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Archive for the 'Web Marketing' Category

How to Profitably Scale Your Business Using a Salary Cap

Integrating and Implementing a Salary Cap in Your Business

Sports fans understand the concept of a salary cap because most of the major professional sports leagues have some version of a salary cap. In business the term salary cap is used to define a determined payroll limit that restricts the amount of money to be spent on wages and salaries for a specific period of time. Some restoration business owners do not think about how their business could benefit from establishing a salary cap.

As a restoration business owner your single biggest expense is likely labor– the salary/wages that you pay to your employees (including yourself) and the money paid out to subcontractors or vendors for labor. If you want to impact your overall success and your profitability, then you need to start by looking at your labor productivity as the biggest component in your business.

In a growing business, labor costs can quickly balloon out of control. When small businesses are making the transition to medium-sized businesses it is possible to fall into a dangerous feedback loop of borrowing and spending. As you scale your business, your costs will grow, and it is tempting to see break-even (your previous measure of success) as sufficiently safe growth.

Greg Crabtree is the author of Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits, and one of the great ideas in his book is the recommendation that every business should self-impose a salary cap just like the one that NFL teams deal with every year.

How to Calculate Your Salary Cap:

To keep the math easy we will use an example of a business that generates $1,000,000 in revenue. In this example the business owner has determined that they want a 10% pre-tax profit from the business after paying themselves a reasonable market wage.

The non-salary costs were calculated by adding up all the fixed costs like materials and subcontractors, and operating expenses like rent, utilities, insurance, communications, and advertising, etc.  This would also include the cost of goods (less labor and management labor) for $1,000,000 in revenue. In this example the non-salary costs are $400,000. As you can see, that means the salary cap is $500,000, which includes all labor costs.

A simple calculation can help you determine the total labor costs allowable with your current revenues.

Labor CAP Formula:

LC = (total revenue) – [(0.1 x total revenue)] – (non-labor costs)

($1,000,000) – [($100,000)] – ($400,000) = $500,000

Here is an example:

If the current payroll expense is more than $500,000 (and the other numbers are correct) then this business is not going to hit the profit target and the business is at risk. That gets us back to the labor productivity idea- the key is to generate $1M in revenue from that $500,000 of labor, and if you want to be more profitable than 10%, then you either need to cut your salary expenses without impacting your productivity (do more with less) or grow your revenue without increasing your salary (again do more with less…or technically the same in this case).

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

Make it a prosperous month!  Stay tuned for next month’s article.

Mobile Technology Adaption Growing in Small Businesses

A recent Constant Contact survey shows a strong trend among small business owners who are using mobile technology to not only conduct business, but also to promote their business, with conducting social media marketing (73%) and email marketing (71%) at the top of the list.

Other uses include engaging in advertising through social media outlets, as well as having a mobile-friendly site. A smaller percentage of the survey participants use tablets for point-of-sale purposes and use mobile apps to manage their business. 82% using a calendar/time management app tops the list of types of apps used, with others reporting app usage in customer communications, GPS/mapping, accounting/invoicing, travel planning and industry news updates.

In regards to social media advertising, a whopping 97% of those surveyed utilize many of the “biggies” of social media for advertising dollars: YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For those that have mobile-friendly sites, 70% of participants reported that it’s not only mobile-friendly, but also social-media optimized. Other characteristics of these sites include:

-A Menu (44%)
-Individual Product Listings (40%)
-Videos (39%)

And, when it comes to what type of mobile device is choice among small business owners, iOS is still heads above the Android. (66% to 39% respectively). In tablets, iPad beats out the Android tablet, 49% to 15% respectively.

Now, not all small businesses are behind the mobile trend, and for various reasons, with the top reason (56%) being that their customers have not expressed demand for mobile communications. 28% said mobile is not relevant to their industry/business.

For the restoration contractor, there are many opportunities for both their sales and marketing force plus their operations team to benefit from the many advantages of mobile technology. Learning curves, costs of the technology itself and having very little time to learn and adapt to mobile technology are just some of the reasons why contractors, much like the non-mobile users in the owners surveyed, have not employed this trend into their own businesses. But, as any business knows, it’s vital to stay ahead of the curve for business trends that have a direct impact on best servicing their customers.

In an ever-increasing world dependent on technology, it will be critical for small business owners to adapt to mobile changes before their customers start demanding it-and for the company, to adapt to mobile technology before they get left behind while the competition roars ahead.

If you are a contractor or a company in the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry, and have found that what was working to grow your company from point A to point B is not working to get you to point C, Business Development Associates, Inc. might be the solution for you. We are helping companies across the country predictably control the growth of their companies with proprietary sales and marketing programs that are generating millions in new business. Email us at info@thebdaway.com or call us at 773-777-9956 today!

Don’t Miss These Upcoming BDA Sales & Marketing Seminars!

Don’t miss these upcoming BDA Sales & Marketing Seminars, where you can learn powerful strategies to predictably grow your business to the next level!

Contractor Connection 2013 Conference & Expo
May 21-23; San Antonio, Texas
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
Tim Miller, President of BDA, Will Be Presenting the Course:
“5 Stages of Small Business Growth for a Restoration Contractor”
https://www.contractorconnection.com/contractorconference/Breakouts.aspx

Business growth often triggers other business challenges. Business owners tend to approach growing their company as one long continuum from the day they open to the day they retire. When in fact, there are distinct stages of growth, with different challenges, stressors, and potential outcomes. Growing companies can greatly profit from advanced knowledge of the challenges they are likely to face at each step.

This course will explore the five stages of growth for a small business while applying it to our specific industry. Detailed explanation of what each stage looks like, and suggested steps to successfully navigate those transitions, will be included in this course. Learn More About This Course By Clicking Here!

Sales Mastery For Restorers
August 7th; Columbus, Ohio
Cleanserv/Interlink Supply Classroom
Tim Miller, President of BDA, Will Be Presenting the Course:
“Sales Mastery for Restorers”
Hosted by: Totally Booked University/Jeff Cross, Senior Editor of Cleanfax Magazine

http://www.carpetcleaningrestorationmarketing.com/sales-mastery.html

This one-day course will teach show you how to increase sales by implementing a powerful, real world selling system that has been customized for the restoration salespeople and their targets! The course is hosted by Totally Booked University and Jeff Cross, Senior Editor of Cleanfax Magazine.

It has never been more important to maximize the ability of your sales team to deliver business. Most restorers agree that the average water loss is $3,000 with at least a 50% profit margin. That means that every sale you don’t bring in is costing you $1,500 or more! Plus, sales salaries and expenses add up quickly and you need to deliver a strong return.

Sales training isn’t new. But, sales training designed from the ground up just for restoration contractor salespeople is! There is no other program like this available anywhere! Click Here To Learn More About This Course!

If you have any questions about these upcoming courses and workshops, you can reach us at 773-777-9956 or email us at info@theBDAway.com.

We look forward to seeing you!

Facebook Conversations Get Easier With New Feature

Facebook announced a new comments feature that will allow for easier and more direct conversation between users.

As many know, a post can render many comments from other Facebook users. The owner of the original post could comment back to a specific person’s comment, but if not immediate, the owner’s reply could appear way down the conversation thread, thus leaving confusion and impact of the reply to the individual.

With Facebook’s new feature, users can reply to each other’s posts and comments directly by hitting the “reply” button that will be placed next to individual comments, allowing for the communications to be grouped accordingly. In a B2B setting, this can add even more power to the 1:1 interaction between the company and the customer on Facebook, allowing for a targeted, specific and meaningful interaction.

In addition, those comments and replies that are the most active and engaging will surface to the top of the post. This allows people visiting your page to see the best conversations occurring on your content.

For now, only profiles with more than 10,000 followers and pages will have the feature enabled at this point. For those folks, the reply feature will be automatically enabled on July 10, 2013 on your Page, but for now, you can go to your settings in your Page admin panel to enable the new feature. Mobile users will also have to wait to enjoy this future, but plans are in the works to have this feature in place for Facebookers “on the go.”

Video Tip: Latent Memory in the Sales Process

Understanding the role of Latent Memory in the sales process, and how the brain correlates to that of a computer, can open the doors to a meaningful sales conversation. CLICK HERE to see the video, hosted by Jeff Cross of Cleanfax Magazine and Tim Miller, President of Business Development Associates.

Free Webinar: Generating New Business

Register today for this free event, happening on February 27th at 3PM EST!

Brought to you by Cleanfax Magazine, this webinar will provide multiple guidelines and best practices for marketing your business in 2013 so you can position your company for growth this year.

Included on the panel of thought leaders will be Tim Miller, President of Business Development Associates, Inc. Other presenters include Chuck Violand, Steve Marsh and Jeff Cross.

See you at the webinar! Click here to register now!

The Unreliable “Chicken Dip” Of the Restoration Industry

Superbowl weekend is upon us, and it’s time for many Americans to feast down on an array of game snack favorites, including the ever popular buffalo wing and what has become the current champion of SuperBowl snacks: Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Now, we’re defining the Buffalo Chicken Dip as the most popular football snack due to its popularity, evidenced by being the most searched keyword phrase on Google as compared to its game day counterparts, such as guacamole, chili, nachos, etc. According to a Wordstream research study on the seasonality and trends of keywords, “buffalo chicken dip” and “chicken wings” for that matter, have a direct correlation between the beginning and end date of the season and the increase in the search of those keywords.

“Buffalo Chicken Dip” for example, increases in keyword search significantly in September, peaks in December and again in February, which is the beginning and end of the regular football season, and then of course, the Superbowl.

As a restorer, you also have seasonal peaks that are busier than others. Or, as the owner of Wordstream would phrase it, the “chicken dip” of the restoration industry-when your business will have spikes due to seasonal changes. As consultants specializing in the restoration industry, we know that for most restorers, while weather can be a great source of sales for the year, it’s also highly unpredictable.

While vendors who sell wings might throw a lot of money at PPC and SEO during this football season, restorers might also be spending or thinking about spending their marketing dollars to capture some of that winter weather business when searches for your services might be peaking. PPC and many types of SEO techniques might lead to some increased activity if you have the time and resources to dedicate to it. Take caution though, you’re essentially counting on something unpredictable (i.e.: the weather,) to be a driving force of your sales and now, you’re spending dollars online to capture business from an unreliable source.

Now, if you do have the time and resources to properly implement a PPC campaign or advanced SEO, great! But let it be another piece of your overall sales and marketing strategy versus betting your hard-earned dollar on a horse that could go lame. Take a look at the recent NHL lockout, which caused many vendors to were bite their nails at the lost business (and if the NHL season didn’t start, probably lose some fingers eventually).

For every Bruins game that was cancelled, for example, bars and restaurants around TD Garden lost as much as $1M for every game cancelled. (In our industry, “The Winter that Wasn’t” is probably conjuring up similar nail-biting memories for you right now.)What would happen to wings and chicken dip if football (heaven forbid!) had a lockout? How many vendors would be biting nails then because they assumed that football would be there every season as their biggest source of income. We’ve found the same to be true with many restorers we talk to in regards to how they count on weather-related work every year as a substantial part of their income and in many of those cases were very disappointed with the season that wasn’t.

We’ve talked to a lot of restorers that have tried individual tactics, and while some had gotten a job or two out of it, the ROI they had received when it was said and done did not cover the expense of the tactic itself. Or worse, they got zero ROI. And we can usually attribute that to having no strategy driving and directing the tactics. Having your strategy, tactics and sales force all working towards the common goal, along with having an overall plan that predictably grows your business, versus counting on the “chicken dip” season of the year, can create incredible growth and success in your company.

For now, enjoy the game on Sunday, and see you next time on the BDA Blog! (By the way, If you’re interested in learning how to predictably grow your business and not count on weather, programs or good luck to be the main sources of your company’s growth , click here!)

Wall Street, Restorers and How Social Media Impacts Buying Decisions

A recent survey by the Brunswick Group stated that 57% of the roughly 500 investors and sell-side analysts surveyed said they were most influenced in their investment decisions by the information they obtain directly from the company. 85% said that information directly from the company was amongst their top three most influential sources in their final buying decision.

Now, social media in regards to influencing their decisions is not totally off the table. About 14% of those surveyed said that digital and social media ranked among their top three influencers in decision making. That’s pretty powerful, but, it still points to the fact that social media has a long way to go in being the end all be all of decision making. But, it’s certainly something that should not be ignored.

The same is true with those deciding to do business with a restorer. We find that when talking to current and prospective clients, the question of social media will come up as well as other tactics and whether they are the right marketing method.

In the restoration industry, there are typically various targets that a restorer will go after: consumers, insurance professionals, plumbers and a slew of other folks that can refer business. And with anyone you are marketing to, especially those that are unfamiliar with your company in the first place, you’ll need a certain number of exposures in order for your message to break through the incredible amount of messages being received everyday by your prospect.

What was the traditional rule of “7” in marketing exposures varies now due to the rise of social media in our everyday professional and personal lives, and of course, the increased amount of messages the average prospects comes across daily. So, there’s no magic answer. Some still say 7, but others will also say 10 or even more.

The good news here is that social media can be one of the many ways you reach out to your customers in an attempt to gain brand awareness recognition. But, it’s important to take note of the Brunswick survey, as the principle of having key ways to provide your company’s message through direct means is crucial. This includes having a dynamic sales force in place to deliver your message correctly.

And, if you translate your message so effectively, consistently and frequently you can then reach what some might call the “holy grail” in marketing: immediate, unaided brand recall. For a restorer, that means that when your customer needs restoration services, they immediately think of your company and because you have done such a phenomenal job selling and marketing to them, you “own” that position in their mind of the “go-to” restorer.

So, does social media and putting all your eggs in that basket as a communications platform equal the end-all be all of reaching the holy grail? For now, no, but it’s definitely another platform that is rising in terms of influencing buying decisions, whether it’s a an IT firm trying to influence a Wall Street investor or an insurance agent or adjuster deciding whether a restorer’s services are right for them.

6 Concerns For Independent Agents in 2013

According to Future One’s Agency Universe Study, the independent insurance agency market has increased to 38,500. While the positive upswing is encouraging, and there is a vast market of consumers to service, independent agents must still assure survival of their individual company. Here are 6 things that these types of agencies should be aware of in 2013 in order to survive and thrive including:

Digital Marketers
While the internet expands every day (and every minute for that fact), it brings a new level of competition to the independent agent. Much like a restoration contractor’s overall strategy, the internet should be calculated into the marketing mix, but, it’s not the end-all be-all of tactics to gain and grow your business. With a multi-generational audience with different technology and communication preferences, plus the need for anyone marketing to reach out to their audience in various ways, the internet is really just one spoke in the communication hub. Utilizing other methods such as traditional direct mail in addition to online and social media marketing can help a company break through the clutter and barrage of messages the average consumer gets a day. And, of course, making sure your message is different so you are not regulated to the realm of “every other agent” or “every other restorer” is critical.

Baby Boomers
In 2017, boomers will make up half the U.S. population (78 million strong currently). For the independent agent, those agencies that are owned by baby boomers could become more aggressive in building up their book of business in order to sell their company and finance their soon-coming retirement if they do not have a legacy plan in place. Boomers, by general nature of their generation, are more affluent than the more cost-conscious and frugal generations before them. Boomers will also eventually control 70% of the nation’s disposable income and stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years. For the boomer independent agency owner (as well as other agencies), this could mean a greater marketing push at the boomer generation through directed marketing strategies in order to gain that business from a generation who has a greater possibility than other generations of affording multiple polices and having a greater spending power. With greater spending power, comes the ability to buy more goods that need to be insured, such as second homes, boats and extra vehicles, in addition to life policies.

Any business will have threats from outside sources that can either hurt the business, or be a make or break in regards to just surviving. For independent agents, watching some of the pre-cautionary warnings might help them stay ahead of the marketplace as 2013 gets underway.

To read the full article, please click here.

Facebook’s New Graph Search Feature Unveiled

Facebook unveiled it’s new (still in beta) feature yesterday at their mystery event that caused many to hypothesize what the social media giant was up to since their “mystery event” invite went out a couple of weeks ago.

The new feature, called Graph Search, will be featured on the upper right corner of a user’s Facebook page (the page template will be getting reworked to include this new feature). Basically, the Facebook search functionality will still be present, but the Graph Search functionality will now allow a user to have even greater filtering capabilities. The filtering will be divided into four main types of search: People, Photos, Interests and Places. The Facebook users can search for broad or very specific, from “Photos I like” or “Restoration Contractors in Chicago, Illinois that my friends or family like.”

Facebook has been able to leverage their relationship with Microsoft Bing, thus extending the search reach to general web searches and beyond the scope of Facebook. From personal to business, Graph Search can be used for several search purposes. The possibilities with mobile technology can also increase the adaption and usage of this new function from Facebook.

Currently, There is no launch date as of yet for Graph Search.

To read more about Facebook’s new product, click here!



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