A Big Marketing, Business and Sales Mistake That You Can Profit From

A short while back I had a great experience with a plumbing and HVAC company. But recently I opened a letter from them and was totally disappointed.

About a year ago we had a water softener and filtration system installed. It took the Well Company about two days to complete the job. At the end of day to the technician informed me that “All was set!” He told me that it would take about two hours to get hot water as the tank needs to fill up again. Hours later, still no hot water. We opted for heating up water on the stove instead of cold showers. After all, it was winter time.

We wanted to get a plumber to our house right away, but settled on one who could get to us first thing in the AM. They showed up, they were very professional; they put plastic covers over their boots so they wouldn’t track outside dirt on our hardwood floors. Then, they told us what the problem was; the element in the electric hot water heater was “fried.” They said it was “dry-fired.” They took care of it and we got our hot water back. As they were going over the bill with us they offered (and we accepted) a diamond membership. As a side note we luckily hadn’t paid the Well Company, so you can guess who ended up covering our bill. The diamond membership had some cool benefits. But honestly, being a business and marketing consultant, I simply liked their style and the fact that they got the job done! We used this plumbing and HVAC Company a few more times throughout the year.

It’s this “diamond membership” and the way they went about attempting to have us renew it that you’re gonna learn from.

I get this letter from them that looks like an invoice. At first I’m wondering “what’s up” because as far as I know they haven’t been to our house is a few months. I look closer and it’s an invoice for $90.00, the yearly fee for the diamond membership. But here’s the first BIG mistake…

The invoice was all that was in the envelope. No re-explanation of all the valuable diamond benefits. No “thanks for being a diamond member!” And the kicker, a notice that finance charge will be added for late payments! Like I signed some contract to be a diamond member for the rest of my life? Hum, if I did, someone at consumer affairs will hear about it! I also wondered if their dressing up the renewal notice as an invoice was an attempt to fool me – I’m actually a little insulted.

Lesson- Don’t take it for granted that your customers will just “renew” because you said so. This renewal notice should have been accompanied by a sales letter about the benefits of membership along with some irresistible free offer for renewing. Maybe they throw in a check of all systems. Anything of value would suffice. On to the next lesson…

They should be reselling this membership more often than once per year. I don’t associate this treatment with anything “diamond.” Next lesson…

After they apply the first two lessons they’d be ready to implement lesson three. These types of programs are perfect for auto-renew. There’s two ways to do that… They could bill their customers’ credit cards automatically, (As long as the customer agreed in advance). Or, they could make this membership seem less expensive while actually earning more revenue. All they’d have to do is charge eight or nine dollars per month billed to a credit card and their renewals would sky-rocket!

I just couldn’t help myself! These were just obvious improvements that could have been made to this company’s system of taking care of their “best customers.” But I guess they’ll be left to blame their customers or the economy for their lack of care and sloppy work!

The Importance of Keeping Emotions in Check When Selling a Business

If you thinking of selling business, it is absolutely critical that you check your emotions before you embark on the sale process. Many times a small business owner will believe that they won’t get caught up in the heat of the process and just as often an experienced business broker will see that even the coolest of owners can get worked up. This article is a summary of some of the issues a small business owner can get carried away in the sales process.

Time during a business sale when a seller can get emotional…

When listing the business for sale
When you finally decide to sell and contact a reputable business brokerage to assist, it is important to stay rational. Too many time, a company owner looking to sell will have unrealistic expectations about the time it takes to sell a business and especially the listing price. Setting the price of the business too high will may not only result in an unsold company but possible very few phone enquiries also. When you work with a business broker or business valuator on setting a list price, don’t take offence at what you hear. Entrepreneurs are very often emotionally tied to their ventures so hearing a low pricing opinion can be seen as a slight – but it shouldn’t be.

When receiving an offer to purchase the business
When the first offer comes in (especially if it is a real lowball offer) a business seller may get worked up if the price is not close to their expectations. After all, a small business owner can spend years of personal hard work into building up an organization and a low offer may seem insulting. It is important not to take anything personally during a negotiation. Try your best to stay detached and heed the advice of your business broker.

During due diligence
After there is a letter of intent (LOI) or conditional purchase agreement in place, a business sale usually enters the due diligence phase. This is when a buyer scrutinizes the financials and operations of the business being sold. A business owner may feel that their word may not be taken as honest if everything they have put forth is now subject to scrutiny and verification. Again, don’t take this personally. In a business sale transaction almost everything is verified and nothing is personal.

Just before the closing date
Many times, a business owner will get cold feet just before the business transaction is set to close. This is called seller’s remorse. Selling a business is a long process but for the owner that has poured his heart into the venture, it certainly can be painful to depart from the company. Try your best to stay rational during this final part of the transaction. Remember the reasons that you listed the business for sale in the first place. If you decide not to follow through with the sale at this stage, you may very well regret it.

Make Money From Home With a Home Business and Save Money on Taxes

Make money from home by offering a money-making opportunity to thousands of people looking for ways to make money from home. Due to the high unemployment rate and the number of jobs lost due to the Great Recession, more people are looking for ways to make money from home than ever before. You can help them and help yourself at the same time.

But first you need to decide why you earn an income from home. Do you want to make money from home in order to take your dream cruise vacation? To build your dream home? To buy your dream car? To put your children through college? To pay your bills? To support your hobby? Write down the reason you want to make money from home. Next write down how much money you want to make from home. Do you want to make $200 a week? $500 a week? $1,000 a week or more? It is important to write down the amount you want to make working from home. Now you have the reason you want to earn money from home as well as the amount you want to make. Ask yourself how much time you are willing to commit to making that targeted amount of money. Are you willing and able to put in full time hours or part time hours? Now you’re ready to write down your goal statement. Your goal statement should look something like… I am going to make $600 each week, working 2 hours a day in order to buy my brand new Dodge Challenger.

Now write down your plan. Your plan should support your goal statement. Your plan will be the blueprint for achieving your desired outcome. It is important to consider the options for making money from home. You can come up with an idea and build on it until you are able to make the amount of money you want to make from home. You can buy an existing home business and market it. You can buy a franchise and plug into the system in order to make money. When weighing your options, you will realize it may take more time to develop your idea into a money-making opportunity. It may take less out-of-pocket money but could cost you in the long term when you realize the timely opportunities you could have taken advantage of in order to make money.

Buying a home business will allow you to make money quickly but there will be costs involved. Similarly, buying a franchise will cost money but will allow you to tap into a proven business plan and hopefully, a lucrative market. Many people do not buy home-based businesses because they are concerned about getting scammed. After all, the Internet is not regulated and there are many fraudulent people who won’t think twice about taking your money and providing nothing in return. To test the business opportunity, look for a money-back guarantee or a trial period which required minimum fees. Any legitimate business opportunity should provide you with a way to “test drive” the business before making a financial commitment to it. Very few franchises offer a money-back guarantee or a trial period so be sure to thoroughly investigate the opportunity before purchasing it.

Making money from home with a home business also allows you to deduct certain business-related items from your income taxes. These deductions can save you thousands of dollars a year. Saving money with your business can be just as important in the early years as making money at home. Consider your tax bracket and calculate how much money each dollar of deductions will contribute to the bottom line. Be sure to keep accurate records for all of your business expenses.

There are tremendous opportunities to make money from home and to help others make money from home as well. Being organized will be to your advantage when exploring your options as well as getting started making money. Learning from people who have been successful will save you time and will help you avoid costly mistakes. At the end of the day, keeping the focus on your goal will be the most important aspect of making money from home.