Monthly Archives: June 2015

comparison between income and expense with money on hand

To Represent or Not to Represent

To Represent or Not to Represent.
By Talmar Anderson

When is your time well used by attending an unplanned conference, speaking engagement or workshop and sponsoring a table? Let’s take out of the equation the well planned out annual conference that is a budgeted item and 100% your target market.   It was “Practically free” is a term I have heard people say in defense of a poor response to sponsoring an event. Really?  Free?? Having a Vendor Table “Go bag” (an easy to grab bag with items you would use at any and all events…business cards, note pads, bowls for card collection,  pre-printed promotional items) is always a good start for these “opportunities” that spring up.  However we need to really be sure it is a good use of our time. ALL of the time, energy, and expense we will use for the event.

So let’s pump the brakes…this “practically free” event is your target market, right?  And you can be assured I will give you a hard time if you tell me there “might be” a few in attendance. You must be able to gain insight and numbers from the host of the event on the attendees.  Remember to apply your own business’ conversion performance to make sure it will be worthwhile for you to be present.  If your conversion is at 50% and there will “probably” be 3 people in the audience of 100 that are your market, will it be worth 2 sales (I’ll let you round up because I am sure you will be on fire that day) to spend your time and money there? Of course, this assumes you will actually have focused access to the correct 3 during the event sometime.

So let’s talk preparation. Do you have a way to gather prospect information?  Do you have a piece for them to take away to remember your company.  How much time did you put into personalizing a sales page or the marketing flyers that were created?  How much expense went into the giveaways and the printing costs?  Don’t forget the candy!  This will always be a way to bring people to your table to give you a possible opening. Now add up the cost of your hours, the designer hours, the printing and the candy expense.  Is this still less than the 2 possible sales? Good. Let’s add in the final piece.

Consider the “day of” expense.  This should include driving time, gas and tolls, time and energy to drag in your marketing materials, the time required to be set up BEFORE the event starts, and then you will have to decide what is more valuable to your business – missing part of the talk or missing people at the table?  How we are doing? Is the expense still outweighed by the potential income?

Here is the real killer rule I give to ALL of my clients.  Did you schedule follow up time the next day?  I mean truly do you or your staff have calendared time set aside to follow up and make sure your company is remembered from within that sea of information your prospect just waded through?  I am sure you had dedicated time to make a significant impression and they are never gonna forget your story about the stubbed toe that was bleeding through your shoe…but let’s make a plan for follow up just in case!

Going to these events, spending time and the money required to be professionally stocked and ready is likely for not if you are just going to play the wait and see game.  I know you don’t want to seem salesy.  I know you don’t want to be pushy.  But educating a prospect that showed interest in your services or products by stopping by your table  (even if it was the candy…they DID drop their card.) is the whole point of doing this!

Add that in…how might you do at this “free” event?

When the audience is your specific market, you have decent access to them and have something to sell now and intrigue for later, THAT is a definite YES for sponsoring. Sponsoring does contribute to your marketing strategies but “practically free” usually is sooo costly in the end!

Visit www.TalmarItUp.com to learn more about Talmar and how she works with business owners!

Tech & Money 650 x433

Ain’t Technology Grand? Yes, but Only If You Use It!

Ain’t Technology Grand? Yes, but Only If You Use It!
By Talmar Anderson

Today I am going to save you money!  There are so many fantastic solutions to just about every operational need you can come up with for your business. Online technological systems are popping up everywhere on the internet.  Some are from tried and true entities while some are from the next potential Zuckerberg.  As a business owner there is more to just finding the answer to your question.  To protect you and your company from investing in a solution that can only frustrate, I recommend a few easy steps for success.

  • Understand your problem before buying.
  • Consider how quickly you can really start using and integrate the new product
  • Consider the cost
  • Plan for how it will work in your company.

Understanding your problem? By this I mean don’t get wooed by a shiny new idea that is not for your business.  I highly recommend you wait until you have identified a problem and then actively look for the correct solution. Upgrades within free products are the easiest way to go down this costly road. If a tool you are using for free is great then the upgrade for $15 a month must be awesome.  And it’s ONLY $15 bucks a month, right? Sounds great IF it is useful. Otherwise it is $180 a year for something that was working for free.

How quickly and easily a new product can be learned, integrated into your current systems and your staff trained up needs to be part of your consideration process. The size of the product itself can determine this part.  Is the new product the right size for where your company is today?

Some products may be too big for what your company needs at this time. (Salesforce and InfusionSoft are common ones I have seen clients sign up for and eventually dump because it truly was not the right complexity for their companies. Too much, too early.) Would it be nice to be able to have great pipeline management? Of course but with complex training and a long implementation process, go back to what your business needs.  If your company delivers for 5 contract clients a year with the capacity to only take on one more.  How many pipelines do you need to be managing for YOUR business’ success?

The cost consideration is the piece that requires little council from me. Is it reasonably priced for the part this piece will play in the overall operations of your business? How many ways will it facilitate your operations? Is it duplicative of another product or service that you will have to cancel?  You know what is best for the company budget and growth.

Planning for how it will work in your company initially includes placing time on your (or your assistant’s calendar) to start training and setting up the system within the new product you purchased.  Once that is done, there will need to be a training schedule set for when and who will need to learn the new system. Additionally, there needs to be time commitment, process creation and internal communications on how this new product will be used by anyone/everyone in your company.  This final step is where a business owner can really push off the new solution to your problem. That expense will keep coming in, month after month, even if the planning commitment for training and implement time keeps being pushed back.

Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE these online solutions.  Need something to quickly and easily jot down notes as well as organize them? Got it. Check out Evernote.  Need an online scheduling system to help cut down on the back and forth of setting appointments? Check out ScheduleOnce. Need a hosting site for an online course you offer to clients? Zippy Courses is the one I use. There are even specialty programs and systems.  HelloBar, Podcast Websites, Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker are all wonderful online products offering singular solutions that meet a very specific need and that may help you with your business operations.

You don’t want to pay for a product even if it is EXACTLY what your business needs if you are not going to commit to the time, training and systemization required to use it.  Then it is just money pulled out of your business monthly like some sort of punishment. These tools can be real time-savers and efficiencies for your company so PLAN to use them before you buy!

What software or online tool did you buy for your company but end up canceling or writing off because you did not have committed time for integration? I’d love to know!