Monday, May 18, 2009

5 Fabulous Presentation Tips

And cue to the scene where your customer has just received your package.  He has the box in his hands ready to reveal what's inside..... excited and anxious he tears through it to find a plain white notecard, and your {insert product here}, at the bottom of the box.  

Awww what a let down, even though he loves your product the first impression from your 
presentation didn't hit that sweet spot that could've pushed your products into that warm fuzzy we all like to have when we open something up.  

What am I going on about? Why presentation of course, how your product is perceived and received when your customer reaches in, opens up or tears through your shipping container.  It's something that you may or may not have thought about but it surely is something to consider when you're wanting to stand out amongst your competitors and add a unique touch.  

I've always been a sucker for wonderful presentation. With all of my past and present business ventures I always make a point to take time to really consider my presentation. Here are a few things I take into account and ask myself:

-->1. What image am I trying to go for here?  Do I want to be conservative and sharp, or fun and colorful.  

-->2. How much budget am I willing to put into every presentation?  This should in my opinion depend on your retail price of that item.  If you're selling something that retails for $10 then by all means you have to get creative with your presentation because it should not cost more than $1 and that's pushin' it. But on the other hand if your product sells for say, $200 than by all means I say invest in presentation too. I'd be comfortable with $5-10 in presentation, and you can do alot with $5-10 if you've got a creative hair.

-->3. How much time do I have to invest in creating my presentation?  I included this because once you get hooked on creating stellar presentations for your products you may start to go overboard. Trust me, I would spend upwards of 30-40 minutes on my total presentation of just one of my diabetes accessory orders and I had to trim it down, because to fill 3 orders a night took me hours! Stay creative but not obsessive.
-->4. Try sticking to a coehisive theme.  And what I mean here is that if you're all about organic and natural products it's probably not wise to present your products in hot pink tafetta ribbons, and tulle. Just not a good look and will cause confusion for your customer.  Think of your presentation as just another extension of your overall look and theme of your pet business. If your color scheme is brick, grey and white, keep this in mind for presentation as well.  

--> 5. Does it photograph well?  Reason being because people like to see what a gift wrapped product may look like coming from you.  Plus you can play that up on your site as well, that all of your products come beautifully assembled with [insert your co name here] gift wrapped flair.  Some presentations photograph very well while others take a little finessing a bit. Play around with yours and see what great shots you can get.

Most of all your presentation should create that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when something is beautifully wrapped, or just has an added personal touch.  Don't feel like you have to go and buy tons of ribbons, bows and paper here either. Presentation can be a cute hand-written note on top of your products, or just a gift tag that expresses thanks for being a customer/client.  Keep it simple, but don't forget that 'wow' factor!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

*Be Careful of Success*

Yes you read the title correctly. I said 'be careful of success'. Why? Why would anyone want to step lightly into the golden path of success, or want to gently tip toe into the uber world of 'makin' it'? 

Well I don't want this post to be a downer but more informational, I'll just share a mini-saga so you can see what happens when success slams you in the nogin and you're not quite ready yet. 

What is success to you? Is it living debt free, or traveling without a care in the world, or maybe splurging without a care to the cost?  Well for your pet business or startup success could mean finally quitting your job, or hiring your first employee, or hey maybe even stroking that very first check to no one other than 'YOU'! 

Or maybe you dream of Oprah overnight success slams. Where she may gracely mention that her dogs only walk with your collars and leashes on.  What would an Oprah mention do for your business, products and/or services. Well from past Oprah mentions we see that those success slam stories come one of a couple of things. 

-->One they're ready for the slam, and they thrive to heights they never dreamt of and are 'the rest is history' stories.

-->Or two they're totally not ready for the slam and just as quickly as they became, they're no more! What we're trying to avoid is this nasty number 2!  

A huge order of 20,000 units would be a fabulous victory right? Well that depends. Think about 
that for a second. Do you have 20,000 of anything just lying around waiting to be sold?  No, didn't think so. So what would you do if 20,000 units had to be shipped to say Target by August? Do you have the budget to float an order of 20,000 units? Do you have a manufacturer capable of doing 20,000 unites by August. Or even 'worse/better' if you're an indie pet business meaning you're doing it all alone, can YOU produce 20,000 units of anything by August?  

Do you see where this is going fast?  And now can you see how a huge order of 20,000 seems like your pie in the sky dream, but could spell overnight bankruptcy too?  Now if this isn't something that you're pushing towards, than this post probably doesn't apply to you a bit. 

But if you want to someday have a thriving company that only needs you for 'big important' sign-offs and decisions' you're gonna need to think this through.  

--->Don't Chase Your Tail Action Plan:  Start by having a step by step plan of action in place for growth. This could be just a list of things that you can implement rather quickly to get a large job done, to your standards and within a reasonable amount of time. You don't need to go an hire a huge contractor tomorrow but you may want to research and poke around a bit and see where the good ones are. Check references and look at their track record.  

Have a plan to leverage your budget or make the most of it in a situation that may require it later. For instance if you're working on an upfront payment basis now with a contractor, try to build up some credit with them now, so that should a large order come a knockin' you can work out terms with them to get the job done! Most companies will work with you if you have a strong payment record with them. 

Yup, I know not the most uplifting post, but one that you cannot just turn your shoulder to. If 
you're looking to grow as you should be, than consider what growth and success could mean for you and your pet business.  

And hey this is actually good news, because when that success slam does come gonnit you'll be ready and be the next super success slam story --- and the rest is history! 

Want my .02? I'd love to share I like doing that!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Getting Your Pet Business Noticed*

So you've got your website, your products are on the 'shelves' and you're ready to take over the pet world.

Well how do you get pet parents to see you, or get attention from media and press? You can start with a press release. What you don't know how to write one? Well hop aboard because if you wanna save budget funds you should really consider doing it yourself. On the other hand if you have the budget and really dispise writing outsourcing could be your best option.

Personally I've done both, and truth be told I'm most happy when I know that what I wrote is out there creating buzz for me and getting me the features I want, which in turn get's me the customers I'm looking for.

So we'll briefly go over what a press release should do:

First it should answer the 4 w's and 1 h -->who, what, where, why, and how questions that all media, press and bloggers want to know.

You should have something 'newsworthy' to say --> If you're starting a high-end pet boutique, so is about 100 other petpreneurs, but if you're starting a high-end pet boutique that offer's custom puppy spa treats that could be newsworthy. You want your pet business to stand out someway.

Use the numbers tactics --> The 'numbers list' seems to work nicely to create media buzz. ie.-- 10 ways to train your new puppy not to chew the house, or 5 ways you can calm a high-strung ferret. This technique uses information to direct curiosity seekers to you and works well if done correctly.

Use controversy --> Did you just dig up some juicy pet controversy? Talk it up in a press relase, the media love controversy. Or does your product go against an industry standard, but works? Use it, this is a sure way to get your email busting with feature requests, and of course customers!

Of course this isn't the only way to go about writing a press release but can surely point you in the right direction. Search out some press releases, (don't copy) but take direction from well-written ones, and then put yours together. Getting the attention of media and press is one of the cheapest ways to get your brand and products out there to your pet market. Use It!

and hey want my .02? I'd love to share it. --> Take our 3 question survey for our newest service launch :