The Australian Small Business Blog

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Your Marketing Investment


When we look at our monthly accounts in our business, we check our sales, gross profits, and then our overheads before we come to our bottom line. In our drive to increase the bottom line results we often focus on our costs, to see how we can reduce them.

We check to see if we can get our phone costs down, can we get cheaper printing, can we find low cost contractors that do what our high price ones do now? All this is good business practice, ensuring that our hard earned gross profit is not lost in overhead blow-outs.

Finally, we get to our marketing line in the overheads. This could be advertising. It could be your website, promotional products or networking organisations costs.

Marketing budgets of 5-10% of sales are not at all unusual. However, there is a temptation to treat them the same way as your other costs. If profits are being squeezed, it is often the first area to get slashed, but marketing costs are different to other costs.

The purpose of your non-marketing costs is to produce the products and deliver your services to your customers. If you can reduce these costs without affecting your sales, that is increase your productivity, you should definitely do that, and see your profits increase.

If your marketing is working, and you reduce these costs, you will, instead, reduce your sales and your profits. Marketing is an investment which should be giving you a high return. Before you start reducing your marketing spend, you need to do some analysis.

  • Look at how many customers your ads produce. What is the cost per lead, and cost per sale of your advertising?
  • Do your thank you gifts generate repeat business and referrals?
  • What business has your networking produced for you?

For each of your marketing activities, you must have a way of measuring results. You may find that some of your advertising works better than others. You have an opportunity either to improve the performance of the poorer advertising, perhaps by getting a copywriter, or dropping it and spending more where the advertising is working.

If the marketing is generating a healthy return, why would you try to save money by reducing it? If you cut successful marketing your sales loss will be larger than the cost saving. By all means, retire unsuccessful marketing that is not recovering its costs, but seek to replace it with higher return marketing.

How do you choose where to spend your marketing dollar? The answer is to test and measure everything. Only when you do that can you truly decide which of your marketing is a cost, and which is an investment.

May Your Business be as You Plan It!

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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The Australian Small Business Blog

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What to do with the voices in your head when you speak?


When you get up to speak to promote your business, do you find that you sometimes go blank? Or do you start thinking thoughts that don’t help you, like, “Are they listening to me?” “I am boring them.” “I hate the way they are all staring at me.”


If any of these and other negative thoughts are in you head you need to get rid of them as they are spoiling your speech and probably making you forget where you are up to in your speech.
Here are some tips to minimize the voices in your head and make you more powerful:

1 Practise! The more you can practice visualizing yourself in front of the audience, the better you will be.

2 Really look at your audience. The more you look at them the more they will be interested in you, especially f you smile. You MUST look at them or you cannot tell if they are getting your message. So, tell that voice that says, ”I hate them looking at me that it needs them to look at you so you can concentrate on them.

3 Focus on what you are communicating out. If your brain allows thoughts of what the audience thinks of you to come in, you may become self conscious. You won’t be able to give it all your energy. So, turn the ego around. Speaking is not about you but what are you trying to communicate to them! Change the focus and the voices will lessen if not disappear.

4 Keep the words simple. If you include difficult to pronounce words and stumble on them, you can lose confidence and the voices in your head can start to yell. But if you make the words one or two syllables only, you will find them easier to say and the audience can take them in more easily.

5 The more you speak, the easier it becomes! Presenting and speaking is only scary if it is occasional. Nerves are normal. Even competent speakers and actors become nervous. Harness that energy positively and it will become easier the more you do it!

6 Breathe deeply. Most speakers speak too fast and run ideas into each other. If your voices in your head tell you to go fast so you can sit down quicker, you speech is likely to be difficult to understand and follow. Also taking a breath allows you to PAUSE, one of the most important aspects of speaking. Remember, only 120 words per minute.

7 Attend a public speaking course. Many people think the skills of confident communication are impossible to teach. There are many tricks to be learned and the best way to learn them is through a course.

So, go out there. Put up your hand, rehearse, look at them, smile and “fake it till you make it”. Speak often and keep it simple. Focus on them and the rest is techniques!

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Judith Field is the director of Direct Speech and is a professional public speaking trainer.

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The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Value of Knowledge


When scouring the internet for articles, what we tend to find is half answers. They say the Truth is out there, but it sure isn’t easy to find.


The power of the internet is that it is a huge resource of human knowledge, but it is very disconnected and often highly unreliable. While we may become frustrated at this, we all know it is difficult to complain to anyone, especially when we are seeking free information. While there are good resources out there, the trouble is they tend not to be tailored for your specific needs, even if you can find them.

We have a choice-

We can continue to spend time scouring the internet to find that gem that is going to transform our business, for Free!

Or

We can put our hands in our pocket to acquire information we are confident that will provide us the information we need.

While the first choice may appear lower cost, it is not if you value your time. Particularly if you can’t find the gem you were seeking. Like the people who spend their weekends with a metal detector hoping to find gold in the outback, they are depending on luck, but luck won’t help if you are in the wrong place to start looking. They could consult a geologist on the best place to look, but they would prefer to “save money” and hope for a lucky strike.

Knowledge has a value. The price you pay may be your time to find it, it could be the cost associated through the purchase of a book, a course or seminar or paying for advice from business coaches. There is still a price you pay through the school of trial and error if you “save money” by ignoring all of the previous resources. Its the cost of blind alleys and time and opportunities missed. These costs are very real.

What would it be worth to you to achieve your two year goals in one? That’s how you value knowledge.

For those who are serious, and value knowledge, there is a new resource (that is not free- but not expensive either) that will provide you many of the answers you are seeking. This resource is the Small Business Achiever where you can find, in bite sized chunks, the small business advice you are seeking. The Small Business Achiever puts the “HOW TO” into how to.

Whatever the resource you choose is, decide this year to invest in yourself and your education. Create a budget for this and put aside 5% of your turnover. This is not an expense, it is an investment which you would expect to pay dividends many times the cost.

Define your knowledge gaps and seek out advice or education to bridge them, and don’t be afraid to draw on your budget to pay for it. That is what it is there for!

May Your Business in 2008 be as You Plan It!

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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Dr. Greg Chapman is also the author of
The 5 Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

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