Getting Your Price Right

 

Right PriceAre you being paid your real worth? What is holding you back? It’s a staggering fact that two in five business failures are directly attributed to undercharging or the over use of credit – specifically slow collections and bad debts.

 So many people in business never really get paid their real worth. They put the energy into their products and services and deserve to be paid fairly for them. Unfortunately, most of us have been brought up in an environment where money was a taboo subject and to ask for money was considered to be out of place or even rude. This has led to two problems in business, we don’t charge enough for our products or services in the first place, and we don’t like to ask for the money after we have delivered the product or service and a customer drags out payment. I think it’s partly due to our self-confidence and not wanting to break those comfort zones again.

In business, there are three pricing emotion barriers you have to overcome. The first is your own price resistance. Do you feel that you are providing a worthwhile product and service for your customers and do you think it is value for money? Then why do so many of us feel that we have to justify our prices or even put them down?

Unfortunately, a lot more salespeople these days do try to sell on price and the advertisements on the television and in the press don’t help. They are also becoming more price focused which is tending to educate the buying public to buy more on price, but I still think most people actually buy on perceived value. Of course, if all they have to go on is the price then that will become their main buying motive. But most people still want quality and service and are prepared to pay more to get it.

 You should never sell, tell, reveal or demonstrate your product or service until you understand your customers’ specific needs. That means asking a lot of questions to find out what the customers’ problem is; what they really need and of course that builds the vital relationship and trust. You have a solution to your customer’s problems but you need to know about their problem so you can show them how the benefits of your product or service will help them. That’s the second pricing emotion barrier you have to overcome; the customer’s price resistance. Your line of questioning should take them away from the price and when the customer realises that you have their cost effective solution, price becomes insignificant, you just have to point out their savings and they will be happy to pay you.

 Price in any business is determined by reviewing three areas, the cost to the business of making the product or delivering the service, the price that the competition charges, and how much the customer is prepared to pay. Often, when we are setting our prices or fees we don’t always take these points into consideration and we should. The result is our customers often value our service more than we do, we undercharge and end up working much longer hours than we need to just to make a living.

 The third pricing emotion barrier is getting paid of course and in our next post “Show Me the Money” we will talk about the importance of getting your credit management right. If you can develop that self-confidence to ask the right price at the start you should find it easy to get paid your real worth!

You can view my interview with Dale Beaumont on “Getting Paid” at Birn.ai
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Posted in Business Growth, Finance, Uncategorized

Santa’s Business Tips

julian-percy

Tap into the Wisdom of 300 years of Successful Business Practice.

Love him or hate him, the reputation of this infamous man was singly responsible for changing most of our lives. For over 300 years his business has continued to thrive, survive and even flourish, despite the effects of distribution challenges, advances in technology, growing competition, staff downsizing and a fluctuating World economy. Could your business survive such challenges?

The principal of this global business is a legend in his own time, receiving accolades from the four corners of the Globe. Every day he is in undated with mail from friends and fans who are prepared to pay large sums of money just to be pictured with him.

Through the tips featured here Santa will share his powerful knowledge and experiences as the principal of this global business shares with you the challenges of his business from legal altercations to temperamental team members.

Create Big Dreams
Have Passion for Your Dreams
Really know what Your Customers Want
Investigate Your Competition
Schedule Everything
Train Your Team
Make Sure You Protect Your Brand
Attitude is Everything – Have Fun!
Select an Outstanding Mentor

You and your business will benefit by incorporating Santa’s wisdom and experience. As a result of putting these tips into practice you can develop an outstanding business.

Visit http://www.catalystforgrowth.com.au for Santa’s help.

Posted in Uncategorized

How do you cope with a bullying customer?

How to handle the bullying customer

Customer bullying

There is a well known saying, “the customer is always right”, but are they? From my chats with people in business, especially retail, I get a resounding “NO”. I think it’s a saying that has come about because of the importance of delivering exceptional customer service and that is certainly a vital key to successful business, but can you go too far.

Recently, I have seen a trait where customers are using their position as a customer to bully the businessperson or team member either emotionally or verbally and this certainly is wrong. So what can you do if you are faced with such a situation?

Here are 7 things you could do:

  1. Listen to the customer. The bullying customer will almost certainly be using emotional words and inaccurate comments to try and intimidate you. Be courteous, do not get emotionally involved and certainly do not argue or become teary.
  2. Answer the customer with facts, evidence and examples to support your points, direct the customer’s attention to your terms and conditions if that is appropriate and correct their inaccuracies. Again remaining cool, unemotional and courteous.
  3. Take notes. Keep a written record of what happened and what was said by whom. This could be a diary record, email or just some written notes.
  4. Work towards a solution that will satisfy you both. This would be the best outcome but if the customer is being unreasonable, no amount of discussion will resolve the problem.
  5. If the customer is being unreasonable you may want to involve a colleague in the discussion.
  6. If a solution cannot be found, terminate the conversation courteously by walking away or putting down the telephone. You really don’t want them as a customer because of the wasted time, energy and personal stress involved.
  7. Afterwards, discuss the situation you experienced with another person, family member, colleague etc. This will help you get it off your chest and allow you to destress instead of going over and over the events in your mind.

Remember, you can’t please all the people all of the time and you do not deserve to be bullied by anybody including the customer.

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Posted in Bullying, Customer Service

9 Reasons to have a Website for Your Business

Business Wisdom

Not too long ago, customers looking for your product or service would have to look you up in the Yellow Pages, the local paper, another form of print advertising or pass your shop front. Today, with the Internet, many of your potential customers will search for your product or service through search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo search and social media.

With  82% of adults using the internet and 78% of consumers conducting research online it is surprising that only 41% of businesses have a website.

The top 9 Reasons to have a Website!

Image Your website can bring your message to the world

  1. Your website is the easiest and most cost-effective way to represent your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and bring your message to the world.
  2. It’s a convenient shop front for your customer, they can find out about your business or purchase from you…

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Posted in Uncategorized

Do You Apply What You Know?

Why do we do what we do?

A few years ago, I was asked to give a presentation on marketing to an elite group of CEOs and Managers. Whilst I was networking with them at the morning break, I kept hearing the comment “we knew all of that”. When I asked them why they came to the presentation they responded with various answers but they all implied that whilst they did know the information, none of their companies were actually applying it consistently. Which leads me to favorite quote from an anonymous source:

“If we know what we know, why do we do what we do?”

People often go to seminars and workshops, expecting to hear some new fantastic idea that they can apply in their business that will turn everything around simply, quickly and easily. Often, they are disappointed when they hear things that they already knew. Jim Rohn once stated, “There are no new fundamentals. You’ve got to be a little suspicious of someone who says, ‘I’ve got a new fundamental.’ That’s like someone inviting you to tour a factory where they are manufacturing antiques.”

I think he is right. The fundaments of aircraft flight don’t change, the fundamentals of building don’t change, the fundamentals of human relations don’t change, the fundamentals of marketing don’t change and the fundamentals of business don’t change. What does change is the way they are presented and the growing effect that technology has on these fundamentals.

For example the principles of marketing haven’t changed. It is still critical to get the right message to the right person, which means really understanding the target market and then following the well used AIDA formula, grab their Attention, build their Interest and Desire and then have a call to Action. These fundamentals are just as important to your website and social media as they are to the more traditional forms of promotion such as TV, radio and brochures.

I’m not saying don’t go to seminars and workshops because they are important and I am a workshop junkie. Sometimes hearing the same thing you’ve heard  before from a different perspective or presented in a different way can be like hearing it for the first time.

The most important thing is that you leave with an action plan, that you actually implement the things that you hear and know, because otherwise if you continue to do things the same way, you will get the same results and nothing will change.

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Posted in Business Growth

Do You Need a Bigger Share of a Smaller Pie?

Do you need a Bigger share of the pie?

Do you need a Bigger share of the pie?

I’ve been noticing with my coaching clients lately that the current challenging economic times seems to be shrinking their traditional markets. This is having a major effect on their cash flow.

Are you being affected or likely to be affected? If so, then you will benefit from find the answers to the following questions:

  • Is this a temporary situation or is it likely to become permanent?
  • What is the real cause of the change? For example in Australia, many businesses were affected by the announcement at the beginning of the year of a September election. This was further exacerbated by a downturn in the mining industry that caused customers to hold onto their money and not to spend.
  • If it is temporary, when will the market pickup again?
  • Are there others markets you could service or products you could supply?

If the answers to the above questions show that there is unlikely to be any change, then you are faced with a smaller pie to be shared out among the same competitors. This means you have to become smarter with your business and get a bigger portion of the available pie.

The following steps will help you gain that bigger portion:

  • Conduct a SWOT analysis on your business.
    • What are you strengths and how can you capitalize on these?
    • What are your weaknesses and how can you improve in these areas?
  • Review your marketing and sales performance.
    • Are you getting enough enquiries?
    • How are these being converted to sales?
    • Do you have a website and is it effective ? (sadly less than 40% of small business use this valuable and cost effective medium)
    • Are you using social media channels to drive business to your website.
  • Can you clearly promote the benefits of your product rather than the features? If you make a statement that someone can say “so what” to, then it is a feature not a benefit.
  • Have you clearly identified the real needs of you customers?
  • Are you clearly promoting why you are unique and different and therefore why people should deal with you?

In challenging times it is easy to become despondent and work harder in the business. Taking some time out to work on your business, reviewing the questions above and the systems you have will go a long way to gaining a larger share of the pie available.

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Posted in Business Growth

What to do BEFORE you visit a web designer!

Women surfing the webYour website is an investment in your business and it should support the marketing and sales goals you have set. With the right design and content your website can become your business’ best and most complete marketing tool. Your advertising or your press releases may be missed, but your website is always available. People view the Web as a gigantic library containing all the information that has ever been published. They love the idea that from the comfort of their home or office they can access information from anywhere in the world and find exactly what they are looking for. Now imagine that your website has the exact information that person needs but your website is just one article or book in that gigantic library. How will your potential customer find your website amongst the billions of others?

Planning Your Website

The best way to help people find your website is to plan your website to meet both your and your customers’ needs. When we talk about planning we aren’t talking about sketching out a layout design for your website, instead we are talking about targeting your website to your specific customers. Without a plan/direction/goal your website could become another piece of flotsam and jetsam floating around in cyberspace with no-one finding it. 85% of websites are never seen by people searching the web for a similar product or service. So how can you create a website that will meet both yours and your customers needs? You can do this by asking yourself, your current and your prospective customers a few questions. If you already have a website you can ask these questions to see how your site stacks up.

The 3 most important questions to ask about your business

  1. What does your brand represent?
  2. What do you want to achieve with your website?
  3. What do you want your customer to know about your business?

1.   What does your brand represent? As part of your marketing you need to know your business identity, your brand colours and what you stand for. Whilst your business brand may not be as big as the major brands it is important that your brand clearly shows your trustworthiness, reliability and image. The design of your website and its content will go a long way towards expressing this to your customers.

2.   What do you want to achieve with your website?

Are you looking to: Planning Your Website

  • Promote your business online to prospective customers (like an online advert, brochure or flyer)
  • Seek new customer enquiries
  • Seek customer feedback and interaction regarding your product or services
  • Provide a customer service portal
  • Provide answers to customers commonly asked questions
  • Keep current/new customers up-to-date with promotions/events
  • Create online sales, affiliates or commissions

3.   What do you want your customer to know about your business?

  • Contact information – crucial
  • Location – if you have business premises
  • Your trustworthiness & reliability
  • Product range or services

Think like your customer

What does your customer want from your website? Unfortunately in the rush to have a website business’s often fail to ask this crucial question. The planning stage (or redevelopment stage if you already have a website) is the perfect time to think like your customer and give them what they need.

Find the answers to these 11 questions about your customers

  1. Who are your target customers?
  2. What age bracket are they in?
  3. What geographical locations do you need to target to reach them?
  4. What keywords or phrases will your customer think of to help them solve a problem, find an answer or find a product or service that your business offers?
  5. What do they want to know about your business or receive from your business?
  6. What answers or solutions can you provide to your customers?
  7. How can you make it easy for them to find and understand your information?
  8. Do they have special design needs? (eg colour blindness – watch your colour choice, blindness make your site text-to-speech software friendly.)
  9. What type of content do they prefer or engage with most?
  10. What websites, social media or chat rooms to they use on the web?
  11. How do they access the web? (smartphone, tablet, desktop)

You need to know all this information about your customers so you can plan your website to meet your customers needs in a way that is accessible to them. If you are in an established business hopefully you will already know much of this information. If you are a start-up business you will have to do some research to find these answers. Either way if you’re not sure of the answers ask your customers, they will generally be happy to help when you explain why you are interested in the answers.

The Benefits of Planning Your Website

It’s important to remember you are not creating a website just because your friends business or your competition has one; you are creating a website to provide information, a product or service to your potential customers and to represent your brand. Recent studies show that 7 out of 10 people who are planning on making a purchase or organising travel itinerary search the internet for information before they make their decisions. When you plan your website to meet your potential customers needs they will stay longer and feel more comfortable doing business with you all of which directly benefits your business.

The Next Step

Once your planning is done you will have a clear idea of your website requirements to take to your website development team. Because you have identified both yours and your customers needs your content creator will be able to create the right content for your site. Your planning will also benefit your web designer as they will understand your customers needs and how best to present your information/content to meet those needs. Giving your website development team clear information upfront will mean less redesigns which may also mean reduced costs to you. You will end up with a website you are excited to refer  your customers to and which achieves your marketing goals. In a future blog post we will look at the different types of content used in websites and how to create content for your website. In the meantime if you want some more information about websites visit our Catalyst for Growth website or read our 9 Reasons to have a Website for your Business blog post.

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Posted in Websites

9 Reasons to have a Website for Your Business

Not too long ago, customers looking for your product or service would have to look you up in the Yellow Pages, the local paper, another form of print advertising or pass your shop front. Today, with the Internet, many of your potential customers will search for your product or service through search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo search and social media.

With  82% of adults using the internet and 78% of consumers conducting research online it is surprising that only 41% of businesses have a website.

The top 9 Reasons to have a Website!

Image

Your website can bring your message to the world

  1. Your website is the easiest and most cost-effective way to represent your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and bring your message to the world.
  2. It’s a convenient shop front for your customer, they can find out about your business or purchase from you at a time that suits them best. Many online stores find their sales are highest out of their normal business working hours.
  3. Your website is great tool to compliment your other advertising and business promotions. Websites are easily updatable enabling you to keep your business and product information current which means your customers are always up to date with your latest products and services.
  4. Your website helps you stay competitive in your marketplace by keeping your name in your customers minds; especially when it is well placed in search engine results.
  5. Your website enhances your customer service and saves your office staff time. Many of your customers general enquiries can be handled by the information you provide on your website, especially in your FAQ. Larger companies find it cost-effective, efficient and a boon to their online reputation to have a dedicated customer service person to answer online questions.
  6. Many small businesses will find that having a website increases the geographical reach of their business. Through your website you can connect with customers who may not be able to visit your physical business premises. If your product is downloadable or able to be shipped your website will enable you to reach a worldwide marketplace.
  7. You can very accurately track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns through tools such as Google analytics. You can use these tools to show you which marketing campaigns direct your customers to your website and monitor your website traffic.
  8. Inquiry marketing is the way many potential customers are choosing to find out about products and services. This type of customer will research a product or service and compare value, customer service and price before making a purchase. If you want your business to be competitive look at ways to provide this information to potential customers.
  9. Irrespective of the size of your business your website can impress your clients and potential clients.

So put yourself ahead of your competition and make sure your business website stands out from the crowd, easy for your customers to interact with and always up-to-date. The easiest way for your website to achieve these goals is to plan it.

You can read more about discovering your websites purpose and meeting your customers needs here.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Websites

Innovation – The Secret to Your Future

innovation

innovation

innovation

Innovation is often thought of as the latest buzzword, but when you really consider what innovation can do for your business, you’ll see it is a vital element of any strategy you have.

So what is Innovation?

Well really, it is all about change;

  • change your processes
  • change your products
  • change your services
  • change your systems
  • change your marketing
  • change your technologies.

Unfortunately, we all have a problem with change. As humans we become creatures of habit and resist change. Unthinking habitual behaviour is innovation’s worst enemy. Often we get into ruts before we realise it and tend to do the same thing in the same way over and over again. The unfortunate effect on our business is that our approach to problems, people and even opportunities become predictable.

Then, the inevitable happens; there is a downturn in the economy, customers change their buying habits, technology advances or the competition comes out with a better product and we are forced to focus on what we are doing in our business and how we can turn the situation around.

Innovation should be the catalyst for growth in your business all of the time, not something forced upon us in times of uncertainty and challenge.

Your business strategy should include a system for regular innovation, practiced by all members of your team; an environment where creative thinking and problem solving is the norm rather than the reaction to an emergency situation. Some large businesses including Nike, IBM, Apple and 3M have a  policy of all team members spending a portion of their time on innovative practices. But it is important that this process is led from the top. you may not have a huge team but you can still spend time on innovation.

Sometimes your innovation will be a reaction to a real need. A recent inspiring example of this is Paraguay’s Landfill Harmonic Orchestra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiYFcuIkBjU Lacking money to buy enough musical instruments young children from a Paraguayan slum now play on instruments constructed entirely from recycled materials pulled from the garbage dump their homes are built on.

Whether you are innovating for need or future growth innovation can be an exciting and rewarding journey.

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Posted in Innovation

Shoes Belong in Shoeboxes

Receipts don't belong in shoe boxes

Receipts don’t belong in shoe boxes

Most business owners and managers view their bookkeeping as drudgery. A necessary evil to comply with Taxation law. But as with all things in life and business the way we view our situation, our attitude to things, determines our peace of mind. What if you were to view your record keeping as a friendly guide, someone that kept you informed about your performance and showed you areas that you could improve and thus dramatically increase your profit. Do you think you would be more enthusiastic about keeping your figures up to date?

We often experience a massive tidal wave of business people rushing into their accountants’ offices at the last minute in panic because their tax return is due. Unfortunately a large number of these businesses still come in with the ‘shoebox’ full of receipts and invoices. For these people it means significantly higher accounting fees for the year and being put to the end of the queue while others with proper bookkeeping systems take priority. If this is not incentive enough to take a different approach to your record keeping there are other significant benefits to working out a budget and controlling our finances with it.

Your budget or cash flow forecast is your company’s course through the future and is an indication on how your business will perform over the next 12 months. Basically, you are estimating how much income you will generate, what your likely expenses will be and when they will occur and in this you must include your GST activity. You are now in a good position to arrange major expenses to occur when the business can afford them. You can evaluate your cash flow to maximise your efficiency by considering how you control your debtors or pay your creditors and thus minimise your overdraft needs and not end up with horrible surprises!

When you have produced this very valuable document, you have an essential aid which will keep your business on track and successful. It is not a document to be filed away, it is a working tool. This is where your record keeping comes in. During the year, you must be in the habit of keeping your cashbook up to date so that when your Business Activity Statement becomes due you are ready. Then periodically, at the end of each month, you can compare your actual results with your budget forecast. Challenge any variations and, if necessary, make changes to the remaining part of the budget so that you can continue to use it as a success tool.

You need to set aside a couple of hours from your busy schedule and hide yourself away somewhere and actually produce this budget. Look at how your business performed last year, income and expenditure wise. Consider what will affect your business this year and write it all down. Even if you have never done it before, give it a go. You will discover any lean periods before they happen and you will be surprised and excited by how successful you are going to be! Believe me, the little effort now is really worth it.

So let’s change our attitude to bookkeeping, see it as a worthwhile control to build our business and future prosperity and keep those shoeboxes for those expensive shoes we can now afford.

For those who need some help with your book-keeping we have created a wonderful excel & numbers template Cashbook Catalyst   the simple and complete way to keep absolute control of your business finances. To make it easy we have included many formulas in the spread sheets. All you need to do is add your figures from your invoices regularly. We’ve even created a FREE lite version of Cashbook Catalyst  so you can try it out for yourself!

Whilst this version is customised for Australia we are happy to customise a version for your needs.

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Posted in Finance, Uncategorized
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