Call Us: 414-545-1890

15    16    17

Hammernik & Associates BBB Business Review

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Thinking Bigger With Your Time: Dale Hammernik’s One-Week Delegation Challenge

Recently, I encouraged you to re-assess your pricing model, and I gave you some ways that you could do so, and think bigger about what you’re worth.

But even getting paid more can still keep you in a velvet prison if you’re not smart with your time.

Just because you “have employees”, or you’ve been to a nice seminar on delegation, doesn’t mean that you are doing it well — that you are truly freeing yourself up so you can handle only the most profitable activities in your orbit.

And honestly, this is a pretty crucial skill, even if you don’t happen to be a business owner. It’s something that really anyone should take the time to develop.

Answer the question: what am I doing here — really?

The response (if you’re honest) might surprise you.

I also encourage you to take a look at what’s at the end of this post, even if only for the sake of your friends …

Thinking Bigger With Your Time: Dale Hammernik’s One-Week Delegation Challenge
“The ability to concentrate and to use time well is everything.” – Lee Lacocca

Many business owners hold themselves back through improper, or insufficient delegation.

What do I mean by this? Simple: it’s likely you spend too much time on activities easily handled by somebody else…and further down the pay scale.

There’s one major place small business owners get hung up that will keep you “running a business” instead of *owning* a business –and that’s investing in the support staff you need to take some of the heavy administrative and marketing burdens off your plate.

I hear so many excuses from clients who desperately need help but sabotage themselves with “I can’t afford it” or “I can’t trust anyone else to do the work” or “It’s easier to just do it myself or “I don’t have space for an assistant” excuses.

If you don’t make the investment in key support staff to assist you in the operations of your business, you’ll never grow beyond your current earning capacity and you won’t be able to serve your clients and customers as well as you possibly could.

At the same time, of course, you don’t want to get into a situation where you have too much support, which will result in bloated overhead and you keeping very little of your money.

So, how do you know if you have too much, too little or just the right amount?

For one week do the following:

1. Write down every single thing you do on a daily basis as it relates to your business. Track your time down to the minute and be sure to include seemingly minute tasks such as, “called the courier and arranged pick up of documents” to “ordered coffee for the office”. Have every person on your team do the same.

2. At the end of the week, circle everything on your list that could have been done by someone else. And closely examine what your team members were doing.

3. Make adjustments once you see how your time and your team are really operating. It can be hard to see what’s really going on, but it’s always worth it. Add up the number of hours you spent on the items you circled in step 2, and calculate how much more revenue you could have brought in if you had spent that time in revenue-generating (or marketing) activities instead.

Once you see what’s really going on, you can make decisions with knowledge instead of remaining in the dark about your business.

+++++++++++++++++
“No Charge” Return Review
Special Offer
As a complimentary service this year, we will provide a Return Review To Any Non-Client. We will also review prior year returns from clients who did NOT have us handle their taxes during the year under question. No charge will be made, unless we have to file an amended return. Email our office (using the email button at the top of this page) or call (414) 545-1890 to set up this complimentary service!
Deadline May 8th
+++++++++++++++++

Feel very free to share this article with 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 3 Steps To Thinking Bigger on Pricing

Despite the stock market increases, and the national economic figures from the government bureaus showing a recovery, it’s not always felt on Main Street, here in Waukesha County.

And I can guarantee that your competitors (and many Waukesha County small businesses) are stressing and fretting over how to *survive*, these days — let alone thrive. For many, this is a mindset issue, and it’s something I like to advise my business owner clients about.

Because often, when we get trapped in this cycle of stress and fret, we lose the vision and the ability to think bigger.

But your competitors may not have someone like me in their corner! That means they’re probably committing some serious mistakes … and, that can be a GOOD thing for you.

As your advisor, I’d like to see you avoid their fate.

Follow my advice this week. It’s your livelihood at stake here.

Dale Hammernik’s 3 Steps To Thinking Bigger on Pricing
“You have to see opportunity before you can seize it.” -Greg Hickman

It’s heartbreaking to watch so many Waukesha County small businesses go out of business or not bring home enough bacon simply because they get trapped into thinking about their pricing the wrong way.

When you differentiate yourself based on pricing, you simply cannot provide value. You end up competing on the wrong basis.

While price competitors have been in operation since the beginning of time, it’s important to understand that if YOU want to build a sustainable, scalable, and one day SALE-able business, a core foundational piece of that puzzle is that you must be charging enough for your services.

Is that possible in this economy? Absolutely.

Let me shift your thinking outside your particular world and into the retail world for a moment (though some of my readers are already living there). Stores that offer super-low prices like Wal-Mart and Target are thriving in this economy. So with that logic, you’d expect high-end stores like Nordstrom or Saks 5th Avenue to be out of business right now … but they’re not.

The super-high-priced Apple Watch is on everyone’s list. Luxury carmakers like Mercedes and BMW are reporting record sales despite the fact that “no one has money to spend.”

How can this be?

It’s simple, really. People DO have money to spend … if you’re not bringing it in, you’re simply not doing a good enough job showing them that your place of business is the best place to spend it.

You see, it’s all about the value. Could it be that you’re not communicating yours properly?

So how can you do this? Here are some things you can do right now:

1. Stop Acting Like a Commodity.
Your prospects have no way to know if you are the best option for them. To regular folks, most options are the same–in almost every industry. So when you compete on price, you’ll get price shoppers galore, who see you as just like everyone else. But, you are *not* like all the other options … are you?

So, what makes you different? And how do you show that to the marketplace? That’s what you need to focus on and show the world. Your prospects must turn to you because they trust you, and because they see your business as worth the money–not because you’re the cheapest option.

2. Identify the Value of the Outcome You Provide.
Why can Nordstrom’s charge higher prices for products found elsewhere (i.e. cars, purses, ties, shoes)? It’s because of the VALUE they’ve attached to their brand (i.e. social prestige, enhanced customer service, increased self-esteem). They’ve moved themselves out of the commodity market and into the heart, emotion and primal urges of their clients.

You need to do the same thing in your business. Yes, Mr. Customer can get a widget or receive a service for $XYZ … but what are they NOT getting when they work with that other option? Focus on these aspects. It’s not about the “feature” of your product or service … it’s about the intangible benefits from working with YOU.

3. Move Beyond “Typical” Pricing Strategies.
For service professionals, there are only so many hours in a day, and you’ll reach an income plateau very quickly when you are billing by the hour. Not to mention that you have to start every month over at zero — and there’s no stability in that.

So, my advice? Consider billing on a flat-fee/value basis.

If you’re scared to shift, just think of the VALUE your customers will experience having a professional using flat-fee billing. They won’t be nickel-and-dimed for every phone call, email and fax that comes through the office. They can communicate with you as they wish without fear, and they can pick their price point of choice if you have multiple flat-fee options. And believe me, people are willing to pay more for certainty every time. It’s a win-win for them — and it’s very much a win-win for the health/sustainability of your business.

For retailers or product providers, you can only play “margin games” for so long. So, identify *monthly* services which might augment the experience of using your products. Consider what your customers WANT, and the problems they face in using your services. Restaurants could initiate a “VIP club”, with special perks, automatic billing and exclusive choices. Merchants can create enthusiast groups, or lessons and coaching.

The point is to go *beyond* the widget … into the heart of your customers’ desires.

Remember this: People still have money to spend … in every economy. And they NEED your products or services (right?). It’s up to you to convey the intrinsic value of working with you (even at a higher price point) to command the income level you want (and rightfully deserve) this year.

Feel very free share this article with 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

Grateful To Serve Waukesha County Business Owners This Tax Season

Wow, this tax season has flown past like a bullet train. Thanks to you, our business has been hopping this year, and we don’t take it for granted.

Many Waukesha County business owners have had a whole slew of new concerns this year, as a result of the implementation of the ACA, and its attendant regulations. We’ve been honored to help you and others with all of it (including no small number of brand new local business clients).

For this and other reasons, we do have some clients going on extension (about which I wrote last week), and we will continue to work with them … after we take a short break around here for some needed rest!

And speaking of the IRS, perhaps I should also thank the federal government for creating a tax system so complex and counterintuitive that it has provided myself and those who work for me with gainful employment.

Leaving my own personal circumstances aside though, I’d be thrilled if our tax system was much simpler.

But it isn’t simple, and it is far better to live in the reality of what *is* (and work to make positive change), than to simply moan about a problem that is larger than what any one person can change.

I believe that, as a business owner, you understand what I mean by that.

Preparing tax returns is like that — it is dealing with what *is* — not with what “could be”. Which is why tax PLANNING will be the subject of a few of my Notes in the future.

We can do much for for you than simple historical reporting. Email me, or call me in a couple weeks, and we can discuss more fully.

Lastly, I hope you’ll forgive me for taking a break from writing you a Business Strategy Note for this week … I’m not sure that if I did so, anything besides numbers and spreadsheets would come out. It’s amazing what 4 months of staring at government forms does to a brain.

But hey — this is what we signed up for. And we are extremely grateful for your trust, and for the chance you’ve given us to serve you in it, so you don’t have to suffer the same fate.

We will be in touch again soon. Assuming, of course, that this newly-fierce caffeine hangover ever releases me from its foul (but oh-so-sweet) grip.

Warmly,

Dale Hammernik
(414) 545-1890

Hammernik & Associates

A Wise Pivot: Dale Hammernik’s Tax Season Inspiration

I would be remiss if I didn’t let you “in” a little bit to say that this tax busy season has been particularly busy.

Much of this is because of the steady stream of new clients calling, emailing and coming through our doors. But it’s also because of the brand new regulatory environment faced by businesses (and individuals) under the ACA.

But despite all of this, we have grown in our conviction that we have the best clients of any tax accounting firm in the nation.

I’ll speak more about that in the future, but I wanted to make sure you knew that we appreciate your kindnesses and warmth thus far.

Now … before I get to my main points, a few things to note:

1) Wednesday, April 15th is the deadline to contribute to IRA’s, etc., in order to have them count on this year’s (2014) taxes.

2) It is also the deadline to claim the almost $1BN in unclaimed refunds for returns dating back to 2011. If you, for some reason, didn’t file for that year, you could be missing out. Call us for this special circumstance: (414) 545-1890
(Or for any other question — but again, bear with us, as we are extremely busy!)

This week, I’d like to pass along an inspiring story. Sometimes around tax season, we business owners are tempted to pull pack, give up, or give in. Or, when facing criticism, we will just press forward, and face the torpedoes. Maybe we should get creative?

A Wise Pivot: Dale Hammernik’s Tax Season Inspiration
“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” – Henry J. Kaiser

Nineteenth-century publisher Cyrus H. K. Curtis had a passion for the newspaper business, but he didn’t always have a lot of success with it. He published his first weekly paper at age 13 and built it up until he had 100 customers. Unfortunately, a fire wiped out his business — but his determination to succeed in the industry endured.

By 1870, he was a successful advertising salesman for a small Boston newspaper. He was so good at his job that the owner offered to sell the paper to him for $250. Curtis turned the offer down, but the owner eventually gave it to him for nothing. Unfortunately, that publication failed, too.

Undaunted, Curtis founded a new one, The Tribune & Farmer. One day his wife asked him who wrote the feature called “The Woman’s Page.”

“I do,” said Curtis.

“It’s utterly ridiculous!” exclaimed his wife.

Instead of arguing, Curtis challenged his wife to write the page herself. Mrs. Curtis accepted the offer, and soon her page became the most popular section of the paper.

Recognizing a hot commodity, Curtis expanded the feature, and ultimately fashioned the publication around it, giving the paper a new name:

Ladies’ Home Journal.

The newspaper (and eventual magazine) went on to have one of the most successful runs in the history of publishing.

Imagine if Mr. Curtis had simply “given up”, or ignored the feedback from his wife …

May we, also, adjust and lead with such wisdom.

Feel very free to share this article with 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