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100 steps necessary for business success: Steps 46-50

The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!

The following is a continuing excerpt from a previously unreleased book entitled The 100 Steps Necessary for Business Success by Walt F.J. Goodridge. It is provided exclusively to Saipan Tribune readers!_

STEP 46: Pay Yourself First

Many new entrepreneurs put all their profits into paying the business’ expenses, but neglect to put a value on their own time and include it as a necessary expense. One of the reasons you probably decided, or are deciding to go into business is to have the freedom from someone else deciding how much you are worth. If that’s the case, then you need to put yourself on the path to paying yourself more than your employer did. Even if it’s only a few dollars a week, you need to get yourself in the habit of paying yourself as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll be no better than your former boss! (Not a pleasant thought, is it?) If your own time is not one of the most important expenses, then you’ll simply be trading one type of servitude and exploitation for another. But this one is worse, because you’ll be exploiting yourself!

STEP 47: Let PR Precede Sales

It’s been shown that it takes a dozen or more exposures to your name or advertisement, for an impression of familiarity and trust to develop in the mind of the consumer. It’s this familiarity and trust that moves the consumer to make the call, finalize the purchase or the heed the recommendation. Therefore, the more times people can read about you, see you, or hear good things about you, your company, your product or your service from others (it has to be from "others" since what others say about you is infinitely more credible and more valuable than what you say about yourself), the better chance you have of selling to them.

Therefore, your public relations (PR for short) efforts should take advantage of every and any opportunity to get your name, logo, product or service out into the public view and consciousness. Partner with other companies, sponsor events, post press releases, stage contests, create and distribute free newsletters. You’ll be planting valuable seeds that you will reap several weeks, months or even years down the line.

STEP 48: Sell the Non-Existent

Do you realize you can sell products that don’t exist? With pre-selling, you can!

Several months after I wrote and self-published my first book, I began to receive letters from my customers requesting similar books on related topics. I listened to the demand and decided to write my second book. However, rather than finance it in the usual way (out of my own pocket), I decided to create a flier announcing the book, and mail it to everyone who had ordered the first book. It stated simply, “Book 2. Coming soon. Order now!” and I offered people a discount for ordering in advance.

The response was great. Orders flooded in, and I generated enough funds to help with the printing cost of book number 2. You can do the same. It’s just one of many ways to generate income to finance the production/manufacture/marketing of a new product, and to do some market testing at the same time.

But beware. Such a practice requires that you be able to meet whatever deadline you set. Personally, I work best under pressure, so this method works for me. Admittedly, though, I’ve missed a deadline or two. But, I’ve been honest with my customers about the reasons for the delays, and they usually forgive me. Plus, I always offer a little gift or incentive of some sort if I miss the deadline.

STEP 49: Sell the Invisible

Along with selling things that don’t exist, another step necessary for business survival is to sell products that can’t be seen. What are these invisible products? Well, in this new technological age, you can now sell electronic books. Books in “bit” form that don’t take up any physical space, but which can be viewed on most computer screens, or with special palm-held readers. Imagine that: people sending you real money in exchange for virtual products!

Remember, the key to business success is to sell "value." Value can take the form of objects, but they can also be ideas. Ideas are the new currency as well as the new product of the millennium. So, in addition to e-books there are also concepts and ideas that are also quite valuable, but which can’t actually be seen. For example, if you have a great business model that works well on Saipan, you can sell franchise opportunities for others to open up that same business on Tinian, Rota, or Guam; There’s also Co-op ad participation (other business owners pay a fee to be included in mailings to large groups of potential customers), memberships in clubs (eg. Join the Saipanpreneur MoneySavers Club!), ads in email newsletters, subscriptions to members-only websites, upgrades to deluxe memberships to the same websites, on-line workshops & tutorials, and affiliate programs that don’t require you to hold any inventory. In other words, there are an ever-increasing number of ways to make money that don’t require the exchange of a physical object! Remember, what people pay for is "value."

STEP 50: Sell the Converted

In many business transactions, “follow-up” is the key to success. Up-selling, as it’s called, is following up with an existing customer in order to sell an additional item. (e.g., Now that you’ve bought our pots and pans, isn’t it time for the matching knife set?) For many businesses, these repeat customers can represent a sizable portion of income. Maxi marketing (selling many items to the same customers) is key to success in the new paradigm of business. Someone who buys from you once is more likely to buy from you again. And it costs much less to sell to an existing customer than it does to find a new one. (TIP: Experts say that the best time to follow up with an offer for another related product or service is within 30 days after the initial sale.)

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‘Blog Your Way to Better Times’ update:

The first Blogger Meetup was a success! If you missed it, there’ll be another one on the final Wednesday of each month. The only way to know the new location is to visit the website where you’ll also find a link to pictures and a poetic recap of what went down!

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Public Service Announcement

WHAT: MLK Award Ceremony

The African American Cultural Preservation Committee presents a special event to recognize, honor and award important contributors to MLK Day, as well as the student winners of the 2007 MLK Day Essay and Elocution Contest!

WHERE: Multi-Purpose Center on Beach Road

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 10 at 10am -12 noon

All are welcome to attend!

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Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!


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