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Get More Business Right Now! Tools & Ammunition Designed To Fight Off The Alligators And Get The Business You Need
By Paul Tulenko
Many business people will recognize Paul Tulenko from his syndicated small business newspaper column. A highly-respected small business columnist (I have personally clipped and saved many of his columns), Tulenko also writes a free e-mail small business newsletter (tulenko.com) and has worked with many professional organizations, such as the SBA and SCORE, to help entrepreneurs.
Tulenko's new book, Get More Business Right Now! Tools & Ammunition Designed To Fight Off The Alligators And Get The Business You Need isn't a book that tells people how to start a business and make a billion bucks. Rather, he assumes the reader currently owns a business and is struggling financially. Tulenko gives ideas and planning to help a struggling entrepreneur decide what to do while "... the alligators are nipping at your heels, and you absolutely must get something done right now... . Your goal is to get some money in the bank as soon as possible, tomorrow morning would be great."
Tulenko writes: "... crisis management says to do what is needed right now, and clean up the mess later."
Tulenko says you should call in your markers and try to benefit from word-of-mouth marketing. He suggests reviewing all of your contacts and seeing who can help. (This is much like the career advice that, if unemployed, you should tell everyone you know you're looking for work, because you never know from where the job leads might come.)
Another suggestion is to pursue a particularly lucrative client. Tulenko offers some good advice on selling to larger companies and overcoming bottlenecks that might prevent a purchase decision from being made. Sometimes, a big sale can save a struggling company.
Tulenko suggests launching a pilot program fast, possibly offering a new service to your customers. He says to consider deeply discounting your products or services (and, possibly, offering a discount for immediate payment). If you discount, Paul suggests an advertising blitz to make customers aware of your reduced prices to generate more business. (If reduced prices and heavy marketing don't help, it's probably time to close up shop or try something else. I know many business owners will argue that they don't have the money for advertising. But, marketing doesn't have to be expensive. Tulenko mentions one entrepreneur who spent $6 to print fliers, which generated $3,000 in business for his summer lawn-care company. Effective advertising/marketing should generate profits and is money well-spent.)
Tulenko writes: "If you are 'cash poor,' the chances are that happened because of poor planning on your part. Face it and admit it. This is not a black mark that will scar you forever, but if you don't do something about it now, it can potentially cause you to fail in other ways."
Other survival options aren't as fun. Tulenko says a struggling business owner should consider:
--Downsizing your business, making it smaller and more efficient. Reducing your rent or employee expense are options Tulenko suggests.
-- Getting an outside opinion. You might be too close to your business to be objective to see what's being done wrong. Tulenko suggests SCORE as one source of help.
--Start a multi-level marketing home-based business to generate some money. Tulenko says to select your program carefully, but that many multi-level marketing jobs can earn $25,000 to $100,000 a year. (For a good salesperson, any commission-based sales job is probably something to consider.)
--Take another job. Tulenko writes: "There is absolutely nothing wrong with working in a hamburger joint, an all-night grocery, a gas station, or any similar job. Face it, if you need the money, you need the money." Tulenko suggests that you consider the effect of such a job on your business reputation and also consider 'low-profile jobs.' For example, if you're a struggling financial advisor, you probably don't want any of your clients to bump into you while you're pumping gas.
--Quit. Tulenko writes: "True entrepreneurs don't ever say quit. In their mind they close shop for a while, then proceed to work their buns off to gather a few bucks together and start over again, possibly in a totally unrelated business." Tulenko acknowledges that some people will decide working for someone else is a better alternative for them.
Tulenko writes about goal setting. He says goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, targeted). Surviving an alligator attack gives you a chance to reevaluate what's important in your life.
Tulenko concludes: "It's easy to start a business of your own, it's just a matter of saying, 'I'm in the Widget business' ... It doesn't even really take a lot of money to get started. ... The tough part of entrepreneurship comes when you have to produce income at a high enough rate to pay the everyday expenses of your business [and earn enough income to eat, etc.]"
Much of Tulenko's advice should be followed even if you aren't struggling. You should pursue lucrative clients aggressively. You should launch pilot test programs to see what profitable products and services you can offer. You should aggressively pursue word-of-mouth marketing for your business. And, you should always try to make your business more efficient. If you do this, as the skin lotion ad says: "Later, Gator."