How Will Your Plans Lead to Success in 2014?

happy-plannersPlanning isn’t easy. It takes foresight, thought, creativity and knowledge to create a plan that will yield real results. For any endeavor to achieve real success, planning is vital. You know that Holiday vacation you just got back from? You wouldn’t have gone on that without a plan, so why would you start or run a business without one?

One of the best things about working with an ActionCOACH, is that we know how to plan for success.  Based on their years of experience and powerful training, everyone in our organization knows that if you want to own a business, you’ve got to begin with the end in mind. You’ve got to know where you are and where you want to be in six months, a year, two years, even five or ten years down the road.

Often the hardest part of starting a business is figuring out how to begin. Where you start often plays a role in how you finish and without planning for the right results, your business may never reach the goals you’ve set for it.

Why is planning so important? Here are three reasons:
- You develop a sense of reality and perspective on your business…
- You learn what the most important times for your business are, and how to handle them…
- Planning makes it possible to build a profitable, commercial enterprise that works, without you…

So now it’s time. The New Year is here, you’ve probably made some resolutions and commitments to make changes in your life (and your business) and now is the time to start planning for your success… and if you aren’t sure where to start, you can always reach out to an ActionCOACH Business Coach near you…

Enjoy the Holidays… And Get Ready for a Great 2014

Christmas fun at the officeWith the Holidays here and Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to truly appreciate and reflect on everything that you’ve accomplished in 2013. Spend time with family and friends and recharge, because 2014 could be your best year ever.

If you’ve read this space for any length of time, you know that we are coming up quickly on the 2014 Business Excellence Forum and Awards.

We’ve expanded the BEF this year, so I’ll be speaking in New Orleans on January 31- February 1, the Gold Coast in Australia March 7-9, Brighton in the UK April 10-11 and Toronto June 2-3, so click on the link and I will see you there…

And if you haven’t already, be sure to register for both the Forum and Awards. Business Excellence Awards are given in 18 categories and they celebrate the best of the best in the world of “small business”. That’s right, our focus isn’t on the big companies, but on your business. The gala awards night is a terrific way to celebrate all you’ve accomplished over the last year. While only 18 companies can win, each awards night is full of fun and surprises. If you’ve never attended a gala awards night, this experience is one you won’t soon forget.

I love the BEF because I get to see so many amazing business owners put the time and effort in to get to the next level. People attend the BEF because they want to build the business they’ve always dreamed of.

And don’t forget, the New Year brings new live webinars, including Habits of High Performance on January 22 and Building Systems on February 26. Be sure to register and get your clients on board as well.

So if you’re ready to make 2014 your best year ever, be sure to take advantage of these opportunities… and of course have a safe and happy New Year.

More Ways to Make it Easy for Your Customers to Buy From You

Peoples-choice-award-actioncoachLast week we talked about some ways you can make it easy for your customers to buy from you. This week we are back with two more strategies you can start using in your business today…

Allow trade-ins or trade-ups: By allowing trade-ins you solve your customers’ problem of what to do with the old product. It will also give them the chance to fit that new purchase into their budget. Offering trade-ins also means you have the chance to up-sell them a better model. It’s also a way of making a more expensive item seem affordable. And while you’re at it, why not offer home delivery? Charging a fee for this service is a great way to increase your average dollar sale.

Allow layaway: This is a great way to get people to buy products that they can’t really afford right then and to increase your average dollar sale at the same time. It has the added advantage of bringing them into your store on a regular basis to make payments. Obviously this gives you the chance to show them any new products that you can attempt to sell to them. In any event, they probably would need other products in the meantime, so show them what else you have. Let them know what you stock. Show them your entire range. So often I’ve had business owners tell me that customers buy one item from them, then they go on to buy accessories for that item from a competitor, simply because they didn’t realize the accessories were stocked by the original sellers.

Of course you’ll want to take some time and find some other ways to make it easy for your customers to buy from you, but these tips are a good start to get you on the road to increased profits and cashflow.

Make it Easy For Your Customers to Buy From You

about-brad-sugars-buying-customers-profitably-part-twoOne of the keys to a successful business is making it easy for people to buy from you. That means convenient hours and a helpful staff, but it also means taking payment in as many forms as possible. Here are some hints to make it is easy as possible for people to buy from you.

Allow payment terms or financing options: You could make arrangements with a bank or credit company, or you could run your own credit facility, allowing customers to pay you off over a period of time. This allows your customers to spend more by giving them the chance to pay it off later. You’ll find this is particularly beneficial if you’re up-selling them to a product that’s beyond their original budget. And to leverage your new finance facility you can approach a number of lending institutions and offer to sell their products to your customers for a commission. This is a great way to further boost your profits. You can also charge interest on 30, 60, or 90-day accounts, but offer a discount if they are paid within seven days. That will ensure you can deposit their money in your bank sooner and give them incentive to pay you as quickly as possible.

Allow Eftpos (electronic funds transfer at point of sale), checks and credit cards: This can increase your average dollar sale by allowing customers to spend more than they have in their wallet at the time. Credit cards in particular are helpful if you’re trying to up-sell or on-sell. If they can have the better model and not have to pay for it right away, they’ll take it more often than not. And remember, there are many customers out there who simply would not be able to buy things if it weren’t for credit. This is particularly true for higher-priced or nonessential items. Having credit card capabilities is important for another reason: Many more affluent customers charge everything to their credit card because it gives them rewards that can be redeemed for goods and services at a later date. They make use of this facility because that way they are able to get the best value from their money, so use it to your business’ advantage as well.

Next week we will have more strategies you can use to make it easy for your customers to buy from you.

How Paying Cash Can Boost Your Bottom Line

How do you pay for what your company needs? If you’re like most business owners, you pay in check or even by credit card, but these days few business owners pay for what their company needs with cash.

At first glance, this makes sense. After all, fewer and fewer people pay for personal items with cash and we are all used to pulling out that plastic (debit or credit) card to make purchases.

But for your business, where profit is what really matters, should you take the time to see if paying your vendors and suppliers in cash rather than the usual methods?

Every business is different so first, you have to take a good, hard look to see whether you can pay cash for things you need instead of using credit. When you think about it, any interest you are currently paying on loans is wasted money. I realize sometimes you need credit. Often it’s something you can’t do without, but if you can, it will certainly benefit your bottom line.

Paying cash for as much as you can has another important benefit. It allows you to keep your overhead to a minimum.

In a slow month the one thing you really don’t want is fixed monthly costs and it’s important to remember that the biggest killer of small business has got to be the signing of long-term contracts that add to monthly fixed overhead.

Many business owners justify this by thinking it at least allows them to purchase items they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. They reason that as the cost is spread out over a long period of time, they’ll easily be able to pay it off faster than required because it will bring success sooner than was otherwise possible.

Unfortunately, this seldom happens and these same business owners just end up spending more than they should on what they need.

That’s why it pays to pay cash for as many larger purchases as you can, even if it means buying secondhand.

Brad Ends 2013 With Webinars, Seminars and MasterCLASS

It has been a wild year for Brad Sugars. He’s been all over the world delivering his message of abundance through business re-education and he’s ready to close out 2013 with a bang.

On Wednesday, November 13 Brad will deliver his next live webinar, this one on Social Media and on December 11 he will give a webinar entitled Starting Your Own Business.

And while Brad loves giving these webinars, he’s made a commitment to deliver his message in person whenever possible. To that end, Brad will give his Buying Customers open seminar in Greensboro, North Carolina on November 19, followed by a trip to Bali for his MasterCLASS from November 26-29.

If you haven’t attended a MasterCLASS, what are you waiting for?

In MasterCLASS, Brad shows you how to create real wealth. Business ownership is just one aspect of MasterCLASS as Brad teaches you strategies for building the life and the wealth you’ve always sought… and what could be better than being in Bali in late November?

MasterCLASS is four days of intensive learning. You learn how to create the mindset, attitude and strategies to build real wealth. MasterCLASS is for the advanced entrepreneur, someone who has owned businesses but is ready to move to the investor class of entrepreneurs. If that sounds like you, click on the link and start making plans today.

Of course when Brad returns from Bali he will be getting ready for the next batch of Business Excellence Forums which come early in 2014, starting in New Orleans on January 30 and February 1.

What is Your Referral Strategy?

Do you want as many customers as you can possibly handle? Advertising is not the answer you’re looking for, referrals are. You need to develop a referral strategy that will lower your customer acquisition cost while bringing in the type of customer you are looking for.

Referrals are vital for those two reasons alone. Many companies spend way too much in advertising, when their best advertising (happy customers) are right in front of them.

The Raving Fans in your business are an untapped army of positivity about your business. If you’ve made them happy, you can be sure they told someone about it and this may or may not bring you customers. What you need to do is develop a strategy that ensures your Raving Fans will bring you referrals.

So start by asking your customers for referrals. That’s right, don’t be shy, go ahead and ask.

If your business has been around for a while, you should have more than a handful of valuable customers who really like the business and would be happy to help, so don’t be afraid to ask them.

If you tell your best customers you are looking for more customers just like them, you’ll not only flatter them, they will probably bring you more customers that meet your needs.

You should also give incentives to those customers for their referral. You need to develop a referral plan and one aspect of it could be offering existing customers half off a service or product for each referral they bring you.

It’s up to you to determine what extra value you could deliver to the customers who bring you referrals, but make sure it’s something they want, but doesn’t cost you much money. In fact, figure out the cost to buy a customer for your business and use something of equal value to give your Raving Fans…

That’s a far more cost-effective strategy that traditional advertising so get started right away.

Gearing Up for the 2014 Business Excellence Forum

Last week I talked about my free, live webinar series which will continue on November 13 with my webinar on Social Media. I’m committed to conducting my webinars and reaching as many people as possible through them, but I still love to get out and meet people face to face and just around the corner are some of my favorite events of the year, the Business Excellence Forum and Awards.

My company, ActionCOACH, is a featured sponsor of the BEF because we are big believers in both education and celebration, and at the BEF we do both.

Of course, people attend the BEF to do better in their business and we make that easy for them with information from experts in areas that are vital to building and sustaining your company’s growth.

Because of my passion to help business owners and for the BEF, I’m a keynote speaker at each of the events, but we have some amazing people joining me. For example, Marshall Goldsmith (US) and Jeffrey Gitomer (Canada) to name just a few, will be joining me on stage.

Because ActionCOACH is a sponsor of the event, many of our top coaches conduct breakout sessions that get right to the heart of the matters that are troubling your business.  You will be learning with like-minded business owners, so the networking possibilities are also endless. Simply put, it’s a can’t miss event… and we haven’t even talked about the Business Excellence Awards yet.

Business Excellence Awards are given in 18 categories and they celebrate the best of the best in the world of “small business”. That’s right, our focus isn’t on the big companies, but on your business. The gala awards night is a terrific way to celebrate all you’ve accomplished over the last year. While only 18 companies can win, each awards night is full of fun and surprises. If you’ve never attended a gala awards night, this experience is one you won’t soon forget.

I love the BEF because I get to see so many amazing business owners put the time and effort in to get to the next level. People attend the BEF because they want to build the business they’ve always dreamed of.

We’ve expanded the BEF this year, so I’ll be speaking in New Orleans on January 31- February 1, the Gold Coast in Australia March 7-9, Brighton in the UK April 10-11 and Toronto June 2-3, so click on the link and I will see you there…

Brad’s Live Webinars Are Here to Stay

Over the last few weeks in this space we’ve talked about how you can become a true entrepreneur and how to avoid the self-employed see-saw, along with other nuggets to help you achieve the success you deserve. Now it’s time to take that education to a new level by getting involved in Brad’s Live, Free Webinar series.

We’ve already gone live with two webinars, Sales and Leadership/Team Building with our next one, Law of Attraction, coming up next week, Tuesday, October 22nd. In November Brad’s live webinar is on a topic everyone needs to understand better, Social Media and he finished up 2013’s live webinar schedule on December 13 with Starting Your Own Business.

Each of these webinars offers brand new ideas, concepts and strategies from Brad, designed to help you take your business, and your life, to the next level.

These webinars are not prerecorded. Brad is live online for each of them which means each webinar is unique and, more importantly, he will answer your questions.

To register for the next webinar, just go to http://bradsugarsliveonline.com/ and click on the link for the webinar you’d like to attend, whether it’s the early one or late one… then get ready for the success you are sure to achieve once you take Brad’s teachings and make them a part of your business and your life.

The Self-Employed See-Saw

As a self-employed person, your business life will feel just like a seesaw. While it’s often true that the self-employed can make more per hour than they ever could as employees, the challenge comes down to how many hours are actually used in the background, working ON the business and how many hours are spent in the foreground, working IN it?

When you’re self-employed, you’ll spend half your life chasing the work, doing marketing, sales, and administration.  It’s a lot of work, especially when all of the production and planning has to come from you… In fact, you’ll have so much work to do that every day will be a conveyor belt of non-stop activity… you’ll feel like you never get anything “done” because there’s always so much to do.

So why do we call this a see-saw? Doing the day-to-day work is one side of the seesaw and sales and marketing is the other and if you’re self-employed, one side must be up while the other is down… and vice versa.

Does this sound familiar? Chase the work, do the work, chase the work, do the work, chase the work, do the work… and so on. If it does, you know what it’s like to be self-employed.

It’s this seesaw that stops a self-employed entrepreneur from ever really getting ahead. It’s simple, you may not have a “job” but you’re still in a situation where there’s no real leverage. You still need to do the work or it won’t get done.

It’s this seesaw that gets self-employed people to make one of two decisions. To either give it up and go back and get a job, or to take the plunge and jump in the deep end of business and make the decision to grow, to move up the ladder.

This means becoming a business owner who creates systems and hires employees to do the work IN the business while the owner works ON it.

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