New Way To Deliver Your Business Contact Information

I’ve just attended a very interesting presentation – and I’d like to share the knowledge with you.

Until I heard the conversation I had not realized just how problematic a regular Business Card is. I knew that people are likely to have problems finding it after a week or two, but I hadn’t realized that after I move office and so I have a new address and phone number then the card I gave you is now full of useless info.

Here is a solution to that – an electronic card. It is my gift to you. And by ‘gift’ I mean that it has some apps attached that you can use, immediately, and for no cost to you. All you do is click the ‘Your Free Apps’ link at the bottom of the page.

Save your passwords in a safe place, your bank account information, invoice your clients and more, and all of this is available form any internet-connected device.

Would your customers appreciate this kind of link?

I hope my gift is as useful to you as it has been for me
http://bit.ly/1q513Os

A Reminder: It’s All About People

I was talking with a friend a couple of days ago about marketing which led us to talk about popular searches  and just for nothing in particular I thought I’d take a look. About 80% of the most popular searches are about a person.

Not the same person, obviously, but to maybe express it more clearly the most popular searches are about people.

The most popular people appear to be those in the ‘Entertainment’ business if you are in the USA. In the UK the most popular people are still in ‘entertainment’ though most likely they will also be someone who did something noteworthy recently. That can be being evicted from Big Brother, confessing to having had an affair a few years ago (Don’t ask me, I don’t know either) or any one of a surprising number of activities that probably wouldn’t get a mention if it was an unknown who had performed them.

In Australia the most popular people were sports people. I guess that’s still entertainment?

How can this help your marketing?

Marketing is about connecting with your target market, meaning with a select group of people. It involves positioning your product or service inside their world, convincing your target market that they need it.

What the popular searches tell us is not to dwell to much on the features of your product or service, instead describe what effect they will have on the person reading your copy. People are mostly interested in people. Connect to that in-built drive and your message will be far better understood and accepted.

Describe the experience of using your product or service from the perspective of the buyer. Show them how it will improve their lifestyle. Include some comments from other people – also called ‘testimonials’.

Remember the world’s most popular radio station: WII-FM. That’s the call sign, their tagline is “What’s In It – For Me?”

Increase your profit, first thing tomorrow morning

Increase your profit without any additional expense – starting tomorrow morning!

This means that you have the remainder of today and tonight to start using `The 5% Rule’ and increase your profit by up to 35% per year.

By simply focusing on 3 aspects of your business you can easily increase your profit and this includes putting your prices up!

I came across this method some years ago and can not remember who needs to receive credit for the idea.  Having introduced The 5% Rule to many small businesses in the past,  significant changes have returned extra profit for the owners or managers that have implemented this concept.  At first they found it hard to believe that you can do this and to get away with putting their prices up but you will shortly find out that this is not as bad as it seems.

(To some degree this concept can also be adapted to service based businesses).

What you will need

You need a printout of your expense accounts relating to:

  1. Your overheads
  2. Cost of goods sold
  3. Total profit on your products

You will also need a clear and creative mind.  Be prepared to talk to your staff for their ideas as well and especially if you are struggling to come up with some simple options by yourself.

How does it work?

What you will do is:

  1. Reduce the cost of goods sold by 5%
  2. Reduce the cost of overheads by 5%
  3. Increase your profit margin across all products by 5%

You may not be able to reduce the first 2 by 5%, you may initially only find 3 or 4% but that is better than not at all.

Some ideas to get you started…

Reducing Cost of Goods

  • Can you squeeze your supplier for a 5% discount?
  • If you are are paying interest as part of your terms with your supplier can you negotiate a discount?
  • Can you get a better price on your delivery charges?
  • Can you use a different delivery method/courier at a better price?

Where else can you reduce your costs?

Reduce Overheads
Do you use too many biros in a year?  Do they all seem to disappear into a mysterious black hole?
Buy all your staff a nice but bottom of the range Parker pen and inform them that there will be no more plastic biros.  If you lose this one, you buy the next one.

You will suddenly find that firstly they feel just that little bit more important and professional using a `nice’ Parker pen.  They will not lose it and they will definitely ensure that customers do not suddenly walk out the door with `my’ pen.

Use printing paper that usually goes into the shredder and turn it into note pads, rather than buying pads.

Are you giving your employees free personal calls, on your phones?
Its a nice gesture but those calls are not increasing your sales and profit.  It is actually unnecessarily adding to your expense and most people already have their own mobile phones now.  If you have given employees a work mobile, do they use them for personal calls?  This costs you even  more.

Can you reduce your electricity costs?
Turn off unnecessary lights and computers overnight or at the least put your computers on the hard disc hibernation setting.  Turn off the electronic cash register, appliances and anything that definitely does not need to be on after hours, including anything on standby power.

[Start some lateral thinking about your expenses.  One business that I worked with complained that within the last 3 months their sales had quickly dropped off, for no apparent reason.  They had filled their street-front windows with display boards to show their new clothing lines.  Passing foot traffic started to slow for 2 reasons.  The display boards showed clothing to a narrowed consumer taste, deterring shoppers from looking further into the shop.  The display boards also meant that passing trade could not even see into the shop.  The owner removed the display boards from the windows, allowing shoppers to see the entire range of clothing and accessories as they walked past.  Sales increased but they also found that by removing the display boards from covering their front windows they only needed to use one third of their internal lights, as they had now let all the light back in through the front windows.  They also unexpectedly found that their electricity cost had now reduced dramatically.]

Can you improve the effectiveness of your yearly advertising/promotional strategy so that you pay less for improved exposure or for better targeting of your market?
(See other articles on this site for new strategies)

Now go through your business and start looking at where you can reduce both your overheads and your cost of goods, each by 5%.  If you can make it even more than this figure then all the better.

Increase your sales profit margin by 5%
Most people will immediately panic at the thought of just arbitrarily increasing their prices by 5% but what you are going to do is actually increase only the profit margin by 5%.  If you do the maths on your products you will find that increasing the profit margin hardly increases the retail price by that much at all.  In fact it is usually hardly noticeable to even the discerning regular customer unless your products are extremely price sensitive.

For example, this means that with an item retailed at $123, the price may only increase to $125 (inc GST).
But you have increased the profit margin on all items on every sale by 5%… get out the calculator and see how much additional income you have just created across 12 months.

Combining the savings from the Cost of Goods and from your overheads to this price increase and there are quite a few thousand dollars extra in your bank every year.  The reduced costs have converted savings to your bottom line but also stopped eating into your profit margin and actually become additional profit.

Find the motivation for this exercise
To see how much extra profit you can have , use last year’s financials and start working that calculator.  See how much more profit you will have by subtracting 5% from last year’s overheads expenses and subtracting 5% from last year’s Cost of Goods expense.
Now add 5% to last years gross profit.

What is your total extra profit and is it worth aiming for this over the next 12months?  Some small businesses have reported back an additional $20-50,000 the next year and now they try to find additional cost savings every year.

If you have employees and you want to reduce your overheads, involve them with a push to be much more environmentally friendly and start reducing the wastage.  Get their ideas on cost savings as well and then reward them with a bonus from the additional profits.

4 Differences Between Marketing and Sales

Nearly all businesses use the term “Marketing and Sales”, but how many actually know the difference? It isn’t just that “marketing” is when you design the advert and “sales” is everything after that.

MarketingIf your business isn’t successful at sales then you will be out of business soon. Strictly speaking you don’t really need to do any ‘marketing’ at all. What this means is: if your marketing isn’t working then your Sales Team will probably figure out how to achieve their targets another way. The best result is if the two groups fully cooperate to produce more leads and higher close rates.

The focus can be different between Marketing and Sales Departments. Sales staff focus on whatever brings the highest reward (commission), where marketing usually focuses on whatever they like, since there usually is no real measurement of the marketing function. This can lead to advertisements that win creative acclaim but do not generate results. Implementing a reward structure for Marketing that is based on sales volumes will help align the two groups.

Marketing tends to target a group (also known as “a market”) and sales people tend to target an individual (also known as “a sale”). You do need a very clear idea of your target market (refer to other articles on this site) and your marketing message has to appeal to the entire group. Your sales force follow that up and personalise that message for the individual they are currently talking to.

Marketers may never actually talk to a client, whereas your Sales people spend the greater part of their working day talking to clients. This can mean Marketers lose sight of what is important to your target market, so close collaboration between the groups and feedback from Sales is necessary if both departments (and your business) is to achieve the best possible result.

These are the differences that i believe are the most important – what do you think? Suggest another or tell us what your experiences have been.

Five Easy Steps to More Profitable Marketing

This article has five steps to better marketing. Each step builds on the one before, and all are simple and easy to implement. Five small steps for marketing, one giant leap for profitability!