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.

How to attract more Ideal Clients

An inexpensive way to attract Ideal Clients is with a referral system. 

It’s expensive in terms of time. When you get busy it’s harder to find time to make calls and write thank you notes. 

The clients you get by referral are less likely to question your price and more likely to buy from you even if your price is higher. 

You were recommended by someone they trust. That makes a big difference.

 You must be creative in asking people to give you referrals. At the end of a job, project or delivery, if you simply ask, “who do you know that could use our service?” 

You’re likely to get “I don’t know”. 

 Here is a way to get referrals;

Wait 30 days to call clients. That gives you an opportunity to take care of any problems that have occurred and shows ]you care about the client’s satisfaction.

They will be pleased that you called. Ask who they may have told about the results. Most of us tell friends about positive results. Those they told are potential clients. 

Marketer Dan Kennedy asks his clients if they would refer him to their friends. Dan makes it easy by offering to write letters for clients on their stationery and them to sign them. He does all the work including addressing and stamping the envelopes. 

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

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

Next: Check your balance sheets.

How to get high email open rates

Have you heard marketers or bloggers brag about the high number of addresses on their email lists? I heard a blogger claim more than 5 million. It makes me wonder how many actually open his emails and what it costs him 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 news web site has almost 20,000 visits a day. Our Writing Tips have a super high 45% open rate because readers specifically asked to receive those emails.

That’s the special sauce for open rates. Delete the non-opening addresses.

We share such field-tested strategies in our 60-minute CD “Why Advertising Fails & What You Can Do About It.” For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

3 ways to make a great 1st impression

Good morning, fellow entrepreneurs.

MaryEllen Tribby believes in making a great impression with 3 strategies.

1. Be generous. When you help others, “getting” will follow. It will come in unexpected ways. No one likes a person with a “taker” mentality. When you are generous, people will notice and respect you. We like to do business with those who we respect, trust and like. Help them feel the same way about you. Act as a host at events you attend by connecting others. This can be as simple as introducing people to each other or as elaborate as sharing a testimonial about someone. 

2. Be Happy Harry or Harriet. Put on a happy face at the door and smile. This is your time to shine. People will look forward to seeing you if you are energetic, positive and outgoing. They enjoy doing business with people they like. Remind yourself of everything you are grateful for just before entering an event or meeting a prospect. 

3. Connect. Don’t Sell. Connecting is about building relationships with people who will be happy to tell others about who you are and what you do. Find out what they do and its value to their customers before you share what you do. And follow up with a hand-written appreciation note. 

We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.” For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-331-6695.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Harness the power of word-of-mouth

A couple of our friends were discussing a German restaurant 45 minutes from our town. My wife and I miss German food since the only place in town that served it closed. Of course, I was interested.

I mentioned it to my doctor, a fellow schnitzel lover. Her story was different. 

On her only visit, the wait staff was not only inattentive but rude. And it took 3 hours for their meals to arrive.

Now if you were me, who would you believe, the good reviews or the bad? For a 90-minute round-trip drive, would you take such a chance? Not me. I mentally crossed the place off my must-do list. 

A woman I do business with occasionally advertises with us – when she has something special she wants to sell. I asked her once why she did not benefit from a more consistent advertising campaign.

“I rely on word-of-mouth advertising,” she told me. I didn’t argue with or try to enlighten her. She is a strong-willed person who will not listen to reason.

But she could enhance her advertising with testimonials from customers who love and appreciate what she does for them.

You do use testimonials, don’t you?

We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a STAR (Someone They Always Remember)” self-study course. 

Details at JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: 3 ways to connect with prospects

Get your prospects to open their wallets

Does your advertising really work?

It may but the $5,000 question is, does it gain the results that you want?

Our friend Ruth King had a client who hated his advertising. He was spending money on something that he despised …even though it was producing results.

Ruth told him: You are NOT the audience for the advertising. Ask your girlfriend whether she likes it. She is the type of person we are trying to attract.

“But I hate it,” he said again.

Ruth asked, “Is it producing results?”

“Yes,” he conceded.

“Then your opinion doesn’t count. Your customers’ opinions count.”

Tough lesson for him to swallow. The ads were working. He just didn’t like them.

Customers vote with their wallets. If they respond to your advertising, it is immaterial whether you like the ads or not.

The next time you plan an advertising message, give it to a few friends who are like your target audience. Ask them whether they would do what the ad requests – go to a website, call a phone number, etc.

If they like it, then do it. The rest of your target audience is likely to respond, too. If they like it, then do it. The rest of your target audience is likely to respond too.

Remember: It doesn’t matter what you think about your marketing and advertising – it matters what your customers think. They will vote with their phone calls, emails, and pocketbooks.

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.

Next: Think small for bigger profits

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Turn antagonistic foes into ardent fans

A business friend occasionally calls to invites me to lunch – and I know why. 

Across the table he says, “You know I never call you unless I want something.”

He tells me what it is he needs and, since he knows I can do it, I oblige him. It makes me feel good that he turned to me and that I could do a favor for someone I like.

Most of us believe that the way to win friends is to do them a favor. Ben Franklin found the opposite works even better.

If you are a Ben Franklin fan, you undoubtedly know this story. It is a good reminder of a strategy he discovered and you can use on those who may demean you.

Franklin had incurred the ill will of a wealthy man. The man berated Franklin to others and questioned his competence.

Franklin knew the man had a prized collection of books and wrote him asking to borrow a book he knew the man owned.

This gained the man’s attention. If Ben knew about this book, he must be smarter than he had thought. He loaned Franklin his book, Franklin read it and returned it with a thank you note a few days later.

Surprisingly, the man became one of his champions and extolled his virtues.

Do you have a detractor or seek a relationship with someone? Ask for a favor.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Say sayonara to Someday Island

Covid-19 has given us the gift of reflection. 

We reflect on what we want from life. What are we willing to do to achieve it? 

Before we start, Brian Tracy writes in “No Excuses,” we take a little vacation to a fantasy place called ‘Someday Island.’

We say ‘Someday soon I’ll start that business, that diet or that exercise program.’ 

Up to 80% of us live on Someday Island. We think and dream and fantasize about all the things we will do “someday.” And what is the chief topic of conversation on Someday Island? Excuses. Everyone sits around and swaps excuses for being on the island.

They have come down with “excusitis.” 

They have good intentions but the road to hell is paved with them.

The first rule of success is simple: Vote yourself off the island. No more excuses. Do it or don’t do it but make no excuses. 

Stop using your incredible brain to rationalize and justify failing to take action. 

Do something. Do anything. Get on with it! Tell yourself: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”

Now make a list of your top 3 goals for the next 12 months. Prioritize them by importance. Assign each to be completed in 4 months. List the top 5 to 10 steps to achieve each. List who you need to help you and set a deadline for completing each step.

For a free copy of our Goal Setting Guide, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: Turn foes into fans

Copyright 20209, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Unshackle yourself from bad customers

You know who we’re talking about. The sourpusses who make life miserable. They complain and are never satisfied,

Our friend Ruth King says you need to know who your best customers are and why they do business with you.

1. Your company is only profitable with the right customers. You don’t need customers who drain you and are not profitable. 

2. It gives your business a purpose. It’s the reason you get up in the morning and that your customers pay you.

3. It builds your business culture. This is the reason you are in business. Every employee should know why your customers do business with you. If you can’t tell them, they haven’t a clue. Remind them often. 

4. You know what your marketing messages should be. “Here’s what our customers say about us” or “Here’s why our customers do business with us” should be in your marketing messages. Testimonials from customers are powerful.

Ask your customers why they do business with you. Ask your employees why they think your customers do business with you. You may be shocked at the answers. 

If you agree with the answers, you’re doing well. If you don’t like the answers, find out what’s wrong and change it. 

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

Next: Pivot for new opportunities.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

What a rubber duck can do for you

What is the craziest thing you’d expect to find in a hotel? Our friend Ruth King found a rubber duck in the bathtub at a Hampton Inn in Joliet, Il. It made her laugh. 

What did this Hampton Inn do that no other hotel, even fancy resort hotels do?

They made her feel better after a long day. They were extremely creative with something that probably cost less than a dollar. And they could use it over and over again to delight and surprise guests. 

Delighted guests tell their friends. Their friends become guests, too. 

What can we do to delight and surprise our customers? What will get them talking about our companies? It doesn’t have to cost much. The rubber duck didn’t.

Here are 3 ideas:

  • Customers rarely get thank you notes for doing business with companies. Would they be delighted if they got one from you?
  • Plumbers could send a rubber duck with a note: We keep the water running so you can have “fun in the tub.” 
  • Although more expensive, Ruth has a client who always sends flowers to employees’ wives before the busy summer season to say: Thank you! We know that (name) will be working long hours helping our customers. We want you to know we appreciate your understanding and support.

We share such strategies in “Uncover our Inner Sales Genius. For a free copy join the mailing list and join the e-mail list.

Next: Attract more of the right prospects.