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A Parade of Failures Led to the Success of This Entrepreneur

BIGG Success from a parade of failuresHe started a store. It failed.

He started another one. It failed too.

He tried for the third time. No success.

The fourth time put him over the edge. He filed for bankruptcy protection.

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If his story ended there, we wouldn’t be talking about him today. He learned from all his failures. Then he tried for a fifth time.

His fifth attempt was a BIGG success! R.H. Macy opened the now famous department store.

Which brings us to our first point – you know about Macy’s. But did you know about the founders’ four failures? We didn’t.

Nobody cares about your failures once you are a BIGG success.

We also thought it was interesting that he opened his store way north of what was considered the retail district. If you want to be a BIGG success, find an un-served or under-served market.

Sometimes this means moving further from your competition – physically or in some other sense. In other cases, it means getting closer. For example, have you ever noticed that restaurants tend to cluster? They all attract customers to a specific area.

Outside the world of restaurants and retail, tech companies often cluster as well. Think Silicon Valley. The infrastructure is there. The people are there.

Now let’s talk about what inspired this post – the world renowned Macy’s Day Parade. The idea for this parade came from the employees.

Stay close to the front line to be a BIGG success as an entrepreneurial leader.

Many of Macy’s employees were recent immigrants. They were proud Americans but they missed some of the traditions and festivals of their homeland. So they decided to do a Thanksgiving parade to kickoff the Christmas season.

Over 250 thousand people showed up to watch it that first year. Of course, today more than 44 million people watch it on television every year.

It’s one of the best promotions anyone could ever imagine. And it reminds us all – do something BIGG if you want to get attention.

And don’t forget – this success story started with a parade of failures that led to one of the greatest parades of all. That’s BIGG success!

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10 Danger Signs for Business – Part 2

danger Last time, we discussed 5 of the 10 signs that your business may be heading for trouble. All involved looking at the structure of your top line, your sales. Now we want to move on to the next five signs.

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#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.

There’s a concept from Harvard Business School called The Service – Profit Chain. It says that employee satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction leads to revenue growth. And revenue growth leads to profit growth.

So the chain starts with employee satisfaction. High employee turnover is often a sign of unhappy employees. That is why this is such an important early warning sign. Plus the costs of training people so they’re fully productive are significant.

#7 – Costs rising faster than sales

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, it’s a bad sign if costs are rising faster than sales. You have less and less profit on each dollar of sales.

#8 – Disproportionate purchases from one vendor.

Sign #5 was being too dependent on a single customer. We don’t want to be dependent on any vendor either. This applies not just at the enterprise level, but within product categories as well.

If you’re too dependent on any one vendor in any one category, your vendor may have too much leverage in your business. They can pass on cost increases to you that you may not be able to pass on to your customers.

So it’s important to diversify your vendor base or at least have a back-up plan for needed supplies. Maybe you still use your vendor, but you know who you would go to if need be.

#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; you need cash!

This is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses right now. Their customers are paying slower, which means receivables are growing. Make sure you’re the squeaky wheel – you have to keep after them, make some noise, so you stay high on the list. Consider offering a discount for early payment or, even better, change your terms to cash-on-delivery if possible. And best of all, ask for prepayment. But that’s a whole other show!

If you can’t afford to offer a discount, make sure you’re charging a late fee and notifying your customers regularly of their balance due. Get on the phone and call them. See when they will pay and then follow-up if they don’t.

#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. Get slow moving inventory out the door, even if you have to give it away!

How does that help, you ask? Because space is costly for any business. And shelf space is an incredible asset for retailers. Having a product sitting there as dead weight costs any business a little bit; it costs retailers a lot!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we ask, “Do we need to take the social out of social media?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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10 Danger Signs for Business – Part 1

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There’s Gold In Them There … Customers!

(Image in today's post by asifthebes)

Squirrels, Nuts and Business Cycles

squirrel You might think that our title has something to do with the recent behavior of Wall Street and Washington. It probably could, but in this case, it doesn’t.

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It does refer to seasons. We’re in the Midwestern United States. We’re heading into fall which, of course, means winter is just around the corner. Squirrels are busy hoarding up nuts so they will have the food they need to sustain them through the winter months.

Hot and cold, boom and bust

Like the seasons, our economy moves through times when things are hot and times when they’re cold. We experience booms and busts.

It’s interesting, though, that our friends in the southern hemisphere are just heading into spring. Things are heating up there while they’re cooling down here! It reminds us that most businesses do best during the boom times, but some actually prosper when times are tough.

Almost every business has products or services that will do better when the economy isn’t doing as well. With your offerings, which ones will save your clients money? Those are the items you should promote now as consumers seek to stretch their budget.

Your cash stash

Speaking of stretching our budgets, just like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter, we should all make sure we have an emergency cash reserve. Financial planners recommend keeping between three to six months of living costs stashed safely away for ready access.

In recent times, some have suggested a Home Equity Line-of-Credit could be substituted for this cash reserve. Only you can decide if that’s the right option for you; however, with what’s going on with banks and the credit markets, it may pay not be your best option for your crucial cash stash.

If you own a business, you should also look at your working capital. Is it adequate to take you through a slow season? If not, look for ways to cut your costs so you can shore up your cash hoard.

Purchasing out of season

The seasons also create opportunities for us when we’re purchasing. For example, if you live where we live, you’ll probably get a better deal right now on a lawn mower than a snow blower. Timing your purchase when demand is down on these bigg ticket items can save you money.

Tougher times also create opportunities for us as consumers. Businesses still have bills to pay. They want to keep the doors open. So they may cut deals now that they would never consider in good times.

Purchasing in season

With other items, you’re better off buying in season. Retailers will often lure you to their stores by drastically discounting these items. For example, isn’t turkey cheaper right before Thanksgiving than any other time?

Time Money has a great article about the best time to buy everything. Planning when to buy is just as important as what you buy. Buying on impulse less often will save you BIGG money more often!

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Next time, we ask, “Are you a victim of your own success?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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What’s Your Pick-Up Line?

We know … we know … pick-up lines are for social settings. However, a great opening line helps you professionally as well.

Listen to the show to hear our opening line. It doesn’t translate well to print. Mary-Lynn also shares the “cheesiest” pick-up line she ever heard.

The paperboy who became a billionaire
W. Clement Stone sold papers as a kid. He became a billionaire by selling insurance door-to-door. He documented what he learned in his great book, The Success System That Never Fails.

Picture this – you respond to a knock at your door. You open it to see a young man pointing to a list of names. You recognize quite a few of them – they’re your friends and neighbors. All this has happened within a split second as he begins to speak:

“I believe this will interest you also.”

He didn’t tell them his name or say, “Hello.” He didn’t ask them how they were doing or talk about the weather. No! He had tested … and tested … and tested.  He knew this was his best opening line. It was part of his success system.

Let’s look at three essential components to a great opening line.

#1 – Take the “you” view.
You have to think from the other person’s point of view if you want their attention. You’re probably familiar with the acronym WIIFM – what’s in it for me? Immediately address it because everybody is so busy.

#2 – Engage them.
W. Clement Stone’s opener is intriguing, isn’t it?

You ask yourself, “Why does he think that I’ll be interested? Why were my friends and neighbors interested?”

It’s a disturbing comment! That’s one way to engage people. You may also ask a disturbing question. “Ever notice” how Andy Rooney, with 60 Minutes, does this? Can you hear his voice?

One example of a disturbing question is to ask something that doesn’t ring true. We recently did a show / blog entitled Does It Pay Be Smart?

You say to yourself, “Well, of course it does! So why are they questioning it? What‘s the rest of the story?” Go ahead … check it out …. you know you want to!

You can also engage people by telling a short story that is humorous, gripping, or inspirational.

#3 – Appeal to their emotions.
Let’s go back to the W. Clement Stone story. Picture him at your door again. He delivers his opening line – “I believe this will interest you also” – as he points to his list of your friends and neighbors.

Do you start to worry that you might be left out? That fear of being excluded gets you into the conversation.

This great opening line worked wonders for retailers
Michael Gerber wrote the phenomenal book, The E-Myth Revisited. The “E” stands for entrepreneur, by the way. He talked about opening lines that sales clerks use.

When you walk into a store, if you’re greeted by a clerk, what do they say?

“May I help you?”

How do you respond? Perhaps something like …

“No, thanks … I’m just looking.”

Gerber advised his retail clients to change the question to:

“Have you visited our store before?”

That’s still a simple “yes” or “no”. However, if the customer said, “Yes”, the sales associate would respond:

“Let me show you our specials for regular customers.”

If the customer said, “No”, the clerk replied:

“Let me show you our specials for first-time customers.”

Doesn’t seem like much of a change, does it? The results were anything but small …

Sales increased 16 percent, on average!

What’s your opening line? What works for you? Leave your suggestions in our comment’s section.

Our Bigg Quote was made over 2,500 years ago by Pythagoras, the mathematician and philosopher.

“Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.”

A great opening line will open doors for you. Next time, we’ll discuss how to tap into your hidden potential. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Related Post:

Timeless Principles: W.Clement Stone’s Success System

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Sam Walton’s Rules for Building a Business

By Bigg Success Staff
04-15-08

Bigg Success in Business

walton_book

Sam Walton built the world’s largest retailer from a single store. He says that he wasn’t much of a rule-follower, but in the end, there were things that he did that he felt made him successful.

In his autobiography, Made in America, he described ten things that worked for him.

#1 – Commit to your business.

#2 – Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them as partners.

#3 – Motivate your partners.

#4 – Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.

#5 – Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.

#6 – Celebrate your successes.

#7 – Listen to everyone in your company.

#8 – Exceed your customers’ expectations.

#9 – Control your expenses better than your competition.

#10 – Swim upstream.

And his unstated bonus rule … #11 – Break all the rules!

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