Volume 44, Issue 11 - November 2009

Buyer’sBlock

 

It’s Coming …
Prepare Your Business for a Return to Business
By Paul Bieber

I have started writing this article six times, with six different subjects, and each article drifted back to one theme: the Economy. Here is my take. The slowdown in the retail glass industry will turn around this spring. Medium-size contract work will take a year, and monumental high-rise work is still three years out. You can believe me … here is my track record:

• I predicted the Mets would be in the World Series this year.

• Last year, I was sure the stock market would turn around when it hit 11,000 on the way down.

• I bought an SUV when gas was $1.73 a gallon.

Ok, so I have made a few mistakes. Now still is the time to get ready to do business in the spring.

 

Ready Your Showroom
During the upcoming winter, clean up and fix up your showroom. Every single person who walks in for something simple should walk out remembering your name and that you are the place to go to for glass. Get rid of your displays that are older than two years. Place a display showing low-E in residential windows. Put up a shower door display with the easy-to-clean glass now coming to market. Call your best local plumber and put a display in their showroom. Give them all of your plumbing work, and you will have a great program.

Paint your showroom. Set up a mirror display with clear and high-value mirror. Put good lighting around this display and you will sell the high-value mirror for bathrooms. Low lighting affects employees and customers. You can’t sell merchandise to a customer when your salespeople are yawning. But soothing music increases sales. You can hook up XM radio for a small fee and get hundreds of choices of channels.

 

Spread the Word
Look at your advertising. Have you changed your ads recently? How about an ad that shows your support for your community—maybe all non-profit groups get a 20-percent discount during February and March. Let them say thank you with a free ad in whatever they publish. You can have fun with a 10-percent discount on the tenth of the month for all mirror work.How about a senior discount every day? You can donate 5 percent of all sales for a week to a local elementary or high school—the PTA will promote your business for you.

I still believe the yellow pages is the best source of advertising for a glass shop, but the Internet is gaining quickly. You should have a simple website at a minimum. Intuit.com and godaddy.com set up simple websites for low fees. Get a third-grader to help you.

Look at your trucks; will you need a new one in the spring? Will you be upgrading an old truck, or do you need to order a new body if you are adding to your fleet?

Now is the time to encourage your employees to take their vacations. If they need encouragement, give a $100 VISA gift card to anyone who takes a vacation before March 30. This is a cheap price compared to the O/T you will have to pay in the summer when you are understaffed and getting work in.

Yes, the recession will end. Yes, you will have the opportunity to get more business. Yes, you will have to work hard and think hard. So get started.


Paul Bieber has 30 years in the glass industry, including nine years with C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., and 21 years as the executive vice president of Floral Glass in Hauppauge, N.Y., from which he retired in 2005. Mr. Bieber’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine.




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