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A New Focus: External Partnerships

Robert J. Renteria |

CHICAGO — In the past, the main focus was always on internal operations — machine maintenance, cleanliness, attendant training, etc. All of these things are important, but with today’s economy being tight, you must focus on external partnerships.

Sticking to the internal-operations plan had merit in the past, but the emergence of larger laundries means one needs external partnerships. Today, it’s all about developing relationships, relationships, relationships. Some call this marketing, but it’s really a lot more than that. You must become the face for your business because people buy from people they like, not because you offer a certain machine-brand name (although your distributor might disagree). You need a real competitive edge, which can only truly be you.STICK WITH THE PLAN
Have you ever put together a plan? If not, the first thing you need to do is study your competition so you can build a better mousetrap. I just closed one Chicago laundry because the owner was a lazy, slumlord operator.
Still not convinced you need a plan? When your business closes, you may realize that businesses don’t run themselves.
Maybe I can get your attention another way. If a laundry customer spends, on average, $700 a year at your store, shouldn’t your goal be to increase your number of customers? I’m guessing I know your answer since you purchased the laundry to make money. This takes us back to external partnerships.
You must develop your client base. You can speed up this process if you get out of your car, knock on doors of businesses in your area, and build relationships. If you just take this first step, and introduce yourself to neighboring business owners, you will be surprised at how it will pay off.STARTING POINT
I’ll even give you a hand with getting started. Here are some target areas (when this works, you can add me to your Christmas list):

  • Day care centers
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Apartments
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Social networking events

You can even utilize Facebook and Twitter to get your message out.
This is just a start. The target list is endless. Once you establish partnerships, you can discuss cross-promotions, and really get your business cranking!
On the other hand, you can sit back and let the laundry down the street do this. Maybe you’ll even get your store repossessed.
As always, if I can be of assistance with your marketing plans, just contact me. I tell you the way it is, like it or not.

About the author

Robert J. Renteria

Consultant

Robert J. Renteria is a national consultant based in Chicago. He has more than 23 years of industry experience, having helped develop more than 750 coin laundries nationally and abroad. The author of three books, he was named the 2010 Chicago Latino Professional of the Year and is the sole recipient of the 2011 International Outstanding Humanitarian Award. In 2013, he received two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards for his work in civil rights advocacy and educational reform. He can be reached at 312-933-5619 or robert@fromthebarrio.com.

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