Customer service

How to profit when buyers are broke

October 26, 2009: 3:32 PM ET

Even in a recession, savvy retailers can boost their business.

The Flower Lady, Suwanee, Ga.
How does a florist sell more in this economy? We changed our business to designing weddings and events only, as the everyday flowers are not selling. We had to throw out too much product at the end of the week -- flowers are perishable!

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  • When customers abandon their property

    A dry cleaner considers turning customers' absentmindedness into a tidy tax break.

    Taylor, Jackson, Miss.

    I own a dry cleaning business and was wondering what to do with all the forgotten or left-behind clothes. They date back a few months or as far back as a year. I read that by donating them I could get a tax write-off.

    Aug 20, 2009 10:22 AM ET
    Posted in:
  • All work and no pay

    Handling the client that wants the goods but doesn't want to cough up a check.

    Susan Lewis, Lancaster, Calif.

    Can we legally hold a client's paperwork if they haven't paid their bill? We do their bookkeeping and they haven't paid in months. We haven't done any additional work for about two months, and now they are asking for their paperwork back. If we send it to them, we will never get paid.

    Aug 11, 2009 6:14 PM ET
  • Discounts and referrals: What works now

    How to stand out in a crowded field without spending loads of money on advertising.

    Jenny, Deer Park, N.Y.
    I own a small beauty shop in a mid-sized town on Long Island, New York. The problem for me is the competition: In the past five years, three more beauty shops opened around the five-mile area, and my business started to sink two years ago. How do I stand out from a crowded MORE

    Jun 12, 2009 3:10 PM ET
  • Finding the best customers for your business

    Some clients aren't worth the headaches. Advance vetting and precautions can spare you the pain.

    I started a concierge service on a tight budget. I am not looking to conquer the world in a day. I would like to attract the "right" customer and grow the business within my means. What would be the best methods to find that "right" customer?

    Mar 17, 2009 10:18 AM ET
  • When to get tough with a deadbeat client

    Expert tips for picking clients wisely and getting paid on time.

    Denise Haney, Orem, Utah
    How can I get our clients to pay up? There's a fine balance between getting our money and losing them as clients - but when invoices are past 100 days, isn't it time to get tough?

    Jan 22, 2009 8:02 PM ET
  • How to fight negative Web reviews

    Tony Cantillo
    How do I deal with unfair reviews of my business?

    Nov 17, 2008 1:02 PM ET
  • How to handle bounced checks

    Hate dealing with rubbery payments? Avoid them by following this advice. How do you ensure that the checks you receive translate into cash? Do you use a check service program? What has been your experience with it?

    Mar 24, 2008 12:53 PM ET
  • Freebies and cost-cutting: slump survival tactics

    Reader Mike asked FSB's advice on surviving the dipping economy. How are you beating the slump with your grassroots business?

    Mar 21, 2008 10:09 AM ET
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