512.892.8990 info@121-business.com
The 2 Second Chance

The 2 Second Chance

From “Make a Great First Impression: 7 Smart Tricks” by Geoffrey James and Inc.

Research shows that customers decide whether or not they want to work with you within two seconds of meeting you face to face.

That puts the burden on you to make certain that those two seconds really count. The only way to do that is to prepare ahead of time.

These tricks may help.

 1. Keep Yourself Fit

Your energy level is dependent upon your overall level of health. If you tire easily, rest assured you’re likely to look tired–especially under the stress of an initial meeting. And if you look tired, other people will make the snap decision that you’re too tired to get the job done.

This does not mean that you need to be a bodybuilder or Hollywood thin. But you must be healthy enough to look alert, capable, and interested.

 2. Research the Culture

Different industries have different norms about what’s appropriate in terms of personal appearance and meeting behavior. For example, wearing an Armani suit to a meeting with a programmer is simply inviting silent ridicule. Similarly, different regions of the country (or the world, for that matter) have different norms. Women who wear even slightly sexy outfits can send the wrong message to managers from the Middle East, for instance. Find out what’s expected before you meet.

3. Send Clear Signals

Your semiotics are the signals that your appearance immediately communicates to other people. People make snap judgments based on clothes, accessories, and more: watches, jewelry, briefcases, makeup, skin tone, facial expression, and so forth.

As far as is practical, make sure you are consciously creating a set of visual signals that is most likely to communicate that you’re the kind of person that’s appropriate to do business with.

More from “Make a Great First Impression: 7 Smart Tricks” by Geoffrey James and Inc.

Suzy Payne Rabb
Sage 50 Peachtree Certified Consultant
Sage 50 Solution Provider
Your Live, Online Guide to Sage Peachtree Success
512.892.8990
 
Send email to suzy@121-business.com
Website: www.121-business.com
Join my professional network at Linkedin and follow me on Twitter
Do More with an Automated Accounting System

Do More with an Automated Accounting System

From “Harness the Power to Do More with Less with an Automated Accounting System”  from Sage.

How automated systems can help.

There are hundreds of transactions that occur in every business day. Without help, you can quickly lose control. You have to manage your finances, but you can’t ignore your customers, your suppliers, or your team. Rather than running yourself ragged, you can rely on an automated system to help you create order from chaos. Here are some ways the right automated system can help:

  • Eliminate duplication
  • Validate transactions
  • Enforce rules
  • Monitor results
  • Identify and correct discrepancies
  • Project future outcomes
  • Be accountable

 

Eliminate duplicate efforts

Manual systems require you to re-enter the same data mulitple times. In an automated system, you can enter data once and then re-use it. You can also set up repeating transactions to handle a number of different scenarios. Because data is reused and centralized, you reduce the likelihood of errors.

Recurring Transactions

Your accountant tells you to record the same adjustment every month. With an automated accounting system, you can create recurring journal entries so that once a month, the journal entry will be recorded in you general ledger, making your finnacial statements accurate on a monthly basis.

More from “Harness the Power to Do More with Less with an Automated Accounting System” by Sage.

 

Suzy Payne Rabb
Sage 50 Peachtree Certified Consultant
Sage 50 Solution Provider
Your Live, Online Guide to Sage Peachtree Success
512.892.8990
 
Send email to suzy@121-business.com
Website: www.121-business.com
Join my professional network at Linkedin and follow me on Twitter.
12 Customer Dos & Don’ts

12 Customer Dos & Don’ts

From “12 Customer Do’s and Dont’s” by Geoffrey James and Inc.com

It’s easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones, so it’s good sense to keep the customers you’ve already got.

Here are some simple rules to ensure that customers continue to come back for more.

DO put connection before content. Clients don’t want you to sell to them; they want you to genuinely care about them. Take the time to build a personal connection before you start talking business.

DON’T badmouth the competition. Only people who are insecure try to build themselves up at the expense of others. Show your competitors the same respect you’d want if the positions were reversed.

DO focus on individuals, not companies. You may be selling to an organization, but you’re doing it through an individual. Remember: ABC Inc. is not going to buy your offering; but Joe might.

DON’T give a sales pitch. Pitches are a great way to shut people down and pigeonhole you as a hustler. Even when speaking to a group, make the interchange a conversation, not a lecture.

DO engage with customers as equals. The client conversation should contain a feeling of mutuality rather than talking down to or being subservient to your clients.

DON’T attempt an “end run.” Bypassing a client or customer contact who is ambivalent or hostile will create an enemy for life. That person will constantly work against you … from the inside. You don’t want that.

DO keep the conversation mutual. Your goal is to earn your client’s trust by connecting with them, thereby creating a sense of safety. You can’t do that if you’re yakking away.

More from “12 Customer Do’s and Dont’s” by Geoffrey James and Inc.com

Suzy Payne Rabb
Sage Peachtree Certified Consultant
Sage Solution Provider
Your Live, Online Guide to Sage Peachtree Success
512.892.8990
 
Send email to suzy@121-business.com
Website: www.121-business.com
Join my professional network at Linkedin and follow me on Twitter.
 
7 Ways to Build More Profit Into Your Small Business

7 Ways to Build More Profit Into Your Small Business

From “7 Ways to Build More Profit Into Your Small Business” by Joan Nowak and Manta.com

As you prepare your business for success in the coming year, will you focus your time and resources on sales growth? While it’s important, it’s often not enough. For sustainable growth and profit with a lot more control, spread your efforts around – creating small improvements in ALL areas of your business. It’s the formula for a business that is simple, fun and profitable!

So where do you start? Here’s the formula I recommend.

Planning. You don’t need a 50 page business plan. But you do need some clear, measurable goals with specific ‘actions’ you need to take to achieve them. Written goals and a simple action plan provide you with focus and clarity. So take the time to write down what you WANT (results or outcomes) and what you need to DO (actions) to make it happen.

Products/Services. When was the last time you actually thought about the products or services you offer? It’s more than just ‘what price should I charge’. Which ones are most profitable, which produce the most sales? Do your products and services still meet the needs of your target customers or do they need a facelift? Technology, competition and your customer needs change over time – make sure your products and services keep up!

Promotion. Sales don’t just happen. So what are you doing to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back and referring others? Most owners associate promotion with marketing for new customers – and invest few (if any) resources on current customers. Big mistake. Make sure your plans also include tactics to turn your current customers into raving fans – who spend more, buy more often and refer other quality people to your business.

Processes. Streamlining and standardizing procedures make daily operations easier, efficient and more effective, whether you are there or not. They are also a key to increased profitability. As you plan for the coming year, make systematizing your business more of a priority. Start with just a few. Focus on those that save you time, increase sales, or fix problems that consistently erode profit.

People. No business operates successfully in a vacuum – we all need help from others. While we often associate people with employees, building a strong network of contractors, vendors and alliance partners for your business is equally important. Your needs will vary based on your business – but most small businesses have an opportunity to improve in this area. Have a method for hiring or developing new relationships with people who are committed to your customers and the success of your business.

Personal Development. As you grow and improve, so will your business. We are all familiar with the phrase, knowledge is power, but it also translates to earnings or income. And it doesn’t require a lot of time or money – just a commitment to learning and building skills and knowledge. Here’s a few things to consider:

•Invest 15 minutes a day reading and you will read about 12 books a year.
•Turn drive time into learning with audio books.
•Attend interactive workshops or webinars to improve knowledge gaps or simply get new ideas.
•Meet with and build relationships with other successful business owners so you can share information and learn.
•Work with a mentor or business coach who can help you find hidden opportunities, provide shortcuts to results and accountability to get more done.

Profit. You don’t need to be an accountant or financial guru, but you do need to track and understand the numbers that drive your business – beyond just sales. Here’s a few others to consider: average sale per customer or transaction, number of leads, revenue per employee, average accounts receivable, gross profit margins, customer retention rates and net profit. Monitor them and focus on activities that help to improve them – especially gross profit margins and net profit. If you keep them at the center of what you do, your small business will continue to serve your needs and the needs of your people and customers.

Remember, little improvements in ALL these areas will put more profit on the bottom line and in your wallet. So take the hybrid approach: bring together all the key elements that drive success – and you too will have a business that is simple, fun and profitable.

More from “7 Ways to Build More Profit Into Your Small Business” and Manta.com

 

Suzy Payne Rabb
Sage Peachtree Certified Consultant
Sage Solution Provider
Your Live, Online Guide to Sage Peachtree Success
512.892.8990
 
Send email to suzy@121-business.com
Website: www.121-business.com
Join my professional network at Linkedin and follow me on Twitter.
 
21 Shoestring Marketing Secrets That All Small Business Owners Need to Know

21 Shoestring Marketing Secrets That All Small Business Owners Need to Know

From “21 Shoestring Marketing Secrets That All Small Business Owners Need to Know” by Jessica Swanson and Manta.com

Unfortunately, many small business owners believe in the motto, “it takes money to make money” in the world of small business. The good news is that nothing could be further from the truth.

There are twenty-one shoestring marketing secrets that will provide you with the right frame of mind so that you can begin the process of building a thriving small business without spending a dime on marketing.

1. Low-cost. In today’s internet and social media age, there are now more low-cost marketing options than ever before. Not only is it possible, but absolutely doable to substantially grow your small business on a shoestring budget.

2. Commitment. If your marketing is going to eventually take hold, then you need to make a strong commitment to see it through until it sticks. Don’t give up in the early stages.

3. Patience. The fruits of your marketing labors don’t happen overnight. You need to plant your marketing seeds and tend to them regularly before your marketing garden blooms.

4. Branding. Your clients and customers need to have a clear picture in their minds as to who you are and how your product or service can solve their most pressing problems

5. Consistency. Marketing is much like breathing. It’s the life of your small business and should be a regular part of your daily business activities.

6. Domination. If you want to explode your small business profits, then you must dominate a small part of your market. You need to become the “go-to” person in your particular niche.

7. Customer-focused. Your primary job is to clearly identify the problems that your prospects face and offer them the obvious solutions.

8. Identify your target market. It’s crucial that you know exactly who needs your product or service. Mass marketing doesn’t work in today’s business environment. Not only does it force you to water down your marketing message to please the masses, but it’s much too expensive for the shoestring marketer.

9. Elicits confidence and trust. Create experiences and situations that boost the level of confidence from your prospects. At the end of the day, people buy from those whom they like and trust.

10. Massive visibility. Since your prospects are exposed to over 4,000 ads every single day, you need to ensure that your small business is utilizing as many marketing platforms as possible. Your prospects should come across you in as many places as possible.

11. Repetition. Research suggests that prospects need to encounter your small business between seven and twelve times before they are ready to purchase. So, put yourself in front of your target market over and over again.

12. Ease of use. If your sales process, marketing materials or any other part of your business is too complicated, your customers will become confused. Confused customers simply don’t buy.

13. The WOW Factor. What are you doing to get noticed? How are you different than your competition? The fastest way to small business failure is to blend in with the crowd.

14. Quality. If your product and/or services aren’t top quality, then you won’t get repeat business. Your long-term success depends on satisfied customers who spread the word about your business and purchase from you repeatedly.

15. Education. Position yourself as an expert and educate your prospects as to why your small business can offer them the remedy to their most pressing pain points.

16. Relationships. Create real relationships with your prospects and customers. Answer their questions, solve their problems and help them if they’re stuck. Your prospects want to know that there’s a real person in front of your small business.

17. Increasing the lifetime value of customers. Over 20% of your existing customers will purchase from you again (since they already know and trust you), so create additional ways for them to make purchases.

18. Automation. We’re living in a fast-tracked society that doesn’t work using old-fashioned marketing methods. So, embrace automation tools such as landing pages, email autoresponders, shopping carts, customer management software, etc.

19. Tracking your results. It’s essential to your overall survival that you have a clear understanding what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to your marketing. Use link tracking software to track your ROI (even if your only investment is your time).

20. Flexibility. Things change quickly and you must be willing to adapt. When the next “great” marketing platform emerges, be willing to jump on board and embrace it with excitement. If you are a flexible marketer, you’re always miles ahead of your competition.

21. Everything that you do. Marketing isn’t just about your advertising campaigns. Every single interaction that you have with your prospects promotes your small business. So, be careful how you answer the phone, respond to your emails and treat your customers because all of it makes an instant and lasting impression on them.

So, there you have it, twenty-one Shoestring Marketing strategies that will literally transform your small business from “just getting by” to “flourishing.” And, the best part of all is that you can do it all on a shoestring marketing budget.

More from “21 Shoestring Marketing Secrets That All Small Business Owners Need to Know” and Manta.com

 
Suzy Payne Rabb
Sage Peachtree Certified Consultant
Sage Solution Provider
Your Live, Online Guide to Sage Peachtree Success
512.892.8990
 
Send email to suzy@121-business.com
Website: www.121-business.com
Join my professional network at Linkedin and follow me on Twitter.
 

Your Business Attitude is a Choice. I Choose Optimism.

Your Business Attitude is a Choice. I Choose Optimism.

From: “Your Business Attitude is a Choice” by Harvey Mackay

Optimists outperform pessimists on the job by as much as 50 percent. Which do you choose to be?

When you wake up every day you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.

You can whine because you have so much work or be grateful that you are your own boss and in control of your own destiny. You can complain about your lack of an IT department, or be excited about learning the tech you need to know. You can grumble about your unengaged employees or do everything in your power to make them succeed. You get the idea.

More from: “Your Business Attitude is a Choice” by Harvey Mackay

Suzy Payne Rabb
Sage Peachtree Certified Consultant
Sage Solution Provider
Your Live, Online Guide To Peachtree Success
512.892.8990
 
Send email to suzy@121-business.com
Website: www.121-business.com
Join my professional network at Linkedin and follow me on Twitter.