A FREE electronic magazine... March 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 "Make it Better!"
3. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
4. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
Emma likes to visit
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
Our VCR started "eating" tapes so, being a pretty handy guy
I bravely took it apart and found a broken belt. I searched
on the Internet and found several sites. (I swear, you can
find ANYTHING on the Internet!)
I had to write for help (my model wasn't listed) and got a
VERY wordy and complete explanation about how to measure the
belt. I had to ask another question and got yet another
wordy and complete explanation. The sale: sixty-four cents
Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is good customer service!
Would you go to that much trouble for under a buck from
someone who is obviously a low-volume customer?
If you ever need VCR parts (!), here is the place to go:
22222 A r t i c l e "Make it Better!"
By Dave Balch, the "Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
Whatever you make, sell, or do, you can undoubtedly make,
sell, or do it even better than you already do.
There, I said it.
It's nothing personal. I'm sure that you already do a great
job, but there is always room for improvement; there are
examples all around us. And I am absolutely certain that
you can find something, however small, that will make what
you do just a little better. How can I be so sure? I'll
Someone improved a pad of paper.
I'm not kidding… a pad of paper! It was one of those
"cubes" with a design printed on the sides (which, in
itself, is an improvement over a regular pad of paper). But
they went one step further and drilled a hole in one corner
for a pen or pencil. Ingenious. Simple. Useful. Amazing.
I challenge you to start right away! Don't be intimidated;
your improvements don't have to be quantum leaps in
technology. Little things add up. For example, it is my
goal to improve my website every day. It doesn't have to be
anything huge, but I try to tweak it every day. Sometimes
the changes are big (a new page or feature), sometimes the
changes are small (fixing a typo or changing the color or
size of a word). But they all add up and the website is
lookin' pretty good, if I say so myself!
Just examine how others have improved their products. We
all know and love sticky notes: look at the simple
improvements they came up with for a basically simple
product. Colors, for example. Yellow, blue, green, white.
Then came various sizes (in various colors, of course). Now
they have different shapes for different purposes, which
come in various sizes and colors. For example, you can buy
long, skinny sticky-notes to use as place markers in books
or magazines. A simple idea with a number of simple
Here's another example; a rope! Someone actually improved
on a rope that is used for horses. How can something as
simple as a rope be improved? The rope I'm talking about is
called a "lead rope", which is attached to a halter (which
is worn over the horse's head) and used to lead a horse
where you want him to go. Using such a rope can be
uncomfortable for you or your horse due to its unforgiving
nature, so here's the improvement: they made the rope out
of an elastic material similar to a bungee cord. Now, if
the horse suddenly moves one way or another, there is much
less shock to him and to you. And there is an added benefit
if the rope is attached to a fixed object (such as a
hitchin' post). Simple. Ingenious. Effective.
Surely you can come up with something. Start right now.
Invent some little way to improve a single aspect of your
business. It doesn't matter how small it is, DO IT! Try to
come up with something every day, no matter how
insignificant it may seem.
The pad of paper you improve may be your own.
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"!
I have one client who accounts for 50% of my revenues from
my part-time software consulting business. The client has
consistently paid over the last 5 years of our business
relationship with no invoices going more than 30 days late.
. . until recently. The client's accounting dept is not
responding to my inquiries and the end user is asking me to
My question is this: At what point in time, if any, do I
tell the end user that I won't accept new work until being
paid? How else might I handle the problem? I don't believe
that the client is in danger of going out of business.
Clearly, I don't want to lose the client, but I do want to
get paid for my work.
I was in this exact same position and this is, basically,
what I said to him:
"I really enjoy working with you; you're one of my
favorite clients! I hate to be the bad guy, but I do
have to eat and as much as I'd love to work for nothing,
I can't. I'm going to need payment in 2 weeks or I'm
just not going to be able to accept any more work."
He understood, even sympathized... after all, he has to
eat too! I doubt if he would have worked as long as I
did without getting paid. Besides, they didn't want to
I had a check in my hands in a couple of days.
Never be afraid to ask for what you've earned, just do it
in a tactful way if you are interested in staying on good
terms. Don't forget that you DO have power in the
relationship; after all, if they didn't need and value
your work, they wouldn't have hired you in the first
place. They won't want to lose you any more than you
want to be lost.
If that doesn't work you may have to take the gloves off
and take a chance on losing the client, which really is
no big loss anyway if they aren't going to pay you! I
know it's hard to say goodbye to a good client, but if
they won't pay maybe it's time to take them out of the
"good client" column and put them in the "bad client"
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 )
Our home is designed so that the office is downstairs and the main
living space is upstairs.
At least once a day there is a commotion on the stairway
which usually means that Chris is coming down for some
reason and the dogs, of course, are coming along. (They
follow her everywhere she goes; I'm thinking of getting her
a piccolo and Peter Piper outfit. In fact, when she walks
by with them following her, one of us often breaks into a
rendition of "I Love a Parade"!)
But no, it's often not Chris. It's Emma, who comes bounding into
the office, by herself, with great energy and enthusiasm.
She runs over to me, puts her head in my lap, gets a couple
of scratches and kisses, and then leaves the same way she
came in; with great energy and enthusiasm.
That's all. It's the only reason she came down: just to
How special is THAT?!
It never ceases to put a smile on my face and in my heart.
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