Marketing Automation Group
Share Your Thoughts!

A Powerful Lesson From My Mentor

Years ago, I learned something from my mentor that
has proven to be more valuable than most other things.

I’ve used this specific thought process to ‘fix’ many
businesses and get the cash flowing again rapidly.

Here’s this nugget of wisdom in it’s simplest form:

The amount of money you make is in direct proportion
to the number of offers you make.

That’s it, simple, yet profound.

In every instance, in every situation when I start working
with a client that isn’t hitting their revenue goals, all I
need to do is evaluate the number of ‘offers’ they are
making on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and right there
I find the problem.

So if you’re finding that you’re not hitting the revenue
numbers you’d like, ask yourself (and be brutally honest)
‘how many times a day am I making an offer to someone?’

Are you on the phone asking people for their business?

Are you running webinars to promote and sell your services?

Are you doing live presentations?

Are you emailing people asking for their business?

What are you doing to make an offer?

See, when you make an offer there’s only 2 things that can
happen, 2 and ONLY 2.

1. They can say YES, I’ll take it.
2. They can say No.

But even the ‘No’ will often times turn into a ‘yes’ later on

Of course NONE of this can happen if you don’t make the

So today’s lesson: Make a SHITLOAD of offers, and you’ll
make a ton of money.

Being a man that practices what he preaches, I’ve got an
offer for you. Right now I’m offering to do no charge
strategy sessions for REAL business owners who are doing
more than 100k a year in sales and want to get to the 100k
a month level and beyond.

If you think you’re ready for some no nonsense, clear thinking
go ahead and sign up for a strategy session with me by clicking this link.

I look forward to talking with you.

Yours in profit,

– Bob

P.S. Clear thinking is responsible for more business success than
everything else combined. If you’ve become clouded or ‘stuck’ in
your business, then a strategy session with me might be the
exact thing you need to get ‘unstuck’ and moving again. Click here to schedule yours now.

Web Marketing: A Good News/Bad News Platform

Web Marketing_A Good News_Bad News Platform

I don’t think it can be overstated that the web has brought with it unprecedented power. The power to reach your potential customer and put your marketing message in front of them cheaply and easily.  Everyone is on the web no matter what niche you’re in, no matter your target demographic- they are there and with some trial & error, you can reach them.


That’s the good news. Now the bad news.


Almost no one knows how to market on the web successfully. This problem stems from a few key factors. First off- unless you’re a giant corporation, with an unlimited marketing budget, you cannot use traditional marketing methods on the web (sorry advertising agencies and traditional marketing companies). Anything designed for ‘brand awareness’ or ‘top of the mind’ isn’t going to generate the one thing small business owners and entrepreneurs actually need: customers.


Secondly, as the web has evolved over the past few years, more and more advertisers and ads have crowded the web, driving up prices and making it harder to get your potential customers’ attention. There’s even a condition called ‘Banner Blindness’ now where a percentage of people subconsciously ignore banner ads when they are surfing the web. Add to this the ever changing landscape of SEO (search engine optimization- which as of the time I’m writing this, 3/15/16, is dead, IMHO) as a quick traffic strategy and you’ll begin to see why so many people struggle to get any traction with their web marketing efforts.


So what can you do to enjoy success, while others fail? The answer is simple, but not easy.


To start, you’ve got to use the time tested and proven methods of direct response marketing. The web was literally made for this kind of advertising and it’s what every successful marketer and business owner I know uses. I’ve discussed this in previous blog posts.

The next success tip I’ll share with you is more of a mindset than a tangible thing- but it’s the most important part. You have to approach your efforts at web marketing with the mindset of ‘cracking the code’, and in reality it’s more like a 4-5 different codes. The overwhelming majority of people make a few feeble attempts at marketing online and then quit when they don’t see results. I like to tell my clients that they are mining for gold, and the web has a treasure chest of it- but that chest has a series of combination locks on it. In order to be successful online, you’ve got to figure out (dial in) the combination of each of these locks before you’ll get the gold (almost unlimited clients). Most importantly, you’ve got to have the emotional fortitude to go through test after test, trial and error with unwavering determination.


So what are some of these ‘locks’ you’ll need the combination to? Here’s a quick list of my top 6:

Where are my potential customers online? What websites, forums, etc.

What message ‘words’ will they click on?

What ‘image’ will they click on?

Are the clicks you’re getting from “qualified” prospects?

Can we improve on the “best” performing ads? (increase CTR- click through rate)

And lastly, do the clicks we’re getting convert to paying customers?


There are many more than this quick list but this represents a good start. Keep in mind that the lesson here is you’re always testing, working and refining your online marketing. You need to approach this task as an on-going effort, not a one and done type task.


Keep the right mindset, and your success is virtually guaranteed, because your ideal customer is online and with a little perseverance you will find and convert them to your customer, unlocking that chest of gold.


When you’re tired of beating your head against the wall and want proven, time tested methods and strategies that flat out work- bringing an avalanche of red hot customers to your door, then you need to grab a copy of Automated Entrepreneur Method right now. Save yourself countless hours of trial and error and get the shortcut to success right now.


You’ll also want to attend my webinar where I cover this topic and many more in depth. You can register for that here.


Yours in Profit,


The Power of FOCUS

The PowerofF.O.C.U.S.If there’s one thing that I can say is the single biggest factor to a person’s success- it’s their ability to FOCUS.


A few years ago I learned that the word FOCUS is an acronym meaning: Follow One Course Until Successful.


This may sound easy, but in reality I’ve found it to be very difficult, especially when it comes to building your business.


In any given business, on any given day, there are just too many things to focus on, too many things pulling you in all different directions. Things like accounts receivable (getting paid), accounts payable (paying bills), employee or contractor management, product development, fulfillment, customer relations, brand messaging, payroll, cash flow management and many, many more… And yet none of these activities, all demanding your attention, address what Michael Gerber identified as the most important. None are working ‘on’ your business. They are all working ‘in’ it.


This is where the power of FOCUS comes in. If you want to rapidly scale your business from 6 figures a year to 7, you must focus on the activities that build your business, not just manage it.


What are some of those things?


My favorite, and I believe the most important, is marketing. As I define it, marketing is everything that causes a potential customer to notice you and causes them to want to choose your business over anyone/everyone else.


I’d like to say that until a business has figured out how to attract a constant and predictable flow of high quality customers, ready to do business with you, you shouldn’t be focusing on anything else. Sure paying the bills has to get done, as do many of those other ‘in your business’ activities, but none really matter until you’ve got loads of people waiting to give you their money.


FOCUS on that first, and keep at it until you’ve achieved that goal and I guarantee you’ll have a 7 or even 8 figure business very soon.


If FOCUS is a challenge for you, and you’d like specific, and proven marketing methods, strategies and tactics that deliver top quality customers to your business 24/7, then you’ll want to get your hands on my Automated Entrepreneur program right away. You can learn more proven FOCUS techniques and killer marketing strategies on my webinar, that you can attend for free, just register here.


Yours in Profit,



Small Business Growth—How Fast is Too Fast?

Small Business GrowthStart small, grow fast, make a million dollars, sell, repeat. Sound good? Not so fast.


From start-up to corporate enterprise, the message is clear—grow fast. But, in an economy with unicorns starting to trip over themselves, the decision to accelerate growth has to be made cautiously.


As a business growth authority, I work closely with my clients to investigate when the time is right—or not—to make your small business a bigger business.


Knowing when to expand, and how to do it successfully, is critical to your growth plans, and maybe the survival of your business. First, let’s take a look at some signals that reveal it is not a good time to push fast expansion:


  • Lots of sales, not much money: Most people believe the way to save or grow their business is to increase sales. All you need to do is bring home that next contract. Sales are great, but if you don’t have the infrastructure in place, you are not growing—you are just making more sales.
  • You are a debt collector: You made more sales, but you are cash poor with a lot of sales on account. That is not growth, that is a potentially failing business.
  • High expenses, low revenue: This one is easier to see. You are paying out more than you are pulling in. Scale up too fast, blow through your capital investment, and collapse. If new financing does not come through, yours is not the first start-up to become a wind-down.
  • You ignore your business model: You’re doing pretty well in a niche business, have a couple of locations, and built buzz around the quality of your product and pleasant customer service. If some is good, more must be lots better. You obtain financing, sell out on your quality concept, and go big time with a chain of new locations. Your product and service reputation start to slide.
  • Too much work, too little time: Although you, and key employees, work too much, you decide to gear up for growth. You are so busy that customers are complaining, and there are quality issues. But again, if you have more sales, you think you won’t have to work so hard.


Stop. These are signs of a business out of control, not one ready for growth. So how should you think about growing your business?


Steps for safe business growth


The right growth strategy for you is not the growth strategy that worked for somebody else. Though you may sell the same product, the similarity ends there. Your financial statement, goals, and history are different than the other guy or gal. That means your best move is to work individually with an advisor who knows business—and knows how to ramp up your profits.


Business growth and increasing revenue are not the same things. While you hope one leads to the other, I work with the whole picture when I talk to you about business growth. Depending on your unique goals, and spreadsheets, I might suggest steps that include:


  • Segment: Are you serving the right corner of the economy? A close look at your product and your market shows whether you can further exploit your natural business niche. Looking at market segmentation means carefully understanding the type of client, or customer, you want. You are better off aiming your marketing and business development effort at a defined audience segment that wants to pay for your product, than blowing your brand budget on scattershot marketing to try and sell to the world. A refined focus on your true segment can earn you more profit.


  • Service: Once you define your market, think about an additional service you can add to serve that market. Listen to your customers—what are they looking for? Where are they going after they spend money with you? Can you identify a parallel product or service that pushes your deliverables—but does not require you to start up a whole new unit? Working with a business advisor, and good market data, is a good way to approach this type of expansion.


  • Partner, acquire, merge: Mergers and acquisitions are not just for big companies. Look around for other entrepreneurs who might offer a complimentary business, or service. Individually, your separate small businesses could do okay, or maybe struggle. Considering a partnership or an acquisition is a fast way toward growth and increased revenue if the fit is right, and the infrastructure merger is handled well.


Growth may look good, but not if your small business crumbles under the weight. When you are ready to expand, or looking for how to stabilize your business for growth, I hope you will contact me to talk about your best options for moving up. You can reach me at (585) 633-7563.


Yours in profit,


Bob Britton

Viral Video: How You and the Internet Can Damage Your Small Business

Viral Video_ How You and the Internet Can Damage Your Small BusinessEffective use of internet marketing is great for your business. But when you get caught off guard—a bad business moment can go viral.


Earlier this year, a bystander caught a Miami doctor behaving badly on video. The incident involved an Uber driver, and questionable choices made by the doctor. Although the doctor eventually walked away from the incident, she couldn’t walk away from the internet furor left behind.


Since then, the young doctor was placed on leave from employment with the Jackson Health System. She states she didn’t realize the incident would be such a big deal and has hired an attorney, and a public relations firm, to try and salvage her reputation—and her job.


This incident is just the latest in a long string of viral moments captured by not-so-hidden cameras. Cellphone cameras are everywhere, and both photos and video capture the foods people eat, as well as their foibles during the business day.


As a business growth authority, I work with small business clients to help them increase revenue, develop their brand—and take home more money. I talked recently about how to turn the tables on negative internet comments, but now I am going to talk about making sure some of those negative comments never happen.


Best time for reputation management? Before you have a problem


A couple of years ago, singer Dave Carroll sat on a United Airlines airplane as baggage was being loaded onto the plane. To his dismay, he saw his custom guitar being tossed through the air by baggage handlers. On landing, he discovered, as he suspected, that the guitar was broken, costing him about $1,200 in repairs. In the span of a year, United Airlines dodged his calls, and refused to make good.


For closure, or maybe for openers, Mr. Carroll created and posted a YouTube video describing his experience with United Airlines. Within two days of posting, the video had 24,000 hits. Today, over 15 million people have viewed the piece. United Airlines contacted Mr. Carroll and hopefully took care of the claim. And today, the video keeps right on describing the poor service received by Mr. Carroll.


The best advice for handling a claim like this? Don’t let it happen in the first place. Viral videos frequently make headlines. While you can respond to negative comments, you cannot scrub your internet reputation clean—ever.


Consider these points to help avoid brand damaging moments enshrined forever on the internet:


  • Reputation management: If you are a solo entrepreneur, you are your brand and reputation manager. If your shop is slightly bigger, you could hand reputation management over to your web services people, or HR. No matter who does it, stay on top of media mention of your business on the internet. It is easy to do – just set up a free Google alert that will send you an email if your name is mentioned. Whether positive, or negative, you have the opportunity to know when you, or your business, are making news.


  • Training, training, training: In a consumer-centric economy, personalization is key. That means more than the use of your CRM, but careful in-person relationship management. When you onboard an employee, be sure they know how to handle unhappy customers, and how to refer the customer to a manager. When a customer is upset with a product or service, training should be in place to ensure the customer is greeted, and their grievance aired—by stepping aside, or into an office or private (but visible) area. Offer employee training on how to de-escalate a situation, and empathetically respond to clients who feel slighted. And there will always be customers who feel slighted.


If you encourage employees to post about their workplace on social media, it requires training. Creating positive buzz about your job environment is a plus, if it is done right. Be sure your employees know what is appropriate—and inappropriate—to post. Aim for positive—and if your employees are not happy, find out why and try to remedy it.


  • Assume the camera is there: We are all on camera. It could be a security camera, it could be someone’s phone. We live in a reputation economy that is rapidly blurring the lines between private and personal actions—you are your brand. In a parking lot, grocery store, or in line at the ballgame—if you lose your cool, it is going to be captured on camera forever.


Customers are sometimes unhappy, and post negative things on social media. You can handle that. But when you adopt an overall policy of excellent customer and client service—such issues are a lot less likely to happen.


When you need the marketing automation, and business plan, to break through the small business revenue ceiling, I can help. Call me at 585-633-7563 today.


Yours in profit,


Bob Britton

The “Hidden” Mindset That Holds You Back

The _Hidden_ Mindset That Holds You BackIn my many years of working with business owners & entrepreneurs, there’s
one thing that I’ve found destroys more dreams, crushes hopes and derails
success more than just about anything else.

What’s that one thing?

Victim thinking.

This problem is so pervasive and so insidious that the people who suffer from it
almost never fully realize the grasp it has over them.

And the opposite is true as well.  The people who are most wildly  successful
are the ones who don’t suffer from this alignment.

Let me share a story that I think illustrates this beautifully.

When I was first getting into marketing, I had a mentor and a coach. He was very
successful and had made millions.  I was dead broke but ambitious.  My mentor
told me I needed to develop a marketing piece that would consistently drive in new
business. He gave me some general guidelines but left the rest up to me to create
the offer, write & design it.  Took me a couple of months of hard work but eventually
I had something I thought was pretty good.   I sent it to him to critique and he gave
me a few suggestions and told me to let it rip.  Excited, I spent money I didn’t have
and mailed out thousands of these pieces only to get virtually no response.  I didn’t
realize it at the time but this was a pivotal moment for me.  When I called my mentor
and told him of my failure, his response startled me and he said ‘that’s great’.  Obviously
I didn’t feel great.  I was deeply in debt and now a little deeper.  When I asked why it was
‘great’ he said because ‘you found something that didn’t work so now you’re one step closer
to finding one that does.’   Mentally this was a reach for me but thankfully I embraced this
way of thinking and I decided to keep testing and failing until I figured out what worked.

I’d like to say it was the second time, third, fourth or even fifth- truth be told I think it was
about the fifteenth.  I say about because I quit counting and I focused all my attention on
cracking the code and finding success.  And when I found success it hit like tidal wave.  I ended
up creating a marketing piece that to date has sold over 100 million in services- it’s a whopping

But here’s the most important part of this- it was very tempting to say to my mentor,
after my failures, ‘aren’t you a marketing expert- you should know what works and give me the solution!’
this is what people suffering from victim thinking think & say.  They fail, then they quit.  And on to
the next thing looking for the solution.  They blame the failure on someone else.  They never put in the
effort to seeing something all the way thru to success.  They are only committed as long as it’s easy
and effortless.
As a coach and a mentor now myself I’m keenly aware when someone has adopted this attitude
and is heading toward failure.  When you’re fully committed to an outcome, you’ll find it no matter what.
This is why I have clients who become rich following my advice and others that have failed and quit.
In the end, it comes down to their attitude.  Successful people realize it’s a process- a journey,
and they will not be denied.  Victims blame others and everything else.

Let this be a reminder to never be a victim and embrace the mantra: if it’s to be, it’s up to me.

And get to work.  Do that you and you will not be denied.

Yours in Profit,




Change Email Preferences

360 Packetts Landing Fairport, New York 14450 United States (585) 633-7563

Content Marketing—What Should it Mean to You?

What Should it Mean to You_We talked about CRM earlier—now I’m going to talk about CM, or content management.


Not only is content management driving marketing efforts these days, but CM is big business—providing work for lots of people along the marketing and customer service pipeline.


There are many types of content—but first, what is it? Here are a couple of points to keep in mind:


  • Content takes many forms and is used throughout a small business, or organization.
  • High quality content is important. The days of copying articles from other websites and posting it up on your own site are done.
  • Content gives you the chance to create, nurture, and maintain contacts with customers, and future clients.


So, content marketing is pretty much the business of using different types of content to get your message across to your audience, and even, to your competitors.


Content marketing is mostly conducted online—helping you attract targeted leads. Maybe you remember buying bulk mailing or email lists? The days of casting a big net to see what swims into it, are done too. Content marketing means crafting a unique message for just the right kind of customer.


Types of content that could help—and how you use it


If you are an entrepreneur, it is likely you run a pretty small shop. Small- to medium-sized businesses cannot afford a whole team of marketing people on the payroll.


Since marketing is now the bigger part of sales, blending these efforts is essential. Consider outsourcing your marketing needs to a specialist you can use to create a targeted content marketing strategy—and execute on it. Outsourcing is also a super idea for creating content, because an outsourced specialist knows how to write, and create, the content you want.


While you need to deeply engage in developing a marketing strategy that works best for your small business, this does not mean you have to create the content. As I have said many times before, only do the work that only you can do.


Basically, your focus as a small business owner is to create interesting, focused content, make sure it is optimized for the web, and manage social media channels. What you do depends largely on your budget, your goals, and your audience.


Here are some different types of content that could work for you:


  • Education: Consumers are doing their research before first contact with your product or service. They may have visited half a dozen websites and done some reading before they landed on your website. Offering good quality, compelling information that helps them make the right choice is the first step toward selling them on your product or service. Consider tip, or fact sheets, “How-to” pages, and links to offsite resources either that you authored or that you believe are authoritative on the subject.


  • Short and long form information: A blog is a great way to serve many aspects of your business. Whether you offer information, create and communicate your company culture, discuss a recent customer service issue you solved, launch a new service or highlight an older one—a blog is an effective communications medium that serves you as long as you serve up fresh, high quality content. Feed your CRM machine by offering longer form content that is accessible only upon registering with name, email and other details that help you create a consumer profile. Create visually interesting, informative white papers and other materials that offer a look at your product, industry, or what is currently trending.


  • Service: Include case studies, tutorials, YouTube content, testimonials, step-by-step, and other material to help potential customers understand exactly what value you offer, and why it will work for them. Be sure your customer service is transparent and speedy—think


  • Make it interesting: Don’t think the only thing you can use is a blog and text. Use infographics, podcasts, livestreamed video, cartoons, animation, slide share and more. Invite guest blogging and learn about user-generated content to help convert leads to loyal customers.


There are different kinds of content that could be right for your business. You don’t need to use everything, but you’ll want to mix it up to keep your audience—and customers—interested.


The most intriguing content in the world won’t mean anything if you do not have a strong marketing strategy, the right value proposition, and the message that puts those together in an unbeatable way.


I use experience, software , and know-how to help my clients succeed. I work with small business owners to create the message, and the business climate, to give your business the boost it needs—and the profit you want.


When you want to dig in to more money at the end of each month, give me a call at 585-633-7563.

Yours in profit,

Bob Britton

Think You are Too Small to Get Hacked? Think Again

HackedToo busy to believe your small business is going to get hacked? Big mistake.


In 2015, the rate of electronic theft, fraud, and cyber invasion rocketed. Hacking is now an established criminal enterprise, and the easier the target—the more likely it is to be hacked. The average cost of a single business hack can run from $30,000 to millions of dollars. Can you afford to ignore this issue?


Entrepreneurs with fewer than 100 employees often think themselves too small to attract the interest of cyber criminals. Unfortunately, small business is a prime hacking target for a number of reasons including:


  • Small businesses have financial assets worth stealing
  • The intellectual property and tech owned and used by a small business makes a good target
  • Because they have fewer resources, smaller firms and businesses usually do not have sufficient cyber protection
  • Small businesses may provide third party access to the network of a larger, better protected company


A recent article in The New York Times notes that a single hacking incident, or a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, can take your business down for good.


DDoS attacks occur when a bad actor aims an autobot network at your website—overwhelming and crashing your server. Your web presence and ecommerce, are dead.


Increasingly, hackers are using chaos as a diversion. While you, or a computer security expert, try to get your website back up, the hacker quietly launches malicious code which can be remotely manipulated later, when you think the crisis has passed.


When people talk about a computer virus, spyware, or adware, they are talking about malware, or malicious programs used to damage systems and steal information. Ransomware is a form of malware, and like the name implies, the software locks up your system until you pay for its release.


The problem is, payment of the ransom may—or may not—end with the happy return of your essential business files. Although hackers have a financial interest in returning your files intact, a small mistake can scramble your files, costing you not only the ransom—but your data as well.


On the cloud, or on your own server, cyber crime is a growth industry and your enterprise will eventually be a target.


Five tips to protect your small business from cyber attack


I am a business growth expert who helps clients make smart moves with their marketing—and automated marketing software. A natural computer geek, I know a few things about protecting digital assets.


As much as you may not want to deal with cyber stuff, take a deep breath and take a look at these tips. Being aware of the vulnerability of your small business is half the battle:


  1. Assessment: Unless it is your area of interest, chances are good you are not a cyber security expert, nor do you have one on staff. This is a good place to take advantage of outsourcing. Get referrals, make some calls, and bring someone on board to assess the security of your operation, from point of sale to data archives. Make sure you work with a company familiar with the concerns—and vulnerabilities—of small businesses.


  1. Education: With assessment in hand, you might be shocked to realize your vulnerability. There are resources available to deepen your understanding of how to help yourself. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) offer free tips and training to help you get up to speed.


  1. Update and test: After you create goals and security parameters for your business, use a qualified security vendor to upgrade your system and your overall approach to online and network security. You may want to engage in penetration testing (called pen-testing) to safely gauge the effectiveness of your security update.


Train your workforce about social engineering techniques like phishing. A click on an attachment, or a safe-looking link, in an email can quickly lead to a serious data breach incident. Make cyber security a common conversation with employees, and update their knowledge frequently on best practices.


  1. Consider insurance: Check out cyberinsurance to cover business losses in the event you are hacked. Your costs could include liability to customers who suffer exposure or theft of personal information, the cost of managing the data breach, business interruption and more.


Be aware that rates for cyberinsurance are rising just as fast as the hacking rates. You may find insurers provide expensive coverage for less than the damage you might suffer.


Plus, some insurers and banks are pushing back on claims—litigating incidents where employee mistakes led to the breach. Another good reason for assessment, protection, and pen-testing is that you could get better rates when you try to apply for cyberinsurance.


The profit you see from your small business depends on secure doors and windows to your data, and your service. Don’t skimp on cyber security.


Just like network safety, earning more profit does not happen by accident. When you are ready to move ahead on a new plan for profit this year—I hope you call me at 585-633-7563.

Yours in profit,

Bob Britton

You Can’t Get Rich if You Don’t Get Paid

You Can't Get RichIf You Don'tGet PaidIt is the ultimate business bottom line—no pay, no profit. If you are scraping by on IOU’s, it is time for a change.


You work hard to run your business, produce a product, or provide a service, and deliver on time. You expect to turn a profit by being paid in a timely way. Unfortunately, small business does not work that way a lot of the time.


According to a recent survey by cash flow tech company Fundbox, about 64 percent of their small business clients are routinely paid late. And it is not necessarily that small businesses are always the culprits too stretched to pay on their bills. It is also big clients, like Walmart and McDonald’s, who routinely pay late. Go figure.


It is hard enough being an entrepreneur without working for nothing. When you make a sale—you need to get paid.


Taking care of business—tips to make sure you see the money


You have your own bills and employees to pay, you cannot spend another week wondering when the check is going to be in the mail from your big client. The longer an invoice goes unpaid, the less likely you are to be paid in full.


Take these tips to heart, and to the bank, when you want to get serious about a cash flow problem caused by late-paying clients:


  • Know your customer: When you have been in business for yourself, it does not take long to develop a sixth sense for which clients are going to pay, and which are not. But you should not have to count on experience, or telepathy, to get paid for your time or products. If you develop and deliver goods, be sure you have a contract in place to protect your profit and spell out terms of payment. Consider building a discount into your price point for clients that pay early—and don’t think twice about a percentage penalty for late pays.


Some experts counsel against a late fee, saying it is just incorporated into the cost of doing business. Bottom line? You don’t want to be doing business with people that pay late! Small businesses cannot work for those who do not pay—make your message at the outset as you discuss initial delivery and payment terms.


Be sure to stay on a first-name basis with personnel responsible for processing your bids, and contract payments with your bigger clients. You’ll be the first to know about potential payment delays, and more likely to get paid on time.


  • Make it easy: There are a lot of creative ways to make the payment process faster and easier. Use top notch invoicing software, or SaaS, to ensure your invoices are delivered electronically and on time. Work closely with new clients, especially bigger companies, which have slow-moving payment systems. Do your best to incorporate their payment needs into your system, but be sure that the conversation about the ways and means to pay on time takes place. Otherwise—you do not need this client.


Set up a merchant account, and take payment by electronic transfer or credit card. Be sure there is a clear understanding of delivery and payment terms to ensure you, and your customer, are free to build and expand a good business relationship—instead of spending frustrated days and weeks trying to get paid.


  • Retainers and upfront money: A lot of professionals ask for a retainer until they are sure a new client pays on time regularly. For substantial work for a new client, or with an established client with a poor payment record, get a percentage of your fee upfront. No small business owner can really afford poor paying clients. Entrepreneurs who carry unsuitable clients often end up out of business, or in bankruptcy.


  • But they aren’t paying: So you have a client that will not, or cannot pay. Talk to them in person. Make a visit if you can, instead of making a call. Get the lowdown on what it is going to take to get the bill paid—even at a discount. Offering any kind of payment incentive often greases the wheels enough to walk out the door with a check. Don’t do business with these kinds of companies. If it is your big client? It is time to diversify. Unless it is a big contract, legal action is an expensive option to pursue. Consider business mediation first. It is faster and cheaper.


Best tip? Develop and manage your client list into only premium customers. I have said it before, do not compete on market price. Compete for premium clients who pay the right price—on time. By offering special perks, attention, client care, and high quality service, you are developing the kind of customer who pays on time, every time. You do not want clients looking for a break on every bill. You want the ones who come to you because they know what to expect, and they are willing to pay for it.


From here on out? No more 90-day and up overdue, you just cannot afford it. Put the right structure in place, and start attracting the kind of customer that does not quibble about paying a fair price. When you need to market your services to the clients who pay—I hope you will call me at (585) 633-7563 for help. No small business owner can get rich on an IOU.


Yours in profit,


Bob Britton

Getting Started with CRM

30806897_mIf you are an entrepreneur who is not currently using customer relationship management (CRM) software, you will be soon. Why? Because it saves you time and boosts your profits.


I am an expert on small business growth. My work with individual clients, and with groups, helps them become millionaires. Think about it—wouldn’t you like to make more money, and do more of what you love? At the same time, you can do less of what you don’t want to do. That could be done by someone—or something—else.


We talked last time about the different types of data and how data helps your business. But how do you manage your data in a meaningful way? That is where CRM comes in.


Learning about CRM is one of the first steps I recommend to my clients. Many small businesses get by initially by using a spreadsheet and an email list. Grow a bit, bring on a sales representative, or start getting some traction in the market, and you’ll find that keeping track of things on paper is not so easy.


Plus—storing dates, details, and customers is not the same thing as nurturing leads, activating your sales funnel, or engaging established customers.


Your CRM: What can it do for you?


In the last decade, the business of marketing has changed. While marketing used to be placing general ads, sending out brochures, and a hit or miss approach, personalization is the name of the game today. The better you capture individual consumer practices and preferences, the better able you are to meet client needs. How?


Your CRM software can handle a great deal of the labor that used to take marketing personnel many hours. From keeping track of important contact and sales information, to creating a dynamic web experience for new visitors to your website, CRM packages capture, store, and infuse your sales strategy with the information you need for leads to become conversions.


Here are some key capabilities of CRM software:


  • Improve the view: With the move toward personalization, and a unique customer experience, one objective of CRM is a 360-degree client view. Because you no longer waste money on print ads, expensive brochures sent to a stale mailing list, or cold calls to uninterested consumers, the customer journey now takes center stage. When you use CRM software, you create customer profiles that allow you to segment your client base. Segmenting lets you create marketing plans for different client groups. CRM allows you to identify premium customers that pay more for the service, or product, you offer. Define those leads—or that portion of your customer base—and you have taken a first step to cultivating, capturing, and nurturing repeat business from high-margin clients.


  • Keep clients on board: Customer retention is important. Spend less time creating new sales by maintaining your client base. Regular clients are more likely to buy more of your product line—and need less discount incentive to do so. Upselling is also easier with an established, satisfied customer. CRM software identifies those important clients, helps you schedule routine follow-up, and personalizes your relationship by noting important dates to send a card, gift, or discount offer.


  • Targeting: Increase your revenue by ramping up your marketing strategy. By collecting data and creating focused campaigns, you push your sales message to leads, and customers, to sell your products and services. Your CRM software strengthens overall customer service since marketing and sales personnel have access to the same, fresh data. CRM software contributes to better service, higher standards, less intensive sales needs, and dynamic, focused sales campaigns. What’s not to like?


Can you take personalization too far?


Storing and using personal data can help you offer better value on a more personal basis, but be aware of some common errors using personal information:


  • While most people appreciate the personalized touch, some people are concerned with privacy issues. Align your personalization with the relationship you have with each customer. Even if you have the information, resist the urge to walk up to a stranger in your store and greet them by name—unless they registered with your brand beforehand.


  • Be careful of collecting information related to health, medical, or other concerns. Personalization could lead to large, hurtful blunders that could cost you a customer, and a black-eye, on social media.


  • Use your data wisely. Personalized targeting works when it is appropriate, like when a potential customer is clearly investigating your website, and makes return visits. Consider this scenario—a person registers to download one whitepaper. They immediately receive one email, followed by scheduled, clearly canned emails that increase the intensity of their call to action with each email. They also receive unsolicited tip emails for which they did not sign up. Sound like good use of personalization? No thanks!


When you have questions about aligning your marketing data, business processes, and CRM software to boost your revenue, I hope you will call me at 585-633-7563.


Yours in profit,


Bob Britton

1 2 3 12