Want to be the low price leader?

No, you don’t. Leave that to Walmart.
Our friend Ruth King tells the story about Chuck the auto mechanic and Charles the Master Jaguar Craftsman.
Chuck’s customers bring him their Honda Civics, want to know what repairing it will cost them, argue with him over prices and try to nickel and dime him to death.
Charles’ clients bring him their Jaguars, never question his prices and want to know only when it will be ready for them.
Do you want to be Chuck or Charles?
One of Ruth’s clients dressed like a slob. Yet he wanted his franchisees to dress well.
The first thing he had to do, she told him, was to set the example and dress for success. It shocked his people but he showed up looking like a new man.
While we’re at it, take a look in the mirror yourself. How are you dressed for success? Or do you look like Grumpy Gus who just got off the 3rd shift?
“If you want your company to be perceived as Charles, then everyone must act like Charles,” Ruth says. “You as the leader build that company culture.
For more brilliance like this, sign up for Ruth’s complimentary newsletter at rking@profitabilityrevolution.com
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

The 20% rule of costs and returns

A friend called the other day to pick our brains. He wants to start a small weekly newspaper in his community and wanted to know what we did in starting ours.
Here’s the Cliff Notes version.

  1. Create a business plan. Recruit your tax accountant to help you crunch the cost and revenue numbers.
  2. Project what your costs will be as accurately as possible. That will take several days to research and talk with potential vendors, asking for discounts and deals.
  3. Project where your revenue will come from, who your ideal customers will be and how much they will invest with you.
  4. List your top 20 ideal customers and go see them. Share with them your plans in confidence. Ask them to talk you out of doing it. That will tell you right away if they are truly a prospect.
  5. Shave 10% off your revenue projections just in case you don’t make them. Add 10% to your cost projections to cover the unexpected. From that 20% swing, figure how long it will take to become profitable.
    Do you have enough cash? If not, where can you get what you need? Will your bank give you a loan? Interest rates are low but lenders want to see a good business plan.
    We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
    For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.
    Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc. To get an electronic version, click here to visit Amazon.

Your 3 best connecting strategies

MaryEllen Tribby believes “connecting” is a better word than “networking.”
Her 3 best connecting strategies are:

  1. Cultivate relationships. Project an image of warmth, approachability, understanding, knowledge, empathy, and an ability to engage. Be genuine.
    Take an interest in everyone you meet. Remember their names. Listen to understand their needs and how you can help.
  2. Make small talk. Learn to talk to anyone about anything. Initiating conversations helps you connect with people who may become valuable contacts.
    Use a few key phrases such as “Where are you from?” “How did you get started?” and “Do you have children?”
  3. Actively listen. Connecting is not about selling. It is about listening and showing your interest in them. Allow others to open up and talk freely. Give your undivided attention even if it is only for a few moments.
    Take an interest in what’s said and acknowledge this by nodding or agreeing.
    Use positive body language with eye contact. This means you are not looking over their shoulder to see who else is around.
    We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
    For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633. To get an electronic version, visit Amazon by clicking here.
    Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Never forget the Scouts’ motto

Were you a Scout as a kid? If so, you will remember that famous motto – “Be prepared.” It’s not just for when you were young. It’s for business and for life.
Ace copywriter John Carlton reminds us that no matter how many good customers we have, it is smart to have a few more prospects in our pipelines at all times.
A perverse habit many entrepreneurs fall into is becoming too comfortable when things are going well, Don’t close your eyes to opportunities to serve new prospects. Providence may decide to rattle your smug little cage and teach you a lesson.
That happened to us the other day. We thought we had a big ticket proposal sold and an email came days before the deadline. The prospect decided to do something else. And we had to get someone else fast to take an annual publication’s back cover.
It can happen to you. Your client gets angry, dies or is dragged off to the hoosegow with no other prospects in your pipeline.
You need a plan for when things go bad. An escape hatch. Money for rainy days.
Start with long-term goals. How do you want the next 10 years to go? Where do you want to be when it’s time to retire? How much moolah will you need?
 We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633. Get an electronic copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Avoid your biggest business nightmare

Running out of cash can give you hyper-stress and sleepless nights.
This happens when you don’t have enough revenue in slow times, haven’t saved enough to cover those times, an employee is stealing from you every week or you don’t set prices to make a profit.
Here are 4 ways our friend Ruth King advises to prevent running out of cash:

  1. Be your own banker. Use a savings account to transfer money each week. Save 1% of every check that comes in the door. Transfer it when you make the deposit.
    This is easy to do and easy NOT to do. Over the years this 1% adds up to a lot of dollars to cover payroll or other expenses.
  2. Watch your accounts receivable. If an invoice is to be paid in 30 days, call your account on the 31st day with a friendly reminder to pay by credit or debit card.
  3. Make it a policy to get payment at the time of order or at least a deposit. You can also charge a 1.5% carrying charge per month on delinquent accounts.
  4. Weekly cash flow reports will track incoming and outgoing dollars every week. Then predict cash inflows and outgoes for the next week. Email Ruth for a weekly cash flow report (rking@ontheribbon.com).
    We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
    For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.
    Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc. To get your own electronic version online visit Amazon by clicking here.

5 questions all business owners must ask

How do you build a business that rocks?
Our friend Ruth King told us that Jim Howard who published her book, The Courage to be Profitable, asks business owners:
• What is your reason for being in business? Why are you doing this?
• What does your customer get out of it? Your reasons have to be big enough for your customer and you to care.
• What is your offer? What can you provide them that they want or need?
Their wants may be different from their needs. Many of us get what we want rather than what we need. People buy on wants and justify it with their need later.
• How do you tell them about the value of what you have to offer?
You can’t build it and they will come. You have to build it, market it and tell them why they should need or want it.
• What pain will you fix? What pleasure can you give? Without pain or a dream to motivate them, they won’t respond.
• How do you retain them as clients?
You must be loyal to them and look out for their interests if you want them to become loyal and trust you.
Long-term maintenance plans and extended warranties with multiple benefits can build their trust in you.
That’s how you build a business that rocks. We share such ideas in Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633. You can get an electronic copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

How to super-charge your motivation

Do you struggle with motivation? An executive recruiter friend keeps on his desk a photo of a fire truck-red Lamborghini he wants. This is no toy. The car costs $200,000. The photo goads him to achieve his daily goals and buy the car.
He knows exactly how many calls he will have to make, how many rejections he will have to take, how many contacts he must develop and how many executives he has to place to take care of all his other costs of feeding and clothing his wife and 4 rambunctious boys … and buy the Lamborghini.
I’ll bet you any amount of money you care to wager he will do it. He is highly motivated and that Lamborghini goads him.
The workaholic rules a few of us over-achievers live by say work should be its own reward. You and I both know it’s BS.
As you enjoy more success, the risks are greater and the prizes more lavish. You must be motivated to stay on top, achieve your goals and acquire your Lamborghini.
The way to burn out is to finish a grueling project and jump on the next one.
Take a break. Go to the Bahamas. Reward yourself with something you’ve always wanted. Donate to or volunteer for a cause you really believe in.
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email JerryBellune@yahoo.com . To get an electronic version, visit Amazon by clicking here.
Next: Can you pass this test?

Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

How to get free business publicity

Savvy business owners seek relations with local newspaper, magazine and broadcast reporters, editors and news directors.
When they have something about their business the community should know about, they know who to call and how to pitch the news to appeal to journalists.
In other words, advertising is what you pay for. Publicity is what you pray for.
Here are 5 steps you might take:

  1. Know your local editors and news directors or hire a publicist who does.
  2. Find out who reads their publications or listens to or watches their newscasts.
  3. Find out their deadlines and keep your news releases or email messages short and to the point. That means 150 words or less. They don’t have time to wade through your life story. Get to the point.
    And use email and the phone. Save hand writing for your thank you notes.
    By educating yourself about them, their audience and what they will print or put on the air, you’ve taken an important step.
    For example, we welcome business news for our Around Town column.
    If you have won an industry award or some other honor, let us know about it.
    We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
    For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email JerryBellune@yahoo.com .
    Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Have you and your business got SWAG?

If you are an entrepreneur or business owner striving to grow your business, you need SWAG. This attracts and keeps customers, says our friend MaryEllen Tribby.
MaryEllen has a simple SWAG Meter you can use to gauge your SWAG and how it relates to your business success.
S = Self Confidence. Customers want to feel you can help them grow, teach new things or solve their problems. You believe in yourself and your ability.
W = Wonderment. Your confidence creates feelings of being surprised or amazed. You encourage and help them find solutions to their problems.
A = Assertiveness. You don’t wait for something to happen. As one with SWAG you make things happen. This builds trust and confidence in your resourcefulness.
G = Greatness. As one with SWAG, you don’t settle for just being good or average.
As Jim Collins wrote in “Good to Great” good is the enemy of great. You won’t settle for just being good. You strive each day to be your best. You aim to make a real difference.
Next week we’ll show you how to measure your business’s SWAG.
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email JerryBellune@yahoo.com . To get an electronic edition for $9.99 on Amazon, click here.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Productivity: How to double your productivity

Our friend Andrea Nierenberg shared with us these ways she makes her 24 hours each day more productive:

• Awaken 10 minutes early and you’ll be surprised to discover how much time you have created through those extra minutes.
You can start a project, connect online, write a note to people in your network, catch up on important reading or exercise.
Squeeze extra productivity out of your day.

  • Ask yourself these 5 questions:
  1. How much of my time is spent with clients or people in my network?
  2. Do I confirm appointments?
  3. Is my paperwork done completely?
  4. Am I willing to meet with people at their convenience instead of mine?
  5. Do I frequently have productive coffee and lunch meetings with my network?
  • To help yourself list.
  1. All the ways you waste time and how you will stop doing them.
  2. How you can be more productive.

Time can be your best friend and worst enemy. It keeps moving, so use it wisely.
Don’t multi-task. You’ll make mistakes.
When someone meets with you, give them your undivided attention. Always ask, “How much time do we need right now?”
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email JerryBellune@yahoo.com
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.