Boss In Heels: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Success


For the Time Sensistive Entrepreneur
March 7, 2011, 1:01 am
Filed under: Financial Responsibility, Growth

Check out ULINE – the leader in shipping and packaging supplies.

I absolutely love ULINE.  They have pretty much every conceivable box size, type of tape, and anything else you could need to run your business (especially if your business involves shipping and fulfilling products).  But the best part about ULINE:  the response time.  Most orders placed before noon are shipped out that day and are at your next door THE NEXT MORNING.

I ordered over 500 boxes and they were delivered within 24 hours.  It’s absolutely amazing and a life saver if you’re ever in a time crunch for materials.  Plus their pricing is very competitive (shipping boxes are around $.30 each as opposed to the $2.50 you’ll spend at Office Depot).

Check them out today!

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Negotiating for Success: Don’t Get Suckered Into Providing Steep Discounts
February 26, 2011, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Growth, Marketing

Kaeng Raeng Display in Whole Foods

I was recently approached by a Whole Foods Market store about promoting Kaeng Raeng as part of a focus on local companies.  This would involve a pretty large display of my product and would require a substantial order size from the store. (see picture at right)

The store asked, in return, for a steep discount on the product.  That’s perfectly fine for stores to want bulk discount, but here are some basic tips for negotiating these discounts to avoid making little to no money on the deal (and hurting your ability to negotiate in the future):

Stay Consistent: If this is your first time ever negotiating a bulk discount, sit down and brainstorm the potential future opportunities and how much margin you’d be willing to give up in those circumstances.  Not all deals are created equal, but you certainly need a benchmark to avoid promising a steep discount to one retailer and trying to back away from that same size deal later.  Stay consistent!  The stores will have it in their own procurement system how much they paid – they’ll demand the discount again.  So make sure that you create a benchmark that you’re willing to stick with.  Consistency is huge in the natural foods world – changing your discounts radically from one store to the next or month to month will piss people off.

(Obviously) Don’t Offer Too Low a Price: Here’s a little secret about major retail chains (not necessarily true for small, independent stores):  they’re willing to pay much more than you think.  Often times stores or departments will have budgets they have to maintain and they try to negotiate under that budget.  There’s typically a great deal of “wiggle room” for them to get creative with vendors.  Also, the people making these decisions aren’t usually directly affected by the financial outcome.  If they buy a lot of product that doesn’t sell, that particular purchase won’t affect their salary or job performance in the long run (there are exceptions, but you get the idea).  Small, independent stores that are strapped for cash are a different story, but they don’t bargain as much as big chains.

Let the Retailer Do the Talking: It’s a common mistake (as in most negotiations) to provide numbers up front.  You’re a small vendor, they’re the big retailer – let them do the talking.  Here’s an example of how the negotiation might go:

Store:  We’d like to purchase 5 cases of your product instead of 1.  What kind of discount can you give us?

Brand: First of all, thanks for thinking of our product for this display.  I think we can make this work.  How much of a discount are you generally looking for?

At this point, the stores will usually throw out a range, and, depending on your past history, benchmarks, cost structure, etc. you can pick a number in that range (it’s usually 5-15%).  If they don’t want to throw out numbers, they’ll usually say something like this:

Store:  Well what kinds of discounts have you done in the past?

Here’s where you can give a number, but you obviously want it to be so low that they have to come back with another number.  The key here is that you’re not playing “hardball” – you still want the store to do the promotion, so don’t scare them off.  Stay friendly, especially if this is over email or phone where emotions are difficult to read.   Try to sound upbeat, enthusiastic, or even naive that the number you just gave them is low.

Brand: We’d be happy to give you a 5% discount off of the wholesale price.  Does that work?

If that doesn’t work, they’ll say so, and they’ll ask for a discount closer to 15%.  At that point, you can either say “Well, I can offer you 10% but no more than that” or accept whatever they ask for.  You can also ask them to purchase more product in order to get to the 15% discount, for example…

Store:  5% won’t work for us – we really were thinking more like 15%.

Brand:  Based on what we’ve offered your chain in the past, we could do 10% for that volume, or we could do 15% but the order would have to be for 10 cases, not 5.

Be Willing to Have Graduated Discounts: Not all discounts should be the same – don’t use a flat rate.  Filling large orders can be demanding for a small, growing business, but it can also mean great exposure for your brand (and of course the cash from the sale).  Be willing to offer discounts based on the size of the order (as shown above).  Again, keep benchmarks for these because you don’t want these numbers to change drastically from order to order. You might say, for instance, if the typical order is 1 case, you might give 5% off for 2 cases, 10% off for 5 cases, 15% off for 10 cases and so on.  Part of your goal is getting the store to place a larger order, so push the up-sell.

Explain Your Interests: There’s about a hundred negotiation books written on this topic of the Pareto Efficiency Curve and all that but you don’t need an MBA to understand a really basic component of negotiation – explaining your interests (desires, wants, needs, etc).  Cost is always on everyone’s minds, but perhaps you have other concerns with the deal that the store might not anticipate.  Share them!  Maybe you don’t have the resources to fill 40 cases for 100 stores so you’d prefer to start with something smaller.  Or maybe the timing isn’t great for a big push and you’d like to wait until next month.  Or you’re worried that if you’d denied the promotion, you’d make more margin selling them one case at a time.  The stores will be more likely to find a solution that works for both of you if you can express your interests (note: for most retailers their only interest is profit).

Bargain with Things Other Than Your Product: Stores love demos – that’s where a representative comes to the store, has a little table display, and teaches customers about the product.  It can be tastings, demonstration of how to use the product, or free samples (or all 3).  Offering to do a demo as part of a larger order won’t cost you 15% of the sale and it’s actually preferred by stores.  Another option are giveaways – we do reusable bottles.  Those don’t cost us as much as free Kaeng Raeng pouches, but it has the same effect for the store.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No!: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Brands can get suckered into promotions that involve giving away margins (or losing money on the deal altogether) because an end-cap or coupon in the mailer sounded like such a great deal.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the promotion – how has it worked for other brands?  How often does the store do this?  Why did they pick your brand over others?  And most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk away from the deal if it doesn’t sound right.

Lindsay Reinsmith is the founder and CEO of Kaeng Raeng, an all natural detox cleanse program made in Palo Alto, CA.



For the Female CEO: Shellac Nails
February 26, 2011, 4:32 am
Filed under: For the Female CEO

In a previous post, I mentioned how important it was to have your nails looking nice as a business woman.  Whether it’s shaking someone’s hand, pointing to documents, or handling product, focus can drift towards your nails by both men and women.  If you’ve got chipped, scratched, or just plain ugly nails, it can be a major turn off and it certainly doesn’t look professional!

I was (I say “was” very explicitly here) a do-it-yourself manicurist for years.  You couldn’t drag me into a nail salon.  The tools are often reused, the chatter always in Vietnamese, and the price ridiculous for what I could easily do for myself.  Until now.

Shellac Day 1

Introducing Shellac (or OPI gel), a hybrid of nail color and gel that doesn’t chip, scratch, peel, or lose its brilliant shine.  It lasts 2 weeks and goes on just like regular polish – however, it’s impervious to nail polish remover, so in order to get it off, you’ve gotta go back to the salon and soak your nails (like gel or acrylic) but it only takes 10 minutes!  It costs $35 per session (in Palo Alto).

Shellac Day 8

I first heard about Shellac from my mom and sister who swear by it – no wonder!  It’s amazing.  As part of my job, I move boxes, tape things, move things around, and generally use my hands a lot.  I’d do my nails and 24 hours later have to re-do them.  What a nightmare!  With Shellac, I get my nails done and don’t even have to worry for 2 weeks.  Yup, 14 days.

Shellac Day 15

Shellac truly is a hybrid of traditional nail polish and UV gel polish.  Unlike soak-off gels it comes in a polish bottle and unlike traditional polish it cures/dries under a UV lamp.  Though what I really liked is there is NO BUFFING.  There is absolutely no damage to the natural nail in the process.  So how does it work?

Shellac Light Color Day 1

Shellac paints on like polish – base coat, color, top coat – and is cured in a UV light so there is zero dry time. The colors are hypo-allergenic, and “3-Free” – no formaldehyde, toluene or DBP. The formula is thin and flexible like polish, so it not only looks natural, it provides strong natural nail protection with a resilient mirror finish that resists dullness and chipping, even during the most rigorous activities.  Shellac has a few colors, but many more of the nail polish brands are coming out with their own line.  The salon I go to, Zen Nail Garden in Palo Alto, has over 40 shades!  It takes about an hour (including having the original color removed).

Shellac Day 14

Of course as your nails grow, the cuticles begin to show, which isn’t great for dark colors but basically unnoticeable for light colors (see pictures).  Amazing!

Shellac "Wildfire" Day 3



Stay Frugal: OnlineLabels.com
February 20, 2011, 12:06 am
Filed under: Financial Responsibility

One of the most overpriced, high mark-up items for office supplies are labels.  Avery labels are just outrageous – it’s basically criminal how much it costs to get mailing or address labels at Office Depot.

That’s why I was so thrilled to find Onlinelabels.com which has just about every size imaginable for a fraction of the cost!  I use them to buy the Click N Ship mailing labels we use with USPS.com. From Avery, those are $.32 each – from OnlineLabels.com just 4 cents each!!

It’s a definite solution for any small, frugal business.



How to Produce an Infomercial on a Budget
December 27, 2010, 3:03 am
Filed under: Financial Responsibility, Growth, Marketing

By Lindsay Reinsmith, CEO, Kaeng Raeng

I am by no means a marketing expert.  I have marketed my product mostly by trial and error, luck, and common sense.

I don’t recall why or when, exactly, I decided to produce an infomercial.  I guess it’s because my product, Kaeng Raeng detox, is fairly unique and requires a great deal of “information” before consumers make the final decision to try our 3 day or 6 day detox program.  A commercial, I thought, would add legitimacy to the brand.  And since I’m a young, personable entrepreneur who could come across well on camera, it was possible to star in the infomercial (which is actually pretty rare for other nutraceutical businesses that are usually run by old men trying to get rich).

The infomercial has been a long time coming.  I started researching production in February of 2010.  I probably spoke with a dozen “full service” direct marketing agencies.  What a nightmare.  These guys are pretty much all scam artists (see my blog post “Growing a Responsible Business:  Don’t Fall for Marketing Scams”).  Basically for a hefty sum, they promised to “do everything” for you.  Write, direct, produce, edit, air, and manage your commercial.   I was skeptical that any one agency not connected to my business could pull that off successfully.

I learned fairly quickly that going through an agency to create and air the commercial was going to be a huge waste of money and I would have little to no control of the final product.  I was quoted anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 to produce a 30 minute infomercial, filmed in the bay area.   On top of that, some of them make you pay royalties or give you limited access to the reel.  Forget that!

I found most of these agencies, film studios, and media companies through Google searches.  Once I found a company that looked decent on the web, I called them.  There’s really no way around it.  If you want to get business done, you have to be willing to spend hours on the phone.  If I found a company that sounded decent on the phone, I asked for references from their past clients.  If they refused, I hung up.  Never work with a company that won’t let you speak with their other clients.

I eventually figured out that the most effective way to get my infomercial online was to hire a film crew who would film and edit the commercial, allow me to have the rights to the commercial forever, and would be willing to do it for a reasonable fee, generally two lump sums: half before filming, half when the final product was delivered.

Any time you have a film crew or media company that has monthly retainers, walk away.  There’s no incentive for them to get you your content in a timely fashion if they keep getting paid the longer the production goes on.  Having a lump sum at delivery means they will work hard to get paid.

I decided to turn to my roots:  I had a childhood friend who happens to have a film business based in Austin, TX.  As part of a symbiotic deal (they enjoyed the work and experience, I needed affordable, honest work), we came to an agreement that was less expensive than the media agencies I had interviewed.   They are able to use the footage as part of their portfolio to gain new clients, and I get to work with people I know and trust.  It’s always a good idea to used qualified sources, whether it’s a business or personal recommendation.  It’s important that others “vouch” for the crew you work with, since they are so critical for your business’ success.

Then it came time to create the content for the commercial.  I wanted the commercial to be obvious, straight forward, and simple.  I wanted the customer to know how to order, who to call, what web site to visit, without there being a big question about it. I created 3 different “call to action” segments that would air throughout the 14 minute commercial.

I began to “storyboard” the commercial.  I wanted to have a host – someone who actually used the product, liked it, and would use it again.  I focused on a female actress and model who might feel pressure in her job to look a certain way.  Women relate to that – it’s why they love celebrities who gain and lose weight.

A friend of my boyfriend’s is married to a fabulous actress, model, and sports host named Ruby Lopez.  We met for coffee to discuss the infomercial and what my general thoughts were.  She was on board.  She loved the product and happily recommended it to friends and family.  She had a lot of experience hosting, so I knew she’d be a natural.  She was also beautiful and talented – an amazing find!

Then it came time to write out the full script and arrange logistics for filming.  I wanted to film in two separate locations on two separate days.  There was also voiceover work, which required finding a quiet, echo-free room.

A close friend of mine who also participated in the commercial offered up her house (her kitchen and her back patio) for filming.  Normally this is a huge hurdle for businesses.  Finding a venue can be very expensive and logistically impossible.  We had little to no issues with filming in her home.   Again, using personal connections can save you a great deal of money and headache.  I am forever grateful for her generosity and kindness.

The script changed slightly between drafts, but for the most part I had a clear vision of what I wanted: an introduction from the host, an interview with the CEO, a round table discussion with real users, and a kitchen demonstration of how to use the product.   I watched dozens of other infomercials to get ideas, finding what I liked and what I didn’t like.  Because Kaeng Raeng was so different from other products in the same industry, I struggled to find a way to convey all of the information without boring the customer.

Once I had finalized the script, I created a filming schedule.  We had to film all of the scenes out of order, much like most films.  To avoid multiple takes or re-filming the same scenes on separate days, we had a very clear plan for the filming order, as well as transitions, taping “white noise” (where you film just the sounds in the room or the filming location to have extra time to work with during editing), and scheduling all of the participants so we didn’t have a bunch of people standing around not doing anything.

All during this planning process, I had to find participants for the round table, a hair and makeup artist (who Ruby had recommended) and schedule the transportation, accommodations, and timing for all of those involved.  I had a couple of pre-production phone calls with the film crew who indicated some things we needed to get beforehand, which included mics, a lighting kit, and a track.  I had to find vendors in the SF bay area where we could rent these items at a reasonable cost.  Another great task for Google search!

I also had to get my call center set up so we could direct viewers to a 1-800 number.  I used a reference from a business colleague and found a 24-7 call center based out of Canada (I was very impressed with their client service and attentiveness!).

Additionally, I worked with a stylist briefly on wardrobe.  However, if you know what you want people to wear in the commercial, you’re better off asking them to bring their own clothes, or going to the store yourself.  If you’re totally clueless about what you want people to wear, hire a stylist.  Otherwise, it’s a waste of money.

Throughout this entire planning process, I was struggling, personally, with getting ready for the commercial.  As the owner of a weight loss product, I felt a lot of pressure to look thin on camera.  There is a big difference between looking “thin” and looking “healthy.”

My product does work, but it won’t make you stick thin over night.  It has helped me kickstart healthier living and lose weight several times.  I knew I wouldn’t be a size 0 for filming, and why should I be?  It’s not my full time job to be skinny, but I still felt a great deal of pressure to “practice what I preached” in the infomercial.  I had never been healthier or in better shape the day of filming, but it was still a huge cause for anxiety.  Not all businesses will face this, but if you’re the owner of your company and you’re going to star in your own promotional video, be aware that viewers judge, even personally.

The weekend of filming was a whirlwind.  We started with a pre-production meeting to discuss the scheduling and last minute to-do’s.  Then we did a second pre-production meeting at the two locations to mark where we would film, what we would need, and how lighting, sound, and background would affect production.

We started filming on the third day. We stopped after a few takes and watched the footage to see if I liked it.  This turned out to be very important, because we ended up changing quite a few things after I saw how it looked.

We didn’t want to spend the money to rent a proper track, so when it came time to film the product “beauty shots” (where the camera pans over the product slowly), we ended up putting a towel on the hard wood floor, an ottoman on the towel, and the camera on top of the ottoman.  To create the “panning” affect, we pulled the towel, which made the camera move smoothly across the floor.  A track would have cost hundreds of dollars, but the towel was $2.99 at Walmart.

We filmed with two cameras – one that was a wide shot, the other a close up shot – and used wired mics.  Filming indoors was a breeze, but the outdoor portions were more difficult.  We chose to film on a day with a noise ordinance, so there wouldn’t be loud noises like construction.  Unfortunately, most of the neighbors in the area had chosen this day to vacuum, sand their houses, play loud music, and generally disobey the ordinance.  There also were a lot of airplanes that flew overhead which caused the most noise.

We often had to wait for 30 seconds of silence here and there to shoot, which made it stressful for me and the actors to have our lines ready to go to grab in one take.

Playing director was both fun and frustrating.  I wanted to get specific reactions and intonations from the actors, and I struggled with correcting them and demanding more takes as a novice in the commercial making industry.  If you’re more apathetic about how specific parts come out, I’d recommend appointing someone else director. But if you’re like me and you’re fairly controlling, you’ll want to play this part.

We also struggled with weather on the second day.  Filming in the rain is not impossible.  We held umbrellas over the cameras, and the lack of direct sunlight was actually a plus.  The only problem was that our clothes got wet, which was visible to the camera.  We managed to find a way to sit so that only our legs got wet, but not our torsos; a less than ideal situation, but completely doable.  It was also very cold – in the 50’s – and I was in a blue tank top since we were trying to make it look like we filmed in the summer (we filmed in late October).

Rather than have the production catered, I purchased and made the food myself to save money.  Little decisions like that can save you significantly.

Once the filming was over, I went through all of the raw footage to pick out the clips I wanted to use.  I narrowed it down to about 16 minutes, and went through several rounds to get the footage to 14 minutes, 15 seconds.

I knew I wanted music, but I didn’t want to deal with royalties, licensing, and all of the other hassles that come with using someone else’s music.  I wrote six basic melodies for the piano and sent them to the sound guy from the crew.  He worked magic with the melodies, creating some beautifully harmonized pieces for the video.  If you can write your own music, it’s much easier than licensed, even royalty free.

Finally, it’s a good idea to create a specific landing page for the commercial.  We directed the consumers to a different URL that currently forwards to the home page.  We have a one-page, easy to use landing page with everything they’ll want to know, including the full length video for them to watch again.  This makes tracking easier, since only those who see the commercial will visit that URL (it’s not used in any of our other marketing materials).

Wish us luck!  I am hopeful that all of my hard work and dedication to my brand will pay off in the end.  I hope some of this advice can help other small businesses and entrepreneurs produce their commercials at a low cost.



The Post Office Debacle
December 8, 2010, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Customer Service, Finances

I have a love-hate relationship with the US Postal Service. For one, they are the most affordable service for shipping out Kaeng Raeng.   The average cost to send a 3-day program around the country is around $7 (I charge $5) and the average cost for the 6-day program is $12 (I charge $10).  UPS and Fedex can’t even compare.  Their rates are double that of USPS and their software isn’t well integrated with Stamps.com and other shopping cart softwares.

USPS has a fairly easy process with their Click N Ship program and integration with Stamps.com.  They also pick up product from any location, including offices and residential, and their Palo Alto lobby is open 24 hours.

Overall I’m impressed with USPS.  How they can get a letter from one side of the country to the other for less than 50 cents boggles my mind.  They deliver millions of pieces of mail a day with an incredible track record.  Kudos.

For some reason, however, they don’t do so hot delivering Kaeng Raeng packages.  It’s an unusually high percentage of my packages that somehow get “lost.”  I use delivery confirmation and at least once or twice a week a customer emails and says that although the delivery confirmation says “delivered” they didn’t receive their package.

I have two people on my shoulders.  One is the skeptic who doesn’t trust people.  “The customer is lying,” she says, “she just wants a second box of Kaeng Raeng shipped for free.  Don’t believe her.  USPS has tracking for a reason.  She received it, she’s lying to you.”

The other one on my shoulder is just as doubtful, only against USPS. “Those big government agencies can’t do anything right,” she says. “Think about the DMV.  What a nightmare.  You’ve had packages get lost before.  Believe the customer.  Blame USPS.”

Either way, it is standard in the industry that the merchant, the one who chose USPS in the first place, has to suffer the consequences of lost packages.  Often times USPS will mark a package as delivered and then 3 weeks later it gets sent back to me.  I don’t know why, but this happens far more frequently than it should.

So what should I do?  It’s too expensive to switch to UPS or Fedex, and there’s no way for a customer to PROVE that a package DIDN’T get delivered.  In the past when a customer has claimed that the incorrect product was sent to them, I’ve asked them to take a picture with their cell phone or mail me back the wrong product.  If they’re lying, they usually disappear, caught in their scheme to get free product.

But when the claim is “nothing arrived” how can I get any proof of that?  Am I really stuck between believing strangers or the post office?  Wow, what choices.

Overall I have to trust my customers.  Even if I don’t, it’s my duty as an honest merchant to give them the benefit of the doubt and rule in their favor (even if I have my own personal suspicions).

Is there anyway to get a better track record from USPS?  Or will I continue to suffer unusually high percentages of packages “lost” in transit?

Suggestions welcomed 🙂



Why Merchants Hate Groupon and Other Deal Sites
December 7, 2010, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Finances, Marketing

Brought to you by Kaeng Raeng.  Be healthy.  Be strong.

As a consumer, do I love sites like Gilt Groupe, Groupon, Living Social, BuyWithme.com etc?  You betcha!

But as a merchant who sells primarily on the Internet, these sites can be harmful, if not deadly, for your brand.  It’s not that these sites are intentionally mean to merchants – quite the opposite.  They truly want to enable better exposure and marketing for brands, particularly local retailers like stores, salons, and restaurants.  And for some of those local retailers, the business model of giving your service away for 50% off can mean hundreds of new customers coming in the door.

For branded consumer products, however, I would warn any merchant against considering one of these steep deal sites or members-only sites.

There are 3 basic reasons why sites like Groupon are BAD for your business.

1. Price point. We live in an era of “sophisticated” “savvy” consumers who are too cheap to pay full price.  The milllennial generation (which includes myself) is plagued with young consumers who feel entitled to discounts.  We refuse to pay for anything.  We grew up in an era of Napster, bit torrents, ebay, craigslist, comparison shopping sites, Walmart, and IKEA. Not to mention discount airlines, cheap food, and a recession that brought merchants to their knees.

Now the emergence of these deal sites only solidifies our belief that coughing up any significant amount of money for a service or product is just unnecessary.  As a consumer, I am, admittedly, guilty of this.  I try my best to get things for free or at a steep discount.  I routinely call Comcast every 6 months and threaten to go to AT&T if they don’t keep me at the introductory low rate for Internet.  I haggle my way out of paying credit card annual fees.  I always check retailmenot.com before clicking submit on any online purchase.  Almost everything I own I purchased on ebay or 6pm.com.  There are many ways to describe this behavior: frugal, sophisticated, even just plain smart.  But it’s also obnoxious and harmful for small, growing businesses.

If you put your product or service on Groupon for 50% off, what makes you think anyone, at any time, will ever pay full price again?  I learned this the hard way promoting my product for 50% off on a health blog.  Yes it led to a huge increase in sales and created a brand new group of consumers who could order again.  But do you think they’ll ever want to pay full price?  Not when they know I’m willing to sell it for 50% off!  I routinely get emails from these customers asking if they can have it for 50% off again, or they’re not going to buy it.  Great.  Now I’m being bullied into lowering my price points.

In the natural foods world, you have to be strong against big brands who insist you sell them your product below wholesale pricing.  If you cave and offer them the product for cheaper, they will never allow you to sell the product to them at true wholesale pricing.  Most of the time you end up barely breaking even or making pennies on each sale, often incurring enormous emotional and mental cost in the process.  It is one of the first rules of selling through retailers: maintain your price points!

Online deal sites are even worse.  Even if the deal comes and goes and you don’t intend to run another one again, remember that the internet is written in pen, not pencil.  If someone googles your company’s name to try to get a coupon code, they’ll stumble across the old deal listing and realize they “missed out” on 50% off.  They’re more likely to wait until you run a similar deal, or they write demanding the discount.  In just one day, you’ve lost your price points and you’ll never be able to secure them again.

2. Margins. It’s no surprise that if you sell your product or service for half off what you normally do, your margins are also cut in half.  Even if you have a high margin business, you’ve adjusted your costs based on gross margins.  Cutting those margins will hurt the rest of your business.  That’s not sustainable.  Period.

3. Timing.  Just like apparel retailers need Christmas to get them into the black, other brands have certain times of the year that are crucial for success.  For weddings, it’s the summer.  For weight loss, it’s January.  For restaurants, it’s the weekend.  These deal sites may try to be accommodating, but they can run a promotion or deal at the worst possible time for your business.  When sales are normally at their highest, you don’t want a 50% off promotion to slash your revenues in half.  Often, brands do not get first pick on timing, which can lead to some long-term negative implications.

In the end, you’re better off running internal discounts, like coupon codes, at no more than 25% off if you want to lock in customers during a low period for your business.  Those coupons are in your control and you can align them with other promotions or conditions (like 25% off any order above a certain threshold).

Take advice from a merchant who learned the hard way: avoid deal sites and members-only sites.