Article of the Month
Time for a Reality Check
by Tom Shay
Think your customer makes a point to shop as much as they can in your business?
Think that the person who tells you they like doing business with you is representative of all of your customers? (Have you checked your listing on Yelp or Google Places?)
Think you give great customer service?
The title of the article, "Time for a Reality Check", is the answer to all of these questions.
This does not mean that you are not great. Instead, it means that as a small independent business, we need to take a close look at our place within our market and our customer's mind.
Click on Article of the Month to read this article.
Book of the Month
The Knack: How Street Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up
by Norm Brodsky
You know who she is. No matter what happens in her business she always seems to know what to do.
"Yeah. She's got a knack for being able to handle anything."
Do you know how she does it? If you would like to know, you will want to read this book. It can help all of us in our business as well as our lives.
Click on Book Referral to see the complete list of small business books we have found that can be helpful to your business.
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December is Write a Business Plan Month
If December is the 'Write a Business Plan Month', why are we talking about it on September 1?
Writing a business plan is not going to be something you do one evening at home after work. It requires more of an effort than if you took several days off to work exclusively on it. That's the down side.
Of course, there are a lot of positives to a business plan. First, let's look at the simple question of, "Why?"
Why create one, especially if you have already been in business for years? The answer is in all those positives.
Your writing a business plan (this means not hiring someone to do it and definitely not buying some software program and filling in the blanks) can eliminate a lot of mistakes and challenges within your business.
Writing and using your business plan as a guide will stop you from spending money in the wrong places for advertising. The business plan can eliminate your hiring the wrong people. And, the business plan can stop you from buying the wrong products - whether you are a product or service business.
How does it do that? The plan is your taking the time to write out what you want your business to be; who the customers are; what the business will look like in five years; what you expect of your financials.
So, if December is "Write a Business Plan Month", then September 1 is a good time to get started on this project.
Got questions about this? Send them to me. I'd be glad to point you in the right direction.
|Internet Tip of The Month
Cost of goods sold calculation
What's so challenging about the cost of goods sold? Apparently a lot because many of the financial statements I have reviewed this year have a lot of errors - starting with the cost of goods sold.
How can you tell something is wrong? Look at the cost of goods sold (stated as a percentage) on your profit and loss statement over a period of several months. Is it somewhat consistent? Or does it fluctuate wildly from month to month. If it is the latter, there is likely an issue with how your sales and costs are recorded.
Is this an important number? Absolutely! When you report a cost of goods sold that is incorrectly too low, you are going to be paying more taxes than you should.
If your cost of goods sold is incorrectly too high, you are likely to slow down your buying and then you could find yourself with not enough product on your shelves.
Take a look at this on the Profits Plus website to see how it should be done.
Cost of goods sold calculation
|The Incentive Idea of the Month
Your next hire
We have watched many job interviews. Unfortunately it seems that the owner or manager is doing all of the talking and trying to sell the individual on the idea of working in their business.
Instead, we should be asking questions of the individual who is applying for the job and learning more about them.
A good question to ask is about their current or previous job.
"Tell me about the moment at that job when you had your most memorable recognition for what you did at work. What was it you did? How were you recognized? How did it make you feel?"
Take thorough notes of their response. The applicant has just told you how they want to be an outstanding employee for your business and how they would like to be recognized.
We want to recognize A Carrot A Day by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, whose book provides the basis for each month's incentive idea.