If your business is one where clients or customers come to your place of business, you need to make sure there’s a large enough population base to support it. If you are located in a major metropolitan area, do some research to discover how many people live within a three-to-five mile radius of your operation or intended operation. (Your local library is a good place to start.) A population base of 20,000–30,000 people will provide a strong marketing base for most businesses.
In lightly populated rural areas, people are not averse to driving long distances. They do it every day to get to the store or to work or to school. In such an area, it’s possible to stretch the population base to a 15–20 mile radius from your location to achieve the necessary number of people to sustain a profitable business.
Notice I didn’t put this well-repeated piece of advice at the start of the blog as hundreds of other authors of “success” books have done. Why? Because as important as it is, it’s not nearly as important as the REAL-life stuff I’ve told you about: marketing, sales, and kaizen!
Most people would rather dazzle you with their visions than talk about boring stuff like training people how to sell, or profit and loss statements!
It is important to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. This should be written down and take no more than a single page. If it takes more to explain, it’s most likely too complicated to succeed. That’s why many of the world’s best business plans were written on cocktail napkins!
For a long time, like many businesses, I overpaid most of my employees. Few business owners get anything but astonishingly average performance from their staffs because they do not have clear performance goals and only a tiered bonus plan attached to their successful accomplishment.
The most effective compensation plans offer average pay with generous bonuses for surpassing goals and may contain a number of other intangible factors. Defining performance is easy with sales positions but gets harder to define as you go to other positions.
Once you have amassed a large database of prospects, the single most important weapon in your marketing arsenal is a GREAT sales letter. This is a FACT lost on the vast majority of people who think that no one reads anymore (despite the fact that in the last decade, the size of the average bookstore has grown from about 3,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet).
Someone must be reading!
Top direct-sales copywriters don’t come cheap. I charge a minimum of $15,000 for a series of single page sales letters or one long one. Others like Dan Kennedy and Jay Abraham charge far more. Of course, you can hire a cheap copywriter or one with no history of direct-sales success, but that’s a big mistake. Ninetynine percent of professional writers—people who may write excellent prose—cannot write sales copy. It’s the difference between reading a travel magazine article and saying “That sounds like a nice place” and “Honey, bring my wallet. I’m going to book our vacation at this new beach resort right now!”
Once you and your employees accept that your company should be all about sales and marketing, the final change to introduce is that of kaizen. Kaizen is the Japanese term for continuous, never-ending improvement. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, it’s essential to your success that you and all your employees embrace this principle.
Develop a company library of books, audios, and videos on sales, motivation, leadership, time management, and other key topics related to the success of your company. Reward employees for reading, watching, or listening on their own time. If they don’t read, they don’t learn; and if they don’t learn, they aren’t worth hiring in the first place!
One of the first ways to look for solutions is by analyzing the root cause of your problem. In fully 25% of cases, simply looking at the causes of the problem will also provide you with a clear solution.
When I opened my first small karate school, many moons ago, my huge breakthrough came when I simply wrote down this question on a yellow legal pad.