“When you turn down £500 cash (50% discount) in your hand today because they are not your super client!!!! ARGH!!! lol Off to lie down!”
I love this post!
A lady in one of my Facebook groups posted it and it started a big discussion that might not have gone the way you might expect. Instead of bemoaning the fact that she had ‘lost’ £500, everyone in the group was cheering her on and saying how well she had done!
And they were right!
She’s a very talented photographer and puts a lot of work into every client project.
She made me laugh because her next comment was “My head was going ‘just take it, go on’ but my mouth kept saying nope!!!… I know it was super cheeky of him to ask for that kind of discount but I’d have only had myself to blame if I’d have taken it!” This is the power of knowing your Super Customer. She knew that if she had taken that money and discounted her prices by 50% even though she really needed the money and it was right there, ready to grab, several things would have happened:
She would have under-valued her service.
It’s worth what she charges for it and if she had taken 50% less then she is telling the Universe and herself that she’s not really worth what she charges. It might sound woowoo but if YOU don’t value your time and expertise, how can you expect anyone else to?
She would have begrudged the work
It wouldn’t have flowed, it would have felt like hard work and she would have been carrying out the project knowing that the customer wasn’t prepared to pay the proper price.
If someone else had come along, who was prepared to pay her usual rates, she would have had to say ‘no’ because she was booked up with this ‘half price deal’
The customer clearly didn’t value her enough to respect her pricing – he was looking for ‘cheap’
And that always spells trouble.There’s nothing wrong with bargain hunting but when you are dealing with someone’s time and expertise and livelihood and you want cheap, that’s a different matter. Clients who want ‘cheap’ under those circumstances often become nightmare clients because they don’t value you or respect you.They are hard to work with. They are tricky – they try to squeeze ever more from the deal, stall signing it off and then become troublesome payers, if you invoice them.
But she didn’t give in to temptation or pressure.
She said ‘no, thank you’.
By doing that she showed him that she values herself and her service.
She proved to herself that she is brave and bold and confident enough in her service to not have to discount.
She showed the Universe that she’s prepared to stick it out and wait for a better client who loves and values what she does, and she’s made room for them by saying ‘no’ to bad business.
She’s let that ‘bad’ client go and find someone else to work with, someone cheaper who maybe doesn’t value themselves as much. That’s their call, but she’s not prepared to compromise at that level.
She’s freed up time that she would have spent begrudgingly working for him.
She knew that the £500 she rejected could have cost her much, much more in time wasted, energy sapped and confidence battered. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ when you think about it.
She’s done herself proud.
And I am really proud of her, as are the other ladies in the group.
It’s hard to say ‘no’ to the money, especially when it’s being dangled in front of your face and you’re feeling a bit broke. But it’s harder to deal with the consequences of saying yes.
We all have times when, for one reason or another, we NEED to come up with some quick cash in our business – so how DO you create money when you need it?
I have some ideas for you. Some of these depend on what type of business you’ve got, not all of them will work for you, however, one might and then you’ll get some money quickly –YAY! These are NOT strategic business moves, they are one-off quick fixes that will dig you out of a hole. If you keep having to do this, you need to look at what you want from your business, why you keep running out of money and how you can put a business strategy in place with the right pricing, profits and marketing.
Chase Money You Are Owed
If you have got people who owe you money…chase them! If you need money and you’re feeling a bit broke and you’ve got people who owe you on invoices, then chase them.
Believe me, the people who shout the loudest get paid first. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big organisation or a small organisation; do not be embarrassed to ask for money.
If you can’t bear the thought of it, then invest in an hour or two of a Virtual Assistant’s time and get them to make the calls.
The reason your invoices get paid late is because you are not top of the list to be paid. You’re not chasing, you’re scared of being a nuisance. You feel that if you chase money they’re not going to like you anymore and you won’t get any more business. There are two things I want you to think about: firstly, if this customer always pays you late and clearly doesn’t respect or value you enough to pay you on time, do you really want them?
Secondly, the only way to deal with customers like this is to get to the top of the list – they are probably juggling payments and will pay the people who shout loudest. You need to be one of the loudest shouters.
Get to the top of that list, in a lovely, respectful and non-confrontational way, but get to the top!
If you’ve been sitting there with invoices not ready to go out because you only invoice at the end of the month, STOP! Who says that they have to go out at the end of the month? – They don’t!
Why not start invoicing when the job is finished? You don’t have to do what everybody else does, but if you do something on the first of the month and then you don’t invoice to the end of the month and then they take another month, six weeks, ninety days to pay, how long is it since you did that work? That’s ages!
Invoice once a job or a task is completed. This will help your cashflow and stop the broke/OK/broke rollercoaster that seems to have taken over your business. You’ll have steady income throughout the month – it might be smaller amounts but that’s fine, it all adds up and doesn’t leave you so vulnerable.
The other thing you can do is stop giving people 30 days to pay. Start thinking about changing your terms and making it half up-front, or all up-front, or 7 days or 14 days.
It gives you the right to chase it quicker. Your mind monkeys might be going crazy at this point, telling you “I can’t do that, I’ve always done 30 days, I’ve never chased clients, this is dreadful!” but I’m telling you, if you need money, you need to start thinking like a business owner.
If you’re late with a credit card payment, you get fined. If you’re late paying your suppliers, you get people calling you. Start thinking like a business owner and stop thinking like ‘little old me’ and you’ll find you have far more money in your business and your pocket.
Offer An Amazing Deal To Existing Customers
Rather than just chasing after new customers all the time, put together some kind of really attractive deal or offer that you can send out to your existing crowd. Remember, these are people who love you, who know you and who have bought from you so they know the quality of what you offer. They will feel special because it’s only for them.
There’s a really good chance that your clients will think “I loved her stuff before, so I’m going to take advantage of this, even if I’m not going to need it right now, I’ll get it because that’s a really good deal.” Even better, put a deadline on the offer to encourage them to make a quick decision – urgency is a great sales tool!
Hold A ‘Flash Sale’
Flash sales are quick, easy sales that last a day or two at most and have heavy reductions on your products/services – they are great for generating interest, creating a buzz and bringing some money in quickly. I do these a couple of times a year, for example for 24-48 hours, everything in my shop is half price.
Because my products are virtual products, I don’t have any costs associated with them. Clearly you can’t do that if you’ve paid out for stock – you need to at least recoup the cost of the stock, but imagine the interest you could create on social media and among your subscribers if you marketed the heck of out this special, one-off sale?
Flash sales are a great way to let people dip their toe in the water. People who have never previously bought from you can try out your products or services at a greatly reduced price. If they love what they see, they will be back and they’ll be paying more but they won’t mind because they know your business is a perfect fit for them – the Flash sales was a low-risk way for them to see if they like you. Works like a treat AND brings in some nice chunks of cash in the meantime.
Be Open To Money Flowing To You
If you set your intention that you are going to let the money flow in, you’ll suddenly see lots of opportunities open up around you. The more you focus on being open to opportunity, the more opportunities will present themselves.
If you’re into the law of attraction and if your into energy work, which I very much am, setting your intention to say “money will flow to me easily, I’m going to get lots of money coming to me today” can change your mind-set and change your entire perspective and change your energy.
So if you want money to come to you, believe that money will come to you!
Sell Stuff You Don’t Need
A really basic one, if you need some money quickly to pay a bill or book a holiday…sell stuff you don’t need! If you’re sitting there with piles of clothes you don’t wear, get onto eBay, start selling them. If you’ve got a photocopier or a printer sitting there unused, put it out on Facebook. Maybe you’ve got baby stuff from when the kids were little, just start getting stuff out there.
Spend a day selling stuff that you don’t need and following on from point 5, be open to money flowing. You’re getting rid of stuff that you no longer need, which is great for your energy and decluttering at the same time.
Imagine if just one of these ideas worked in your business – you’d have cash in your hand within days. Imagine if several of them worked! But it’s no use just thinking about it – action is everything. Pick one to try and implement it today.
Create Something That Will Create Money!
Depending on your type of business, you could create a class or workshop to teach what you do – either online or in person. You know your stuff inside out. Other people want to know what you know and will pay to learn. What could you teach?
Clearly, none of these are long-term, strategic business moves. They are short term fixes for when you need cash, fast. You can’t run a business like this all the time because all the tips above will lose impact if you overuse them, and you’ll lose credibility.
Instead of lurching from one cashflow crisis to another, now would be a great time to think about what you WANT from your business, how much you want to make each month and where those sales will come from.
Get a plan together.
Take control of your business and start to think like a business owner.
Put some sales targets in place and get to grips with your numbers.
Before you know it, you’ll be a business whiz with a healthy cashflow and a healthy income.
Oh, I know. When you start a business you’re so excited and full of enthusiasm. You want to have EVERYTHING you could possibly need to give your business the best chance. And you will happily throw your hard-earned savings at it, willy nilly until one day…you wish you hadn’t!
In the early days you don’t know what’s a good idea and what isn’t. You don’t know what you need and what’s just a ‘nice to have’ (or a ‘don’t actually need at all’). You’re learning as you go and you take advice from everyone, even when it might not suit your business.
Even as we get more experienced in business, we still waste money on things we simply don’t need.
From experience, here are 11 things that small business owners spend money on when they really don’t need to. This isn’t to say that you should never spend money on these things – many of them work brilliantly, however the cash is better in your pocket while you’re building your business.
Cashflow and lack of working capital is one of the main reasons small businesses fail – they spend all their money on fluff and guff and ‘looking good’ and then run out of money.
Think twice before you start to spend your carefully-saved money on things that really aren’t going to bring a return. What are the main culprits? Here, let me tell you my thoughts, but this is not an exhaustive list.
An overly-expensive website
Yes, of course you need a website. Websites are a great way to get found by potential customers.
What you DON’T need is one costing several thousand pounds right away (if ever). It’s all about the content. Even a free or cheap website can drive enquiries and sales brilliantly if the content is right.
The trick is to work out who is most likely to buy from you and aim your marketing at them – including your website. There’s no point trying to attract people who are realistically never going to buy – write your website for those people who are a great fit for your business and include the information THEY need to be able to make a buying decision.
New businesses get bombarded with deals and offer from newspapers, websites and magazines almost from the day they start up. Your challenge is to resist the deals.
Remember in #1 where I talked about the person who is most likely to buy from you? They are your ideal customer and unless the publication or website in question is specifically aimed at your ideal customer, say NO.
If it’s not going to reach the people who are most likely to buy, don’t buy the advertising. You can use that money for something else.
If you’re working from home and you’re hankering after a workspace of your own, renting premises can look really appealing.
The thing with renting a room or a building, though, is that there is usually a fairly long contract. Not only that, you’ve then got to furnish it, get internet installed, maybe contribute towards rates and service charges. Before you know it, your modestly priced room has turned into a monster you’re stuck with for 6 months or a year, or longer.
If you can get away with working from home, do it for as long as possible. I still work from home and I LOVE it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. See if you can jiggle things around at home to accommodate you – can you take over the spare room, get an insulated garden shed, camp out in the conservatory. Keep your costs down for as long as you can – then, when you know your business is healthy and paying you and making a good profit, THEN think about committing to premises.
Promotional items and flyers
It’s so tempting to buy a boxful of fliers, 500 business cards, a few hundred pens, coasters and mugs because they look beautiful and you’re so in love with your logo.
However, that money could have been part of your salary. It could pay a tax bill. Far be it from me to rain on your parade but unless you have a specific use for these things, don’t buy them. By all means get a branded hoodie to wear, that’s a great talking point and good advertising.
The rest can wait. Get 50 business cards and see if you use them. Leave the pens, mugs and coasters until you can justify them. Unless you’re planning on doing a carefully-thought-out door drop in a really, really promising neighbourhood, there’s a good chance that box of fliers will still be acting as a door stop this time next year.
Membership of expensive networking groups & associations
You may think that it’s absolutely essential to join certain networking groups but think long and hard before dishing out your hard earned cash.
Some groups can cost you around £1000 per year – how likely are you to get that back? I remember when I started out, I paid out for the Federation of Small Businesses, The Chamber of Commerce and a whole load of other organisations because I thought I should. In actual fact I didn’t get a single piece of business from either (although the FSB did come in handy for the free legal helpline a few times!)
I did, however, get business from my local business club which cost around £50 per year and put me in front of people who were likely to buy from me – my ideal customers.
Tons of stationery
My name’s Claire and I’m a stationery addict. I remember getting my hands on a stationery catalogue and ordering folders, binders, calculators, envelopes, before I knew it I needed a special cupboard just for the stationery. A few years on and I’ve still got most of the darned things left.
I never used them. What I do allow myself these days is as many pretty notebooks as I want, because I use them all the time and give them away to clients. Keep it simple. Don’t spend loads of money on stuff you don’t need. Buy what you need, when you need it, in small quantities. When you find you’re running out often, then bulk buy but not until then.
It’s so tempting to think that you need the Pro version of this, and that really expensive database system that the big brands use but do you REALLY need it? I’m thinking not. Make do with free and low priced options for now.
Use trial accounts to make sure you can’t live without this particular piece of software. I can usually tell after 3 weeks if I’m going to stick with something. Software is just a tool. It doesn’t make your business better. It might save you some time or make a job or two easier but there are so many great budget options out there for almost every job, from task management to accounting, email marketing to social media management that you really don’t need to invest loads.
Hands up if you’ve thought about leasing a car through the business, or decided that there is no way you can show up to business meetings in your battered old Ford?
You’re not alone. So many people think that they *should* have a better car because it reflects on their business. In truth, the only thing that really matters in your business is the product or service you provide, and how good it is.
Customers don’t care if you have a beat up car if you are brilliant at what you do. They aren’t going to think any worse of you, so don’t go spending a whole lot of money on something that really doesn’t help your business at all. Save up, buy a little car outright – if you lease one, you’ll get hit by loads of tax.
It’s just a car and the best car in the world won’t fix a bad business model. Focus on your customers and your business offering THEN when you’re making loads of money, treat yourself to a car just because you can.
I get so sad when I see ailing businesses spending thousands on trade shows that just don’t bring in the business.
The truth is that it’s not just the cost of the stall at the show, it’s travel, accommodation, food, stuff to decorate the stand, freebies and time away from home.
Trade shows can turn into a monster. And how many things are you going to have to sell to make THAT money back? It’s eye-watering.
Try being a visitor at trade shows for a few years. Make your contacts there. That way you save loads of money and aren’t tied to a stand all day. You can still suss out who you need to speak to, you can get advice from other stall holders and you can save your money. You don’t NEED to be there. There is always another way.
Whether it’s a tee on the local golf course, the local football team or carrier bags for the dogs home, sponsorships are everywhere and they are very rarely a good business decision.
If you are sponsoring a tee at the golf course then really, unless you’re specifically targeting golfers, you’re wasting a whole lot of money.
Yes, they might all need an accountant but they are playing golf! They might be on a business golf day but then they are talking about THEIR business. It’s unlikely you’re going to get a return on your investment. Sorry. If you’re doing it as a kind gesture and to help out a local project, that’s fine – just don’t convince yourself it’s a business investment!
So be frugal. Save your precious cash for when you need it. It’s FAR better to make do and save your money in the early days and work out what you really need as you go along – I promise you’ll kick yourself if, a few months down the line you can’t afford something you REALLY need because your money is tied up in stuff you’re not using.
What did YOU waste money on in your business that you just didn’t need or could have done without? I’d love you to share in the comments!
I was chatting to a lady in my group recently and she said she felt her business wasn’t doing anything.
It wasn’t growing. It wasn’t moving forwards. At best she was just standing still.
She was a bit fed up about it and was asking for help.
So I asked her how she knew it wasn’t growing.
She said she just felt that way.
So I asked if her numbers were telling her that her business wasn’t growing.
Were her sales over the last 12 months better or worse than the previous 12 months?
Was her average sale value larger or smaller than this time last year?
How about her repeat business – were more customers returning for repeat sales than a year ago or fewer?
Was her website traffic better or worse than last year?
Were her social media numbers growing or shrinking?
Now, to her credit she admitted she didn’t know because she hadn’t tracked any numbers but she said she would head off and try to find out.
It’s really easy to forget to do this (or not even realise it’s a thing). You’re busy IN your business and handling whatever else life throws at you so it’s not surprising numbers don’t get tracked but here’s the thing.
The numbers in your business give you really valuable information.
They tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
They tell you about patterns in your business.
They tell you about opportunities you might be missing.
They tell you where to focus your energy and attention and where NOT to.
(This is one of the main reasons I designed my Awesome Marketing Planner by the way, because too many people weren’t tracking their numbers and they were missing out on sales as a result.)
So, back to my lovely lady. She couldn’t get all the information but she had a lot of it.
Turns out her number of sales was slightly better than the previous 12 months.
Not only that but this year her average spend was way up, so even though the quantity of sales wasn’t massively improved she was making quite a lot more money per sale (she just didn’t feel busier).
Also, she found out more of her customers were coming back for repeat purchases than the year before and there was a pattern – they tended to buy her best-seller and then come back for more of that, plus try other variations so she could now put bundles and offers together to encourage them to spend even more each time on things she knew they would love.
And finally, her social media numbers were pretty static because she wasn’t posting engaging content and she knew this, so she tried some of my engagement suggestions and all of a sudden people were seeing her posts and taking action (including buying).
So I guess there’s a lesson here. Know your numbers. Even if you don’t like numbers it’s not like maths at school, these numbers are telling you what to do in your business and how to make more money and it’s easy to know them, just start tracking them from today. Do it every day, every week, every month. Make a habit of it then use these magical numbers to grow your business and make more money. OK?
Love, Claire xx
PS: if this resonated with you please comment and let me know, I love hearing from you!