Why Your Ads Don't Work

Why Your Ads Don't Work

Small business owners are frustrated by advertising.  Ads are expensive, business owners don’t know how to write, design, produce or distribute them and, most importantly, they don’t know if they “work” (which is a good indication that they don’t).

Today, ads are displayed across all types of media, from old-fashioned newspapers, to web sites to the myriad forms of social media.  This article is not about using the different media – that’s a technical skill we can easily hire done - but rather about the content common to great ads, regardless of media.  The content of ads is critical  and not easily farmed out...

They Say I Make Money, So Why Don’t I Have Any?

They Say I Make Money, So Why Don’t I Have Any?

As a business coach, that is probably the number one question I am asked by business owners. Payroll this week, suppliers next week, debt service the week after, and tax deposits, seemingly, all the time.  Everybody wants our cash. If you own a business, you know what I mean because you’ve asked the question yourself.  Even when we make a profit, it feels as if business is a perpetual scramble for scarce cash...

How to Talk to Prospective Investors

How to Talk to Prospective Investors

There may come a time that you want to bring investors into your business. You may want investors to provide money, or expertise, or a combination of the two.  Yes, you will need a business plan, but the process always begins with a conversation.  This article is about that conversation.  Having participated in hundreds of them, I have noticed that investors want five questions answered early, before they put a lot of time into detailed analysis of your offer.  It is highly unlikely that they will even look at your business plan, let alone invest in your business, until you have answered the five questions...

7 Facts About Profit

7 Facts About Profit

“For me, it’s not about the money.”  I was talking to a client about how to increase profits dramatically.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I don’t want to be greedy and make too much.”

“So, how much is too much...?”

I didn’t get an answer. I never do. I know that some people (hopefully a small minority) are put off by my constant emphasis on making money. I know that because, as a business coach, I have talked with hundreds of small business owners about profit and have often had conversations like the one above.  It’s as if the speakers feel guilty about making a profit or that it is somehow noble to loathe money...

How to Think Like Business Buyers

How to Think Like Business Buyers

The value (price, if we’re selling) of a business is what a willing buyer and seller agree it to be.  However, assuming both parties are informed and rational, the value of most small businesses is calculated by multiplying annual profit times a “multiple.” The multiple is a number that reflects buyer confidence and often falls between one and seven.  So, for example, a business with annual profit of $100,000 at a multiple of two would be worth $200,000.  

Do You Own a Job or a Business?

Do You Own a Job or a Business?

As a business owner, do you have to go to work?  If you do, you are trading time for money, and that’s the definition of a job.  Business owners should earn distribution checks, not paychecks.

A paycheck is compensation for time spent at work.

A distribution check is compensation for accepting the risk and responsibilities of ownership.

Distributions are a return on investment, which has nothing to do with going to work.

How to Change Reality

How to Change Reality

“Are you sitting down?”

It was our new regional salesman, Frank, talking to a customer on the phone.

“I’ve got pricing for you, and I just want to be sure you’re sitting down when I tell you.”

I was in Georgia to find out why Frank was struggling, and it was apparent. The quote was for a small commercial job, but Frank thought $10,000 was a lot of money.  It showed.

Why Should I Buy From You?

Why Should I Buy From You?

At the junction of Interstate 80 and Highway 281 in Nebraska, stands a convenience store with a large, well-lit sign. The sign reads “We Have the Best-Looking Cashiers.” Customers judge the offer you put before them, then compare it to your competitors’ offers. If there is no meaningful difference, customers base their buying decisions on price...