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Tell Your Banker These Two Things When You Want to Borrow Money

By Bigg Success Staff
04-24-08

Bigg Success in Business

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There’s a complaint that you’ll hear from banker after banker. Although it’s not really a complaint; it’s an observation from which we can learn.

They’ll tell you that potential borrower after potential borrower sit in front of them seeking money. These borrowers weave elaborate tales about the businesses they plan to build. They tell them about all kinds of things.

However, a half hour … three-quarters of an hour … even an hour later, they still haven’t told the banker the two most important things.

#1 – How much you want to borrow
After you extend pleasantries with your banker, the first thing you should tell him or her is exactly how much money you want.

Many people are uncomfortable talking to bankers and even more uncomfortable talking about borrowing money. But if bankers don’t lend money, they won’t stay in business.

That’s the product they sell (or rent in their case). So don’t be shy about telling them this.

#2 – How you will pay it back
The rest of your conversation should focus on this. Many business people make another huge mistake here – they talk about sales. But remember this …

Sales don’t repay bank loans, profits do!

So talk about your profits – historical and projected. Explain why you feel this loan will increase your profits. Tell your banker what you will do if those profits don’t materialize.

Tell your banker how much you want to borrow and how you will pay it back. It’s a simple outline for an effective loan presentation.

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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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Growth: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Bigg Success Staff
03-26-08

Bigg Success in Business

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When business owners talk about growth, they usually talk about sales growth. While it is important to look at the growth of the top-line, it’s even more important that the bottom-line increases.

Sales growth doesn’t necessarily lead to profit growth. The reason is that sales growth may be "good", "bad", or even “ugly”. 

Good growth

"Good" growth can be defined as an increase in sales that also increases profits. You really want to see profits rising at a higher rate than the percentage increase in sales. That shows that you’re controlling your costs well and achieving economies of scale.

Bad growth
"Bad" growth happens when an increase in sales leads to a decrease in profits. How can that be?  If it costs more to produce each additional sale, profits will decline.

Seems obvious, doesn't it?  However, in practice, a lot of managers get so focused on making sales that they fail to consider the costs of those sales. You have to determine whether your organization just isn’t controlling costs well at this new level or if you’re reaching diseconomies of scale.

Ugly growth
"Ugly" growth is growth at a rate that exceeds the financial resources of the business.  It may even be "good" growth, but the financial resources of the business may be depleted before that becomes apparent. Growth consumes capital, because assets such as your receivables and your inventories have to increase to support that growth.

Growing sales is the only way to grow profits in the long run.  So you should concentrate on growing sales – the right way. Keep profit margins at the top of your mind, but remember that all of your bills are paid with dollars!

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Danger: 10 Warning Signs of Trouble Ahead for Your Business

By Bigg Success Staff
03-19-08

Bigg Success in Business

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We’re told that diagnosing a medical condition early greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. The same is true for your business – seeing the warning signs early gives you the opportunity to solve minor issues before they become major problems.

Cash to a business is like blood to our bodies. It has to continue flowing or we won’t survive. The bottom line is that you can’t run out of cash. So you have to know how to diagnose and treat the source of the ailment before it spreads.

With that in mind, here are ten signs that your business may be heading for trouble:

#1 – Lost market share
Your sales may be growing, but your share of the market may be falling. Market share is precious – among other things, it provides leverage to raise prices as your costs increase. As competitors enter your market, you have to work even harder to maintain (and hopefully increase) your share or your business may get into trouble.

#2 – Declining customer counts
Your sales may be holding steady, but fewer and fewer people are making purchases. Your remaining customers are spending more, possibly because of price increases. You have to find a way to attract new customers or your business is headed for trouble. 

#3 – Low repeat and referral business
You need a healthy percentage of repeat business because it’s much less expensive to keep a customer happy than to get a new one. It also shows that your product or service is still meeting the needs of a core base of people who will refer other people to you. If your customers aren’t coming back, your business may face trouble.

#4 – Declining sales

If your sales are falling, you’re definitely headed for trouble. It may have nothing to do with you – it may be your industry that is experiencing trouble. Isolate whether it’s a problem with your business or the industry as a whole to know your best strategy.

#5 – Disproportionate sales to a small group of customers
Picture this extreme situation – all of your sales come from one customer. You’re totally at the mercy of that customer. It’s like being an employee without the safeguards that go with employment! Generally speaking, if more than ten percent of your sales are to one customer, you may face trouble at some point.

#6 – High employee turnover

When you lose employees, customers are affected – they deal with less experienced people who don’t know your business or the customer’s needs as well as long-time employees. The costs of training people so they’re fully productive are also significant. If you can’t retain employees, your business will likely face trouble.

#7 – Costs rising faster than sales (declining profit margins)
Costs rise for a number of reasons. As your sales rise, so will your costs. If they don’t, why do you need that cost at all? So rising costs are expected. However, costs that rise faster than sales means you will face trouble at some point because you’ll have less and less profit for each dollar of sales. 

#8 – Disproportionate purchases from one vendor

You don’t want to be dependent on any vendor for purchases in any category. That gives that vendor too much leverage in your business. They’ll be able to pass on costs to you that you may not be able to pass on to your customers. If you don’t have a diverse base of vendors (or at least a back-up plan), your business will probably face trouble sometime.

#9 – Unwarranted increase in receivables
It’s great to make sales, but not if you don’t get paid! That’s worse than not making the sale at all because it costs you money to make a sale. Slow paying customers also create problems because you can’t pay your bills with receivables. If you don’t control your receivables, your business may be headed for trouble.

#10 – Unjustifiable inventory build-up
Depending on your business, inventory may be even less liquid than receivables. First, you have to sell it; then you have to collect on the sale. Inventory that’s not turning over is dead-weight. So if your inventory is building up too fast, your business will likely experience a cash crunch at some point.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Don't Make This Costly Mistake

Which is better – a $100 decrease in costs or $100 increase in income?

It’s always good to increase our income, but more people get in trouble on the cost side. This applies to your business as well as your personal finances.

Your business
Assume that you own a retail store. Every product in your store sells for $100 and costs $40. So you keep $60 every time you sell a product.

Now let’s say you’re able to cut your expenses by $100. You get to keep all of it!

So, which is better? Cutting expenses by $100! That yields $40 more!

Now, you may ask, how do you do that? Here’s something we have learned …

As you get busy running your business, it’s easy for costs to creep in that aren’t increasing sales like you thought they would. Get rid of these costs!

One of the biggest complaints bankers have about small business people is that they are too focused on their top line (sales) and they don’t spend enough time thinking about the bottom line (profit).

In the long run, your profit can only grow as fast as your sales. But in the near-term, your bottom line will grow much faster if you keep a close eye on costs.

Your personal finances
This is the same story, but for a different reason. It’s all about taxes.

Let’s assume that you will pay 30 percent on your next $100 of income. So, if you make $100 more, you get to keep $70 after taxes.

But if you can spend $100 less, you’re $100 ahead because you’ve already paid the taxes on that money!

Let’s say you get a $5,000 a year pay raise. You decide to celebrate by buying a new house … you upgrade! Your mortgage payment is now $4,800 a year higher than it was before. But hey, you have $5,000 more income, so you’re still $200 ahead, right?

That’s BEFORE TAXES.

Once we factor in 30 percent for taxes ($1,500), you’re $1,300 behind!

And the bad news has just started. This new, bigger, more expensive house probably has higher property taxes; it costs more to insure; it requires more repairs and maintenance.

Before you know it, you’re $5,000 in the whole!

What should you do with the raise?

Once again, your specific situation will determine what you should do. Consider giving yourself a SMALL reward – you’ve earned it! Then, if you have any debt – particularly credit card debt – pay that off because your return will exceed almost any investment. And it’s a guaranteed return!

Once you have that debt paid off, the money becomes yours! Now you can invest it in things that will 38 jump start your passive income].

The bottom line is this – you have complete control over your expenses. You have to convince someone to say “yes” to make a sale or get a raise. It’s much easier to control your costs!

Where have you cut costs in your biz or personal life?
Share your tips with us!

You’ve probably heard our bigg quote today, but it was so fitting that we used it anyway. Here’s Ben Franklin –  

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

And we bet that, if ole’ Ben Franklin was around today, he’d think about the taxes he was paying and modify his quote to – A penny saved is BETTER than a penny earned!

Next time, we’ll continue the money talk, but with a twist. Comedic writer Jake Novak joins us to share his “Top 5 Signs You're Managing Your Money Like Wall Street.” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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