Beware the dangers of the quick fix so often promoted by self styled business gurus.

I have been working with a customer who has been finding business tough. Two years ago they paid too much money to a marketing ‘guru’ to help drive the business. While many of the ideas put by the guru worked and the $5,000 in marketing fees was easily earned back, the guru did not address systemic issues in the business, he did not setup the business for sustained growth.

My approach has been back to basics, understanding the business, shopping patterns, basket analysis and product efficiency. This analysis comes from a series of deep level reports which are in our software. I can see a positive and negative impact from the work of the marketing guru. Great sales peaks for products and categories were followed by canyons – his efforts often brought forward sales rather than building sustained growth.

Three months in and the business is traveling well. The owner has his favourite three or four reports to track success and a now proven process of test, measure, test, measure.

The analysis began with looking at the shopping basket. There is no better measure of customer efficiency. It was here in the basket analysis that we found good news among the bad when we started. There was the surprising stand out day. The report was at odds with what the owner felt. But he rostered himself off that day and didn’t realise the success on which he could build. As I say, three months on and we are showing sustained growth from simple initiatives which tap into pockets of success which were already there.

Anyone can ask a customer if they want to buy something extra when they present to the counter to make a purchase. It takes good management to build a business which drives incremental sales for you without having to ask your customer every time.

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