Monthly Archives: August 2016

Smart Ideas Shared By The Experts For Business Growth And Expansion

For most business owners, aiming for their business to last for years and even grow and expand is the main goal. However, it can actually be a huge challenge. If you want to ensure business growth and expansion, it is not enough to simply have a long-term vision but you should have a tangible plan.

You need to determine what sets your business apart. Know your value proposition and what sets your business apart from other industry players. Know why customers should choose you over other companies offering essentially the same products or services that you offer. Companies compete differently. Some outpace the competition by offering lower prices while others have anchored their success upon authority. Either way, your value proposition should be something that only your business can offer customers.

If you let go of that value proposition, there is considerable risk that your company’s competitiveness will be undermined. It is also bets to know your ideal customers. Companies that thrive over the long term do so by offering a solution to a specific problem. While it is enticing to pursue almost every potential customer you might come across, that will only spread your resources thin, leaving little value for actual customers who can benefit from your products or services.

Growth entails making decisive changes. And so, know the key indicators for this growth. Since not all changes are worth pursuing, know what those changes are that can bring about true growth.

In order to determine the right answer to that, you have to identify key indicators which influence growth. After determining those, you will need to funnel your resources toward those. Additional revenue streams can make a business profitable. However, there are some revenue streams that are not sustainable over the long term. There are also products or services which may seem great at the onset but do not bring significant revenues.

Additionally, take cues from the competition. Even if you are routinely beating the competition, there are some areas where your competitors are doing things right. Look at what other players in your industry are doing, evaluate their decisions, and take cues from their success. This is very important in business growth and expansion.

Lastly, learn to hire the right people. Your employees are your greatest assets as they often are in contact with your customers and are attuned to their needs. If you do not have sufficient funds, you can cut back on some expenses and luxuries and funnel those funds toward the compensation and development of your employees.

5 Ways to Set the Stage for Growth

There’s no lack of “growth mindset” articles and quotes out there. Challenge is…

After you “get it,” how do you “do it?”

Making road for growth is about finding your own groove, so you can set YOUR stage that allows exploration and experimentation.

1. Learn Something Different

To write good copy, to be good at marketing and to excel in business, you need to know how people operate. At the end of the day, it’s PEOPLE who buy your stuff.

If niche is a way for us to define our place in the world, then wrapping our head around HUMANITY gives us the fundamental building blocks.

Learn from high performers; learn about economics, sociology, psychology; read stories that explore emotions and imagination. These are the input for understanding the world around us.

Look around, be curious, step out of tunnel vision and give you brain food for thoughts.

2. Connect Your Story With the Big Picture

Road doesn’t always “appear” on its own. It’s there… but you gotta get your butt over “there” to see it.

The world that allows you to do your best work and gives you the dream clients IS there. You’ve to CONNECT yourself to it – find your place in it – before the inevitable next step appears under your nose.

Craft your world by telling your story intentionally from the perspective of creating meaning.

Why do you matter to what and who matters to you? Your value and convictions inform and connect YOU with what you do and how you do it.

This is an intentional creation of your story. It’s not a laundry list of your credentials, nor is it a self-gratuitous way to tell your life story.

When you can speak to a larger context in your story, YOUR road will open up.

3. Just Say Yes

To get your butt over to where the road is, you gotta do something. You gotta be in it to win it.

Instead of sitting on your bum, over-engineering and over-analyzing every move, just say YES to opportunities that’ll take you one step closer.

Often times we just need a push, a little momentum, to help us find the rhythm and speed.

It’s different from “throwing spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks” by blindly implementing tactics others say you “should” do.

You need a certain degree of clarity and the discipline of discernment, to understand if saying Yes to a project means taking you closer to where you want to be.

4. Pick the Right Tools and Resources

You need to choose the tools that give room for you to grow in the direction you want. You don’t want to feel hindered by what you can or can’t do because of technology.

Technology should not be a determining or limiting factor in how you express your message and deliver your services.

There’s also a flip side we need to be aware of…

Unfortunately many people tend to purchase too many tools and services, out of FOMO and under the impression that these tools will give them the silver bullet.

There’s a delicate balance between getting a service that allows you room to grow, vs. having unnecessary features and functionalities that cause overwhelm and confusion.

Instead of taking the most straightforward path to get things done, I’ve seen many running around in circles because they let the tools they’ve purchased drive their strategies.

Don’t let FOMO drive you into buying a bunch of tools, services and subscriptions you don’t need in the foreseeable future.

(You’ll much more likely to forget about it than “get to it.”)

Everything is evolving, including your business and technology. You don’t need to be sitting on obsolete stuff that distracts you from doing what really matters.

5. Go Outside, Get Some Air

Seriously. Pump some oxygen into your brain.

History’s most creative and impactful figures often say their best ideas come when they take walks in nature. Studies have shown that when people are put in “expansive” spaces (spacious, high ceiling, open) they tend to be more creative.

Stop equating checking stuff off the list with being productive. Instead, be creative and do what matters.

Ling Wong:: Intuitive Brainiac | Creativity Mentor | Copywriting Alchemist. Through her unique blend of Business + Marketing coaching/consulting with a Mindset + Psychic Twist, she helps the maverick-preneurs uncover, articulate & transform their WHY into content that connects, resonates and converts – by way of an intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 10 years experience in the online marketing industry.

What Are You Missing?

When my husband and I were in Canada we spent a great deal of time in the Blue Mountain Resort near Collingwood, Ontario. We went up to the cute little ski village but it wasn’t a ski village in early September- it was an early fall shopping and dining and fun destination. I shopped for some adorable and inexpensive sweaters. We ate luscious meals. And we observe what they were doing with the ski hills and ski lift. They had turned the ski lifts into a ‘ride experience’ where you could get a look from on high at the area. There was also a number of BMX bikes that went up, followed by their riders in full gear, soon to be soaring down what is normally the ski runs. There was a zip lining area set up to make use of another part of the ski run, as well as sleds going down what were bobsled runs. It was so smart. Using the assets of the ski resort and making a living in the ‘off’ season. This made me think about what opportunities I and others may be missing when it comes to our businesses.

Most of us get super focused on what we are doing when we are in our jobs or businesses. That is mostly a good thing that allows you and I to accomplish the tasks we set out to accomplish, make money, grow our businesses and succeed.

However, sometimes having a telescopic view has you miss the hidden treasures lurking right there in your business or miss opportunities with partners and strategic alliances that could, if you saw them, and acted on them, be the opportunity of a lifetime. When you think about a ski resort, you think snow and sledding and in the off season, you don’t think about it. However, someone saw this opportunity and did some out of the box thinking to create what they currently have.

I started looking at my business and wondering where is the hidden treasure trove. As in all businesses, I have a few different ‘tracks’ as in workshops, speaking, business success individual coaching and group coaching. However, my commitment is to empower people, and more specifically, I have a profound commitment to empower women. Someone approached me with an idea in that realm, but not in the coaching realm. At first, I resisted the idea- saying to myself it will take me off track. After working with my coach and some trusted advisers, it was like I could see the ski resort become a summer destination too. It all came together and I could clearly see how this new venture totally fulfills what my business exists for. (More about that later)

I would suggest taking a look at your business and getting interested if you are missing a treasure trove right in front of you. If that interests you, here is what I would suggest:

· Take an inventory of your assets- ideas, clients, products.

· Take yourself out of the equation and examine what you have from a new perspective- what can I do with this?

· What new opportunities are here?

· What new actions, products, affiliations or directions could you take that would align with what you are doing AND increase your bottom line?

Often this is difficult to do because it is challenging to take your emotions out of it.

I strongly suggest you employ a coach, mentor, other entrepreneurs or marketing professionals to help you discover the hidden gems right there in your business. Then, listen to them and expand what is really profitable in your business.

Making Your Event Memorable: Five French Inspired Ideas

Cabaret Dancers

As previously mentioned, France is known for their more risqué dance techniques, but the technical word for this would be a cabaret dancer. These dancers where short skirts with ruffles and have a style that is flirty without going overboard and making them more along the line of a stripper for hire. Take the time to view a few performances in the area or set up an interview to see if a local team for hire would be best for your next big occasion.

Street Performers

The most famous city in the world is always scattered with various street performers, from mimes to dancers to musicians that are all performing for tips. Give your French themed event the true feel of Paris by looking into one or two street performers for hire, preferably ones that are fluent in the language of love. Ensure that street performers are the best to keep guests entertained.

Catering

Hire the best catering company for your party is guaranteed to make it more memorable than ever before. Providing delicious food is always a necessity, but a catering company can add that extra something that is needed to give an event the wow factor, the one thing that will make it more memorable than anything else.

For example, a catering company will often provide food that is aesthetically appealing, and they guarantee that the set up looks as gorgeous as the food itself. Going above and beyond is what will make an evening memorable, and that is often an area where catering companies excel.

French food

If the best company for hire is simply out of the question due to budget reasons, planners are encouraged to look into other options, such as making their own appetizers and a few entrees. There are several websites that offer easy recipes to guarantee that your event is full of mouth-watering food. Hiring a professional company for a few stations and doing the rest yourself may be what’s best as well. It provides the perfect compromise between the two.

Eiffel Tower

France is known for quite a few things, and the Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous. This is the symbol of France, and it is often incorporated into French themed occasions in one way or another. For those that do not want to appear too cliché, a couple of beautiful pieces of wall art will do the trick.

Those that want for everything to be over the top can opt for a gorgeous fountain or an ice sculpture for hire. Customized wine glasses with the Eiffel tower are another unique way to go that is a bit more on the affordable side. Planners that are on the hunt for something unique are encouraged to find a company that specializes in this theme.

These tips are the most common ways for many people to make their French themed dinner more memorable than ever before. Whether it is a beautiful ice sculpture or one of the best catering companies in the area, all it takes to make things memorable for every guest is to guarantee that the event is fun, the food is delicious and that there is that little something extra. Whether that something is big, like a fountain, or small, like the perfect amount of detail, it is guaranteed to capture the eyes of every guest, and leave a lasting impression.

Catering of Paris also offer entrees, stations, and even a sweet buffet. They believe in surpassing their customers’ expectations at every job, no matter how big or small, and they do just that

Hiring An Auction Company

Estimating your assets value:

Typically, one of the first questions a business owner will ask me is, “how much will the assets bring at an auction”. After taking the time to review the assets, the auctioneer should give the client a conservative estimate of the sale based upon his experience and the current market trends. It is important that the company give realistic expectations so the seller can make informed decisions based on their best interest.

Compensation and Expenses:

Is the company you are considering working for you or against you? The agreement you decide may determine this.

A business owner should carefully consider how the auction company is compensated. The most common commission structures include: straight commission, outright purchase of assets, guaranteed base with a split above to both auctioneer and seller, guaranteed base with anything above going to auctioneer or a flat fee structure.

In a straight commission structure, the company is paid an agreed upon percentage of the total sale.

In an outright purchase agreement, the auctioneer simply becomes your end buyer. The company purchases your assets and relocates them. While this can be an option in some unique situations, keep in mind that they will want to purchase your assets at a very reduced price to make a profit at a later date.

In a minimum base guarantee, the auction company guarantees the seller that the auction will generate a minimum amount of sales. Anything above that amount either goes to the auction company or split with the seller. While a seller might feel more comfortable doing an auction knowing that he is guaranteed a minimum amount for his sale, keep in mind that it is the best interest of the auction company to secure a minimum base price as low as possible in order reduce their financial liability to the seller and secure higher compensation for the sale.

In a flat fee structure, the auctioneer agrees to show up for the sale and call the auction. There is no incentive for the auctioneer to get the best prices for your assets. The auction company is compensated regardless of the outcome of your sale.

What is the best option for business owners? In my experience, an agreed upon straight commission structure. This puts the responsibility on the auction company to offer the best outcome for everyone involved. There is an incentive for the auction company to work hard for both parties, set up and run a professional sale, get the highest bid and sell every item on the inventory. Successful auctions translate to a higher bottom line for both the seller and the auction company.

Auction Expenses:

In most auction agreements the expenses to conduct an auction are passed to the seller. If the auction company pays for the expenses, it is simply absorbed in higher commission rates.

All expenses should be agreed upon in advance in a written contract. Typical expenses will include the costs of advertising, labor, legal fees, travel, equipment rentals, security, postage and printing. A reputable auction company will be able to estimate all expenses based upon their experience in previous auctions. An agreement should be actual costs charged as expenses, not an estimated amount.

Advertising is typically the highest cost in conducting an auction. The auction company needs to set up an advertising campaign that will promote the sale to its best advantage and not overspend to simply advertise the auction company.

Once the auction is complete, the auction company should provide a complete breakdown of all expenses to the seller, including copies of receipts within the auction summary report.

Buyer’s Premium:

What is a buyer’s premium? If you attend auctions regularly, you are very familiar with this term. The auction company charges a fee to the buyer when they buy an item at auction.

The buyer’s premium has been around since the 1980’s and is standard auction practice. It was first used by auction houses to help offset costs of running brick and mortar permanent auction facilities. Since then, it has spread to all aspects of the auction industry. It is prominent in online auctions and allows auction companies to cover added expenses incurred from online sales.

It is the responsibility of the auction company to provide clear disclosure of the buyer’s premium to both the buyers and the sellers. Those not familiar with auctions are often taken back by the buyer’s premium. They looked upon it as an under handed way for the auction company to make more money. Reputable auction companies will provide full disclosure within the auction contract, advertisement and bidder registration.

Typically, an auction company will charge online buyers a higher buyer’s premium percentage than those attending an auction in person. Extra fees are incurred with online bidding and are charged accordingly to online buyers. This provides the seller a level playing field for both online buyers and those attending the auction in person. Without the buyer’s premium, there is no way to do this.

Pre-Sales:

We’ve all been there. We’re looking forward to attending an auction only to find that some items were sold prior to the auction date.

As an auctioneer with over thirty-six years of experience, I can honestly state that pre-sales will hurt an auction. When a company decides to liquidate their assets, it is easy to sell off high-end pieces of equipment through online sources, equipment vendors or to other businesses. The seller receives instant cash and avoids paying a commission to an auction company.

Auctioneer’s find themselves appearing to acting in a self-serving capacity when potential clients say they are planning to sell off parts of their inventory prior to an auction. It’s hard not to consider the auctioneer’s commission when they warn you not to pre-sell anything. Yes, the auctioneer wants to earn a commission on those sales but it is more important that the auctioneer protect the sale from potential negative backlash that comes from pre-selling. The buying public knows when an auction has been “cherry picked” prior to the sale and it reflects in their bidding. It becomes a sale of “leftovers” and that impacts prices.

A buyer who purchases prior to the auction usually does not attend the sale. They already bought equipment at a good price with no competition. If they do attend the auction, they tend to let others know of their great pre-sale purchases which again, impacts prices and the overall excitement of the sale.

It is important to understand that auctions work best with a complete inventory. You want competition on your higher end equipment. The easy to sell items make it possible to gain respectable prices for hard to sell items.

When a business owner decides to liquidate their equipment assets, there is only one opportunity to do it right. Hiring a reputable auction company will assist you with a professional, orderly and timely liquidation.

Daniel Clar is a professional auctioneer and appraiser with thirty-nine years of experience in the industry. Specializing in the liquidation and appraisal of new car dealerships, automotive repair, construction, metal fabrication and retail industries. Located in California, he services clients throughout the western United States.