Does your business need glasses?
Several years ago when I was struggling to read the sheet music, I asked Dr. Hunter, an eye surgeon and one of our customers, about it. After an extensive examination he told me I would need bifocals. I learned that bifocals would allow me to see things close up and things at a distance.
An email I received this week reminded me about the close up and distance part of the efforts by your business to talk with existing and potential customers.
The email was from SlideShare with a note of congratulations as our SlideShare files had passed the 100,000 viewer mark. (Thank all of you for our having achieved that mark.)
We have discussed SlideShare in this column in the past. It is a free online service where you can upload a powerpoint or keynote file; think of this as being YouTube for slides. For your business you can create information about the products and services you sell, upload it to SlideShare and then post it to your website. It is easier for your customers to read than if you created a long page of written information.
Back to the bifocals. You need a plan to stay in contact with existing customers, while also reaching out to potential customers. This would be a short term plan for getting people to interact with your business in the near future. Generally this is some form of advertising from which you see an immediate response.
You also need a plan that is for the long term. With the long term plan, you are doing the subtle things that keep your name before these individuals. You will not see an immediate interaction with your business, but you are planting the seeds that will grow to become future business. Our SlideShare efforts are an example of a long term plan.
Hence, any plan for having your name before existing and potential customers should be like bifocals. You need the short and long vision for getting your message to existing and potential customers.
A business that does not have the time to think about long term will find itself always living on the edge; reacting at a moment's notice without a true destination in mind.
I hope you enjoyed listening to Dr. Joseph Michelli last month. What a fascinating person he is. The businesses he has observed as he has written books on Ritz Carlton, Zappos, Starbucks and the Pike Place Fish Market provide you with ideas that can help with your business.
We will start 2013 with bringing back a guest from 2012. Mike McCormick, the Cincy tax coach will be joining Bill Kendy and me for a multifaceted conversation about your business.
From Mike's website, here are some of the questions he wants to ask you:
* Are you utilizing the wrong business entity?
* Your retirement doesn't allow you to defer enough income.
* You pay for medical expenses with after tax money and get no itemized deduction for the expense.
* You do not have an investment strategy or still believe you're in it for the "long term".
* You forgo a home office deduction even though you think you're eligible.
* You only consider the standard mileage rate for auto expenses.
* You miss out on meals and entertainment expenses that you may be able to deduct.
* You are not sure what tax credits you're eligible to take.
What I like about Mike is that he is asking questions of you. Too many of the accountants I hear about are sitting and waiting for you to ask questions of them. Of course, many small business owners do not know what to ask of the accountant. Perhaps spending some time with Mike during the conference call may prompt you to reconsider the accountant you are using.
We will have a limited amount of time for questions. Those questions that are sent in before the call will get first priority.
The call will be Thursday, January 17 at 8pm eastern.
If you missed last month's call, here is a link to where you can download it or listen to it online.
|Internet Tip of The Month
Personal Productivity Calculation
Sales per employee? You have heard of that calculation. It is a calculation between sales and hours worked in the business to illustrate how much each person is producing within the business.
What if we could do a better calculation? One in which we looked not at sales but at the profit generated by the staff? That is where the personal productivity calculation comes into consideration. You are comparing the gross profit of a business to the total payroll of the business.
Follow this link to find out how your business did for 2012. With that information you can make a determination of what your goal should be for 2013.
Personal productivity calculation
| The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
Vandalism in your community?
How about a New Year's resolution for your community and your business? We observed this idea first hand and want to share it.
A business within a community noticed that the planters in the common areas about town were not being maintained. Even businesses that would benefit the most as they had a planter in front of their business were not doing anything to keep them in a presentable manner.
This individual business decided to do something about it. In the wee hours of the night, the staff would make one of those ugly planters into something of beauty. The finishing touch was the addition of a sign stating, 'This location has been a victim of positive vandalism'.
The action continued for weeks without anyone knowing who was behind the effort. As a part of the plan, the business 'accidentally' left a store identification decal on their vehicle as they made an evening visit to a planter. The next day someone called a local radio station to report what they saw.
The 'accidental decal' happened a second time. People began to talk more about who was behind the positive vandalism. The business was confronted by the radio station and the owner of the business explained their efforts.
The community took on a new sense of pride. There were other aspects of the town that needed attention; graffiti on buildings, trash laying on the street - the types of things that take away the beauty of a community.
Sure, it is the responsibility of the city or county to take care of some of this, but the town belongs to the residents and businesses. It is easier to fix something than it is to point the finger of responsibility.
And all of this happened because one business decided to make a difference.
In the red power promoting book, the second promotional book I wrote, this is idea #49.
You can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.
Profits Plus Resource Center