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The Business Odyssey Chronicle, Issue #006 -- Practical information for small busineses.
June 11, 2003

March 2003 Issue #6


IN THIS ISSUE

  • Four ways to get more from your business
  • Marketing feature: Is your business truly "unique"?
  • Ooops! Correct link for free download here
  • Entrepreneurship feature: Free Money (Or Raise Money for Your Business Without Asking Your Bank Manager)
  • Good links: Emails to clients being bounced? Try this.
  • Write to us and pass it along

Four ways to get more from your business

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to success in business often is just getting around to doing the things that you know that you ought to do. Sometimes, you know that your business needs a boost but you might not be sure exactly what it needs. Here are five opportunities to turn things around.
  1. Take the Power Marketing for Small Businesses class at Lakewood High School starting Monday April 28 at 7:00 PM and running for four weeks. (Call 216-529-4192.)
  2. Write or revise your business plan. Get help and support at the Write Your Own Business Plan Workshop which meets weekly for six weeks starting at 7:00 PM on Apr. 8) at Polaris Career Center. (Call 440-891-7750.)
  3. Take your business online with the help of the How to Start an Online Business with Little or No Money class on April 10 at Lakewood High School. (216-529-4192.)
  4. Learn to Get More Done in Less Time at the one night seminar of the same name on the evening of March 6 (sign up NOW) or the more intensive four week course, Profitable Time Management for Today's Busy Entrepreneur beginning March 18. Both classes will be at Lakewood High School. (216-529-4192.)

Don't put it off. This could give you the boost you've been looking for.


Marketing feature: Is your business truly

Quick! Jot down what makes your company, product, service different from your competitors. You can do this without even thinking about it, right?

OK. Now go online or get out that folder of your competitors' marketing materials (we all have a file like that, right?) and look at their marketing messages. Do your competitors' marketing messages sound pretty much like what you have just jotted down? If so, that might explain why your marketing campaigns have not produced the desired results.

Many businesses believe that their "uniqueness" comes from doing a better job than their competitors. The problem with that kind of "uniqueness" is that nearly everyone claims to have it. The products and services that stand out are memorable because they have a carefully crafted message that not only points out distinctiveness but also appeals to the needs of the target audience.

The purpose of developing a unique factor or unique selling proposition is to establish firmly in your mind, the minds of your staff, and the minds of your prospects exactly what makes your business stand out from the competition. The document you produce will not be very long - usually just a few sentences. However, if it is done with insight and care, it will have a profound impact on the effectiveness of your marketing messages.

The first step is to thoroughly understand your prospects and what motivates them to buy. Are you in a consumer market or a B2B market? Are purchases being made to satisfy emotional or practical needs? (All purchase are emotionally motivated to some extent.) What are their ages, gender, education, interests? Are purchases planned or are they impulse buys? Get answers to the questions that will lead you to uncovering your prospects most gut level motivators.

You will need to dig - do a little research - and be creative. Purchasing motivations are not as obvious as you might think. If you are marketing accounting software to businesses, a motivator might be ease of use but the deeper underlying reason for the purchase is probably the desire to have a wildly profitable business. If you are selling bridal gowns, the obvious motivator might be to make the bride look beautiful on an important day but the important underlying motivator is probably the expectation of lifelong happiness.

Next, find out what your prospects like and dislike about your competitors. Is the product or service easy to buy? Is there a guarantee? Is packaging attractive and easy to use? Are products delivered promptly and in good condition? Are instruction sheets easily understood? If there are questions or problems, can they talk to a human being? Are there "extras" that add value? What features do you offer that your competitors do not?

Once again, dig. You might have to develop a survey to uncover this information. Often, you can get at these opinions through conversations with customers, prospects and even suppliers. Take the time to document (write down) what you have learned so that you can sit down and analyze it later when you have notes from a number of these conversations.

Now, write your unique factor in terms that will appeal to your prospective customer. If "success in business" is the underlying motivator for the purchase of your product, make that the lead in your statement. State that your product will lead to success then describe the features of your product that will contribute to creating success. If the purchaser's underlying motivator is "lifelong happiness" you will want to find a way to convey that in your unique selling proposition.

Look at advertisements for cars as an example. Very little is said about the engines or other mechanical aspects. Ads almost never show the internal workings or talk about how the cars are made. Car companies are selling prestige, coolness, freedom, sex. Most ads show happy people enjoying life in their cars. The few features that are shown support the proposition that "Brand X" automobile will make you feel better about yourself and will attract members of the opposite sex. In ads that are designed to sell family cars, safety and features like child seats and cup-holders are highlighted.

Let your unique factor guide all of your marketing messages. Be sure that the appearance, copy and location of your messages reflects your unique factor. It will help you produce a clear, consistent message that your prospects will remember.

===============

If your business needs help in developing its unique factor Business Odyssey now offers an in-house mini seminar designed specifically to help you do this. Conducted at your location, this 3 to 4 hour seminar will help you uncover the elements that are essential underpinnings for a clearly focused marketing effort. For details, give us a call at 216/221-8970 or e-mail

info@businessodyssey.com


Ooops! Correct link for free download here

In the last issue of the Chronicle, we offered a free download of Make Your Price Sell by Ken Evoy, M.D. and Carol Ann Dorn, PhD. This e-book is packed with strategies and "how to" advice on establishing prices that will garner maximum profits for you.

Unfortunately, I goofed and gave you a bad link for the download. Please accept my humble apologies.

The correct link is here: http://myps.sitesell.com/odyssey1,html


Entrepreneurship feature: Free Money (Or Raise Money for Your Business Without Asking Your Bank Manager)

by Frederick Pearce

Consider it Free Money! No interest! No monthly payments!

How often have you heard experts talking about small and medium-sized businesses failing because they were "under-capitalized"? But you don't hear too often the remark that failing companies are over-indebted! I suggest that the latter happens far more frequently than the former.

So many new businesses start operating heavily laden with debt. The enthusiastic owners borrow on their house, hock their jewelry, touch their friends, pressure their family, and go through the rigors of a US Government Small Business Administration (SBA) loan procedure, or some other well-meaning sponsored program. Their very first act having opened their doors to the public is to make their first month's loan repayment. Even before the first customer ever sets foot on the premises. Even before the first item is sold and the first tiny piece of profit earned.

The first few months of any new business is tough - many would argue, the first few years are tough. If the burden of debt -or rather the burden of the monthly payments- is too great, a new business will never get out from under the load.

We advocate saying Thank you, but No, Thank you, to would-be lenders. You don't need it! There are many, many ways a business, new or established, can get the money they need without borrowing. Money can be raised internally: it can be traded for: it can be wheedled out of suppliers, or competitors, or customers. In fact, there are so many people around willing to give you money, if you approach them in the right way, that you may never have to borrow again.

Bank manager? Yes! He's the fellow you ask to look after your hard-earned profits. Not the chap to borrow from, otherwise those hard-earned profits of yours will become easily-earned profits of his!

Okay, you say. Give us some examples! Well, how about the air-conditioner repairman who wanted to start a small business but didn't even have enough money to buy a truck? He approached local retailers with the offer of a 24-hour emergency repair service with no labor costs if they would purchase a 12-month contract. He sold enough contracts to buy a used truck, and started his business without debt.

Then there was the well-established baker who signed a long-term purchase agreement with a supplier in return for a good discount. But he had the supplier pay the discount up front in the form of new equipment the baker needed.

Or the used car dealer who purchases used cars at auction with money from several small investors. The dealer gets his inventory at no cost, the investors have their investments fully secured by the vehicles, and they both make a nice profit.

Did I say Get money from competitors? Surely not?! There are actually a few ways to do this, but let us consider the lady who wanted to start a dog walking service. Many pet owners want some alternative to locking their dogs in kennels when they go on vacation. This lady thought she could visit the home, and feed and walk the dog, but soon found that she needed to be bonded for her customers security. A local kennels agreed to put up the money for the bond and let her use their name in return for a share of the profits. Plus, they steered customers her way - people who did not want to kennel their dogs (and whom they would have lost, anyway). She not only got the initial capital she needed from a competitor, she got customers, too!

These, and many other strategies, can be seen on the World Wide Web at The Bi-Weekly Raise Money For Your Business Without Asking Your Bank Manager page:

http://home.earthlink.net/~fpearce/Craiseho.html A new strategy is uploaded every two weeks.

Also, Raise Money For Your Business is now a booklet. Send a blank e-mail to moneybook5@profnet.org

moneybook5@profnet.org Details will be sent to your e-mailbox usually within minutes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Frederick Pearce - Pearman Cooperation Alliance - Business Building and Promotion. THE BUSINESS START PAGE - http://www.bspage.com/

http://www.bspage.com/ As a Construction Specialist with 30 years international experience in Financial management of construction projects, Contractual management and General management, Frederick has experience in the corporate world plus nearly 20 years starting, developing, and growing various small businesses of his own.

Brought to you by: World Wide Information Outlet - http://certificate.net/wwio/ , your source of FREEWare Content online.


Good links: Emails to clients being bounced? Try this.

One big topic of conversation among businesses that depend upon the internet to communicate with prospects and customers is the latest generation of anti-spam protocols. Newsletters are being bounced back to senders in spite of the fact that people have signed up to receive them.

If you are having trouble getting your newsletter into the hands of your subscribers, e-mail a copy of it specifying TEST in the subject line to

spamcheck-odyssey1@sitesell.net. You will receive a full SpamCheck Report in seconds. This will tell you what elements in your newsletter are angering the spam monsters.

Make sure TEST starts the subject line or we'll ignore it.


Write to us and pass it along

If you have questions, comments or idea for article you would like to see in The Chronicle, please drop us a line at

info@businessodyssey.com Please pass this newsletter along to anyone you think might find it of interest. If you do, be sure to forward it in its entirety and include the copyright notice.


Copyright 2003 Kathleen Thompson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Business Odyssey

Cleveland, Ohio

www.businessodyssey.com


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