However, like any small business, there are a few things that you need to get sorted – and those first key steps will be different depending on whether you are buying an already established business or if you are starting from scratch. https://www.usa.gov/start-business
What Will You Do?
Assuming that you didn’t just wake up one morning with “swimming pool business” flashing overhead in neon, chances are high that this is something your have been thinking about. Either because you have a swimming pool that you maintain, or maybe you saw an advertisement for a business that was available to purchase. The first question you need to think about is what you actually want to be doing.
Generally, the swimming pool industry is divided up into Sales, Installation and Maintenance. Although one business can, of course, cover all three aspects, for a small business there will often be an initial focus of one aspect over another.
Swimming & Spa Pool Sales
This is the first step on the chain, but is often the most expensive aspect to get involved in. Generally, you will need to invest in a showroom and although you may not need to have space to have a full-sized swimming pool set up, you will need to be able to show prospective customers what they will be buying.
Most people will expect to be able to see floor models of spa pools, and at least the material that the swimming pools are made of – even if just a single panel.
You will obviously need to look at suppliers for these, but will you also sell the accessories? Often the higher profit margin comes from the add-ons, spa and pool covers, cleaning supplies and chemicals or filtering system replacement parts.
Whether you are selling direct to the public or are more geared towards trade is another aspect you will need to think about, but in either case, you will also need to invest in pool business software which can help you run your inventory and work as a Point Of Sale system. Look for a software that can grow and develop as your business grows and develops.
Being able to keep track of your clients, not only who they are but what they have purchased gives you marketing opportunities as new products that will suit their spa or swimming pool become available. If you have to wade through a sea of paper-based client records in order to find who you can send an email to updating them about a new product, you are going to waste more time than you are likely to make from the sale.
There are a lot of CRM and accounting solutions available on the market, some are even free, however they often make their money by charging a premium to have the software customized to work for your business. The free versions are often marketed as being perfect for a small business to customize yourself, however unless your former career choice was computer programming or software design you will likely find the process causes more problems than it solves.
Marketing In the New World
Of course, part of your new spa & pool business is going to involve finding new customers. If you are purchasing a pre-established business then you will hopefully be purchasing a certain level of goodwill and already have a solid reputation and client base. However, that doesn’t mean that you can rest and assume that you will have a steady flow of clientele. The nature of the business is such that you will not get old customers purchasing new spa pools each week.
Although books can be (and indeed, are) written about how to market your small business, the basic rule is that you need to know your clients. Often marketing and businesses fail because they are trying to reach too many people. Trying to be all things to all people means that you are not giving your clients or your products the time and attention that they deserve.
Some things to think about when really working out exactly what you are going to be marketing is where your best source of income is. If, for example, your best profit margin comes from your spa pool covers, then make this your focus.
Show how they can be used, why they’re the best, why people should use you (because you have the best range and are the most knowledgeable), ask clients who already have them if you can get a testimonial, take photographs of them in different locations so that future customers can envision that beautiful cover on their pool.
Again, this is where a good CRM system is a blessing. You will be able to keep note of which customers you have spoken to about testimonials and references – it is embarrassing to appear to be begging when you had really forgotten you’d already asked them.
other valuable tips:
Don’t Discount Social Media Marketing
Social media plays a big part in the modern world, and although new trends appear every other week, the near fool proof way of social medial marketing is to be genuine. Being able to update your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest (see here for help) and/or Twitter account with some of the beautiful spa and pools that your clients have purchased from you and had install in gorgeous locations helps future clients. Your current clients usually are happy to support your promotion efforts if you have shown their property in a positive light as well.
Glossy brochures are only useful in a limited capacity, generally if your sales staff are on the ball any customer that walks in the door will not want to “think about it” for a bit. Yes, people will usually check out multiple options before making a purchase, but more and more people are doing this online before they have even walked into your store.
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