What we can learn from Walt Disney

When you think of being visionary, compare your vision with Walt Disney’s vision for Disneyland 65 years ago:

“Physically, Disneyland is to be a small world in itself. Encompassing the things that were good and true in American life… dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America.

“I don’t want the public to think about the world they live in when they are inside our world created for them. Beyond physical places, we want to bring people along into an entirely different world, with our philosophies and ideas, our characters, our stories, our past, present and future, so they are a part of it and never want to leave.

“At age 12 or at age 62, we want them to feel curiosity, wonder, awe, fascination, joy, and attachment. Within this world, we want them to experience discovery and adventure, fun and entertainment, education, participation, and recognition. They will not just come to visit our places or to the theater to see our films. They will bring us into their homes and into their hearts. We will never settle for having customers or fans — they will be Disney people. This world will never be completed. It will always be under construction, expanding, diversifying, playing more and more roles in peoples’ lives.”

Our thanks to Rick Houcek for sharing this visionary document.

We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a STAR (Someone They Always Remember).” For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: With vision, you flourish

Leave no money on the table

Whatever happened to Joyce who used to do business with us? No, she didn’t die. She just quit doing business with us.

Why? Did we do something wrong?

No. Joyce decided she could afford to advertise on TV based on the business our advertising had brought her.

We need to reactivate Joyce and other of our lost or inactive customers.

Go through your customer list. Highlight the people who have not bought in the past 3 years. Send them a postcard. Text them. Email them. Send them your weekly blog. Call them. Find out how they are doing.

Our friend Ruth King recommends you write or call with a message that says:

“Thank you for your past business. I was concerned because we haven’t taken care of your _____ in the past few years. What can we do to help you in you again?”

Be prepared to find out that they thought you went out of business because they haven’t heard from you. And they will tell you what it will take to help them again.

One of Ruth King’s clients sent 100 “we want you back” postcards. Cost: $50. Got back 3 clients and a $10,000 job. The postcard paid for itself many times over.

The cheapest way to grow your business is to reactivate your lost customers. Set aside a single hour a week to call them.

We share such field-tested strategies in our “Killer Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs.” For a $20 personally autographed copy, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: Your vision for your business

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

3 success strategies for 2021

Business owners and managers who survived and thrived in 2020, says our friend Ruth King, used these 3 simple strategies:

1. They paid close attention to their customers….even when they didn’t want to sell them anything. They reminded their customers that they were there for them. These messages helped keep customers aware they were thinking of them. We send these Business Blogs to our customers weekly.

We  also call to check with them for news for our business pages. This way we remind them that we care abut their successes and want to let our readers know about them.

2. They reactivated inactive customers. They looked for customers who had bought in the past but not recently. They found reasons to activate their inactive customers with a new product or service offer.

We look back at this time last year for who advertised what and contact dormant accounts to find out how we might help them increase sales and revenue.

3. They reviewed past quotes and proposals. Some of these quotes/proposals turned into sales a year later. The comment from many customers, “No one followed up with me. You’re the first.”

We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a Super Star” self-study course. For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: Leave no money on the table

Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Take care of your dollars in 2021

A business broker friend congratulated us on our financial management during the 2020 pandemic. He said we did not lose near as much money as many other small businesses. We appreciate his compliment but it was OUR money we were losing.

What we did was not brain surgery.

We looked at what we were doing that was profitable and asked how we could use it to maintain or increase revenues.

We looked at what we were doing that cost us money and decided which we could cut back on or cut out.

We did it in two stages.

We cut what did not produce enough revenue to at least pay for itself. 

For example, with so many locked down businesses where we distributed our newspapers, we cut out delivering to those locations to cut printing and delivery costs.

As they began to reopen, we began delivering to them again. That increased costs but was offset by sales revenue.

We’ve since asked many of our writers to take a break for a few months to save space and cut printing and delivery costs.

With far higher web site traffic, we invite business owners to advertise online. 

Take care of your dollars in 2021.

We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.” 

For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Early Christmas gift – make it their idea

When our friend Mac Toole was serving as a SC lawmaker, he had a wise strategy.
He would set out to convince one of the top leaders to introduce a bill his constituents wanted. It was easier to convince one leader than 123 other legislators. 
The leader would get the credit, Mac’s constituents would get what they wanted and everyone was happy. You can get a lot done in life if you don’t hog the credit.
I learned that early in peddling Watkins Products door to door in college to keep gas in my car. My best selling product was a lemon pie filling that was out of this world. My mother used it all the time. 
She said it cut a half hour off the time it took her to make lemon pie – and it tasted like she made it from scratch.
When I called on the ladies of the houses in my territory, I would ask if their families liked lemon pie. 99% said yes.
I would tell them how fast and easy it was for my mother to make lemon pie. 
I would offer them a bottle with the guarantee that if they didn’t like it, they would get their money back. It then became their idea that the lemon pie recipe was theirs. I used it to open doors and sell them other household products.
Always let your prospects think that whatever they buy was their idea.
PS. All of us at our little newspapers wish you and yours the happiest of holidays and the best in the new year.

Next: Take care of the pennies in 2021.

An early Christmas gift parable

Here’s another early Christmas gift to help you end a dark year on a bright note.
The great physicist Albert Einstein spent most of his life solving the secrets of the universe. He finally concluded the greatest force of all was compound interest.
Now he may have been joking but his point  is clear: Compound interest can make you wealthy. But if you let your cash manage you instead of you managing it, there won’t be any left for interest to compound.
Our friend Dr. Tracey Jones interprets the meaning of Jesus parable of the 3 servants in her book “Beyond Tremendous.”
You may recall the story of the wealthy man who left money to 3 servants to care for in his absence. When he returned, he called each of them in to account.
2 had worked hard and doubled their master’s money. The 3rd, out of fear or laziness, had buried the money and returned it saying here is all you gave me.
His employer fired him.Tracey says that Jesus’ point is that we should make the most of the opportunities God gives. We should help ourselves and others, not act like the 3rd servant.
Opportunities are gifts but they come with hard work and certain risks. Tracey’s new book, SPARK: 5 Essentials to Ignite the Greatness Within is available at tremendousleadership.com.
We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a STAR (Someone They Always Remember).” 

For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: Early Christmas gift

How to get high email open rates

Have you heard marketers or bloggers brag about the high number of addresses on their email lists? A blogger said he had more than 5 million. Wonder how many actually open his emails? What does it cost to mail to thousands of addresses that don’t open his messages?

A good open rate for your emails is only 15%. In other words, 85% of the people you email don’t bother opening them.

This should be a concern. The more email addresses on your list, the more Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or whatever service you use will cost. You’re paying to mail to people who don’t want your email.

To keep our open rates high, our tech whiz Katie Ritchie segments and prunes our lists to keep our costs down and avoid emailing to those who don’t open them.

The more dead weight Katie deletes, the higher open rate we get because we reach those who want our information.

Our weekly Writing Tips have a super high 45% open rate because those specifically asked to get those emails.

Now some hurried readers may skip your email this time but open it at least half the time. Hang on to them. Just delete those totally non-opening addresses.

We share such field-tested strategies in our free CD “Why Advertising Fails & What You Can Do About It.”  For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: Is your cash managing you?

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Become a Master of Gratitude

Can you attract more business without it costing you a dime? Absurd, you say.

No, it’s simple, says our friend Ruth King. Show gratitude. Say thank you. Appreciate your customers and your employees.

When customers complain, you can disarm them by thanking them sincerely for letting you know. It will shift the conversation from problem to solution. 

Lori Saitz is a master of gratitude. It has changed her business and her life. She now does gratitude meditations for people and companies (customizedmeditation.com).

Lori says it takes little time to say thank you, send an email and show you appreciate your customers and their business.

Scientific research shows gratitude changes your biochemistry. Feeling grateful helps your brain produce more serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good chemicals. 

What happens to us and how we react makes it good or bad in our minds. It is our reaction that makes us emotional. 

We can’t think rationally or make good decisions when we are emotional.

Ruth King’s new book, Profit or Wealth? – is $14.95 on Amazon. Email her at rking@ontheribbon.com for her free newsletter.

We share other field-tested strategies in our free CD “Why Advertising Fails & What You Can Do About It.” For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: Raise your email open rates.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Want to run an ELF business?

Joe Polish turned around his carpet cleaning business and started teaching his unique strategies to others.

Joe’s Consumer Awareness Guide taught people how to buy carpet cleaning. In it he said, “You can have an ELF business or a HALF business.” ELF stands for easy, lucrative and fun. HALF stands for hard, annoying, lame and frustrating.

An ELF business has a system that’s easy, repeatable and produces expected results. If you have a procedures manual and it sits on the shelf and isn’t followed, why do you have a procedures manual? It was a waste of time, effort, and money.

Likewise, if you have a process for answering the phone, talking with customers in your store, all employee contact with customers should follow a procedure. 

For example, review your financial statements each month. This compares budgeted to actual profit and loss and financial ratios and trends. You make good business decisions on the information you review. 

If these procedures are ignored, you may have unhappy customers who don’t come back, warranty issues, and a HALF business. 

It’s your business. Set the procedures you want and ensure they are followed. This requires management on your part – praising employees who do it right and discussing it when procedures aren’t followed.

We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.” 

For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-331-6695.

Next: Cage your loyal customers.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Ignore your balance sheet at your own risk

Do you check your profit and loss statements and balance sheets monthly?

They tell you how profitable your business is, says our friend Ruth King.

Your balance sheet shows your current assets divided by current liabilities.

Current assets are cash, accounts receivable, inventory and prepaid expenses.

Current liabilities are accounts payable, taxes payable, deferred maintenance revenue and current portion of long term debt.

Increasing current ratio, most of the time, means increasing profitability. Decreasing current ratio, most of the time, means decreasing profitability.

Your balance sheet also tells you if:

• You may be running out of cash

• Have uncollected billings you need to take action to collect.

• You are taking on too much debt, too much inventory or other cash suckers.

Your balance sheet is your weather vane. It gives warning signs of impending problems so that you can take care of them before they become major crises.

Want more on cash management? Order Ruth’s book, “The Courage to be Profitable: Get and Stay Profitable in Less than 30 Minutes a Month” on Amazon. You can sign up for her free newsletter at rking@profitabilityrevolution.com

Next: Run and ELF business.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.