I want to double my business in 2016

by kemdev
31 replies
I've been building websites for local businesses for almost 4 years now. For most of that time I've done slightly better than just getting by, with fluctuating income every month and dry streaks/hot streaks. This year has been completely different. I've had consistent growth all year long, moved my operation into a real office and had my first taste of big boy income.

Did I do anything drastically different this year? Not really. I worked more, that's for sure. I leveraged my existing client base better by moving to monthly services/payments. I believe getting the physical location legitimized my business to the community. But day-to-day my business was basically the same as previous years: I worked when I had work, picked up 2-3 new projects a month through referrals and some networking and did my best to provide the best service possible to every client. The effectiveness of my service alone has lead to the biggest increase in my business this year; clients are paying me more (and monthly) because I'm able to get them more leads.

I want to double my business in 2016 (I'll just say it'll be more than 100k) but I need some help. Hopefully the bright minds on this forum can offer me some guidance. Some of the challenges I face are:

Project management. I am outsourcing the more time-consuming parts of a project (citations, content, etc...) currently. But I always feel like I have projects 95% complete and there's always something left to do, so projects tend to linger longer than they need to. Part of this is I take the outcomes of my work very personally, and I always want to be getting my client more. What I need is some type of visual representation of the stages of a project and a way to put a big COMPLETE stamp on the thing when I've finished all those stages. What do you guys use?

Marketing. I need a consistent 10-15 leads a month to reach my goal.

I'm not going to cold call. Done it before, it worked, but I'm not doing it again. I have no problem calling warm leads.

My business website sends me an odd sale or two. But I don't live in a very densely populated area so I don't expect it to send me much. Or should I? Should I really be blogging about this stuff in the hopes of reaching a national audience? In my experience the businesses I work with don't care about the how-it-works, they just want it done. Am I being short-sighted? If so, how do I take this local brand I'm trying to cultivate and bring it to a national audience?

Advertising. I'm doing very little currently. But at this point I have a little bit of capital and I'm comfortable spending some money on something targeted. But where to start? Local publications already have strong ties to my competition (bigger companies). Adwords is going to be super competitive. I've advertised through a local builders association but it hasn't been effective so far. Ideally I'd want to start advertising on the local level first, but I'm not even sure where to start.

Referrals. I need some type of system. I get some now, but the referrals are almost never pre-sold. It's more of a... "call this guy, he might need something done" kind of thing. Sometimes I talk to the referrals and they're excited but then they go cold and I can't get a hold of them. I suppose I just need a better system in place to gather and contact referrals from my existing clients.

Mindset. You know it's funny. I've been in business for almost 4 years, but it's never felt like a "real" business to me. I'm in my early twenties and have been making my own way doing this since after high school, so you would think it would feel legitimate. Maybe it's because I've always just done whatever the hell I wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I work when I have to work and I've put in some long days. But I don't have that typical 8-hour work day most people do. My friends or anyone close don't really see me as a legitimate business person - they see me waking up at noon and only having to work a couple hours a day etc etc etc... Then again they don't know how much money I make. I guess that doesn't really matter, I don't know. I just know I want my business to be respectable.

Providing a better service. I'm good at what I do. I can get a local business leads and I can prove it. But I want to get them more, because I know the better I am at my job, the better clients I'm going to get and the longer they're going to stay with me. I've been experimenting with paid Adwords and Facebook campaigns for a couple clients - it's been going pretty okay, on the verge of what I would call good. They're definitely profitable, but not as profitable as I would like them to be. I could definitely use some more education on paid lead-generation campaigns.

--

I don't post on here often, and perhaps I just needed to get all this written down, but I would love to hear your opinions on the topics above and how I can take my business to the next level. There are some really bright minds on here and even though I don't post it regularly, I'm very thankful for their participation on this forum and the value they bring to the table.

PS. To any newbies reading this, you ABSOLUTELY can make money with this offline stuff. You just have to get started.
#2016 #business #double
  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Look at your existing client list. Are there any that have potential clients that would suit you? See if they'll endorse you to their list.

    Focus on prospects who have a suitable client list with a view to having them endorse you.

    Say thank you a lot... When they order, when they pay, when they refer you, when they endorse you, whenever you have any contact. Reward appropriately with unexpected gifts.
    Signature

    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
    What I do for a living

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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

    Referrals. I need some type of system. I get some now, but the referrals are almost never pre-sold. It's more of a... "call this guy, he might need something done" kind of thing.
    You're at a point now, where most of you business should come from referrals.

    You are doing it wrong, completely wrong. You need your clients to introduce you to the referrals, and you need to contact them quick.

    If you already have my book on prospecting, a third of the book gives you every single step, every single word you say, to get referrals that are eagerly awaiting your call.

    Referrals are all about one client, bragging to another business owner, about what you did for them. Timing is critical. What you say is everything. The clients need to see this as a favor you are doing for them, not a favor they are doing for you.

    You have enough clients now, that you can just work by referral, and the occasional call in.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Systemize your business.

    Gerber....e-myth...plenty of videos on Youtube.

    Yes, it's a service business not selling flowers or candy, but you can do it and brand it your way. This has been my most important project this year after many years of fighting the idea. Google the e-myth for service businesses and you'll find some info about it.

    You say you know the number of leads you need per month to guarantee those revenue results you need...what are you doing to ensure they happen?

    "To manage we must measure":

    -Lead Generation System

    -Qualification System

    -Closing System.

    If necessary, and it's not a bad idea at all, hire someone to be the badass bugbear who chases everyone to finish these 95%ers. That way you know action is being taken on them while you sleep, and you get to float above it all not being the bad guy with clients. It's your project manager.

    How much money are you leaving on the table with that last 5% hanging around?

    What's the psychic energy loss you experience (yes, there is such a thing) by dragging all those 95%ers around with you all year long?

    About your headspace...this is the #1 thing you can work on and keep ahead of.

    As your mindset goes up and down, so will your productivity. So it's vital you keep it straight. I'll tell ya it's the biggest fight I face. But what you wrote in your post, mindset and providing a better service, shows you're on the right track...just keep those goals in mind. Your decision to reach for the target is far more important then knowing "the how" right away.

    Who cares what other people think. The best revenge is results, as they say...some people will hate you once they realize you're making money.

    Watch those You Were Born Rich training vids linked to in a previous thread (search on Youtube). Keep watching them.
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    • Profile picture of the author kemdev
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      You're at a point now, where most of you business should come from referrals.

      You are doing it wrong, completely wrong. You need your clients to introduce you to the referrals, and you need to contact them quick.
      The biggest focus of early 2016 for me will be attracting new blood. I've all but exhausted referrals from my existing client base.

      I have read the book, but I'm not sure I have it anymore. If not I will buy another copy. One thing I remember is having the client call referrals on the spot to introduce me. While this may be possible after I've produced results, I don't see an owner doing this right after signing a contract and getting started. Or is that not your experience?

      Could you maybe give me some bullet points on the system as a whole? I will refer to the book for wording.

      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Systemize your business.

      Gerber....e-myth...plenty of videos on Youtube.

      Yes, it's a service business not selling flowers or candy, but you can do it and brand it your way. This has been my most important project this year after many years of fighting the idea. Google the e-myth for service businesses and you'll find some info about it.

      You say you know the number of leads you need per month to guarantee those revenue results you need...what are you doing to ensure they happen?

      "To manage we must measure":

      -Lead Generation System

      -Qualification System

      -Closing System.

      If necessary, and it's not a bad idea at all, hire someone to be the badass bugbear who chases everyone to finish these 95%ers. That way you know action is being taken on them while you sleep, and you get to float above it all not being the bad guy with clients. It's your project manager.

      How much money are you leaving on the table with that last 5% hanging around?

      What's the psychic energy loss you experience (yes, there is such a thing) by dragging all those 95%ers around with you all year long?

      About your headspace...this is the #1 thing you can work on and keep ahead of.

      As your mindset goes up and down, so will your productivity. So it's vital you keep it straight. I'll tell ya it's the biggest fight I face. But what you wrote in your post, mindset and providing a better service, shows you're on the right track...just keep those goals in mind. Your decision to reach for the target is far more important then knowing "the how" right away.

      Who cares what other people think. The best revenge is results, as they say...some people will hate you once they realize you're making money.

      Watch those You Were Born Rich training vids linked to in a previous thread (search on Youtube). Keep watching them.
      The lead generation system is what I'm lacking right now. I know I'm not going to hammer phones. I don't mind cherry picking leads and calling to introduce myself, but that's not going to be scalable in my immediate area.

      I keep coming back around to using my website how it should be used - case studies, lots of content, really pushing the info. But my target market doesn't care about the HOW. I feel like I would be attracting my competition with that info more than my target market.

      Qualifying and closing I'm okay with. I'm not a great salesman and I don't care to be right now. But I need consistent incoming leads to nurture.

      I'm checking out the e myth tomorrow.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

        The biggest focus of early 2016 for me will be attracting new blood. I've all but exhausted referrals from my existing client base.

        I have read the book, but I'm not sure I have it anymore. If not I will buy another copy. One thing I remember is having the client call referrals on the spot to introduce me. While this may be possible after I've produced results, I don't see an owner doing this right after signing a contract and getting started. Or is that not your experience?

        Could you maybe give me some bullet points on the system as a whole? I will refer to the book for wording.
        Of course you an get referrals at the point of sale. When is someone more excited about buying, than at the point of sale? But then you also call them back a few months later. Now you want the people they bragged to. Those people will see you, and will almost certainly buy.

        Don't get referrals from non buyers. And don't just ask for a list of names. During the presentation, you simply mention a few times that you work by referrals, and maybe mention someone that was referred to you. and of course, there is a short script that you can plug in anytime that shows seeing referrals as a benefit to the referrer, and as a favor of the client to the referred lead. This part must be done, or it won't work. And you also must get the client to call the referral. Either in front of you (like I did) or have them call you with the names of the people they talked to. Never call a referral without this introduction, or they will be burned as a referral.

        The person that gives you a referral that buys? Deliver a gift (even a token gift) and get more referrals, just a few at a time. Remember, you are not calling these people, until they have agreed to talk to you.

        You haven't exhausted the referrals from your client base. You just asked them in a way that makes them say "No, I can't think of anyone right now".

        Some clients give referrals that buy, some give referrals that don't buy, and most give no referrals. Only talk to the clients that give you buyers.

        The best times to ask for referrals ("Ask" is the wrong word. These clients should expect to give you quality referrals. That's what professionals do, they get referrals, and introductions):

        1) The minute you get the contract signed, while you are in front of them. This may take a whole 15 minutes.

        2) Whenever they call for a favor, like a tweeking on some work you did for them. Customer service...delivered quickly and painlessly, is a prime mover to get referrals. Ask when you call to let them know what you did.

        3) On the call where you tell them how a referral meeting went. And you do have to let them know, good or bad.

        Remember, you are offering your client's friend and additional source of information, and additional option to grow their business.

        After you internalize how to convey these ideas to the client, You can keep going back, every time a referral buys, to get another referral. And you';ll be seeing buyers, who know buyers, who found out about you from another buyer.


        That's it. You have to study the section on referrals. Ask me questions after you have tried some of it. It may make a useful thread.



        By the way, for a few years (the last few years I sold in homes), I had a card that said, "By Referral Only". I even told people I cold called that I work by referral only.

        People that are perceived to only work by referrals are instantly thought of as very trustworthy, professional and in demand. It implies people have to have a referral before you'll even talk to them. It's one of the most powerful marketing positioning methods you can use.
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        • Profile picture of the author animal44
          Great post Claude. As usual, I agree with some points and not others.
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          Don't get referrals from non buyers.
          Strongly disagree here. My first big client came from a non buyer. And he's been responsible for other referrals that has literally resulted in millions for me. You can be sure he's on my business christmas card list :-)
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          The person that gives you a referral that buys? Deliver a gift (even a token gift) and get more referrals, just a few at a time.
          A personal thank you is often enough. Unexpected gifts, especially if they're something personal, something that the person wants or enjoys, are even better.
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          That's what professionals do, they get referrals, and introductions
          And that's what I call networking... Forget BNI and suchlike, build your own private network by referring and introducing people to each other, without expectations of a return.
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          By the way, for a few years (the last few years I sold in homes), I had a card that said, "By Referral Only".
          We were unofficially referral only for a couple of years. When we became officially referral only, we found ourselves more in demand. :-)
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          I even told people I cold called that I work by referral only.
          That seems contradictory. Cold calling when you're referral only?
          Signature

          People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
          What I do for a living

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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

            Strongly disagree here. My first big client came from a non buyer. And he's been responsible for other referrals that has literally resulted in millions for me.
            Everyone has a story where a non-buyer gave them referrals and they bought. But I'm saying after 35 years, 7,200 sales, tens of thousands of referrals.....concentrate on getting referrals from buyers. And if you have those referrals, don't pollute the system with non-buyers....and here's why...

            You want people that only know that when you talk to someone, they buy. A buyer referral is worth more than ten non-buyer referrals. You want to build a web of buyers....it's a lot of the strength of getting referrals. If you go see someone from an introduction, and that person knows six people that you have talked to...and all of them bought, your chances of a sale are almost 100%. Peer pressure is the reason. And they know one thing...everyone buys from you. And they expect to buy.

            And if a client buys, and a person they referred to you doesn't buy, it's almost an insult to the client. Sure, I've had non-buyers give me a referral that bought. And if you only have that one appointment, go for it. But if you have 30 lists of referrals that you are working at a time, the non-buyers are a waste of time. Because they know one thing, people don't buy from you. And they don't expect to buy.

            I'm not exactly sure why this is true, but I know it is; Buyers know buyers who know buyers. Non-buyers know non-buyers. And I've worked lists of non-buyers. It's a self re-enforcing string of nobody buying. If I see you, and you know six people I've already seen, and only one bought, you are almost guaranteed not to buy.

            There are always exceptions. You found one. I've found a few. But you can starve looking for those exceptions.

            It's exactly like sending a direct mail letter to a list of your past buyers, or sending it to a list of compiled names. You may make a sale from the compiled list, but you'll make 15 sales to the list of customers.


            Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

            That seems contradictory. Cold calling when you're referral only?
            When you are cold calling, and say that you only work by referral, the person feels like they are exceptional, that you took the time to call them. I would say; "I normally only work by referral, but I was looking at your website, and it interested me. You seem to have a lot in common with my referral clients. Do you mind if I ask you a question or two?"
            I've never been told, "If you only work by referral, why are you calling me?"
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    It doesn't matter exactly how you get your leads. You can get them online. You can get them from the newspaper ads. You can get them from referrals. But you need to start those conversations. The question is, how are you going to get these people into your funnel? Decide that this is a priority and that you are going to figure it out.
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  • Profile picture of the author chamberlain
    Thanks for the post, you and I are exactly in the same boat. I am doing ok and have been for years but just not enough. I am starting to question if this business is sustainable. I am sure you have periods of burn-out like me. After all, I am the secretary, salesperson, designer, developer, bookkeeper, customer service representative, seo and social media expert wrapped all in one.


    What is that? You want a website for $200?


    Following, would like to hear comments advice as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by chamberlain View Post

      What is that? You want a website for $200?
      You could put "prices from $x" on your site which will filter a lot of that...
      Signature

      People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
      What I do for a living

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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

      I've been building websites for local businesses for almost 4 years now. For most of that time I've done slightly better than just getting by, with fluctuating income every month and dry streaks/hot streaks. This year has been completely different. I've had consistent growth all year long, moved my operation into a real office and had my first taste of big boy income.

      Did I do anything drastically different this year? Not really. I worked more, that's for sure. I leveraged my existing client base better by moving to monthly services/payments. I believe getting the physical location legitimized my business to the community. But day-to-day my business was basically the same as previous years: I worked when I had work, picked up 2-3 new projects a month through referrals and some networking and did my best to provide the best service possible to every client. The effectiveness of my service alone has lead to the biggest increase in my business this year; clients are paying me more (and monthly) because I'm able to get them more leads.

      I want to double my business in 2016 (I'll just say it'll be more than 100k) but I need some help. Hopefully the bright minds on this forum can offer me some guidance. Some of the challenges I face are:

      Project management. I am outsourcing the more time-consuming parts of a project (citations, content, etc...) currently. But I always feel like I have projects 95% complete and there's always something left to do, so projects tend to linger longer than they need to. Part of this is I take the outcomes of my work very personally, and I always want to be getting my client more. What I need is some type of visual representation of the stages of a project and a way to put a big COMPLETE stamp on the thing when I've finished all those stages. What do you guys use?

      Marketing. I need a consistent 10-15 leads a month to reach my goal.

      I'm not going to cold call. Done it before, it worked, but I'm not doing it again. I have no problem calling warm leads.

      My business website sends me an odd sale or two. But I don't live in a very densely populated area so I don't expect it to send me much. Or should I? Should I really be blogging about this stuff in the hopes of reaching a national audience? In my experience the businesses I work with don't care about the how-it-works, they just want it done. Am I being short-sighted? If so, how do I take this local brand I'm trying to cultivate and bring it to a national audience?

      Advertising. I'm doing very little currently. But at this point I have a little bit of capital and I'm comfortable spending some money on something targeted. But where to start? Local publications already have strong ties to my competition (bigger companies). Adwords is going to be super competitive. I've advertised through a local builders association but it hasn't been effective so far. Ideally I'd want to start advertising on the local level first, but I'm not even sure where to start.

      Referrals. I need some type of system. I get some now, but the referrals are almost never pre-sold. It's more of a... "call this guy, he might need something done" kind of thing. Sometimes I talk to the referrals and they're excited but then they go cold and I can't get a hold of them. I suppose I just need a better system in place to gather and contact referrals from my existing clients.

      Mindset. You know it's funny. I've been in business for almost 4 years, but it's never felt like a "real" business to me. I'm in my early twenties and have been making my own way doing this since after high school, so you would think it would feel legitimate. Maybe it's because I've always just done whatever the hell I wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I work when I have to work and I've put in some long days. But I don't have that typical 8-hour work day most people do. My friends or anyone close don't really see me as a legitimate business person - they see me waking up at noon and only having to work a couple hours a day etc etc etc... Then again they don't know how much money I make. I guess that doesn't really matter, I don't know. I just know I want my business to be respectable.

      Providing a better service. I'm good at what I do. I can get a local business leads and I can prove it. But I want to get them more, because I know the better I am at my job, the better clients I'm going to get and the longer they're going to stay with me. I've been experimenting with paid Adwords and Facebook campaigns for a couple clients - it's been going pretty okay, on the verge of what I would call good. They're definitely profitable, but not as profitable as I would like them to be. I could definitely use some more education on paid lead-generation campaigns.

      --

      I don't post on here often, and perhaps I just needed to get all this written down, but I would love to hear your opinions on the topics above and how I can take my business to the next level. There are some really bright minds on here and even though I don't post it regularly, I'm very thankful for their participation on this forum and the value they bring to the table.

      PS. To any newbies reading this, you ABSOLUTELY can make money with this offline stuff. You just have to get started.
      Originally Posted by chamberlain View Post

      Thanks for the post, you and I are exactly in the same boat. I am doing ok and have been for years but just not enough. I am starting to question if this business is sustainable. I am sure you have periods of burn-out like me. After all, I am the secretary, salesperson, designer, developer, bookkeeper, customer service representative, seo and social media expert wrapped all in one.


      What is that? You want a website for $200?


      Following, would like to hear comments advice as well.
      Some things for both of you.

      I posted this site before in a different thread. I'm not affiliated. I like how they use their site to qualify
      by type of business and by pricing (check the about section).

      Colorado Web Design Company | Strategic CO Website Design

      Also, the owner wrote a weekly column for a local daily newspaper. (General safe computing/internet tips and tricks as well as some marketing stuffs.) Within a year or so after starting her column, her clients included most of the local governments and better local businesses. She's in a rural kind of area that was/is underserved. By now, I'm sure they have clients from all over the world. I don't know, but her column may have been syndicated to other print or internet sources.

      Try advertising in trade journals.

      Dan
      Signature

      "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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  • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
    Hello kemdev

    The thing that jumped out at me from your post was what you titled Mindset:

    " Mindset. You know it's funny. I've been in business for almost 4 years, but it's never felt like a "real" business to me. I'm in my early twenties and have been making my own way doing this since after high school, so you would think it would feel legitimate. Maybe it's because I've always just done whatever the hell I wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I work when I have to work and I've put in some long days. But I don't have that typical 8-hour work day most people do. My friends or anyone close don't really see me as a legitimate business person - they see me waking up at noon and only having to work a couple hours a day etc etc etc... Then again they don't know how much money I make. I guess that doesn't really matter, I don't know. I just know I want my business to be respectable."

    I especially focussed on this: " But I don't have that typical 8-hour work day most people do. My friends or anyone close don't really see me as a legitimate business person - they see me waking up at noon and only having to work a couple hours a day etc etc etc..."

    If what you have said is true, then you would also have a hard time convincing me that you are a legitimate business person. You might be making a reasonable wage but in reality you are jus playing around, or stuffing around I should say to make that point clearer.

    I won't actually add any advice at this point as to how to double your Business. Quite obviously anything I add is going to cut into your leisure an sleep time, an I don't want that on my concious.

    So my advice to you for the moment - get a better mindset!

    Cheers

    Lindy
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  • Profile picture of the author couiskincare
    I'm really surprised about the option Mindset. I've been doing my business up to almost 6 years but don't know about that. really feeling frustrating
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    EDIT: I just want to say, you are doing an awesome job for where you are in life. If you keep at it, you are going to be living the dream soon.

    Didn't read all of this so I apologize if it has been said already.

    First, your goal is too small. If you shoot for doubling your business, and come up short, you will be disappointed. Plan to quadruple your business. Build ALL your plans on that goal. Put everything in place to handle that much volume. If you come up short on this goal, you will still have at least doubled business. Don't be afraid to think BIGGER.

    Second, you now know what your fixed costs are. As you increase your work volume, you will send a larger percentage to your bottom line profits. This is the economy of scale. You have things in place - now maximize them.

    Third, you know what the minimum monthly costs are. If you want to quadruple your business, here it is:

    Pay yourself the minimum you need plus a little spending cash to feel comfortable.

    Once you have paid minimum requirements - Only pay yourself 20% of additional profits. This means that if $5,000/mo is your baseline, every sale above that, put 20% into a different account for yourself.

    Dump the other 80% back into your business. When you get a project, pay the COGS, then 80% of what is left goes right back into growing your business.

    You don't need 10-15 leads - you need 30-40 leads. Trust me, this will change your whole calculus regarding how much to charge, and what jobs you take.

    Things will get hairy fast when you invest 80% of profits back into growth. This approach will REQUIRE you to build systems. It will make your business so much better.

    Eventually, you will live quite comfortably on the 20% you are taking. I literally grew a business over 10 times from one year to the next just using this approach.

    It's time to get good at building systems, and leading others, and thinking.

    Remember this - as an entrepreneur - the most valuable use of your time is THINKING. Once you get other people handling things, it frees up more time for you to think and delegate.

    Doubling is totally possible. Quadrupling is totally possible. 10X is totally possible.

    Some people fear they will grow too fast and go out of business. Yes it can happen. BUT - too many sales is almost NEVER the problem.
    Signature
    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    I agree with Dani's post.

    The real question I have for kemdev is:

    Are you figuring out the SOLID NUMBERS for doubling, quadrupling, zillionizing your business?

    Or are you hoping?

    Yes, there's the 80/20 Rule and we all agree that implementing a system to bring you more REFERRALS will get you the biggest bang for your buck.

    But have you done the math for that referral system?

    Do you know exactly how many referrals you'll need, assuming a certain close % (1/4 to start, 1/2 after you get experienced with it, to keep everything conservative IMO)?

    Or are you leaving it open-ended, "I'll try this and we'll see what happens"?

    Get the numbers down pat.

    Every month, I have a specific number of prospects I want to bring into my system.

    A % will be qualified prospects.

    And out of those qualified prospects, a certain number will become buyers.

    I know from experience what my numbers look like.

    When I get lazy about making sure that # of leads come in, that's when things start going badly for me. When I figure "oh, they'll just come in."

    Yes, there is a typical inbound figure based on historical experience. But you can't rely on it. It's not guaranteed.

    One of the best things I could do is automate lead generation so that it happens entirely without my involvement. That's a goal. I like to pre-qualify as much as I can, so I spend too much time looking for great prospects to send through my qualifying machine. It keeps the ratios down, but it also sucks up a lot of my time. How does this work in your business? Food for thought.

    You should KNOW without a doubt how many leads you need every month to hit your revenue target.

    Mine is astonishingly low. It's 20...at least, the way I pre-qualify now. All I need to do is talk to 20 (or more) people I see are ready to buy, have a product or service that is interesting to me, aren't a financial basket case, and seem to take direction well. Out of that 20, I KNOW I'll get 4 clients and that total revenue will well exceed my money target.

    Yours may be quite different--as would mine if I switched to a more automated leadgen system. It might end up being 500 leads: 50 qualified leads : 5 buyers, let's say. More grinding it out.

    This is why it's important to consciously pick your marketing approach. Lots of people on the traffic side, and only a few on the conversion? Only a few on each side, like the model I have now?

    "Oh, I'll just turn this dial up and we'll see what happens" is good in the sense that you're altering only ONE variable, like a good science experiment...but it's bad in the sense that you don't have a numbered plan for expectations and results.

    Estimate first, then adjust as reality shows you the real numbers.

    All you have to concern yourself with are Traffic and Conversion. What are the two sides of the equation doing for you? What have you needed until now? Pick ONE side and raise it as the new target--not both--and work on that until you've hit that new target.

    Get those numbers so you really understand how you're going to get there...not just try something and hope and pray.
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    • Profile picture of the author eccj
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      I agree with Dani's post.

      The real question I have for kemdev is:

      Are you figuring out the SOLID NUMBERS for doubling, quadrupling, zillionizing your business?

      Or are you hoping?

      Yes, there's the 80/20 Rule and we all agree that implementing a system to bring you more REFERRALS will get you the biggest bang for your buck.

      But have you done the math for that referral system?

      Do you know exactly how many referrals you'll need, assuming a certain close % (1/4 to start, 1/2 after you get experienced with it, to keep everything conservative IMO)?

      Or are you leaving it open-ended, "I'll try this and we'll see what happens"?

      Get the numbers down pat.

      Every month, I have a specific number of prospects I want to bring into my system.

      A % will be qualified prospects.

      And out of those qualified prospects, a certain number will become buyers.

      I know from experience what my numbers look like.

      When I get lazy about making sure that # of leads come in, that's when things start going badly for me. When I figure "oh, they'll just come in."

      Yes, there is a typical inbound figure based on historical experience. But you can't rely on it. It's not guaranteed.

      One of the best things I could do is automate lead generation so that it happens entirely without my involvement. That's a goal. I like to pre-qualify as much as I can, so I spend too much time looking for great prospects to send through my qualifying machine. It keeps the ratios down, but it also sucks up a lot of my time. How does this work in your business? Food for thought.

      You should KNOW without a doubt how many leads you need every month to hit your revenue target.

      Mine is astonishingly low. It's 20...at least, the way I pre-qualify now. All I need to do is talk to 20 (or more) people I see are ready to buy, have a product or service that is interesting to me, aren't a financial basket case, and seem to take direction well. Out of that 20, I KNOW I'll get 4 clients and that total revenue will well exceed my money target.

      Yours may be quite different--as would mine if I switched to a more automated leadgen system. It might end up being 500 leads: 50 qualified leads : 5 buyers, let's say. More grinding it out.

      This is why it's important to consciously pick your marketing approach. Lots of people on the traffic side, and only a few on the conversion? Only a few on each side, like the model I have now?

      "Oh, I'll just turn this dial up and we'll see what happens" is good in the sense that you're altering only ONE variable, like a good science experiment...but it's bad in the sense that you don't have a numbered plan for expectations and results.

      Estimate first, then adjust as reality shows you the real numbers.

      All you have to concern yourself with are Traffic and Conversion. What are the two sides of the equation doing for you? What have you needed until now? Pick ONE side and raise it as the new target--not both--and work on that until you've hit that new target.

      Get those numbers so you really understand how you're going to get there...not just try something and hope and pray.
      First off, this is a really good post.

      I struggle with the same thing; more leads or less. It may sounds like a silly question ala "more leads = better" but it isn't that simple.

      This year my dad, who is a retirement planner got it in his head that he wanted a lot of leads. For years he had only worked on referrals and people he met through everyday life and has done well.

      Well he wanted to do internet ads. We did internet ads.

      Found a good guy to do the ads, he did an ok job and the leads started to come in. My dad was absolutely lost.

      In his mind what he was getting were not leads they were more like prospects.

      In his mind the people he was seeing were broke; they weren't compared to some of the people I used to see but to him they were poor.

      I finally stepped in and told him to put the lead campaign on hold for the holidays right before Thanksgiving. Now I am hoping he forgets about the whole thing.

      So yes more leads can lead to less sales and way less money. Before this my dad was getting a 3-4 leads a month, closing 2-3 of them, and making anywhere from $10,000 to $70,000 a month.

      That ain't bad.

      That's semi retired work levels and good money. He lives pretty modestly.

      He found out it sure as hell beats calling a bunch of crazy people who swear up and down they didn't request information. It sure beats getting an appointment and then showing up and the guy has $8,000 in a 401(K) and wants to retire in three months (true story).

      Part of me thinks high lead volume is a young mans game. That's why we start out cold calling, hitting the pavement, etc.

      After we get good at what we do we can either decide to build systems to handle a ton of leads; hire people, automate, build JV's, etc. Or we can be more selective with who we take on as a client.

      There is something to be said about taking on who you want as a client, not dealing with employees, not dealing with open hours, and just living your life. There is something to be said for having clients over for dinner and never talking about business because you are now friends (the way my dad has done business the last 15 years).

      Doing business with low leads/high value allows you to do other types of business too if the opportunity arises and you feel like it or charity work.

      My dad has done all sorts of business deals and transactions. Some make money some don't. He just bought a part of a medical equipment company with a client. I don't know if it will make any money but the old guys are having fun. He used to own a part of some car dealerships and had a blast.

      So there are some things to think about.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        for me I believe there is a dynamic that goes on in small community business targeting. In a community of say 100,000 people there are going to be an easy 5000 business' that are potential clients. Delving into the realm of cliches and inner working politics of a small community can be down right a pain in the butt.

        Going to church can be a good gateway to meeting the "right" people. Unfortunatly religion is very segmented and being a part of a Catholic church can create a gap from someone that happens to be a member of a Baptist church. I would say this is a solid entry method, but can create issues long term. ( if you live in a small town you will understand this. )

        Bowling... This would be a very solid method to getting in with the blue collar types. Electricians plumbers contractors and basically the small guy with a hum drum job that dreams of having more. ( I bowl a pretty consistent 180 game btw )

        You start looking at the more "Professional" side of things Doctors lawyers and such and the game without question changes. Chamber of commerce, freemasons, Country club etc. They have a tendency to do business with those that are like them. The clothes you wear and the car you drive matters.

        ( I will interject here, that a nice truck - not a jacked truck - but a nice truck fits both of those molds )

        The overall neutralizer in this can be your office. Take ques from the GAP ( clothing store ). Light colored floors and dark fixtures with large graphics on the wall. This exudes everything the blue collar guy wants in life, and what the white collar crowd expects.

        And before I catch a ration of ..... for this kind of thinking... Marketing is targeting and packaging, and the above is just that.

        With the idea that success is driven by success ( and it sounds like you are creating success for your clients ) Your clients WANT to share their success you have created for them with others. HOWEVER... when you flat out ask for referals from say a Lawyer.. they IMMEDIATLY think of their other Lawyer friends. They DONT want to share you with them. It becomes all in the asking... "Mr. John Q esquire, do you have any non attorney friends that might benefit from my services?"

        You can try this for yourself.. "John Q do you have any friends you could refer to me?" and they say "I cant think of any" and then you turn around and say " Let me re-ask that, do you have a non attorney friends you could refer me to?" and 9 times out of 10 the answer will be vastly different.

        I don't know if you saw this post or not http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ess-owner.html Claude shares a rather nice link to a book. He has used the principles in the book, and I have as well. It works very well in a small community setting. 5 letters to 5 people that know each other.. they will want to beat each other out and be the one that is using your service. I have more than once.. more like 100 times had all of the mail recipients call me the next day.

        Hope that helps!
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        Success is an ACT not an idea
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        • Profile picture of the author eccj
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          for me I believe there is a dynamic that goes on in small community business targeting. In a community of say 100,000 people there are going to be an easy 5000 business' that are potential clients. Delving into the realm of cliches and inner working politics of a small community can be down right a pain in the butt.

          Going to church can be a good gateway to meeting the "right" people. Unfortunatly religion is very segmented and being a part of a Catholic church can create a gap from someone that happens to be a member of a Baptist church. I would say this is a solid entry method, but can create issues long term. ( if you live in a small town you will understand this. )

          Bowling... This would be a very solid method to getting in with the blue collar types. Electricians plumbers contractors and basically the small guy with a hum drum job that dreams of having more. ( I bowl a pretty consistent 180 game btw )

          You start looking at the more "Professional" side of things Doctors lawyers and such and the game without question changes. Chamber of commerce, freemasons, Country club etc. They have a tendency to do business with those that are like them. The clothes you wear and the car you drive matters.

          ( I will interject here, that a nice truck - not a jacked truck - but a nice truck fits both of those molds )

          The overall neutralizer in this can be your office. Take ques from the GAP ( clothing store ). Light colored floors and dark fixtures with large graphics on the wall. This exudes everything the blue collar guy wants in life, and what the white collar crowd expects.

          And before I catch a ration of ..... for this kind of thinking... Marketing is targeting and packaging, and the above is just that.

          With the idea that success is driven by success ( and it sounds like you are creating success for your clients ) Your clients WANT to share their success you have created for them with others. HOWEVER... when you flat out ask for referals from say a Lawyer.. they IMMEDIATLY think of their other Lawyer friends. They DONT want to share you with them. It becomes all in the asking... "Mr. John Q esquire, do you have any non attorney friends that might benefit from my services?"

          You can try this for yourself.. "John Q do you have any friends you could refer to me?" and they say "I cant think of any" and then you turn around and say " Let me re-ask that, do you have a non attorney friends you could refer me to?" and 9 times out of 10 the answer will be vastly different.

          I don't know if you saw this post or not http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ess-owner.html Claude shares a rather nice link to a book. He has used the principles in the book, and I have as well. It works very well in a small community setting. 5 letters to 5 people that know each other.. they will want to beat each other out and be the one that is using your service. I have more than once.. more like 100 times had all of the mail recipients call me the next day.

          Hope that helps!
          I agree on the truck thing. Jeeps are also a good option for those who ride the fence.

          So you mail letters out to competitors and put in the letter that their competitors are getting the same letter? That's pretty ballsy.
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          • Profile picture of the author savidge4
            Originally Posted by eccj View Post

            I agree on the truck thing. Jeeps are also a good option for those who ride the fence.

            So you mail letters out to competitors and put in the letter that their competitors are getting the same letter? That's pretty ballsy.
            My letter is your basic Hi my name is.. What the company does. What I can do for you

            there are X number of you in the market space Company A B C D E F and ethically all I can do is work with one of you.

            What I have done for others ( insert parallel testimonials. ) chances are better than likely that any of the targeted business will know these business owners ( referral by default )

            Insert added pressure, this is not a space limited opportunity, this is I will only be working with one of you. Call today.

            There comes a point in this after doing this a few times.. that people will start doing 2 things. Wait for the piece of mail to come ( it becomes a status symbol of sorts that you are contacting them ) OR they will call and be very blunt that in such and such segment that want to be the exclusive.

            In a small town environment this is using a good portion of the 7 deadly sins to your advantage.
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            Success is an ACT not an idea
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  • Profile picture of the author SiteSmarty
    Websites? Nobody wants a website. Nobody! The reason you suck at your business is you're building websites. Nobody wants a website. You want to position yourself so you do less of what you're doing now and make more money, right? That's what all your prospective clients want also. Sell them that, up sell everything else.

    Example: I did work for a grocery store owner close to where I live. It's a gorgeous store. Clean, sharp employees, well run. I set up an opt-in email marketing system for them, which produced results far beyond their expectations. He owns 4 stores.

    They're putting a pharmacy in the store right now. I already chatted with the store managers and their bookkeeper about the new pharmacy. Just chat, nothing else.

    I recently got a call from the owner of the store. He asked if I'd put their marketing system for the pharmacy together and that now is a good time to upgrade their websites for their stores and local online marketing. He asked if I'd take on the project.

    I explained that we are to busy to take on their project. I suggested they find someone else because there are lots of companies that can help them.

    He said. I don't need that hassle. Can I talk you into doing the project for us? I said, I'd like to, but I just can't fit you in right now. His immediate response, we can wait.

    The story goes on, but you get the idea. Get a huge win. Big win! Then up sell everything else. You prove yourself when you get a big result. Get results for your clients and if you accept the right clients you only need 3 or 4 new clients a year, plus those clients you have on your month to month program.

    To finish the story, price was never asked and price was never given. I use an online proposal system. Send the proposal. It's short to the point, with one price. Nothing is broken down in the pricing. They are buying the result. They sign electronically, they pay instantly.

    I call the bookkeeper and tell her that I'm sending the proposal right now electronically. She says, we're waiting for it. I click send.

    When they open the proposal I can see them open it. I call them saying, I see you opened the proposal. It's an automatic system, you just sign and pay. I'll get notice that the transaction went through. We're going to start you project this afternoon.

    I'll call in a couple of days and let you know what we need. That afternoon, I get a call from the owner, thanking me for taking their project.

    Stop thinking like a web designer. Start thinking that only one thing matters, results for your clients and results for you. There are no secrets, there are no tricks, there are no shortcuts. You gotta hustle! You gotta position yourself and you gotta sell, sell, sell.

    Jason Kanigan, the guy in this thread has some good videos about pulling your head out of ... the sand or other places, so you can base your business on problem solving. Well worth the watch.
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    • Profile picture of the author kemdev
      Originally Posted by LindyUK View Post

      If what you have said is true, then you would also have a hard time convincing me that you are a legitimate business person.
      Good thing I don't need to.

      Originally Posted by DaniMc View Post

      First, your goal is too small. If you shoot for doubling your business, and come up short, you will be disappointed. Plan to quadruple your business. Build ALL your plans on that goal. Put everything in place to handle that much volume. If you come up short on this goal, you will still have at least doubled business. Don't be afraid to think BIGGER.
      I doubled my business this year. I know I can double it next year, if I really want to. Anything more than that? I honestly don't know. It certainly sounds nice to think bigger than double - but is it possible? I'm a realist and I'm not into the warm and fuzzy goal setting/shoot for the moon because even if you miss you'll land among the stars/anything is possible notions.

      Is it possible? Yes.

      Can I do it? My best answer is we'll see.

      What would my business look like if it were already 4x the size?

      ...
      that's the question I need to answer, because right now I don't know.

      You've given me a big question to think about - perhaps the one that really matters the most, and I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      One of the best things I could do is automate lead generation so that it happens entirely without my involvement. That's a goal. I like to pre-qualify as much as I can, so I spend too much time looking for great prospects to send through my qualifying machine. It keeps the ratios down, but it also sucks up a lot of my time. How does this work in your business? Food for thought.
      ...
      All you have to concern yourself with are Traffic and Conversion. What are the two sides of the equation doing for you? What have you needed until now? Pick ONE side and raise it as the new target--not both--and work on that until you've hit that new target.
      This, this, this. My biggest pitfall right now is incoming leads. Sure I'm making a name for myself locally and I'm starting to get #1 players and #2 players in specific fields... but I don't have a guaranteed number of leads coming in every month. That's what I'm lacking. Lead-generation, plain and simple. Pretty sad considering it's something I do every day for my clients. But I keep running into walls...

      Do I try to build up my site with more content? Will people care?

      Do I try to build a national brand or stick local? Are the two mutually exclusive?

      How do I get incoming leads without dumping money into Adwords? Am I really that afraid of spending 500-1000 a month?

      Should I be focusing on funnels? Of course... but where do those start, and what do they look like?

      I don't expect anyone to answer these questions for me. I'm just thinking out loud.

      Originally Posted by SiteSmarty View Post

      Websites? Nobody wants a website.
      Good thing I'm not just selling websites. But it sounds like you have things running smoothly. Good for you.
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      • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
        Hello kemdev

        My advice was serious, you were the one who said - "But I don't have that typical 8-hour work day most people do. My friends or anyone close don't really see me as a legitimate business person - they see me waking up at noon and only having to work a couple hours a day etc etc etc..."

        But as you say, you don't have to convince me of anything, it's your life, I'm not involved in any way, it doesn't effect me what you do.

        I gave you some hard advice to help you, you take it or leave it. I realise very few people want to put in the time or effort to build multi million dollar Business's, an thats fine. It depends on what you want in life, what your ambitions an goals are.

        But my advice still stands, even with a small Business an wanting to double it, an you were asking for advice on that. If your wanting to only work a couple of hours per day, sleep in till noon etc as you say, then I really don't see you as being serious bout your Business or that goal.

        My Dad an I are the exact opposite to you, we still work 16 hour days, even though we don't have to, we have a staff of 65 now. But up on a whiteboard above my computers I have a figure of $100 Million. Thats my goal, a long way to go yet but we already have sales of US$15 Million a year, soon we will start buying up the smaller competition an use that to snowball our growth, so we have a very defined plan to reach that $100 Million.

        We are actually in the same Business as you, bout 78% of our Business is Offline. But wish you well even if you didn't like my advice.

        Cheers

        Lindy
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  • Profile picture of the author basetend
    Its a very high competition time for any business to generate more leads. To generate the more effective leads you have to focus on online as well as local marketing approaches. You should have focus on proper online advertising platforms like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn ads etc

    Along with online and local marketing, you should have proper telemarketing and customer service department in place to provide all the necessary business information, problems or issues solution to the relevant person.
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  • Profile picture of the author bananapeel
    Checkout operateitpro.com this dude offers a course on systemizing your business. He runs a big SEO firm

    Check out this video from his youtube channel:

    "Create A Predictable Scalable Profit-Producing System That Survives And Thrives Without You"

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  • Profile picture of the author GroovyJosh
    @kemdev - I've totally been there. I did a training on this(not a pitchy webinar), but a high level training that just shows you what you need to do in order to grow your business by 50%-150% in 52 weeks.

    It's basically math. It's basically making a 1% improvement on your biz dev pipeline each week, in your case. Small hinges that swing big doors.

    Check it out here, it's a little under 20 minutes long. I used this video as an affiliate markeitng piece for my ClickFunnels affiliate program, so just disregard if you're already using a website editor/funnel software that you already like.


    Cheers,

    Josh
    Signature

    Josh Rhodes
    GroovyMarketing.biz

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  • Profile picture of the author mrkhan21
    > I'm not going to cold call. Done it before, it worked, but I'm not doing it again. I have no problem calling warm leads.

    Not sure what you have against cold calling. Always works for me - to turn a blind eye to such an opportunity seems like a shame. But I undertan dif you're factoring in the time - it can be a bit of a gamble.
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    • Profile picture of the author trader99
      Originally Posted by mrkhan21 View Post

      > I'm not going to cold call. Done it before, it worked, but I'm not doing it again. I have no problem calling warm leads.

      Not sure what you have against cold calling. Always works for me - to turn a blind eye to such an opportunity seems like a shame. But I undertan dif you're factoring in the time - it can be a bit of a gamble.
      such a unique USP...you have to resort to begging for business over a cold call. Well done! That's really creating a brand.
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  • Profile picture of the author loyaanderson
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author trader99
      Originally Posted by loyaanderson View Post

      If you wanna to increase your sales, you must to implement with this attributes like digital marketing and CRM. DM makes to generate leads. Once you get the leads, you can make leads through CRM then assign to assignee. Once assignee contact them to initiate the opportunities and measurement to potential. After complete the leads, you convert or close to order. Above process are automated when using CRM.

      Digital Marketing is important for every business. It makes to get more leads. CRM makes reduce to stress and increase your customer relationship. I am following that strategies. I am doing clothing business and using Apptivo CRM.

      Try to implement. It may assist to reach well.
      why? How? Source with proof please.
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  • Profile picture of the author trader99
    Busy,busy,busy....seems very addictive. Why so busy?

    I like relaxing. taking my time....screening clients or even telling them "sorry..i am full ..you'll have to wait." Much nicer.
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    What is the retention rate? After four years how many are still with you?

    What do you estimate their Lifetime Value is to you?

    What has been your cost of customer acquisition? Take the time you spent, divide by $ taken in and what was your hourly pay rate, and how many hours does it take to get a new customer? (Part of customer acquisition most don't allow for).

    Now, here is a way to get astronomical results, never before shared. Lucky you I'm here he he.

    Create a CUSTOMIZED special report just for the businesses you want for a customer.

    This is a trick I picked up from Chase Revel centuries ago (or so it seems).

    JC Revel wrote little reports he called THE INSIDER REPORTS, and sold them via mailorder. Then he came up with a wrap around package, a course of general start-up information, and he called them guides.

    His original "magazine" was a glorified newsletter, evolving into ENTREPRENEUR, which sold millions of these start-up kits.

    How would you apply the specialized report?

    First, know your numbers. Which businesses are the most profitable for you to work with, the easiest to service and maintain?

    Identify these businesses in your area.

    Create (or have created) a report, on the cover have a picture of their business and state this was created just for them as a courtesy of ________.

    You can use local data, BBB, CoC, etc., to build a standard business report for your area, the guts are 4 to 8 page inserts which are specific to their business.

    Spend a month collecting the data, KNOW everything about your area economy, and send this report by priority mail.

    I guarantee every one will get looked at, and if you focus on offering a couple of USABLE ideas, perhaps a case study of a similar business somewhere else, they will chase after you. Which is where you want to be.

    Sounds like a lot of work, but it can be outsourced, and once the data is gathered, the report itself is a simple thing to assemble.

    OK, that's my TOP SECRET way to be the guy that they chase, rather than chasing them.

    gjabiz

    PS. Secret inside the secret: casual mention of competitor having a chance if he refuses. Subtle but powerful.

    Once you have the main report, on the area, it shouldn't take more than a day or two to customize it.

    What do your top 12 customers look like? Use their profile to find 1 a month and see what 12 new cream of the crop customers will do for your bottom line, especially after implementing some of the excellent advice you've received here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hackingdom
    By the look of it, it seems you are pretty determined and well aware of the hurdles/roadblocks you face and also where you stand currently. While offering suggestions without a thorough analysis of your product, positioning, et al. is not my cup of coffee, but I sincerely feel that you may want to automate your sales & marketing processes to the extent that they actually return the investment you make.

    My take is that you take up the customer communication and relationship building part aggressively and the way I see it, a decent Sales & Marketing Automation tool, a CRM, can really help you with this one. We, as an organization, have been deeply benefited by implementing such a solution, even though we previously thought it'd cost us a bomb. No denying that some of the larger ones like Salesforce can be expensive and implementation may take days, but since we were a smaller company of about 200 people, we chose to implement Agile CRM as a loaded, yet inexpensive solution and for over a year now, we're doing pretty well, thanks to a much more streamlined and seamless pipeline and process.
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