Cash is King, Debt Sucks!

Money, songs have been written about it, books have been written about, it has been termed the Root of all Evil and we are told that it cannot buy happiness.

But, without it it, we die! Whoops, did I say die – you need money to buy food, clothes and shelter, the necessities of life and if you are sick, medicine costs money.

A business is made up of physical elements, the people who staff it, the premises it operates from, the products it sells. These cannot survive without money, staff have to be paid, rents and mortgages have to be paid and products have to be manufactured using materials that have to be paid for.

Money is as important to us as the air we breathe. It is only evil or leads to grief  if used incorrectly. We all have the right to not just survive but to be comfortable.

 A business gets its money from the sale of products or services. Sometimes, money is exchanged for goods or services immediately, but often, in business  the product is handed over or the service performed with the promise of payment at a later stage.

If the supplier has sufficient cash in the bank to cover their expenses until they get paid, they are in the black* but if the have insufficient funds they are in the red.*

*before accounts were done by computer, they were written up in black if your account was in credit or red if overdrawn.

Cash flows in and out of the bank, if you balance your account at the end of the month and there is money in the bank, you have a positive cash flow, otherwise ou have a negative cash flow and if it happens frequently, you are in trouble.

 You can stabilise your cash flow, but making more cash sales, taking out a loan, selling off assets and chasing customers who do not pay on time. You may also consider taking a deposit.

As a freelance Website Designer, I follow the industry standard of taking a deposit up front and the balance on handover. Do not get bullied into working for the promise of money at future date, if someone does not want to pay you they will come up with every excuse in the book.

 As my ex-boss would say, you cannot go in to the supermarket and buy you groceries and promise to pay for them at a latter stages – you will get laughed at. So why get unnecessary credit**?

**Sometimes credit is necessary to get the client – ask yourself is it worth the trouble?

 

Warm up your Cold Calling.

I once was looking through the posts on a local business forum, when I came across a post;

need work, prepared to do anything, except cold calling

Actually, the post read, Desperate for work, and someone commented,that if he was so desperate for work, why not do cold calling, after all it is work.

I know I get annoyed when interrupted at work by a call trying to sell me something I do not need and if they are persistent, I put the phone down. Yes, people tend to be rude even abusive when getting nuisance calls, but this mainly because the caller is reading off a script in a rather bored voice or is pushy.

But for any small business to survive, they need paying customers and the best way to get new business is to cold call. Cold calling is very difficult, unless you are prepared. Simply taking the phone directory and calling the numbers listed will not get you very far.

You need to prepare.
First ask yourself, what is your product or service and who needs it?
Next ask yourself, where you will find them?
Now make a list of potential clients.
Research and qualify the businesses on your list;

Location
Anything special or unusual
Who is the decision maker
Contact Details

Now prepare your pitch and phone them. Remember to smile, don’t be fooled by the fact you are behind a telephone, a smile does affect your voice quality and makes you sound better. Be polite, you will most likely get through to a gatekeeper. tell them why you are calling and ask who you should speak to. remember to use any special information you may have learnt to help warm up the call.

You may get an objection, again don’t be rude or pushy, offer to send them your brochure or even better ask if you can add them to your email list. You want to keep the door open.

What I have learnt from Cold calling, I was never shouted at, nobody was rude, I did get a lot of objections but I also got requests for more information as well.

You need to track everything,

When you called
Who you spoke to
What reaction you got
Any action you need to do
Diarise when to call back

Call Calling is about persistence, not everyone is ready to buy when you call them, you need to nurture the lead and stay in contact, so when they are ready to buy, they remember you.

You will get objections, and when dealing with them, never raise your voice or be rude, listen to the objection before answering. Use phrases like, I am glad you asked that or Good Point, when answering. Yes you need to humour them without sounding like you are humouring them.

When you prepared you pitch, you had to look at it from your client’s point of view and prepared yourself with answers to the most likely objections.

By being prepared, knowing who you are dealing with and cold calling becomes easier.

Your Pitch – Elevator or Taxi.

Any small business owner understands the importance of networking and meeting new prospects. He needs to tell them who he is, what he does and why he is the best in his field, and he needs to do it both quickly and with enthusiasm. People have a short attention span and if you cannot hold their attention, you have lost a potential customer.

We call this pitch, the Elevator Pitch, because if you step into an elevator (as we call it in South Africa, a Lift), you have a very short time to introduce yourself. In South Africa, we call it the Taxi Pitch. Minibus taxis are a popular way to travel in South Africa and many small businessmen use them to get around, making them the ideal place to meet potential customers.

What is a good pitch: You introduce our self and your company, what it does and what makes you unique. And, you have less than two minutes to do it in. Easy right, not really. Watch how Josh Light of Cup Ad does it

Quick, concise and enthusiastic.

How do you go about perfecting yours. Write it down, and practise it in front of the mirror. When you are confident you have it right, try on a friend and get their feedback. Next ask your friend to videotape you using your phone, so you can see it for yourself.

Remember, no matter how many times you practice, you need to make it sound natural when presenting.

Now, you may be asking, why you need to prepare your pitch? When meeting someone for the first time, even in a social setting, you are going to get asked, “What do you do?” You could find yourself talking to someone who needs your services, or knows someone who does. Your pitch if presented correctly will get his attention, it helps you to get your foot in the door, when you meet the right prospect.

Once you have it right, remember to change it when something changes and keep practising.

I am planning for success – recession or no recession.

Any good Entrepreneur will tell you that in order to succeed in business, you must first fail. OK, been there done it, more than once.

The Government tells us the recession is over and the economy is thriving,  They are lying, things are still tough out there and the recession is far from over.

So now is the time to succeed in business, because if you can succeed in business in tough economic times, doing it during a time of plenty, will be a walk in the park.

I know this, I cannot do it by myself, I need help. The Internet is a great place to find help – any problem you encounter, someone has found the answer. But the Internet can be very impersonal and very general. So you need to speak to other Small Businessmen.

I belong to a Marketing Group that meets regularly to discuss marketing problems and strategies. During round table discussions someone will bring a problem they and they group will look at ways it can be solved. Often, someone has had that exact same problem and tell us, how they solved it. I have learnt so much through sharing, and not just about marketing but also about business in general.

I do other networking and do belong to other groups, because it is the human factor that is the most important factor when it comes to doing business. Yes, i use the Internet to market and connect but at the end of the day, i want you to shake my hand and look me in the eye.

So I have decided to take another step, one I know is going to get me off my lazy butt. I am getting a Business Coach. I have seen business coaches in action and I have seen business that operate in an Incubator for a while and i know that I am about to work my butt off, but if I walk away from it a better (and wealthier), i will be happy.

So here is to an interesting and wild ride.

What did you learn from 2014?

At the beginning of every year, the buzz is about setting goals. But what are goals and how do you set realistic one for your business?

Goals are targets you set yourself with the intention of achieving them. So if your target is to generate an income of X per month, you need to look at;

  • How many products or service do you need to sell?
  • How many did you sell in 2014?
  • Did you make target in 2014?
  • If not, why?
  • How do you improve on your 2014 sales?
  • Do you know who your competition is?
  • How much business did you lose to competition in 2014?
  • Why?
  • What are the Market needs for 2015?
  • What were the Market needs in 2014?

By looking carefully at your successes and failures of 2014, you can see what needs to done.You need to remember, you want improve on the past.

A Website Solution that will grow with your Business

The 5 Page Plus Content Management Solution

The main purpose of any Website is to help your Business Grow. The keyword here is Growth! But in order to grow, you need to start somewhere, often with limited funds.

Your first Website need not be expensive, but it has to have certain key elements;

  • A Page that tells your visitors who you are and what you do,
  • A Contact Page that tells your visitors where to find you,
  • A Legal Page that takes care of the fine print.1

These three pages are at the core of any Website, but you need to add your product or services portfolio and to start with 5 Pages should be fine.

As a Business grows, their Website needs to be updated and new pages added – more cost, right? Actually no!

The Solution is WordPress, a Content Management System that lives in the server. You can access this from anywhere you get a internet Connection.

This means you can edit, delete and add pages as needed. Through the use of Plug-in3 you can make the site into an eCommerce site or add a Mail Form or just about any enhancement to make your Website person better.

And my all time favourite, when your Website starts to look date, you can change the theme, quickly, by downloading a theme3 and changing it.

So, you pay once and you can keep updating your Website at no cost as long as you want – no that is a bargain!

  1. There are free examples available online, but one prepared especially for you by an attorney is best.
  2. At Solutions Web, we know how important this information is so we provide thes pages free and only charge you for the 5 Content Pages.
  3. There are both free and paid plugins/themes available

2015:- A Vision

2014 was a make or break year for me. I came very close to just walking away and abandoning my business. The difference between working for yourself and working for an employer, is very different.

Working for yourself is a constant challenge, finding clients, dealing with them and most importantly, chasing them for money. Then there is the constant having to justify your prices, not to mention the complaints when you are not ready on time, even though the client did not provide the necessary content at the last possible minute.

Everyone is normally positive (as am I) at the beginning of the New Year. Goals are set and Resolutions made. But sometimes, in the rush to set goals and make resolutions, the lessons of the past are forgotten.

I have set goals, rather ambitious ones that may need longer than one year to attain, but they are attainable. However, the lessons I learnt last year are going to be a very important part of how I operate.

I will not lower my price (unless you are prepared to lose part of the project).

My payments terms are set in stone, nothing gets done if I do not get your deposit.

You do not own the project until I received the final payment and the project will not go live until I do get it.

I will be looking for the client who appreciates and is prepared to pay for my services.

I will always add value to any project I undertake, just do not expect freebies over and above what I provide.

I rent space in a professional equipped Office, I have a private meeting room at my disposal as well as very fast bandwidth making client meetings easy. And when you visit, I will even provide the Coffee or Tea (and I usually have juice in the fridge, if you prefer).

I am a Professional, I expect my clients to be Professional.

 

Yahoo

Yahoo Search is a search engine owned by Yahoo Inc. It was started in January by two electrical engineering graduates, Jerry Yang and David Filo. The started a Website called, “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web,” which later became Yahoo.

According to Wikipedia;

The word “yahoo” is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.

The term “hierarchical” described how the Yahoo database was arranged in layers of subcategories. The term “oracle” was intended to mean “source of truth and wisdom”, and the term “officious”, rather than being related to the word’s normal meaning, described the many office workers who would use the Yahoo database while surfing from work.

Yet the founders reckon it has to with the fictitious tribe of Yahoos in Gulliver’s Travels

In the 90’s Yahoo grew into a Web Portal and Directory. At one time Google provided Search but more recently they have partners with BING (Microsoft).

Yahoo is the second largest Search Engine behind Google who currently handles 70 percent of all search. Yahoo comes in at about 5%

A One Page Internet Presence Solution

There are always two sides to an argument. Small Business Internet Presence is no different. In fact there is more than two schools of thought when it come to the Internet.

Some will tell you that their business is going along just fine without an Internet Presence, thank you very much.

 Some believe that Social Media is the key to promoting your Business online and that a Facebook Page or Twitter Stream is all you need.

Then you get those who tell you need a Website or you do not exist online.

 Three different schools of thought and which one is correct?

 The principles behind Business have not changed – a Business provides a service or products that the market needs. In that respect, nothing has changed. What has changed is that consumers are in a position to make informed decisions through research using the Internet.

They can do this by visiting the Websites of the businesses that supply what they need. By visiting several Websites they will make comparisons between suppliers and then they will visit consumer Websites to gauge consumer satisfaction.

But where does Social Media come in, these are the forums where you can see if there have been problems and you can see if they were ignored or if something was done to remedy the problem.

Back to the three schools of thought above. People will still visit shops in the real world, they will still make impulse purchases and  they will make a purchase after some research. But change is coming and it is coming fast.

Since Amazon and Kalahari.com as well as other online bookstores have opened, book shops in malls all around the world are closing their doors. You can buy anything using the Internet, from travel to shoes. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that more and more business will be conducted online.

It is obvious that even if you have an Internet Presence through a Facebook Page or Twitter Stream, you need a Website at the centre of it. But a Website is expensive, isn’t it?

 In reality it is not – you get a Presence on the Internet that can be seen Worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And to help you get started Solutions Web has a special offer on a Starter Website for only R999.00.

 Quickly go look before I come to my senses and change the price back to R1999.00.