IN THIS ISSUE

  • Procrastination or Motivation - Your Choice
  • Marketing feature: Back to Basics - Relationship Building vs. Sales Pitch
  • Entrepreneurship feature: What's Next?
  • Write to us; write for us
  • Pass it along

Procrastination or Motivation - Your Choice

One of the greatest challenges for any entrepreneur is simply to find the time to start & run a business - and to enjoy its success. The key to meeting this challenge is in PLANNING - both your business and your time. Good planning can make your business run smoother & allow you to enjoy life more.

Running a business without a plan is like taking a trip without a map. Unfortunately, planning is neglected by many business owners. While a business plan is required if you need financing, it is ESSENTIAL if you want to stay on track to achieving your goals. Without a good, written plan, you are in danger of wasting both time and money. Your trip will take much longer.

Business Odyssey is proud to offer two tools to help you use your time, money and energy more wisely.

1. Start 2003 on the right foot with a completed business plan by enrolling in the six week Business Plan Workshop at Lakewood High School starting Tuesday, November 5. Benefit from private consultation with the instructor, informative class sessions & interaction with other entrepreneurs as you develop your plan. Use VISA or MasterCard to register by phone (216/529-4192 or 529-4193). For additionalinformation, call 216/529-4081 or visit www.lkwdpl.org/schools/rec. STARTS SOON - ENROLL NOW!

2. Find the time to take the Business Plan Workshop, start your business, and enjoy life with the 5/15 Time Maximizing System©. This unique managment tool will help you accomplish your goals in only 15 minutes a day! I use this system and the thing I like best is that it does not impose a set of rules on you. Instead, it leads you in a process of discovering your own rythms & in creating a system that responds to YOUR needs. BY EXCLUSIVE ARRANGEMENT with the creator of the 5/15 Time Maximizing System©, you can enroll at the reduced rate of $39.95 - but only through October 31. Along with the Time Maximizing System, you will receive a 60 day membership to the online Elite Club which provides tons of resources & support for entrepreneurs as well as the opportunity to communicate with other business owners from all over the country. To get this special price, you MUST order through this link: http://www.ebusinesshelpsite.net/go/go.php/offer-kt For more information about the program, visit http://www.GetResultsQuicker.com

Marketing feature: Back to Basics - Relationship Building vs. Sales Pitch

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at The 3 Surprises:
  1. Every contact is a potential sale, even the ones who say "NO."
  2. Everyone that you know, knows someone who needs your product or service.
  3. The easiest sale is to someone you already know: clients, customers, friends, etc.

Look at the three surprises and you quickly see that the relationship with your prospect is often more important than a slick sales pitch. People prefer to do business with people they know. In other words, familiarity breeds sales.

You might occasionally stumble upon an "impulse" buyer, but most of your sales will come only after going through the process of building a basic relationship. This process gives the prospect a chance to become familiar with you & your product or service. It is where you establish communication & where your prospects can decide about subjective issues such as quality & trust.

How do you go about establishing a relationship with a prospect? Well, it's not very much different than building any other kind of relationship. Some of the tools are even the same. Think about the relationships in your life and the effort that goes into them: spending time together,talking, exchanging information, helping each other out,sending Christmas cards, and so forth. Turning a "cold" prospect into a customer isn't much different. In a business relationship you will probably utilize advertizing and brochures but you will also use many forms of communication that are used in personal relationships like face-to-face contact.

To successfully build relationships that produce sales, you should know a few rules of thumb related to selling. These rules tend to hold true across the board but will vary some depending on factors such as your type of business, market demand, and the skill of the sales person.

  1. Individuals need about 6 or 7 exposures to a product or service before they are ready to make a "buy" decision.
  2. You will usually need to demonstrate or explain your product or service to 5 people in order to make 1 sale.
  3. To get 1 person to listen to your "pitch" you will need to approach 40 people.

In other words, to get 1 sale, 200 people need to know that your product or service is available & have the opportunity to receive a full demonstration or explanation. But, if you are good at keeping track of things & "work" your prospect list, you can quadruple your results! This is where "infrastructure" becomes so important. Keeping track of where you are in the process with each prospect will prevent you from re-inventing the wheel every time you want to make a sale. In the next installment, we will look at some ways to develop an effective marketing infrastructure.

Entrepreneurship feature: What's Next?

You have a great idea for a business. You've done a thorough self-evaluation, taken a class and read some books. You even have enough money in the bank to start and operate your business and support yourself for a few months. That means that you are ready to dive in, right? Think again.

First, it's important to research your business idea to find out if sales & profits will be adequate. What seems like a great idea might not make a commercially viable business. Gathering the facts & making an objective assessment at the very beginning can save you frustration & heartache down the road. Here are just a few of the questions you should answer before you proceed.

  1. Where are your customers located? What will you have to do to market to them and get your product to them?
  2. How big is your market? Is it growing or shrinking?
  3. Who are your competitors - both those selling products or services identical to yours and those with products or services that can be substituted for yours.
  4. Where are your suppliers? Can you buy raw materials from them at a cost that will allow you to compete profitably?
  5. Are raw materials readily available or scarce?
  6. Is this business seasonal? Does it fluctuate with the economy?
  7. Under what conditions or circumstances can you move forward?

    If your business is well-established, this is a good process to follow if you are considering additions or modifications to your product or service offerings.

    Another important step in is to write a lucid description of what you want your business to be. Include detailed descriptions of your product or service, your customer, the benefit that will be provided to your customer and how that benefit will be delivered. If you have answered all of the questions above and find that your idea does not appear to be as great an opportunity as you had originally thought, gather more data, revise the business description, or start over from scratch with a new idea.

    In Entrepreneurship for Dummies, Kathleen Allen provides an excellent process for finding, developing and feasibility testing business ideas. The focus of this book is in teaching the reader how to think like a successful entrepreneur. Spending some extra time at the outset to properly research and plan can mean the difference between success and failure.

    Write to us; write for us

    If you have questions, comments or topics you would like featured in the Chronicle, please drop us a line at editor@businessodyssey.com We would love to hear from you.

    If you want to write an article for us, we would be happy to include it along with a brief professional bio and your contact information. The only requirements are that the subject be about some aspect of entrepreneurship and that the article be limited to around 400 words.

    Administrative Stuff