Pricing 101: your pricing strategy

Pricing is the most important aspect of your business. No other factor has a higher impact on improving profits. A 1 percent improvement in price optimization results in an average boost of 11.1 percent in profits. That’s no small change.

The following are methods commonly used when determining how to price inventory. Read through these pricing options and compare them to how you currently price items in your dealership. Keep in mind the services your dealership provides when trying to match the best method for you moving forward.

Value based pricing: It’s all about the customer

To consumers, price is a number of how much they value what you are selling. For example, if I needed a new winter hat, I could get one from the local Goodwill store for a dollar, or I could go to Macy’s and buy one for $25. If I only cared about covering my head, Goodwill would win, but since I care about my fashion sense, Macy’s wins. A customer’s willingness to pay is contingent upon the value he or she places on the product desired. Essentially, value based pricing cuts through the red tape of this scenario to determine the true willingness of a customer to pay for a particular product.

Unfortunately, the most common pricing strategies and methodologies forget about the customer. Instead, people in charge of pricing justify price points based on internal reasons or simply adopting existing market prices. Newsflash: customers don’t care how much something costs you or your competitors to make. Customers want to know how much value they are receiving at a particular price.

Value based pricing requires a lot of research. But it allows more interaction between you and your customer. Plus, unlike pricing done by market norms, this method focuses on isolating qualities that distinguish your product from a dozen similar products on the market.

Value based pricing models utilizes customer data, as well as breakdowns of the relative value of different features within your offering. You’ll also need to conduct an analysis of competing goods, because once you have the data, you’ll want to know the other options consumers have open to them. In the end though, you have the greatest amount of data to make an informed decision about your profit maximizing price.

Pros of value based pricing

1. It helps you develop higher quality products.

Value based pricing not only determines a more accurate price for the end product, but the process will also benefit your business. Taking on a consumer perspective will also help you discover what customers are really looking for. Products and features will be driven by consumer demand, which raises perceived value, thereby resulting in a higher price.

2. It allows you to provide phenomenal customer service.

Much of the customer data in value based pricing is collected through customer surveys or interviews. In past newsletters, we have stressed the importance of building relationships with customers and providing them quality customer service. Your customers will perceive that you are providing the best service available and building repeat business instead of a one-time customer. The customer will trust that you are providing the most bang for his or her buck.

Cons of value based pricing

1. It takes time and resources.

The method takes time; both while building relationships with customers and researching competitors’ prices and services.

2. It’s a science, just not an exact science.

Value based pricing is more of a process that requires consistent dedication, not just a “set it and forget it” mentality. Think about it, willingness to pay differs between different customers, regions and even offers. A 100 percent accurate prediction is impossible, but we can get pretty darn close.

Summary: Value based pricing should be a part of almost everyone’s pricing strategy. When done right, value based pricing provides increased opportunities to provide customer service and motivates you to provide a higher quality product.

Cost plus pricing: The oldest and simplest method of setting prices

Cost plus pricing is the simplest method of determining price, and embodies the basic idea behind doing business. You buy something, sell it for more than you spent buying it (because you’ve added value by providing the product), and the difference between your price and costs equals profit.

A lot of companies calculate their cost, determine their desired profit margin by pulling a number out of thin air, slap the two numbers together and then stick it on a couple thousand widgets. It’s really that simple. This method involves very little market research, and also doesn’t take into consideration consumer demands and competitor strategies.

Pros of cost plus pricing

1. It takes few resources.

Cost plus pricing doesn’t require a lot of additional market research. Cost of product is something businesses are mostly aware of by adding up different invoices, labor costs, etc. Businesses can then take the total costs and place a margin on top of them that they believe the market will bear. Cost plus pricing is especially helpful when you have no information about a customer’s willingness to pay and there aren’t direct competitors in the marketplace.

2. It provides full coverage of cost and a consistent rate of return.

As long as whomever is calculating the costs per item is adding everything up correctly, cost plus pricing ensures that the full cost of the product is covered, allowing the mark-up to generate a positive rate of return.

Cons of cost plus pricing

1. It’s horribly inefficient.

The guarantee of a target rate of return creates little incentive for cutting cost or for increasing profitability through price differentiation. This inward facing approach discourages market research, including watching your competitor’s prices. Plus with no research, you have minimal data on your customers’ perceived value of your product.

2. It doesn’t take into account consumers.

Perhaps the biggest downfall of cost plus pricing is that it completely disregards the customer’s willingness to pay. To make money, a customer must be involved. They’re the most important part of selling anything, so any pricing strategy that doesn’t take customer value into account is creating a vacuum that’s sucking all of the profit out of the business.

Furthermore to be blunt, customers don’t care about how much something cost you. They understand there are costs associated with doing business, but consumers care more about how much value you’re providing.

In summary, cost plus pricing isn’t ideal for most businesses, unless you truly cannot spend some extra time on the most important aspect of your business – your customers.

Competitor based pricing:  logical, but ineffective

Competitor based pricing is a lot like a bad case of plagiarism in a college class. Because you don’t want to do the work yourself, you look at your competitors’ prices for similar products, and set your prices similarly.

Imagine stacking all of your competitors on a totem pole with the most premium or luxury brand on top and the bargain brand on the bottom. You then decide where on the pole you fit, place yourself in there and set your price accordingly. This is not the way to do business.

Pros of competitor based pricing

1. It’s fairly simple.

If you’re in an industry with even one or two direct competitors, you can implement a reasonable competitor based pricing strategy. In most industries, marketing and product managers will then have to do relatively little research to find a price.

2. It’s low risk.

It’s rare to royally screw up using this form of pricing, and chances are if your competitor has never filed bankruptcy, neither should you.


Cons of competitor based pricing

1. It leads to large missed opportunities.

You will miss the opportunity to work closely with your customers and provide them true customer service if you just sell a product without any extra perceived value. You will likely lose profits and not take advantage of improving your product or business. Maintaining a lower price than your competitors isn’t always the best way to attract consumers, and as Lisa’s chart on page 2 showed, prices are not a priority like customer service and communication.

2. Formed by group consensus and lacks personal responsibility.

Competitor based pricing operates off the assumption that businesses already in the market have the correct answer and that every decision competitors’ make is intelligent. However, if a large portion of companies all use this tactic, then with time, competitor based pricing can lead to the entire industry losing touch with demand.

Summary: Competitor based pricing should be a part of everyone’s pricing process, but not the central pillar. As we alluded to before, competitor based pricing also gives you too much of a “set it and forget it” mentality. Pricing is a process that requires data and attention. If you’re not changing your prices and differentiating your product over time, you’re not sustainable. Yes, you should know what your competitors’ prices are, but knowing your customers and their demands is more important. If you take elements of all three of these pricing strategies, you should see increased business and an increase in your profits.

April 2016 – Letters From Lisa

’P’ for price

Pricing is one of the four P’s of the marketing mix, the pillars that support and sustain your business. The first is Product; the second is Place (distribution); the third is Promotion and the fourth is Price. All four of these factors must be implemented before you can succeed in business.

I am going to focus on price, which some people consider an afterthought to the other three. But, I argue price is the most important factor, and it’s critical to your business that you get it right. Remember price is the only element in the marketing mix that produces revenue; all other elements represent costs.

Without proper pricing, your gross margin will suffer and that will translate into less profit than you deserve and ultimately limited cash flow. Limited cash flow will eventually impact the sustainability of the business.

One trap that is easy to fall into is thinking that the price must be as low as possible to get any traction with sales. This just isn’t true. We routinely survey our end-user customers to see what matters to them in their purchasing decisions. What they say about price and its importance will surprise you. The following is a list of the top 10 factors to provide proof and understanding of the definition of value, or in other words, why you don’t need to assume your prices need to be kept to the lowest number possible to close the sale.

  1. Product makes a difference in animal’s health & performance.
  2. Product is easy to feed.
  3. Product is consistent in quality.
  4. Knowledge of product by sales personnel.
  5. Reliability of product supply.
  6. Personnel respond quickly to requests.
  7. Ease of contacting the right person for help.
  8. Product is packaged in useful quantities.
  9. Problems are resolved quickly.
  10. Ease of doing business.

So, instead of worrying about keeping prices low, worry about the items highlighted in yellow. Focus your energy on educating, having inventory, responding quickly and making doing business with you easy. If this is your focus, you can use value based pricing, which means believing that you can sell at our suggested retail price plus the freight to get the product to you. No smirking without giving it a try.

To end, I’ll quote Lawrence Steinmetz who wrote a book on sales called “How to Sell at Margins Higher Than Your Competitors.” “The first thing you have to understand is the selling price is a function of your ability to sell and nothing else. What’s the difference between an $8,000 Rolex and a $40 Seiko watch? The Seiko is a better time piece. It’s far more accurate. The difference is your ability to sell.”

lisa-norton-signature

Understanding The Value

Without an understanding of what all is included in a bag of BioZyme mineral, it is possible your customers feel they are comparing apples to apples when, in fact, they are not. BioZyme mineral prodcts contain a host of things other mineral brands simply do not offer:

AMAFERM®
The key ingredient in all of BioZyme’s products, Amaferm® is a natural feed additive, that acts as a prebiotic increasing digestibility to 
maximize the energy value of feed.

OPTIMIN® Proteinates
The nutritional success of any organic trace mineral depends on the ability of the organic escort to hold onto and protect the metal from undesirable reactions. Optimin’s superior chelation stability maintains the integrity and keeps the organic mineral in its original form during digestion. Optimins are soluble and ready for absorption, especially when they are needed most – under stress or during difficult dietary 
digestive conditions.

PRICELESS Attributes of BioZyme Mineral Products

  • Research proven vitamin and mineral levels
  • Exceeds NRC requirements for respective production stage
  • Highest ingredient quality and consistency
  • No least-cost formulations as BioZyme manufactures to the ingredients, not the guarantee

An Inside Look at how the Value Pencils Out

Pricing is an issue of which 99-percent of all dealers struggle. However, Doug Underwood and his Area Sales Manager, Ben Neale, contest this issue with testimonials to demonstrate the benefits of including BioZyme® products in their customers’ nutritional programs in order to prove its value and thus price accordingly. 

Underwood has been selling BioZyme products for more than five years and became a dealer when he needed access to the supplement and mineral lines for his own cows. After using it for 19 years on his Polled Hereford seedstock, Underwood was a convinced of its worth. When his local dealer retired, he decided to establish his own BioZyme dealership at his farm near Campbellsville, Kentucky.

Many of Underwood’s customers were familiar with the products, but to continue to educate them as well as new prospective customers, Underwood and Neale have hosted field days to talk about how and why BioZyme products work. Underwood says when he hears the question of expense, he focuses his selling points around Amaferm®.

“That is what sets this brand apart from other mineral products,” Underwood says. “It’s one particular ingredient that makes a big difference in cattle. They have a much better feed intake and appearance. That’s the positive result you get from Amaferm.”

Neale’s territory covers Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi, so he’s on the road working with dealers like Underwood. In addition to field days and producer meetings, he says BioZyme has many marketing tools available to help dealers explain to producers how investing in premium products will increase their bottom lines. When Neale visits with dealers, he encourages them to think about inventory control. “Our price list shows buying 22 tons at a time is the best way to achieve greater margins, but if you have to sit on inventory for 6-10 months that may cost more money if operating on a line of credit,” Neale says. “So, we try to focus on flipping inventory faster. You can still turn a profit if you buy 5-10 tons at a time, and the product remains fresh for the customer.”

Underwood says the time he puts into selling a value-added product like those BioZyme provides is worth it. Even when cattle prices are down and it seems like input costs and supplements, like BioZyme, don’t make sense, he encourages fellow producers to try the product. Their return on investment will become apparent when they wean heavier calves or when cows settle on the first cycle. And he says, he would never lower his prices to match a competitor. “When they start comparing ingredients and prices from the local feed store, I have to show them what Amaferm does for them instead,” he says. “The math will speak for itself. If I can get a cow bred on the first cycle instead of the second I’ve saved 21 days at maybe $1.50 per pound and gain another two pounds per day for those 21 days for a total of 42 lbs. at weaning for an additional $63 per calf. The benefits BioZyme products provide for the additional cost pencils out in the long run.”

Neale says dealers should remember when faced with price comparisons from other mineral products they should focus on the ingredients BioZyme provides and how the ingredients found on the tag are not found in any other product. That’s what the extra pricing goes toward – better ingredients plus Amaferm in the mineral bag.

Neale says he talks to customers about Amaferm and how this prebiotic increases gut health, increases feed efficiency and helps animals recover faster from times of stress. The added benefit, he says, of two products in one bag is also a good selling point during price discussions.

Another benefit of the Neale-Underwood team is that ASM’s like Neale can help dealers grow their business outside of an established customer base. Neale is working with Underwood to recruit sub-dealers and build a network from customers who are two or more hours away. 

“I am working with Doug to build upon his strong local relationships,” he says. “It’s new for both of us but without the availability of stores in his area he has to network with breeders and others who can help grow his business.”

“Real business is successful when someone sees a return on investment not on price,” Neale says. “We want customers who use these products to understand and believe that as well. When you talk with someone who’s going on a diet, are they going out to buy and consume healthy food or junk? It’s the same with cattle. If you want higher returns then you have to be conscious of what you’re feeding them. You may have to pay more to be efficient.”

“Just let the product speak for itself,” Underwood says.

4 Myths to Debunk about Pricing

Pricing tends to be looked at as this ominous figure in business that’s so difficult that most are left paralyzed. As one of the least studied branches of marketing, pricing has become a black box for many dealers, who simply adopt existing prejudices and misinformation.

Put simply: if pricing is a black box, you’re losing money. A lot of it.

Therefore, let’s dispel some of the most common myths so you can be catapulted into action and start capturing all of that lost cash you’re leaving on the table. Increased revenue makes every business owner happy.

Myth #1:
We need to accept market or competitor pricing

Basic microeconomics teaches that in perfect competition, individual companies cannot affect market prices. In other words, businesses must accept the equilibrium price, where the demand curve crosses the supply curve. While this is a convenient way to calculate price, this theory doesn’t correctly reflect how the real market works. Prices in any market span across a range, rather than fixing on only one point. Product and service differentiation through brand, quality, etc. can all affect where your business lies on this range.

TRUTH: No matter the density of your industry, product and brand differentiation can take you well above the market standard.

Myth #2:
The only way to increase volume of sales is by decreasing price

It may sound too good to be true, but it is indeed possible to raise prices and increase volume at the same time. As Lisa states in her letter this month, price isn’t the only factor that attracts customers. Focusing on giving customers a reason to pay a higher price for your product or service is crucial, whether that be greater quality or better service. A powerful tool is market segmentation. Most products have a target audience, whether it’s the progressive cattleman, the bargain hunter, the show segment or the hobby horseman. Creating different classes for your product depending on quality or services can expand the number of customers you cater to, thus increasing buyers. Additionally, sometimes lowering your price can actually deter people from buying your product. Think about it. If I came up to you and said I’d sell you an Apple MacBook Air for $100, you wouldn’t buy it, because you’d definitely question the quality.

TRUTH: Volume is created by customer segmentation, charging different sets of customers different prices, and thus increasing volume and revenue.

Myth #3: 
We need to charge lower than everyone else

This is quite possibly the biggest misconception. A race to the bottom is one of the worst ways to compete, because you end up underpricing and losing out on your customer base. Your customers begin to question the quality of your product, but needs to buy the product. So they continue to shop around, and you lose customers. Lower prices equal lower revenue rates, which means the number of sales must increase to cover the loss. Obvious, yes, but it needed to be stated. Additionally, a lower price tag doesn’t mean customers will automatically flock toward your product. For example, if BMW suddenly sold its cars for $35,000 instead of whatever ridiculous dollar amount they’re priced at now, would that necessarily increase its revenues? Possibly in the short term, but in the long term they would begin to compete with cars made by Honda and Toyota who already have that market cornered. BMW would also lose out on the consumers that put luxury value in the premium pricing of their cars.

TRUTH: Underpricing is rarely the solution to any pricing woes. You end up dropping into a different segment of customers and lose out on cash from your current customers.

Myth #4:
Pricing isn’t important

Pricing is the most important aspect of your business. Period.
A 1 percent improvement in pricing results in an average increase of 11.1 percent in operating profit. No other business lever has that impact – not cost optimization, volume increases, or anything.


TRUTH:
Pricing is, bar none, the lever in your business that has the highest impact on the most important cell on your end-of-month spreadsheet – your revenue. You need to take it seriously.

Source: http://www.priceintelligently.com

Promote Where it Matters Most

It is very apparent that organic reach for Facebook posts has been taking a hit over the past few years. Even as recent as this year, with Facebook limiting the reach of “promotional posts,” the percentage of followers a company reaches organically continues to decrease. While it is possible to slightly improve this percentage through higher quality content, Facebook advertising offers more effective ways to improve post viability, for a price of course.

Facebook advertising allows companies to choose a post and have it distributed in the news feed to anyone they want, based on interests, demographics, etc.

Before you get started, it’s important to have specific goals and understand the different options and ad types available to promote a post on Facebook. There are many reasons to boost a post, including:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Increasing brand engagement (shares, comments, likes)
  • Boosting website traffic
  • Promoting new content or blog posts

Use your budget most effectively by following these guidelines for boosting a post on your Facebook business page:

MAXIMIZE TARGETING OPTIONS

It’s easy to boost a post. It’s hard to effectively boost one. The key lies in who you are targeting. Based on the goal, you have the ability to target anyone you want on Facebook. When boosting a post, Facebook offers specific targeting options including: audience (fans and/or friends of fans), location, age, gender and interests.

If the post is focused on information only relevant to current fans, it’s important to target only those people. On the other hand, if the goal is to interact with potential new customers, that needs to be reflected in the targeting.

FOCUS ON QUALITY IMAGES AND VIDEO

There is no way to stress enough the importance of having a high quality image or video tied to a post. When boosting a post, especially to users who might not be familiar with the brand, the image will be the first piece they see. It needs to be eye catching and engaging at the same time.

If using an image, make sure it is appropriately sized. If these dimensions are not followed, Facebook will resize them, causing images to look less attractive. An image 1200px by 900px is a safe bet. You can find ideal image sizes for all the Facebook Advertising campaigns at: https://www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide/post-engagement/photo. It is important that all images are high quality to avoid blurry and distorted messages. Most importantly, if you plan to pay for a boosted post, you must follow the 20% text rule. While organic posts do not need to follow the 20% text rule (only 20% of an image can include text), boosted posts do.

UNDERSTAND ALL AVAILABLE OPTIONS ON FACEBOOK

Facebook offers a variety of different advertising options. While they make it easy to boost a post and move on, it’s important to know what options they have and see if there is one better suited for the target audience and goals. Visit www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide for a breakdown off all the different advertising options.

While boosting a post may seem as simple as pressing a button, there is a lot more to consider in order to effectively use it and see results. To avoid irrelevant clicks and visitors, advertisers need to understand who they are targeting, what the goals are, and why users should care about the post.

Innovative Communication Opens Doors to New Markets

Finding updates about products and activities at Earlybird Feed & Fertilizer is not hard to do. After all, the store has a team member dedicated to social media and web marketing.

Located in Goodfield, Illinois, Earlybird began as a fertilizer company in 1965. Today the 49-member staff also sells feed for commercial and show-quality cattle, hogs, goats and sheep as well as feed for turkeys and chickens.

Mike Orns, Earlybird’s Inside Sales and Feed Division Manager, is like the store’s traffic cop. He keeps everyone running in the right direction, he says, and it’s his job to be innovative and consider the big picture. From production to sales and regulations to promotions, Orns oversees the store and keeps the gears turning.

The store has grown so much that it’s owners challenged Orns to hire a new staff person, someone to focus on the use of marketing and technology to grow the store’s customer base.

“There are so many people now involved with social media, especially within the show audience,” he says. “We deal a lot with customers who show livestock and we’ve realized that’s how kids and others communicate. This opened the door wide for us to better communicate and reach that market.”

Specifically, Earlybird needed to publicize its connection to the success of many show ring champions. Posting photos, recognizing customers and marketing show products that helped get those champions to the winner’s circle needed to be done.

Scott Hardman was hired as the marketing manager for Earlybird a year ago. He had previous experience with a national youth organization, which included social media and website marketing. And, Hardman was also familiar with the livestock show ring.

Hardman says Orns was “very serious” about making Earlybird’s website state-of-the-art, and using Facebook and Twitter to enhance the store’s social media presence. Hardman has made it his mission to promote Earlybird’s successes with feed and product sales to livestock show families. And though the store has seen great results by emphasizing its show ring presence online, Hardman says there is much, much more to do.

“In the show industry, we are well aware we needed gratification of successes,” he says. “We needed to be much better at keeping up with our winners because we had a large number of them. The store needs to use Facebook as a major marketing tool rather than just a source of self-promotion for us. We want to help promote our winners.”

Earlybird also needed to expand promoting it’s successful customers from other species and added sheep, goats and poultry to it’s media plan. The store is located one mile from a major interstate in Illinois, and Hardman thought it should take advantage of that; for example promoting Earlybird as an easy stop on a person’s way home.

“We needed a bigger footprint if we were going to be found,” he says.

Both Orns and Hardman take advantage of the marketing tools provided by BioZyme®, Inc. Orns says the company is very good at direct mailing, and BioZyme always has a huge presence at livestock shows, which makes it an easy-to-recognize product when customers come in.

“It also helps that BioZyme products actually work,” he says. “When we can push examples of how the product has helped another person’s livestock project and can quantify their results, that helps us tremendously.”

Hardman says the store’s Area Sales Manager, Shandy Bertolino, does a great job at providing information on what BioZyme products are available. She hosts a meeting each summer and shares tools and marketing pieces that keep Earlybird’s staff updated on what BioZyme can offer. This kind of innovation helps dealers like Earlybird keep on top of new products, terminology and how to approach a customer about including BioZyme in their feeding routine.

Orns is quick to realize social media is not the only way to advertise and promote the fertilizer and feed store, but it is the most innovative way to do so. Social media and show ring families go hand-in-hand. Connecting with youth in agriculture is most efficiently accomplished through Facebook and Twitter so by enhancing Earlybird’s online presence Orns knows he is reaching more livestock kids who want to be as successful as those posted online.

To be sure his field staff is able to connect, post and promote products, Orns says he puts the best computers, tablets and smartphones in their hands for work, especially with the fertilizer side of the company. Earlybird’s owners are also progressive and have viewed Hardman’s social media work as a stride in the right direction.

Hardman tells how he used to come in to Earlybird as a customer purchasing livestock feed and supplements. Until he took the job as the store’s marketing manager, Hardman was not aware the store carried grass seed, emphasizing the point that innovation in social media is not just self-promotion. This kind of marketing can build a loyal customer base that will talk about using Earlybird’s wide variety of products and encourage others to do the same.

“As we continue to grow the number of Facebook followers, we can use that to better market our monthly specials and expand on things that are big and significant,” Hardman says. “The other big thing we need to focus on is to constantly grow the website and use it as tool to help us be more productive and process oriented. We will use social media as a marketing tool and invent ways to showcase the type of company we are.”

To check out Earlybird Feed & Fertilizer online, go to
www.earlybirdgoodfield.com.

Mike Orns – Inside Sales and Feed Division Manger
Earlybird Feed & Fertilizer Goodfield, Illinois

Current mobile device: Droid Turbo 2

Current Computer: Lenovo notepad

First, tell us what you feel separates your business from other feed supply operations? Service.

What websites, apps or tools can’t you live without? Email and texting

Why? Those are the best ways to communicate with me other than the phone.
How do you keep your to-do list? On a notepad with a good old pen and paper.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? 
A calculator.

What’s your secret? Take care of the little details.

What are you currently reading? Several feed magazines, local and national news. I read some parts of the newspaper but only online.

How do you recharge? I enjoy time with my family.

What is your favorite and least-favorite task at work? My least favorite thing to do is manage conflict. My favorite task is working with customers.

What is one area you’d like to improve in regarding business? Organization.

Describe your ideal customer. One who pays on time and orders well in advance. I like those who are progressive and listen to leaders in the industry.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Listen to people.

Why do you love this business? Because we’re family-owned. We are in a great community, and the owners are family focused. Family always comes first.

Financial and Productivity Apps to Keep You in Check

Your iPhone can be a powerful tool for business – or a complete distraction. The key to any software program or app is finding the right match for your specific needs or deficiencies and then committing to using the tool so you can take advantage of the benefits. The following are a few apps that may be able to enhance record keeping systems, automatically sync income or expense data with your financial software, increase communication and transparency with your team and boost productivity.

Xpense Tracker
An all-inclusive expense tracking and reporting application for dealers wishing to track their expenses and mileage. It’s power does not end at the iPhone but extends to the desktop by allowing emailing or exporting of the expense files and accompanying photo receipts directly to the desktop.

  • Quickly snap shots of receipts for easy scans and financial tracking.
  • Track your mileage in real time by using your device’s integrated GPS.
  • Export your records in .PDF and .CSV file formats.

Hours Tracker
Need a way to track your time or an effective tool for employees to use so they can send you time reports? Clock in and out as you work. Or, add entries yourself in just a few quick taps. Time entries are automatically created when you clock out.

Easily review your past entries, grouped by day, week, month or pay period. You can easily export your data by job, date or selection. Choose to export as a text summary or in spreadsheet-ready CSV format.

SLACK
All your team communication in one place. Slack is a new way to get more done, spend less time in meetings and reduce email.

  • Real-time messaging and file sharing for one-to-one and group conversations.
  • Powerful search and archiving, so you can find information easily.
  • Instantly syncs across all devices.
  • Configurable notifications for desktop, mobile, and email.
  • Proven to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

Quickbooks Payment Pro
GET PAID QUICKLY … ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. Plug the card reader into your iPhone or iPad and swipe credit cards quickly and securely. Or, if you don’t have a card reader, you can always scan a card with your camera or key in the card details directly.

Your customer signs right on your device to authorize the payment. Then, you can email or text a receipt to your customer. Accepting a payment takes just a few taps from start to finish.

Wunderlist
Wunderlist allows dealers to access their to-do lists from almost anywhere. Star important tasks, create multiple lists, sort by due date and priority and add tasks via e-mail.

Since multiple parties can edit lists, the app doubles up as a collaboration tool that works across desktop and mobile.

Freedom – Reduce Distractions
With so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered. Freedom blocks digital distractions so you can be more productive. Start a Freedom session, and you’re blocked from all distractions on your phone or tablet. Freedom gives you peace and quiet, so you can accomplish more.
Rescue Time: Android alternative

Digital Punch Card

Technology has come a long way. It’s great when it works, but more importantly, to work it must be easy. Retail outlets have used promotions and customer loyalty programs for ages to drive sales and repeat business, but often these programs are difficult to manage for both the store staff and the customer. However, there is an innovative program available that automates the management of rewards points and makes communicating with your customers easy!

Here are some examples:

  • Buy 10 bags of Sure Champ® and earn a show stick, pig whip or brush.
  • For every 10th visit to the store where you purchase $50 or more, earn a free gift.
  • Come in on your birthday and receive $10 off your purchase.
  • Earn double loyalty points on Tuesdays.

These types of incentives are appealing to those customers who enjoy a bonus, and if done strategically, can be an effective way to ramp up business on specific days that may normally be slow or to promote slower moving products. Additionally, it’s a great way to stay in front of your clients and market in a fun way.

OptSpot (www.optspot.com) combines customer loyalty and text message marketing to increase customer frequency, connect with customers and drive instant revenue. Customers simply sign-up & check-in using their mobile phone number. Points are automatically tracked & rewards are earned based on points. Re-connection is automated and done through text messaging.

Some Cool Features
Customer Loyalty: Using a mobile number to track points and rewards is easy. Customers either enter their number into the tablet or you do it on your point of sale checkout system for them. Points are tracked and rewards are earned automatically.

Auto-Engage: Reconnecting with your customers automatically based on frequency is nearly impossible without innovative solutions. This text program will send a text message to those customers who have not visited in 30, 60 or 90 days inviting them back more often.

Text Message Blasts: Being able to get your message in your customer’s pockets can drive instant revenue. Send limited time offers, promotions, etc. and watch your business grow.

Collect More Data: Collect important customer data and add them to your own
customer relationship management (CRM) software through an automated text call to action.

March – Letters From Lisa

Being innovative or doing things a little differently than everyone else – enough to create differentiation – involves risk. It means openly sharing ideas, even ideas that are undeveloped, half-baked and a long way from being concrete. Innovation means not worrying if an idea is not fully formed or regarded by others as irrelevant, or going against the stream. It means it is fine to suggest something truly disruptive.

Status, turf and fear of embarrassment can lead to hesitation, so when you want people in your organization to give their ideas, you must create safety for them. It’s not enough to give your team a venue to share ideas if the atmosphere is pervaded by rules, rigid structure and unspoken judgment. This is true around products, processes, advertising or any area of the business. Instead, do the following things:

1) Challenge, Don’t Dictate

Ask questions and begin conversations, but don’t dictate a path or force a solution. Like General George Patton said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

2) Question, Don’t Reject Outright

Always draw out as many ideas as you can. Don’t reject an idea immediately because you might reject another idea that hasn’t even surfaced yet. Ask why or how to further the idea. The original idea might not be a keeper, but after asking questions, you might find the next great idea. Remember the words of Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling: “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away.”

3) Maintain Curiosity

Be passionate about finding the right solution or idea. Don’t take breaks, check email, leave the room or take phone calls during the idea discussion. Keep the momentum of these discussions rolling, and remember, sometimes the best discussions happen outside of the office.

4) Be Optimistic, Believe

Innovation isn’t always an overnight process, so it’s important to keep spirits up, cheer, thank and support. Belief is a powerful risk buster. Believe in the idea once in place enough for it to be a no brainer for success.

The VitaFerm® HEAT mineral is a perfect example of how using these steps work. I asked the team in April 2014 to help create ways we could reduce our summer sales slump. After many ideas were discussed in great detail and noise volume for more than two days (that’s a long time for me not to check email), we decided to create a mineral focused on helping with summer heat instead of summer grass. The nutrition team went to work to create a research-based mineral that would lower heat stress, control flies and help cattle deal with the challenges of fescue. After some testing, the product was ready to go and hit the market in the summer of 2014. At the end of the summer we had sold 26 tons – not exactly enough to get us out of our summer sales slump. However, we remained optimistic and worked harder in 2015 to believe this innovative idea was an opportunity. We sold 437 tons. Now, that’s enough to reduce any slump!

P.S. If you haven’t checked into the VitaFerm HEAT and HEAT 3G mineral,
I would encourage you to do so. Seventeen times growth in one year is every business’ dream.

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