Why you need continuity in your business - and how to create itAug 01, 2022
When you're a business owner, it's always exciting to make a sale.
But you know what's even better than a sale? An ongoing arrangement with a customer that continues to generate revenue over time. That's called continuity. In this episode, I'm going to explain what this is and give you some ideas about how to do it.
If you haven't seen the video yet, head to my blog to view it. (It might just include an introduction to my new puppy. :))
It's really important in a business to have something called continuity, which means ongoing revenue. This means your customers come back to you for something like a subscription or paid service or something that your business generates for them over and over again. Whether this happens automatically or you generate it manually or whatever it is, it's called continuity. Usually, part of this involves having the processes and systems in place to keep that going.
Let me give you an example. One of the things I used to use for continuity in sewing machine retail and vacuum cleaner retail was a service program. A service contract was a great way for us to take care of a customer for a long period of time. We always tried to renew that contract with them when it expired.
We had a contract that said we were going to take care of the customer's machine for a set period of time. It included replacing parts and things like that. The customer would pay us X amount of dollars for their particular type of machine.
It was one of our most profitable products as far as margin was concerned. It was also one of the best continuity products, as far as bringing people in and getting them to buy more. It was a great continuity product.
If you're in the Sew/Vac retail space, I have a PDF form for this in our download section that you can use. (Look for the "Service Program Example Forms" section.)
I hope this idea helps. And if you get creative and you really think about it, there's probably something you can do in your business, maybe even a product that you provide that people buy from you on a regular basis that you can actually automate.
Part of automation is payment. You can get a credit card on file. There are so many applications to do this now. I use a software called Wave for my invoicing, but you can also use Square, or PayPal, or others. These kinds of recurring invoicing systems make it easy for customers, who don't want to think about needing to order things.
That's why Amazon has these services. Another example is box companies. There are so many box companies like these where you can get a box delivered to your house every month, or sometimes more often, that's really special.
I'll give you a great example. I get a box called from a site called Happily. My fiance and I get a Happily box once a month where it's a date in a box. Once a month we have a date so we can connect and get closer. I just pay $40 a month and we get a good date and it's always something different. It's surprising. We love it and appreciate the variety.
So that's one example of a continuity service and there are so many others out there. So if you really think about it, there are probably a bunch of continuity services you might offer. You sign your customers up, start taking their credit cards, and just start sending them the product or service or whatever you're offering.
And then start automating that. Don't worry about automation up front. You can manually track and deliver what you're doing as you get started. But then you'll want to start automating the steps because there are going to be a lot of steps along the way. The best thing is to just charge your customer, deliver the service and keep track of it and pay attention to it. You can slowly start automating the things that you are doing, that you are paying attention to, but start offering the continuity service up front. Take the money for it and sign people up for it.
Here is another example that could work for you. If you sell vacuum cleaners and customers buy vacuum cleaner bags from you, take a look and see what the top-selling type of vacuum cleaner bag in your store is. When people come in to buy that, simply ask them if they would be interested in paying a certain amount of money to have this bag just shipped to their home every month or every two months or six months or whatever.
Build your shipping into that cost and just give them a simple price. Make sure you're profitable on it and just offer it that way. People aren't going to break the price down. This is about convenience so they're not going to be as worried about it.
If they object that the price is higher than buying it in store, you can respond that you're going to ship it to them and they won't have to think about it anymore. I guarantee you there will be people who agree to that and sign up.
You could just keep a signup sheet at your front counter. Once someone signs up, you can start making that charge on a regular basis. They have to sign off on an authorization form. If you use software, they usually have those premade. You send it to them in an email and they agree to the authorization form when they submit their credit card. It's already built-in. Most of the software solutions that provide payment automation will do this for you automatically.
It's easier now than ever to build continuity into your business. I highly recommend it and hope this gives you some ideas about how you can get started generating ongoing revenue from your customers.
Talk to you again soon,
P.S. As you can see from this post, setting up systems for continuity in your business can be powerful -- but can also be a bit complex. If you'd like to have a conversation about how my team can help you with this or other areas of marketing for your business, please get in touch.
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