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Value Added Business Strategies

Value Added or Value Subtracted – You Decide Oh Capitan!

Value Added Business StrategiesAre you adding value to your business or organization or is your value being subtracted due to a lack of understanding and just plain laziness?

Have you ever endorsed someone only to find out that your endorsement should be rescinded?

Recently I had someone I didn’t know send me an email requesting that I endorse him. Now say what you want here but it was quite the gutsy move for a guy to send me an email request like this, especially since I didn’t know him, and we had never even exchanged an email or any kind of communication.

The funny thing was his subject line in the email said, “Can you endorse me?”

Well I didn’t and the reason is pretty obvious seeing that I didn’t even know the guy!

He cold contacted me and in my opinion stepped over the boundary by adding me to his list, plus he asked if I could endorse him. If he would have connected with me and then added value along the way, this post would have most likely been written a different way.

Here’s my point…

If you are really looking to connect and build reviews/testimonials, then do it the legitimate way. Offer and Add Value as much as possible. This way your prospects, subscribers, clients and customers will look forward to your communications and see that you are there to help them and not just get into their wallet.

There are lots of small businesses out there that simply don’t understand that adding value can make the difference of landing new business versus losing new business.

So if you deliver and add value, people will reciprocate. Yes, they will indeed. They’ll repurchase, refer others to you and sing your praises. Thus helping you and your business or organization to increase sales.

Now what do I mean by added value? Here are Five Examples: 

Added Value can mean an added service like when you buy a home the seller includes a handyman for 6 months or a year.

Added Value can mean that you offer an upgrade for no charge when your customer purchases a particular product and/or service.

Added Value can mean that you give extra time to your client and don’t bill her for it.

Added Value can mean that you share quality information with a prospect prior to him purchasing your service.

Added Value can be bonuses that are delivered with the purchase of a product. And these are bonuses that the buyer was not expecting.

A testimonial or review or endorsement will build social proof, but Added Value can be just what you need to build repeat and referral business & revenues. So get creative. Think outside the box and look for all the different ways that you can add value or you might see that your prospects, subscribers and clients decide to shop elsewhere.

You choose – Value Added or Value Subtracted. It’s your business and the decision rests in your hands.

I say – Offer Value, Add Value and Bring Value to all that you do.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

The Biz Dev Big One that Got Away – Business Development 301

When it comes to business development, one never really knows if a relationship is going to solidify to the point of transaction and possible long-term contractual obligation until the contract is signed and the check clears ye ole bank.

In all my years of developing new business it never ceases to amaze me how many people are out there with the hottest idea since electricity was invented.

More times than not new business development having to do with new ventures and projects have fallen through than come to fruition and developed into healthy repeat business. Yet, we as business development professionals continue onward an upward to the next project, whether it be large, small or somewhere in between.

Recently I was courting a venture that if it actually turned into a reality could have been one heck of a whopper or should I say really bigga macca.

This relationship was at the very early stages and I instinctively knew we needed a lot more information and research in order to make the right decisions, but I decided to share a few ideas to feed the fire. The only thing is that the ideas were like a few pieces of kindling and I didn’t share enough of them to get the fire started.

Then my gut kicked in several times before one of the meetings.  And then low and behold a curve ball was thrown and the entire development process was halted and terminated.

A sad, yet happy day this was for the publisher. Yes, I was literally jumping for joy.

Why, you ask?

Because this project freed the mind of yours truly to work on an internal ‘biz dev’ project that was already warmed up and ready to be put on the hot front burner.

And put it on the hot front burner we did!

My loyal reader, larger scale projects/ventures are often lofty dreams that have yet to become reality. And the small-scaled versions can be even worse because there’s usually less or no money. Today I look at them like looking at long-term investments, with cautious and conservative eyes and ears.

So when I’m approached to discuss and review either a small or large grandiose project (with no up front fundage), I usually decline, never to set foot in the requestors place of business or favorite beverage establishment.

Now even with all this said, I recently had one project that was so appealing, yet the project owner was only willing to pay us commissions versus any kind of retainer.

Almost every time I’ve come across these kind of offers, it really means that the prospective business or organization doesn’t have the necessary fundage to bring us on board, is uncertain about specific details or could be on his or her way out of business. Thus they desire to throw most of the advance work and risk on our shoulders.

Yes, this is almost always the case and rarely have I seen it otherwise and to our favor. So when the prospective owner or partner of the venture that is going to bring in gazillions to your coffers comes across your threshold, Here are Five Tips that you should consider:

1. Proceed with caution.  Big Yellow Sign. 😐

2. Turn on your note-taking device and open both thy ears. Remember, discover early and you’ll save yourself lots of wasted time and resources.

3. Close thy mouth and only open it when absolutely necessary to ask questions.

4. Protect thy time (your calendar) like a bank vault.

And finally number five…

If you, my reader, are going to take your precious time, energy and resources to develop business for any organization or business (whatever size it may be), then make sure that you have a secured agreement before ever stepping into action.

Because it has been my experience that people without fundage, very limited resources, or just desire to take as much as they can, are always looking for information and ideas to further their cause. And they especially love these ideas and information, when they are offered up on a plate without a fee attached.

So proceed with caution and a conservative stance as you walk through the streets of offers and prospective projects. Guard your time and resources and only part with these precious gems with those that pass the tests that you put before them.

To your success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

PS – Should ever the time come that you require some business development assistance or just need a good ole sounding board, the Small Biz Mechanic may be a good fit for you. But he’s not always available, so don’t be bummed out if you have to keep looking.

 

The Road to Successful Business Development 301A

Ever been in a situation where a prospective business owner or member of an organization paints such an awesome picture that you just know that it’s meant to be. It’s a business development dream. You know the picture I am referring to…

The one that is painted in such a way that makes it look like your share will be worth a gazillion trinkets, that you’d be a fool not to take on this endeavor. The road signs all pointed to this destination, yet you still feel like you’re at the wrong place and yet the picture is lit up like a Christmas tree!

In this follow up to my previous article, I want to point out that you need to be more cautious than ever when it comes to developing business for others.

Taking on projects or ventures that are only going to pay on the back end can be very risky and time consuming, especially if you are a sole-practitioner or have existing time constraints. Business development projects that are all back end based usually mean lots and lots of work and very little or no return.

Now this is not always the case, but more times than I can count on both hands I’ve seen these projects or ventures come our way only to leave after they don’t get what they want; usually one of the following:

A. The keys to unlock the revenue stream or some missing information that will help them put it all together.

B. Someone to work for FREE on the front end. You know, that someone to bring forth the JV partners, strategic alliances, primary revenue sources or new customers or clients.

It’s almost like a special radar alert that goes off now when a calling party brings forth their new venture, project or idea and just wants to get together to throw some ideas around and discuss the possibilities.

Yep…been there an done that more times than I want to admit.

Why – because I’m a believer in entrepreneurism. Call it a good sickness. I just want to help the new person live his or her dream and be able to get the venture off the ground or expand into new and uncharted territory.

The bottom line here is that your time is your most precious asset, and the amount of energy you put into any project can suck the life right out of your business if you’re not careful.

How do I know this? Because after 27 years of small business ventures including six startups, I’ve seen, been involved with and declined more than my fair share of “next big thing” projects and ventures. Enough so that I could write a book on the subject and have material left over for a second edition.

So with all that said…

Here are a few of Your Most Valuable Assets when it comes to your small business and the topic of business development:

A. Your Resources ( people, money, information, devices, machines, software)

B. Your Energy – (mind space – thoughts). This is also another subject for discussion as we only have so much energy in any given day.

C. Your Time – The 8 to 10 hours a day you have to work on and/or in your business.

D. Your Character – What you develop and take with you when you leave this Earth.

E. Your Salvation – What you take with you into eternity. (This is a whole other article series)

These assets married with the right biz dev project can possibly bring forth a lot of fulfilling times, experiences and revenue.

And so the next time you are approached with “The Next Big Trinket” or “Next Big Idea”, put up your guard, proceed with caution, and look at all the angles before taking any big steps.

Until next time…

Dave Krygier
Publisher
Clickandmortarblog.com 

Direct Sales & The Return of the Milkman

Whether you’re lactose intolerant or love a mug of milk, this is a story you have to hear.

Recently I attended a local chamber of commerce function and one of the first people I ran into was the local milkman. Boy was this a surprise and more so that he was just getting started and had hundreds of customers who received their dairy products on a daily and weekly basis.

The most interesting part of this is that he was utilizing a method that most small business owners would look down on. But with this method he did in two months what most businesses do in a year or two. And with this said, I tip my hat off to him.

So maybe you’re not old enough or never met the milkman when you were growing up? Well I did and we even had a milkman back in the late 1990’s in the Central Washington Community of Wenatchee. This service was one my wife and I really liked but we ended up moving and didn’t find a milkman in our next community.

Fast forward to today and the milkman shows up on your doorstep offering you a variety of items and service to boot. And this kind of service fits hand in glove for the busy mom and dad who almost always forget to pickup milk on their way home from work or soccer practice.

Now with all this talk of the milkman how do you think this pertains to your small business or organization?

Here’s my Take…

Think outside the box and you might find the simplest method for marketing your business and increasing sales to be one that is time tested and still works, even though the techno folk will say you’re an old fart for doing it!

Direct Sales is still Alive and can be a very lucrative channel for certain businesses. Maybe your business is one of the ones that could still be utilizing direct sales.

Maybe your business or organization could increase or even double sales with direct response marketing and direct sales combined?

You know – you test some mailers with phone follow up or a little pay per click, video and a real person to answer the phone when the searcher clicks or calls.

So do not write off direct sales until you’ve sat down and put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard…

Because your next big client, customer or patient could be right around the corner when your mailer shows up or ad appears on his mobile device.

Think outside the box this next year and consider direct sales and direct response marketing if your business or organization needs additional revenue to keep the doors open.

To your success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

PS – As of this post The SmallBizMechanic is still working in this arena and might be able to help you uncover a few new clients or patients.

PPS – If you come across this post and he’s swamped or no longer working taking on new clients, let us know and we’ll see who we can refer you to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micro Finance & The Harvest of Hope

A few years back I was introduced to the world of micro finance through a gentleman on a treadmill. I wrote about this episode in a post called Micro Finance. Yep, I was feeling creative that day(Not!!).

And so today I want to continue with insights about the world of micro finance but also mention the Harvest of Hope project.

Here goes…

When it comes to helping and encouraging small business owners from around the globe,     there is no better way than through micro-finance. This allows us to reach those people that really desire to own and run their own business. They are not looking for a handout, but are looking for opportunity.

Now this may come as a surprise but many small business owners who are located in certain countries don’t have the ability or resources to secure funding for their business, and this is where micro finance comes into the picture. One of the latest numbers I came across is that micro finance is a $70 Billion industry! That really got me thinking about all the business owners I know, and how they could connect with other business owners in need.

As a small business owner you already know what it’s like to go through the startup process. You’ve been there and done that. Maybe the process went smoothly (probably not) and maybe there were lots of bumps and bruises.

Your business may be flourishing and could even be struggling due to the economic challenges of the last 5 years, but for as little as $25 to $50 you can have a positive impact on a small business owner.

The point I am making here is that you can make a difference no matter what your situation is.

Here’s how…

Micro Finance Organizations

There are many different micro finance organizations out there but the two that I highly recommend are Kiva and World Vision. Kiva’s focus is micro finance where as World Vision also offers other programs and services.

Now Harvest of Hope on the other hand is operated by the folks at Partners International out of Spokane, Washington. This project is more than just micro finance, it’s reaching people who need help in their day to day lives.

I’ve personally met with and worked with the senior management and they are a top notch organization that literally partners with people around the globe. Their Harvest of Hope project is just one of many that is having a positive impact and is reaching people in areas that need the most help. You can check out their site at http://harvestofhope.org.

I want to encourage you to research and check out these organizations and if you find it in your heart to support a fellow small business owner or individual, then do it. Your support will make a difference and help change lives one person at a time.

Make a difference, change a life and bring hope to those in need.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

 

 

Advertising Agencies – a Small Business Dilemma

What a day it is that I’m writing about the topic of Advertising Agencies and The Small Business Dilemma.

So if you own an ad agency, even if it’s you inc. or you employ an agency that works for your small business – here’s my take after 26 years of day in day out experience in the trenches, with two stints at small agencies and running an in-house agency for six years.

Whewwww…

I believe many small business owners make it tougher on themselves than it really has to be when it comes to advertising. Why is this?

There are many different reasons but the one that sticks his head out above the rest is S&W.

In my previous post Strengths and Weaknesses, I mentioned that working in ones area of strengths can lead to a more productive working environment and have many positive side effects. Weaknesses on the other hand need to be delegated and left to those that excel and enjoy working in the specific area or areas.

When it comes to advertising and marketing:

If one is working on and in advertising and this individual should really be focusing on a different area of the business, this can put a huge kink in the works and cost the business owner money.

This leads me to the other side of the dilemma where we have the small business owner who goes back and forth between in-house agency to outside agency.

Many small businesses I’ve worked with over the years have gone back and forth between outside advertising agencies and inside advertising agencies. They work with an agency for months to years and then for any number of reasons (or excuses) decide to go ‘in house’ and either hire a do it all person or split up the workload amongst existing staff and contractors.

Either way works but having an outside ad agency that understands today’s online and offline advertising arena is a huge benefit and feather in the client’s cap.

In my opinion it also comes down to ROI plus the owner’s knowledge and grasp of advertising, marketing and sales and how they interact with each other.

Let me further expand on this last sentence and say that it’s really deeper than that. It’s the owner’s understanding or lack of understanding of ‘Current advertising and marketing channels’ and how they impact and affect his or her particular business.

Let’s wrap it up…

Ad agencies in many cases are small businesses and sometimes even one person shops that also have overhead to meet. They need clients and sales just like their clients do. But what they forget (and I have seen this time and time again) is that ROI is really the key.

Yes, return on investment for the small business owner is very important and in this day and age even more so due to the tightening of the economy. If the small business is seeing ROI and it’s directly related to advertising, then all parties should be happy campers.

So for the small biz ad agency hunting for new clients I say -” Show your prospects how you can deliver ROI.” And once you do this, share the testimonial with all who will read, listen and view.

This is where SmallBiz Mechanix comes into play for the solo-preneur and small business owner who needs guidance and direction when it comes to driving new business, increasing sales and navigating the web. Whether you’re a one-person show or team of twenty, The SmallBiz Mechanic may be able to help you drive more business and increase sales.

But you’ll never know until you take the first step and make contact.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

 

 

 

What is Click and Mortar?

When asked what is Click and Mortar I say, “it’s where a business that still has a physical presence (meaning location) that serves the community or region and utilzes the web to drive traffic, connect, communicate and offer goods and services to people.

Click = The Web.

Mortar = The Physical Business  – retail, service, distribution and manufacturing.

Combine the two together and what do you get? Nothing! Unless you develop a plan and implement the plan.

As I’ve written about in past posts…I coined the phrase click and mortar in either 96′ or 97′ and used it when describing to others what we were doing at that time in our business, which I refer to today as The Tiny Store.

Back in the 90’s ‘the click’ was a static web presence that enabled our small business to expand and grow over a 6 year period.

You know what our simple plan for using the Internet back in the 1990’s?

It was this – create an online catalog so our prospects and customers could see all that we offered. This way we didn’t have to mail physical catalogs and brochures to those in Alaska and Eastern Washington.

In the beginning it was never about ‘driving traffic’ and increasing page rank, because the web was so new and so were we.

Now I caught on really quick and we did develop ways to capture, cultivate and communicate with the people who found us through the old search engines – Yahoo!, Alta Vista, Webcrawler and Lycos.

And we did have a huge advantage being first to the party and adding a ton of content to our site. We also utilized email, the phone and ye ole’ fax to get the job done. Had I had access to an email auto-responder, life would have been quite a bit different, but that wasn’t the case, so I dealt with the slew of email that crowded my inbox every week.

Auto-responders were just getting started and quite honestly I didn’t know they existed. My bad for not researching and looking into it.

The click for us was a great lead generating tool. The only problem was that the leads came from all over the world and we just really wanted to serve Washington and Alaska.

For some small businesses they still don’t understand how to use the click to drive business to the mortar.

Today’s web offers so many ways to drive traffic and you can target your market and be as creative as you want to. It’s a marketer and biz dev person’s dream, yet so many miss the boat and go another year without doing anything. Or they just add a couple of social media buttons thinking that this is what everyone else is doing and we need to be doing what they are doing.

I say that you do what’s best for your small business. Use the click so it benefits your company! Use the click so it does what you want it to do for your small business.

What is click and mortar? A smart way to do business combining the online with the offline.

If you are a retailer, service business, distributor or manufacturer and desire to develop and grow your business using the click so it can help your mortar based business; then get on over to SmallBiz Mechanix and waste not a moment more.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Strengths and Weaknesses & Your Future

We all have strengths and weaknesses yet as small business owners it sometimes seems that the weaknesses can tend to get in the way and even distract us from what we do best.

When I first wrote about this topic a few years ago I myself was in the middle of yet another change and it was a change for the good. A change that allowed me to work in a strength area.

Over the years it had become apparent to me that working in areas that I was weak caused more pain and frustration. So I started to look at ways to work in my strength areas so I could be more productive and enjoy what I was doing.

While at The Tiny Store I was able to focus mostly on sales, marketing and business development, but still had to work on and oversee operations. We had a pretty small staff, usually under 10 people and thus I ended up wearing many different hats and became a plate spinner.

Now before I go on, credit needs to be given where credit is due. John Maxwell is the individual that really brought this whole idea to the surface – Working in ones strength areas versus working in thy weaknesses. At the time he used a scale and it made a lot of sense to me.

Working in your strength areas will take effort. I am the first one to admit that it’s really easy to get sucked back into the areas of your small business that are not strengths but weaknesses.

My suggestion to you is work in the areas or area that you really, truly enjoy.

If you are a marketing fanatic and are really great at it – work in marketing and grow as much as you can. If operations is your passion and you have a desire to grow in this area, then study, work and get busy at becoming the best you can be in small business operations.

To grow in your strength area(s) you’ll need to find help.

Here are a few suggestions: 

1. Outsource your weaknesses to people who specialize in them. It may take some time but you’ll be glad you did. Outsourcing isn’t for everybody but you won’t know if it’s for you until you investigate and see who’s out there.

2. Find an assistant to help with the details and tasks that are dragging you down. This person should be someone you can count on and be willing to teach and can do the work without having to be reminded or babysat.

3. Work and develop your strengths on a daily basis. Get stronger in one area at a time. This takes time and you will need to take the time and not rush it. It’s a daily process making new habits and breaking old ones.

Believe you me I understand how overwhelming it is when it’s You Inc. and everything rides on your shoulders. It’s not easy being self employed – running your own small business.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to grow and focus on your strength areas every day. Take baby steps at first and work at finding people to take care of the areas of your business that are not your strengths.

Your strengths are your future, so begin to focus on them and leave the weaknesses to others. If you need some guidance and help building your strengths – contact The Small Biz Mechanic and ask for the Small Business Strength and Conditioning Plan.

To your strengths,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

 

How to Increase Sales in a Small Business

Ever seen the business that is complaining about lack of traffic, lack of sales and how the economy is hurting business? How to increase sales in a small business is simple. There are two ways to accomplish this: One is through your existing customers and the other way is through new leads and fresh prospects.

Today I’ll cover the existing customer side of the equation.

Here’s a story to kick things off:

I was on the telephone(yes, ye ole telee) with a business acquaintance from the past and this person mentioned how a particular store he was dealing with had fantastic sales numbers. His company, we’ll refer to it as #1, had been trying to figure out how to bring in more sales yet he couldn’t quite figure out how to duplicate his customer’s success.

As I asked more questions it became apparent that the people in that particular store were the key, if he was going to increase his sales in other stores.

Yes, the people were the key that could unlock the door to additional sales. Because the sales staff at this particular store have been ecstatic about his product. They love it.  Why?

Because the product speaks quality, the marketing materials support this quality and they deliver on time. Now these are the two major factors as to why this manufacturer is still in business after more than 50 years.

On the other hand you have this business’ competitor, company #2, who hasn’t updated their marketing materials or catalog in years and the owner is turning over his company to a family member and people who may not have the best intentions.

Company #2 is struggling and it looks like a long up hill battle unless they can change their plan and give it an overhaul.

Now let’s get back to company #1. What could they do to increase sales?

Simple…Use Social Proof and obtain Testimonials from the store owner and staff about his product. Then take these testimonials in written form, audio and video and use them in all of his marketing and sales efforts to obtain new business.

Because there’s nothing better than a satisfied customer singing your praises to help bring new prospects to the party.

Like I said in the beginning of the post, how to increase sales in a small business is simple; look at your existing customers and dig deep to see how you can bring them back into the fold. This should create repeat and referral revenue and once you do that you can begin to  cultivate and build on the relationships you have started. 

Want to know how we generated 20 to 25% repeat and referral revenue? Check out Secrets of The TIny Store and learn how to increase sales in your small business or touch bases with the Small Biz Mechanic and maybe he can help you tune up your sales engine.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

How Not to Lose an Organization

It’s such a shame to see people build organizations, only to lose a vast majority of the people. I’ve seen this occur several times during my small business career. The first time I saw this happen it involved thousands of small business owners. The leadership of the departing organization wanted more control and more money and they achieved this but the fracture their move created never healed.

The second time I encountered an organizational fracture was during a recent merge of two local youth sports organizations. This most recent event had a direct impact on our family, especially our children, as these two local competing clubs decided to merge and combine forces to supposedly achieve a more cohesive and better environment for the children.

I feel the two directors jumped the gun, sent a mixed message and didn’t communicate properly. They both seemed to feel that dropping a big turd on everyone would be the best way to go and then leave people in the dark until they could work out the details.

Now I will say that one of the organizations was pretty good at communicating, but only after the public announcement of the proposed merger.

After all, the intent to merge and actually completing the merge are two separate topics.

Before you ever make a major change like a merge, especially when it involves families, money and children, it’s best to communicate first instead of later on down the line.

In our case – the families have been one of the main financial sources for the two organizations. So the salaries, overhead and expenses of these two operations are paid by the parents along with sponsors.

We happened to have experience with both organizations, so our perspective was different than the families on either side of the fence.

The one thing that struck me the most was the speed at which the two competing directors  put the deal together. This and the simple fact that they are fierce competitors and have never worked together. Now I could keep going on and on but hopefully you get the idea.

It would be like two CEO’s or if you like, owners of small businesses merging to help foster a better community for their employees and their families.

Hmmmmmmm……let’s take a peak behind the scenes in the boardrooms and follow the money, eh?

With all that said…

Before you jump ship and split up an organization or merge two competing organizations, make sure that your ego and pride are in check. Do everything you can to work it out and consider the families that your split or merge will affect.

Lastly, communicate with the organization(s) before you make it public. For great communication can make the difference of a successful merger or one that fails and falls by the roadside.

Stay Tuned,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

SmallBiz Mechanix