Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Top 10 Small Business Tips During a Recession

Good Morning Everyone,

Is your business ready to weather a recession? Whether you believe we're headed for a recession or not, the economy is on shaky ground right now.

So if the economy keeps spiraling downward, here are 10 Tips on dealing with a recession:

1) Cut costs cautiously. As soon as the economy starts slowing down, many business owners think they must cut costs. But this is a short-term solution. Only cut costs or decrease your prices if it won't harm your business later. You can always lower your price - but you can't always raise your price.

2) Think Sub- contractors - especially if health care costs are putting a strain on your budget. If you have employees, consider turning them into sub-contractors. There are very affordable, month-to-month video web conferencing services that allow you to still be in close daily contact.

3) Advertise, Advertise, & Advertise! During the last recession, McDonald's almost tripled their advertising campaign at a time when their competitors, namely Burger King, were cutting back. So even though this may seem counter-intuitive, a recession may be the time to increase your marketing. Hard economic times weeds out your competition, leaving the field wide open for you.

4) Plan Long term: The Japanese are famous for planning out their strategy 15 to 20 years in advance. They follow the way of the turtle to win the race. And it works! Remember, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep marketing every month, month in and month out, not stopping and starting on a whim.

5)Choose your marketing techniques wisely. You should be keeping track of which marketing venues brings you the most business. Reduce or eliminate those marketing techniques that aren't paying off for you, or fix them so that they do increase leads and sales. And consider a form of direct marketing where you can specifically test target markets without blowing your hard earned budget.

6) Revamp your marketing tools. For those marketing techniques that are working for you, this might be the time to revamp your marketing tools. Could your sales people use more training to close the deal? Online training cuts costs and time.

7) Automate wherever you can. Find ways to automate any tasks to reduce the workload on yourself and your staff. What have you been doing manually that a computer system can do for you? Take a look at all your daily tasks and see if there is a computer solution to these time-wasters.

8) Spend your time on what really matters. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It's a proven fact that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. So treat your best customers like royalty. Spend 80% of your time focusing on marketing and delivering your product or service.

9) Make do and mend. Because raw materials were in short supply during World War II, people were encouraged to "make do and mend" an item instead of simply replacing it. Consider your own expenditures: do you really need a new computer, or could you somehow upgrade your existing one for less money? Do you need a new telephone or can you get by with the old one for a while longer?

10) Reduce inventories. If you sell a product, and you believe your sales are going to decrease, this might be a good idea to reduce inventories and not restock to the same level. This is a risky strategy (what if the recession only lasts 6 months?), so be sure you know exactly how long it will take to replenish inventories once the economy picks back up.

These 10 tips will prepare your business for both good times and not so good times.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Standard for Terrific Meetings & Conferences Has Changed

Good Morning Business Owners,

With oil at $128 a barrel...

Airports adding an extra two to three hours to get through tighter and tighter security...

Businesses doing more and more business around the globe...

More and more people to meet in different locations...

Video conferencing and online threaded conversations getting better and better...

Why spend the money, fight the crowds, and lose valuable time traveling for that meeting?

Here's a great article at Seth Godin's blog:


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Brace Yourself For Even Higher Travel Costs

Good Morning,

The leading headline on MSN this morning was "Oil Tops $123 a Barrel!"

This means higher prices at the pump and on the plane. I even read that airlines are slowing down their flight times to save on fuel costs.

Higher gas prices are especially tough on small businesses because we're the first to not get paid when customers are strapped for cash.

And it's a tough decision to pass on the price increases to customers.

So as a business owner, you just have to tighten your belt and weather the storm.

Web conferencing can help ease the pain of soaring gas prices and expensive travel. So skip that gas sucking drive across town, or the cramped, crowded flight.

Meet online to save both time and'll be glad you did!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Do You Make These Mistakes in Your Webinar?

Happy Thursday Everyone,

There's no question that webinars are taking the market by storm.

With soaring gas prices, skyrocketing airfares, and business owners under pressure to trim costs, webinars and online meetings are fast replacing face-to-face meetings. And costly travel.

But not all webinars are successful.

Here are 10 top reasons webinars fail:

1) The presenter is incompetent.

Holding a webinar is not the same as having a meeting. You have to familiarize yourself with the web conferencing platform so you can easily guide your guests and have productive back-and-forth feedback. Practice at least once to make sure you're ready for your live webinar.

2) Equipment is not in place

Make sure you're not fumbling with how to operate the equipment - or complaining throughout the webinar.

If you have a low quality, low pixel web camera, your video will be grainy.

3) Slow or unreliable internet connection

Poor internet connectivity is the MOST common problem for webinars and web conferencing providers.

High speed of 56K or above, or TIVO will give you the best quality webinar.

4) Presenter gives up too quickly

You shouldn't give up on webinars or web conferencing just because of one bad experience. As with everything in business, some webinar providers are more user friendly than others. And more affordable.

5) Advertising

You have to advertise and build marketing buzz to attract customers to your webinar. Make it entertaining and easy to attend.

6) Ability to Entertain or Close the Sale

It takes a LOT of training and practice to be a a good speaker, or a top sales person. Make sure your webinar material engages and entertains your audience. Use visual material from pre-loaded websites, pictures, and funny stories to make your point.

7) Convenient Time

Have your webinar when it's convenient for your target audience - not when it's convenient for YOU.

8) Ability to Get Along With Other People

If you're painfully shy, then chances are your webinars will be a painful flop! Recruit or hire someone who is comfortable around people and easy going to hold your sales or marketing webinars.

Remember, you only have one chance to make a great impression!

9) Unique Selling Proposition

A webinar is not really that much different from a print ad.

You have to grab guests attention with something that will benefit them.

Center your webinar around helping your guests. Make their life easier, healthier, or wealthier! If you help your guests - they will help you by becoming a customer.

10) Good Old Fashioned Luck

Some times you just have BAD LUCK! But don't let that stop you. Try, try again.