Monday, 20 February 2017

Its the business

Many moons ago I subscribed to the US magazine Entrepreneur and yes, it is still going although my subscription isn't.

Two of their earlier regular columnists were Jay Conrad Levenson and Ted Nicholas who were also prolific business authors. Although most of their output was in the pre-digital age, their fundamental marketing strategies still hold good. I learned more about this dark art from their columns than from any text book.

One of them, and I forget which, suggested the concept of a 'fire sale' to clear dead stock at rock bottom prices. Keeping old stuff occupies valuable real estate space which is a cash outflow, selling it, even at cost, is a cash inflow. 

During the early 1980's we would have a queue outside our wool shop waiting for us to open for our 'One Day - Once a Year Penny Sale' when we would sell odd remainders, patterns, needles and accessories at 1p per item. The stuff flew off the shelves and left space for exciting new stock. 

I note that Holland & Barrett now run regular 'penny sales' but theirs are simply variations on the Buy One Get One Free principle.

Last week I received an email from a small family run publishing house that I once used. It was headed 'Fire Sale' and explained how the proprietors wanted to recoup some hefty losses incurred when their website hosting company did the dirty on them and pulled the plug.

I found the offer irresistible ... a one year, non recurring sub to their excellent photography magazine at a full 50% off the usual price. Of course I went for it! I got a bargain, they got an instant income of cash up front for products not yet printed so  I guess it was win-win.

I have made two references to different magazine subscriptions and yet I really dislike the idea. Another photo magazine changed ownership and then called in the receivers so I never saw my money or any magazines again. A US fine art magazine totally failed to deliver any issues at all and after a long hassle sent me a refund cheque in US$ which would have been  reduced by 50% in value by bank charges for depositing it in UK.

Generally I hate paying for subscriptions to anything in advance because my tastes and obsessions and interests may well have changed long before the promised goods are delivered ... and usually the special offers to encourage new subs are worth very little over the length of the agreement [and especially beware 'automatically renewing concepts']

If you must subscribe to anything, I suggest you do so by a one-off payment and do not get involved in direct debit arrangements or standing orders. At least with standing orders YOU are in full control. With direct debits the vendor is in control.

Thanks for stopping by.