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The Two Sides of a Successful Small Business

yin-yangWe often encourage business owners to mentally step outside their business. You may find it helpful to look at your business through the lens of another industry.

For example, what if you thought of your business like the real estate business? Real estate has traditionally been one of the greatest creators of wealth.

Of course, there are many ways to make your money in real estate. We’ll use real estate development as our model because it’s the best analogy for start-up entrepreneurs and existing small business owners.

Listen to the audio version of this post. Click the player to hear Geore & Mary-Lynn on the BIGG Success Show podcast

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Development and management

The two sides of the business are development and property management.

The development side is about locating the property, preparing it for construction and actually building it.

The management side is about leasing the property and maintaining it.

Both sides are essential

It doesn’t do you any good to develop a site if you can’t find any tenants. Of course, without the building, you don’t have anything to show the tenants so it’s a moot point.

Wealth and income, today and tomorrow

Development creates wealth in the future.

Management creates income today.

The problem we see with so many small business owners is that they’re stuck on today. Management consumes all their time. They don’t do anything to create wealth tomorrow.

It’s hard to do. We’ve walked a thousand miles in those shows.

We’ve learned that you have to work presently in the future. You have to spend a certain amount of time as a developer. Otherwise, your business will stagnate.

Develop the habit of spending some time today on tomorrow:

  • Start small – maybe 15 minutes a day just thinking.
  • At some point, you’ll find a project – a new market to pursue, a new product or service to create, a new business to start or buy. You may need to find a little more time each day to develop it. That’s okay – you’ll know you’re setting yourself up for more income tomorrow.
  • Of course, don’t forget to keep your current customers happy. You’ll count on this income to help you keep building your business.

It’s the yin and yang of entrepreneuring. Doing two things at once leads to BIGG success!

Would you like some help developing the next phase of your business? E-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave a voice message at 888.455.2444.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00688-041211.mp3

Image in this post from Noir

A Bold Career Move May Save Your Life

opening a new career doorWe chat with a number of entrepreneurs day to day. We’ve noticed that a number of them are tired, stressed and even burned out.

In some cases, it’s because of the economy. More often, though, they’re just ready for a new challenge.

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We often associate career moves with employees. But even small business owners sometimes need to move on.

There’s good reason to do so: study after study have shown a link between satisfaction at work and our health. Even the person at the top experiences this occasionally.

But for small business owners, it’s not just a matter of changing jobs. It may require a bold move.

Listen to The BIGG Success Show podcast to hear:

  • George share what led to his career move
  • 7 signs that it’s time to move on
  • The surprising thing that happens when entrepreneurs talk about what’s next for them

If you’re a business owner thinking about moving on, maybe we can help. Leave us a voice message at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00669-020811.mp3

(Image in today’s post by ilco)

Small Businesses Can Sell the Black Friday Way

black_fridayHere we are … it’s Black Friday – the day when, historically, retailers get into the black. So they’re hoping that people shop, shop, shop.

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marylynnBlack Friday has almost become a sporting event. I just don’t enjoy shopping that much so it’s not for me. But plenty of people sure do enjoy trying to find that irresistible bargain.

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georgeI don’t like standing in line for anything but I especially don’t like doing it to spend money! Crowds are great – at a concert or a ball game!

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In honor of Black Friday, we want to talk about merchandising in your business. We’ll discuss four lessons you can learn from retailers about selling your wares.

Price check in Lane 123
If you’re a true retailer – you buy goods at wholesale and resell them – it’s easy to determine your cost.

If you’re a service business, it’s more difficult. But you have to know how much anything you sell costs or you risk charging too little. A lot of small business owners fail for this very reason. 

Attention K-Mart Shoppers. There’s a blue light special on …
K-Mart had scrapped this program. They brought it back earlier this year.

Surprise your good customers with a special deal now and then. We heard about a car dealer who would occasionally pick a customer whose car was getting serviced and give them their service that day for free. It created tremendous goodwill.

It would be a customer who had bought the car from him and did all their service with him. In other words, a customer on whom he made a lot of money. Occasionally giving them free service was just a small rebate.

But it paid dividends to the car dealer as well – he got a lot of word of mouth advertising.

Manager on duty to the front of the store please
The front of the store makes us think about the psychology of buyers. Have you ever noticed how most grocery stores have a fairly similar layout?

Research shows that most people walk into a store and turn to the right. So what do you want to put in the front of the store on the right side?

High margin items, of course!

In a grocery store, you notice the milk and eggs are usually in the back – nowhere near the bread. They want you to walk through the whole store so you see more things you might buy on impulse.

Every business has customers who behave in similar ways. Get to understand how you can naturally show your customers more of your products and services.

Clean up in aisle 5
Just about every business that handles inventory ends up with some slow moving items. You need to clean them out so you can get new inventory in that will turn faster so you make more money.

The mistake some small business owners make is being afraid to discount an item – especially for lower than cost. But the sooner you get an item that isn’t selling off your shelf, the better.

Another version of this is displaying a discounted item with a full-priced item. Think about it …

How many times do you see a skirt that’s on sale displayed with a full-priced top?

You like the combination so you buy it. You may be able to do the same type of thing in your business.

Retailers have become pretty sophisticated at discounting items to draw people to their store. They know the law of averages means these people will buy a lot more than just the sale items. Find the lures to bring in your customers and you’ll be a bigg success!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll look at the only three ways to get more done. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00526-112709.mp3

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The Coming Age of Small Business – Part 1

small-businessIt’s one of the most famous opening lines of any novel. Charles Dickens, in A Tale of Two Cities, wrote, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Could the same be true for small business owners today?

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Many small businesses are struggling. According to Discover’s Small Business Watch, half of the small business owners surveyed reported cash flow problems over the last three months. The good news is the number is down slightly, but it’s still significant.

It’s been tough to get credit. Vendors are more demanding than ever while, at the same time, customers are paying slowly – especially if you do business with certain state governments.

But it’s also a great time to be a small business owner.

In a post awhile back on the Harvard Business blog, Peter Bergman said small companies will win. He talked about a small business that had won large accounts – and got prepaid – even though they were competing against much bigger, more established companies. He says clients aren’t looking for …

big names …
flashy offices …
lots of time in the industry …
highly-capitalized vendors. 

So what do they want?

Bergman says: “Small is the new big. Sustainable is the new growth. Trust is the new competitive advantage.”

He reports that even senior level managers at many large companies have lost faith in their companies. As go the employees, so goes the company.

People want to do business with people they trust.
Not companies.
Not organizations.
Not institutions.

People.
People want to do business with people.
People want to trust again.
People want to do business with people they trust.

Increasingly, that’s small businesses. Trust is one of the reasons small companies have an inherent competitive advantage right now.

So to capitalize on this trend, super-serve your customers in your chosen niche. Build relationships by building trust and you’ll create a competitive advantage.

It’s hard for large companies to create a culture of trust. It’s much easier for small business owners.

If you think about it, we’re back where we started. In days gone by, we did business with people we knew.

It wasn’t about the promises of a faceless brand; it was about the promises of a person. Deliver on your promises and you’ll be a 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. We trust you enjoyed it!

Please join us next time when we’ll look at this topic again by exploring two other ways small businesses can gain a competitive advantage. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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2 Important Things to Know About Your Customers

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2 Important Things to Know About Your Customers

customerIt was a beautiful day in our area on Sunday so we decided to go for a drive. There’s an outlet mall about thirty minutes from us. So we stopped and shopped!

We like to combine work and play. While we were playing, we got a couple of ideas for post, including this one today.

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Where are your customers from?

As we made a purchase, the clerk asked us for our phone number. She said, “We like to know where our customers are from.”

Isn’t that an important thing to know about your customers? 

Geographic area
This is what the store we were at wanted to know. This may or may not be important to your business. It may be useful for targeting areas for your marketing.

Marketing activity
Unlike large companies, small businesses can’t afford to invest a lot of money on building their brand. When we spend money as small business owners, we need to see a return in the short-term while also building our brand long-term.

So discover what marketing activity is driving people to your business. While this is an inexact science, you want to determine as closely as you can if the time and money you’re spending on various activities are paying off.

Consumers often segment the research and the purchase. They may do some research on you as a result of one marketing activity. Then they may respond to another one to make a purchase.

The first activity may be important to the process but doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

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georgePrior to Bigg Success, my businesses relied on inbound telemarketing. In other words, our customers called us to schedule projects. Our Customer Service Reps might ask this question, “How did you hear about us?” Later in the process, we might also have them ask, “How did you get our phone number today?” We often got a different answer from the same caller!

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marylynnIsn’t that amazing? You don’t want to annoy your customers with too many questions. You do want to get as much information as you can as a natural part of the conversation you’re having.

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Demographics
There are a number of factors that may be important to understand about your customers. What is their level of education? How much money do they make? What is their occupation?

Obviously, you may not directly ask them some of these questions. You may survey them anonymously.

This information helps you target your products and services better. It’s also highly likely that your future customers will be a lot like your current customers. So it helps you qualify prospects.

Where are your customers going?

It’s arguably more important to know this one. What are your customers trying to accomplish? What problems are they having trying to do that? How can you help them?

Retailers
The type of business you have will dictate how you find this out. Let’s say you’re a retailer serving lots of customers with relatively small purchases. While they’re checking out, you may ask them if there was anything that they didn’t find.

You may want to keep a list of their requests. When you start seeing something over and over, you may want to add that item to your inventory.

Consumer services
For a consumer service business, the question is very similar. “Is there anything else that I can help you with today?” 

We used a version of this in my service businesses and it was amazing the projects we would uncover. For instance, we often learned that they were considering a remodel from this simple question.

Business services

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marylynnIf your business serves other businesses, the best way to find this out is the hard way – talk with them! This is what we do. It takes a lot of legwork to keep in touch with your customers at this level. But it’s the best way to find opportunities.

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Nobody likes to be sold. People like to buy.
Discover what your customers are trying to accomplish.
Uncover the problems they’re having getting there.
Then show them the solution you can provide and you’ll be a 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’ll celebrate a bigg milestone. 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/00519-111109.mp3

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(Image in today's post by LotusHead)