business-plan-template

Simple steps to ensuring your business plan actually adds value

Most business owners are very good at some part of the business. You might be really good at selling, really creative, or can spot the latest trends a mile off. Conversely, one of the things many business owners are not great at is planning. But there is no getting around it – a strong plan is a necessary tool for success. MOST businesses fail without a plan, and some will still fail if they have written a plan that’s not effective.

Here are our top five steps to ensure your business plan is effective:

  1. Start with the end in mind, and outline your end goals first. This might be the early retirement or buying a house. Think big! Then following from that end goal, decide your goal(s) for next year. They must all be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled).
  2. Make sure your SMART goals are exciting to you and don’t conflict with one another nor with where you’re heading longer term or in other parts of life. The last thing you want to do is work hard all year, achieve all of your goals and then realize you don’t really care about them or that they were not aligned with your longer term goals.
  3. Outline the smaller steps needed to reach your goals. These should be steps that are small enough to achieve (which gives you confidence) but big enough to make a positive leap forward toward the overall plan. For example, ‘complete marketing plan’ is very broad, and not specific enough to know the time or steps needed to get it done. With large tasks like this, break them down into smaller bite sized chunks, such as ‘complete first draft of section 1 of marketing plan’ and so on.
  4. Ensure the plan is realistic. Have you considered holidays, conferences and other things that might “get in the way” of doing the actions in your plan? Have you listed too many tasks for one time, which means you’re unlikely to be able to complete them all? You need to be able to look at the steps in the plan, as well as their timing, and feel a reasonable level of confidence that they can all be completed. Your business plan should make you feel excited, not overwhelmed!
  5. Ensure that you can track and monitor the progress of every goal within your plan. To do this, ensure that each and every step (or milestone) in the plan is SMAT (different to SMART). That is, Specific, Measurable (so you can see when each step is completed), Achievable and be Time-bound.  In an annual plan, this will typically be monthly.  In a 90-Day Plan, weekly. 

And here are two additional considerations to really make your plan great:

Plan for your own development. You are central to your business’ success, and no doubt your ultimate business goals are beyond what you’ve already achieved. This means you will need to learn new skills, gain new knowledge, new habits, new values and/or new beliefs to reach these goals. In some cases you may even have to re-develop your core identity. Think about all the personal changes you need to make to achieve each step in your business plan, and include all the courses, mentors, training and reading required. All this is part of a winning plan!

Be sure to plan holistically.  Your plan should include more than just business-related goals and steps. This is because there is much more to you than just work, so inevitably other things in life will (and should) require your time and attention. Best to factor some ‘life’ into the plan now than resent overworking in the future. Plus, there is no reason that a plan can’t extend to other parts of your life too. If you want success in family life, sport, charity or anything else – you need a solid plan. Honesty is a great thing in business, so take a good honest look at how you will maintain your sanity and happiness once the business starts.

Most people forget these two considerations and just plan their business. Then they end up working too much and not having the great life they could have – partly because they ‘accidentally’ built a plan that told them to!

Finally, take a step back!

Everyone has a choice when creating a plan for business. Are you planning to have a successful and exciting year, or not? What 5 things are you going to do in 2022 that will still be memorable 20 years from now? What exciting things could you add to your plan right now? Start the year with a few of those ‘what will I tell my grandkids’ kind of goals, and you’ll be inspired to create a winning business plan and enjoy a successful year ahead.

Our clients who have used these recommended five steps when creating a business plan, have grown in confidence, reduced their ‘entrepreneurial anxiety’, set goals and achieved success. You can too.

business-goals-and-objectives

Effective Goal Setting: Start with the end in mind

Perhaps the simplest and most important step in planning, and definitely the first step in planning: identify where you’re planning to get to.

You can’t work out what needs to happen in your business if you don’t know what you want the end result to be so start with the end in mind. Think about your goals for the business and where it’s headed. Those goals will set the compass direction and ensure you stay in control.

Most people in business are so caught up in the excitement or overwhelmed with the tasks involved that they only look a week or a month ahead (OK, let’s be honest….often a day ahead, at best). Savvy entrepreneurs are looking way beyond that!

And they know exactly what they want their business to look like and what they want to do with it.

So start by thinking about what the end result will be for you and the business:

  • Do you want to sell the business?  When?  For how much?
  • Do you want to expand nationally or internationally?
  • Do you want to grow your business by X % or turnover X dollars by 2025?

Only 6% of businesses have a written goal. No wonder there are so many business owners ‘lost at sea’.

Interestingly, 90% of businesses that achieve our definition of success (a business that produces the income that the owner wants and a business that runs smoothly without the owner) have a written goal. A strong correlation between those who have a written goal and those who succeed!

So what is effective goal-setting? Start here: 

  1. Identify and commit

Take the time to sit down, think ahead and define what you want from your business and what you want it to look like in 5 years, then 3 years, then 1 year.  Yes, start with the end in mind and work back from there.  Be honest and authentic; these goals should not only guide your business plans but should also be genuinely motivating to you.

  • Be abundantly clear

Be really clear about your goal. “I want to run a successful business” is NOT an effective goal. There are too many variables that haven’t been addressed. Be specific about what success looks like for you.  Break a goal down so it is clear to anyone who reads it what the plan is. Something like “Open ten shopfronts in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland within 24 months” or “Achieve $750,000 per year in top line revenue in 2022” or “Achieve 30% gross profit and over 1 million dollars in top line revenue by the end of 2022 with the aim to sell the business for 5 million dollars” is very specific. It’s easy to measure, its actually a result and has a time scale attached to it. Yes, you can use the SMART framework to guide you – all goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled.

  • Set yourself up for success

Make sure your goals are achievable and that you can access appropriate resources to achieve them. Setting yourself up for failure will do nothing for your morale and that of the company. While it would be nice to retire to a tropical island with millions in the bank and a cocktail in your hand a year after your business opens, it’s not very realistic.  At the same time, there’s not much point in only setting the simplest goals that won’t actually progress you very far.  A useful approach here can be to not just ask “where can we get”, but to ask “to get to where we really want, what do we need to do” – its amazing what is possible!

  • Accountability

Writing a goal on a piece of paper and then filing it in your bottom desk drawer will not remind you of your goal. Creating a fabulous document all about your business goals then filing it electronically in a folder never to be seen again is also a thumbs down.

Your goals should become part of the business plan, the action plans, the life and soul of the company and the foundations for any strategic decisions that are made. If those goals are squashed down in a file somewhere….well, there’s a reason they say out of sight, out of mind…..get ready for choppy waters ahead.

Once your goals are set, they should become an integral part of your operating rhythm; from guiding your planning for the year, to motiving you and your team on a daily basis.  Put them front and centre and enjoy the energy they provide!

target-marketing-strategy

Why setting long-term goals is essential for business and life success

Most business owners are familiar with the process of setting goals. However, there is a difference between short-term goals that keep a business ticking over and the kind of long-term goals that can see a business owner genuinely achieve their dreams.

Some business owners prefer to stick to shorter-term goals because they believe it’s more realistic than trying to envision a future on or even two decades away. However, that short-term focus is likely to keep those business owners well and truly in their comfort zone, unable to break free of their own restraints and, therefore, unable to push the limits of what they’re capable of.

There are three primary benefits to business owners considering at least a 10-year goal if not a 20-year goal:

1. Clarity

A compelling and clear goal provides exceptional motivation and a transparent pathway to the future. Setting the long-term goal makes it possible for the business owner to work backwards, creating a real roadmap to get there. Business owners that don’t do this tend to focus on what’s next. This will get them somewhere but it won’t propel them towards their goal. Focusing on the ultimate goal lets owners set milestones and even deadlines so that, rather than focusing on what’s coming towards them, they can focus on what they want to move towards.

2. Focus

Setting a long-term goal changes the questions that business owners ask themselves. It’s natural for people to as themselves what’s possible. But the answers to that question are almost infinite, barring any physical limitations. Instead, business owners should start with the goal. Then, instead of asking what’s possible, they will start asking what’s required. And that’s a question with concrete answers, giving business owners a practical way to move forward.

3. Empowerment

The subconscious mind processes information 24 hours a day and many times faster than the conscious mind. It retains a complete memory of everything the person experiences and drives most decision-making processes. It’s the reason a person will constantly see a certain type of car after deciding to purchase that same type, for example, and it’s the reason people have great ideas in the shower in the morning that relate to something they’d previously been working on. Harnessing the power of the subconscious means people can train it to support their long-term goals.

If not directed in some way, the subconscious simply processes on anything and everything you’ve seen, heard, thought about, watched on TV and so on.  If, however, a person starts training their subconscious by showing it their goals every morning, they are directing it to process those goals. Once this becomes a habit, opportunities will start to appear and events will occur that are relevant to those goals. It’s not magic; it’s science. Training the subconscious will help empower business owners to be alert to opportunities to achieve their goals.

Setting clear and highly-motivational goals will help business owners achieve whatever it is they want to achieve. For example, if a business owner’s 20-year goal is to have a $10 billion company, then they can start working backwards from there to ensure every action they take from now on is explicitly geared towards achieving that goal.

So, they may determine that, to reach the $10 billion goal, they’ll need to have a company worth at least $5 billion in the next 10 years.

Working backwards, they understand that, to hit that milestone, they’ll need to be running their own company with significant growth potential in the next five years.

To achieve that goal, they’ll need to learn how to run a company, so they may set a short-term goal of gaining a university degree or MBA in the next three years.

That means they’ll need to apply for their chosen program within the next six months, which means they’ll need to research any prerequisites for their course and ensure those are in place within the next two months.

And so on, until the person has a plan for the next week and even the next day, with all activities specifically chosen because of their power to propel the person towards their goal. 

Without that clear 20-year goal in place, the same highly-capable person may aimlessly drift from opportunity to opportunity without ever realising that their choices aren’t leading them anywhere in particular. They may achieve what they consider to be a modicum of success but, without a clear barometer for what success could mean, they may not ever fulfil their true potential.

Setting long-term goals isn’t just important for business success. For true happiness, it’s essential for people to incorporate their personal life goals into their business goals. For example, the person who aims to have a $10 billion company may not be planning to run that company in terms of day-to-day activities. Instead, they may want to use that company to achieve other life aims such as helping a particular charity or supporting a certain type of lifestyle, giving them time to spend doing the things they love with their friends and family.

In fact, it’s often the more personal goals such as achieving a certain lifestyle or contributing to society in a particular way that can be the most motivating. Just running a $10 billion company may not be that meaningful to someone compared with achieving that lifestyle, for example. So, for these people, the ultimate goal may be the lifestyle. Then, working backwards, it becomes clear that they’ll need to own a $10 billion company to achieve that lifestyle, and so on.

Regardless of what motivates the person, the key is to set a long-term goal and then start working towards it today.

business-systems-and-processes

The tell-tale signs of a successful business owner

Being a strong business owner and leading your business to success is perhaps the most important goal for business owners. To achieve this, business owners must display very specific attributes. The possession of these traits distinguishes the outstanding business owners from the average business owners.

While many successful business owners share common and powerful attributes that help them drive their businesses forward, only those who use them to their advantage and embed them into their decision-making will see the wide-reaching success they desire.

Elite business owners typically possess five key attributes:

  1. Ownership

Successful business owners ensure they take complete ownership of their business, going one step further than those owners who just take responsibility and accountability. Relating to the concept of extreme ownership outlined by Jocko Willink, successful business owners understand that there are no excuses and no time for sticking their heads in the sand.[1] Successful business owners fully own all outcomes in their business and proactively make things happen for their business to achieve success.

  • Strong learning habit

Elite business owners possess an extremely strong learning habit and are highly motivated to succeed. Recognising the amount of learning required to drive business success, these business owners invest lots of time, effort and money to improve themselves as leaders. Whether it be reading a book every week or listening to every podcast relevant to their business area, these business owners understand they must always strive to better themselves if they want to see success, and are motivated to put the measures in place to do so.

  • Persistence

Every business has a long list of unpleasant stories that appeared along the way to achieving success. Extremely successful business owners possess exceptional persistence to approach challenges head on and not give up when they experience failures. As all businesses face challenges at some point, the business owner’s willingness to keep going in the face of adversity is correlated to the success they are rewarded with.

  • High activity level

Successful business owners are highly active in the right areas when conducting business activity. Highly active in the early years of business, these owners pursue every opportunity and every customer to grow the business. These business owners also understand the importance of building strong alliances and relationships, improving products and making more sales. They also intuitively recognise and understand the difference between important and valuable activities versus the urgent but less important tasks. A successful business owner’s ability to identify what is important at particular stages of the business cycle lets them direct massive amounts of attention and time on the right activities at the right time, resulting in faster growth and success for their business.

  • Focus

Successful business owners have extremely high levels of focus to solve problems and add value, either as an individual or as a business. Passionately driven to improve and add value to people or organisations, elite business leaders maintain high levels of discipline when focusing their effort and time on specific activities, ensuring that every task they complete is a value-adding action.

While some of these attributes may be seen as naturally-occurring in some people, any business owner can cultivate their capabilities in these areas. They simply need to recognise the importance of these attributes then consciously direct their efforts towards improvement. While the specific actions driven by these attributes will be unique to each business and each owner, these five attributes are common to almost every elite business owner. The cumulative effect of incremental improvement in each of the five areas can see business owners leap from moderate success to outstanding success.


[1] https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Extreme_Ownership.html?id=RNA3DwAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y

business-future

Building a life: how to step back from daily operations and make family and life a priority

Many people start a business with the aim of spending more time with family or more time on hobbies or self-development, only to find that the business needs them there 24/7. Hobbies and family time go out the window, and the business owner finds themselves with even less freedom than they had when working in the corporate world. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. By following a clear plan towards sustainable success, business owners can step away from the day-to-day business operations and use their time to build a stronger family life, pursue hobbies, or even reinvest in accelerating the business’s expansion and success.

The first step is to prepare the business to let the business owner go. This doesn’t mean the business owner has to step away from the business entirely but it does mean the business needs to be able to operate without the business owner present at all times. This gives the business owner the choice to be more or less involved according to their own preferences as opposed to the demands of the business.

For a business to be ready for the owner to step back, it must already be generating steady revenue with a strong business plan that can be executed ongoing. For a business owner to start the process of stepping back from the business, six key elements must be in place:

  1. Accountabilities and responsibilities are clearly allocated and documented.
  2. Processes are clearly codified so everyone knows what to do and how to do it.
  3. The culture is strong and clearly evident in every person’s behaviour at all times.
  4. Appropriate financial controls are in place with disciplined measures to manage cash flow.
  5. A business dashboard that gives the owner objective facts about business performance at a glance.
  6. Meetings and communications occur as part of a rhythm that gives everyone the right information at the right time.

Once these elements are in place, it’s essential to find a person to run the business in place of the owner. The day a business owner hands over the reins to this person is the day they get their life back and can start focusing on their family and building their own ideal life.

Choosing a person to run the business can be a complex proposition and depends largely on the type of role they’ll be expected to play. Some business owners want a manager who can effectively replace them in running all aspects of the business, while others just want someone to take on part of the management duties, freeing the owner up to play an active role in strategy and sales, for example. Understanding the nature of the role is crucial to finding the right person for it.

Once the role is clearly defined, the next step is to get a picture of the type of person that would be ideal in the role. If the role is focused on managing the daily operations and financial performance of the business, then it’s important to find someone with a proven track record in those areas. If the owner wants their replacement to be entrepreneurial, again, it’s important to choose someone with those characteristics.

After recruiting the ideal person, it’s important to onboard them properly, fully inducting them into the business and giving them all the tools and information they need to succeed. This doesn’t happen by accident; it’s essential to have a detailed, comprehensive plan for onboarding the person so that they can hit the ground running.

Once the business can operate without the owner in a day-to-day role, it’s time for the owner to decide what kind of role they want to play in the future. The business, now a saleable asset with value, can continue to operate without the owner’s involvement, so the owner can now decide how they want to move forward.

This can include selling the business and moving into an entirely new phase. More usually, it means the owner moves into the twin positions of chairperson and shareholder, which still retain some responsibility in the business. It’s essential to fulfil these roles properly or risk the stability and sustainability of the business.

The chairperson’s role is distinct from a CEO role and involves some regulatory responsibility, especially in the case of listed companies but even if the company isn’t listed. The chairperson needs to take a broad governance role, oversee longer term strategy and planning and manage the board of directors and external shareholders. They may decide to continue in an active role within the business, such as acting as a figurehead in the most important sales pitches. However, this isn’t mandatory.

There are five key accountabilities that the chairperson must adhere to:

  1. Appointing an appropriate general manager or CEO and holding them accountable.
  2. Working with the GM/CEO to position them for success.
  3. Defining and monitoring the execution and strategy of the long-term plan.
  4. Monitoring the state of the balance sheet and the value of the company.
  5. Chairing the board.

As a shareholder, the business owner also has a role to play, which is to fund the business and measure its performance to decide whether to continue funding it.

Statistically, it’s rare for business owners to successfully step out of a business. The transition should not be trivialised because it can only happen when the owner takes all the required steps and can find the right people to run the business, then empower them for success. This is easier said than done and requires a concentrated and focused approach.

Especially in the early days, it will also require the business owner to work closely with their replacement to ensure they’re sufficiently embedded in the business. Over time, the GM/CEO will become more autonomous, letting the business owner spend less time with the business and more time doing the other things they really love to do.

how-to-improve-sales

5 Fast and Free Ways to Increase Profit

For any business owner wanting to make more money, the first place to look for improvement should be Net Profit Margin.  The strategies that directly impact net profit margin provide some of the easiest and quickest profit improvement opportunities.

Of the 70-odd primary strategies for improving your Net Profit Margin, these are the five that I’ve seen used most often and for most businesses.  They all have the benefit of incurring no significant cost to implement and they work almost immediately:

  1. Sell higher margin products and services.  Do you know the profitability of every product or service that you sell?  Are you focussing your marketing and sales on those that make you the most money?
  2. Optimize your Cash flow.  Are you tracking your average days receivable?  Days payable?  Implement 3 strategies to accelerate how quickly you receive money and 3 strategies to extend how long you can (legitimately…don’t pay late if you want your suppliers to support you!) hold your money.
  3. Audit your costs.  Work through your P & L line-by-line and keep asking, “how will we reduce this cost by 10%”.  Then set a budget and do it!
  4. Increase Gross Margin.  There are many ways to do this…negotiate hard with suppliers, stop discounting, raise prices…and remember, once you pass your Breakeven Point, almost all additional Gross Profit drops straight through to Net Profit!
  5. Sack C’s and D’s.  Do you have a list of the clients who cause you most of your headaches?  They haggle, complain, buy your cheapest products, request changes, ask for refunds?  They’re your C’s and D’s; they generate very little profit but take up a lot of time and cost.  Sack them!  Use that time and effort to go out and get more A’s and B’s!

Map out a plan and these can all be implemented in a matter of days or weeks….then enjoy the results!

lead generation

Don’t just buy customers…upgrade them to lifetime customers

Acquiring customers is the first step to building a sustainable, successful business. Many businesses focus extensive resources on attracting new customers in the hope that this will accelerate business growth.

However, the simplest way to  build a truly sustainable business and one that continues to grow, is to ensure that your customers keep coming back.  That is, to increase their lifetime value. One-time customers tend to be more expensive and deliver fewer profits to businesses compared with customers who buy often.

What is customer lifetime value (LTV)?

LTV is the average amount of money your customers will spend on your business over the entire life of your relationship.

A starting point in your effort to grow LTV is to provide exceptional products and services at the right price. However, to maximise your repeat business and average LTV, you should  implement actions that proactively turn them into lifetime customers.

Benefits of lifetime customers

If your business is constantly attracting first- and only-time customers, the value of those customers will never grow. By contrast, as customers continue to buy products and services from your business, their value will go up. This is because, the longer someone is a customer, the less it costs to sell them new products or services since you don’t have to move them through the entire sales funnel; they’re already at the decision end. Acquiring lifetime customers provide many benefits, including:

  • creating effective ambassadors for the business
  • crafting customer loyalty
  • predicting and reducing customer churn
  • saving money on advertising and customer onboarding.

How to grow lifetime value

When aiming to acquire more lifetime customers, it’s essential to begin at the first stage: acquiring the right first-time customer. It’s ineffective to assume all customers will become lifetime customers, so you must focus on buying customers first that have the highest likelihood of becoming lifetime customers. Be sure to actively target your ideal customers, not just anyone who will buy something from you.

Once you have acquired a customer, you can proactively manage them up a ladder of loyalty, starting as a Shopper at the bottom and going up to a Raving Fan at the top. If an individual purchases from your business once, they are a shopper. Only if they return to buy from you again, can you really consider them a true customer. Simple communications programs are often enough to get customers coming back a second and third time, as it positioning them, at each sale, for the next sale.   

Offering some form of recognition, or loyalty program, can cement their feeling of belonging to something.  As a “member” of your brand or community, a customer has every chance of becoming an advocate of your business.  At this point, be sure to take great care of them.  In what ways can you make your advocates feel special?  Are you rewarding them in any way?  From there, it’s a natural progression for them to become Raving Fans –  the top tier of lifetime loyalty.  These customers will  fundamentally change your business.

There should be specific activities in place to move customers up the ladder to the next stage. For example, persuading a shopper to return to your business through promotional offers can be successful. Offering loyalty programs can also be used to move customers towards the advocate level by providing a more personalised customer experience.

Once a customer reaches the top level of the loyalty ladder, it’s essential to never break the strong communication fostered. Lifetime customers have come to expect the highest standard of customer service, and so you must always build on your relationship with lifetime customers to prove they made the right decision to give their loyalty to you.

Building-successful-teams

Building successful teams

Building successful teams is foundational for successful business growth.  Find out more about embracing the different qualities of your team.

There are times in business when we spend as much time with our work teams as we do with our families. And even more than with families, our work teams include a range of individuals.  The saying “we are one but we are many” might resonate with you. You are likely to recall that saying when understanding and embracing the different qualities your employees can bring to the success of your business.

This is about building successful teams. Creating a cohesive team can give you the edge over your competitors. It is what can structure and boost the growth of your business.

Consider these key questions: what do you want your company culture to be, what will your team be like, how would you like your customers to feel and how can you create a successful business with your team?

There are a number of factors you need to consider when understanding and embracing the different qualities your employees can bring success to your business and building successful teams. 

The first is strong leadership. Your team will look to you for certain qualities such as guidance, growth and decision-making. Equally important is being a leader who has enthusiasm and energy – this embodies the business and people want to follow someone who loves what they do.  

Having a common goal is also fundamental to building successful teams. Being clear on your goals and creating a plan on how to accomplish them may well be the single most valuable activity you accomplish in 2022.

Your employees need boundaries and to know the rules of the game. Creating the rules

of the game around culture, around processes and around responsibilities will dramatically increase the consistency and reliability of your team’s operation.  Ensuring an appropriate meeting and communication schedule is upheld will then lock in the pulse of the business.

Another key element is having an action plan. Your employees need an appropriate title, a written

contract that outlines their job description and explains how they will be supported in their role.  

A successful team, in particular one that progresses and achieves great success, will usually give strong support to risk-taking. Breaking with convention and  being open to some degree of healthy risk taking is vital for your team to flourish. Finally, remember to encourage being inclusive while building successful teams. It is important to involve all of your team in decisions, plans and projects or building the company culture. As we said at the start: We are but one but we are many – understanding and embracing the different qualities your employees can bring success to your business.

average dollar sale

Need to increase average dollar sale? Learn what to encourage, AND what to avoid.

Before I give you some tips on what you should and shouldn’t do to increase the average dollar sale that your customers spend with you, have a think about these questions:

  • On average, how much do your clients spend with you each time they buy from you?
  • What could you do to increase the average purchase value of each customer?
  • What should you increase it to?

My previous blog on the different ways to increase your number of transactions highlighted the notion that focusing more attention on getting past customers to buy again is 6 times easier (and cheaper) than finding new customers. This is most definitely still applicable here.  In fact, it is often even easier to increase the value of each sale: you have already done the hard work in getting someone to buy…. now you just need to influence how much they spend.

The reality is that acquiring new customers is hard and costly work, but increasing the sale total with an already engaged customer is relatively easy and highly profitable.

Imagine the difference that a 10% increase the value of each sale would make. It’s not a big jump, right? There are over 70 different ways in which this could happen. I’ll fill you in on a few:

  1. Present additional related products: Once a customer has made a decision to buy from you, they become psychologically more amenable to an additional purchase (especially if the next item is cheaper than the purchase they have already committed to). A perfect example of up-selling is McDonald’s iconic catchphrase “Would you like fries with that?” This simple question added $20Million in addition weekly profit!
  2. Offer an upgrade: Offering incremental upcharges to your customers can significantly add to the top line… and it costs nothing to ask! You may experience this a lot when you go to the cinemas to watch a movie, where the employees always ask if you would like to upsize to a larger drink or popcorn, to last the whole movie of course. Consider what your business could offer that will provide additional value to the customer.
  3. Raise your prices: Your product or service will willingly be bought by the customers who believe that they are getting better value. Not only that, they would also be willing to pay more for it! The more unique you make your product or service, and the better you inform your customers, the more valuable your target market will perceive you to be.

Now that you know a few ways that will easily and cheaply increase your average dollar sale, here are a couple of tips highlighting the specific things you want to avoid doing:

DON’T…

  1. Assume your customers know every product or service you have available, or the details and benefits of each of those products or services
  2. Fail to offer an upgrade. It costs nothing to ask!
  3. Offer what YOU believe your customer will buy, especially if it is less than what they really need.

It’s time to brainstorm all the different ways your business could increase their average dollar sale. Call me on (02) 9146 4439 or click here to book a 1 on 1 session with one of our business coaches to discover more!

And don’t forget…

“Small changes eventually add up to huge results…”

time-management-tools

4 Time Management Tools to help you work 10 fewer hours each week

Want to get some time back for yourself, but afraid that your business’ productivity or profits will suffer?
We hear this from so many business owners who don’t have the strategies or time management tools to confidently step away and enjoy some free time to recharge or think about their next business idea.

Ironically and unfortunately, most business owners are so busy making a living that they do not have time to really make a significant amount of money. But surely you didn’t leave your old job, take risks and devote your time to building a business only to earn yourself a monthly wage by working harder than you ever have before? So let’s find you some free time.

ActionCOACH is highly experienced in assisting business owners to work less and make more. Here are four time management tools anyone can use to make more money in less time.

Tool One: Fire Extraneous Customers

Customers who are a waste of time are like shoplifters who specialize in stealing our valuable time. We need to get rid of them or transform them into paying customers. You know who they are. The ones who don’t pay their invoices on time, never stop complaining or can’t be satisfied, those who tie up sales reps, customer service personnel, supervisors, and managers.

How do you get rid of them? You can either delete dead-end leads from the client database or send selected clients to a more appropriate business that matches their price demands.

Also consider whether you need to eliminate the magnets that are attracting those unwanted customers in the first place. Freebies for signing up might be a great plan for attracting new business, but might not be attracting your ideal customer. Remember, profit is the goal and the most important barometer of success.

Tool Two: Double the Conversion Rates of Transactions

The key to increasing profits is to convert unprofitable interactions into profitable ones. While most people crawl toward retirement on the same income, increasing profits in a business can be done in a matter of days or weeks. To prepare for a profit-boosting initiative, gather accounting data and metrics to get a clear picture of where profits come from, how many contacts are made with customers each month, and how many customers make actual purchases. Next, launch a marketing and advertising push in order to generate new customer leads, encourage existing customers to buy more, and to promote the most profitable products or services in the inventory. Let’s look at an example of this business tool in action: Assume that the business is open 40 hours per week, or approximately 160 hours per month.

To gain 10 hours per week (or take 10 hours off without losing money) it is necessary to reap 40 hours’ worth of extra profits per month (10 hours a week times 4 weeks = 40 hours). One week is 25 percent of a 4-week month. So to gain 10 hours per week it is therefore necessary to increase conversion rates – in other words, sales and profits – by a mere 25 percent. Do this by attracting more customers; by making an extra quarter of profit margin on each dollar in sales, or by lowering overhead by 25 percent.

Apply enough effort and energy to the task and it is possible to double profits in a single month. Then an entrepreneur can afford to take an entire week off every month.

Step Three: Run Businesses on Autopilot

Now the business owner has enviable options. One possibility is to close down the business for 10 hours each week, take time off, and settle for making the same amount of money per month that was generated before boosting profits by 25 percent. Another alternative, however, is for the clever entrepreneur to leverage that newfound success for progressive changes and forward momentum. They will maintain the same hours of operation, capture the extra 25 percent in profits, and then wisely reinvest those profits in greater time saving initiatives.

By working smarter, not harder, through organized systems, cutting-edge technology, innovative advertising, and dynamic employee training, the entrepreneur can prepare to put the business into the hands of capable others – which is the next step toward personal freedom. Bill Gates became the richest man in America not by making computer software, but by inventing a system for selling software around the world without having to be physically involved in each of the transactions.

Those who keep enhancing that approach and applying that kind of formula are soon retired from the business completely with a steady stream of monthly income to live on, invest in new ventures, spend on hobbies and vacations, and fulfil lifelong dreams.

Tool Four: Activate the Passive Mode of Making Money

Most people work an entire lifetime to accumulate enough assets and savings to let them enjoy passive income. Many work a lifetime and still don’t achieve it, so they are never truly free to retire or do whatever they please. Real success and wealth is only realized by those whose money works overtime for them to generate passive income. When investments and businesses are generating positive cash flow and net profits, they add to one’s bank account constantly and continually.

But you need free time (start with the extra 10 hours per week) to expand profit centres, open new businesses, sell them for a profit, and launch into other investments. The key to early retirement or rapid wealth is to build passive income throughout life, rather than trying to simply accumulate a portfolio of assets. If passive income is there, then the potential to acquire assets is made possible.

Putting it All Together: Time and Money with More of Both to Spare

Enjoying one’s ideal lifestyle becomes a fulltime occupation, thanks to the fact that it is possible to easily work 10 hours less each week without giving up productivity or income. Repeat the formula and reap 20 free hours a week. Double that and soon the nine-to-five schedule of most workers becomes transformed into 40 liberated hours of free time each week. Using the four tools outlined above will allow you to quickly reach full time retirement with plenty of money for a pleasurable and rewarding lifestyle spent with family and friends.

More information on time management tools can be found in our eBook called The Real Guide to Productive and Effective Time Management Skills here.

For advice unique to your business circumstances, call ActionCOACH today, on 02 9146 4439.