By k | December 21, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

How much should each person
in your business
contribute to the bottom line?

Robin Lee Allen,
managing partner
with Esperance Private Equity,
shares

“Most businesses have profit margins
averaging somewhere around 15 percent.
To be conservative,
let’s make that 10 percent.

If you run the numbers backward,
it means that
every dollar spent on costs
needs to be offset by
10 dollars coming in
simply to stand still.
This includes human capital costs,
which include payroll taxes and such.”

This doesn’t mean that person
has to earn 10 times her costs
in sales.
She could free someone else up
(like yourself, the business builder)
to increase revenue
by that much.

Consider using the 10 times cost figure
as a rough guideline
when hiring.

By k | December 20, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A few years ago,
self publishing seemed like
an industry
in which anyone could play.
eBooks were relatively inexpensive
to produce.
Amazon made it easy
to load the eBooks.
Readers ‘magically’ discovered
these eBooks
and writers made sales.

There were no barriers to enter
the industry
and people flooded it.

But,
as Seth Godin
says,

“Any market that seems to offer
an easy in
to the undifferentiated
will eventually squeeze them.”

Amazon couldn’t promote everyone.
There were too many books releasing.
To reduce that number,
they started charging for this marketing.

The writers who can pay
are currently seeing healthy returns.
The writers who can’t pay
are struggling.

Market spend has become
the new barrier to entry.

If you’re in an industry now
where the barriers of entry are low,
know that it likely won’t always
be that way.
Plan for that day.
Take advantage of now.

By k | December 19, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Growing up dirt poor,
my siblings and I
were entrepreneurs by default.
If we wanted to buy something,
we had to raise money for it
and when you’re 8 years old,
no one is hiring you.
We had to create
our own businesses.

And this was awesome
because I have NEVER worried
about not having a job.
I look around me today
and I see thousands of ways
to make money.

Teaching your kids
to think like entrepreneurs
is a gift.

JJ Ramberg
shares one idea
(but the entire article
is well worth reading)

“Bring home
three cereal boxes
and ask your kids
what they like about each box.

Have them talk through the design,
the information written
on the package,
the logo
and anything else they notice.

Then, ask them
which one they like best
and why.

This helps them
start to think
about the best way
to convey information
about a product.”

And, of course,
if appropriate,
involve them in little ways
with your own business.

Give your kids
the gift of
entrepreneurial thinking.

By k | December 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

New writers
(new businesses)
often ask me
how I built my readership
(customer base).

How did I do it?

One reader (customer)
at a time.
I would talk to them
about 8 times
before they bought my book
(product).

Then, if they liked it,
I asked if I could post their comment.
Often they would be so happy;
they’d share that comment
on their own social media.

And word of mouth spread.

Denise Smith,
owner and operator of
Pump It Up,
shares

“We had to develop
relationships with
local child care centers,
after-school programs,
community recreation centers
and others
to create brand awareness
about this new business.

Our strongest small business
marketing strategy
was very grassroots.
In 2005,
while we never missed the opportunity
to place ads in parenting magazines,
word of mouth
was the biggest thing we did.
We found that turning guests
of one party into hosts
for the next
would be our winning strategy.”

Word of mouth is still
one of the most powerful
marketing techniques.
Encourage it!

By k | December 17, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the businesses
I’ve partnered with
all year
usually knocks it out of the park.
I reserve my spot
and then they turn it around
in two weeks or less.

This month,
they’ve told me
it will be two MONTHS
to turn around my request.
They told me this
after having reserved the spot
for months.

It is too late
to find a replacement.
I have to suck it up
and endure the delay
(which will, in turn,
delay my product release).

But that year end bonus
I had planned to pay
this business?
That isn’t happening.

And recommending this business
to others?
That’s not happening either.
If they get busier,
my wait will be even longer.

Messing up always costs
but messing up at year end
will likely cost even more.

By k | December 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

The time between
US Thanksgiving and Christmas
is a horrible time for eBook sales,
my business.

My readers (customers)
aren’t buying my products.
They’re buying print books
and gift cards for loved ones.

They DO, however, appreciate
contact from me.
Some writers send out holiday cards.
I reach out virtually.
I also fuss over their holiday photos,
comment on their posts,
ensure they’re feeling the love.

Amy Ho,
marketing and special events director
at
Chalk Point Kitchen,
shares

“We also take this time
to engage our customers
on a more personal note
—remind them that
this is the time
to be thankful
and
spend time with loved ones.”

This is the time of the year
to be a bit more personal.

By k | December 15, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

This is the time of year
during which
many of us are looking backward
and reviewing what has happened.

This can be a worthwhile activity.
We can revisit lessons learned,
good and bad,
and carry that knowledge
forward with us.

The less positive aspect
is the temptation
to muse forever about
the way things used to be,
the good ol’ days,
when sales were easy
and there was no competition.

Those days only exist
in our heads.
Sales have never been easy.
Ever.
When there was less competition,
we had prospects
who didn’t realize they needed
our products and services.

Thinking about it
for a long time
changes nothing.
We have to work
with the environment
we’re now in,
not some fantasy past.

Don’t get stuck
looking backward.
There are opportunities
in front of us.

By k | December 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Successful business builders
ARE storytellers.

We should be able to
pitch our business, our products,
our services, ourselves
in three lines or less.

We should evoke emotion
in our marketing material,
be able to reach prospects
with our words,
with the images we choose.

Richard Branson
shares

“I have always been fascinated
by the intersection
between storytelling
and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs
who make a difference
are, in effect,
professional storytellers.”

How to do this?
Practice.
Every story I write
undergoes at least 6 rounds of revisions.
The story for our businesses,
for ourselves,
will likely require more
fine tuning.

This is party season
in many parts of the world,
an ideal time to test
our stories.
When we tell people
what we do
(the usual party question),
do they want to hear more?
If the answer is ‘yes,’
our stories are working.

Perfect your story.

By k | December 13, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I listen to the competition.
I often learn
what is working
and what isn’t working
from listening.

For example,
I give readers (customers)
a short story
every December.

These stories
only make sense to readers
who have read
the other books (products)
in the series.

Writers will contact me,
telling me I’m devaluing my work,
that readers won’t pay for my stories
if I give these short stories away.

Of course, they will.
The readers who pay
for my other stories
are the ONLY people
who enjoy the short stories.

Writers aren’t happy
because they fear
it raises expectations
for them

Which tells me
my strategy is working.
Readers like it so much;
the competition is afraid
it will become the norm.

Listen to competitor complaints.
They might tell you
you’re on the right track.

By k | December 12, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

It is midway
through December,
the last month
of the year.
Now, more than at
any other time,
it is damn easy
to wait.

Wait to get started.
Wait to change.
Wait to make that big push.

It is so very tempting
to ’start’ on January 1st,
the first day
of a new year.

Resist this.
Start NOW.

If you start today,
you’ll be half a month
ahead of your timelines.
You’ll roll into 2018
with some momentum.
You won’t waste
half a precious month.

As Zachary Pousman,
founder of
Helpfully,
shares

“When you get to December 31,
you’re already feeling
a bit of momentum on the goal
and you’re not starting
from scratch
while on vacation
or consumed with the holidays”

Start NOW.