Archive for April, 2010

 

The 7 Deadliest Financial Mistakes Self Employed Make Coming Out of Recession

For many of my self employed clients, the sales cycle is already on an upswing.  Recovery recession has turned from a deep desire to a slow spiral of reality.  Now comes regroup, refocus and rebuild.  As you build plans for the rest of this year and into next, avoid these deadly financial mistakes that may kill your business during the next recession.  Yes, there will be a next recession; they’re a normal.

Waiting for the All Clear Signal – If you are waiting for headlines that say unemployment is falling, home sales are booming, and sales exceed expectations, you’ll be too late.

Focusing Solely on Debt – You have friends whose business lines of credit have been frozen and others just killed by debt.  Your own debt may be frightening.  As your income increases, don’t make debt reduction your only priority.  Build a stash cash for the next recession, even if you have to start small.

Forgetting Lessons Learned – Now is a great time to make a list of smart things we wish we’d done: saved more, put more away for retirement, researched more before spending, retaining marginal employees.  What did you wish you’d done?  Now don’t forget.

Old Thinking – No, we will not go back to the easy credit, easy sales, and easy growth of 2003 through 2007.  Just like the Great Depression, people’s buying habits have changed for a generation. You’ll need new sales techniques, new marketing techniques, and new customer service methods if you want to be a winner over this next expansion.

Competing on Price – Yes, most of us think Berks County buyers only care about price.  If that’s true, why is Wal-Mart not the only store in town?  Focus on value above price.

Ignoring Your Best employees – Many small businesses reduced employee work-week to save money.  In many cases, the work load didn’t decrease so employees took work home or even came into the office without pay.  If it’s too soon to put these best team player employees back on full pay, find some other way to show you value them. Otherwise, you risk them finding another job later this year.

No Plan for Next Recession – Hopefully we’ll have three or four years before another economic downturn.  Come up with a plan for getting ready.  What did you wish you’d done differently five years ago that would have made you weather this last recession better.  Then do that.

They say that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  So here’s to the newly strong, self employed getting a whole lot stronger.

Now stop reading about The 7 Deadliest Financial Mistakes and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

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Low Cost & No Cost Marketing Ideas – 10 for 2010

As you finish up your 2010 business game plan, what did you add for marketing?  It’s not too late to add a few low cost marketing ideas that can bring you new customers without ballooning your budget.

Here are 10 no cost and low cost marketing ideas for 2010 that won’t break the bank.

1)    Resolve to ask for referrals. Referred clients are easier to get, more loyal, and generally more profitable. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on asking for and getting referrals. Then ask others who appear better at it than you.  Believe that you can improve your referrals and it will happen.

2)    Join a new referral group so new people can get to know, like, and trust you.   You knew I would remind you about the new Reading Chamber’s LEADS group. The cost is a real bargain and a great way to get new referrals.

3)    Analyze your last year’s marketing results. Drop the program with the lowest ROI (return on investment).  Did you get at least as much back in new business as you spent?  Actually, I look for three times back my investment or I keep looking for something better.

4)    Use the dollars freed from the above discarded program to invest in something new. Don’t’ forget to make a success measurement goal so that next year you’ll be able to determine if the new tactic is a ‘keeper’.

5)    Develop a core set of raving fans.  If you provide a great reliable product that delivers significance, connectedness, and a modicum of novelty you’ll find people who will rave about you.

6)    Improve your email marketing strategy. Email is pretty much free.  What could you send your clients and prospects that they would value as well as have them like and remember you?

7)    Tweak your website.  When was the last time it was updated?  Remember it is your billboard, your brochure and your new millennium Yellow Pages.  Don’t let it stagnate.

8)    So something just for fun. Get out to fun events and talk to people.  Do it just because you like it.

9)    Give back to the community. Chances are there’s something you are passionate about that has a non-profit associated with it.  Just getting involved will introduce you to new people who may become prospects.  But in the meantime, you’ll be helping a cause you care about.

10)   Get educated.  If you think that some new tactic will help build your business, for example LinkedIn, publishing articles, or creating a radio show; find someone who can get you to the next level of education about it. They’ll help you consider the cost, opportunities, leads, and potential returns.  Find someone farther along than you and pick their brain!

That’s it – 10 low cost marketing ideas for 2010. Don’t like my ideas? Come up with some new ones of your own. Most importantly, be in action, don’t spend a lot, and measure the results! Send me an email with your ideas.

Now stop reading about Low Cost No Cost Marketing Ideas and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

Posted by Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP under Collect Cash, Increase Sales Tags: ,  •  No Comments

Who’s Recovering the Quickest – Is it You?

We hear that the recession is on the wane and that there may be growth this year, albeit with high unemployment plaguing us for a while.  Notwithstanding that you as the self-employed entrepreneur may not yet be feeling a recovery, it is happening.  Let me first be up front in saying that my views are my own.

My prediction of who among our local community small companies will emerge earliest and strongest out of this recession are those that are out there being visible and accessible.  Yes, that means advertising and marketing, which of course means dollars.  But more importantly and with much smaller investment of actual dollars spent are those companies and entrepreneurs out networking and making new friends.

There is a lot of pent up buying power built over the last year as people have avoided buying anything that could be delayed.  But after a year of holding off spending, many of my clients are now thinking about things they really need to purchase.  As they begin the pre-buying activities of asking questions, forming feature lists, and finding vendors, they are doing it out in the community.

That is, they are talking to people in their churches, their Rotary clubs, their networking groups, and their friends.  If your company is active in the community, you may have already noticed the increased number of conversations and requests for proposals.  Being active and visible gives the message that you are not only still in business (unlike many of your peers) but also surviving and attracting new prospects and clients.

If you are among that other pessimist group who is waiting for things to get better and then you will get out and market, you are missing the boat.  Your competitors are gaining visibility, credibility, and activity that can lead to new clients over the next few months.

Let me be bold in saying that if you are not out having at least eight conversations a week with new people and potential prospects, you may not be among those who recover quickly this year.  So if you are not in that first actively networking group, and you are asking the question of who will recover quickest, guess what, it isn’t you.

Want to argue my point? Give me a call or email me.

Now stop reading about who’s recovering the quickest and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

Posted by Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP under Collect Cash, Increase Sales Tags: ,  •  No Comments