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Category Archives: Business

Tips to Maximize Your Profits

1. Get in motion by eliminating the procrastinator’s best friend: “Messy Desk/Office Syndrome.” If that is something you’re plagued with, you’ll find slaying the beast a lot easier if you take what I call the “The 3 D System” approach to organization which directs that you look at what is on your desk or what is cluttering your office and either Dump it, Deal with it or Delegate it.

2. Outsource everything that is not the best use of your time. Look at where you make your money, and if it’s not at bookkeeping, Web site maintenance, or writing marketing materials, for example, farm those tasks out to someone who can do them far more quickly and efficiently than you can.

3. Take things from your “to-do” list and block off actual times for working on specific items. For example, 10-10:30 AM might be for returning phone calls; 1-2:00 PM for working on an article; 2-3:00 PM could be for updating your marketing plan or for researching business networking events. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done when you assign specific times for doing things.

4. Resist the temptation to answer the phone every time it rings as a new conversation will not only distract you from what you are doing, but it may lead you to abandon the task all together as you become drawn into resolving other matters. If you work alone, pretend you have a secretary and that you’ve told him or her to “hold all calls.” Then return the calls when you have both a clear mind and the time to tackle them.

5. Take charge of your e-mails; don’t let them take charge of you. Resist temptation and commit to checking your in-box only twice a day: first thing in the morning and around 3:00 PM.

6. Set specific, realistic goals with timelines and commit to taking at least two action steps every day.

7. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by chunking every task down into manageable bite-sized pieces. Not only will you get more done, you will feel terrific as you realize how much you have accomplished.

8. Tackle the things you hate doing first. Like a trip to the dentist, you’ll feel an awful lot better when that phone call you’ve been dreading and avoiding is finished.

9. Build accountability into everything that is difficult or important to you. It doesn’t matter if it is crafting your marketing message, writing press releases, or putting together your media kit, you will find you will get a lot more accomplished if you are accountable to someone for having completed your actions. If you are not currently working with a business coach, find a neutral party to help you stay on track.

10. Stop spinning your wheels and start making more money by having a clearly defined niche to which all your marketing efforts are directed. Make sure your target market is one that a) has a need for your services, b) is underserved, and c) can afford your fees. Be as specific as possible when determining your niche and create marketing materials that address its needs and that position you as the solution your target market has been looking for.

 

Tips to Protect Yourself when Dealing with Clients

1. Have a contract or client agreement.

You should have some form of contract or client agreement which states, at a minimum, your work hours, your hourly fee (if you charge by the hour), payment terms, a statement regarding confidentiality, your status as an independent contractor, an “out” clause (e.g., either party may terminate the agreement with 14 days notice) and any other data that you feel pertinent (such as an arbitration clause).

If you choose to have a contract or client agreement, it is in your best interest to insure that your client signs and returns it before any work is performed – remember to send your client a signed copy back.

2. Create Client Service Plans.

If you’re not sure how many hours a client will require each month, you may want to consider creating “Client Service Plans” which allows clients to know they have purchased a certain amount of your time for any given month.

For example, if you are a coach, you could charge $X/month for three 30-minute calls and email support. Or $Y/month for three 45-minute calls and email support.

If you are a virtual assistant, you could charge $X per hour for clients who commit to using 40 hours/month and $Y per hour for clients who commit to using 20 hours/month. Each set of hours/pricing would be a separate plan – Platinum, Gold and Silver, for example, where Platinum clients commit to the most hours and Silver clients the least.

Don’t be afraid to tailor your plans to your specific business and your clients. It’s important that they know you can be flexible while still maintaining your internal standards.

3. Require a deposit or get paid in advance.

It makes good business sense to require a deposit before you start work for new clients. The deposit doesn’t need to be prohibitive, but just enough to guarantee that you are paid at least something for your work if the client decides to try and stiff you.

Most coaches I know are paid in advance of the month. For example, clients pay at the end of November for December’s coaching. Many virtual assistants require a percentage deposit at the beginning of each month and credit it on the invoice.

The above strategies are not mutually exclusive. I use all three to a certain degree in my business along with a “Client Intake Form” that I’ve created. This allows me to learn something about the client before we’ve had our first session.

 

Grow Your Business With Great Employees

If you are like most business owners and managers, you have tried just about everything; from new technology and software, to modifying your marketing message and efforts, to hiring teamwork consultants, to reorganization.

There are three things all of these techniques have in common. One, they cost you a lot of money. Two, they eat up a good amount of your time. And three, they rarely (if ever) work. To grow your business, it is imperative to improve the productivity of your employees. That is the reason organizations spend their time, energy and revenues on the products and services that are written about in articles, advertised in the media and introduced at seminars.

However, the typical outcome is “business as usual.” Those employees who naturally performed before the costly modifications, still naturally perform. Those who failed to meet your sales, teamwork, motivation and productivity expectations, still fail and cost you time, energy and money.

Why You Need to Hire ONLY TOP Performers

Your TOP Performers produce month in and month out. So no matter how ineffective your technology, processes or managers may be, your best employees continually make you money without external support, motivation or incentive.

Studies have shown, the top performers in a position are five to eight times more productive (and profitable) than average employees. Organizations that have created recruiting and hiring standards, and more importantly follow them, have doubled or tripled their productivity, sales and revenues by doing nothing more than hiring more top performers.

At the same time, their industry counterparts have either failed to grow or gone out of business. Most of these organizations have spent a good amount of time, energy and revenues on reorganizing their marketing, sales, technology and leadership processes also.

Adding another top performing employee to your team is the only way to guarantee your success. Whether that means adding a new position to payroll or replacing a non-performer, it is an important decision that must be made if you want to grow your business.

How to Attract and Hire TOP Performers

Because it is not a matter of if, but when you come to the realization that your current staff is holding you back from your important goals, here are five ways to insure every future hire can, and will, become a top performer:

1. Don’t Expect Candidates to Find You

If you are only recruiting “passively” with classified ads, general web boards and employment agencies, you are only going to find “passive” job seekers. You need to do everything in your power (network, referrals, educational partnerships, etc.) to “actively” recruit motivated top performers.

2. Believe Only 50% of the Resume

Studies have shown 95% of resumes contain exaggerations. The best thing about a resume is it tells you if the candidate (or their professional resume writer) can use grammar properly, can last more than a few months at a job and has the basic education or training required.

3. Believe Only 50% of the Interview

Your reason for having the interview is to make sure the candidate will fit your culture, team and the job you are hiring them to do. Now think about it, their reason for accepting the interview is to be who they need to be and to say what they need to say to “sell you” on hiring them.

4. Don’t Always Rely on Your Instincts

Your “gut” has been proven wrong before and it will be proven wrong again. And this works both ways. You have surely passed on someone who made a bad first impression that later became a top performer for a competitor. You have also hired the energetic, friendly, punctual candidate that eventually became a drain on your time, energy and cost you a lot of money.

5. Use All of the Available Resources

According to studies, using a resume, interview, background and reference checks, employment agency recommendations and your instincts only provide you about a one in four chance of hiring a top performer. For over 15 years, most of the Fortune 500 and almost every Market Leader has kept their use of “Job Match” Assessments a secret from their competitors. The secret is now out that you can improve your Hiring Success Rate of top performers to about 75% with these tools.

 

Create Enormous Value and Wealth in Your Business

Most small businesses are competing on price mainly because they are selling the same things. There is no innovation, little value created. Therefore the only way for them to survive is to sell at lower price to attract the customers.

Engaging in a price war is tedious and a waste of effort. You are doing more work but earn little profit. I would discourage any business that would like to grow to engage in a price war.

Now the point is, if you do not lower your price, how do you create more customers.

Be innovative, create more values and increase your price. Take for example Nike. There are many sports brand in the world, yet Nike’s shoe is selling at a high price. The reason is they are always in the forefront, innovating new design and technology for their shoes.

What do I mean by creating more values? You got to think of ways to further enhance your customers buying experience. Or give them more than what they expected.

For example our Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop, we charge a high price. In fact we keep increasing the price compared to when we first started. But we add tremendous values to our students.

We had three follow up sessions throughout the year for those who have completed our course. We conduct workshop in a smaller scale to continue guide and inspire them in their journey.

We send out monthly email to them to motivate them. Each of them get a 60 pages workbook on information about starting a business, building a business, sales and marketing and leadership.

In another business – the learning center, we add value by giving information to the parents on how to create bonding with their children. We send new articles to parents monthly. We also provide free study skill workshop to our own students. Of course, we charge a price that’s higher than most centers.

You can create enormous values for your clients. This is a win-win situation. Your clients will have a great experience doing business with you. They get more than they expected from you.

And you earn more money by adding values for your clients. You do not need to engage in those tedious price war. Your clients come back to you next time because of the good experience. Isn’t it a win-win deal?

 

Ways to Grow Your Business

1. Ask what they want…

The #1 way to grow a profitable business is to offer what your targt market wants. And the best way to find that out is to ASK them.

At least once a year, survey your target market, asking them specifically what their biggest challenges are and what products and services they are most interested in. Periodically ask your current clients and customers the same question.

Use their responses to develop your offerings and you’ll practically guarantee yourself a source of steady in^come.

2. Ask for the sale…

Once you’ve create the product or service that your target market has told you it wants, you have to put it out there and ASK for the sale.

Don’t just stick it on your website and hope people will see it. Put together a promotion plan for each product or service you put out, including email promotions, using your online networks, utilizing your affiliates, and even consider pay-per-click advertising.

Then periodically ASK for the sale again. Plan a year’s worth of regular promotions for each of your offerings and you’ll increase your in^come.

3. Ask for the order…

A simple but oft-missed tip: Make sure that on your sales page for your product or service, you ASK for the order.

Just flat-out ASKing for the order can increase your sales dramatically.

Aside: Have you ever been on a website ready to buy something but you couldn’t find the order link and ended up clicking away in frustration to go find what you wanted somewhere else? Don’t do that to your customer. Make your order link or buy button very obvious!

4. Ask for the referral…

Another way to build your business is to routinely ASK your current clients and customers to refer others to you. You can do this via a simple email that you send out periodically. You could also offer an affiliate program to entice people to refer your products and services to others for a small commission.

5. Ask for the recommendation…

Make a request of a colleague whose offerings complement yours to recommend you and your offerings to their list. Because the people on your colleague’s list already know, like and trust him/her, they are much more likely to follow his/her recommendation.

 

Simple Way to Start Your Business

1. Watch your cashflow

Cashflow is the bloodline of your business. Most business fail because they ran into cashflow problem. Most new business owners start to spend lots of money before the businesses start making money.

Spending money on renovating luxury offices, buying unnecessary things or renting too big an office space. Even buying small items can bring huge burden to your to your cashflow.

If you are not someone who is good at managing cashflow, get someone who is good to do it for you. My business partner is good at that, she is the one who manages all the money in the company.

In the first year of our business, she had stopped me numerous times in buying unnecessary things.

Learn to watch your cashflow. Your business depends on it.

2. Marketing business

When I was young, someone told me this, “as long as you start a business, they will come and you wil be rich.” That may be true many years ago. But it’s no longer true now.

When you start your business, you must make known to the world. Tell everyone about your business. Learn to do effective marketing not just marketing that everyone else does.

All businesses are in the business of marketing. If you sell pens, you are also in the business of marketing. Just that you are marketing pens.

Marketing is a huge subject. Many business owners start business without knowing even the basic of marketing. I done lots of test about marketing. I started to learn about marketing five years ago. Only in the last years, I discover I had moved to a deeper level in understanding marketing.

3. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

Learn this skill and you can get many good deals. You may even get people who’s willing to work for you free. A tip for you before going into a negotiation is to understand what the other party wants. Know that and you’ll find your negotiation goes much smoother.

Understand this point, negotiation is about win-win. Creating a win-win deal in a negotiation. If a negotiation turns to win-lose, one party will definitely walk away from the deal.

4. Taking care of your customers

You have to think your customers as long term friends. If you take care of your customers, they will take care of you. Build trust and rapport with your customers, they will buy from you for a life time.

Build a system so that you can always keep in touch with your customers. When your business grows, you do nt have the time to keep in touch with all of your customers. That’s when this system will come in handy. Build it early, so you will not lose any customers.

Get yourself prepared for a new business. Be mentally prepared, physically prepared too. You will find great success in your business if you are prepared.