The Kitchen & Bath Business Marketing Plan Should Be Flexible, Cost Effective & Brand The Dealership

Like most Kitchen & Bath Dealers, when I opened my dealership, I had a rough business plan and an idea of how I was going to market.

It was generalized and not very detailed. Sound familiar? I think the biggest mistake made was I really did not do a Market Study of who was doing what level of Kitchen & Baths in my market area. How can you get specific if you don’t understand the details of your market, market area, and market prospects?

A comprehensive Marketing Analysis should first look at the overall industry as a whole, then you would define your market geographically, demographically and sociographically. In English,that means, what area of the map, who lives their and what is their income, home value, etc, etc. I cannot stress this enough. Know Who, What & Where your going to target your marketing so that you don’t waste money on advertising outside those parameters.

Which is your business going to focus on,The consumer, home builder, allied professionals etc. Of course you will do projects for all of them, but your pricing and marketing strategy has to focus on one or two of them. Don’t be a “Jack of all trades, Master of none”. You should come out of your marketing analysis phase with a clear understanding of who you are, who your primary client base is and how you are going to compare with the competition in your market area.

Your Marketing Strategy should define your goal. What do you expect to accomplish and what is your budget. Remember, it doesn’t matter how big or small of a firm you are, you should always have a clear, defined budget and stick to it.

The percentages I spoke about in the last newsletter are very accurate and every Kitchen & Bath business should try and stick to them. For your review:

New business 7-8%

2-3 Year old business is 5-7%

An established business is 3- 5 %.

Remember to ad 2- 4% for brand development if your a new business.

When you do your plan in advance and stick to it, a side benefit is with truthfulness you can tell the advertising sales people that constantly call on your business- ” My budget & plan is already spoken for this year, Thank you.”

Timing is important, you should set your budget on the current years sales /overhead expenditure percentages for the following fiscal year. The 3rd Quarter is when you start to do the spending comparisons from previous year and in the middle of the 4th quarter your budget for the following year should be set.

Next step is to figure out how your going to communicate your strategy that you have defined, then you have to test the results. Some examples of Target Markets and some specific strategies that you might consider. Each market is different and you have different dealer profiles, so bear with me as I offer some examples.

The best marketing is one on one, direct contact with the prospect. Go out and get the prospects, don’t just sit in the showroom and wait for them to come in. As a rep, I just love sales people that say ” Oh man, business is slow this quarter, and yet their butts haven’t moved off the chair in front of the computer with solitaire on the screen..I digress….sorry. 🙂 If you know who your target prospect is from your analysis, there is no excuse why not to go after them.

A Newsletter, keeps in touch with your existing client base, while a Four Color Brochure, introducing your firm and its services-with Testimonials will help turn new prospects into clients. You can do this economically and along with one on one dialog be effective. These provide both flexible and cost effective marketing tools.

I find that Direct Mail Advertising only attracts the price shopper, looking for a “deal”, and I am not convinced at a 2 % response rate that it is cost effective. The big 4 Color Slicks Magazines are great for Branding, but you need to do it correctly commit to two years at every other month, It is certainly costly and most effective for branding your business with affluent prospect. It is a mistake to spend all of your marketing dollars on the 4 color slick magazines. I find that putting ads in the local Theatre and Opera Programs will do the same branding with the same affluent prospect and are less costly.

I had done some TV on the Cable Channels such as HGTV, I found that to be as effective as the 4 color slick with some side benefits. It reaches the mighty middle prospect and affluent prospect (depending on which show it airs.) A pleasant side effect is that if you do a tasteful ad and the principle is on then your existing client base is reminded of you and talks about you. (More of a reason to earn those A referrals) It is more cost effective than the 4 Color Slicks and I believe does more in the short run. I think TV, radio done right really works, but it is a big budget item. I know how to get the production done, what to look for in the statistics of who is watching what and how well it can Brand your business. I am not talking about one of those cheesy cable commercials either.

These examples are just a few of many, many. Each firm is different, that’s why you need to Analysis, Strategize & Plan specifically for your business. Stick to a budget and timetable and be flexible. Follow the yellow brick road to your business pot of gold.

Successful Business – Top Reasons

1) Direction.
Every startup needs a leader with a vision. During the difficult times, the CEO needs a clear idea of the end mission and how the company needs to get there. A good business leader keeps the long-term in mind, while dealing with the immediate needs of a new company.

2) Speed to market.
You can’t be second when it comes to startups. Especially with the rate of technology development, the faster a startup can produce its service or product, the better chance it has in delivering to customers. Young businesses have to compete with established industries. One of the reasons businesses succeed is that they reach consumers first.

3) Financial savvy.
Successful startups know how to work within a budget. Managing finances and keeping a young company out of debt it can’t repay is key to becoming successful. Companies just starting out need to do more with less.

4) Well-Connected.
Just like early career builders, young startup companies can gain a leg up by knowing a few well-connected individuals. These companies use their social network for their first clients, investors, and mentors. As the old adage goes, it’s not what you know – it’s who you know.

5) Dedication.
Startups need leaders who are willing to work hard and stick to their goals. This leadership inspires others to commit to a strict work-ethic, aligned with the company’s mission. All employees must be committed and dedicated to the goal.

6) Perseverance.
Even when times get tough and the road to success offers bumps and blockages, startups need to persevere to achieve success. The majority of startups bail when money is tight or disagreements arise between founders. Successful businesses stick it out in turbulent waters and remember their end goal during difficult times.

7) Quick to Adapt.
Successful startups are comfortable with change. Leaders who know how to make smart decisions without a clear roadmap can take advantage of opportunities that more cautious companies can miss.

8) Knowing How to Attract Investors.
Money talks in the business world. Without the startup funds, companies can never get up off their feet. Smart business leaders know how to generate capital to give their million-dollar ideas a shot.

9) Confidence.
Startups need unwavering commitment to their mission and goals. Without the confidence that the company will succeed, the startup will dissolve when facing initial obstacles.

10) Efficient Time Managers.
There’s no down time when it comes to startups. If the leaders of a company are not putting in time around the clock, success is unlikely.

11) Execution.
Everyone can have a million-dollar idea. It takes moxie and strategy to put an idea into action. Knowing how to execute sets apart successful businesses from the failures.

Entrepreneurs Could Learn Lots from US-Based Asian Small Business Consortium Strategies

Over the years I’ve been quite impressed at how many of the Asian-American small businesses stick together and really help each other out. It’s an impressive display of camaraderie and confidence. Their strategies work so well, they have a much better chance at success, which allows new start-up small businesses and shop owners drop their failure rates significantly over the average small business rates in the US.

Last week, I was discussing this with an acquaintance from the Philippines, and she noted that the Chinese business owners there, do the same thing, and they use the same strategies. She noted; “The Majority of those who own big businesses in the Philippines are Chinese. I admire their way in managing their business though, and Chinese community or family helps each other when it comes to their financial needs.”

Yes, and this happens in Los Angeles too, not just with larger and medium sized businesses, but also with small businesses. Not just with the Chinese, but it seems all Asian-American Business Owners. There are rare cases where I’ve heard they tend to exploit their own, which is unfortunate, but not any more than perhaps wealthy Anglo-Americans have in past periods, after all, that is known by just reading our history books.

One interesting point in Los Angeles, is that I’ve observed the Korean Small Business consortiums doing the same thing to support each other, and they form ad hoc groups to loan new business owners money to get started and then they do the same later for future business people. During the LA Riots, some of the African-Americans in LA were angry at the Koreans for being such good business people and they said they are exploiting them. Sometimes with such strong business strategies it’s easy to create animosity in the local free markets, when you dominate so many sectors.

My acquaintance in the Philippines noted that the Chinese Business People there would never allow their relatives to become poor, so they support each other. Maybe it’s this attitude which helps propel their ventures so well, a sense of closeness and community – almost a community within a community if you will, with a small business enterprise motif – and you know what? It works! Perhaps, this is why I’ve always been impressed with the way that Asian-Americans stick together in business and work with each other.

Every entrepreneur could learn from these strategies, so, I thought I’d mention it to you. Please consider all this and think on it.