Monthly Archives: September 2013

Weekly Theme 24: Good Sales Etiquette

Weekly Theme 24: Good Sales Etiquette

This week’s blog is all about one of the most important things in running a successful school enterprise: being able to sell. You will soon be able to learn more about this in our educational resource Pack 5 – Launch, Grow, Report which will soon be on the School Enterprise Challenge website. You can visit the website to find more resources by clicking here.

salesman

It is important to develop a good sales etiquette because customers will be more likely to buy your product from you and not from another business. Even if you are a very shy person and you find it difficult to communicate with people, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a good sales person. This part of your business may even help you develop your confidence!

The first thing you must do is understand your product or service. What is it and why would people want it? Why is it so special? If you truly understand these things and are genuinely enthusiastic and happy about them, it will be easy for you to make your customers excited about your product too.

At the same time, you need to understand how the product or service can be sold. For example, if your business involves making a product, you need to know how much you can sell, when you can sell it, and how long the customer can use it for before they will need to replace it. For example, if you were selling food you would need to know how much stock you have to sell and when the food goes bad. If customers ordered furniture from your school enterprise, you would need to be able to tell them when it would be made and how long it would last.

Be polite to your customer. Have you ever heard the phrase “The customer is always right”? Sometimes, the customer is not right, but you should try not to hurt their feelings. For example, if a customer would like a discount but you cannot afford to give it to them, try to show that you are considering it. Then explain that your product is high quality and expensive to make, which is why you cannot sell it cheaply.

If you can afford to give your customer a discount, try and be flexible and reach a compromise – especially if you are dealing with a new customer. Once they have tried your product or service at a cheap price they will be more likely to come back and pay for it at the full price if they enjoy it.

Listen to your customer. If your customer is angry and has a complaint, show them that you are listening to their problem, that you care, and that you want to solve it for them. Perhaps give them compensation for their troubles by offering them a discount next time. Take note of their complaint and try to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

We hope that this blog has helped you with your sales technique. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Please post them below or go to the School Enterprise Challenge website and share them on our forum by clicking here.

School Enterprise Challenge Blogger,
Lily

Weekly theme 23: How to Throw a Launch Party for Your Business!

Weekly theme 23: How to Throw a Launch Party for Your Business!

So you’ve started your business and now you’re ready to sell your product or service, but how can you get your customers attention? This week’s blog post talks about how to hold a great launch party and get your business noticed!

A launch party is a fun event where you reveal your business, product, and services for the first time. It is an exciting chance for your customers to learn about your company, meet your team, try your products and hopefully start buying from you!

You need to think about what kind of an event you will hold. Maybe you would like it to be linked to your school business. For example, if your school business organised birthday parties for children you could demonstrate your services by throwing a big party.

If you are selling food products you could make delicious samples for people to try and show them how to use your products in their cooking. You could also have a cooking lesson and teach people how to make the food themselves!

If you are finding it difficult to think of a themed event, you can throw a simple event, but make sure you think about the following things:-

  • Do something interesting. You need a fun reason for people to attend. You could organise fun games, activities, quizzes, or a raffle.
  • Let people try your product or service. This could be by giving them samples to trial, or you could offer the product/service to someone who wins a competition that you run.
  • Have your product/service ready to sell. Think of the event as the first time you will start selling.

Once you have decided what you will do, you need to prepare for the event.

  • Where will you hold it? Perhaps you have a school hall that you use for free.
  • When? Choose a date and time that your customers can attend easily. For example, it might be a bad idea to hold it when they are at work or school.
  • Make sure people know you are holding the event. You could do this by designing posters and putting them up. For tips on creating a good poster, see our previous blog post by clicking here.
  • You could also print small leaflets with the details on and distribute them to parents of the students.
  • Decide how you will obtain your resources. Will you need tables and chairs? Maybe you will need food and drink? Would you like to play music?
  • How much will everything cost? Can you borrow anything to save money? If you can’t, remember to try and make deals with your sellers. For tips on this, see our blog about start-up capital by clicking here. You could even invite them to the event!

Now you should be ready to hold your launch event! This is a time for you to have fun after working so hard to start your school business! Can you think of anything else that is important when hosting a launch event? Please let us know by commenting below!

School Enterprise Challenge Blogger,
Lily

Weekly Theme 22: Thinking about start-up capital

Weekly Theme 22: Thinking about Start-up Capital

As you have now written your Business and Financial Plans, or have nearly finished writing them, you will have considered how to start your school enterprise. This week we will look into how you can raise money to do this. You can also learn more about it in our educational resource Pack 3 – Imagine, Create, Develop. You can find our resources on our website by clicking here.

When you start a school enterprise, you might have a great idea about what to do, but you might think that it is not possible because you do not have enough money. This money is called start-up capital.

There are several solutions this problem!

Solution #1: use your resources. Look around you. Is there anything free you could use to run your school business? Maybe your school has a farm which you could sell produce from. Do you have any skills that people need? Some students are talented at manual work such as carpentry and you could make furniture to sell. Why not pass on your wisdom to the next generation by offering paid tutoring to younger students?

Solution #2: reuse, recycle, resell! Just because you don’t have enough resources to run a long-term business, it might not mean that you don’t have enough resources to raise some money. A good idea is to recycle old resources from the community. For example, the students at Vidyadhiraja High School did not have enough money to start their incense business, so they made and sold pens out of newspaper and ink refills to generate the money they needed. Great idea! Do you have access to anything cheap that you can reuse, recycle, and re-sell?

Solution #3: fundraise. Fundraising means raising money for a specific cause. This is done all over the world by people who do something small in order for other people to donate some money to their chosen cause. You might have noticed too that it includes the word FUN at the beginning!

There are many things you can do to fundraise for start-up capital:

  • Hold an event, such as a welcome day. You can do fun activities such as sell food and drinks, play games to win small prizes, play music or put on a play for an audience.
  • Get sponsored. A way to persuade people to donate money is to do something challenging. Examples of this could be to run a certain distance or learn how to spell new words. It could also be funny too, such as not talking for 24 hours!
  • Fundraising is also a great way to market your business, because when people donate money they will be interested in what you are doing.

Solution #4: loans or investments. You could ask local businesses or parents to contribute a small amount to your business. This means that when you generate profits, you will pay back the loan you have borrowed. If they have given an investment, you would have to give them a share of your profits, which you should agree on before they make the investment.

Solution #5: make deals. Even if you have enough start-up capital, it is always wise to try and save money wherever you can. If you need to purchase goods, try and form a deal between the school and the seller. If you tell them that you are trying to start a school business in order to try and win a worldwide competition, and so that you can learn about business and generate money for your education, people may want to help you by giving you discounts. It also is a chance for you to learn about forming relationships with important contacts.

You could also offer to print their logo on your promotional material or products as a sponsor of your business. Many businesses like this because it gives them free marketing and they become known for being associated with a worthy cause. An example could be to offer a printing company a chance to print their logo on your posters, leaflets, and product labels if they are willing to give you a large discount on your printing costs.

We hope that this has given you some ideas about how you can start your school business without spending too much money. Do you have any ideas about how to do this that we have missed out? We would love to know what they are, share them by commenting below!

School Enterprise Challenge blogger, Lily.

Weekly Theme 21: Giving and Receiving Feedback

feedback pic

The School Enterprise Challenge team will soon be looking through your business and financial plans and giving you feedback on them. This has got us thinking about the different ways that you can deliver and receive feedback, so this week our post will focus on the various ways you can do this!

Feedback is a great way to find out if something has gone well, and if it hasn’t, to find out how to improve for next time! It can sometimes be hard to give feedback without being too critical, or receive feedback without getting defensive, so here are some things to think about.

When giving feedback:

• The sooner you give feedback, the more helpful it will be

• Be fair and reasonable – make sure you are being descriptive and not judging

• Be supportive – suggest ways of improvement

• Encourage the participant(s) to express their views – what do they think of the feedback you are giving them? Do they understand what you are telling them?

• Support your judgements with evidence – make sure you are basing your feedback on things that actually happened, specific examples are always helpful!

When receiving feedback:

ears - i'm listening

• Attend to the speaker and make sure you listen to the message

• Try not to react by becoming defensive

• Let the other person know that you understand the message and are willing to work towards an improvement or solution

• Accept praise graciously – don’t deny it

Bristol University has a great resource that will help you and your students think in more detail about giving and receiving feedback. Find it here

we-heart feedback

Maybe you can think back to the last time that you had to give or receive feedback. Did it go well? Reading the advice we have given you, could you have done it any differently?

We are really looking forward to reading your plans and coming up with our own feedback, but for now we leave you with this to think about:

‘Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots’ Frank A. Clark – American activist