Tips from the Top®: Small Business Tips From Business Owners For Business Owners
Ideas for An Engaged Workforce
I’ve been reading up on employee engagement and have come across some scary statistics about disengagement and lack of passion in the ranks. Here are a few ideas to help get your employees engaged…Read more
Referrals Come from Relationships
Acquiring a new customer from a "cold lead" may cost five times more than keeping a current customer; so work on customer retention. Ask your current customers for a "warm lead" from a referral, which will likely cost you less and produce a better result. Here are some other ways to work on your "warm referrals…"
The Paycheck Perspective with Prospects
When your customer or prospect is squeezing you on price, I suggest using a simple technique – one which has brought me great success – when asked for price concessions. I tell the asking party that I will split the difference if their CEO pays their half out of their own paycheck. This request is normally met with a look like I must be crazy, or "there’s no way our CEO will do that." I then go on to explain that, as a small business, any concession I make does in fact come directly out of my pocket. Asking me to lower my price is the same as asking their CEO to take it from his/her paycheck. With this new perspective, the prospect frequently backs off their request and discussions can continue.
Connect with Your Network’s LinkedIn Contacts
LinkedIn provides a way to exchange Connections, and it’s a great way to see and share each other’s contacts. All you need to do is go to your LinkedIn, move your mouse over My Network then click on Connections. Click on the gear icon at the top right, then on the next screen select "Export LinkedIn Connections." The file delivers in an Excel format so you can easily see if there is someone in their list of contacts you’d like to get introduced to.
Weeding Out During Recruiting
In my environmental engineering firm, we conduct very detail-oriented and precise work. When I post new positions (usually on Indeed.com), I get a great number of resumes. I always specify in the job listing that I want a cover letter explaining why they are interested in the position and who their favorite Major League Baseball team is. This instruction in the ad is in bold print, yet only about one third of the applicants submit a cover letter. Out of those left, less than 10% answer the question about their favorite MLB team. This tells me that they didn’t read the ad and/or they don’t know how to follow instructions, and their resumes get deleted. If they can’t read and follow instructions, they will not make a good employee for my environmental engineering firm.
Plan Ahead for the Unexpected
There are a number of issues and challenges that occur when a business owner dies unexpectedly. The continuity of the company can be improved, however, through the use of key-person insurance. Term insurance can be used to pay off existing company debt, give the company the time and resources needed to hire replacement management, or purchase stock or ownership interest from heirs of the owner. It is wise to structure insurance (both life insurance and disability insurance) to help facilitate a management and ownership transition in very difficult scenarios.
Are You a “Really Expensive Gopher?”
Many business owners spend a huge amount of time going for this, picking up that, or doing tasks that should be done by a less expensive resource. This includes running errands, writing checks, or trying to develop the webpage. Think about how much more effective you would be if you did only the following:
- You do what you do better than anyone else (cultivate new strategic relationships or sell new accounts)
- You do what the company needs you to do (be the visionary, lead and talk with customers); and
- You do what you love doing (developing new relationships, solving problems, inventing new offerings or developing staff to do all of the above.)
Wouldn’t that extra bit of revenues pay off much more than the cost of a "less expensive gopher?"