This blog post is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Be Your Own Boss! How to Quit Your Job and Start Your Own Business in 12 Months or Less! The book is scheduled to be released in February 2010 by Adams Media.
What can this book do for you?
Be Your Own Boss! is organized by month to lead you step by step through the process of how to transition from a job to small business ownership.
The book covers everything from life planning and personal finance, to marketing and business planning, to financial management, opening your business, and how to handle customer complaints.
Be Your Own Boss! is designed to help you lay out your personal long-term goals, get clarity on your personal and business financial picture, understand your personal strengths and weaknesses, lay out timelines for your transition, focus your activities to achieve your transition, set business goals and measurement, and anticipate obstacles that you will likely come across in your business and how to manage them. One of my favorite chapters in the book is 10 Things You Must Never Forget In Business.
Here’s The First 5 Things You Must Never Forget in Business.
1. Make sure you know how much profit is in every deal.
The concept of knowing how much profit is in every deal is something that may seem like common sense, but it is not!! Before you send pricing to any client, it is important that you have clearly figured out what the job is worth to you. Early on in my business, I figured out some general pricing. I had a one-size-fits-all pricing in fact, and when I started analyzing my profits, I was lucky if I made 25% gross revenue on any project. Then I had to pay all overhead and taxes from that before I pocketed any money. This system got me nowhere fast.
Your pricing should include the cost of materials, cost of labor, packaging, and a percentage of your overhead costs should be spread across every sale.
2. Customer service is the truth, the light, and the way!!
There are times in business when you will make a mistake. It happens to everyone; the key is how you fix it. Go the extra yard to make your customers happy, respond quickly to their complaints, and treat them like your paycheck – because they are. Here’s some general rules about performing great customer service
- Always know the value of a customer
- Generate referrals and great word-of-mouth
- Stay positive with your customers
- Look for feedback
3. ABC- “Always Be Closing”
“Always Be Closing,” is terrible English, but it is an easy way to remember that new business can come to you at any time and just about from any place. Here are some key rules:
Use Religious Persistence
- Create Targeted Marketing Materials
- Ask for the Business
If you use the “Always Be Closing” policy, you can always take advantage of every opportunity.
4. You are always under a microscope – Attention to Detail.
Customers are risk-aversive. It is hard to gain a customer’s confidence as a new vendor, not because they dislike you, but they may already have a long-term relationship with a similar supplier and you are the unproven new kid on the block. Who you are and what you do must always be clear and communicated well. Here are some priorities for making the best impressions.
- A product well-packaged is half sold
- Have well-written marketing materials
- Use effective meeting management skills
- Respond timely to bid requests
5. Nothing beats a professional presentation
Don’t try to bring your A game in your B suit. How you look and how you speak sends a message to the customer. Bad impressions are often deal breakers because they go directly to trust. People are reluctant to spend money with vendors who don’t look right for the services or products that they are representing. Use the best when you are selling for your business.
Part II of this blog post 5 More Things You Must Never Forget in Business will be posted next week on www.succeedasyourownboss.com