Ask a realtor, staging matters (and other late night thoughts)

“Fortune Small Business Small Business Makeover: Cloz – Dress for Success” by Patricia B. Gray (Fortune Small Business, May 2009). Below are a few more opportunities that were shared with FBS.

Dear FSB,

With regards to Mr. Michael Cohen and his firm Cloz, I have a few ideas I’d like to share before I shut down my notebook and get some sleep. To that I add, please excuse any typos or other obvious
mistakes – it’s late and I really should be asleep already.

> Instead of a slow-season biz why not use what is essentially excess capacity to:

a) Be a vendor for others in need of outsourcing

b) Use an airlines-esque pricing model and offer price breaks for early (or even late) ordering. Given the economic climate, (slightly) lower prices might retain some customers from defecting. It might also be a good way to attract new customers.

c) What about other school / organization uniforms? For example, cheer leading, or marching band? Both of these might be a good way to get new customers to try Cloz.

d) Would it be feasible to consider exporting to southern hemisphere countries?

e) I agree that a side-biz might be taking a chance but I would also imagine that once Cloz has gained a parent’s trust that there might be other things that could be used to “cross sell” to his base.

> I don’t believe the articles mentions (whether Cloz already does so or not) but instead of expanding into more space maybe the answer is to add shifts to maximize the use of his manufacturing when the season is peaking. Further expansion might only increase the risk and depth of the valleys in between the peaks.

> If the correct web site is then I beg to differ – that site needs a make-over. In addition to the design, a simple right click / view source (code) reveals dated web dev code that is hardly “search engine friendly.” An updating could have a positive impact on his organic search engine placement. There’s no guarantee but the article certainly implies he can’t do much worse in that regards.

> With all due respect that site does not say to a new potential customers, “We are $10m biz and we will take care of you.” Like it or not, people judge a book by its cover.

> The article mentions that “Cohen has dressed the scions of America’s wealthiest families for almost two decades…”. Best I can tell, the site gives no indication of that pedigree, nor of the elite private and boarding schools Cloz serves.

> Once again, FSB’s “web expert” (mistakenly) recommends buying keywords. Ironically, the “Google Wants You” article (by Chris Morrison, page 27 of the same issue) draws a less than absolute conclusion. Keyword might help but not only are there alternatives but it is highly recommended that Mr. Cohen read the attached article that appeared in eWeek (“Searching for more traffic” by Jim Rapoza) a few months back. Btw, please excuse the copy right infringement.

> It should be noted that it is estimated that 15 – 20% of AdWords clicks are bogus. With what authority does Mr. Dalton say, “It’s a cheap, easy fix”? It might be cheap *if* it works, but if it doesn’t Mr. Cohen could lose more to Google than he bargained for. One has to wonder if driving traffic to a site that’s really that “shabby” makes sense. Again, please read the eWeek article – it’s brilliant.

> The article makes no mention of a sales force – independent or otherwise. Regardless, I would suggest Mr. Cohen use Yahoo! alerts or Google alerts and enter “school uniforms” (or some combination of words) to try to get alerts on school districts that are either considering going to school uniforms, or where maybe there’s a news item of a contract expiring.

> With regards to school systems who are considering such a shift to uniforms, I would suggest Mr. Cohen start a blog that collects articles / links on studies that support increased student performance, as well as other benefits fromĀ  student being required to wear uniforms. This would give him a tool to supplement his alerts. For example, he gets an alert and then reaches out to that school district with an email that says, “Here are some links that I think you might be interested in…”

> Some testimonials of current clients probably wouldn’t hurt either. Should Cloz market / advertise? Of course it should. Might there be things Cloz can do so new clients come looking for them too? Absolutely there are (and it’s likely they are cheaper and/or more effective than keywords.

> I’m not too certain if this next idea applies but what about the idea of seasonal uniforms? Or something similar to the English Premier League (Soccer) where the teams change “kits” a couple times a year. Naturally, that helps increase concession sales. The idea might not apply here but maybe there’s the inspiration for a better idea for Mr. Cohen hidden in my idea somewhere?

> Finally, scientific school equipment (read: static) and school uniforms are apples and oranges, IMHO. An “expert” from a company who sells school uniforms, or even text books might have been able to offer better insights. Not that Mr. Flinn’s where bad. I am only suggesting the possibility of a more appropriate “expert” for next time.

Alright, that will have to do it for tonight, time to get some sleep. Good night.

Hoist a new flag

Mark Simchock
Chief Alchemist
Alchemy United

Your vision . Our passion . Success realized


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