10 Days Until the Small Biz World Summit Begins: Tip of the Day

Tip of the Day: Be a Cash Miser
Ruth King, Ribbon

Brought to you by The Small Business World SummitPre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

The companies with the greatest cash reserves have the ability to survive downturns the longest. But, how much cash is enough? Do you ever have too much? You can be blindsided in business. Revenues can stop immediately. It happened to a manufacturing company when the Federal Government discontinued a program. That represented 80% of their business. The owner laid off 140 people in one day. It took 10 years to pay back their vendors and they survived. How? By negotiating with their creditors and hoarding what little cash they had. So, how much cash is enough? The minimum is the equivalent of two months of payroll and payroll taxes. This way you have a little time to make decisions if a disaster strikes. The easiest way to accumulate these savings? Save 1% of every dollar that comes in the door. You’ll never miss the 1% in your operations – and your savings account will grow quickly.

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact 

Small Biz World Summit Begins in 11 Days: Tip of the Day

TIP OF THE DAY – Just Do It: Create a Roadmap
Beth Goldstein, Marketing Edge

Brought to you by The Small Business World SummitPre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

All the best knowledge and calculations in the world will not lead to success without a plan. Create a roadmap that will grow and develop with your business over time. Don’t allow this plan to simply sit on your shelf collecting dust. Make it a living document that you review on a regular basis to make sure you’re meeting milestones and benchmarking your actual performance against projected results. Remember: a good idea is only as strong as its execution. Dreams of business success are realized only when sweat equity and working on the ‘RIGHT’ business activities are invested into the business to make it happen.

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact

 

Small Biz World Summit Begins in 14 Days: Tip of the Day

The Small Business World Summit is coming to your mobile device and computer! All you need is Internet access to participate The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! Read our TIp of the Day: Make Sure You Give Employees Time to Breath from Suzi Lemen, Dynamic Corporate Solutions

We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Sure You Give Employees Time to Breath
Suzi Lemen,
Dynamic Corporate Solutions

Businesses are obsessed with efficiency, doing more with less, and eliminating waste including wasted time.  While focus on efficiency is important, obsession on it can be very demoralizing for staff.  Employees need to have time to breath.  They need time to learn new tasks before others are introduced.  Don’t try to push too hard.  Empower your team to be focused on efficiency but not at the expense of a quality work place.

Small Biz World Summit Begins in 15 Days: Tip of the Day

The Small Business World Summit is coming to your mobile device and computer. Pre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact

TIP OF THE DAY: Be Specific About What Customers Will Receive!
Lanelle Henderson, Constant Contact

When people sign up for your email list, allow them to select—precisely—their areas of interest (e.g., newsletters, sale notifications, new product or service announcements, event invitations). You can make subscribers feel more comfortable by specifying what they will receive and when they will receive it (e.g., “Sign up for Our Weekly Concert Announcement”). Also, be sure to identify yourself to your subscribers in the “From” line, and use the name they recognize most easily – yours or your company’s.

 

Small Biz World Summit Begins in 16 Days: Tip of the Day

The Small Business World Summit is coming to your mobile device and computer. Pre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact

TIP OF THE DAY: Define If You Can Afford to Hire a _____!
Ruth King, Ribbon

You think you need to hire another field employee, i.e., an employee who produces revenues for your company. Can you afford to hire that person? The answer can be found using a quick calculation. If you are hiring an additional staff member for your office, i.e., overhead personnel:

  • Total the costs of that person’s anticipated yearly wages plus benefits. Take this sum and divide it by the gross margin of the company (assuming the person will work in more than one department) or the gross margin of the department she will be working in.
  • For example, assume that you are considering hiring a receptionist. Her yearly wages plus benefits are anticipated to be $30,000 per year. The company gross margin is 32%. The additional revenues the company must generate to cover her salary are $30,000 divided by 32% or $93,750.

Is this feasible or not? Can you generate the additional revenue or can this person make existing personnel $93,750 more productive? These quick calculations give you an idea of what revenues must be generated or what increases in productivity are necessary to hire additional personnel. If you don’t think this is feasible, then don’t hire that person!

Small Biz World Summit Begins in 17 Days: Tip of the Day

The Small Business World Summit is coming to your office – and you don’t have to leave your desk to participate! Pre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact

TIP OF THE DAY: Welcome Change!
Jacqueline Wales, The Fearless Factor

Let go of old goals in favor of ones that better fit the current circumstances of your life. Review your goals as you progress and make room for changing priorities. Change is the only consistency we can rely on.  I love the quote from Tony   Robbins, “the quality of your life is determined by how much uncertainty you can comfortably live with.” Go ahead, take risks, and welcome the change.

 

Small Biz World Summit Begins in 18 Days: Tip of the Day

The Small Business World Summit is coming to your office – and you don’t have to leave your desk to participate! Pre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Builds Your Business, Constant Contact

CAN’T WAIT: HERE’S A TIP YOU CAN PUT TO WORK IMMEDIATELY
FROM ONE OF OUR SUMMIT EXPERTS

Sales is About Knowing When to Push and When to Pull Back
Roger Daviston

One of the biggest misperceptions that we have about sales is that using fancy grammar helps in the communication process.  However, communication does not depend on eloquence but on the prospect’s openness to receive what we are saying. If our words feel like they are being pushed upon them then they won’t be motivated to listen or make a decision.  No amount of fact throwing or logical reasoning will influence them and trying harder simply won’t help. When this happens bury the ‘negative talk’ going on in their head by doing the opposite of what they expect – encourage them to say “no.”  The central key here is doing this without destroy the relationship that you’ve built but allowing them to come to the logical conclusion and say ‘yes’ on their own.

Your Elevator Pitch: Make It a Memorable Ride

Mark Twain said: It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. If you’ve ever created a speech or presentation then you know that the less time you have to speak, the more time you spending preparing because you need to ensure that every word is carefully crafted and delivered during that brief opportunity.  

Well, think of your elevator pitch as a prepared, concise mini-speech that highlights your company’s benefits to somebody in the proverbial elevator. Have you ever had the experience of walking into a business luncheon or getting on that elevator and realizing that Mr. or Mrs. VIP was standing in front of you? Were you ready to seize the opportunity? Perhaps it was a potential customer or an important financial partner or investor whom you really wanted to meet but didn’t expect to encounter any time in the near future. Did you find yourself unprepared and tongue-tied?  Perhaps you were so nervous that you blathered on and on about your business, never quite finding the right words to accurately or concisely describe what you do, or to give this person any hint as to why she should be interested in you or your business. Did you send her running out the door once an escape was in view? Did you promise yourself that you wouldn’t let this happen again?

Even if this scenario hasn’t happened to you, chances are that you’ll be thrown into a similar situation at some point if you aren’t fully prepared.  Not being prepared means possibly losing out on uncovering opportunities because others don’t know what benefit you can offer them. You definitely want to avoid that mistake.

An effective, appealing introduction is the first and usually the most lasting impression that you leave with somebody. If the person or group listening to your pitch can help you succeed, you want this time in front of that audience to count.

Stimulate Interest

Elevator pitches have a few goals. The most immediate is to stimulate enough interest to give you the opportunity to explain and “sell” your business in more detail at another time. You’re looking for an invitation to follow up with this person. The long-term goal can vary from developing a partnership or getting angel funding to turning prospects into customers or hiring employees. As a result, many individuals develop several targeted pitches, one for each objective. Let’s start with one pitch for now, but as you improve, you’ll probably develop an arsenal of ways to present yourself and your business.  Keep in mind the fact that the “elevator” part of the term should not be taken literally. These opportunities occur everyplace (usually not in an elevator), from the soccer field to a networking event or even a birthday party at your best friend’s house.

The “So What” Factor

Whenever students or clients practice their first elevator pitch, I oftentimes hear myself asking them, “So what, why should I care?” Many of them are taken aback, until they see that I’m smiling and am not trying to offend them. Still, I do expect an answer. While some of them can tell me why it’s important for the prospect to know what they’re telling me, many cannot and stumble through their responses. I urge you to go through this exercise while putting together your first pitch or trying to improve an existing one. It’s harder than it might seem.  Having a fully polished pitch, one that will lead to an invitation for a longer meeting, requires you to ask yourself other questions as well. These include the following:

  • What might intrigue this person about my business?
  • What is important to him or her?
  • How does this person make decisions relevant to my company’s product or service?
  • Why would this person want to buy from my company or work with me?
  • What impression do I want to leave with this individual?
  • So what will this mean to the person I am speaking with?
  • What’s the next step?

You must excel at answering questions about individuals who affect your business’s growth or your company will not be able to grow. Begin your pitch by clearly defining who the target audience is (i.e., who’s standing in the elevator with you). Remember, you need to deliver this message in 30 – 60 seconds or less, so choose your words carefully. Once you have answered the questions described above about the person, you can begin to script your pitch. There are no perfect elevator pitches. You must deliver one that feels natural to you. It should incorporate your own expressions and word choices. Otherwise it will sound fake and rehearsed.

Most important, once you’ve developed your pitch, there are three important steps to take: (1) practice, (2) practice, and (3) practice. Some people like to practice in front of the mirror, while others prefer to rehearse in front of friends and family. Choose what works best for you but I advocate that you tape your presentation so you can critique yourself and see what others see. 

Think of your elevator pitch as a brief introduction of your company to somebody with whom you want to conduct business. It is designed to get the person to develop an interest in learning more about you and your company. Therefore, your challenge is to entice them to want to continue the dialogue. Don’t make the mistake of trying to tell them everything about your company. You need to tell them just enough to persuade them to set up a future meeting. Your pitch should last less than a minute  (approximately the time it takes to ride a typical elevator, not the Willis Tower in Chicago).

Next, it’s critical to create your own elevator pitch. Use the worksheet to develop a pitch for at least one target prospect. Remember, the key to success is to make this something that is natural for you to say. If it appears rehearsed or  “fake” in any way, then it won’t have the lucky impact that you are looking for.

 6 Steps to a Winning Pitch

Your pitch should include:

  1. Your name, company name and your role in the organization
  2. A brief but compelling statement about your product/service’s value or benefit as it relates to the other person’s company
  3. Then a concise description of your product/service
  4. A statement that reinforces your credibility or demonstrates what sets you apart
  5. Your personal energy and passion for making the business succeed
  6. A closing statement that leads to a “next step” (i.e., an in-person meeting) 

Start at the End. Before you create your pitch, consider what final impression you need to leave with this individual. Then use the six criteria above to develop your pitch. Remember, you will need a unique elevator pitch for different types of business relationships (i.e., a prospect doesn’t care about the same benefits that a potential investor does).

Why Is Walking Away So Darn Hard…Even When It’s the Right Decision?

I haven’t slept well over the past few weeks plagued by a ‘Go – NO Go’ decision over a major contract that was certain to have a huge impact on my business and my personal life.  Why is walking away ALWAYS so darn hard, even when you know it’s the right decision?

A few years back I was involved with helping a non-profit organization create a curriculum for a program to educate inner city businesses throughout the U.S. They ran the program through the SBA and now, in its fifth year, the program is offered in almost 30 cities. The contract with the SBA to run the program recently became available for bid and boy, did I want it. I really, really wanted it (did I mention that I wanted the contract?).

The current program is excellent and I have a lot of respect for the organization running it but, like every entrepreneur, I was (and still am) confident that I could make it even more effective in terms of its economic impact on urban businesses. I’ve run a variety of uniquely designed business accelerator programs since then for a number of organizations engaged in helping small business owners grow, including the state of Massachusetts. So taking the lessons learned, I am totally confident that I could deliver one heck of a program. So, what’s the problem? Why not go for it?

Well, honestly I wish it wasn’t such a complicated decision but the bottom line is, I don’t currently have the business model nor infrastructure required to effectively run the program in so many cities (30 simultaneously). My fear is that running a program of that scale would either destroy my current business model  or my mental stability or both. The thought of not sleeping for an entire year is not very appealing. Have you been in a similar situation where you really (REALLY!) wanted to do something but your gut told you, Stop and evaluate what this will mean in terms of your business and your life? It’s akin to a chef who loves to cook opening a chain of restaurants across the country all at the same time. She might be able to handle running one (although preparing amazing meals and running a business are different) but a chain, I don’t think so!

(Continue Reading on the Marketing Edge Newsletter Website…)

Beth

Biz-Edge Video Series: Episode Nine – The Importance of Understanding Your Competitors

Welcome to Biz-Edge where we answer YOUR business questions. In the ninth of the Summer 2012 Series, I address a question about understanding who your competitors are, even when they don’t look nor act exactly like you.

Competitors don’t always offer the same product as you do. Therefore, in understanding and clearly defining who your competition is, it’s critical to think of them in terms of the solution they provide because that’s what you will end up competing on. Watch how I respond to a question about defining competition to grow a business.

Have a question about business growth? Here’s your opportunity to ask questions about business challenges you face so you can gain an EDGE in business. Plus, hear advice that we’ve given other small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them make bold leaps forward. Complete the form at the Biz-Edge Website and I will try my best to answer it via video.