Stories, ideas and tips to help women build fabulous businesses and to help you build your best business.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Can’t afford employees? How about getting your customers to do the work for you? will sell over 1 million must-have too-cool t-shirts this year earning them something in the order of US$20 million in revenue.

Guess how many staff they have?


Yep, that’s right. Just 35.

As a very rough rule of thumb a business is doing pretty well if it employs just 5 people for every US$1million in revenue earned. Or, put another way, it’s a good business if every employee adds US$200,000 to the top line. employs just 1.75 people for every US$1million in revenue. Each employee adds a phenomenal US$571,000 to the top line.

So how does Threadless out-do the best companies?

They use their customers to do the work for them.

Customers submit t-shirt designs to the website, customers vote on the best design of the week and customers run a magnificent word-of-mouth marketing campaign.

The only thing that has to do is to print t-shirts with the winning design and sell them on-line (for about US$15 each).

My nibble is this: what can you change about your business to get your customers to give you a free hand?

And having built my own furniture (thank you Ikea) and assembled my children’s bicycles (thank you Toys R Us) t-shirt design can’t be that hard.

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