A FREE electronic magazine... July 31, 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
"Coupons, Coupons, Coupons"
3. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
Unbusiness-like or not?
4. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
Our "dodo" bird
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
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Copyright (c)2002, A Few Good People, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
I was recently at a meeting of a group that meets in the
same restaurant every month. At our most recent meeting we
had a new waiter and when we asked for separate checks he
said, "Oh, no! I can't do that... it's much too hard."
There were five of us.
You should be doing what's best for your customers, not
what's best for you. You should be doing what's easiest for
your customers, not what's easiest for you.
In this case I believe that it is a training issue, but it
still serves as a good example of a trap that is much too
easy to fall into.
After all, if we had been sitting at separate tables, he
would have been able to do separate checks, wouldn't he?
22222 A r t i c l e "Coupons, Coupons, Coupons"
By Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
Coupons can be a great way to promote, increase, and improve
your business. They can be used to entice new customers,
move hard-to-sell merchandise, "time-shift" your customers
by getting them to come in during traditionally slow times,
or as a stand-alone product when sold as gift certificates.
And, what could be simpler? Print a piece of paper and it's
Coupons can get much more complicated than you might think.
What restrictions do you want to impose? Good on certain
days? Certain hours? Is there a minimum purchase required?
What about 'rain-checks' if the promoted merchandise is
What about the structure of the offer?
Buy-one-get-one-free? Percentage discount, flat
dollar-amount discount, or special one-time only price?
Should the coupon expire?
Lots of questions, but how should you go about making all of
these decisions? Start at the beginning: before you do
anything else, decide exactly what you want to accomplish
with your offer. Do you want to increase sales, get new
customers, introduce a new product or service, use the
coupon as a product in and of itself (as in "gift
certificate"), or ??? It is imperative that you make this
determination first because all of the other coupon-related
decisions depend on it.
When you finally do come up with the parameters of your
offer, be sure that it is reasonable and easy to take
advantage of. I remember seeing a restaurant coupon for $2
off the bill, but there were so many restrictions that I
almost laughed out loud. You practically had to be an
attorney to decipher the offer; it was good during certain
hours on certain days of the week, for parties of 4 or more
(adults only, kids don't count), meals must meet certain
minimums, and so on. It was ludicrous. They apparently
wanted to stimulate business, but I can't imagine that
ANYone EVER took advantage of the offer. (It may be
significant to note that the restaurant in question failed.)
If you are selling gift certificates, they cannot expire.
Someone has given you money for a product or service that
you have not yet delivered; to allow that to expire is
unethical in my opinion, unless you return the money to the
purchaser after the expiration date.
Accounting for them, however, can be a problem. A friend of
mine received landscaping gift certificates for several
years. She accumulated them until she had a big project to
do, and the nursery that issued them was mortified that they
were going to have to honor them all at once. If you think
about it, though, they got a better deal because they had
use of the money for all of that time, and the buying power
of the money they received has diminished over time; a $100
certificate, for example, issued 5 years ago won't buy as
much today as it would have then. Gift certificates should
be carried on your books as a liability. That way, you
don't realize the revenue or take the profit until the
certificates are redeemed.
Some people have the feeling that gift certificates are too
much trouble because of the liability and accounting, but my
feeling is that you should do what's best for your customer,
not what's best for you.
Coupons and gift certificates are good tools. Use them, but
be smart about 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 help you make "Big Bucks"!
I sent a Thank You card to a manager at a company that had
me speak on Organizing your office and your car at their
The Thank you was returned for postage due. I forgot to put
a stamp on it, because I had a large mailing going out at
the same time and I got distracted. Anyway....when I got it
back I put a Happy Smile face sticker on it and a stamp and
wrote a tiny "Oops!" on the envelope.
Was that totally unbusiness-like? OK, I just answered
Unbusinesslike? Hmmm... yes and no.
Personally, I like what you wrote. It shows personality
and is a departure from stuffy business dealings. I
think it makes you seem more like a real person.
By mistake, I recently sent a message to my entire
subscriber base. As soon as I found out about it, I sent
a message that said "I made a boo-boo...".
Ubusinesslike? Not for me! Because that's who I am and
I don't want to be formal and stuffy.
I say "Good for you!"
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 )
We have a "dodo" bird at our house. No, it's not the exotic
tropical bird that I'm referring to, but rather a Bluebird
that seems to be rather stupid.
You see, during the spring they were building their nests
and raising their families in the numerous birdhouses that
we have mounted around the house. Everyone was doing
exactly what they were supposed to be doing; gathering twigs
and leaves, sitting on their little eggs, and feeding the
babies after they hatched.
One of the Bluebirds kept flying into our upstairs windows,
which are on the same level as our main deck. It happened
in the morning, during the day, and in the evening. We felt
bad for the little guy; he would do it four or five times in
a row and then give it a rest for a while. It didn't seem
to hurt him any, but it was very hard on the deck because
he, uh... well, he IS a bird and birds aren't particularly
fussy about where they relieve themselves, so there was
always a mess to clean up.
Yep, he was a dodo alright!
-------------------- CHRIS' CANCER UPDATE
Chris has done amazingly well since her first chemo. She
has been in good spirits, full of energy, and able to pull
together a surprise birthday party for Kate, my assistant
and our dear friend. Her hair started falling out right on
time, which was last Thursday. Tuesday she went to our
favorite hair stylist and he cut what was left to about 1/2
inch so it can still fall out naturally but not be such a
mess. Then he cut mine to about 1/8 inch... I look like I
am in the military. When hers is all gone, I'll shave what
is left of mine. We had fun with it, however, because on
the way to a complete cut, he gave us spiked mohawks which
lasted just long enough for photos. Then they, too, ended
up on the floor.
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.
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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