The Frugal Startup – How I Minimized My Company’s Site Launch Costs

My husband often chides me about my frugality, but I know deep down he is grateful that I am so darn cost conscious. Of course, when I was preparing to launch my new company, an ecommerce site selling contemporary furniture, I applied my usual laser-like cost cutting measures to every step. I’m passing these on in hopes that you’ll be able to utilize them to keep your start-up costs to a minimum. In addition to those I’m listing, I hope that you’ll share your tips and cost-saving techniques as well.

Getting Going

I started my online furniture company with a basic hosting package and a template. I took advantage of a special offered by my hosting company that waived both the set up fees and the first month’s fees for my e-commerce hosting package and my merchant services (to process credit card payments). I customized the template as much as possible given my non-tech background and created a logo using basic software I already had (Paint and Word).

After uploading and entering the detail for my various products, it was clear that the cookie cutter template did not reflect the level of design and quality of the furniture I was carrying. I simply couldn’t expect someone to visit my site and feel confident enough to invest in a piece of furniture or even trust me with their credit card information. Ultimately, I knew I wanted a site that reflected my style and that I was proud of. Using the following tools, I have been able to keep my costs low while taking my site to the next level.

Tools for Moving Forward

1. Craigslist.com. An unintimidating way to find local service providers of any kind. However, you can expect to get responses from across the board in terms of professional level and pricing which can be overwhelming. You can overcome this by asking plenty of questions. It also helps to have a very clear idea of what you want in mind and to know the basic technical jargon to communicate this. I recently found a very helpful Adobe Flash tutor by placing an ad on Craigslist.

2. Elance.com. Post your design or web development project on this site and you will receive proposals from interested and experienced professionals around the globe. You can view portfolios and read reviews to thoroughly compare vendors before moving forward. As added security for both parties, funds are held in escrow by Elance and released at the completion of each phase. The vendor I ultimately chose was willing to do a quick mock-up of my site prior to officially getting started. There are several other companies similar to Elance that you can look into as well, like odesk.com and guru.com. Note: my logo redesign was included in the scope of work by my Elance vendor. Since I could describe exactly what I wanted, I was able to avoid commissioning a graphic designer at that point.

3. Network and use social media. Friends and associates are a great source for recommendations. Also, utilize the power of social media, such as Twitter.com and LinkedIn.com, to get recommendations from a broad scope of knowledgeable folks.

4. Now that I’m considering revising my logo into its next iteration, I’m considering using sources that poll the creativity of a broad range of designers, such as 99designs.com. Similar to Elance.com, you simply register your design need on their site along with the amount you wish to pay, and interested designers submit options for you to choose from.

5. I keep my inventory level at an absolute minimum by taking advantage of manufacturers that are willing to ship directly (drop ship) to customers. I don’t personally work with them, but Doba is a source of products for drop shipping. For manufacturers that do not drop ship, I contract with a warehouse to receive and store these products and fulfill my orders. Because many of these warehouses are tailored to working with large retailers or those that are moving lots of smaller goods such as electronics and books, if you are starting out on a smaller scale it is a bit trickier to find a good partner. However, several that I found were happy to work with small firms such as myself. Be sure to ask for a full overview of their services and charges as they can vary significantly. Because of an imposed minimum quantity per SKU (the nature of my product requires that I am able to ship and store individual units), I switched from Shipwire.com to a company that is able to ship any product and quantity needed, WeFulfillIt.com. (I’ve got to say that WeFulfillIt.com is simply outstanding in terms of customer service as well.) Ideally, any company you choose will be able to guide you in how to ship your items in the most logical, cost efficient way and pass on their special shipping rates.

Of course, cost is only one of a variety of factors you will need to consider. The real focus should be on quality. Investing time into finding the right options for your company upfront will give you a solid foundation on which to build your business.

I’ll discuss some social media and marketing ideas in a follow-up article. Until then, do you have any cost-cutting suggestions or tools that you used for starting your business?

Product Marketing for the 21st Century

Marketing by definition is all about reaching out to the consumers through targeted messages and by positioning the product based on the pricing, promotion, distribution elements of the marketing mix. Further, the marketers must be able to glocalize or adapt the global brands to local conditions to leverage upon the market power of the specific regions and countries. Further, marketers have obligations towards the consumers and hence must follow ethical norms. Finally, marketers must also be in compliance with the legal and regulatory rules and procedures in vogue in the specific markets that they operate.PricingPricing affects the marketing of a product as it determines the consumer segment that is likely to buy the product. For instance, it is common for marketers to segment the market according to the price range that they are selling the product in. There can be lower priced models for the lower end of the segment, medium priced models and finally, the premium or the upper end models for the upper crust of the market. Pricing is important because it determines the discovered value of the product and can be either undervalued or overvalued leading to the product getting sold in abundance or otherwise. Finally, pricing affects the bottom line of the company since it is the direct determinant of revenues. It is for these reasons that pricing is an important variable in the marketing mix (Blois, 2007, 42).PromotionThe way in which the product is promoted determines the extent to which the marketing campaign is successful in its scope and reach. For instance, targeted promotion at specific consumer segments means that the message that is intended to be sent because of the promotional campaign would be heard in the correct context or not. Successful advertising also impacts the bottom lines of companies since they determine the sales of the product. Finally, promotion is important because without advertising or word of mouth publicity coupled with point of sale promotions, it is difficult for marketers to get their message across and make sure that consumers absorb the message that is being conveyed. It is for these reasons that promotion is considered an important variable in the marketing mix (Egan & Johnson, 2008, 17).DistributionThis variable is usually not given the importance that it ought to be accorded by marketers. The point about distribution being important is that availability and accessibility of the product determine to a great extent how successful it would be in the real world market. For instance, when the latest version of the Apple iPhone 4S debuted recently, the outlets were not stocked with enough products leading to wait times by the consumers making them switch over to substitutes or alternatives. It is for this reason that many marketers design the distribution channels first and then plan their marketing strategies so as to leverage upon the synergies that would accrue from the combination of distribution channels and advertising. Further, many marketers test the products’ applicability and desirability in the market by rolling out test launches in select regions which would ensure that the products and their relevance to the market can be gauged by measuring the response (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010, 80).Marketing in International MarketsAmong the pricing, promotion and distribution elements to be considered for international markets, the following specific elements must be taken into consideration: The pricing must be done based on the local purchasing power determined according to the PPP or Purchasing Power Parity. Next, the promotion must be done in such a way that it is a combination of global brand appeal tailored to local conditions or “Glocal” in approach. Finally, the distribution must take into account the varying needs of the global supply chain and its success would depend on how well the company taps into the specifics of the local market. The point here is that when marketing to international markets, attention must be paid to the fact that there is a need to understand the local conditions and hence blind application of global strategies must be avoided. This means that a “Glocal” approach where the global strategies are adapted to local conditions must be followed so that the product is successful in the local markets.Ethical ConsiderationsThe primary ethical consideration that marketers ought to consider is whether the product being marketed or advertised is according to the normative rules of conduct like not targeting inappropriate advertising at children or using props or visuals that might be offensive to certain groups. The point here is that marketing by definition is all about winning the hearts and minds of consumers and to achieve this, the ethical norms must not be sacrificed. Given the fact that many marketers use messages that use stereotypes, they must be considerate towards minorities, disadvantaged sections and other groups when designing their marketing strategies (Constantinides, 2006, 418).Effect of Legal and Regulatory RequirementsThe legal or regulatory requirements that affect the marketing function include compliance with local labor laws and policies dealing with specific conditions under which the marketers operate in a given market. The fact that each country and region has separate laws for marketers to obey means that they should not only be cognizant of these laws and regulations but also be in compliance with them. It needs to be remembered that punitive action by the regulators impacts the product’s brand value apart from entailing costs that might have to be borne by the companies in marketing the product (Hassan & Submission, 2003, 140).ReferencesBlois, K. (2007). `Business Customers’ Behavior – A Challenge for the Relationship Marketing Concept?’ Journal of Business Market Management 1(1):41-58.Egan & John (2008). `A century of marketing’. The Marketing Review 8(1):3-23.Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2010). Principles of Marketing (12th Edition) (Principles of Marketing). Prentice Hall.Hassan, S. S. & Submission, H. C. (2003). `Global marketing eviews’. Journal of Global Marketing 6(3):139-142.Constantinides, E. (2006). `The Marketing Mix Revisited: Towards the 21st Century Marketing’. Journal of Marketing Management 22(3):407-438.

Enhancing Patient Adherence through Pharmacy Counseling in Ponorogo City

In the bustling city of Ponorogo, Indonesia, enhancing patient adherence through pharmacy counseling plays a pivotal role in improving healthcare outcomes. With a population increasingly focused on better health management, pharmacists have emerged as crucial healthcare providers beyond dispensing medications. This article explores the significance of pharmacy counseling in Ponorogo City, emphasizing its impact on patient adherence and overall well-being.

 

Importance of Pharmacy Counseling

Pharmacy counseling bridges the gap between medical prescriptions and patient understanding. In a culturally diverse city like Ponorogo, where healthcare literacy varies, pharmacists serve as educators. They provide personalized guidance on medication usage, potential side effects, and the importance of adherence to treatment plans. This interaction goes beyond mere transactional dispensing, fostering a relationship based on trust and reliability.

 

Challenges Addressed by Counseling

Several challenges affect patient adherence in Ponorogo, including socioeconomic factors, cultural beliefs, and language barriers. Pharmacy counseling tackles these obstacles by offering clear explanations in local languages, respecting cultural preferences, and considering financial constraints. By tailoring advice to individual needs, pharmacists empower patients to make informed decisions about their health, thereby reducing the risk of treatment discontinuation.

 

Role in Chronic Disease Management

Chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension require consistent adherence to medication and lifestyle modifications. Pafikotaponorogo play a proactive role in managing these conditions through regular counseling sessions. By monitoring medication usage and providing continuous support, they help patients navigate the complexities of long-term treatment. This approach not only improves health outcomes but also enhances the quality of life for individuals managing chronic conditions.

 

Community Outreach and Education

Beyond the pharmacy counter, community outreach programs further amplify the impact of pharmacy counseling in Ponorogo. Health seminars, workshops, and public awareness campaigns educate residents about disease prevention and medication management. These initiatives foster a proactive approach to health among the city’s population, encouraging early intervention and regular healthcare consultations.

 

Technology and Innovation

Incorporating technology enhances pharmacy counseling efficacy in Ponorogo. Digital platforms provide convenient access to medication information, dosage reminders, and virtual consultations. Such innovations cater to the tech-savvy demographic while ensuring continuous support for patients who may face mobility challenges or live in remote areas.

 

Collaborative Healthcare Approach

Effective patient adherence requires collaboration among healthcare providers. Pharmacists in Ponorogo work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals to optimize treatment plans and address patient concerns promptly. This multidisciplinary approach fosters holistic care and reinforces the importance of adherence as a shared responsibility.

 

Future Directions

Looking ahead, the future of pharmacy counseling in Ponorogo City is promising. Continued professional development for pharmacists, expansion of community outreach efforts, and integration of advanced technologies will further enhance patient adherence and healthcare outcomes. By embracing these advancements, Ponorogo aims to set a benchmark in patient-centered care within Indonesia’s healthcare landscape.

 

Conclusion

Pafikotaponorogo exemplifies a proactive approach to healthcare delivery, emphasizing patient adherence through personalized education and support. As pharmacists continue to evolve their roles from medication dispensers to trusted healthcare advisors, they contribute significantly to improving the quality of life for residents. By fostering a culture of health literacy and collaboration, Ponorogo sets a commendable example for enhancing patient outcomes through effective pharmacy counseling.

 

Through these efforts, Ponorogo not only strengthens its healthcare infrastructure but also empowers its citizens to take charge of their health with confidence and knowledge.