Tag: hedge funds (3 articles found)

How to Find a Business Mentor

by  Janet Behm  on  Friday, October 12, 2018

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." - John Wooden

For those of you in the early stages in your career, this article might be worth more than many of the classes you took in college -- if you follow my advice on how to find a business mentor.

And, for those of you who are further along in your business career in Salt Lake County ... frankly, the advice still applies. I can't tell you how many lunches (or coffees) I've been to with ill-prepared, meandering partners. And while some of the specifics of the questions might change from what I suggest here, and from person to person, and over the years ... there simply isn't a better way to build relationships with someone who is busy and successful than what I suggest below. After all ... they gotta eat!

Go somewhere easy -- and YOU pay.

Nobody has time to meet you for a fancy meal in the middle of a busy work day. A cup of coffee works because you pay in advance. You don't want that awkward moment where you both wait for the bill to come, or to have the server interrupt you a dozen times.

And yes, you might be young and poor-ish. But if you've chosen your lunch partner properly, it's simply good manners to ante up the $20-$30 (or less) to pay for their meal. This signals your valuing of their time, and it will build up good will.

Ask questions the entire time.

You convened the meal -- so it is your turn to ask the questions, pick this person's brain, and get as much feedback as you possibly can on your topic. I highly suggest that you come loaded with questions, ready to fire out.

Oh and there's one thing about questions that you need to know...

Ask good questions.

Please don't ask for their "best tips or advice". That's horribly lame, and they won't know where to start. So make it a rule to not ask general questions, because you'll simply get vague responses that won't help you much.

So what are some good questions?

Well, that of course, does depend on your lunch mate, and your own goals for the time. But, for general-purpose networking, and learning the stories behind someone's success, here are some good places to start:

  • What did you do right after high school? What did you do after college? [You want to see what a successful person has done right after completing their studies. This will usually surprise you.]

  • What does an average day look like in your life? I wonder if there's time for video games?

  • Who else do you work with? [This way, you can find out the other players involved in making their team work.]

  • What would you do if...? [Then you present a specific scenario -- hopefully one that you're experiencing yourself.]

Don't talk about yourself, unless asked directly.

Or, as The Rock used to say: "Know your role and shut your mouth." This is your time to be all ears and become a sponge for information. Don't give your input on every single comment.

Do some research.

Don't walk in confused or clueless about what this person is all about. It's important that you take some time to do your research and figure out exactly what this person has been working on. This will score you some bonus points. It pays to be interested. People want to know that their work is being taken seriously.

I do hope this will save you some embarrassment, and, even, open some doors for you that will take your business to the next level.

Feel very free to forward this article to a Salt Lake 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 families and business owners.

BE THE ROAR not the echo

Warmly,

 

Janet Behm

(801) 278-2700

Utah Real Estate Accountants

 

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3% of Businesses are Soaring!

by  Janet Behm  on  Tuesday, October 02, 2018

When I sit down with my Salt Lake County business owner clients (whether in person or on the phone), we try to look at EVERY aspect of their business, not just their books. And there is often great clarity when we peek at what is *behind* the books (marketing, sales, management, asset management, etc.).

The good news for my business owner clients from Salt Lake County is that when we put in place clear metrics and financial reports, they shed clear light on strategic decisions.

But the problem I've often found, is that OUTSIDE of the financial reports we're able to create for our clients, there are very few additional metrics in place to evaluate if they're headed in the right direction -- from a strategic, tactical and growth-oriented perspective.

Sure, financial numbers are great -- but what are your GOALS? And, I don't just mean sales goals. What do you want your business to look like two years from now? Five years from now?

And what are you doing to get there?

Too often, business owners are so busy working "in" their business, that they don't have the time to work ON these sorts of things properly.

Well, I have some short and sweet words for you this week on the subject.

Janet Behm's Five Key Elements For Setting Smart Business Goals

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain

Sometimes, as a business owner, you become so overwhelmed, the only thing you can do is take it one step at a time. And, although this may get you through the week, it's not going to help grow your business. Real growth comes from writing out the goals you plan to achieve -- and then putting those goals into action.

Here are some important rules to follow that we've found useful with clients in creating metrics and other goals:

Specific: You know exactly what your goal is.
Measurable: What will tell you that you actually achieved the goal?
Achievable: Speaks for itself. Don't bite off something huge.
Relevant: It fits into a coherent strategy.
Time Bound: Put a deadline on it.

Did you know ... only 3% of the population has written goals?

And, guess what?

This 3% earns far more than the rest.

If you truly want to see improvement and growth in your company, take the time to create SMART goals. Then, be sure to make yourself and your employees accountable for those goals.

Otherwise, you will always be taking it a day at a time.

BE THE ROAR not the echo!

Feel very free to forward this article to a Salt Lake 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 families and business owners.

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3-Reasons to Raise Your Prices

by  Janet Behm  on  Thursday, September 27, 2018

I take a look around the small business world sometimes, and I get a little sad.

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

When you differentiate yourself based on price, you simply cannot provide value. You end up competing on the wrong playing field, and it's not one in which you are built to win.

Yes, price war competitors have been in operation since the days of the Greek agora, but 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 goods and services.

Last week we addressed the danger of LOWERING your prices. Let's talk today about how you can raise them.

Janet Behm's Price War Strategies: Three Reasons To Raise Your Prices

"I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse." - Florence Nightingale

Many small businesses remain in perpetual survival mode because of how they price their products.

They believe that their only competitive advantage lies within their pricing, and so they run an ever-accelerating race to the bottom.

But even in shaky times (which, if you're looking at current economic numbers, we are NOT currently facing), people still have money to spend.

So it stands to reason that 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 understanding the specific value you provide. And if you're not clear on it, your prospective customers certainly won't be.

So how can you do better in communicating your specific value? Three ideas for you today...

1. Dig into your unique value proposition

Your prospects in Salt Lake County have no way to know if you are the best option for them. To regular consumers, most options are the same -- in almost every industry. So when you compete on price, you attract ... those who are shopping based on price. And, of course, they see you as "just like everyone else".

So, what makes your business different? And how do you show that to the marketplace?  That's what you need to focus on and become able to quickly tell that simple story. 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. Most consumers make purchasing decisions based on emotion

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, emotions and primal urges of their clients.  

You need to (and can) do the same thing in your business. Yes, your 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 identifying these aspects of your offering. Your value is not derived from the "features" of your product or service ... it is found in the intangible -- emotional -- benefits from working with or purchasing from YOU.

3. Re-package your offerings based on value

For service professionals in Salt Lake County, 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 little stability in that. So, my advice? Begin 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 message 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. Many people are willing to pay more for certainty. 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 that might augment the experience of using your products. Consider what your customers actually want (on an emotional level) and the problems they face in using your services. Property Maintenance companies 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 ... and into the heart of your customers' desires.

Remember this: There are always consumers out there with more money to spend. And they NEED your products or services. It is left to you to convey the intrinsic value of working with you (even at a higher price point) for you to make a revenue shift with what is left of this year.

For further research, see our article, BE THE ROAR, not the echo, on the Utah Real Estate Investors Association website https://www.utahreia.org/Default.aspx 

Feel very free to forward this article to a Salt Lake 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 families and business owners.

Warmly,

Janet Behm

(801) 278-2700

 

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