First, Stop Wasting Money in Your Business

By Ali Cudby


The other day I was talking to a lingerie retailer who was unhappy with the take-home pay her business was generating. She wanted her store to throw off more money. Knowing my success boosting lingerie businesses for clients, she solicited some advice.

I asked what she might do to generate income, and her responses were pretty standard…

  • Have a sale
  • Advertise the store
  • Be more active on social media
  • Hire a PR firm
  • Consider web-based sales

These are some of the answers I hear most from retailers when they are looking to juice things up.

But do these methods produce results.

Sadly, too often the answer is NO. Retailers spend their money on advertising or give it away through discounting without fully thinking through how it will impact their business.

Investing in your business is critically important – and sure, advertising, social media, PR and e-tailing have all be successfully implemented by some. But without having crystal clear insight into what the investment is doing for your business, it can be money down the drain.

Let’s look at web-based sales. Retailers often think of it as a savior, without fully understanding the costs involved, from the web development of setting up an online store, to the significant time and energy required to manage it appropriately. Online selling is a complex business in its own right and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Too many bricks-and-mortar stores have been led down the garden path of easy profits, only to find that it’s much more complex and expensive than originally anticipated.

Businesses can throw good money at ill-conceived efforts and get nothing in return. In fact, it’s worse than nothing – those dollars could have been used to positive effect for the business.

So how can you bump up the returns without spending a bundle? Here are some tips:

  • Assess the returns an investment can make for YOUR business, with its unique combination of customers, products and location.
  • Consider “opportunity cost.” Any time you spend resources – both energy and money – on something, you lose a chance to spend those resources on something else. It’s important to measure the value of your investment for against your goals for the business.
  • Factor in the value timeline. Is this going to be a one-time hit, or a long-term value for your business?

There’s so much more to this topic than my column can possibly address, and it’s vital to your business. Let’s dig deeper into this topic together.

If you’re ready for more ways to make money without wasting your cash, please join me for a virtual conversation where I will share valuable information and give you the chance to ask questions.

It’s my gift to you as a reader.

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2 Discussion to this post

  1. Robin M. says:

    What about “boosting business” by talking to your best customers? They are your best focus group to find out who/what/when/why/how they shop. When asked they may be equally frank about what they don’t like, or what makes them think twice about spending at your store. This could be 2 channels (online & offline) or in 2 segments (highest spend, highest frequency). Maybe you’re only reaching the 1x customer (ie, anniversary or bridal shower) and not the every-day lingerie addict.
    Weigh insights like these to your opportunity costs of expanding on what the customer already likes.
    Connection w/ customers needs to be more than 140 characters.

    • Ali Cudby says:

      Couldn’t agree more Robin! Honing in on your best customers is super-important, for lots of reasons. In fact, that’s one more aspect we’ll be discussing in the extended conversation later this week. Hope you’ll be there!

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