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How To Identify Your Ideal Target Market

A target market is simply a group of people with something in common – things like age, gender, opinion, interest, or location, – who will purchase a particular product or service. Your market can be broad or specific in scope, and it is unique to each business or industry.

Knowledge and understanding of your target market is crucial to the viability of your business. You have to know if there is enough demand for your product, or enough interest and need for your service. You have to know how to communicate with your customers, and understand their thoughts and behaviours.

Without a comprehensive understanding of your target market, you can’t make smart choices about your front end offers, marketing strategy, pricing structure, and product or service mix. It’s like driving a car with a blindfold on – you’d be headed for disaster.

In addition to being essential to confirm assumptions and understand purchase motivations, market research is something you will need to get into the habit of doing on a regular basis to monitor trends and stay ahead of the competition.

Identifying your target market is not always easy, but I promise it will pay dividends.

Here’s  an easy, step-by-step process to identify your target market.

You’ll already have an idea of who your target market is – or who you want it to be. Start by describing who you think your target market is in two or three sentences on your pad of paper.

You need to find the group of people that has these four characteristics:

  • They have a particular need, want or desire.
  • They have the financial ability to purchase your solution to their need, want or desire.
  • They have the power to decide to purchase your product or service.
  • They have access to your business, through a physical location, Internet or catalogue

First, take a look at what it is you offer or provide your customers.

To find the group of people with the characteristics listed above, you first need to answer the following questions about your product or service:

1. What is the need, want or desire that my product or services fulfill? 2. What does my product or service cost? 3. Who makes the decision to purchase my product or service (who has the power or authority)? 4. How are my products or services accessed?
Does your offering primarily fulfill a desire, or serve a need or cater to a want? What is it? Do you offer a high-end product, or low-cost alternative? Do you sell large items, like a kitchen appliance, or small items, like household cleaning products? For example, if you provide a product or service for children, their parents are the people who make the decision to make a purchase. Does your ideal customer need to live in the same city or region as your business? Or can they access your products online, or through a catalogue?

Now  look at the demographic and psychographic characteristics of the people that need, can afford, access and decide to purchase your offering.

Demographics

Answer the following demographic questions about the people who use your product. Some of the demographic information in this table may be less important than the rest (like ethnicity or religion) depending on your product or service and the market your are trying to attract.

Age In general terms, what is the age range that my product or service caters to? Children? Teens? Adults? Seniors?
Income How much do they have to make to afford my product? Is this single or double household income? Low? Medium? High?
Gender Does my product or service appeal to men, women, or both?
Generation What is the generation of my customers? Based on the age range I identified, are they baby boomers? GenX? GenY? Where do they stand in the overall family life cycle?
Nationality Is nationality relevant to my product or service?
Ethnicity Is ethnicity relevant to my product or service?
Marital Status Are my customers married? Single? Divorced?
Family Size Does my product or service cater to large or small families? Is family size relevant?
Occupation or Industry Does my product or service appeal to people in a certain occupation, or industry?
Religion Is religion relevant to my product or service?
Language Is language relevant to my product or service?
Education What level of education do my primary customers have? High school? University?

Psychographics

Answer the following questions on your target market’s psychographics. Psychographics are the qualitative characteristics of your target audience, like personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyle. These characteristics can give you a lot of insight into how to best interact and communicate with your target market.

Lifestyle What kind of lifestyle group does your audience fall into? Are they conservative or trendy, travellers or “soccer moms”? Are they thrifty or extravagant?
Values + Beliefs What are their values and beliefs? Would you consider them environmentalists or safety conscious?
Attitude What kind of attitude do they have? Are they positive or negative? Open or critical? Easily led or opinionated?
Motivation Are your customers opinion leaders or followers? Do they tell others what products they need, or do they need others to tell them what is trendy and what works?
Activities + Interests What do they do in their spare time? What are their hobbies and interests?
Social Class What social class does your audience belong to? Lower, middle or upper? How much extra money do they have to spend on luxury items?

What does this information tell you about your ideal customers?

You’ve done enough research now to create a picture of who you think your ideal customer is. Being as specific as you can, write a 1-2 sentence statement about your target market.

For example:

  • My target customer is a successful young professional; a middle-class man aged 20 to 35, who is single, makes more than $50,000 per year, and is physically fit. He is university educated, and has an active interest in economics and politics.
  • My target market is affluent new mothers; married women with children under five years old, between the ages of 25 and 45, and have a household income of at least $100,000 annually. She is the trend and opinion follower, and her purchase motivations are driven by her peer group.

In summary, now you can focus all your marketing with great clarity on your ideal customers or clients.

How To Write Effective Sales Letters

Here’s an easy, step-by-step guide to writing sales letters that get responses.

1. Identify your target market, the recipient of the letter.

(Be as specific as possible so you can focus really closely on them as individuals).

2. Determine what your message or offer is, and decide what you want them to do.

3. Now draft your letter using this basic format.

This is a basic structure for writing any form of sales letter. Draft your letter with your message or offer using this format, and then follow the tips and hints in step four to improve and strengthen your writing.

  1. Headline

    Headlines are a powerful tool to use in a sales letter to grab the reader’s attention, and communicate your message. This is especially effective if your headline speaks directly to the reader’s frustrations or concerns, or promises to deliver something of interest or value to the reader.

Boldface and centre your headline above the greeting line, and don’t be afraid to create a headline that is more than a single line in length.

  1. Sub Headline / Lead Paragraph
    Your sub headline and lead paragraph should support the headline in convincing your reader to care enough to continue reading. The sub headline can elaborate on your headline’s message, or further describe the reader’s problem. Sub headlines can also preface or summarize important paragraphs in the body of the letter.

Your lead paragraph should begin to answer questions, showcase benefits, or elaborate on the story you have begun to tell. This is where you can begin writing about your company and your offer in further detail.

Illustration / Proof
Use the body paragraphs of your letter to build your case and back up your bold statements. Make sure for every claim, guarantee, offer or statistic, you illustrate how it works or why it’s true. This is your opportunity to build your own credibility and the credibility of your business.

Use testimonials to support statements about your customer service or superiority over the competition. Describe customer experiences in an anecdotal way, and follow up the story with their words (the actual testimonial) in italics.

Benefits / Solution
The rest of your copy should focus on the benefits your product or service will offer the reader – the points that answer the ‘what’s in it for me’ question. Always include a summary of benefits or a detailed description of the solution you are offering in a bulleted or numbered list, and boldface key phrases to provide easy scan reading.

This sends a clear message to the reader – that you’re thinking about them, and their needs. As in all your copywriting, use the words “you” and “your” often, and stay away from too much description of product or service features.

Close / Call to Action
In your closing paragraphs, summarize your message and key points, but be brief and focus on motivating them to take action. Be clear about what you want your reader to do, and give them a good reason to do it immediately. Do you want them to pick up the phone? Fill out the order form? Put the stamped envelope in the mail? Remember that urgency and scarcity are powerful motivators.

Also be clear about how you are going to follow up with them so they know what to expect. If you’re going to call them in two days, or send them more information, let them know.

  1. Once you have your letter drafted, use some of these proven tips to strengthen your copy and improve response rates.

Present your letter professionally.

  • Use only your business letterhead and envelopes
  • Avoid using metered postage as it will make the letter look like junk mail

Format for skim reading.

  • Use headlines, sub headlines, bullets and bold text
  • Give important paragraphs a sub headline
  • Vary paragraph length
  • Use bold text or underline to highlight important points

Make it as easy as possible to respond.

  • Enclose prepaid envelopes or easy-fill out forms
  • Use toll/call free numbers
  • Give one or two contact options so the recipient can choose which is most convenient

Use a casual, conversational tone.

  • People remember and respond to conversation more than a formal tone
  • Write to the reader as though they’re a family member or friend
  • This technique builds trust and rapport

Use storytelling to engage the reader.

  • Tell your reader a short story they can relate to
  • Begin with a compelling customer testimonial
  • Always relate the story back to your offer

Tell them a secret, or make an exclusive announcement.

  • Engage your reader with exclusive information
  • Tell them a ‘secret’ or make an exclusive announcement
  • This will include or relate to your offer, like research statistics, a new development or invention, or a celebrity testimonial

Tell them what their problem is, and offer the solution.

  • Show that you understand what their problem or need is
  • Use your headline or sub headline to do this up front
  • Describe how your offer provides the solution or serves the need

Build instant trust by establishing credibility.

  • Do this as soon as possible in the letter
  • Tell your reader who your company is, and why you’re worth their time
  • Use testimonials, awards and other accolades to back up your claims, but make sure to do it sparingly and keep the letter customer-focused

Give them a reason to keep it.

  • Provide something of use, and your recipient may hang on to your letter
  • Include small gifts, like a fridge magnet with your contact information
  • Include free information, tips or hints listed on the back of the letter

Make use of the Post Script.

  • Restate your offer or strong guarantee
  • Remind your reader of the most important benefit
  • Restate the urgency or scarcity of the offer
  • Offer a bonus if they act now

Enclose a brochure or factsheet.

  • Add graphic appeal to your letter with a brochure or single information sheet
  • Use a brochure or factsheet to backup claims in your letter
  • Include product or service images, graphs, charts, and testimonials

Good luck writing your letters!

 

How To Double Your Online Sales

If you’re trying to make money online, sooner or later you have to face it. Conversion. That intimidating topic: how to get more buyers from the same amount of traffic.

The only reason conversion is intimidating is that there are a lot of places you can go astray. Most of them aren’t that hard to fix, but any one of a thousand little problems can keep you from getting the conversion you should have.

I don’t have a thousand tips for you today, but I do have 101 to get you started.

Here are 101 fixes, some small, some big, for making more sales online.

  1. Does your product or service solve a problem people actually care about? How do you know? If your basic offer doesn’t appeal to your prospect, you’re sunk before you begin. Make sure you’re selling something people want.
  2. Let prospects know they’re buying from a human being. Keep your language personal, friendly, and (for most markets) informal. Sound like a person, not a pitching machine.
  3. Tell a story about how you solved this problem for yourself before you started selling the solution to others. Let readers put themselves in your shoes. Let the prospect feel, “Wow, this person is a lot like me.”
  4. Fix your typos, make sure your links work, avoid grammar mistakes that make you look dumb. Reassure your prospect that you know what you’re doing.
  5. Test two headlines. When you find a winner, run it against a new headline. Keep eliminating second-best. Google Adwords is a quick and efficient way to do this.
  6. Try testing an “ugly” version of the sales copy. Boring fonts, not much layout, no pretty colors. Weirdly, sometimes a bare-bones presentation works better. Don’t just run ugly without testing it, though, because it doesn’t always win.
  7. Instead of sending traffic right to a sales page, put them through a six- or seven-message autoresponder first. Give them enough information to build their trust and let them know you’re the best resource.
  8. Strengthen your call to action. Make sure you’ve clearly told readers exactly what to do next.
  9. Make sure you’ve described your product or service in enough detail. If it’s physical, give the dimensions and some great photos. If it’s digital, tell them how many hours of audio you include, how many pages are in the PDF. Don’t assume your prospects already know any details — spell everything out.
  10. Getting traffic from advertising, pay-per-click, or guest posting? Be sure your landing page is tied to your traffic source. If you’re running a pay-per-click campaign for “Breed Naked Mole Rats,” make sure the words “Breed Naked Mole Rats” are in your headline for the landing page.
  11. Master copywriter Drayton Bird tells us every commercial offer should satisfy one or several of these 9 human needs: make money, save money, save time and effort, do something good for your family, feel secure, impress other people, gain pleasure, improve yourself, or belong to a group. And then of course, there’s the obvious #10 — make yourself irresistibly sexy to the romantic partner of your choice. I guess Drayton is too much of a gentleman to include it, but it’s about the strongest driver we have once eating and breathing have been taken care of.
  12. Now that you’ve identified your fundamental human need, how can that be expressed in an emotion-based headline.
  13. Have you translated your features into benefits? I bet you’ve still got some benefits you could spell out. Remember, features are what your product or service does. Benefits are what your prospect gets out of it.
  14. Put your photo on your sales page. Human beings are hard-wired to connect to faces. If prospects can see you, it’s easier for them to trust you.
  15. If you have a dog, use a photo of you with your dog instead. There’s something about a dog that lowers nearly everyone’s defenses.
  16. You can try just using a photo of the dog. Believe it or not, sometimes it works.
  17. Simplify your language. Use something like the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale to make sure you’re keeping your wording clean and simple. (Please note that simple writing is not dumb writing.)
  18. No matter how emotional your appeal, justify it with logic. Give people the facts and figures they need so they can justify the purchase to themselves. Even the most frivolous, pleasure-based purchase (say, a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes) can be justified with logical benefits (superior workmanship, rare materials, giving the wearer a boost in confidence).
  19. What kind of tasty bonus could you offer? Peanut butter is good; peanut butter with jelly is great. Find the jelly for your peanut butter, the bonus that makes your good product even better.
  20. Are you getting your message to the right people? A list of people who really want what you offer, and who are both willing and able to buy?
  21. Listen to the questions you get. What are people still unclear about? What’s worrying them about your offer? Even if you outsource your email and/or support, it’s a good idea to regularly read a random selection of customer messages.
  22. Keep your most important sales elements “above the fold” (in other words, on the first screen, without scrolling, when readers go to your page). Usually that means a compelling headline, a great opening paragraph, and possibly either a wonderful product shot (to create some desire) or a photo of you (to build trust and rapport). Eye-tracking studies suggest your most important image should be at the top left side of the page.
  23. Check the dual readership path. Do your headline and subheads tell an intriguing story if you read them without any of the rest of the copy?
  24. How’s your guarantee? Could you state it with more confidence? Can you remove any of the weasely stuff? Does your guarantee remove the customer’s risk?
  25. Do you take PayPal? PayPal has its issues, but it’s also “funny money” for a lot of customers. They’ll spend freely from PayPal when they’d think twice about pulling out a credit card.
  26. Have you asked for the sale boldly and forcefully? Is there any hemming and hawing you could edit out?
  27. What’s the experience of using your product or service? Could you make that more vivid with a testimonial video or a great case study?
  28. Is there any reason your prospect might feel foolish for buying from you? Are they afraid they’ll kick themselves later? That their friends, spouse, or co-workers will give them a hard time about this purchase? Fix that.
  29. Are you using standard design conventions? Links should be underlined. Navigation (if you have any on your sales page) should be immediately understandable.
  30. Got testimonials? Got effective testimonials?
  31. Does the prospect know everything he needs to know in order to make this purchase? What questions might still be on his mind? How can you educate him to make him more confident about his decision to buy?
  32. Does the link to your shopping cart work? (Don’t laugh. Go test every link on the page that goes to your cart. And make a point of testing them once or twice a day the entire time your shopping cart is open — even if that’s 365 days a year.)
  33. Is your marketing boring? Remember the great Paul Newman mantra. “Always take the work seriously. Never take yourself seriously.” If your marketing is putting customers to sleep, it can’t do its job.
  34. Social media isn’t just about talking – it’s also about listening. What are your potential customers complaining about on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, in forums, in blog comments? What problems could you be solving for them? What language do they use to describe their complaints?
  35. Have you answered all of their questions? Addressed all of their objections? I know you’re worried the copy will get too long if you address every point. It won’t.
  36. Have you been so “original” or “creative” that you’ve lost people? Remember the words of legendary ad man Leo Burnett: “If you absolutely insist on being different just for the sake of being different, you can always come down to breakfast with a sock in your mouth.”
  37. Can you offer a free trial?
  38. Can you break the cost into several payments?
  39. Can you offer an appetizing free bonus, one the customer can keep whether or not she keeps the main product? An incredibly useful piece of content works perfectly for this.
  40. Does your headline offer the customer a benefit or advantage?
  41. How can you make your advertising too valuable to throw away? How can you make the reader’s life better just for having read your sales letter? Think special reports, white papers, and other content marketing standbys.
  42. Have you appealed to the reader’s greed? Not very pretty, but one of the most effective ways to drive response. (The nice way to put this is “be sure you’re offering your prospect great value.”)
  43. Is your message confusing? A bright nine-year old should be able to read your sales copy and figure out why she should buy your product.
  44. Can you link your copy to a fad? This is particularly effective for web-based copy and for short-term product launches, because you can be absolutely current. Just remember there’s nothing more stale than yesterday’s Macarena.
  45. Similarly, can you tie your copy to something a lot of people are really worried about? This can be something in the news (an oil spill, climate change, economic turbulence) or something related to a particular time in your prospect’s life (midlife weight gain, anxieties about young kids, retirement worries).
  46. Try a little flattery. One of the great first lines of all sales copy came from American Express: “Quite frankly, the American Express card is not for everyone.” The reader immediately gets a little ego boost from assuming that the card is for special people like him.
  47. Is there a compelling, urgent reason to act today? If prospects don’t have a reason to act right away, unfortunately they have a bad habit of procrastinating the purchase forever.
  48. Are you visualizing one reader when you write? Don’t write to a crowd — write for one perfect customer who you want to convince. Your tone and voice will automatically become more trustworthy, and you’ll find it easier to find the perfect relevant detail to make your point.
  49. Tell the reader why you’re making this offer. In copywriting slang, this is the “reason why,” and it virtually always boosts response.
  50. Can you get an endorsement from someone your customers respect? Celebrity endorsements are always valuable, but you can also find “quasi-celebrities” within your niche that hold as much sway as a national figure.
  51. Can you provide a demonstration of the product or service? If it’s not something that can be demonstrated on video, try telling a compelling story about how your offering solved a thorny problem for one of your customers.
  52. How often are you using the word “You”? Can that be bumped up?
  53. How often are you using the word “We”? Can that be eliminated? (“I” actually works better than “we,” which tends to come across as corporate and cold.)
  54. Stay up late tonight and watch a few informercials. Keep a pen and paper handy. Write down every sales technique that you see. In the morning, translate at least three of them to your own market. (Remember, you can change the tone and the sophistication level to match your buyers.)
  55. Have you made yourself an authority in your market?
  56. Is there an “elephant in the living room?” In other words, is there a major objection that you haven’t addressed because you just don’t want to think about it? You’ve got to face all inconvenient truths head on. Don’t assume that if you don’t bring it up, it won’t occur to your prospects.
  57. How’s your follow-up? Do you have the resources to answer questions that come in? Remember, questions are often objections in disguise. Prospect questions can give you great talking points for your sales letter. You may want to bring on some help in the form of a friendly VA or temp to help out with email during a big launch.
  58. Is there a number in your headline? There probably should be.
  59. Similarly, have you quantified your benefits? In other words, have you translated “time saved” to “three full weeks saved — plenty of time to go on a life-changing vacation — each and every year.” Put a number on the results you can create for your customers.
  60. It’s weird, but “doodles” and other elements that look like handwriting can boost response — even on the web. There are hundreds of handwritten fonts available, which can be converted to visual elements with PhotoShop or simple logo-generating software.
  61. Does your headline make the reader want to read the first line of copy?
  62. Does the first line make the reader want to read the second line of copy?
  63. Does the second line make the reader want to read the third line?
  64. (Etc.)
  65. Throw in some more proof that what you’re saying is true. Proof can come from statistics, testimonials, case studies, even news stories or current events that illustrate the ideas your product or service is based on.
  66. Compare apples to oranges. Don’t compare the cost of your product to a competitor’s — compare it to a different category of item that costs a lot more. For example, compare your online course to the cost of one-on-one personal consulting.
  67. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to have at least one platinum-priced item for sale. They make everything else you sell look nicely affordable by comparison.
  68. Make your order page or form easier to understand. Complicated order pages make customers nervous.
  69. Remember to restate your offer on your order page. Don’t expect the customers to remember all the details of what you’ve just (almost) sold her. Re-state those benefits.
  70. Include a phone number where people can call for questions. I know this is tricky to handle, but it can boost your response by a surprising amount.
  71. Include a photograph of what you’re selling, if you can.
  72. Is there a lot of distracting navigation leading your customers away? (Worst of all are cheap-looking ads that pull people away for a penny or two.) Get rid of it. Focus your reader’s attention on this offer with a one-column format stripped of distractions.
  73. Put a caption on any image that you use. Captions are the third most-read element of sales copy, after the headline and the P.S. The caption should state a compelling benefit to your product or service. (Even if that benefit doesn’t quite match the image.
  74. While you’re at it, link the image to your shopping cart.
  75. Make the first paragraph incredibly easy to read. Use short, punchy, and compelling sentences. A good story can work wonders here.
  76. Does your presentation match your offer? If you’re offering luxury vacations, do your graphics and language have a luxury feeling? If you’re selling teen fashion, is your design trendy and cute?
  77. Are you trying to sell from a blog post? Send buyers to a well-designed landing page instead.
  78. Halfway through a launch and sales are listless? Come up with an exciting bonus and announce it to your list. Frank Kern calls this “stacking the cool.”
  79. Are you asking your prospect to make too many choices? Confused people don’t buy. You should have at most three options to choose from — something along the lines of “silver, gold, or platinum.”
  80. Look for anything in your copy that’s vague. Replace it with a concrete, specific detail. Specifics are reassuring, and they make it easier for the prospect see herself using your product.
  81. Numbers are the most reassuring details of all. Translate anything you can into numbers.
  82. Look for any spot in your copy that might make your prospect silently say “No,” or “I don’t think so.” Rework that spot. You want the prospect to mentally nod in agreement the entire time she’s reading your letter.
  83. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Prospects often don’t read every word of the sales letter. Find ways to restate your call to action, the most important benefits, and your guarantee.
  84. Hint at a genuinely exciting benefit early in the copy, then spell it out later in your sales letter. (Be careful of curiosity-based headlines, though, as traditionally they don’t convert as well as benefit- or news-based ones do.)
  85. Use the two magic words of persuasive copy.
  86. Successful marketing doesn’t sell products or services — it sells benefits and big ideas. What’s your big idea? What are you really selling? If you’re not sure, go back to our ten human needs in #11 above.
  87. If you offer something physical, make sure there’s a way they can get expedited delivery. The ability to place a rush order lifts response, even if the customer doesn’t take advantage of it.
  88. Put a Better Business Bureau, “Hacker Safe” seal, or similar badge on your sales page.
  89. Could you be underpricing your offer? A surprising number of buyers, even in a bad economy, won’t buy a product or service if it seems too cheap to be worth their time.
  90. Are you using the wording “Buy Now” on your shopping cart button? Try “Add to Cart,” “Join Us,” or similar wording instead. Focusing on word “buy” aspect has been shown to lower response.
  91. Allow your prospect to picture himself buying. Talk as if he’s already bought. Describe the life he’ll now be living, as your customer. If you want a delicious example, go to the J. Peterman website. Few have ever done it better.
  92. Cures sell vastly better than prevention. If your product is mostly preventative, find the “cure” elements and put those front and center. Solve problems people already have, rather than preventing problems they might have some day.
  93. If your funny ad isn’t converting, try playing it straight. Humor is, by its nature, unpredictable. It can work fantastically well, or it can destroy your conversion. If you can’t figure out what else might be wrong, this could be the culprit.
  94. Are you the king of understatement? The sultan of subtlety? Get over it. At least in your sales copy.
  95. How’s your P.S.? (You do have a P.S., right?) Is it compelling? Typically you want to restate either the most interesting benefit, the guarantee, the urgency element, or all three.
  96. Cut all long paragraphs into shorter ones. Make sure there are enough subheads so you have at least one per screen. If copy looks daunting to read, it doesn’t get read.
  97. Increase your font size.
  98. Include a “takeaway.” No, this isn’t a hamburger and fries — it’s the message that your offer isn’t for everyone. (In other words, you threaten to “take away” your great offer for those who don’t deserve it.) When you’re confident enough to tell people “Please don’t order this product unless you meet [insert your qualification here],” you show that you’re not desperate for the sale. This is nearly universally appealing.
  99. Are you putting this offer in front of cold prospects? What if you put some variation of it in front of people who have already bought something from you? Your own existing customer base is the best market you’ll ever have. Make sure you’re regularly sending them appealing offers
  100. If they don’t buy your primary offer, try sending them to a “down-sell.” This is a lower-priced product that gives the prospect a second chance to get something from you. Remember, even a very small purchase gives you a buyer to market to later. Building a list of buyers is one of the wisest things you can do for your business.
  101. What is it about your product or service that makes people feel better about themselves? Ultimately, everything has to boil down to this.

“How To Write Your Company Vision Statement”

A vision statement is a broad, inspiring image of the future state a business aspires to reach. It describes without specifying how aspirations will be achieved, or when. It is ambitious, and forward-thinking. It’s not about where the organization is now, it’s about what the organization will be, or aspires to be.

 

A vision statement needs to:

  • describe aspirations and intent
  • be inspirational for your staff and customers
  • project a compelling story
  • paint a clear picture
  • use engaging and descriptive language
  • be realistic
  • align with your company’s values

The vision statement will also provide a clear criteria or measuring stick for decision-making. When making tough choices, ask “Does this support the vision statement?” If major initiatives do not support the overall business vision, chances are they aren’t worth the investment of time and money.

If your business doesn’t have a vision statement, it needs one. If it does, then this is a good opportunity to strengthen it or make sure it is aligned with the current dream you have for yourself and your company.

You should note that a corporate vision statement – once created, agreed to and perfected – should remain consistent and unchanged for several years. When a vision statement is changed and revised, it is difficult to create a consistent plan that supports the achievement of the vision.

Your employees need a strong, clear vision statement just as much as you do. When creating a vision statement, keep this in mind. The vision will need to be something that your employees can embrace and stand behind. A powerful vision statement that your employees can get excited about will motivate, inspire and build morale on the sales floor and in the office.

Think about how you will communicate your vision to your employees once you have created it. How can you inspire them to nurture and support your vision on a daily basis, in everything they do? How can you empower and motivate them to feel ownership of the company’s future and their stake in it?

Here are some example Vision Statements

Amazon.com
Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Dell
Dell listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they trust and value.

eBay
eBay pioneers communities built on commerce, sustained by trust, and inspired by opportunity. eBay brings together millions of people every day on a local, national and international basis through an array of websites that focus on commerce, payments and communications.

Facebook
Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and co-workers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment.

Google
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Other Vision Statement Examples:

  • To develop a reliable wireless network that empowers people with the freedom to travel anywhere – across the hall or across the continent – and communicate effortlessly.
  • To provide high quality products that combine performance with value pricing, while establishing a successful relationship with our customers and our suppliers.
  • To be a profitable provider of high quality software solutions and services that provide strategic value to our customers and create a company that can attract, recruit and retain smart and talented employees.

Let’s start creating your unique vision statement.

  1. Start by looking at your strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of everyone who does business with you.

Start with a bit of analysis on where you stand now. Think about strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of customers, staff, management, vendors or suppliers and owners.

For example, what would your customers say about your customer service standards? Would this area be considered a strength or a weakness? What would your staff say about training and professional development opportunities? What do you think about your income and overall financial growth?

  Strengths Weaknesses
Customers
Customer service
Product or service availability and quality
Business location
Business image
Staff
Training
Salary
Professional development
Benefits
Quality of work environment
Management
Training
Benefits
Staff skills
Vendors / Suppliers
Product or service quality
Owner (You)
Income
Business image
Salary
  1. Analyse your observations, and remember that your weaknesses represent great opportunities for change and improvement, while your strengths need to be nurtured and developed.

Take a look at what you have written, using the chart above as your guide, and answer the following questions on your pad of paper:

What does the overall picture look like?

How does the overall picture align with the dream you have for your business?

What great achievements and qualities exist in the strengths section? (List 10)

What opportunities exist in the weaknesses section? (List 10)

  1. Now that you’ve assessed where your business stands today, where do you want it to be? What opportunities exist?

Here you will take the strengths and opportunities you identified in step one, the analysis you completed in step two, and start describing them in words. Use the chart below as your guide, write three sentences that describe the future state of your business. I’ve included some samples to get you started.

 

  Vision
Customers To be a regional leader in customer service.
Staff To inspire and develop our professionals.
Management To lead a generation of environmental responsibility.
Vendors / Suppliers To offer only the highest quality sprockets.
Owners To be a profitable and highly respected organization.
  1. What opportunities and aspirations are the highest priorities for you and your business?

Take the sentences you created above, and list them in order of importance to you. You may have to do this several times before you feel the order is accurate. Then, combine duplicate sentences, or ones that describe similar things.

Once you’ve finished your list, take the top three to five sentences and combine them into a cohesive paragraph.

  1. Refine your statements so that they are broad, future-oriented and use words that reflect your values, priorities and dreams.

You need to refine your statement so it is smooth, clear and easy to understand. Here is a checklist to use when reviewing the words you have written:

  • is it inspirational for your staff and customers?
  • does it project a compelling image?
  • does it paint a clear picture?
  • have you used engaging and descriptive language?
  • is it realistic?
  • does it align with your company’s values?

TIP: You can use phrases like:

A leader in…
Support the development of…
Offer opportunities to…
Continually create…
Build on…
Inspire…
Develop…
Facilitate…
Achieve…
Deliver…
Bring together…

  1. Include your employees in the vision creation process, and ask them for feedback.

Do they understand the vision? Do they support it? Does it inspire them? Can they find meaning in their work based on it? Incorporate their feedback, where possible and relevant.

  1. Put your vision statement somewhere everyone can see it – your staff, management, customers and vendors.

Once you have created your vision statement, share it with the world. Your vision is something you have committed to, and can let everyone know where your company is heading. It allows them to see where you want to go, and gives them the opportunity to help you get there.

Now, do you have everything you need to start working towards your vision?

 

Are You Sitting On Acres Of Diamonds?

Your existing  customers are your “Acres of diamonds”.

This is a true tale of a farmer in Africa. He sold his farm to go prospecting for diamonds only to find out subsequently that his farm had been a giant diamond field. He’d literally been sitting on acres of diamonds all along.

One of the best ways you can rejuvenate business is to find your stray clients and offer them something amazing. First you need to understand why they strayed and are no longer purchasing from you. There are generally four reasons why customers/clients leave. They are:

  1. Unrelated causes that have nothing to do with you
  2. A problem with their last purchase
  3. No longer benefit from your products/services
  4. They feel you have not kept in touch with them sufficiently. This is the major category and 67% of customers or clients go elsewhere because of this.

The best way to bring these clients back is to simply contact them. If you don’t make the first move, they’ll never come back. You make an appointment to visit them or call them if it’s not possible to meet in person. Or you send them a personalized letter.

Talk openly with your stray clients. Let them know you noticed they were no longer working with you and that you’d like to talk with them about their experiences with you and how you can improve things to work together again.

Take the time to make them feel special and work hard to make sure their experiences with you going forward are the best ever.

Better still, make them a limited time “Godfather” offer that’s too good to refuse.

You’ll find that a fair proportion of them will take you up on that offer and become active customers again.

Why not join my FREE 5 day “Sell More Stuff Challenge”?

The details are here:-

https://www.bernardkeavymentor.com/smsc-bernard-keavy

How To Double Your Bottom Line In Under A Year

Very few people are aware of these 8 key strategies which you could implement right now in any small business to double your bottom line. It would take less than a year.

You just need to make small steady weekly improvements to 4 key numbers.

Can you spare 30 minutes for my FREE educational training workshop?  I’ll explain all the steps to you and show you exactly what to do.  And I’ll give you access to all the templates you need to implement these improvements.

I’ll also briefly explore a couple of ways in which you could possibly save tax and improve your cash flow.

For more information go to:-
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-double-your-profit-in-less-than-a-year-tickets-131440033679

Please join me for just 30 minutes at 2pm UK time (9am EST) on Tuesday 15th December.

My Zoom room link for this training session is:
https://zoom.us
Join a meeting
Meeting number 886 7943 8326
Pass Code 963128

This online event will last about 30 minutes.

You’ll be able to ask questions and make suggestions and recommendations as well if you wish to.

I hope you can make it.

Thanks
Bernard.

“How To Define Your Ideal Target Customer Or Client”

How To Identify Your Perfect Target Market

Generating qualified leads will make it easy to boost your conversion rate, because your prospects will already want or need your service.

A target market is simply a group of people with something in common – things like age, gender, opinion, interest, or location, – who will purchase a particular product or service. Your market can be broad or specific in scope, and it is unique to each business or industry.

Knowledge and understanding of your target market is crucial to the viability of your business. You have to know if there is enough demand for your product, or enough interest and need for your service. You have to know how to communicate with your customers, and understand their thoughts and behaviours.

Without a comprehensive understanding of your target market, you can’t make smart choices about your front end offers, marketing strategy, pricing structure, and product or service mix. It’s like driving a car with a blindfold on – you’d be headed for disaster.

In addition to being essential to confirm assumptions and understand purchase motivations, market research is something you will need to get into the habit of doing on a regular basis to monitor trends and stay ahead of the competition. Identifying your target market is not always easy, but I promise it will pay huge dividends, so stay committed to your efforts

Here’s  an easy, step-by-step process to identify your target market.

You likely already have an idea of who your target market is – or who you want it to be. Start by describing who you think your target market is in two or three sentences on your pad of paper.

As you work through this process, you may find that you were correct in your assumptions, or not.

When you set out to identify your target market, you need to find the group of people that has these four characteristics:

  • They have a particular need, want or desire.
  • They have the financial ability to purchase your solution to their need, want or desire.
  • They have the power to decide to purchase your product or service.
  • They have access to your business, through a physical location, Internet or catalogue

First, take a look at what it is you offer or provide your customers.

To find the group of people with the characteristics listed above, you first need to answer the following questions about your product or service:

  1. What is the need, want or desire that my product or services fulfill?
  2. What does my product or service cost?
  3. Who makes the decision to purchase my product or service (who has the power or authority)?
  4. How are my products or services accessed?

Does your offering primarily fulfill a desire, or serve a need or cater to a want? What is it?

Do you offer a high-end product, or low-cost alternative? Do you sell large items, like a kitchen appliance, or small items, like household cleaning products?

For example, if you provide a product or service for children, their parents are the people who make the decision to make a purchase.

Does your ideal customer need to live in the same city or region as your business? Or can they access your products online, or through a catalogue?

Now let’s look at the demographic and psychographic characteristics of the people that need, can afford, access and decide to purchase your offering.

Demographics

Answer the following demographic questions about the people who use your product. Some of the demographic information in this table may be less important than the rest (like ethnicity or religion) depending on your product or service and the market your are trying to attract.

Age

In general terms, what is the age range that my product or service caters to? Children? Teens? Adults? Seniors?

Income

How much do they have to make to afford my product? Is this single or double household income? Low? Medium? High?

Gender

Does my product or service appeal to men, women, or both?

Generation

What is the generation of my customers? Based on the age range I identified, are they baby boomers? GenX? GenY? Where do they stand in the overall family life cycle?

Nationality

Is nationality relevant to my product or service?

Ethnicity

Is ethnicity relevant to my product or service?

Marital Status

Are my customers married? Single? Divorced?

Family Size

Does my product or service cater to large or small families? Is family size relevant?

Occupation or Industry

Does my product or service appeal to people in a certain occupation, or industry?

Religion

Is religion relevant to my product or service?

Language

Is language relevant to my product or service?

Education

What level of education do my primary customers have? High school? University?

Psychographics

Answer the following questions on your target market’s psychographics. Psychographics are the qualitative characteristics of your target audience, like personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyle. These characteristics can give you a lot of insight into how to best interact and communicate with your target market.

Lifestyle

What kind of lifestyle group does your audience fall into? Are they conservative or trendy, travelers or soccer moms? Are they thrifty or extravagant?

Values + Beliefs

What are their values and beliefs? Would you consider them environmentalists or safety conscious?

Attitude

What kind of attitude do they have? Are they positive or negative? Open or critical? Easily led or opinionated?

Motivation

Are your customers opinion leaders or followers? Do they tell others what products they need, or do they need others to tell them what is trendy and what works?

Activities + Interests

What do they do in their spare time? What are their hobbies and interests?

Social Class

What social class does your audience belong to? Lower, middle or upper? How much extra money do they have to spend on luxury items?

So, now that you’ve gathered all this information, what does it tell you about your ideal customers?

You’ve done enough research now to create a picture of who you think your ideal customer is. Being as specific as you can, write a 1-2 sentence statement about your target market.

For example:

  • My target customer is a successful young professional; a middle-class man aged 20 to 35, who is single, makes more than £/$ 50,000 per year, and is physically fit. He is university educated, and has an active interest in economics and politics.
  • My target market is affluent new mothers; married women with children under five years old, between the ages of 25 and 45, and have a household income of at least £/$ 100,000 annually. She is the trend and opinion follower, and her purchase motivations are driven by her peer group.

With this knowledge it’s so much easier to innovate what you sell. That’s how you avoid competing on price.

You can position yourself as the expert or specialist for your chosen target ideal customer or client. People always prefer to buy from a specialist or expert.

 

How To Maximise The Profitability Of Your Customer Base

80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients, and
those 20% are your ideal customers.

Generally, these customers are loyal, spend a lot and spend often. They may be demanding, or ask you to stretch a little bit further, but they’re fair and they’re profitable. You make a substantial amount of money from them. You want to keep these customers in your business, and keep them exceptionally happy.

The rest of your customers can be sorted on a sliding scale all the way down to your c-list, or unprofitable customers. These are the people who waste your time, energy and resources. They’re never satisfied, and nearly always cost you more to serve than they actually spend in your business.

Go through your database of customers and make a list of the customers that make you answer yes to the following questions:

  • Has the customer purchased from you on several occasions?
  • Is the customer profitable?
  • Is the customer strategically important to your business?
  • Has the customer spent a significant amount of money in your business?

While you do this, you may also wish to make a list of customers who made you answer no to one or several of those questions. Those customers could potentially be unprofitable, or undesirable ones that you need to think about avoiding or eliminating.

When you are trying to establish how profitable a customer is, think about how much they spend, how often they spend, and what they buy. Do they buy high-margin or low-margin items? Have they referred other customers to you? Do they pay on time? Do they buy products or services at full price? Each business will have a different set of criteria to evaluate this, but use those questions as guidelines.

Your ideal customers are those that are highly profitable, and a dream to deal with. You’re more than happy to accommodate their requests, and go above and beyond their expectations. These are the customers you will want to cultivate more of in your business.

Your ideal customers are the ones that:

  • Ask you for the products and services that fall within your expertise or specialty.
  • Value your products and services, as well as you and your staff.
  • Pay a fair market price.
  • Challenge you to be better at what you do.
  • Support your continued business and professional growth.
  • Help you move in new strategic directions.

Once you know who your top clients are, ask them what they want and value in your business so you can continue to provide great service.

Why do your ideal customers buy from you? And what more can you do to encourage their business?

Consider sending a survey out to your a-list customers, and provide an incentive for them to complete and return it. Craft the questions to elicit a true picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and include a combination of multiple choice, ranking and open ended questions.

Ask your ideal customers questions about:

  • The products or services they love or would love to see.
  • Customer service elements that are important to them.
  • Why they chose your business?
  • How your business could improve?
  • How could you do more business with them?

You may also wish to create a survey for your staff to identify anything in your business that they feel could be improved. They work there everyday too, so they’re a great resource pool for ideas and enhancements.

Take the information you collect from these surveys, and use it to genuinely improve your business. Fix any problems, and eliminate any activities or services that weren’t identified as valuable. Maximize the activities and services that were identified as valuable.

Now on to the trickier side of customer service. Here are four characters you don’t want to see in your business.

Interacting with these customers will waste your time and your energy, and won’t be worth it to your bottom line. These are the people that you’ll never please, and who will never be profitable, no matter what way you look at it. These types of people will help you to lose opportunities, not gain them.

  • You’ll miss out on selling to ideal customers
  • You’ll not be able to effectively serve your existing customers
  • You’ll lose out on opportunities to bring in new customers
  • You’ll test your patience, and lose your enjoyment of your work.

Watch for and learn to identify these characters, and don’t go out of your way to serve them. If it comes to the point where you need to let them go, I’ll show you in the next section how to do so.

The penny pincher.
This is your low-profit client. These are the people who only buy discounted or low-margin items, and are constantly looking for specials. They want 30% off opened merchandise, or 50% off something with a small stain. You need to be making money from your clients, or there’s no point to having them in your business.

The complainer.
These people drain your energy, and suck up your time with long winded stories intended to generate pity. They complain about the quality or performance of products, with an ever present suggestion that what you offer isn’t quite good enough. People who constantly complain, demand and rage will drain your sales staff, and compromise the service you provide your a-list customers. You’re never going to please these people, so it’s time to move on.

The time-waster.
Time wasters. If you’re spending time with clients who waste your time because they’re never ready or aren’t willing to listen to your advice, run now. These will be the ones that will constantly assume more of your time without providing anything in return and then will wonder why they’re paying you. You can’t help those who don’t help themselves.

The “more for nothing” client.
These clients always want something extra, at no cost. They want more, and feel they are entitled to it. They’ll never value what you offer, and you will consistently have to justify your prices to them. They’ll try to sneak more in at the last minute, when they’ve worn you down. Even when you do bend to their demands, they’re never grateful for it, and will continue to expect it. They consistently threaten to walk away from the sale. Remember that if they don’t value your business now, they never will, so suggest they shop elsewhere.

If all else fails and you need fire a difficult or unprofitable client, here’s how you do it.

There are many ways an interaction with a customer can lead to the point where you need to ask them to leave your business. Sometimes this will be a calm, premeditated event, while other times it will result from a conflict.

  • Be polite and professional. Keep your cool, even if there is craziness around you. Be precise in what you say, and always courteous and professional. Be clear about what you will and will not do, and what you can compromise on or offer. Never take the interaction personally, and always remember to maintain your reputation as a representative of the business.
  • Stay calm and relaxed. If your body language is tense or uncomfortable, it will appear to the customer and strain the interaction. Be confident in your words, and know that it is your business and you have the right to ask customers to leave it.
  • Offer an alternative. Tell you customer that you can’t provide the level of service that they expect, but perhaps your competition can. Maybe they can satisfy their needs. Don’t hesitate to provide a full refund on what they have purchased, and send them across town.
  • Send them a letter. If there have been repeated incidents in your business, don’t wait for the customer to come in the store. Pick up the phone or send them a letter, politely suggesting that they go elsewhere for the product or service you offer.
  • If you need to break a contract, always review the terms of the deal and consider hiring legal counsel. This applies mainly for professionals and consultants, but if you are unsure of how to handle a challenging customer situation, be sure to have a chat with your lawyer to cover your bases.
  • Remove them from your customer database. Stop including your difficult customers in your newsletters and other marketing activities. Sometimes leaving them out of the loop is enough to keep them out of your business. When you do ask a customer to leave, ask for their membership cards and discontinue any unused credit.
  • If they ask why, tell them. Don’t be afraid to give your reasons, but be polite. Tell them that you don’t feel that your company’s values align with theirs, or that you don’t tolerate harassing behavior.
  • Offer them a concession – somewhere else. Give them an incentive to head over to the competition. Give them a refund on their purchase, or a gift credit for another company. You may wish to keep gift certificates on hand for this purpose.
  • If things get out of control, get your security staff to back you up. Don’t be afraid to call the police; you need to look after the safety of your staff and your customers.

Empower yourself and your staff, and say goodbye to unprofitable clients, and focus your energy where it counts.

 

How To Reduce Your Costs & Boost Your Bottom Line

How To Reduce Your Costs & Boost Your Bottom Line.

Cost management may seem like an obvious way of maintaining a healthy business, but it is also one of the primary reasons 80% of small businesses fail. Overspending is a huge problem for most businesses – and they don’t even realize it.

Most importantly, cost management will help keep your business profitable through high and low periods. It’s easy to spend money when your company is doing well, but this leaves little in the “just in case” account for downturns in the economy or unexpected expenses.

Cost cutting is also great short-term strategy to boost profits. It’s an ineffective long-term strategy because there will be a limit to how far you can go. To truly boost profits, you’ll have to manage spending.

This can be a tricky thing to do, because as you market your business, you’ll inevitably be selling more products and services. While you’ll be generating more revenue, you’ll need to remember that each time you sell something it has cost to your business to provide that product or service. When sales go up, so do costs.

There are two types of costs you need to deal with as a business owner: fixed and variable.

There are two types of costs that you have to account for when you’re running numbers on your business.

Fixed costs are essentially the costs you incur in the day-to-day operation of your business. These costs generally stay constant, and can be predicted to a certain degree. This includes your rent, insurance, utilities, staff salaries and your marketing budget. These costs can, of course, change over time, but the bottom line is that they are not affected by sales volume.

Variable costs are those that are impacted by how much you produce and sell. These costs are directly related to your business activity, and include your raw materials and product inventory. These costs vary as much as your sales do. The more you sell, the more raw materials you will need to produce the products you sell.

When you decide to start cutting costs in your business, you need to also undertake a cost management strategy. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Start by getting an understanding of where your money is going.

If you use a program like QuickBooks to manage your finances, have your bookkeeper run expense reports for the last year. Then, review these in detail to track where your business’s money has gone. What percentage has gone to staff salaries? Wholesale purchases? Computer equipment? Miscellaneous costs and expenses?

Take a close look at how much it has cost you to provide each of your products or services. What offer the highest margins, and which offer the lowest? As we discussed in earlier E-Classes, you want to structure your product lines so that you are selling mainly high margin items. The low margin items are not worth your time.

Question every aspect of your business. Look at every expense, and see how each one adds to the value of your business. Does it make any difference to the bottom line? Are there any other options? Are there better, faster, cheaper ways of doing things?

Write extensive notes in your notepad. Use a highlighter to highlight line items that can be modified or removed. Look for excessive spending patterns, and note which months seem to have the highest expenses.

  1. When you have a clear idea of what your expenses are, identify areas for cost cutting.

Based on your notes, create a list of what areas or items in your business that could be reduced or cut. For example, if you’re spending a ton of money on staff rewards and professional development, consider less expensive ways to provide the same amenities.

Look in these areas:

  • Cost of goods and services
  • Employee salaries, bonuses and amenities
  • Office supplies (including kitchen expenses)
  • Utilities (including phone, internet)
  • Financing
  • Marketing
  • Printing and production
  • Computer equipment
  • Office renovations and maintenance
  • Signage
  1. Create a budget to manage both fixed and variable costs.

Using your tracking sheet, your notes and your own suggestions for reduced spending, work with your accountant and your bookkeeper to create a budget for your business. Establish limits on variable costs, and use averages for your fixed costs based on the previous year.

You may have to work with your budget for a month or two until you get the figures right, but once it is established, stick to it. Share it with your business managers, and make sure everyone is on board with expense limits.

  1. Establish clear protocols amongst your staff so that spending is tightly managed.

In larger companies where several people have spending authority, it’s very easy for expenses to spiral out of control. As a business owner, you need to review all the money that leaves your business and have a say in those decisions.

Consider implementing spending limits for your managers or sales staff. Or, require specific authorization or sign off on purchases over a set amount.

Review employee expense reports carefully, and be clear with your staff what is “expense-able” and what isn’t. The more you give the impression that the company will cover “everything” the more liberal your staff will be with company money.

  1. Consistently identify cost management opportunities each time you review your finances.

Revisit your banking and financing packages.

Interest rates can be a big culprit when it comes to eating profits. Take stock of how much money you are spending on a monthly basis in loan and interest payments. Can this be reduced? Is there another bank that will offer you a lower rate? Is there a way to consolidate these loans into a single, low-interest account?

Alternatively, if your business is doing well and has a large amount of money sitting in the bank, consider investing it or placing it in a high interest savings account. Let your money make you money instead of spending it on unnecessary business luxuries.

Continuously monitor the cost of goods and services: your suppliers and vendors.

Make sure the price you pay for goods and services – for resale or internal use – is the lowest you can find. Try to deal directly with the manufacturer or distributer, and renegotiate discounts and contracts with your vendors every year. If you see an unexpected spike in demand, see if your vendor will renegotiate your contract to reflect the increased volume.

Change your hours of operation to maximize existing costs.

Evaluate the hours you are open for business each day, and why you have chosen the specific timeframe. Is it to compete with the competitors? Is it because you can serve the highest number of customers? Each hour you are open for business costs you money, so make sure you are operating under the most ideal timeframe.

If your company operates in shifts, make sure your business operating hours maximize staff schedules. For example, if you’re open for 10 hours, you’ll need at least two staff shifts since the maximum number of hours an employee can work is eight.

Evaluate the structure you have set up for staff wages and compensation.

This can be a sensitive subject for any business owner or employee. It is important to look at staffing redundancies and capacity levels – as well as hiring needs – when evaluating cost management strategies.

Do you need to hire new staff, or can you build capacity within your existing employees? Is there another way to compensate staff, or provide performance incentives that are non-monetary, have a high perceived value, and inexpensive for your business? Remember to take time and care when implementing any changes in this area of cost management.

Lower rent or lease expenses by evaluating your location.

If you operate an office in a downtown metropolis, you are going to have substantially higher operating costs than a competitor who runs an office just outside the city limits. Make sure you can justify your location, and the amount of money you spend to be there. Consider the following questions:

  • Are my customers impacted by where I do business?
  • Do my customers need to visit my office?
  • What impression does my business need to present?
  • Do I need parking facilities?
  • Do I need to be visible?
  • Do I have staff to employ?
  • Am I near public transit, lunch outlets, and other amenities?
  • Do I need access after business hours?
  • Should I lease or buy?
  • What other costs are specific to this location?

Ditch amenities that you and your staff don’t notice or care about.

While you want to provide a healthy work environment, there will also inevitably be amenities that go unused or unnoticed. Think about the things that you and your staff can live without. What wouldn’t you notice if it just disappeared one day? Take stock of expenses that are not being properly used or appreciated. Think of amenity-based items, or convenience costs, like:

  • Gym Memberships
  • Morning refreshments (biscuits, muffins, donuts, etc.)
  • Publication Subscriptions
  • Designer coffee and tea
  • Fancy collateral packaging

Decrease advertising costs or switch to lower cost strategies.

This is a debatable strategy, because in times of low revenue you generally need to advertise the most. However, it may be time to cut back on expensive marketing strategies, and look to grassroots efforts that will give you a better bang for your buck. Keep an extra close eye on your ROI, and quickly ditch risky strategies that cost you money.

Look to lower your utility costs – and help the environment.

Look for ways you can lower the amount of electricity, heat and hot water your business uses. Turn off the lights in unused rooms, and invest in energy efficient equipment that will minimize water and heat waste. There are hundreds of resources – both online and off – for you to tap into. Get creative!

Cost management is an ongoing responsibility for all small business owners and managers.

Unfortunately, cost management typically comes into focus as a strategy only when it’s an absolute necessity. Don’t let that happen to your business.

Stringent cost management is an activity that every successful business owner partakes in on a constant basis. It’s just as important as monitoring your revenues. After all, the difference between the two is what you get to take home at the end of the day.

Small businesses don’t have the luxury of big bank accounts, and generous investors. The only way you’ll realize your truth wealth potential is by carefully monitoring what comes in, and what goes out.

 

“How To Win Friends And Influence People”

I read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, many many years ago.

I am currently re-reading it.

I’d forgotten how good it is which is often the case when you revisit a book.

It’s chock full of brilliant quotes as well.

Here are a few examples:

“Someone convinced against their will is of the same opinion still” – (so never argue).

“You can’t teach anyone anything. You can only help them find it within themselves”.

“Be wiser than others if you can but don’t tell them so”.

“The desire to be important is the deepest urge human nature and is what separates us from animals.”

“If sales people can show us how their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us.  And customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.”

An inspirational book. and undoubtedly one of the best self development books ever written.