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Should You Be on TikTok and More of Your Questions for April

Like what compromises to make when good sales help is slim pickings.

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Should I start a TikTok channel?

TikTok is fun and seemingly everywhere. But that doesn’t mean it will be a great fit for you. Jane Harrell, president of Cause Digital Marketing, says that when her clients ask her about adding a new social media channel she tells them it may have potential “but if you don’t know how that specific tactic will fuel your business goals … no, you shouldn’t. … It’s way harder to know how to budget [for social media], which channels to choose, how much time to spend and how to tell whether it’s working. After all, if you run an ad and get no sales, it’s easy not to do it again; but if you have a social media following and are struggling to get sales, it’s not necessarily that easy to pinpoint the issue,” she says.

Harrell advises that you assess the channel carefully and with a sober mind. “Make sure you can draw a straight line from what you’re trying to achieve (get more awareness, build trust, get sales, etc.) to which content marketing channel works best for that. For example, TikTok can be FAB for getting you wide exposure and reaching a younger audience, but it isn’t as great for driving local product sales now,” she says.

I have been getting many local high schools coming by for ads for yearbooks, band club books, etc. Is this a waste of my money?

Yes, it is … most of the time. Of course, there can be exceptions. According to Ellen Fruchtman of Fruchtman Marketing, “Local high school sports teams, band clubs, and yearbook ads can take a chunk out of what is normally a very tight advertising budget.” If you want to participate anyway, Fruchtman recommends setting up a budget for these types of “donations” at the beginning of the year. “These ads are primarily for goodwill rather than good marketing,” she says. Fruchtman adds that you should consider advertising only in those high school publications that cover the region where your primary customer base lives.

Furthermore, she states that the price could be worth it if the solicitor is the child of a good customer. In that case, “the cost of the $50 ad is well worth the benefit of future sales.” But don’t rush your decision.

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If you do decide to run an ad in any of these publications, try something clever. It’s bad enough that it’s not money very well spent. “You might as well attempt to get someone’s attention.”

I was looking for fresh ideas to move aged inventory. How can I do this apart from a sale?

If you have inventory that hasn’t moved in 12 months or more despite your best efforts to put it in front of as many people as possible, then you’re going to have to accept the market’s verdict: It doesn’t think it’s worth the price. That makes some sort of price cut inevitable. But there’s still room to show your imagination. Here are three slightly different ideas, from sales pro John Nicolosi:

  1. Hold online auctions starting at maybe 20 percent above cost (or any starting price low enough to gain customer attention).
  2. Review old customer wish lists (or any notes you’ve kept) to see if they might like an older piece — if it’s a year or older, offer a discount on the item.
  3. Post images of your product to others in industry forums that may be doing well in that category. “Every store has a different audience and you may have something that may be someone else’s treasure,” says Nicolosi.
I’ve been looking for a sales associate for months but just can’t land a good candidate. Should I ease up on my “Never compromise when it comes to hiring” rule?

When a lack of staff is hurting the service you provide customers or costing you money, then yes it’s probably time to reconsider. Keep in mind there is always more than one way to get things done, says consultant Andrea Hill of Hill Management Group. “It takes time to train an effective salesperson. But it takes very little time to train someone to help set up the store properly in the morning, write beautiful thank-you notes, and cover a variety of administrative tasks that salespeople (and you) do.” If you need to hire in a pinch, hire someone who can take the less-skilled tasks off your salespeople.”

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My brother recently assumed leadership of our family business. But I, and my sister, don’t feel he pulls his weight. What should we do?

Call a meeting with your sister and brother and try the DESC conflict-resolution method:

  • Describe: Outline the problem. Avoid using judgmental language.
  • Express: Let him know your concerns if things don’t change.
  • Specify. Tell your brother what you’d like him to do. Be specific.
  • Consequences: Cite the consequences that will occur when the behavior is changed — a better-run business, more profit for everyone.

Remember to listen and avoid the question of who’s right and wrong.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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