Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Small Business Survival Guide: Surviving The Downturn

Entrepreneurship Director Gives 10 Tips for Business Owners

With Wall Street hitting record lows and one of the bleakest economic outlooks in decades, small business owners are preparing to weather hits from the trickle-down effect of a recession.
What will make the difference between the businesses that survive and those that don't? Is there a way to remain resilient in the midst of so much uncertainty?
Dan Steppe, director of the nation's top-ranked entrepreneur program at the University of Houston's C. T. Bauer College of Business, and Ron Wuensch, an instructor at the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at Bauer, have decades of experience in guiding businesses through good times and bad. The two have been busy advising current students about how to weather the current financial upheaval, and recently sat down to compile 10 things small business owners can do to emerge from this down cycle unscathed: 1. Face facts -- but don't get drawn into what Steppe calls "the media melodrama." The political maneuvering that prefaced the eventual signing of a $700 billion financial rescue bill threatens to
detract from a more important reality, he says. "We got into this problem because we have too much debt and not enough collateral. These problems have not been solved. We are going to be or are already in a recession."
2. Look for places to reduce debt and only invest in necessities. "Cut
back on everything," Steppe says. "Be cruel and heartless about
what you need to be in business. Get rid of everything you don't
need. Know exactly why you borrow what you do." Wuensch adds:
"With a change in economics you have an opportunity to really look
at your business, and adjust it to the next economic reality."
3. Remember the basics of sound business. Never borrow money on a short-term
loan if you aren't really able to repay it until long-term.
"Forget that you're a financial genius," Steppe says.
"If you're borrowing money, it needs to be paid back over the
life of the asset you're buying. Don't take out a 12-month loan
assuming you'll be able to borrow at 5 percent or borrow at all when
it comes due."
4. Really get to know your customer. Rip out your answering machine, step up
your service and ask what they need. Understand how your target customer
has evolved. In general, "It's best to target high-end or
budget buyers, the middle is gone," Steppe says. "Do something
fast or you're about to go out of business. People will be buying
what they need and cutting back on their wishes and wants."
5. Embrace the current economic reality, Part I. "The bottom of the
cycle is a really good place to start a business," says Wuensch,
"because when you start off on an up cycle, your assumption is that
this (level of profitability) is going to go on forever." Those who
have studied the history of business will be comforted by the knowledge
that downturns always eventually go up.
6. Embrace the current economic reality, Part II. Competitors' failed
businesses present an opportunity. "If the fundamental need of their
business didn't go away, people who understand this can exploit it
(often by buying the failed company or hiring top employees left without
a job)," Steppe says.
7. Postpone a new business launch, and consider the intervening months or
years a gift. "Those who have experience are better off. Go work for
someone else for a few years, fill in the holes of your education and
keep working on your business plan," Steppe says.
8. Network and join together with other business owners. Vote, and act as a
group to wield influence on local and national levels in order to create
a better business environment.
9. Narrow your focus. Energy and technology-based businesses, for instance,
are two fields that will continue to have needs even as the economy
10. Remember that the most successful business people are highly adaptable.
"That's the heart and soul of being an entrepreneur,"
Wuensch says. "Reading the environment and reacting to it is what
an entrepreneur does." He adds: "Figure out your position of
strength, make good solid decisions based on your position of strength
and the odds really are in your favor.

HOUSTON, Oct 28, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- UH Bauer Entrepreneurship Director Gives 10 Tips for Business Owners

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Small Business Owners Reap Benefits of Social Media

October 27th, 2008
Posted by Jennifer Leggio

A recent survey shows that 55 percent of 120 surveyed small business owners believe that online social networking — such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook — can be beneficial to their businesses.

The survey, conducted by online payroll service SurePayroll, indicates that one out of every five of the small business owners polled have obtained at least one new customer as a direct result of using social media.

According to the company’s report:
With more than 50 million non-college attendees using Facebook today, the prominence of social media is growing. Professional social networking site LinkedIn grew 187% over the past year. Based on a research project developed by Universal McCann, 36% of online users think more positively about companies that have blogs. In the SurePayroll survey, 85% of business owners participating in social media for business are doing so by way of blogging online.

“(Social media) is no longer just an outlet for personal use — it’s rapidly becoming a must for business success,” said David Rohrer, SurePayroll’s online marketing manager, in a statement. “Big business is tapping into the blogosphere and posting their company profile pages in online communities. Small business owners need to do the same. What’s so great about the online world is you don’t need a million-dollar marketing budget. In fact, the most effective online connections are free personal communications from a business owner to their community.”

Posted by Jennifer Leggio

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Telecommuting - Part 3 The Lifestyle

By Toni Grundstrom

You are now approved to work from your home either part or full-time. You feel the freedom, already, but you need to know some basic telecommuting skills to made your work-at-home option successful. You also have to set up your office so you remain a professional working at home.

Establish your workspace in a part of the house that is well lit and has good air circulation, is not in the busy area of your home, and can be dedicated as 'your work area only'. Check with your tax preparer to see what guidelines need to be met for tax write-offs. You have the freedom to arrange your hardware, supplies, and desk any way you wish but easy access to everything allows you to function smoothly. Turn your chair away from the door to avoid distractions and hide supplies that aren't used often to keep your office un-cluttered. Realize that you are now responsible for security of the equipment, backup of your online files, your personal ergonomics, and managing stress.

There are two types of stress at your home office - stress from the job and stress in maintaining a work/life balance. Creating this balance requires your dedication to making the telecommuting opportunity successful and your entire family's support in the lifestyle change. You have set performance standards with your boss. A telecommuter may feel the need to perform miracles to exceed those or you will be returned to the office. That is self imposed stress. You will automatically increase your output because of less interruptions and non-commuting. Learn to determine what is or is not urgent, have a set beginning and ending time for your day, turn the ringer on your phone/fax off when you are not working, and avoid using the extra time gained by not commuting to complete more work. Keep your performance standards in mind so you don't feel the need to take on extra work to prove yourself and justify what some of your co-workers may see as a special perk.

Your home life may have played a large role in asking for the telecommuting option. This said your home life will change when you move your work home, which could cause stress. Talk with your family members to let them know what your work goals are and how each of them can contribute to your success. Let your friends know what your work hours are and encourage them not to call during those hours. Distractions such as personal phone calls, reading, lounging, cleaning, laundry, and errands need to be managed and worked in to your work/home life schedule. Snacking is now easier. Keep your eating under control by staying with the same schedule you had at work. What you choose to wear during your work hours is a personal choice yet keep this in mind. Casual clothes are fine but doing a professional job in your pajamas or a torn sweatshirt with sweatpants may not put you in the correct frame of mind to do quality work.

Staying Visable

Are you concerned about out-of-mind meaning no promotion or being overlooked for that one assignment you've been waiting for? To overcome this make sure you attend weekly and/or monthly meetings, organize a lunch with co-workers or your boss, and stay in touch daily with the office.

There are psychological issues of working alone. Isolation is the most prominent. This new working arrangement means that you left behind the network of friends and coworkers who provided a very important social and interactive part of your day. This is where the lines of communication, you arranged while negotiating the telecommuting option, play a very important role. Make sure that you contact your coworkers so you stay in touch with each other. They need to know that you are still part of the team and you do, too. Isolation, after a period of time, may also affect your creativity and professionalism. Join an online group of other individuals who are working from home. This opportunity creates a different type of social activity and you will learn from others who know exactly what you are going through or trying to avoid. Joining a telecommuter association opens the door to receiving information about the pros and cons of telecommuting or what to pursue or avoid. Working from home gives you the freedom of managing your own time. Understand the life/work style changes and use them to make you an effective telecommuter.

Maintaining visibility is a very important aspect of telecommuting and arresting the resentment some coworkers may feel towards you for working from home. Encourage people to contact you at home, post a note on your office desk reminding people of the days and hours you are working at home, stay on the routing lists for magazines and journals, and develop a buddy system. This buddy can keep you posted on what is happening at work and send you your mail or critical information in a timely manner. Attend meetings and other work related gatherings (such as an in-office retirement party) and always attend social functions. You don't want to be 'out-of-sight out-of-mind'.

There are unique skills needed to succeed in your 'virtual office'. Some of these will be learned over time yet you can be aware of others and prepare for them. Telecommuting is appealing because your professional goals do not have to be sacrificed for personal goals, or visa versa. Working just like you would in the office with set hours, using effective communication, and continued professionalism will help this new lifestyle create less stress, more flexibility, and more time for you.

Telecommuting - Part 2 The Journey

By Toni Grundstrom

Telecommuting has become a cost effective way for both large and small companies. The employee enjoys the reprieve from the daily commute and they become a more productive employee. That said, is this work option right for you and your company?

Understanding your 'virtual office' skills and how telecommuting will work for your company will prepare you for presenting a detailed proposal to your boss. Any person may be able to perform their job duties at home but is this right for you? According to The Virtual Office Survival Handbook by Alice Bredin, you need to understand your working habits. You should consider your ability to: resist distractions, manage your time, set limits on work, and deal with challenges. You also need to determine if you are internally or externally motivated and if you are an over- or underachiever. Know what your virtual office skills are before you try to sell the concept to your employer. To survey your employee habits and how they can be transferred into a telecommuting employee visit

Did You Know?
The number of telecommuters is increasing worldwide. Canadian telecommuters, for example, can recoup up to six full work weeks yearly -- an average hour a day -- by eliminating their daily commute, according to Bernard Brodie, an InnoVisions Canada consultant.

While it may seem that telecommuters trade off career progress for the opportunity to telecommute, the experienced telecommuters and their managers show just the opposite to be true. Telecommuters in well-managed programs have a chance to act independently, make more decisions, solve more problems, do better planning - and otherwise demonstrate the kinds of skills and traits sought when looking for promotable employees. If you are this type of an employee consider this information and use it to strengthen your proposal.

-Telecommuting is not appropriate for every job. Analyze your job activity, not the job title, to determine suitability to telecommuting. Is there a portion of your job that can be done, as well or better, away from the office?

-Details that need to be discussed and agreed upon include ownership of remote equipment, compensation and insurance for work-provided equipment including all office supplies, compensation for worker expenses (additional telephone, lines, long-distance charges, etc.) criteria or performance standards for workers' evaluations, frequency and travel reimbursement of an occasional required office attendance, etc. A telecommuter may perform all or almost all of his/her work remotely, or may work remotely only a certain number of days per week or per month, attending his/her employer's office on the other days for meetings, customer/client contacts, or just to "keep in touch".

-Staying in touch with co-workers is essential to continuing the 'team' affect needed to keep a well-oiled department running. Suggest creating a chat area or listserve where workers can start up discussion or pose questions of a professional or personal nature. Start an on-line 'Wall of Fame" to display awards, trophies, certificates, or other professional or personal successes or to show off individual or team achievement. Peer pats allow co-workers to recognize another co-worker for successes, a job well done, or an award her/she won. Post personal messages on a certain day every week. This encourages team members to communicate with each other on a personal basis including favorite restaurants, hobbies, travel arrangements, a child's accomplishment, etc. This type of message board does not need to create any type of discussions. This is a way of staying in touch on a personal level.

If your company already allows flexible work options like telecommuting, it may be relatively easy to convince you supervisor to let you telecommute. The main issue will involve proving your reliability and the appropriateness of your job for distance working. However, if you're hoping to be the first telecommuter in your organization you face a larger task. First you have to convince the company telecommuting makes business sense. Once you know that your work habits and telecommuting is a match you need to translate that knowledge into a proposal that will convince your boss. Here are some methods that work: Drop occasional tidbits about telecommuting and how you would like to start doing some of your work from home. Collect articles about telecommuting to become educated on the highlights and drawbacks of this working relationship - become an in-house expert.

Many articles can be found on the Internet. Some sites include,, Two subject related Associations can be found on the Internet - International Telework Association & Council (ITAC) at and the American Telecommuting Association at Show how telecommuting can save the company money. Visit to help you crunch the numbers.

Ensure your written proposal contains all the important information but more importantly, know what you are going to say. Practice in front of a mirror or to another person. You must feel comfortable for the presentation to be professional. Concentrate on what the company can achieve, not on your own needs. A well-researched plan will serve to help with the approval and success of this mutually beneficial working relationship.

Toni Grundstrom's expertise is in Marketing. Working for a professional association, government entity, and small business as a Telecommuter provides understanding of the concept and the issues surrounding this working option. She advocates for, informs and educates people who telecommute, work at home, or own a home based business. They are Professionals Working At Home.

This article may be distributed freely on your website, as long as
this entire article, including links and this resource box are unchanged.
Copyright 2008 Toni Grundstrom All Rights Reserved.
Small Business - Dream To Reality

Telecommutiing Part 1

As the price of gas rises you see that measly 'cost of living' raise being pumped into your vehicle's gas tank. There's got to be another option.

Telecommuting - The Concept , Part 1

This article is the first in a series exploring the telecommuting concept. Part II - 'The Journey' talks about being a good telecommuter, approaching your boss about a telecommuting work arrangement, and how to set up your 'virtual office' space away from the office. Part III – 'The Lifestyle' discusses how to mange your work and personal life, structuring your environment, and staying productive.

In the past, information was transmitted via Pony Express and telegraph – now it travels as e-mail through modem lines. This information superhighway has created an opportunity for a new kind of mutually beneficial working partnership: telecommuting. Telecommuting is broadly defined as any method of working productively away from the office. According to the American Telecommuting Association (ATA), "telecommuting is second only to casual days as the fastest-growing shift in traditional working patterns".

Working at home sounds intriguing but do your job duties allow it and are you disciplined enough to work unsupervised? According to The Virtual Office Survival Handbook by Alice Bredin, you need to understand your working habits. You should consider your ability to: resist distractions, manage your time, set limits on work, and deal with challenges. Know what your virtual office skills are before you try to sell the concept to your employer.

If your work habits and telecommuting are a match, there are advantages to this arrangement for you, your employer, and society. If your lifestyle does allow for full- or part-time work outside of the home you will be productive. Working from home alleviates the need to overcome family/personal issues such as daycare, family illness, events such as a school concert or conferences, and physical or transportation barriers. You can feel better, work harder, save money (childcare, transportation, and parking), avoid commuting time and irritations, and feel motivated to achieve the high performance necessary to keep the position. When you work from home there may be set hours you need to be at your work station yet you have the flexibility to work within the parameters of that day. If the work does not get finished within those set hours you may have the option to come back and finish at a later time that day. Finishing the work with accuracy and professionalism is the goal to gain the feeling of satisfaction and shows your manager that you can and will be productive.

According to the Institute for the Study of Distributed Work, an employer saves over $2,000 per telecommuting employee per year on the cost of absenteeism and reduces business disruptions due to inclement weather, family emergencies, childcare, labor disputes, and so on. The telecommuting option also helps businesses hire and retain experienced workers. By offering a telework option organizations can attract qualified or specialist employees that do not reside near the place of business. Offering it as an option for existing employees helps retain employees, whom have been trained for a specific line of work, and gives the employee an option to continue working with the company instead of needing to quit due to personal reasons or moving out of the geographic area. Telecommuting also saves the employer costs related to office overhead and parking requirements. Society benefits from less pressure on the transportation infrastructure and, subsequently, less air pollution and gas consumption.

Advantages For The Employee
Increased Flexibility: Telecommuters have more control over their time than those working in the office. When working at home they work at their peak energy times which adds flexibility to their overall day and schedules.

Three barriers may stand in the way of telecommuting being an attractive employment alternative to some employers: management difficulties, training issues, and needs of the position. Managers can be uncomfortable with employees they can't see. Therefore, telecommuting requires a shift to a management-by-objectives style. The manager and employee should agree on pre-established goals for the employee and manage the results versus the process. These performance standards are a guideline of what needs to be done and by what time. The Teleworder's performance is evaluated directly by how they meet the performance standards. The performance standards also help the company to keep a close eye on actual cost benefits, productivity, and morale of the telecommuting employee. The manager needs to make certain an appropriate means of evaluating productivity of the pre-established goals is in place to avoid misunderstandings down the road. An open line of communication by phone, fax, or modem allows the manager and telecommuting employee to work out issues that may arise but also keeps the employee in the office 'loop'. There is a good chance that the telecommuting employee becomes a forgotten part of the team since the other employees don't see or hear from them often enough.

Training is also essential for the success of a telecommuting program. Training should include online orientation and how to set-up a virtual office in the home. You must also determine who is responsible for what expenses (utilities, office supplies, travel expenses to meetings, and so on) and how you will interact with the main office to stay part of the team. Preparation for isolation, distractions, and technical pitfalls -- as well as how to stimulate ideas, creativity, and professionalism – should be considered.

Finally, as mentioned above, not all employees are good candidates for telecommuting. Besides employee personality, an assessment if the job function and a telecommuting job are a good match. Questions regarding the job such as - Does the employee need access to office files to perform the job function?; Are there meetings that the employee will need to attend in person?; Could all supplies be made available in a remote work location to accommodate a telecommuter for a particular job? - need to be answered and successfully evaluated. Furthermore, many employers like to have an employee work in the office from six months up to two years before telecommuting is offered as an option.

Telecommuting must be considered, first and foremost, as a tool for meeting business needs rather than a personal accommodation. That said persons requiring this accommodation can fulfill those business needs creating a mutually beneficial work arrangement. Beyond that, telecommuting can be an enviable lifestyle that adds balance to work and home life.
Subsequent articles will explore steps for selling telecommuting to management or working for yourself while marketing your telecommuting skills to others. There are also nuts and bolts to setting up your 'virtual office' and a new lifestyle that you should be prepared for. Advancements through technology have opened the door to this working partnership. It is not there for the taking but you can find your way to succeeding as a telecommuter.

Toni Grundstrom's expertise is in Marketing. Working for a professional association, government entity, and small business as a Telecommuter provides understanding of the concept and the issues surrounding this working option. She advocates for, informs and educates people who telecommute, work at home, or own a home based business. They are Professionals Working At Home.

This article may be distributed freely on your website, as long as
this entire article, including links and this resource box are unchanged.

Copyright 2007 Toni Grundstrom All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Getting Past The Gatekeepers

Jamie Herzlich

You're convinced you have a great product or service and want to get it to the right people, but before you can even make a pitch, you're stopped dead in your tracks by the gatekeeper.

The gatekeeper can take many forms: personal assistant, secretary, office manager or even voice mail. Getting past these gatekeepers can be a daunting task, but it's not impossible, experts say. It just requires a little more planning and persistence on your part.Gatekeepers are "specifically trained to keep you away," says Jeff Goldberg of Jeff Goldberg & Associates, a Long Beach sales training and consulting firm. "If you're going to get in touch with the people you want to sell to, you'd better figure out how you're going to get past them or through them."

So how do you best do that?Well, it starts with understanding who the key decision makers are, so you can best focus your efforts on reaching them and not be handed off from gatekeeper to gatekeeper, experts say."Do your homework first," advises Maura Halligan of AdvantEdge Sales Training Inc. in Massapequa Park. "You don't use the gatekeeper to do your homework for you."Create an ideal client or customer profile, suggests sales trainer Wendy Weiss of Weiss Communications Llc in Manhattan and author of "Cold Calling for Women" (DFD Publications, $15.95).

Look at your existing customer base and analyze what the titles of the key decision makers are, she notes. That will give you a better idea of the kinds of people you should be targeting.You can also check out online databases like, which has more than nine million business contacts in a searchable directory.And if all else fails, you can always verify with the gatekeeper if the person you are requesting is an appropriate fit. Just be sure when speaking to the gatekeeper that you don't approach that person in a passive or submissive way, Goldberg says.

Be polite, but ask firmly to speak to the person in charge.Speak with "authority, self- confidence and assurance," adds Weiss, also known as "The Queen of Cold Calling." If you behave like a boss, the secretary will perceive you as being a boss and give more value, importance and urgency to your call, she notes.If he or she asks what you're calling about, offer some information like "I'd like to discuss some ideas related to cash flow," and then try to take control of the conversation by asking again if their boss is available, advises Linda Berke of Taylor Performance Solutions in Melville, which offers sales training. If they say they're unavailable, ask when would be a good time to reach them, she suggests.

To help avoid a lot of this resistance, try getting a referral, Halligan says. So you might say to the gatekeeper, "I was told to call your boss by X," she notes. Another way is to mention another company in their industry that you're doing work for. So you'd say, "We just finished a project for X, and we thought since your company is in the same business, there could be some good opportunities here," she notes.

Of course, the rules change if you get voice mail rather than a person. It's best to call again, but if you have to leave a message, keep it short, suggests Michelle Nichols, a sales expert and president of Hug Your Kids Llc in Reno, Nev."Make sure your first five to 10 words are extremely relevant," she adds. "You need to leave a compelling message with a benefit in it."If your calls go unanswered, put the prospect aside and try the person again at a later date, Goldberg says."You don't want to harass people," he says. "You should always have enough leads so no one gatekeeper matters to you.


If the front door doesn't work ... Try calling when the gatekeeper isn't likely to be around, either before 9 a.m., after 5 p.m. or even on a Saturday. You'd be surprised how many executives arrive early or stay later, and you just may catch them at their desk. Look for their direct dial on their company Web site, or some companies offer extensions via an automated telephone directory. You can also dial a random extension or department and ask to be transferred.,0,6095875.story

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Schumer seeks temporary small-business loan program

Sen. Charles Schumer yesterday called on the Bush administration to create a temporary small-business direct-loan program to serve as a bridge until funds kick in from the $700-billion federal bailout for Wall Street banks.B

ecause it will take a month for the bailout funds to enter the market, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it is imperative for the federal government to help small businesses that may have trouble acquiring short-term loans to cover things like payroll or purchases.

For the full story click here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Top Ten Tips for Magic Marketing

By Philip Chandler, Business Development Consultant

Whether you already run a business or are thinking of starting one, effective marketing is one of the keys to your success. Conversely, failure to pay sufficient attention to the way you present yourself to actual and potential customers is one of the shortest routes to obscurity.

So, culled from the advice given over many years to my clients, here are my top 10 tips for putting magic into your marketing, with special regard to the needs of people starting with limited resources.

Tip #1: Identify your prospects
Who exactly are your potential customers? Without being able to clearly and concisely answer that question, your marketing campaign will be a hit-and-miss affair with little hope of real success. Too many people new to business think they can sell to everyone. Craftsman-made, high-quality goods sell to people who appreciate and can afford them, not to bargain-hunters or people with good taste and no money. Cheap-and-cheerful, mass-produced products sell mainly to people with less discrimination and lower incomes.

Tip #2: Understand why people buy
People buy in order to feel good, or to satisfy a pressing need or desire. They buy with emotion and justify with logic. Give them good emotional reasons to buy, then show them why their purchase was a really sensible move.

Tip #3: Sell Benefits, not Features
People buy solutions - otherwise known as benefits - not features. They only care about what your product or service can do for them. They want to know that it will do something to improve their lives in some way - not that it is packed with technology they neither understand nor appreciate. Look at your product from a customer’s point of view - would you buy it? What advantages does it have over the competition?

Tip #4: Use simple language
Keep jargon for shop-talk with your colleagues - keep it out of your sales literature, unless you are selling to the trade or a highly technical market. People hate unexplained acronyms in body text. Use plain language and keep sentences reasonably short.

Tip #5: Create a coordinated corporate image
You don’t have to be a multi-national to have a corporate image. Look at how you or your company appears to your customers from their point of view. What do they see when opening your envelope? What effect do the colours, typeface, layout, paper, etc have on people? Have you ever asked them? If you have a high quality product or service, you need to position yourself appropriately in the marketplace using well-designed, high class print and promotional material to project a consistent, congruent image.

Tip #6: Use free and low-cost advertising
Before spending a fortune on media advertising, consider the possibilities for self-publicity offered by story-hungry local newspapers and radio stations. Study them carefully and angle your copy to match their house style. Get yourself interviewed. Consider using leaflets delivered door-to-door to sell domestic products - one way to accurately target your market. Use cards or posters in shop windows or notice boards if appropriate. For mail order products, test classified ads followed up with sales letters before venturing into display space. Always create coded ads so you can track results, otherwise you will never know what works and what does not.

Tip #7: Concatenate your products
Concatenation is the process of forming logical links between your products such that one purchase will lead to others. For example, having read this article you may want to know more about my company’s services and publications. I may consult for you one day, which may lead on to writing your sales literature or training your sales team. Using this technique, you can approach prospects with low-cost - or even free - offers, knowing that a percentage of them will go on to buy your more profitable lines later on. Had you hit them with the big-ticket item first, you would probably have had a tougher time making the sale. Each product should be complete in itself and have logical links to others: don’t cheat by leaving something out of product #1 which forces them to buy #2.

Tip #8: Ask for Referrals
When you have done a good job for someone, ask them if they can suggest two or three other people who might also benefit from your service. Even if they don’t buy, you can still ask for referrals, as in: “I understand that this does not suit your needs right now, and can you suggest someone who may be interested?” Give people an incentive to recommend others, such as a coupon redeemable against future purchases.

Tip#9: Exceed people’s expectations
Go the extra mile. Do something extra without expecting payment. Time and time again it has been proved that people will pay over the odds for exceptional service. A friend of mine actually traveled two or three times a year from Devon to York (about 600 miles round trip) by train to visit her favorite hairdresser! Extreme, perhaps, but this is just one example of the lengths people will go to for that little bit extra. Do more than you promise, and your name will be etched on your customers’ memories in gold lettering. Do less, and you may never see them again.

Tip #10: Learn from feedback
The most accurate and valuable market research you will ever do is face-to-face with your customers. If you want to know what they think of you, ask them! Ask them what they want and they will tell you in plain, jargon-free language. Talk to people - they love to tell you what you are doing right and what you could do better. And it will save you a fortune in fees from market research companies.
Copyright © 1997 P J Chandler. All Rights Reserved.

A New Name - More Precise and Informative Blog

Thanks for visiting me through asll these yeas. I have decided to consolidate all my activitiese into this site. information can be found here as well as information about starting up and successfully running your small business.

Hope to see you back here often.


Small Business - Google News