4 Ways to Grow Your Profits in 2017

grow

While most of the focus in late 2016 was on the chaotic U.S. Presidential election, there was a tremendous amount of activity on the economic front as well. Job growth surged as the year came to a close, and the markets roared back to life as well.  This, along with the presence of an incoming presidential administration that, by most counts, seems like it will be quite business friendly, bodes well for your company’s bottom line in 2017. So as you prepare for the New Year, here are four things to do to make 2017 as profitable as ever for your business.

 

Find New Markets

 

Over 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is located overseas. Despite this fact, less than one percent of the United States’ 30 million businesses export anything overseas. Companies that take the time and effort to find and serve overseas markets are poised to substantially boost their profits, and develop considerable advantages over their competitors. Lack of expertise is one of the main reasons that companies, particularly small businesses, often don’t pursue exports. Fortunately, there are relatively low- cost ways to garner the support you need to become an exporter. The International Trade Administration’s Strategic Partnership Program, for example, can help companies break into new markets, even if they have very little experience with exports.

 

Pay Attention to New Tax Rules and Regs

 

There are almost always new tax rules and regulations to account for, but with a new administration and a supportive congress, the tax environment could change substantially in the next year or so. During the recent U.S. Presidential Campaign, for instance, President-Elect Trump suggested cutting the business tax rate from its current 35 percent rate down to 15 percent; he also suggested making substantial changes to the deductions, as well as the rate at which LLCs, partnerships, and S corporations are taxed as well. All of these changes, if enacted, could substantially boost your company’s profits next year, so make sure you pay attention to them and plan accordingly. IRS.gov normally does an excellent job of providing clear and concise updates to the U.S. tax code, so bookmark it and pay attention.

 

Customers as Sales Staff

 

If you have worked hard and have been successful at keeping your current customers happy, think of ways to leverage them and grow your business – and by extension your profits – even more. Turn them into a de facto sales force for you by incentivizing them to generate future leads. Give them discounted service for every lead they generate, and some kind of larger incentive if the lead generates a sale. Get long term customers to work with your sales staff to help them as they generate leads and work towards achieving more sales. Use customers’ testimonials as a key, authentic component of your marketing strategy, by having them appear in ads or in your online social media presence. Finally encourage your best customers to share as much about your company as possible via word of mouth or through social media.

 

Leverage Technology

 

If your business, especially your small business, is not taking advantage of 21st-century technology, then more likely than not you are generating unnecessary expenses and failing to take advantage of opportunities to make more sales. Paperwork, for example, can be costly to generate, store and get rid of. Reduce costs over the next year by going paperless. Invest in computers and mobile devices to reduce the paper trail, and eliminate it further by developing online e-forms and receipt systems. The same mobile devices that reduce paperwork can make it easier for your sales force to communicate, and aid in finding more leads; this could lead to more sales and greater profits. Finally, if your business does not have an online presence for marketing or sales, make 2017 the year your company gets on the Internet, reaches a broader audience, and increases its opportunities to earn more profits.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.

 

 


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.”

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

5 Pick Me Ups for the Stressed Out Business Owner

stressed

Have you ever seen that meme about a day in the life of an entrepreneur? You know the one. It’s a line that moves up and down throughout the day and the emotions vacillate between “It’s working!” to “Oh sh-t. What have I done?!?”

Such is the life of a business owner. It’s one heck of an emotional ride filled with really high highs and really low lows. I was recently experiencing one of these lows myself and immediately went to my arsenal of pick me ups to take me from stressed out business owner to blissed out entrepreneur.

Here are some of the best pick me ups if you ever find yourself feeling like a stressed out business owner. At least in my opinion.

 

Inspiring Podcasts

 

I often joke that my business and finance education has been from bingeing on podcasts. It just so happens that podcasts have also helped me get out of more than a few funks.

For example, I was recently freaking out because I took a financial risk in my business and as the universe would have it, I was having issues with cash flow that month (because that’s how it always goes down). I went from feeling confident to being a stressed out business owner in about two seconds flat.

I’ve come to realize that the best thing I can do for myself in this situation is to find stories and examples of inspiring people who are making it in business. I’ve also found that I really dig audio because I can listen to it while I’m cooking, cleaning, getting ready to go to the office, etc.

By putting two and two together (inspiration plus audio), I realized I needed to get back into an old habit of listening to podcasts produced by people I admire. So that’s what I did.

By listening to inspiring podcasts, I get positive reinforcement in terms of believing I can overcome obstacles as a stressed out business owner. I also discover new solutions to problems that I may not have come up with on my own.

 

Inspiring Videos

 

Depending on my mood and how much time I’ve got, I may trade in a podcast for a video interview. In fact, some of my favorite podcasts also have the interview on video which I can find on YouTube.

I have a unique superpower where I can accidentally stumble upon an interview where someone will say exactly what I need to hear in that moment, even if the title of the interview looks like something entirely different.

All of this to say, feel free to explore different inspirational videos on YouTube. I sometimes get inspired in the weirdest ways when I’m open to exploring.

 

Exercise

 

My schedule has been hectic the last few weeks because of frequent travel, so naturally, my regular yoga schedule has gone out the window. I’ve been doing yoga long enough to know what my mind and body feel like when I don’t keep up with my practice, and it’s not cute.

With that being said, I’ll find some ways to sneak in exercise. If I can only hit up the yoga studio on Monday then so be it, but I’ll be there. Or, I’ll make sure to get a lot of walking in when I’m traveling. Maybe I’ll do some stretches in the morning because that’s all I can fit in.

The point is, moving my body helps me tremendously when I’m feeling like a stressed out business owner. In fact, the more stressed out I feel, the more I need to carve out some time to move my body.

As an aside, I try not to beat myself up too much if I’m not exercising as much as I’d like or in the way I’d like to do it. I’ve come to realize that we go through seasons and I just happen to be in a really busy one. This means I need to take a chill pill and improvise.

 

Meditation

 

I started meditating back in 2011, and I credit my meditation practice for much of my success.

As I recently mentioned on a podcast interview, meditation helps keep you out of your own head. It also gives you a little buffer so you’re not so reactionary when stressful situations inevitably come up.

For example, when I was freaking out over cash flow problems, I immediately found some sort of guided meditation that helped me focus on abundance and gratitude. This helps keep me grounded and out of my emotions that I can actually come up with solutions.

 

Affirmations

 

I’ve been re-reading “Overcoming Underearning” and “Secrets of Six-Figure Women” by Barbara Stanny. In those books, she mentions the power of positive affirmations when you’re trying to change the way your brain thinks about money.

Sometimes the reason we may feel like a stressed out business owner is because of a subconscious block. With repetition, the affirmations cut through that and you start re-wiring your brain.

Affirmations are actually something I relied on back in 2015 when I was going through a rebrand and breaking even in my business. I made a list of about 30 positive affirmations based on the blocks I knew I was experiencing at the time and taped them to a white board at my workstation.

I saw these affirmations and repeated them every single day, and by the end of 2015, I accomplished everything I’d set out to do. Since I’ve already had success using this technique, I decided to try it again – except this time I’m making a list on my phone as well.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Running a business can be extremely stressful and emotional. That’s why it’s important that business owners create a toolbox of practices and techniques that can help keep them grounded when they start feeling stressed out.

In creating this toolbox, we’ll have what we need to cut through emotions that may be clouding our judgment. We’ll also be more receptive to finding solutions for our perceived problems.

Give some of these a try and let us know how it goes.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.

 

 


Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She’s also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

You’ll Kick Yourself For Not Reading These 5 Books

Finance Books

When it comes to improving your knowledge of personal finance, a good book collection is essential. But if you walk through your local bookstore, chances are it will have a whole aisle devoted to personal finance books. The selection is daunting, and you could never possibly read them all. Luckily, you don’t have to. Here are five great personal finance books that all belong on your bookshelf, and can help give you a better understanding of money, debt, saving, and investing.

 

Personal Finance for Dummies

 

Already in its 8th edition, Eric Tyson’s Personal Finance for Dummies is a great primer on everything to do with living your life in a financially shrewd manner. The book covers everything about personal finance, from budgeting and debt management to planning for big purchases and saving for retirement. Personal Finance is truly the go-to beginner’s guide for anyone who wants to understand all aspects of managing their money and start improving their financial well-being as soon as possible.

 

The Millionaire Next Door

 

While not strictly a personal finance book per se, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko’s Millionaire is nonetheless an essential read for anyone who wants to improve his or her personal finances. The authors rely on over twenty years of their own research to discern the habits, attitudes, and overall characteristics of self-made millionaires – people who have worked hard and become successful because of it. The profiles that Stanley and Danko develop through studying these amazing people shed light into positive attitudes and activities that can be applied to your own personal finances as well, making this book an essential addition to your collection.

 

The Total Money Makeover

 

Popular radio host and financial expert Dave Ramsey wrote The Total Money Makeover in 2003, and it has been updated multiple times since then. This is a great, easy to read book to help you improve your financial literacy, and get control of all the money issues in your life. Ramsey’s light writing style helps makes it easy to understand the importance of budgeting, limiting your exposure to excess debt, and even how newlyweds can keep money from becoming a major source of conflict in their relationships. Ramsey also wrote a companion to Total called The Total Money Makeover Workbook, which can even further help you visualize what you have to do to get your personal finances in order.

 

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

 

While the title sounds like a gimmicky get-rich-quick scheme, Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich is anything but. The approachable book lays out a six-week program for people to take stock of their financial situations, and design an action plan to improve them for the long haul. Along the way, Sethi takes the time to educate readers about important financial subjects, such as loans, credit, index funds and retirement planning. This book is great for anyone, but it is especially geared towards younger people who are just starting out in their adult lives and want to get on the right track financially.

 

Your Money or Your Life

 

Your Money or Your Life is as much a philosophy book as it is a personal finance guide. The book examines how, despite changing times, we are nonetheless trapped in debt-ridden, materialistic lifestyles, where free time and happiness remain elusive. Your Money lays out a different path, one where we live more frugally with less debt and more satisfaction. Along the way, it covers weighty financial topics, such as the importance of budgeting, avoiding debt, and saving for retirement. It is hard to read Your Money or Your Life and think of money in the same way ever again.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.”

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

 

You’ll Kick Yourself For Not Reading These 5 Books

Finance Books

When it comes to improving your knowledge of personal finance, a good book collection is essential. But if you walk through your local bookstore, chances are it will have a whole aisle devoted to personal finance books. The selection is daunting, and you could never possibly read them all. Luckily, you don’t have to. Here are five great personal finance books that all belong on your bookshelf, and can help give you a better understanding of money, debt, saving, and investing.

 

Personal Finance for Dummies

 

Already in its 8th edition, Eric Tyson’s Personal Finance for Dummies is a great primer on everything to do with living your life in a financially shrewd manner. The book covers everything about personal finance, from budgeting and debt management to planning for big purchases and saving for retirement. Personal Finance is truly the go-to beginner’s guide for anyone who wants to understand all aspects of managing their money and start improving their financial well-being as soon as possible.

 

The Millionaire Next Door

 

While not strictly a personal finance book per se, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko’s Millionaire is nonetheless an essential read for anyone who wants to improve his or her personal finances. The authors rely on over twenty years of their own research to discern the habits, attitudes, and overall characteristics of self-made millionaires – people who have worked hard and become successful because of it. The profiles that Stanley and Danko develop through studying these amazing people shed light into positive attitudes and activities that can be applied to your own personal finances as well, making this book an essential addition to your collection.

 

The Total Money Makeover

 

Popular radio host and financial expert Dave Ramsey wrote The Total Money Makeover in 2003, and it has been updated multiple times since then. This is a great, easy to read book to help you improve your financial literacy, and get control of all the money issues in your life. Ramsey’s light writing style helps makes it easy to understand the importance of budgeting, limiting your exposure to excess debt, and even how newlyweds can keep money from becoming a major source of conflict in their relationships. Ramsey also wrote a companion to Total called The Total Money Makeover Workbook, which can even further help you visualize what you have to do to get your personal finances in order.

 

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

 

While the title sounds like a gimmicky get-rich-quick scheme, Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich is anything but. The approachable book lays out a six-week program for people to take stock of their financial situations, and design an action plan to improve them for the long haul. Along the way, Sethi takes the time to educate readers about important financial subjects, such as loans, credit, index funds and retirement planning. This book is great for anyone, but it is especially geared towards younger people who are just starting out in their adult lives and want to get on the right track financially.

 

Your Money or Your Life

 

Your Money or Your Life is as much a philosophy book as it is a personal finance guide. The book examines how, despite changing times, we are nonetheless trapped in debt-ridden, materialistic lifestyles, where free time and happiness remain elusive. Your Money lays out a different path, one where we live more frugally with less debt and more satisfaction. Along the way, it covers weighty financial topics, such as the importance of budgeting, avoiding debt, and saving for retirement. It is hard to read Your Money or Your Life and think of money in the same way ever again.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.”

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

 

How To Find The Best Apps To Help You Manage Your Money

manage

Did you know that by the end of 2017 there will be an estimated 2.6 billion smartphone users in the world?

With the mobile revolution in full-swing, it’s easy to see why apps have become increasingly popular. In the palm of our hands, we can have a device that texts friends and family, updates our social media channels, read our favorite book, schedule a meeting, and manage our finances.

While that’s a great problem to have, some of us just don’t have the time to review the hundreds of money management apps that are available. So, to make the process run more smoothly, here are the five questions that you should ask when looking for a money management app.

 

What are my goals?

 

There is no one-size-fits-all money management app. While most of the apps do offer similar features, such as online banking and budgeting, they vary from app to app. For example, the traditional YNAB app is ideal for creating and sticking to a budget, while Personal Capital focuses primarily on investments.

Before settling on an app, list the goals that you want to accomplish with the app. If you’re looking for a household budgeting app so that you can afford groceries, then something like YNAB or Mint would be more favorable than an app that helps you save for a vacation or retirement. In the case of saving for a vacation, retirement, or a large purchase, apps like Simple or Unsplurge would be a better decision.

 

What features are available?

 

While each app is different, they should include the following functions:

  • Banking where you can pay bills electronically, deposit checks, set-up automatic payments, transfer funds, and reconcile account balances.
  • Budgeting where you can set spending limits and manage your cash flow.
  • Planning that allows you to monitor and pay down debt, estimate major life expenses, and forecast your retirement/saving needs.
  • Investing so that you can receive stock quotes and track your portfolios.
  • Reports so that you can review your finances.
  • Taxes where you can set-up your own tax categories so that you can prepare your return to generate a report on tax deductions and estimated taxes that you’ll owe.
  • Provides your credit score so that you can improve it to take a loan or line of credit if needed. This is especially important if you’re planning on purchasing a home or starting your own business.

If your app contains these features, it makes your life easier since all of your financial information is one dashboard instead of spread-out across multiple apps.

 

Is the app compatible with my mobile device?

 

Most money management apps, like Mint, Pocket Guard, YNAB, and Level Money are compatible with both iOS and Android devices. However, that doesn’t mean that all of these apps are compatible with your mobile device. For instance, Unsplurge is only available for the iPhone and iPad.

 

How much does it cost?

 

The good news is that a majority of money management apps are free to download and use. But, be careful. Some of them will charge you fees. YNAB costs $5 a month. And, some apps, such as Spendee, may be free but offers a “pro” version for $1.99/month if you want access to all of the features.

 

How secure is my information?

 

With all of the security breaches happening, your security should be a top concern. Especially when providing and sharing financial information anywhere — whether it be with an online business or an app.

Before downloading an app, make sure that it’s reputable and trustworthy by reading online reviews and doing research on the security measures that they offer. Wally is a promising personal finance app since it doesn’t’ link to your bank account.

 

Compare your options.

 

After answering the questions listed above, start comparing the ebank apps that fit your needs the best, work on your device, and will keep your information secure.

Bear in mind though that just because an app is accessible either online or among your peers doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. Take Mint, for example. It’s one of the most popular, and useful, apps to manage your money.

However, if you’re looking for a solution to help you run both your household and small business finances, it’s not the best option. In that case, you would want to shop around for an app that can manage your personal and professional finances.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.


 is the Content Editor at Due.com

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

4 Marketing Lessons I’ve Learned From Binging All Things ‘#Girlboss’

#GirlBoss

I’ve recently become obsessed with Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal and #Girlboss fame. For the record, yes, I’m well aware that I am so late to the party. But hey, better late than never.

Anyway, back to Amoruso. It all started when I heard her on Lewis Howes’ podcast. They were talking about how she built Nasty Gal, and she kept dropping one marketing lesson after another. Then, I watched just about every interview I could find on YouTube and started listening to her podcast. I even bought her book.

Suffice to say that I am now a fan for life. Here are some of the marketing lessons I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks, after binging on all things #Girlboss.

 

1. Find Your Niche in the Market

 

In the beginning of her book #Girlboss, Amoruso talks about when she was trying to name her company. In case you don’t know the story, she started her company by selling vintage clothing on eBay.

At the time, she noticed that a lot of the other eBay sellers of vintage clothing were pretty hippie-fantastic with their names. Amoruso knew she was much edgier than that, and she went for it. Before long, even one of her favorite photographers had heard of Nasty Gal Vintage.

Here’s the marketing lesson in this: Find your niche in the market. Amoruso wasn’t a bohemian, she was an anarchist with a love for Bette Davis.

 

2. Know Thy Customer

 

One of the marketing lessons Amoruso mentions over and over again is to know your customer. This will determine everything you do–from the clothing you put up for sale, to the product descriptions.

 

3. Create a Feeling Around Your Brand

 

In an event Amoruso did for Experian, she talks about how Nasty Gal is more than just a company–it’s a feeling.

This is perhaps one of the most important marketing lessons for us in the 21st century. There is a lot of noise on social media; there are flash sales left and right, and someone always vying for customers’ attention.

What Nasty Gal has done right, is that they evoked a feeling with their brand. There is something else driving the purchase besides a sale, and there’s something deeper going on in the minds of her customers.

I’m not exactly sure how Amoruso would describe the feeling behind Nasty Gal, but if I had to describe it, it would be one of empowerment for women. It lets women feel like they can be both sexy and smart, and it’s refreshing.

 

4. Be Transparent

 

If you’ve read #Girlboss or watched Amoruso while she’s being interviewed, you may notice that she’s a little bit of a hot mess. By the way, I mean this in the best possible way.

From spilling coffee on herself, to being very open about a past of petty theft, she’s not trying to be anything she’s not, which is part of what makes her so endearing. She even admits how terrified she is of speaking in front of large crowds while she’s doing it.

When people talk about marketing lessons these days, they are always talking about authenticity. Amoruso epitomizes that in both her brands and in just being.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.


Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She’s also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of “Make Money Your Honey.”

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

Successful Business Owners Do These 5 Things

financial habits

In my line of work, I either know a lot of successful business owners or I spend a lot of time interviewing them for client work or my podcast. At this rate, I’ve been doing this for years.

In those years, I’ve learned a lot from the successful business owners I have the pleasure of speaking with – particularly as it pertains to their financial habits. Here just some of the financial habits of the most successful business owners I know.

 

Always save first.

 

Out of all the financial habits mentioned by the successful business owners I speak with, this is the one that came up every time.

Every business owner has said that they found a way to save first, even if the business wasn’t doing too hot. At the end of the day, their focus is on building wealth so they act accordingly.

 

Ask for help and pay for it if you need to.

 

Another common financial habit I see among successful business owners is they aren’t afraid to ask for help. They aren’t afraid to pay for it either.

Or, well, maybe sometimes they are afraid, but they move in spite of the fear anyway. The reason is because they know they can’t possibly know everything themselves. They also understand that paying someone else to take care of something means they have more time to work on growing the business.

 

Follow the money.

 

Another one of the financial habits I see in successful business owners? They follow the money. In other words, oftentimes if it’s not making them money they cut it. At the end of the day, they are running a business, not a charity.

Now, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean they do unethical things or step on people in order to make more money. Instead, it looks like letting go of projects that aren’t profitable or asking for more money when negotiating.

 

Push themselves out of their comfort zone.

 

Successful business owners are constantly pushing themselves—especially when it comes to financial habits.

Here are just some of the ways business owners do this all the time:

  • Ask for more money.
  • Ask for money, period.
  • Save first, even if it looks terrifying.
  • Take (calculated) financial risks in the form of business investments.
  • Negotiate everything—whether it’s a fee for their work or negotiating down if they think a product or service is too expensive.

 

Give a ton of value (and sometimes money).

 

I already mentioned how successful business owners are acutely aware of the fact that they are running a business and not a charity. However, this does not mean they idolize money.

In fact, none of the successful business owners I’ve interviewed do it only for the money. They understand that money is a reality of the world we live in and should be respected, not a god.

With that being said, the successful business owners I know give a lot of value out into the world. They are always helping other people, including those who are coming up behind them.

Above all, they understand that being in a leadership position comes with the responsibility to mentor, teach, and share their abundance.

 

 

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.


Amanda Abella is a full-time writer who specializes in online business and finance. She’s also an online business coach and the Amazon best-selling author of Make Money Your Honey.

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

How to Fix These Big Things Businesses Keep Getting Wrong

pricing

Generally, business owners make mistakes in pricing for two reasons:

  1. They’re more concerned about their business than their customers’ wants and needs.
  2. They’re set on “undercutting” their competition to try and woo customers.

Both can be fatal for business. The good news is that for every mistake listed below, there’s a viable solution that follows. To be the change you want to see in your business, review your pricing policies and see if some adjustments are needed.

 

Mistake 1: Not Giving Customers Options

 

This generally happens when a business owner sets a set price on a product or service with no options for payment except “pay in full.”

FIX: Offer several purchase options for customers to select from for your products or services. This allows your customers to feel like they are smart shoppers and removes the “compare competitive prices” factor. It helps the customer feel as if he or she has solved a problem and made a wise decision. Consider offering 3 options with the 2nd offer being a “made me an offer I couldn’t resist” option.

 

Mistake 2: Not Countering Comparison Criteria

 

Customers are trained to shop for the best bargain, not the best product or service. Branding gets around this to some degree, as some people will only buy one brand and wouldn’t even consider a competitor’s brand.

FIX: What business owners must do is to figure out the worst-case scenarios their potential customers could face if they make a “poor” decision (i.e. going with the competition). That’s something that has to be figured out BEFORE the sale. Don’t just guess. Do the research.

Offer a startling statistic. Say you’re a non-profit promoting the foster care program. There are currently 600,000+ kids in the foster care system in the U.S. That’s a shocking number. As you “educate” your buyer, break down how much a month they will pay to avoid being part of your startling statistic. You’ve heard the commercials combating worldwide hunger, “Only $5 a day can help feed a child for a week.” $5 sounds so reasonable. Let your customer be part of the solution.

 

Mistake 3: Being Unprepared for the ‘Theirs Is Cheaper’ Argument

 

FIX: Overcome cheaper price objective by framing the argument from the customer’s perspective. Trust me, you don’t want “pay a high price” to mean something negative and unsatisfying for your customer. You want them to not care because they are so thrilled with the results.

If they come at you with how the competition charges less. Counter with how cheaper is not always better, and draw their focus to the added value you offer. Of course, for this to work, you must truly have value to add. You can’t just say it; you actually have to be able to stand behind it and show customers the value they will get by paying a little more. Otherwise, you’re overpromising and underdelivering.

Mistake 4: Pricing Your Service like a Service Instead of a Product

FIX: This takes some serious thought and involves creating a “widget.” Examples: How can a delivery service be a product? United States Postal Service (USPS) created a “widget” with their packaging: “If it fits in this box, we ship it.” Sell results. Financial companies, coaching companies, consulting companies can all sell information. E-books, reports, and newsletter subscriptions are all examples.

 

Mistake 5: Not Doing Package Deals and Being Inconsistent with Pricing

 

FIX: Offer different packages (some choose bronze, silver, and gold) for different “levels” of buyers, then sell up to your bronze and silver customers, encouraging them to become “gold” customers. Remember, if you price the same product or service lower for one customer and higher for another, you risk upsetting customers and therefore cut referral potential. Some business owners price higher by zip codes. Consider offering specialty packages for different “groups” and occasions. “Senior discounts”; “Student discounts”; “New Business Discounts”; “Holiday discounts,” etc.

Seeing the warning signs can help business owners avoid the pitfalls. And brainstorming solutions can help others who have already fallen into some of these “traps” get out. Knowledge really is the key–for your customers and for you.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.

 

 

 


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.”

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

How to Fix These Big Things Businesses Keep Getting Wrong

pricing

Generally, business owners make mistakes in pricing for two reasons:

  1. They’re more concerned about their business than their customers’ wants and needs.
  2. They’re set on “undercutting” their competition to try and woo customers.

Both can be fatal for business. The good news is that for every mistake listed below, there’s a viable solution that follows. To be the change you want to see in your business, review your pricing policies and see if some adjustments are needed.

 

Mistake 1: Not Giving Customers Options

 

This generally happens when a business owner sets a set price on a product or service with no options for payment except “pay in full.”

FIX: Offer several purchase options for customers to select from for your products or services. This allows your customers to feel like they are smart shoppers and removes the “compare competitive prices” factor. It helps the customer feel as if he or she has solved a problem and made a wise decision. Consider offering 3 options with the 2nd offer being a “made me an offer I couldn’t resist” option.

 

Mistake 2: Not Countering Comparison Criteria

 

Customers are trained to shop for the best bargain, not the best product or service. Branding gets around this to some degree, as some people will only buy one brand and wouldn’t even consider a competitor’s brand.

FIX: What business owners must do is to figure out the worst-case scenarios their potential customers could face if they make a “poor” decision (i.e. going with the competition). That’s something that has to be figured out BEFORE the sale. Don’t just guess. Do the research.

Offer a startling statistic. Say you’re a non-profit promoting the foster care program. There are currently 600,000+ kids in the foster care system in the U.S. That’s a shocking number. As you “educate” your buyer, break down how much a month they will pay to avoid being part of your startling statistic. You’ve heard the commercials combating worldwide hunger, “Only $5 a day can help feed a child for a week.” $5 sounds so reasonable. Let your customer be part of the solution.

 

Mistake 3: Being Unprepared for the ‘Theirs Is Cheaper’ Argument

 

FIX: Overcome cheaper price objective by framing the argument from the customer’s perspective. Trust me, you don’t want “pay a high price” to mean something negative and unsatisfying for your customer. You want them to not care because they are so thrilled with the results.

If they come at you with how the competition charges less. Counter with how cheaper is not always better, and draw their focus to the added value you offer. Of course, for this to work, you must truly have value to add. You can’t just say it; you actually have to be able to stand behind it and show customers the value they will get by paying a little more. Otherwise, you’re overpromising and underdelivering.

Mistake 4: Pricing Your Service like a Service Instead of a Product

FIX: This takes some serious thought and involves creating a “widget.” Examples: How can a delivery service be a product? United States Postal Service (USPS) created a “widget” with their packaging: “If it fits in this box, we ship it.” Sell results. Financial companies, coaching companies, consulting companies can all sell information. E-books, reports, and newsletter subscriptions are all examples.

 

Mistake 5: Not Doing Package Deals and Being Inconsistent with Pricing

 

FIX: Offer different packages (some choose bronze, silver, and gold) for different “levels” of buyers, then sell up to your bronze and silver customers, encouraging them to become “gold” customers. Remember, if you price the same product or service lower for one customer and higher for another, you risk upsetting customers and therefore cut referral potential. Some business owners price higher by zip codes. Consider offering specialty packages for different “groups” and occasions. “Senior discounts”; “Student discounts”; “New Business Discounts”; “Holiday discounts,” etc.

Seeing the warning signs can help business owners avoid the pitfalls. And brainstorming solutions can help others who have already fallen into some of these “traps” get out. Knowledge really is the key–for your customers and for you.

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.

 

 

 


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.”

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

Boy Scout Lessons That Any Entrepreneur Can Learn From

Boy Scout

Many of the lessons in entrepreneurship I’ve learned over the years were seeds planted during my time in the Boy Scouts of America. Through the Boy Scouts, I learned leadership, personal finance, and other skills that have come to my aid countless times in my career in corporate America and as a freelancer.

One of the best courses in beginning entrepreneurship I’ve ever come across came from the Entrepreneurship merit badge. Even for a veteran business owner, there are some useful tips you can pick up by completing the requirements and reading through the Entrepreneurship pamphlet and worksheet.

 

About Boy Scout Merit Badges

 

For the unfamiliar, the Boy Scouts of America is an organization aimed at teaching young people leadership and other life skills that can be useful far beyond their youth. Merit badges are awards that are earned after completing a list of requirements related to a particular topic. Some merit badges are required to earn the Eagle Scout Award, while others are optional, similar to a college elective.

To earn the merit badge, Scouts must work with an adult leader in their troop or community to complete a list of requirements. You can find a list of requirements for Entrepreneurship merit badge here.

The Boy Scouts have also put together a worksheet that Scouts can use while completing the merit badge requirements. You can find that worksheet here.

 

Complete the Requirements

 

Requirement 1: In your own words, define entrepreneurship. Explain to your merit badge counselor how entrepreneurs impact the U.S. economy.

As a small business owner, it is important to understand what it means to be a business owner, and how your business fits in with the greater economy. Think through your business structure, including the clients and employees you support, and you will have a much better understanding of your business, and how it fits into the surrounding business ecosystem.

 

Requirement 2: Explain to your counselor why having good skills in the following areas is important for an entrepreneur: communication, planning, organization, problem solving, decision making, basic math, adaptability, technical and social skills, teamwork, and leadership.

As the founder of a startup or owner of a business, even a solo freelancing business, you wear many hats. I am the president, CEO, accountant, bookkeeper, content producer, social media manager, paralegal, and more for my business. By understanding the many roles you play in your company, you are better able to grasp the skills you need for success. Sometimes that may mean recognizing and working to improve on a weakness.

 

Requirement 3: Identify and interview an individual who has started a business. Learn about this person’s educational background, early work experiences, where the idea for the business came from, and what was involved in starting the business. Find out how the entrepreneur raised the capital (money) to start the business, examples of successes and challenges faced, and how the business is currently doing (if applicable). Discuss with your counselor what you have learned.

Working as an entrepreneur in a vacuum can be a lonely road. In addition, isolation might keep you from learning important business management skills you could pick up from networking with other entrepreneurs. Rather than working with a merit badge counselor on this requirement, you can find another business owner and take them out for a coffee. Just by meeting them and learning about their business, you could be picking up great strategies you can use to improve your own business. If you don’t know other local business owners, check out sites and apps like Meetup, Shapr, and Founder Dating.

 

Requirement 4: Think of as many ideas for a business as you can, and write them down. From your list, select three ideas you believe represent the best opportunities. Choose one of these and explain to your counselor why you selected it, and why you feel it can be successful.

I know that one of my biggest entrepreneurship problems is too many business ideas. Take a few minutes to brain-dump different business ideas on paper or a note-taking app to see what is rattling around in that entrepreneurial mind of yours. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come up with your next billion-dollar idea!

 

Requirement 5: Create a written business plan for your idea that includes all of the following: a product or service;  market analysis; financial; personnel; promotion and marketing.

A business plan is not required for startup success, but it can’t hurt! A business plan is a written strategy that you plan to follow to see your business succeed. Defining your product or service and giving the target market an honest analysis will show if you are on the right track. If you ever plan to seek outside investments in the future, a business plan may be required.

 

Requirement 6: When you believe your business idea is feasible, imagine your business idea is now up and running. What successes and problems might you experience? How would you overcome any failures? Discuss with your counselor any ethical questions you might face, and how you would deal with them.

This is where the merit badge ends and real life begins. Unlike the young men involved with Boy Scouts, you are an adult and an entrepreneur already. This is not hypothetical; this is real life. From the lessons you learned completing requirements one through five, look at your existing business or an example you came up with in requirement four. What challenges do you or might you face? How do you or would you overcome them?

 

Lifetime Learning is Key to Success

 

The most successful business owners are lifelong learners. There is always something you can improve if you challenge yourself and your business to reach new levels of success. By walking through the requirements of entrepreneurship merit badge, you are adding a new and unique perspective to your arsenal of ideas to reach business success for many years to come.

 

This article was written by  and originally appeared on DUE.com.

 

 

 


Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer originally from Denver, Colorado living in Ventura, California. When away from the keyboard, Eric he enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers, and spending time with his wife and baby girl. You can connect with him at his own finance blog Personal Profitability.

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.