Once You’re In Business, You Must Take Advantage of Your Holidays!

When I was an employee I used to LOVE the Public Holidays when they came around. Rest, relaxation, beach fun, sleep, do nothing… aaahhhh!

However when I first became a business owner, holidays were stressful for me and became a time to either catch up with client work or a time when I didn’t earn any money!

I used to dread holidays because I only had one business model and that was, working one-on-one with clients. The worst number in business is ’1′. One supplier! One customer! One business model! One of “YOU”! There are all problems waiting to happen!

What that meant for me was that if I wasn’t seeing clients or out getting contracts, money wasn’t flowing in to my business or my bank account!

After years of working like this, I have successfully changed my business model to incorporate many different ways of working with clients and many different business models so that holidays or not, money or requests for my services are always coming in.

I now use holidays to my business advantage.

So my friend, my question for you is this. How are you using holidays to your advantage?

Here are a few ways you can use holidays to grow your business, whether you’re a service-provider or in retail:

1. Time your promotions or sales around the holidays. Have an Easter or a Christmas sale or a Father’s Day Appreciation Day (for dads, of course!). Years ago I used the date of incorporation of my business (I call it my business birthday ) to give clients 50% off their retainer fee.

2. Send out press releases to the media (both offline and online) to promote your business close to a holiday. Remember that press releases should not be promotional. They should have something of value for the reader or they will not be published.

3. If you have a team that works with you, create a staff-appreciation day or a staff retreat on the holiday. Trust me. Keeping your staff happy is one of the keys to a successful business. Staff can make or break your business!

4. Change your business model or incorporate 1-3 other business models so that your revenue stream doesn’t stop when your business is on holiday. (Here’s the big tip: use the internet. It never sleeps! Customers can purchase your goods or services at any time via this medium.)

5. Send out holiday cards or gifts to your most loyal customers. Remember customers are the lifeblood of any business. No customers=No business. (Gifts baskets are a great gift for clients and customers. They’re full of goodies and customers love them!)

6. Use a holiday to have your own Business Development Day. I use Fridays for my business development where I work ON my business: planning my revenue, looking at my cash flow for the previous week and forecasts for the upcoming week, reading books on successful entrepreneurs (this week it’s “Think Big” by Donald Trump and “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker) and so on…

7. Relax and have fun with the family! I purposely put this at the end, because I know you can’t turn off a business-owners’ busy mind. So once you have some of the above ideas in place (i.e. # 1-6) you’ll definitely have more peace of mind and will definitely be able to enjoy your holiday.

Selling a Business From a Position of Strength

The economy continues to heal. Many business owners were holding off selling their business while the economy was performing poorly and finance hard to get as they had the belief they would not get the best price for the business.

Part of what I do includes getting calls from business buyers who are frustrated that they are motivated to buy a particular business but they cannot get the answers they need and wonder if I can help.

When I bring the two perspectives together and how I work best as a business broker with the seller and/or buyer is to allow both parties to do things from a position of strength. At the end of the day, the seller will only sell and the buyer will only buy if all parties have the information they need to make an informed decision and at the very minimum feel that what they are doing makes sense to them.

If you plan to sell your business and want to do things from a position of strength, here are the steps I use to make sure I assist you.

If you plan to sell your business you are making a major change to your life. By definition, owning and operating a business forces disciplines and this often includes doing things you would prefer not to do. If you therefore sell your business and incur this major change, what do you plan to do? Be clear with the new world and options that will open up to you so if and when your business sells, you can easily make the transition. It’s not unusual for a business owner to get to the close of escrow and change their mind as they are not sure what they would do if they now sell the business. It’s also not unusual for a business owner to sell the business and want to buy another business after a period of down time because they are bored. While you own and operate your current business, look after your health, play some golf or do things you want to do so it has balance and you do not burn out. Burn out is the number one reason owners sell their business.

If it’s time to sell the business the first place to start is with a business valuation. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a valuation as it does not need to be complex. If the business has partners and they are in a dispute, the owner is going through a divorce or some other complex legal matter then a certified appraisal may be necessary. I put together an opinion of value for around $750 that looks at the last three years tax returns and current profit and loss and balance sheet. All this information is then rolled into a 19 page report that includes comparable sales data from sales in the same industry to arrive at a price the business will sell. Looking at the tax returns and profit and loss statements are critical as too many sellers offer financial statements that are inaccurate or would not be accepted by a buyer or lender. Just recently I was asked by a buyer to appraise a small business from cash flow projections the seller had put together and convinced the buyer his business was worth. After finally getting meaningful documents and information my value was less than half of the sellers as there were errors in his projections.

Once the seller knows the value of his business and still wants to proceed, one of the steps I take is to see what third party finance is available. Most sellers don’t want to sell the business and carry any finance. At the moment, the main form of lending to buy a small business is SBA lenders. These banks will look at writing an SBA loan but they do not lend for all businesses in all industries. It’s not unusual for me to approach many banks before getting a business pre-qualified. Knowing finance is available though really helps the seller with their planning and speeds up the process should a qualified buyer come along.

With these details in place the next most important step is to put a comprehensive confidential report together on the business. The confidential report can be as long and detailed as necessary. A rule of thumb would be the higher the purchase price the longer the confidential report. Buyers have questions. If there are many buyers you can expect a lot of the questions to be the same. Why not have this information ready to go? It makes the seller, their business and me look very professional to request a buyer to complete a non disclosure agreement and then in my case, provide them with a username and password where I have this confidential report as well as supporting documents such as a copy of the lease, franchise agreement, sample marketing material, financial statements and other relevant information.

All the above items take time and planning. If you are selling a business and want qualified buyers to respond in a businesslike manner, take the time to do the work and get it right. A buyer has options. If they don’t feel your business is the right option because of the way their questions are asked or how the answers to their questions are given then they will look for alternatives and there are alternatives out there including doing nothing.

The Top 10 Mistakes You Can Make to Ensure You Fail in Your Network Marketing Business

This article uses a tongue in cheek approach to point out mistakes that people make in the direct selling industry every day that is detrimental to the success of their own business. Below are ten common mistakes made by people who decide they want to own their own direct selling business and they are not listed in any specific order of importance either.

1. Lie and disrespect everyone around you (Honesty and respect).

If my lips are moving, I’m lying. This product cures every disease on the planet and on Mars. Trust me.

Truth in “who” you are and “what” you do is the foundation of the direct selling industry. You become a personal brand and represent a company, and organization, and a product line. By lying and treating people poorly casts a shadow over you, your company and the industry and people will judge everyone else they come in contact with in this industry with disdain.

You have to be the shining light for all to see that this industry is a legitimate business. People will join you and work with you instead of running the other way. Your reputation and the company’s reputation must pass the TEST so that your business grows.

2. Do not Market your products.

Now that I won my own business people will flock to me and hand me all their money and I don’t even have to get up off my lazy boy chair.

Marketing, meeting with people, or telling others about your business is the only way people know you exist. You have to get the word out about what you do and what you offer. If you choose not to do this portion of your business then you are doomed. You are just as doomed if by chance you don’t know how and are unwilling to learn just the same.

Some key examples of marketing.

  • Prospecting
  • Networking
  • Referrals
  • Word of mouth

3. Closed (do not speak with anyone).

Go away, we’re closed. Come back tomorrow.

Your hours of operation are extremely important. Why would you own a business and not open your shop? How does this apply to me? If you are not speaking to people about your business, then your business is closed. If you are not selling what you offer, then your business is closed. Get the point?

Bottom line is: Closed mouth is a Closed Business. When your mouth is open your business is open.

Word of caution: Do not vomit on everyone about your business. Learn how to work your offerings into conversations without body slamming people right away with your sales pitch. Slapping someone with your pitch before you even know who they are or how you can help them is wrong. You have to build rapport and trust as people buy you before they buy your product or business.

4. Sell for a loss or give away the store- no profits.

Don’t worry I will give you a home boy discount. I will cut you a break and pay for your products myself so you can keep coming back and basking for more.

Undervaluing or devaluing your products is not a smart move. A lot of people will offer their products at wholesale cost or even at a loss in order to attract and keep customers. The problem is that you, more than likely, do not sell enough in volume to make a profit. Businesses that don’t make a profit don’t stay in business very long.

In addition, you tell your customers that your products are overvalued and you don’t believe they are worth the suggested retail cost, and if you don’t value the cost then your customers won’t value the cost either.

5. Do not Re-invest back into your business.

Why should you put money back into your business operation? Answer… Operating Costs.

When you sell your products and you spend the money that’s not a good thing. You should set aside the money so you can buy more products, attend trainings and events, and purchase development materials for your own personal growth. When you manage the money from your sales the right way you should never have to use money from your personal accounts after your initial investment. If by chance you are not doing so, start right now. Set up your business budget with a separate bank account as you do not want to co-mingle your business funds with your personal funds.

6. Hire a ton of people.

I need a personal assistant and a driver now that I’m a big hot shot business owner. I’m CEO of my own company!

When starting out you should have no or few employees to help you in your business. In fact, don’t consider hiring for your business until you hit certain levels of success and you have steady income from your business that supports the decision of having employee support.

One are you might consider outsourcing is your personal chores. Hire neighborhood kids to mow your lawn, or delegate that to your children if they are capable and teach them how to operate their own lawn care business.

7. Don’t pay your bills and taxes.

Pay your bills. Nuff said! Hmmmph!

No joke, make sure you pay your bills and on time so you eliminate late fees. This is an area that will help you reduce and eliminate your personal debt. Focus on building your business so that you can set aside some of the money to help pay those bills. Make sure you counsel with a successful leader in your success line so they can guide you and help you to not mistakes that will in turn hurt your business and slow down your business growth.

Taxes – pay your taxes: Self-employment tax, federal, state, and local. Where applicable pay your sales tax as well.

8. Stop learning (Closed mind).

I don’t need that stuff. I’m the smartest person I know. Just ask me, I’ll tell you I’m right.

You should schedule time daily for personal development. Improving your skills or understanding is a must if you want to lead others. No one wants to follow a dummy. Ignorance is a detriment and can only be cured by you spending time reading books and listening to tapes, cd’s, and web/pod casts. Attending your support organization’s or company’s events is very valuable and important for your growth and the growth of your entire team.

If you are the only one in your organization right now, you won’t be for long. At least that’s the goal of not to be the only one in your organization. You must be able to lead yourself if you are to lead the many. Personal development allows you to relate to as many people as you possibly can. Leaders are readers and help others to see the value in personal development.

9. Don’t schedule your time (I’ll work it when I work it).

Come and go as you please, ignore your family time and play video games all day. Wasting time is a primary enemy for this industry.

As an employee we are accustomed to a time structure we must follow. You are mandated when you are to arrive at work, when to take your breaks and lunches and when the work day ends. By the time we get home, most of us don’t want to follow a schedule unless we want to watch our favorite program on TV.

You must work a calendar into your life. Set aside all the time you cannot work your business. This includes work, church, family, volunteering, and any other time that you cannot absolutely use to dedicate to your own business. Then find the time in your weekly schedule when you can dedicate to working and building your business. Hint: You are going to have to give up some TV and video game time until you are making enough money to where you can buy back time from your job.

10. Break the law; don’t follow your company’s policies or code of conduct.

Who wakes up and says today I’m breaking the law?

Keep in mind that your company may offer products in other countries. Also keep in mind that ignorance of the law of another country is no excuse and do not assume what’s legal in your host country is legal in another country.

Make sure your company has authorization to operate in a specific country before you start selling your goods there. Packaging, compensation, marketing, and distribution are all examples of key areas where laws differ drastically from one country to another, and if your company does not have an official operation in place for a specific country than don’t focus on building your business there.

In addition, make sure you know what you can say versus what you cannot say during conversations and presentations. You cannot make or guarantee income claims or health claims. You cannot diagnose or offer cures for disease or health ailments unless you are a certified medical professional.

In conclusion, evaluate your own business and your mental attitude you have relating to each are discussed and see what changes you can make to improve your likelihood of success. No one can guarantee your success and by following this article as a guideline does not guarantee it either. However, by ignoring the basic fundamentals that allow success you almost guarantee your failure. Who wants to improve their chances of failure?