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Old 14th January 2008, 04:37 PM   #1
Natasha2005
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Question Not Sure What To Do?

Hi All: My first visit back here in a long time. Because I have been busy (which is good) and am not busy now (which is bad).
Ok, our priimary business is seasonal, and shortages of work in the winter mean we end up in debt more and borrow more to make it.
We have huge health care costs, and not much payroll but we end up running out of tax money etc and we dont necessarily show good income all year long due to the seasonal thing.
We have a secondary business, selling product on the web, and it is doing well.
We increased our prices, no one complained. We had a new product added, to meet customer requests. So, we need to sell a lot of this product and it will help our income. We have hardly ever had to use the money back guarantee. No one returns our product hardly ever (maybe two in three years).
We have a web site, Ad Words, blogs and a couple people selling for us in other states. One local supplier put our stuff on Ebay and pays us for his supply. We need more marketing ideas. I know this product can go a long way. We tried trade magazine ads, and it wasnt worth the money or the people asking for free samples. We know we have a good thing, we know we can afford the overhead, we just need to sell more.
Can anyone offer any suggestions?
For reference, our first service is carpet cleaning (seasonal and terrible fuel expenses), our second is pet and problem odor removal product. All natural too, so I thought maybe playing up the "Green" thing?
Our web designer lets us edit our text, and marquee ads on the carpet cleaning business end of it, but that's all the access she gives us.
I started three blogs, and am trying to ping them and keep them fresh. I did fall behind on that this past year, due to some family illnesses and death in my hubby's family.
He has lost much of his ambition, after all the personal things going on. Picking up sales for our product would help morale all the way around.
thanks for any ideas.


Last edited by Natasha2005; 14th January 2008 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 14th January 2008, 09:13 PM   #2
PressureProsInc
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I feel your pain, Natasha, trust me, I do. My businesses are a deck restoration/pressure washing company, a distributor of deck cleaning and staining products, an ice cream parlor and a Curves ladies gym. If it wasn't for Curves, my finances would be completely feast or famine. I used to bash my head against the wall worrying about keeping employees year round and struggling with what I could do during the winter months. Now I lay everyone off and use the winter to travel, diversify holdings, explore businesses to buy, whatever. The two franchises run themselves. Its a slower pace and I have come to look forward to it. It comes down to an ability to budget. It's hard, I know. Its why you have to be sure, as a service contractor, that you're pricing is as high as your market will bear.

You may also want to pick up more commercial accounts as they are much less prone to seasonal changes. they pay less, but the work may be more steady.

Keep your chin up and keep working on that pet product website. One day it will all come together and you will be able to take a step back and breath. Good luck!

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Old 14th January 2008, 11:06 PM   #3
Natasha2005
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Default Commercial is better........

Yes, commercial accounts have to clean.
We have two property manager accounts. Both have probably over 2000 houses they rent out combined, if not more.
We clean every time they have a move in, and quite often when they have a move out.
We get paid almost every other day from one of them, but only every thirty from the other. If we had one more such account, we would probably be in very good shape.
Residential customers are just not spending like they used to.
Thanks for the encouraging words.

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Old 15th January 2008, 03:18 PM   #4
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Affiliate program target toward complimentary businesses
- I don't mean post an affiliate link and hope for members; research, target and seek the best.

Look beyond carpets..... Does the product work on furniture, clothing, blankets/bedding? If so, there's a great affiliate base.
- Here's a thought.... How about the marine market. I have friends with nice boats that their pets sometimes use a bathrooms when on the lake. Will your product help on marine carpeting?

Cultivate user-contributed content to boost organic traffic.
- Product image galleries - "How I used ABC product"
- Did our product work? If so, tell us your story and we'll pay for shipping on your next order!

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Old 15th January 2008, 03:49 PM   #5
Natasha2005
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Unhappy Yep........

Our product does work as we say, just about anywhere.
We have used it or seen it used in laundry, kennels (concrete and dirt), dishwashers, restroom tile and numerous other places.
I dont have access to do the links--I think the web designer needs to do them? Since I dont work with codes?
We do have a few testimonials on the web site.
We also sell to local people in our same field, who dont consider us a conflict of interest.
We gotta do something.
We're getting too old to live on the edge like this!

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Old 15th January 2008, 07:11 PM   #6
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Default Other market niches

I'm sure you know your business better than I do, but some suggestions (since you asked):

Health Care. Hospitals. Nursing Homes.

Day Care Centers.

Markets sensitive to hygiene and infectious disease issues.

Become an "expert" on these issues.

Have local seminars of the "invitation only" type. Post schedule on web site.

Write articles about the environmental impact poor carpet maintenance can have. Put on website. Mail to administrators of these institutions.

Invite to your seminar. Give them free snacks and beverages. Keep it to the point and informative.

Well, just another idea. Not necessarily business pushed by the web, but your site could be the "registration point" where attendees log on and pay their fees via PayPal (if you don't have a shopping cart).

Good Luck. Peace and Prosperity.

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Old 15th January 2008, 10:20 PM   #7
Natasha2005
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Default Casey........

When we ran the ad in the carpet cleaning industry magazine, we did get building maintenance orders. We are still selling to at least one nursing home facility. We even had a hospital contracted in Canada.
We know what it can do, but we need to put money into the best place, because we dont have much money (but we sure have debts).
Also, we work out of our home, so we would have to rent a facility to have people in to see things.
We were going to do the dog and cat show at the local fairgrounds. That is something I should be looking into now. It's not that much to set up there.
We did try a trade show, but it was horrible. They didnt let people set up their table until the last day and last four hours of the show. We spent a lot to get there.
I think part of the problem is, my husband gets let down easy and maybe has a low image of his sales ability. Actually, he is a very very good salesperson but he has lost confidence.
Thanks for the ideas!

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Old 16th January 2008, 06:27 AM   #8
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Have you looked into marketing to consumers through veterinary associations?


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Old 16th January 2008, 09:56 AM   #9
Natasha2005
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Default Associations?

No, but we are in one vet's office and have done a pet store.

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Old 16th January 2008, 12:25 PM   #10
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Yeah, associations..... The AVMA(.org) has state chapters (avma.org/statevma/) all of which publish pamphlets and monthly literature.

Also, many of the state Associations list a "Business Alliance" section. If you're in one vet's office and they like you, why not think on a larger scale?


I may be way off - I'mjust trying to brainstorm with you....

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