UK! 

It should become the basis of your regular management meetings as your knowledge of the model increases you will be able to more accurately predict company performance and be better able use the information to avoid difficulties.

Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business. 

Friday 24 June 2011

Managing A High Growth Business : Matching Your Organisation to Your Sales

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 Growth Businesses Organisational Stress Points
This is the first in a series of posts concerning the successful management of high growth businesses. One of the most common problems high growth businesses face is how to match organisational growth with sales. 

The Problem 

Simply put sales can grow discretely and tends to be quite smooth as shown as the red curve. Organisations growth, by contrast, tends to be much more lumpy. This is because a certain staffing complement has a finite growth capacity and beyond that point just adding people doesn't help. In fact at some point adding people reduces performance. What is required is an organisational restructure which will create a step change in a companies ability to support its growth. However this is not easy to accomplish because most SME's address this problem too late. This often results in business growth reverting to the typical "lumpy" organisational restructure rather than a smooth increase. The reason for this is that sales now have to wait for the organisation to catch up so you tend to end up with a year of rapid growth followed by a year or even more of no or even negative growth.

Typical Situations

Smaller Businesses tend to rely too heavily on a few key people, this results in a stagnation of performance of the remaining staff who have little or no chance to develop their skills. So when the time comes to reorganise the business owners or management are reluctant to make the step change necessary to reorganise the business because they cant see who, apart from the usual suspects, who will be able to take on additional responsibility.  What this results in is either a re-oganisation which is often half hearted or too late.  To provide a sporting analogy, hammer throwers are always told that they must remain ahead of the hammer. So as they speed up their revolutions in the circle they can properly time an effective throw. Small businesses rather like a novice hammer thrower end up behind the hammer (read sales growth)  losing control and finding out the hammer is in the wrong place.

The Solution

"Stay ahead of the Hammer!" 

Some key actions:

Always! Always Always! Implement a reorganisation ahead of its need. This gives you time to fine tune it is also the only way you can main that rapid growth.

Establish a model for organisational growth. That is how will your business deal will sustained and rapid growth. Your plan must also be able to estimate at what point (size of revenues) will you be needing to consider the next reorganisation.

Reorganisations must have longevity. Typically a major reorganisation should last about 24 months, with interim adjustments taking place yearly.

Recognise that reorganisations get bigger as you get bigger, so have a post reorganisation quality control process.

Let me know what you think

Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business. 

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Taking Your Business to the Gym: Getting Your Business Vision

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The importance of your Business Vision

In order to build a business that will growth rapidly and sustainably you must first get "that Vision thing."  George Bush Snr most notably suffered from his lack of what he called the vision thing,’ a clarity of ideas and principles that could explain his philosophy. Without a solid and well thought out vision your chances of it acting as the beacon of your company’s aspirations and intentions will be short lived.
Your Business VisionImage via Wikipedia

Understanding and developing your Business Vision

For most people realising what their vision is and then putting it into words is a daunting task. I don’t think it helps when you hear examples of the visions for well known companies like Disney which is “to make people happy”. Many people I speak to are put off by the prospect of matching such examples. Don’t be put off, we can’t all be Disney.

Your vision is about your values. You could see your vision as how the future will change as a consequence of your actions. It is vital that you understand that your vision must have permanence and should not change over time.  A good way of developing your vision is to describe it in a few words for example you might descri
be it with words like, ethical, profitable, fun, focused, detailed, customer centric, national, regional, global, local, quality, price-conscious and so on.

Resisting pressure to change

Inevitably at some point either you or more likely your employees or customers with put pressure on you to change your vision as it won’t suit them. This is the first test of its strength and your commitment. Your vision was set out because it reflects your personal aspirations about what your company should be. If you compromise then either you don’t really have a vision and your company is just a surrogate for a paid job, or more likely you lack confidence in your own view. Don’t weaken, by following your vision it will help you quickly decide which business opportunities are right for you and which not.

What a strong Vision gives you

Your vision determines your employees approach to business and it gives them a structure around which to work, it is the unifying force that turns individuals into a team. It also ensures that any new employee understands what is expected from him. It provides the underpinning of your company culture. It tells you customers what to expect from you. Your vision gives you above all consistency. Consistency is the mark of any successful business as both your staff and customers will know what to expect and know that they will receive it.

Inconsistency is the scourge of too many businesses and is often an indication of an absence of a vision or weak management unable to implant their vision on their employees.

Getting “the vision thing” right is absolutely fundamental to the development of a successful business, so take time to put your in place. 

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Exigent Consulting specialises in providing Business Turnaround, Sales, Marketing and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Why Businesses Are Too Late in Seeking Turnaround Help

seeking turnaround helpImage via Wikipedia
We all know that addressing problems early makes them easier to solve, and even when the treatment is unpleasant, like going to the dentist by and large we go in good time. Why is it, then, despite the harsh economic conditions and the large number of business owners clearly struggling to cope; it still seems that too many smaller businesses in the UK are reluctant to call in outside assistance even when it is clear that finding solutions to the issues impacting their business is beyond them?

Most independent businesses are in the hands of its founders, consequently these more than others find it difficult to view their business objectively. Most don't follow best practice and won't have regular management meetings nor generally do they have a detailed financial knowledge of the business. This lack of objectivity is the real issue. I cant count the number of times I've gone into a turnaround to discover that the owners have reluctantly called someone in, not because the business is in bad shape, but because they've exhausted their personal wealth in propping up a non performing business and now they've GOT to do something. Sadly, often at this point its too late.

Whilst no doubt there are clear legal tests to signify insolvency, these are seldom recognised by the management. They are invariably late talking to IP or turnaround specialists such as myself for the following reasons 
1.they're emotionally tied to the company, 
2 the stigma of failure, 
3 being overly optimistic (well you have to be an optimist to run your own business) and as such you tend to overestimate income and underestimate costs,
4 poor business management. 

There is a debate to be had about the almost complete absence of any type of business related subjects in general education which I submit leaves our entrepreneurs and business owners unnecessarily exposed. Many run businesses without even the most basic knowledge of financials or business or people management, so the wonder is why more businesses dont fail!

I would also observe that whilst accountants should provide advanced warning to business owners many don't because they are themselves technicians, and they concentrate on getting accounts completed on time. Experience has demonstrated that accountants are no better at running businesses than owners of other types of business. Also, because often their relationship with their client is too weak to survive bad news.

Exigent Consulting specialises in providing Business Turnaround, Sales, Marketing and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business.

Thursday 2 June 2011

The problem with Board Meetings....

WASHINGTON - MAY 20:   U.S. President Barack O...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
We seem to be very bad at prioritising meetings within organisations; we seem to be driven by knee jerk reaction rather than common sense, although I wonder if it should be more accurately described as uncommon sense. This is especially true of the SME sector, where board meetings seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Some of this is due to owner managers having little or no understanding of what as board meeting should cover or how to manage a meeting of this type. In my opinion a board meeting is the most important internal meeting a company can have. It is probably the only setting where strategy is discussed and policies made. It is not a place where detailed operational decisions are made, but in my experience this is all often what is discussed. This leads to confusion in the minds of participants and doubts about its importance/relevance and results in questions like don’t we cover this in the operations / marketing/ finance meeting?

So what are board meetings about? They’re the meeting that set the direction for the company, confirm policy, and directs the business response to unforeseen events either external like for example a significant change in market conditions or the arrival of a new or stronger competitor. The unforeseen events maybe internal like the loss of key staff or a major issue with sales or production. To get the best out of these meetings they should be held regularly and it should involve a review of the company’s performance.

So the problem with board meetings is simply that they’re not understood and not taken seriously so they can’t deliver the benefits to the business they should.

Exigent Consulting specialises in providing Business Turnaround, Sales, Marketing and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business.

Monday 23 May 2011

5 Steps to Making a Groupon Promotion Successful

Groupon and Groupon style promotions are growing at an astonishing rate. The size of the Global opportunity is enormous. Originally developed out of the concept of the power of group buying, Groupon is now so large that it is now more about the exploitation of deep discounting to bring in new customers.  Using this kind of marketing is by no means a sure thing. A recent study by Rice University Texas has highlighted some of the downsides of using Groupon. So what can you as a business owner do to maximise your chances of success?

First; do the numbers.  The typical Groupon discount is 50% from which Groupon will take 50% of that leaving you 25% of the sales price. Calculate how much loss you will make on each sale. Its not quite as simple as this because some of the coupons purchased in advance will not be redeemed so you will get some revenue for nothing, a reasonable estimate would be about 10% of coupons will not be unclaimed although it will vary by product.

Second; using the numbers that you have calculated in the previous step calculate how much you are prepared to invest in this promotion, and therefore the number of discount vouchers you want to offer in this promotion. It is important that you set a limit as some businesses suffered serious losses because they underestimated the amount of take up of their offer and by not setting a limit had left themselves with an uncapped liability. By doing this you will also be able to identify how many extra full price purchases you'll need from your promotion to break even on your investment. Whilst it may not be important to you as an objective, it is always worth understanding the performance of your promotional activities. 

Now you have set up the parameters your third step is to prepare your staff. Let them know when the promotion starts and the potential number of addition customers that might visit your premises. You want your staff to be ready to meet any sudden influx without a reduction in service levels. You also need them to understand that a significant number of  clients will be paying by coupon, so you need to have a process in place to handle this efficiently.

Fourthly, plan your upsell programme, Groupon sales are only worth the investment if you can get these "Groupon" customers to purchase products at the full rate. Decide what and how you are going to upsell and encourage your staff to make this offer to everyone. A good way to do this would be to have a competition to see which member of staff has sold the most.

Fifthly; have a proper follow-up plan. If social media and CRM have taught us anything then it is that we should create a dialogue with out customers which will encourage new sales. 

Exigent Consulting specialises in providing Business Turnaround, Sales, Marketing and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help Business Owners improve the profit performance of their business.