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5 Marketing Strategies to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck During a Recession

By Bigg Success Staff
05-30-08

Bigg Success in Business

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When times get tough, businesses often cut their marketing budgets. This may not be the best move you can make, but it may be necessary. If you need to cut back, there are ways to do it without destroying your future prospects.

Here are five ways to get the biggest bang for your buck during a recession.

Current customers

It’s much less expensive to market to your current customers than to find new ones. So share the savings with your customers! Find a way to save them money and they’ll be more likely to buy from you, even in tough times.

Contacts

Step up your networking efforts. The more people you meet, the more likely it is that you’ll find someone who needs what you sell. You may spend less money on marketing during a recession. Make up for that by investing more time in your marketing endeavors.

Referrals

The best way to get referrals is to ask for them! Ask your current customers for people they know who would benefit from what you offer. You may even offer an incentive to them for doing it. And don’t forget to work your contacts for referrals as well.

Customers like your customers

If you can identify people who share the characteristics of your current customers, you can target them efficiently. Check with your mailing service. They should be able to compare your customer base to their databases to find these prospects. This will also help you later with all your marketing efforts.

Counter-cyclical segments
Some products or services do better in a recession. Identify the areas of your business that are likely to gain more attention during tough times. Use those areas as a way to keep people buying from you and to gain new customers. Invest in what’s going to bring in dollars now.

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The Billionaire and the Batboy: What Warren Buffett Learned from Eddie Bennett

Warren Buffett, the great investor who is the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and now the richest person in the world according to Forbes, told a story about a batboy in Berkshire Hathaway’s 2002 annual report.

The batboy was Eddie Bennett, who was 19 years old in 1919. He began his career with the Chicago White Sox, who went to the World Series that year.

The next year, Eddie moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers. He had the Midas touch. They also won their league title that year. Two in a row for Eddie.

But once again, Eddie saw a better opportunity. So he joined the Yankees in 1921. They won their first pennant ever. Eddie knew he was in the right place so he stayed put. The Yankees won five American League titles in the next seven seasons. 

What did this mean to Eddie? He made as much during the World Series as he made all year. So by choosing the right team with whom to associate, he doubled his income.

And he became perhaps the best known batboy in baseball history.

5 lessons Eddie Bennett teaches us

#1 – Sometimes it pays to switch teams.
If you’re with a team that doesn’t look like a bigg winner, and you see a better one, then go for it!

#2 – Don’t have a scarcity mentality.

People who think like this can’t work with others because they don’t think there’s enough to share. Eddie shows us that we may actually make more money BY working with others than we could on our own.

#3 – You don’t have to be the star to be a star.

Eddie became famous in his own right. He’s written about just like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In fact, he’s the first of that great trio that we’ve blogged about!

#4 – Every job is important.

A supporting role is just as important as the starring role. Eddie knew his place and the importance of what he did. He knew that if he did a good job in his role, other people would thrive in theirs. And he would reap the benefits along with them!

#5 – He had a passion for what he did.
The fans knew it and the players knew it. They respected him for the role that he played. It’s reported that Eddie and Babe Ruth became good friends because they were both at the top of their game.

What Warren Buffett learned from Eddie

In the annual report we referenced earlier, Warren Buffett describes himself as the batboy for Berkshire Hathaway. He turns the heavy-hitting over to the leaders of the businesses in which he invests. He plays a supporting role so they can step up to the plate and hit home runs.

It’s a lesson in management and leadership – give your people the tools they need when they need them and watch them succeed bigg!
 

Speaking of giving your people tools, share Bigg Success with them.
Just click on “Share This” below to E-mail, Digg, Stumble, Mixx and more

We thought it only fitting for our bigg quote today to come from Warren Buffett.

“To be a winner, work with winners.”

Otherwise, you risk striking out!

Next time, we’ll discuss tips for spotting your bigg opportunity. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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25 Ways to Lead Your Organization Through Good Times and Bad

By Bigg Success Staff
05-14-08

Leadership Skills

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Leadership is challenging under any condition. In this article, we’ll offer some tips to survive the bad times and to let the good times keep rolling! We discuss five great tips from each of five great articles along with the links to the original articles themselves.

5 Tips to Keep Your Organization’s Knowledge in Your Organization

#1 – Don’t let your best people leave.

#2 – Establish a mentoring program for new employees.

#3 – Share best practices.

#4 – Share lessons learned.

#5 – Document, document, document.

This is a fantastic article on The Providers Edge site. Check out the entire article to learn how to reduce knowledge loss in your organization. *Note that this link will open a PDF file.


5 Key to Overcoming a Crisis

#1 – Keep in mind that business without risk is business without growth.

#2 – Work with the facts. Listen to the market, not your ego.

#3 – Act quickly and decisively. Delay makes things worse, not better.

#4 – Be a proactive leader and clearly communicate your decisions.

#5 – Be resilient and continue to innovate. Success is not forever, nor is failure.

These great tips come from Atsutoshi Nishida, CEO of Toshiba. He was discussing his company’s decision to pull the plug on HD DVD with Yukari Iwatani Kane of The Wall Street Journal. Check out the full interview for detail on overcoming a crisis in your organization.

 

5 Tips to Get the Best Results from Your Employee Training Programs

#1 – Remember that training is an investment.

#2 – Make sure the training is targeted and really needed.

#3 – Establish measurable returns.

#4 – Work with vendors that truly understand your needs.

#5 – Make sure the training is flexible and customized.

Chris Young wrote this excellent post on his Maximizing Possibility blog. You owe it to yourself to check out his complete explanation of his five tips for improving employee training and development during a recession or economic downturn.

… but we’re not done with training yet …


5 Pointers to Train Your People to Up sell / Cross sell

#1 – Tell your people what’s in it for them.

#2 – Give them clear objectives.

#3 – Create a non-threatening environment for role playing.

#4 – Assign them structured skill improvement activities.

#5 – Schedule a follow-up workshop about a month after the initial session.

This is an oldie, but a goody written by Brian J. Geery for BNET. He specifies it as sales training, but these tips are helpful for training for any human interaction. Read details of his five tips to ensure successful up selling / cross selling training.


5 Tips to Keep the Momentum Going

#1 – Reset greater challenges.

#2 – Review individual efforts.

#3 – Re-energize.

#4 – Rewind.

#5 – Recognize and reward.

Understanding these concepts is so important because momentum is such a precious thing. Check out the details on CareerBuilder’s top five tips for maintaining momentum.  

 

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From Refund to Riches: How to Turn a $2,300 Refund into $723,000!

With tax day upon us here in the United States, a lot of people will get a refund soon. So today, we’ll discuss how to turn that refund into riches.

But this blog is really about “found” money – money you weren’t expecting. The average refund last year (paid in 2007 from 2006 tax returns) was $2,287, according to the IRS.

That’s a nice down payment on a plasma TV!

That’s what a lot of people do – spend their refunds on things that won’t be worth much in a few years.

Instead of that, you could save and invest it. But isn’t that’s boring?

Boring can be exciting when your money starts to compound!

How to turn your $2,300 refund into $643,000!

Say you’re 25 years old and you get a $2,300 refund every year until you retire at 65. We’ll assume that you earn 8% on that money, which may be a little conservative depending on what you invest in.

Under these assumptions, that $2,300 a year invested will turn into a nest egg of over $643,000 when you retire!

Now is that boring?

Age makes a difference. Take the previous example for a 35-year old. Your nest egg is still significant – it’s over $281,000. But by waiting just ten years to start, it will be less than half as much!

But even then, you still create a nest egg of nearly $300,000.

2 ways it can be even better

#1 – Quit loaning the government money at 0%.
That’s what you’re doing when you get a refund – you’re getting your money back, but you don’t earn any interest on it while they hold it. So redo your W-4 so you only withhold what you expect to owe.

Then you won’t get a refund, but you’ll have more money in every paycheck. But here’s the key:

You have to be disciplined enough to invest that money!

Let’s say you do that – Invest your refund check this year, adjust your W-4, and then invest the extra money that shows up in your paycheck. You’re that 25-year old we talked about earlier. Only now …

… you’ll have over $723,000, instead of $643,000. It makes an $80,000 difference!

Doesn’t that open your eyes about the “cost” of a refund?

#2 – Pay off debt that’s costing you more than 8%.

We assumed an 8% return. If you have any debt that’s costing you more than 8%, pay it off first and your returns will be even higher! Once your debt is paid off, start investing to build your nest egg.

Jake’s Take – Top 5 signs that you hired the wrong accountant

#5 – He insists on filling out your return using only Roman Numerals.

#4 – He offers to help you boost your deductions by renting you his wife and kids.

#3 – He spends most of your consultation looking nervous and asking if you're wearing a wire.
 
#2 – He does all his calculations on an Etch-a-Sketch.
 
#1 – His client list includes Leona Helmsley, John Gotti, and the Unibomber.

Our bigg quote today is a Proverb.

“Money grows on the tree of patience.”

So do you want to watch your new plasma TV or do you want to watch your money grow? The choice is yours!

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Next time, we’ll discuss why being imperfect is perfect. Until then, here’s to your bigg success! 

 

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Are You Good, Fast, or Cheap?

There’s an old saying …

You can be good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two.

So you can be good and fast. You can be good and cheap. Or you can be fast and cheap.

So why can’t you be all three?

 

Because you can’t deliver all three. More specifically, you can’t defend all three. It costs money to be good; it costs money to be fast.

If you’re trying to compete on all three, a competitor can come along who only competes on two. Let’s say they’re good and cheap. Their cheap is cheaper than your cheap because they’re not trying to be fast. So now you’re only competitive on two of the factors – good and fast.

“Good, fast, and cheap” is really just a way of discussing the three components of value:

  • Quality
  • Service
  • Price

6 strategies to beat your competition

Defensive strategies 

#1 – Improve quality, keep price constant
If quality increases but price doesn’t, you increase the value your customers receive. You focus on trying to make your “good” better so you gain business.

#2 – Improve service, hold price constant
If you improve your level of service, while keeping your price the same, your customers will perceive it as a better deal. You focus on making “fast” even faster. This actually applies to anything having to do with customer service, not just speed. 

#3 – Decrease price, keep quality constant

If you can decrease your price without sacrificing quality, you’ll increase the value to your customers. We all love a good deal, right?

#4 – Decrease price, maintain service levels
If price falls without sacrificing service, your customers will realize they’re getting a better deal. More people will buy more!

So here’s the caveat to these four strategies – you have to make a profit to stay in business. These defensive strategies give you a competitive edge, but they all cut into your profit margin.

So what you’re trying to do with these strategies is increase profit by increasing sales enough to compensate for the lower margin. It’s risky! Because if you don’t get it right, you’ll work harder (because you’re selling more) for less money (profit).

Compounding strategies

#5 – Improve quality, increase price
If you can improve your quality, but increase your price, you’ll hold value constant. Your customers are still happy, because they’re getting the same value as before. They’re paying more now, but they’re getting a better product.

#6 – Improve service, increase price
This is the same as #5, only here you’re delivering a higher level of service.

These final two are designed to increase your sales and at least maintain your profit margin. Therefore, your profit should go up. Of course, we’re assuming that you’re able to maintain your customer base, even at the higher price. 

As you consider these strategies, think across your whole business. You may find it valuable to use different strategies for different products or services.

Our bigg quote today is by Michael LeBouf:

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

Create value for your business by delivering what your customers value.

Next time, we’ll answer a question from a member of our community about getting started on a project. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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