entrepreneurship

Why Your Business Should Have A Membership Program

I don’t think there is anyone in the world that wants to do the same thing forever. I’m sure that at some point, Beyonce is going to stop dropping records and stop going on tour. 

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Think about it. If you look at everything you’re doing as of today, do you see yourself doing that in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? The whole concept of working until retirement is insane because who said that I wanted to do this for 20+ years. I barely want to do it for 2 lol 

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With that said, what would you say if I told you there was a way to make money in your business by putting it on autopilot? 

You’d probably tell me to exit stage left but hear me out. I want to introduce you to the idea of implementing a membership program in your business. For the sake of this blog, we’ll define membership as a recurring fee (usually monthly) someone pays to access a particular service/product. And note, I will be using membership and subscription synonymously throughout this post. 

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Membership programs allow business owners to better predict or project their revenue. If you have a membership where you charge people $5/month to access your offer and you have a goal of grossing $1,000/month from that membership, then you know you need to have at least 200 subscribers per month to hit that target. This business model requires less labor than having to continually attract and convert new customers because the focus is on how to retain current customers. 

According to McKinsey & Company, 15% of Americans have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis. It is projected that the subscription eCommerce market is expected to reach $473 billion by 2025. Yes, you read that correctly – $473 billion. That is a 2,389.47% increase from 2019’s $15 billion revenue. The biggest consumer benefit of enrolling in membership is convenience.

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That monthly gym membership you pay for so you can get access to top-tier athletic equipment to reach your body goals, you do that because it’s convenient. You do not have to build your own home gym by purchasing expensive equipment. That Amazon Prime subscription you pay for to ensure you get your deliveries in 1-2 days and occasionally, even on the same day, you do that because it’s convenient. You can order a dress on Wednesday and get it by Friday for that wedding you’re attending Saturday without leaving your house or having to deal with traffic and long lines at the register. The point is, we will pay for convenience. So ask yourself, what do you (or can you) offer your customers that would make them interested in paying a recurring fee for convenience? 

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I was working with a client that was launching a body sculpting business. Her business model requires her clients to see her often to ensure quality results. As we’re discussing her pricelist, I suggested she implement a “sample platter” membership where she meshes in different services that allow people to get a small sample of the services she offers. These clients are not able to come in often but they are willing to come in and get the experience, so they opt-in for a monthly “self-care” day.  

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I was working with a fashion designer that was looking for ways to bring in more passive income in her industry. I suggested she start a “lookbook” subscription where she curates different looks every month or season based on trends and her expertise. She would promote it to fashion enthusiasts, especially content creators because they will be the ones to take her subscription ideas and bring them to life. When others inquire about how they came up with those looks, they would reference her subscription which would increase enrollment.

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I share those two examples to show you that no matter what industry you are in, you can start a membership program. The beauty of this process is that it does not have to be perfect to start. Look at how many times Netflix has changed up its subscription model. When it started, you were only allowed to get a limited number of physical DVDs per month and now, we have streaming access to over 17,000+ titles at our fingertips. Learn as you grow.

I’ll be doing another write-up to specifically highlight all the benefits of implementing a membership but in the meantime, if you need assistance with developing a quality membership offer, let’s set up a time for me to brainstorm with you

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

entrepreneurship

Why You Should Share Your Price List

So the topic of transparency in pricing was the subject of EntrepreneurGram a few weeks ago and now that Al Gore’s internet has had some time to breathe, I want to share my take on it. 

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I remember when I started my entrepreneurship journey back in 2019 with no blueprint and simply gleaning from the so-called gurus on social media. I saw that everyone, or what felt like everyone, who was providing the same services as I did never put their price out there. You had to set up a meeting to share your vision and they will create a price specifically for you. It really bothered me because as a consumer, comparing price lists is how I determine who I can work with.

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For instance, for my birthday party last year, I was trying to find a caterer and I appreciated everyone that had their rates available so I could compare accordingly. I do not like wasting my time so I would rather go on your website and see that this is not a relationship we can have right now than set up a meeting only to find out within the first few minutes that you’re out of my league. And as a business owner, you just wasted your time too.

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And why is that? Why are business owners hiding their price list? I understand you want to get that lead magnet but it’s a useless lead if you are truly not in their budget. My catering budget was $2,000. My party was an upscale lounge vibe so I wanted cocktail hour food – small plates that could fill you up paired with my open bar. So I knew going in that my budget was firm regardless of who provided the service. It was always the ones that did not have a price list that gave me a hard time because they either wanted me to increase my budget or cut back on what I wanted.

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As a business consultant, I feel like it is my duty to let you know that you need to be open with your pricing. Whether you shop at Forever 21 or Neiman Marcus, the price for their products are listed. Now, I know what you’re thinking “my price depends on what they get” and I feel you. I get that. But you should have a minimum price that you are willing to work with and that should be listed. 

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I was working with a client that designs custom evening gowns and when we walked through her customer experience, I had to explain to her that one of the reasons she is not getting the money she wants is because she’s not upfront about her price list. If I want a custom gown and don’t know how much they cost, I probably don’t have a budget in mind. I am willing to set up a consultation with you so I can get some understanding but when we have that meeting and you tell me the gown is going to cost me $800, I am running out the door because my brain cannot process that. I was not ready. 

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However, if you as a designer know that for the basic of basic gowns and labor, your starting rate is $600, now every prospective client that reaches out knows that they need a minimum of $600 to work with you. Both of you benefit from this situation because you are getting the client and the money you desire while they get the gown of their dreams.

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I see way too often business owners that get so excited they finally get a lead that they settle for the short end of the stick. And the reason for this is your lack of systems, procedures, and a solid price list. You should know the base price of what you would charge for all of your services not only so you can justify why you are charging the price you charge but so you can assess how your business is operating. 

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Personally, my favorite people to get serviced by are hairstylists, nail technicians, and make-up artists. Every time I book one, I love looking at their price list because NOTHING catches you by surprise. Everything has a base price and add-on fees. The final price is not the problem for the customer; the problem is when they have to guess what the final price will be because they don’t have anything to work with. 

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Lastly, a friend and I were talking about this and realized many business owners do not know what part of the customer’s journey they want to be part of. If you are a product photographer and you want to work with new business owners, your rates will not be the same if you were interested in working with established businesses that are not new to professional product photography. The latter is willing to pay top dollar because they understand the importance of professional photos and how that can convert to sales. 

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I say all that to say, if you are not someone that is transparent with their price list and/or their base price, I highly recommend you revisit that concept and see how that changes your business clientele and structure. Then come back here and let me know how it went. 

I’ll be doing another write-up with the benefits of sharing your price list but in the meantime, start thinking of your base.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

entrepreneurship

Using Groupon To Market My Business

It takes money to make money.

So when I started my 360 Photo Booth business, I was trying to come up with different ways to market it. I knew that I would set up a Google My Business profile as well as position us on Instagram & Facebook to appeal to millennials – our target audience. I was not interested in investing my own money into the business so I needed to come up with a way to get “free” advertising.

I know what you’re thinking “where can you get free advertising”. When I say “FREE”, I mean not having to pay upfront costs. If you have an Etsy shop like I do, you are charged AFTER a customer makes a purchase. The platform takes their fees for “promoting your product” before they release the profit. And now, I found out that Groupon offers something similar.

Let me preface this with the fact that I am an avid Groupon customer. I use the app at least once a week looking for deals in Miami and Atlanta since I pretty much live in both cities. And then one day while I was scrolling, I saw my friend’s business ad on there. He is a personal trainer based in South Florida and he was offering his services at a discounted rate. 

I immediately started searching for 360 Photo Booth services on Groupon in the South Florida and Atlanta areas. I couldn’t find any and the lightbulb went off — this is a good market.

I created a Groupon Merchant (business account), started watching YouTube videos on people’s experience using Groupon Merchant, and created my first campaign. In maybe a day or two after I created the campaign (it has to get approved by Groupon before going live), I received an email telling me that the campaign was rejected. I shrugged and assumed that’s the reason why there were no 360 photo booths on the platform — they were all getting rejected. 

And then maybe a month later, I received a call from someone that worked for Groupon saying they saw I attempted to make a campaign and wanted to know if I was still interested in partnering with them. He told me how Groupon is always looking for new and innovative things to offer and they liked my 360 Photo Booth business. He told me that there’s a certain way to manually work the system and his specific job at Groupon is to find those unique businesses, revamp their campaigns, and get them approved. 

After the call, we went back and forth via email trying to set up the perfect campaign. Groupon has 20+ million active users on its platform and they provide businesses all the marketing they need. However, it comes at a cost. You have to list your product at an appealing sale price and then when you make a sale, Groupon wants 50% of that sale.

For example, let’s say your business offers jet skis. Your regular rate to rent out a jet ski for 30 minutes is $100. You list this service on Groupon at a discounted rate of $60 (40% OFF). This discounted rate is the price a customer will pay at checkout. After the purchase, Groupon will take $30 and give you $30. 

Now, before you fight me, let’s continue to look at that example. Depending on your business overhead (costs of operation), that $30 profit may be a loss. If gas for the jet ski is $10, you have to subtract that from the revenue so your true profit is $20. Other overhead costs may be a dock rental fee, lifeguard salary, and more which can have you seeing more negative than positive. In the context of my current business model, it’s a win because we just want to build exposure and profit enough to pay the employees that have to work these events. We do not use Groupon to pay for our overhead.

We started our campaign in early December and have consistently sold at least 2 vouchers per month from January to March 2022. The cool thing about this is, we are able to make more money by upselling additional items since our campaign is bare bones. On our account, we only offer standard 360 Photo Booth services for 3 hours, 5 hours, and 8 hours. All of our customers so far have purchased the 3-hour voucher and when we schedule the event, they almost always want an additional hour (more $$), themed props (more $$), and custom overlay/geofilter (more $$).

For those that do not know what upselling is, it’s when you offer additional services and/or products during a sale. You probably have experienced this while being a customer at your local fast-food restaurant. You order a taco and nachos and the cashier asks “would you like to add a drink with that”. That is upselling. So there are products and services included in our regular rates that we do not offer Groupon customers. We can’t just let you off that easily.

Another benefit of using Groupon to market my 360 Photo Booth business is being able to easily get reviews that you can then use on your company site or social media and it helps your business establish credibility. Just because something is listed on Groupon, doesn’t mean you should give your money to it. Remember, I am an avid Groupon customer so I look at reviews and I leave them. Shoot – I look at and leave Google Reviews. The reviews show that not only is your business legit but it provides good or bad services and products. I will admit, due to poor planning and lack of staffing on our part, we had to cancel our attendance at an event last minute which caused us to get 1 poor review but that won’t stop our show.

All in all, we have seen success in Groupon. The campaign reach and conversion rate has been pretty high for the first 90 days (the partnership is 4 months long with an option to renew) and I just know it will continue to grow. I will say, we do not promote our Groupon listing on our social media or even word of mouth because we don’t want everyone booking through the platform. Like seriously, we have money to make. So we have a limited number of vouchers that can be purchased on Groupon and still promote our regular rates via other online platforms.

I hope this was able to give you insight on potentially using Groupon to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your business. I don’t have all the answers but I thoroughly enjoy sharing my entrepreneurship journey so you can see what it’s like in real-time. 

For those of you interested in starting a 360 Photo Booth business or already started but not getting booked, let’s hop on a call to discuss what’s going on. As always, I love helping people level up in their entrepreneurship journey.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

entrepreneurship, financial literacy

5 Signs You Need To Hire A Business Consultant

Now don’t fight me because I know how you business owners like to tussle but hear me out. 

If you have been following me for any period of time, you know that I wear many hats. So many hats that it is borderline impossible for me to put myself in a box – glory to God for that. However, one of my favorite hats to wear is being a Business Consultant. Business Consultants do a lot of things but my specialty is helping people start businesses, assessing current business operations and providing strategies for restructuring, creating business plans, and even curating marketing strategies for product and service launches. 

You may feel like “I don’t need a consultant” because you took a couple courses, attended YouTube University, or asked your entrepreneur friends and family for advice but that’s not enough. Those courses were not designed specifically for you after a thorough understanding of who you are as an individual and where you are going as a business owner. The same way you go to a doctor because they specialize in medicine and need to know your entire medical history before they can provide you support, it’s the same way you need to go to a consultant that specializes in business and takes the time to understand your business history so they can provide you the necessary support. 

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with a variety of business owners. Some of them knew exactly what they wanted to do but didn’t know how to execute it while others were completely lost in the sauce. I love them both equally because it allows me to exercise different muscles. However, the only reason they came to me was that they wanted to know how I was running my businesses – even if it wasn’t what they were doing – and not necessarily because they knew they needed a business consultant. So I figured it was time to share some signs in your business that it is time to hire a business consultant. Please note, these are not listed in any particular order.

One more thing, before I get started with this list, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are thousands of people in your same position – no matter which one you identify with. The difference between you and them is that now that you are aware, you are able to make the necessary next step to get things going. Lean on that and you’ll be fine.

Okay, so here they are.

  1. You want to start a business but you don’t know what to do

There are so many people interested in starting businesses but they don’t even know where to start, let alone what to sell. And if you Google or YouTube “business ideas”, you’re bombarded with more opportunities than you can process. A business consultant can help you identify your needs and do research to find you a profitable business. For instance, if you know that you want to start a business that generates passive income but you don’t know what product you can sell, the business consultant can do that research and create a plan of action of how it would work.

  1. You have a business idea but you need help flushing out the details and/or how to get started

If you are anything like me, you always have an idea. You find yourself saying “oh, I should start this business” but when it’s time to iron out the details, you get overwhelmed with it and leave it in the Notes section of your iPhone. A business consultant is a perfect person to help you, deep-dive, into that idea and help you figure out how to get the ball rolling.

  1. You already started your business but you’re not seeing any or minimal profits

So you did everything all the business gurus told you to do but your business is not generating the revenue you thought it would. Been there, done that. This is a great place to be because a business consultant is not starting with you from scratch, even though they may need you to take them all the way to the beginning to walk them through how you got to this current position. The beauty of this is that you know more than you think. What do I mean by that? Well, you have something that prospective business owners don’t have – data. A business consultant can help you analyze your business data to see where things went “wrong” and how to get back on track to endless sales.

  1. You already had a business, shut it down for a bit, and now you want to make a comeback

You had a business and for some reason, you closed the doors. Maybe there wasn’t enough revenue coming in to break even every day. Maybe you experienced a life-changing event and the responsibility of running a business had to take the backseat. Maybe it was taking away too much time from your family. Whatever the reason, you have decided to reopen those doors. A business consultant will gladly help you create a business strategy for your relaunch and can help you come up with a plan to stay in business. The biggest thing here is you would need to be honest with yourself and your business consultant when discussing what you want your role to be in your business and where you want the business to go.

  1. You have a successful business and you’re ready to scale 

Just in case you don’t know what it means to scale, let me provide a definition. In business, scaling means the ability to increase production and revenue WITHOUT increasing resources. This is where we take into account a term I taught my students in Economics called “Factors of Production.” The factors of production are the resources (inputs) – land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship – used to produce goods and services (outputs). The goal of every business is to keep inputs low while keeping outputs high. To do this, your business needs to create effective systems and processes that allow your outputs to grow exponentially which in turn brings in more money for the company while keeping costs of operation low. A business consultant can help you identify that sweet spot and create a strategy to help you get there. 

Now, I want to highlight that this is not an all-inclusive list. There are many other reasons to see a business consultant. Maybe your business currently focuses on one thing and you want to pivot into offering a different type of service/product. Maybe you have multiple businesses and feel like you are being stretched too thin. Maybe everything is going just fine and you just want a health check. No matter the reason, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to one.

I will write part two to this where I highlight what you need to look for in a business consultant so you aren’t wasting your time and money. Business consultants can charge hundreds, even thousands per hour, and high cost does not always equate to a high value so before you make that investment, you need a blueprint. But in the meantime, try to assess if you actually need one. 

And of course, if you’re in the market for a business consultant, consider me 🙂 shameless plugschedule an appointment.

I hope this was helpful.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER