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Making More Money Per Hour

time_money_balanceBigg success is life on your own terms. Today’s topic really covers two of the five elements of bigg success – time and money.

Specifically, we want to discuss charging for your time. If you’re a consultant, a coach, a freelancer or anyone who bills hourly, how do you determine what an hour is worth?

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One of the biggest reasons small business people don’t reach bigg success is because they don’t charge enough. In fact, in many cases, the business fails for this reason.

So pricing your service is very important. We can think of two primary methods to arrive at a price:

The Market Approach

This is probably the most common way that entrepreneurs arrive at a price. With this method, you simply look at your competition to see how much they’re charging. Then depending on your strategy, you charge the same, a little more or a little less.

The Cost Approach

Here you determine how much you need to charge based on your cost structure and your opportunity costs. By opportunity costs, we mean:

How much could you make working elsewhere?

Add your hard costs to your opportunity cost to arrive at your price per hour.

Limitations

The downside to just using the Cost Approach is that it ignores the market. For instance, your price may be a lot lower than the market but you wouldn’t know it because you haven’t looked at the market. You would be leaving money on the table.

Or it may be a lot higher and the market won’t compensate you what you the amount you need for your time. The result would be a failure that could have been avoided.

The Market Approach also has its limitations. We have a friend who looked at his competitors’ hourly rate to determine how much he should charge. He opened up his shop and started losing a lot of money every month.

He was perplexed, so he did a little more competitive research. He discovered that all of his competitors were losing money as well. Everybody was in a price war; nobody was charging enough to make money.

So he increased his price based on his costs. He lost some customers when he did this but he started making money.

Because of the limitations each method has, we recommend that you use both methods when you’re trying to arrive at a price for your service. Then you’ll have two reference points from which to make decisions.

The Value Equation

Now we want to move to making more money per hour. From the customer’s point-of-view:

Value = (Service x Quality) / Price

From this equation, you can see that there are three ways to increase the value to your customer:

  • decrease your price
  • increase your service level
  • improve your quality

Of course, decreasing the price will very likely hurt you in the long-term. Look at it this way – do you want to work just as hard to make less money? Of course not. Yet a lot of small business people do this first.

So you would prefer to increase the value to your customer by providing a higher level of service or quality.

Let’s focus on service since quality is more up to you. Think about these four D’s:

  • dirty
  • difficult
  • dangerous
  • designed

By designed, we mean customized but we had to have a “d-word”! Dangerous might mean “risky”. However, keep in mind that risk is a matter of perspective. The customer may view something as extremely risky but you know how to manage the risk so it’s not really risky at all for you.

Here’s the key to these four D’s: Find something that your customer
doesn’t want to do, doesn’t know how to do, is afraid to do or just simply can’t do.

When you can do that, your customers will perceive more value for your service. You’ll find it easier to charge a premium. That’s more money per hour. That’s bigg success!
 

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Thanks so much for checking in on us today. Please join us next time when we’ll talk about the downside of education. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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A Costly Cost Cutting Measure

cutting_costs.jpgBigg Success is life on your own terms. Today, we’ll focus on one of the five elements of bigg success – money.

We’re all looking for more ways to save money. That’s understandable. However, we need to think about not just survival, but “surthrival.”

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Many business owners and managers, small and large, are cutting back on their advertising. This cost-cutting practice can be very costly in the long run.

Could not advertising cost you $1.5 million?

A McGraw-Hill study, about the recession in the early 1980s, found that companies that maintained or increased their advertising had sales 256% higher three years after the recession ended.

Think about that … two companies, each with a million dollars in sales go into a recession. The company that holds tight on its advertising, or perhaps even increases it, will do over $2.5 million within a few years after the recession ends if the second company, the one that cut its advertising, treads water.

Signaling the end of your business

A recent study by Ad-ology found that 56% of the people surveyed thought that retail stores that cut back on advertising must be struggling.

In other words, your advertising sends a “signal” to both your existing and potential customers. Just like a company cutting back on its dividend, you’re telling the public you don’t expect your future to be bright when you cut back on advertising.

The signal is so strong that 15% of the people surveyed thought it meant that the firm who cut back on its advertising wouldn’t be in business much longer.

The time – money trade-off

One of the other elements of bigg success is time. If you’re a regular here you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating:

If you don’t have money, you have to spend time. It’s part of the price of bigg success.

So if you really feel the need to cut back on how much money you spend on advertising, it will pay to spend more time promoting your business.

That means networking

Depending on your business, you may primarily build relationships offline or online. However, you will probably be well-served to do both. Integration is one of the keys to success in business today.

If you have employees with down time, make good use of it. Tell them that you want to keep spreading the word so you all surthrive.

What you ask them to do will also depend upon your business. You may have them put out door knob hangers or give away free samples of your product. Perhaps they can make some phone calls or send e-mails to your list of customers.

Where to place your focus

We stated it subtly in that last sentence. We should emphasize it – focus on your existing customers to get the best return on your investment (of money and time).

Research has shown that it costs between five to eight times as much to get a new customer as it takes to keep an existing one. So, at the very least, make sure you’re communicating with your existing customers at least four to six 6 times a year.

Find out what their problems are. Find a solution – even if you can’t solve it directly, help them find the answer to build your relationship.

The most cost-effective way to grow your business

Building relationships with your best customers is the most cost-effective way to grow your business. When you can “wow” your customers, they will …

  • buy more
  • buy more often
  • tell others

Segment & tailor

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marylynnWhile we’re talking about your existing customers, can you segment them into smaller groups so you can tailor your communications more precisely?

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georgeI used to own a heating and cooling service company. We got our technicians to note the age of the furnace or air conditioner when they were in our customer’s home or business. Then we wrote a letter specifically to this group. We generated over $300 of sales for every letter we mailed!

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This highlights another point we alluded to earlier – get your staff involved. Help them understand how it not only makes their jobs more secure, it also means you continue to grow as a company so there will be more opportunities for everybody. That’s bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we discuss what the underlying meaning of “I don’t have enough time.” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00411-060809.mp3

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3 Questions to Make Your Business Better

question As business owners, we often hear that we have to work on our business, not just in it. It’s a concept that sounds simple when you say it, but how do you get started?

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A lot of entrepreneurs thrive on bending the rules so the starting point isn’t always obvious. You have to create the rules – the operating system – so you will have time to work on your business in the future.

So, early in your business, you work on your business by working in your business!

You begin to develop those systems that will make delegation to your future employees more effective. To do that, ask yourself three questions:

  • What is your vision of the perfect transaction?
    Map out a transaction from beginning to end. Think about what you want your customers to experience during each step of the process. This will include: your advertising, the first interaction, and the closing of the transaction. But don’t forget to include what happens internally to support the transaction and follow-up with the customer.

But here’s the interesting thing when you bring your customers’ perspective in – every customer probably has one or two little things that they really like. If you can gear your organization to make that one customer happy on that one point, you’ll probably thrill the rest of your customers by doing it! They probably want it, too. They just haven’t vocalized it.

  • How can you improve one thing one percent?
    Take your bigg picture and bring in all the things that your customers have told you and begin working on one at a time.

We have a confession to make … these three questions aren’t ours. They come straight out of Ken Blanchard’s Raving Fans. It highlights these three questions through a great story and we highly recommend that you read his great book.

So these three questions will improve your performance, help you develop your operating systems, and keep you focused on the most important people in your business – your customers.

Putting it to work

Now you want to improve one thing one percent. We saw a great example of this in action. A company had their entire process mapped out on the wall of their conference room.

They had all these sticky notes up on the wall. Each sticky note represented something they wanted to test – something that represented a potential one percent improvement. These suggestions had been made by customers and by employees.

That’s what makes this concept so useful. It’s a great tool to get employee buy-in.

They get on board because they can see that their suggestions are being considered. More than that, they may get tested. The test results may call for full implementation!

It makes your employees feel like they’re a significant part of something bigger. They are valued. That leads to bigg success with your employees. 

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks for checking in on us today. Join us next time as we make a special announcement – a new beginning for Bigg Success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00354-031909.mp3

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