Call Us: 414-545-1890

15    16    17

Hammernik & Associates BBB Business Review

Monthly Archives: October 2014

Dale Hammernik’s First 2 Keys to Chopping Costs Correctly

I wanted to write you this week on a subject near and dear to my financial heart: profit.

Now, I’ve been spending a lot of time with you over the past few months on increasing the revenue side of the profit equation, but I thought I might take a few weeks to touch on the expense side of the coin.

Because in this environment, it’s a key factor for success (i.e., that you pay close attention to it).

Having worked with entrepreneurs and business owners for a while, I know that most of them don’t like having to pay attention to that side of the ledger. The “sales” side is much sexier.

But at the end of the day, it really is about profit … right?

So, this week’s blog post will directly help you keep those costs down.

Dale Hammernik’s First 2 Keys to Chopping Costs Correctly
“Either do it or don’t do it. No more wishy-washy, half-hearted attempts. Either say ‘no’ to achievement or dig in and get to the bottom of the persistent incongruence between what you say and what you do.” – Dan Kennedy

It’s a common (and normal) temptation for the biz owner: Make some additional sales and revenue, and let expenses (that were perhaps too high in leaner times) creep back in. Some folks even do this as a way of signaling to themselves that they’re doing better … a sign of prosperity, if you will.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news — but you’ve gotta stay moored to reality. Cutting that overhead NOW, when things are better, is much healthier … and one of the easiest paths to profit.

And what’s often the highest piece of overhead? Payroll.

So, I’ll take some time this week (and next) to suggest some easy, painless ways to keep that major cost under control.

1) Re-work compensation to link to specific goals.
We’re used to seeing salespeople compensated on a performance basis, but the important thing to realize is that ALL of your employees could go on such a compensation system. What are the production goals for your non-revenue employees?

A simple idea would be to SET these production-related goals, and somehow have them reported back to your employees on a daily or weekly basis. By seeing and tracking their own results, they become invested in increasing their performance (if they’re at all competitive and have a drive).

Plus, just the simple fact that they know somebody’s watching will increase efficiency.

Yes, it may cost some money (and time) on the front-end to implement this kind of system (which is best when mostly automated) … but it will be WELL worth it in the long run.

2) Never stop training.
Usually poor employee performance is NOT deliberate sabotage — it’s simply not enough time spent in training.

Often employers assume new employees know how to perform their job functions and, therefore, don’t do enough to continually orient them to their job.

Have you conducted a review of your employee performance … and asked THEM for feedback on how they could do better?

That’s a great training opportunity — and again, a nice way to keep them from seeing their job as a paycheck, but rather as directly contributing to the profitability of your enterprise.

A side-benefit: When you cross-train employees across each other’s responsibilities, it can also signal to them (positively) that they’re not as “essential” as they might think they are. They’ll work a little more productively to continually earn that regular paycheck, when they know that being replaced wouldn’t kill the business.

Next week, I’ll share with you a few more ideas for how you can reduce these and other costs — and increase your profits.

Feel very free forward this article to a Waukesha County business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Waukesha County families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Dale Hammernik
(414) 545-1890

Hammernik & Associates

Dale Hammernik’s BIG IDEA: Testing Our Marketing Hypotheses

So, just to recap, the reason I take the time to write you these personal notes each week is that I firmly believe that every good relationship is built on value.

That goes for my clients (for whom, I hope these posts can provide significant value, outside of the financial and recordkeeping work we do on your behalf), those who are still “looking” (for whom I hope these posts give a flavor for the kind of people you may deal with), and for mybusiness owner associates in Waukesha County and nationally (for whom I provide these as encouragement).

Bottom line: I like to help my business-owner friends do very well in the midst of all the national (and international) gyrations we’re facing.

Which is why it’s NEVER a bad idea to reach for the tried and true. In this case, I’m referring to a gentleman by the name of Claude Hopkins, best known for his work, Scientific Advertising.

You know me–I parse language and numbers for my clients. Which is why I gravitate toward accurate, and tested approaches, like Mr. Hopkins’. He’s a bit of a classic among those who study marketing (and his famous work was published almost 100 years ago).

But if you like what you read, at the bottom of this post, I’ve got a link to where you can get yourself an online version of his classic text. Enjoy…

Dale Hammernik’s BIG IDEA: Testing Our Marketing Hypotheses
“The naked truth is always better than the best-dressed lie.” – Ann Landers

You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.

Yikes. That jingle is so old, it scares me that I know it. Pepsodent used to be the 800-pound gorilla of toothpaste. In 1927, Pepsodent was sold in 52 countries and advertised in 17 different languages. And yet, it was less than 100 years ago that toothpaste was considered a frivolous item … almost impossible to sell.

Claude Hopkins was one of those who “cracked the code” on toothpaste sales. And he “scientifically stumbled” across the marketing formula that made him a million dollars. (Before 1925!)

To his shock – as a seasoned 30-year veteran and master of direct response marketing – much of his winning marketing formula ran counter to everything he had previously learned. (For example, he was shocked to learn that the word “free” reduced response to toothpaste sales. This remains the only case where I have ever seen that to be true.)

The wisdom he passed on from his Pepsodent experience? “What is the lesson? It is that none of us can afford to rely on judgment or experience … After this experience, I can cite a hundred ways to advertise a tooth paste wrongly. Pepsodent offers the best argument I know for being guided by actual data.”

What kind of actual data? Every ad, measured. Every lead, measured. Every sale, measured.

Of course, you should always start out with what we “know” to be true. But the breakthroughs come from accurate and scientific testing, testing, testing.

For more of Mr. Hopkins, and a book that you should very much check out, go here:
http://scientificadvertising.blogspot.com/

Feel very free forward this article to a Waukesha County business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, at Hammernik & Associates we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Waukesha County families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Dale Hammernik
(414) 545-1890

Hammernik & Associates

Dale Hammernik Reveals The One Asset That Keeps Performing — When Managed Right

Look — I’m a tax professional, and being such, I am NOT one who likes shortcuts.

That said, I’m continually amazed in talking with my business owner friends and clients in the Waukesha County area who miss this major “shortcut” to increasing sales in their business. So, I’d like to take the time to remind you of it this week, if you’ll let me.

And, as I’ve mentioned before — I truly want to help you grow your business, even though there may be no *direct* benefit for me in doing so. Simply put, I’m hoping that as I can add some value to your thinking (as it relates to marketing and managing your business), there will be other ways that we can help you in the future.

And, of course, we always welcome your referrals for our services.

But without further ado, here are my thoughts on a seriously under-utilized tactic for increasing sales, even in the midst of an uncertain economy …

Dale Hammernik Reveals The One Asset That Keeps Performing — When Managed Right
Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals. -Jim Rohn

This tactic seems so obvious, but, unfortunately, it’s only used by my smartest business owner friends. It’s a recipe for doubling your sales–would you like that? How about doing it without spending any extra advertising money or getting even one new customer or client?

The vast majority of businesses in the world tend to invest most — if not all — of their time seeking out new ways to generate new sales via the acquisition of new customers.

They — incorrectly — assume their businesses can only grow and prosper as they add new, paying customers to their lists.

Only problem is, this can be very expensive.

Running ads which may or may not work, for example, is risky for even the best marketers in the game. Which is why, the key to quick and predictable new profits is not acquiring new customers … but servicing and developing the ones you already have.

Frankly, if you want to at least DOUBLE your sales — without adding a single new customer — then simply focus on superior customer service and repeatedly selling to your existing customer database regularly.

I know that sounds almost “too easy.”

But it’s one of the big “secrets” of marketers who rake in millions and millions of dollars per year. And, by the way, I’m not talking about selling them the SAME thing, but rather identifying other, similar products or services (even if they’re not your own), presenting them to your list in a non-intrusive way … and watching the sales continue.

You see, business insurance can replace most other assets, but the only insurance against loss of customers is exceptional service.

That’s the most profitable business “technique” you can learn.

Feel very free forward this article to a Waukesha County business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Waukesha County families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Dale Hammernik
(414) 545-1890

Hammernik & Associates

Dale Hammernik On Selling Apples

Last week, I indulged myself in a bit of a big-picture treatise about the current regulatory environment. But as you probably know, that’s not my normal fare.

I make it my goal in these weekly notes to pass along information which has proven useful to our firm and our successful clients. I do this because we want to be a partner with you in helping you grow your business.

We’re not marketing “gurus” around here, but we do hope to demonstrate our good will by passing along business-building information we come across.

And, of course, we’re always open to helping business owners in the Waukesha County area (and beyond) in a variety of ways, be they financial, bookkeeping, or otherwise. Let us know how we can be of service to you: (414) 545-1890

Oh, and an IMPORTANT TAX NOTE:
Personal and pass-through entity returns that were extended back in “tax season” are due WEDNESDAY, October 15th.

That means that if you’re someone we’ve been working with on an extension, and we are waiting on something from you … well, this week would be a marvelous time to send it our way! And, of course, here in the Hammernik & Associates office we’re working like bees in a garden to get all of our extended clients finished with the excellence to which you’re accustomed.

Anyway, I’ve got a little anecdote here, which is useful to model when it comes to how you present your products and services.

This week’s blog post is designed to push your thinking OUT of the conventional way you may be presenting your business offerings. In fact, it’s something I’m always looking to improve in my own processes, but which I know works.

Dale Hammernik On Selling Apples
“Go as far as you can see: when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” – Zig Ziglar

Here’s an instructive story for you to consider…

A young man, serving in the army, was assigned KP duty. Specifically, he was responsible for the apples in the chow line. Now, most of the soldiers didn’t care for the apples, and generally passed this young man without taking any.

After a while, the young man changed his serving tactic. Rather than ask his fellow soldiers if they “would like any apples,” he simply said, “One apple or two?”

Most of the soldiers then went away with at least one apple on their plate.

How many times do you give your prospects/customers a chance to “slip” away without a sell? Is the way you sell to your customers making the most of your products/services?

Sometimes, prospects and customers simply need a push in the right direction.
• Always speak about your products/services with enthusiasm.
• Assume your prospect/customer wants/needs what you have to offer.
• Use encouraging words and phrases such as “when you buy this product” versus “if you buy this product.”
• Ask for the sale! Later… ask again!
• And when you DO ask, present it in a “Yes/Yes” format, instead of “Yes/No.”

Follow these tips and you’ll be surprised at the number of customers that walk away with your products and services.

Feel very free forward this article to a Waukesha County business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, at Hammernik & Associates we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Waukesha County families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Dale Hammernik
(414) 545-1890

Hammernik & Associates