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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: May 2005

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Six fresh ideas to better your business

Word-of-mouth buzz works better than fildfire; fear can be your friend; more.

[componentheading]FEAR FACTOR[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Just Do It[/contentheading]

Want a good motivational phrase? Here’s one that always gets us pumped up: “Do it afraid”. Everybody has things they feel uncomfortable doing, things that scare them. When one of these things come up, just tell yourself “Do it afraid.” Worried about being too pushy when you ask for the sale? Do it afraid. Don’t want to get on the phone and start calling customers? Do it afraid. Two things happen when you do things afraid: 1.) you’ll usually find out that it’s not as bad as you feared, and 2.) after a couple of times of “doing it afraid”, you’ll find that your fears have completely disappeared. Which makes “Do it afraid” a great mantra for business … and for life, as well.

[componentheading]EAT TO WIN[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Dine Together[/contentheading]

The key to success? Never eat alone. Always eat with somebody — employees, fellow retailers, members of the local chamber of commerce. (And hey, once in a while, eat with your husband, wife, or kids …) That’s what Keith Ferrazzi believes, so much that he wrote a book about it called Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time.

[componentheading]BUZZ BUILDER 1[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Test To Recruit[/contentheading]

There’s no advertising force more powerful than word-of-mouth. But sometimes it’s awkward asking your customers to spread the good word about your business. Want to identify good candidates? Joe John Duran, author of Start It, Sell It and Make a Mint tells of a businessman who has a little test. He asks his customers if they know a good restaurant he can take his wife to. They can’t think of one? Okay, probably not a good person to ask for referrals. They give you a name? There’s some potential. They tell you a restaurant, tell you to use their name while making the reservation, and check back later to see how much you enjoyed it? This is clearly somebody who feels good about helping people. And a great candidate to spread the word about your business.

[componentheading]BUZZ BUILDER 2[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Ask For Help[/contentheading]

More on word-of-mouth: when asking for referrals, don’t be shy about telling your customer how much your business relies on word of mouth. They’ll understand, and the honesty should make them more willing to help you. In Start It, Sell It and Make a Mint, Joe John Duran tells of an accountant who does a little speech on word-of-mouth when she brings on a new client. Says the accountant: “I let them know that I grow my business only by word-of-mouth. That way, I can concentrate all of my energies on taking care of my clients. I ask them, if they are happy with the service we provide, to please think of us should they have associates who need an accountant. No one objects because what you are asking for is conditional upon their level of happiness with what you do for them.”

[componentheading]CLEAN SHEETS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Better Books[/contentheading]

If you’re trying to sell your business, it’s of course a good idea to clean up your premises. Gotta make everything look good, right? But did you ever think of sprucing up your tax return numbers for a prospective buyer? Fred Steingold, the author of Sell Your Business: The Step-by-Step Legal Guide, says it’s perfectly ethical to go back and add to your profits discretionary expenses such as medical insurance for you and your family, travel and entertainment, conventions and trade shows, expensive cars owned or leased by the company, club memberships, subscriptions to magazines, and salaries and bonuses paid to family members in the business. After all, the new owner may or may not choose to spend on these things, so you’re still providing a realistic look at how he will profit from running your business. Then do your tax numbers again with these costs listed in your profits column.

[componentheading]WEDDING BELL BLUES[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Site for Sore Eyes[/contentheading]

If you want a great website to share with any future brides who comes into your store — try UglyWeddingDress.net. Eyes will tear, and guts will burn with laughter as your customers click through this “Hall of Shame” of the most god-awful wedding dresses ever assembled.

[span class=note]This story is from the May 2005 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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