A FREE electronic magazine... February 13, 2002
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)
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I n T h i s I s s u e . . .
1. A "Quickie" Personal Observation:
2. Feature: Article "Are You Doing a Good Job?"
3. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
Web site designer
4. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
Keno Comes Home
5. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
6. Who the Heck am I, Anyway?
7. 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!
Copyright (c)2002, A Few Good People, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
I received a coupon from a men's clothing chain good for $50 in
merchandise. $50; no strings, just pick out the stuff and walk
out with it! How can I pass that up?
I thought "I'm going to go in there and pick out as close to $50
as humanly possible and be done with it. No extras for me."
My free $50 ended up costing $274.87.
22222 A r t i c l e "Are You Doing a Good Job?"
By Dave Balch, the "Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
I'll bet that you are really good at what you do. You are
conscientious, creative, and hard working. You would never
short-change your customers or give them less than 110 per cent.
But do your customers know that? Do they know that you are on
schedule, that you gave them something extra, that you did
exactly what they wanted?
"Okay, Dave, what got you started on this one?" you're probably
We have some friends that hired a pet-sitter to take care of
their two dogs and two cats while they were on vacation. When
they returned, they found no evidence that their animals had been
cared for as instructed. Medications looked as if they hadn't
been touched. The supply of treats looked virtually the same as
it had when they left. True, the animals were healthy and that's
the most important thing; to paraphrase Roseanne, "The animals
were alive [when my friends got home], so the pet sitters did
From a business point of view, though, the pet sitters didn't do
so well. The evidence suggests that they did a 'poor' job. Or
was it just a case that there was no evidence that they did a
Did they give the medications or didn't they? It looked like
they didn't when, in fact, they did, and provided an extra
service by picking up more. Did they give the treats as
requested or didn't they? It looked like they didn't when, in
fact, they did and provided an extra service by going to the
store to buy more.
The word is "perception". You may be doing a great service for
your customers, but leaving them with a different perception of
what you've done.
I learned this lesson the hard way. As a programmer/consultant
at a large medical facility I was given an important program to
write. It was a critical component of a critical system that was
supposed to be operational by a certain date. I worked on it
mostly from home. My client didn't see me very often, and his
perception was that I was goofing off; procrastinating until the
last moment. As a result, his anxiety level was high, to put it
mildly. In fact, I was doing a GREAT job for him, putting in
extra time and even a few extra features.
My bad. I should have made a point of letting him know what I
was doing so that he would feel comfortable in knowing what was
going on. I could have done this in a number of ways both subtle
and not-so-subtle. Subtle: "While I was working on this at home
last night, I came up with a few questions." Not-so-subtle: "I
know you haven't seen too much of me lately, but that's because
I've been working on this project at home. I didn't want you to
think I was putting it off".
The point is this: if you're doing a good job for your
customers, make sure they know it!
33333 "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"!
It is our experience that only about 1% of potential customers
have the courtesy to advise us if we do not get the job after
spending several hours either with them personally or on their
project proposals. I have tried a follow-up letter thanking them
for the opportunity to bid on their project and requesting a
response to clarify possible scheduling concerns.
Any suggestions about this ongoing problem? Is it just the
construction business, or do other people have this problem as
Unfortunately, I think that it's human nature to NOT want to
tell someone that they 'didn't get the job'... it's just too
confrontational. My suggestion would be to get proactive and
instead of sending them a follow-up letter, call them.
Here are some thoughts about doing that:
1. You want to know if you got the job, of course, but if
you didn't get the job, you need to know why. This
information will help you in two ways:
a) they may have an objection or reason that is based on a
misunderstanding of your offer and you will have an
opportunity to clarify, and
b) it may help you in later proposals.
2. Knowing that people tend to be uncomfortable saying
that someone else got the job, it is your mission to
make them comfortable so you can get the information you
need regarding why they made the decision they did.
44444 "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 http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com/theranch.htm )
First of all, we are touched that so many of you wrote to us
expressing your concern about Keno and sent advice and good
wishes. Thank you all for that.
If you missed the story, you can get caught up at
The bottom line is Keno is back home and doing fine. The day he
came home there was too much snow on our street to drive in with
a trailer, so we had to unload him a block away and walk in.
When he first appeared on the driveway where he and Kelly could
see each other, Kelly was looking up at us and, I swear, she had
a look on her face like a little kid on Christmas morning.
He whinny'd at her, she whinny'd back... it was sweet. She
started running around in her paddock and squealing.
The next 20 minutes or so were shear delight. Keno was exuberant
to be home and galloped back and forth through the snow. He
rolled on his back 6 times, jumped, bucked, and did what horses
do when they are happy.
It's not all peaches and cream for US, though: we get to take
his temperature twice a day for 2 weeks.
Think about THAT! It's a slightly larger-than-normal
thermometer. It DOESN'T go under his tongue. Or in his ear. Or
under his arm...
Chris and I take turns with this delightful task. Fortunately
for us, he doesn't seem to mind as long as he's eating.
What we do for our animals...
55555 A b o u t "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" N e w s l e t t e r
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66666 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 http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com for descriptions of
the programs and educational resources that I offer.
The "Big Bucks Boutique" offers resources and materials that will
help you "Make More Money and Have More Fun" with your business.
Take a look at http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com/boutique.htm
77777 H o w to S u b s c r i b e / U n s u b s c r i b e
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A Few Good People, Inc.
P.O. Box 824
Twin Peaks, CA 92391