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November 21, 2001

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A FREE electronic magazine...                   November 21, 2001
B I G   B U C K S   I N   A   B A T H R O B E
Make More Money & Have More Fun With Your Small Business!
Publisher:  Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
  Back issues at
    Comments, suggestions, or questions are always welcome.
(Scroll to end for subscribe / unsubscribe instructions)
                     Happy Thanksgiving!!!
I n   T h i s   I s s u e . . .
   1. NEW FEATURE: A "Quickie" - Personal Observations
   2. Feature: Topic of the Month
   3. Feature: Article "The Perfect Gift for Our Customers"
   4. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
   5. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
   6. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
   7. Who the Heck am I, Anyway?
   8. How to Subscribe / Unsubscribe
  PLEASE FORWARD THIS to each of your friends who have small or
  home-based businesses; they'll LOVE you for it!  (Be sure they
  know it's from you, or they'll think I spammed 'em!)  Thanks!
(c)2001, A Few Good People, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 N E W   F E A T U R E:  A "Quickie"  - Personal Observations
I heard an ad on the radio for an auto repair shop that has a
children's play area in the waiting room, stocked with toys and
play sets.  Now THERE's a business that found out what their
target customers (moms) needed and then delivered a little
something extra!
22222 T o p i c   o f   t h e   M o n t h
This month's topic...
   As small business owners, our time is pretty much our own (see
   last week's article).  How do you take advantage of that
   flexibility, and how do you keep from working TOO much?
Since the last issue, I have gotten several responses... here is
a taste:
From Barnard Colin in Australia:
   I would like to give some ideas to people who are tempted to
   run their office from home.  This is what works for me and
   this is what I observed that prevented others from being
   successful and forced them to return to the "normal" office
   1.)  Have your objective in mind.  Know what you want and how
   you will get it... and visualize what will happen to you once
   you have it... remember to include everything in your picture
   (Family, Friends, Work environment etc...)
   2.)  Get up early, shower and wear normal clothes ASAP unless
   you get to do some physical activity first.  (stretching works
   miracles on me).  I noticed that staying in evening clothes
   like a bathrobe stops me from getting my adrenalin to flow...
     continued at
From Geoff Dolbear in California:
   Several years ago we made a resolution to break away more
   often, and we planned several one-week trips that we had been
   putting off.  These were spaced about two months apart.  That
   worked well, and we do it every year.  Sometimes I take along
   the computer, sometimes I don't.  Usually I keep track of the
   phone, but even that was not possible when we did a 10 day
   cruise in 1999.  The amazing thing is that I have only lost
   one potential job because of it, and that was no sure-thing
     continued at
E-mail your comments on this topic to
Read edited responses to Topics of the Month on the web at
33333 A r t i c l e "The Perfect Gift for Our Customers"
By Dave Balch, the "Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
It's the holidays again and we all want to do something for our
customers, right?  We want to let them know how much we
appreciate them and their business, and we want to wish them and
their families a wonderful holiday season.  Mostly, though, we'd
like to score some big points so they will continue to be our
customers!  (Maybe we're just afraid we'll look stupid if we
don't do anything at all…)
What to do for them?  Buy a gift they may or may not want or
need?  Wine?  Maybe they don't drink.  Candy?  Maybe they are
watching their weight.  Calendars?  Desk stuff?  When's the last
time that you received something like that from someone that you
do business with?  Did you like/want/need/appreciate it?  My
guess is "No".  So what can you do that everyone will appreciate
without breaking the bank?
Consider this:  donation cards.  I have used this concept with
great success.  Here's what worked for me.
Print post cards that are self-addressed/postage-paid on one
side.  On the other side put a holiday message to the effect
"Thank you for your continued support during the past year.  In
lieu of a gift of some sort, we felt a charitable donation in
your name would be more in keeping with the holiday spirit….", a
place for name and address, and a list of charities from which
they could choose.  (You can see and borrow a sample from )
Bingo!  Holiday shopping is complete, you have complete control
over the cost, and your customers will love it.  Some thoughts:
1. You can decide ahead of time how much you want to spend, and
then write the individual checks in proportion to the responses.
2. Send each charity a copy of the cards that selected them, in
case they send acknowledgements.
3. Historically it has been cheaper to put stamps on the cards
than pay a business reply rate on only those that are returned.
You could let the customers pay the postage, but that would
defeat the purpose!
4. Printing the cards for several years in advance makes them
really inexpensive, and including them in my Christmas card gets
them into my customers' hands at no extra cost.  The down side,
however, is that if something changes, the cards may be unusable.
5. I wouldn't suggest letting individuals write-in a charity...
you'll get too many different ones, which will be very expensive
by the time you write a check that is an amount worth sending,
research addresses, and keep track of it all.
6. We tried to select the charities so that there would be
something for everyone:  three major diseases (Heart, Cancer,
Diabetes) and one for animal lovers (Actors and Others for
Animals).  Now, something for September 11 might be appropriate
as well.
7. Several of my customers have told me that they always look
forward to getting my cards every year (we always use humorous
cards), and appreciate the donation.
8. Many companies object to vendors sending gifts of any kind,
but we have never run into an objection with this technique.
How can you adapt this idea for your business?
Happy Holidays!
44444  "A s k   D a v e"
   (Can I help you with a business problem?  I will field
   business questions in every issue.  Send them to )
   Ask whatever you'd like... all letters will remain anonymous.
   Maybe my 2-cents'-worth will make you "Big Bucks"!
   (Maybe not!)
Today's question:
I operate an e-commerce website selling specialty items from
Indonesia.  Such as sarongs, clothes, beads, jewelry, folk art
and more!
It's great and I love it.  The thing is, I'd like to figure out
how to really measure the potential market.
How can I tell what my potential market is or what it will be in
let's say 6 months.  I've been open for business since April on
Yahoo Stores, but didn't really see any traffic till I started
pay per click on Overture (goto) in June.
                       T.S., California
    Dear T.S.
    To determine your potential market you need to profile your
    typical buyer.  Since you have been getting traffic since
    June, you may have the means to do just that with actual
    customers.  Are they men or women?  What age range?
    Geographic location?  Are they typically Indonesian or not?
    For what purpose do they buy your products?  For themselves,
    for gifts, ???
    After you have a profile, do some research and find out how
    many folks fit the profile and where they hang out on the
    internet.  Then, you'll not only have a good idea how many
    there are, but where they are and how to reach them.
55555 "M e a n w h i l e,   b a c k   a t   t h e   r a n c h..."
       A glimpse into the life of this "Stay-at-Home CEO"
   (Photos and short bios of the complete "cast of characters"
   are posted at )
We are surrounded by the most wonderful wildlife, some of which
isn't really all that wild.  Take Henry and Gladys, for example;
two enormous ravens.  We have learned that ravens mate for life
and are very territorial, which means that they are probably
married and that they "allow" us to live in their part of the
forest.  They are always around, "cawing" at us and eating old
rolls and dead mice that we throw to them.
As I went on my regular morning walk with the dogs, I noticed
that Emma had a stuffed toy in her mouth and figured she snuck it
past me when we left.  When I got closer, though, I discovered
that it was really a dead squirrel.  She carried it for our
entire walk, but when we got back to the gate I told her she had
to give it up and I put it on a fence post for Henry and Gladys.
I called to them and about an hour later it was gone.
I hope that they enjoyed their Thanksgiving squirrel!  How do you
stuff one of those critters, anyway?...
66666  A b o u t  "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe"  N e w s l e t t e r
Welcome! You are receiving this because either:
   -You requested it on my website or after seeing me at a
    speaking engagement
   -I know you personally and thought you'd like it
   -I asked you if I could send it and you said "Yes"
   -Someone forwarded it to you because they thought you'd
    like it.  Scroll to the bottom for subscription instructions.
My goal is a bi-weekly newsletter that will:
   -help you with your small or home-based business
   -share articles of interest
   -be informal and informative
   -answer specific questions asked by readers
77777  W h o   t h e   H e c k   a m   I,   A n y w a y ?
I've generated over $5 million (so far!) from my own home-based
software business and I have a lot to share with you about how I
did it and what I learned along the way.  Now, as a professional
speaker, I offer programs that will help you and your employees
"Make More Money and Have More Fun" with your small or home-based
Visit me at for descriptions of
the programs and educational materials that I offer.
88888  H o w   to   S u b s c r i b e   /   U n s u b s c r i b e
Please note:
   - This newsletter is sent every other week.
   - Subscriber information is NEVER shared with
     anyone for any reason.  PERIOD.
   - Contact me at
   - HOW TO SUBSCRIBE  If this issue was forwarded to you
     and you would like to receive your own copy,
     subscribe at
                   A Few Good People, Inc.
                        P.O. Box 824
                    Twin Peaks, CA  92391



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