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February 2012
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April 2012

Do You Pay Yourself First?

As you pay the bills for your cleaning business, do you wait to see if there's anything left over in the checking account before you even begin to think about paying yourself?

Where did it all go?

"I thought for sure this month I'd have enough left over to pay myself!" This is a common lament for many cleaning business owners that have no idea where all their profits are going each month.

Unfortunately this cycle will continue unless you learn to pay yourself first. Wouldn't it be nice to not only get paid, but to set aside a little each month to go towards retirement, to put a little extra towards your mortgage, or to even take a short vacation?

Paying yourself means exactly that - writing yourself a check each month. If you have to, add yourself to the payroll - that's what we do. As owners, we get a paycheck every payday just like our employees. It doesn't have to be large -- you certainly don't want to wipe out all your profit. Perhaps you could start out with $1,000 a month. I would even go one step further and set up an automatic transfer right into your personal savings account.

If you already have an IRA, take some of that money and have it automatically deposited into your account so you're saving at least a little each month.

The question I know a lot of you are asking right now is -- "What if I don't have enough to pay my bills after I pay myself?"

Here's the funny thing that happens when you pay yourself first. Becaue you feel the pressure of making sure your creditors are paid, your survival instincts kick in and forces you to work harder for that extra income. How is THAT for a marketing plan? Without even realizing it, you start networking more, you start asking for more referrals, you start following up with old clients, and you start sending out more appreciation cards. You'll start working more efficiently and you'll become more creative in the many ways you can generate more income.

The bottom line is, it will not take much to make that extra money because deep down inside, you know you need to kick it into gear and become more productive this month. And when you start seeing your personal bank accounts grow, you'll have a greater sense of accomplishment and peace, knowing that all your hard work is paying off.

Try it.  You just might like it!

It was a chance meeting. Or was it?

I love this video from Jeffrey Gitomer. It proves the point that when you put yourself out in your community and slowly build a reputation in your community, people start to recognize you. It also makes you more approachable.

I remember when Steve used to be a contributor to an "Ask an Expert" column in our local newspaper. Because he was active in the Chamber, other members used to approach him and say, "I recognize you from that column. Can I ask you a question?" He deliberately positioned himself as an expert, which gave him more credibility. And when this happens, great things start to happen for your business. What are YOU doing to become recognizable?


Increase Response Rates For Your Direct Mail Campaign By Using This 11-Step Checklist

Many cleaning business owners spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on direct mail campaigns and then become frustrated when they see little or no results. Usually it's because they're missing one of the most important components of a successful direct mail campaign.

Next time you decide to send direct mail, use this checklist to make sure you are setting yourself up for success.

1. Choose a very specific target market. When you send your mailing to the masses you're just throwing your money down the drain because the message won't resonate with everyone on your list.

2. Decide the specific action you want your recipients to take. Do you want them to pick up the phone and call? Listen to a recorded message? Go to your website and fill out a form? Don't make them guess because they won't waste their time.

3. If sending your mailing in an envelope, do something to make sure they open it. Use a bright color, make it over-sized, print a bold message to entice them to open it.

4. Put some time into creating a headline and making an offer they can't possibly ignore. You don't need to give away the farm with your offer either. Just hit a hot button and offer a way to solve that issue. For example, targeting men that wait until the last minute to buy their wives a Mother's Day gift is a great target market to go after. The offer could be something about pampering their wives by giving them a massage, bottle of wine, and free house cleaning for a month or more.

5. Explain the results your offer will deliver. In the example above, explain how his wife will feel if she doesn't have to clean house and how she'll feel when she can use that extra time to pamper herself with a relaxing massage.

6. Explain the benefits of accepting your offer -- it's a Mother's Day she'll never forget; he'll feel great for giving her the gift of time and relaxation; he'll be a hero in her eyes.

7. Write a strong headline and include a P.S. that restates the offer and lets them know how to take action. Most people read the P.S. right after reading the headline, so these must be the strongest parts of your direct mail piece.

8. Tell your prospect the exact steps to take next -- call this number from 9am - 5pm to place your order and we'll tell you how to pick up your gift basket.

9. Track your results. Set up a spreadsheet for all your direct mail campaigns and track inquiries, sales, and follow up actions. Follow up actions include additional mailings or follow up phone calls.

10. Improve your results by doing more of what's working and eliminating what's not working. When you track your results you'll be able to see exactly what works and what doesn't. Don't waste any more money on doing what's not working.

11. Improve your sales copy and test with small groups. Sometimes just changing a word or two can make all the difference in the success of a direct mail piece. Experiment with this by sending your "tweaked" copy to a small group of people. If you get a good response, increase the numbers you send it to gradually.

If you use this checklist before sending out another direct mail campaign you'll increase your chances of success. You'll also save money in your marketing budget so you're not throwing your money out the window.