Golden Business Ideas

Realistic Performance Checkups
If your organization is typical, it requires managers to conduct annual performance reviews.

But wait a minute. Does it really make sense to wait that long before determining whether an employee has been meeting goals established 12 months ago? If workers are not improving, either because they are incapable or because a manager failed to provide a midcourse correction, by the time a year has passed, they will be way off the mark—a considerable waste to your organization’s resources.

On the other hand, if they have an interim checkup a few weeks after setting their goals—and then maybe even quarterly or semiannual reviews—their manager might be able to nudge them in the right direction; instead, they spent the last 11 months sliding further off the mark.

And in cases where the employee, for whatever reason, is incapable of meeting the standards of the job, so much time has passed that the whole review process has lost its effectiveness and credibility.

Overcoming Mail-Order Barriers
One of the obstacles to selling products through the mail is the added charge for shipping and handling (S&H). For example, a customer faced with an S&H charge of $4 for a $10 product often figures it’s just not worth it. But if you raised the price of the product to, say, $14 and advertised free shipping, you would remove the perception of a barrier for some customers.

Pricing Psychology
Where possible, offer customers at least three price options—a low, medium and high price.

Reason: When given three or more choices, they can avoid the cheapest product, which carries the stigma of buying strictly on price and ordering what may appear to be the lowest quality item.

Make an Invoice a Sales Tool
Two little words— no charge —written on the face of an invoice can be an effective marketing device.

For example, if your invoice typically includes a delivery or service charge, simply crossing it out with a bold “No Charge” will powerfully alert customers that your company is doing something special for them. It will increase the perceived value of the sale and make it easier to deal with those seeking price breaks.

Sales Conversion
Can your products be converted into renewable subscription sales?

“Hey,” you’re probably thinking, “how can I convert a machine tool into a subscription?”

True, it may sound impossible, but it’s worth some thought. For example, say your company does sell machine tools. What if you thought of each new tool as an upgrade rather than just a new tool? You could support the subscription idea by working out a trade-in deal with customers and by providing service contracts. You might even offer free technical reports with each sale.

It won’t work for every product, but you may be surprised how many you can effectively market this way.

While some sales costs would rise, others would fall because someone who is a subscriber more likely will be a repeat customer and that lowers marketing costs.

An Invitation
The JofA publishes a monthly collection of Golden Business Ideas and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).

Send your ideas to Senior Editor Stanley Zarowin via either e-mail ( ) or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy , Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.


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