A FREE electronic magazine... June 19, 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
"Empower Your Employees"
3. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
Selling My Business
4. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
5. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
6. Who the Heck am I, Anyway?
7. How to Subscribe / Unsubscribe
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Copyright (c)2002, A Few Good People, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
In dealing with Chris' cancer, it is interesting to see how
our various doctors and hospitals conduct their businesses.
We get evaluation forms from some of them and, in my
opinion, there is a definite correlation between those that
ask for feedback and the quality of our experience with them.
Something to think about...
22222 A r t i c l e "Empower Your Employees"
By Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
Good customer service is the holy grail of good business.
After all, if your customers aren't astonished at your
service ("happy" with your service just isn't good enough
any more) then they won't be back and they won't recommend
you to their friends.
But how do you insure that all of your customers'
experiences are astonishing? Naturally, you will stay on
top of things and make sure that you go that extra mile to
please, but can you be everywhere at once? Do you
personally handle every order? If you do, your quest to
astonish is much easier, but if you have employees on the
front line, they have to do the job.
Do they know how important it is? Do they know how to do
it? And, most importantly, are they empowered to do
whatever has to be done?
I recently went to a local fast-food chicken franchise and
placed my order for the 2-piece meal. The girl behind the
counter told me that they only had one piece left and were
just finishing a new batch that would be ready in 9 minutes.
I told her, "I'm starving. How 'bout if you give me the one
piece that you have, and then you'll owe me one?" When the
new batch was ready, she gave me the piece she owed me along
with an extra biscuit "because I had to wait".
The key to this story is the extra biscuit. I don't know if
she was trained specifically for this type of situation, but
if she didn't have the authority to give away a free
biscuit, this customer service success story would never
Another example: my former brother-in-law ordered a pizza
for home delivery. When it arrived it was wrong, so he
called and they promised another one right away. When it
arrived it, too, was wrong. Again he called, again they
promised another right away, and when it arrived it was
correct, and there was a coupon in there for a free pizza
because of the two mix-ups. Good! Perfect! Someone had
the authority to fix a bad situation with a freebie. But
when he went to the restaurant to use the coupon, he ordered
his pizza, presented the coupon, and the man taking his
order told him, "I'm sorry sir, but your coupon is good for
two toppings and you ordered three, so I'm going to have to
charge you fifty cents" POW! There goes the goodwill
created by the free pizza!
Give your front-line employees the power to make customer
service decisions. It may cost a few dollars, and there may
be some mistakes, but the net result will be positive. If
you are worried about it, then set limits as to how much the
employee can "give away" in terms of products or services.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to actually
give a gift that costs you nothing! For example, an
Internet vendor could give a free eBook or electronic
Sure it's a gamble, but ignoring this is a bigger gamble in
my opinion. Cover your bases by setting some limits, but
allowing your front-line employees (that includes you!) to
make some simple concessions in the name of customer service
will pay big dividends. The customer you please, may be
your best one!
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 help you make "Big Bucks"!
I am an insurance agent and am closing up shop. My "book of
business" consists of all of my clients and their policies,
which is an asset that I can sell for over $200,000. The
problem is that it's hard to find another insurance agent
that has that kind of cash lying around, so I have received
several offers that involve payments. Should I accept one
of them or should I wait to find a cash buyer? What kinds
of things should I consider when looking at a payment plan?
Selling a business on a payment basis can be pretty
scary; a cash deal is obviously much better. Some
1. First of all, I am not an attorney so I suggest that
you get qualified legal advice!
2. Second, you must be sure that the buyer not only will
be able make all of the payments, but that you are
covered in some way if they cannot. What happens, for
example, if they cannot make the last 3 payments?
3. Ask your CPA if there are any tax effects of spreading
the sale over two or more different tax years. You may
get some tax advantage to help offset some of the risk.
4. Can you live with the payment plan instead of a cash
deal? It would be easy to get used to an income stream
from the payments, which would suddenly end when the
payments are completed. An all-cash deal would allow you
to invest the total and begin an income stream that would
not end. Granted, you would be able to do the same thing
if you didn't spend the payments and put them away, but
that would delay the beginning of the new income.
Besides, do you have the discipline and control to do
that and not spend it instead?
5. Will anything be required of you (such as support for
existing clients or consulting services of some kind) in
order for the buyer to make the payments? If so, what
happens if you become unable to perform those services?
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 )
Marilyn is back! In case you didn't know, Marilyn is a mountain
toad that is living in one of our garden planters.
( http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com/bucks011010.htm ) About the
size of the palm of my hand, Marilyn made it through another
winter. How she did it is beyond me: at one point there was at
least 4 feet of snow piled on top of her.
Ain't nature grand?
Now we have several ceramic "Toad Houses" in the planter, as well
as a "pool" and "spa" (plant saucers filled with water) for her
bathing pleasure. She doesn't say much, but we know she likes
them because we often find her submerged.
CHRIS' CANCER UPDATE (Chris was diagnosed with breast cancer on
April 22. Many of you have requested updates on her progress so
I will post a BRIEF summary here in each issue.)
June 13 she had a mastectomy and "tram flap" reconstruction,
which went very well. She is now recovering at home and we
have learned that the tests of the removed tissue show that
they got the entire tumor. Chemo should start around July
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
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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