Funneling Down to Your Real Target Audience

Using Research and Statistics to Find Target Groups

Looking at housing trends in a random segment of Atlanta can reveal much about the target audience of a secondary industry. From Real Estate Statistics, we can take a random month and see the following:

To a Realtor, depending on how many Realtors there are in this given area, this might indicate a wealth of opportunity. On the other hand, it may indicate the pickings are mighty slim.

To funnel down further, to the local Mortgage broker in that given area, specifically not one who is affiliated with a bank or major lender, like Chase Mortgage for one example, it provides a clearer scope.

Research Business Trends

Alpharetta: In January 2017, 124 (+0%) homes sold in Alpharetta at an average sale price of $372,053 (+8.1%).
The average days on market was 63, down from 70 a year ago. The number of new listings decreased 12.1% to 225, putting the number of total active listings in Alpharetta at 464 (+0%). In February, the average list price in this area rose to $494,168 (+4.2%), at a price per sq/ft of $158 (+9%). Metro Atlanta Home

To a Realtor, depending on how many Realtors there are in this given area, this might indicate a wealth of opportunity. On the other hand, it may indicate the pickings are mighty slim.

To funnel down further, to the local Mortgage broker in that given area, specifically not one who is affiliated with a bank or major lender, like Chase Mortgage for one example, it provides a clearer scope.

We can use statistics again to discover:

Only 25% of buyers who got mortgages turned to their agents for referrals to mortgage lenders; and the internet to investigate financing options. Zillow Group

This translates to:

124 homes sold in the area and 25% of these will use Realtor referrals to find a Mortgage company.

  • That calculates to 31 of those loans that you will not be focusing on, except in allotting a small percentage of your focus on the Realtor segment, in asking for referrals from them, as too much effort focused here, even if all agents referred only you, will give you only 31 clients.
  • More focus would be given to the 91 remaining new home buyers. As a Mortgage Broker, you would want to focus on this number, determining precisely who these new home buyers are, to understand how they are researching and finding their Mortgage Lender.
    • Who are most of these Buyers? Are they Millennials?
      • This group is tech savvy! Spend time researching / funneling down to their trends and you will find that they are researching Mortgage Rates, utilizing Mortgage Calculators and other tools to determine their options.

Are you in the zone with them? Offering the right tools?

  • What Social Media platforms are they using? At what time of day?
  • How do they respond to phone solicitations?

As you see, this is quiet an extensive process, but very focused and no doubt, statistically, you will come out ahead!

 

Article researched and copy written by Laughing Fox Designs, providing results driven website development and social media actions to start-ups, small businesses and mid-size companies.  ©2017 All Rights Reserved

Social Media Posting Clues for Business

 Using Social Media in Business

A poll conducted by Emarketer.com found that:

  • 73% of Business Owners say that finding time to write quality material for social media is one of their top challenges.

There is good news for them though as Brad Semp, social media professor at Kennesaw State University of Georgia says:

  • Only 10-20% of your social media content should be your own promotional material.
  • 90% of your social media should be other people’s content.

Brad goes on to point out that you need to remember that when considering hiring a company to post for you, even the best of companies will have a difficult time replicating your voice and will not have the ability to engage with your audience as you do, answering questions and responding to content appropriately.

A Few Tips for Posting Social Media

  • Be sure to use at least one of your own keywords in each post.
  • People search for terms by hashtags. Make it easy for your audience to find your material by using them, i.e.: #Jazz or #Waffles.
  • When mentioning other people in Social Media, use the @ before their name, i.e.: @BradSemp. This tags their Social Profiles and connects your audience to them as well. And good news! When people see you are crediting their work, they are much more likely to return the favor!

 

Article researched and copy written by Laughing Fox Designs, which exists to provide web design and social media support to small businesses that need creative solutions.  ©2017 All Rights Reserved

Using Amazon’s World Domination as a Small Business

In 2014 Amazon was the starting point for 44 percent of consumers searching for products and the trend is still growing.

growing-business woodstock ga

Amazon has invested heavily in advanced algorithmic recommendation capabilities which personalize everyone’s shopping experience.  The effect is a whopping 75 percent of consumers feel no other online retailer can personalize or offer convenient shopping experiences better than Amazon .

One of the biggest driving forces Amazon includes is its Prime subscription which offers unlimited two day shipping, video streaming, music streaming, unlimited photo storage and more for $99 a year. This breaks down to a measly $8.25 a month, making its services and platforms affordable to even the most cost conscious citizen.

Ever keen to sharpen its competitive edge, Amazon confidently continues to surge in this Digital Age. It is serious time for small business and proprietorships to begin to use and benefit by using the marketing giant to leverage their own niche in the market.

Ways to Use Amazon to Grow Your Small Business

  1. Sell Directly on Amazon
    • Either as an individual or as a “Pro Merchant” selling 40+ items a month.
    • Set up your own Amazon Web Store.
  2. Advertise on Amazon
    • Amazon offers “Product Ads” and “Display Ads” which are similar to Googles “Pay-Per-Click” program
  3. Use Amazon Payments
    • “Checkout By Amazon” is a payment option you can include for your customers either on your Amazon selling platform or on your own personal website.
  4. Amazon Fulfillment
    • “Fulfillment by Amazon” allows you to sell your products in mass from Amazon’s fulfillment center and comes complete with tracking and communication to you, whether you are using this service from Amazons site or your own personal website.
  5. Publish your own self authored literature and books on Amazon for a wider audience view.

 

Article researched and copy written by Laughing Fox Designs, which exists to provide web design and social media support to small businesses that need creative solutions.  ©2017 All Rights Reserved

 

How To Kill A Turnaround

death of a businessDo Not:

  1. Utilize the power of compounding – making steps, big and small, EVERYDAY
  2. Dissect the balance sheet to assign responsibility and targets (for accountability) for each section
  3. Review the shareholding structure and the manner in which shareholders should receive returns in exchange for the risk they have taken
  4. Make decisions based on the Decision Triangle (Tm)
  5. Utilize a weekly (possibly daily) cash flow forecast
  6. Set a daily target for sales, cash received, and expense reductions – and celebrate when all are achieved
  7. Develop a wish list and have some of the “extra” achieved (in the item above) utilized to pay for the items
  8. Spruce up the work environment
  9. Figure out how bad it can truly get
  10. Figure out how to finance the turnaround based on the truly bad version of results
  11. Figure out the why, how and what of the business
  12. Organize the business and accountability around where the business should be headed
  13. Figure out “where the puck is going” and what strengths and weaknesses the business, and it’s markets, have in meeting it
  14. Dissect the P&L to assign responsibility and targets (for accountability) for each section
  15. Remember – it’s about CASH FLOW – not profits
  16. Set minimum transaction amounts
  17. Constantly review pricing decisions
  18. Become aware of the risk, assets employed vs benefit to be received
  19. Have a functioning website
  20. Provide targets to sales reps and help them achieve those targets
  21. Pay your vendors on time or early
  22. Keep your financing (bank, factor, shareholders, suppliers, etc) aware of your situation
  23. Halt preferred dividends (see above though)
  24. Halt rent (see two steps above)
  25. Work out different payment terms with suppliers for a period of time (see three steps above)

The Second Most Important Four Letter Word In Business

Brett Ellington, Project Administrator of Pivotal Performance Processes of Woodstock, GALet’s continue our study of four letter words that have a significant impact on business. So what would the second most important four letter word be in business? Well, this particular word happens to be the most precious commodity that we have. It is precious because it is the only commodity that truly has a limited supply. And that commodity is our ‘time’. No matter how hard you work, no matter how well you plan, and no matter how efficient you are, there will still only be 24 hours in a day. And once those 24 hours are gone, you can never get them back. You can never put them to good use. So how should we use our time to make sure that we get the most benefit from it? Not just for our business, but for every area of our life.

First, we need to be intentional with the use of our time.

It needs to be our decision how we will use our time. (Granted there are things that we do not have control over.) Because if we do not decide, it will be decided for us. One of the greatest battles I face in life is to hold on to my time, because I am constantly being attacked from every side by people or situations that make demands on my time. And quite often, those demands do not line up with how I wanted to use my time that day. And so, before the attacks begin, we must decide what we want to do, and just as important, what we do not want to do, with the time we have each day. In fact, I just finished watching a video talking about one of the most important two letter words we need to use in life – NO! Many of us need to being saying ‘no’ a lot more than we are saying ‘yes’. And so, we need to make sure that we are carefully planning how we will use our time, and then we need to do whatever is necessary to protect our time.

Second, we need to be wise with the use of our time.

What is the best use of my time? What are the most important tasks that I need to accomplish? How will I get the most results from my time? What is wasting my time? Good questions! And the answer as to how to best use our time is not always obvious, nor does it always line up with how everybody else is using their time. One of my favorite quotes is by Abraham Lincoln. He states, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” I don’t know about you, but if I was given the assignment to chop down a tree, my first inclination would be to run, grab an axe, and start chopping. Let’s get this done and move on to something else! Maybe it would go faster if I did take some time to sharpen the axe first, but I am strong and I can still get it done. Well, I may indeed get the tree chopped down. But how much extra time did it take? And not only that, how much extra energy did I expend, and what other resources did I use more of than I should have, to get the job done? The answer to these questions may be ‘not much’. But what happens if I am given the assignment to chop down 100 trees? These losses will quickly add up. By making wise use of my time, I can not only accomplish the tasks that are necessary for today, but I can also help insure that I will have the resources to do the tasks assigned for tomorrow. I may, in fact, decide that chopping a tree down is not in my best interest and use that time to do something else – or let someone else chop down that tree. I need to make sure that I am not only thinking through how I should use my time, but I need to also carefully think through why that is the best use of my time.  And if I don’t get a good answer to the ‘why’, I need to make a change to the ‘what’.

And third, we need to be balanced with the use of our time.

How great would our business be if we spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week working on improving it? We probably would never know, because we would either wind up in the hospital or the grave. And even if it did prosper, how much opportunity would we have to enjoy the fruit of our labor? So while work is important, even hard work, so are ‘rest’ and ‘recreation’. But if you are like me, these activities don’t just make room for themselves. I have to be intentional in putting them in my schedule. And not just because our bodies need adequate rest and a chance to relax and be re-created. It is important to remember that the time we spend outside of work can actually increase our productivity and our creativity at work. If we are well rested, we can think more clearly and have more energy to accomplish the tasks at hand. And if our mind has had a break from work, or has spent some time doing other things or learning new information, we will be more creative when we are at work. We may even get a great idea from a totally unrelated activity that solves a problem that we have been trying to fix at work! So work hard; but also rest well and take the time to have some fun and expand your knowledge. That way, when you are at work, you will be able to bring the best that you have to offer.

Time. We get one shot at how we use each hour of each day. So let’s do what is necessary to insure that we get the greatest benefit from those precious hours – for the sake of your business, and for the sake of yourself!

Brett Ellington

Project Administrator

March 2016

Doing Disney Part 2

Brett Ellington, Project Administrator of Pivotal Performance Processes of Woodstock, GAAs I mentioned in my last article, my family and I recently went on a trip to Disney World – on the busiest week of the year! But even with the crowds, we had a great trip! So I wanted to share another factor that was instrumental in making our trip a wonderful memory for the whole family.  Continue reading “Doing Disney Part 2”

The Most Important Four Letter Word In Business

Brett Ellington, Project Administrator of Pivotal Performance Processes of Woodstock, GAWhen you take a look at a business, there are many important elements that go into making it successful. First, of course, you have the product or service that is unique to that business. You also have essential assets like your equipment, your facilities and the people that are committed to making it happen. You even have intangible assets such as reputation, location, knowledge/experience or a uniqueness in who you are, what you do or how you do it. But the bottom line for every business is the fact that there is one thing that rises above the rest as far as being extremely important for a business to truly succeed. And that one thing is the four letter word we call ‘cash’. To many, it may seem like this is the obvious answer. But for some, that is not the case. So let’s take a quick look at this most important asset and gain a better understanding of what it is, and why it is so important to have, in order for a business to flourish.

So what is cash?

Cash is more than just a number on a piece of paper. In fact, just because there is a number on a piece of paper does not mean that you actually have possession of it. The cash that I am talking about is something that you can hold in your hand. You may not want to take the money out of your account, but you have that ability if you so choose. It is something tangible, not theoretical. For instance, I just filed my income tax return. And while I have money being refunded to me, I cannot pay a bill with it or spend it on it something fun until the IRS actually deposits it in my bank account. It is on paper, but it is not in my hand. And while I look forward to the day that it hits my bank account, I do not know when that day will be. I also do not know with a 100% certainty if that day will be. And so, for right now, it is not what I would consider cash.

Cash is also more than a number on your bank account statement. Not only is it money that you can hold in your hand, it is also money that no one else has a claim to. You do not need it to fulfill any obligations with it, and you are free to spend it in any manner that you so choose. That does not mean that you should spend it, but you do have that option. Near the end of each month my checking account balance looks pretty good. But the fact is, that after I pay my credit card bill at the end of the month, my balance does not look quite the same. The money was there for a season, but it was there for a reason. It was earmarked to pay for purchases that I had already made, or still need to make, that month. So cash is not just money that I can hold in my hand, it is money that I can freely put into someone else’s hand without needing it back.

What is it that makes cash such a valuable asset?

First, it can help to give me certainty to help me face uncertainty. Whether we realize it or not, when we know we have cash, we think differently. Even if it is just a small amount. We have a different attitude, and maybe even a different approach, as we look towards the future and devise our plans. It helps me to think positively, to take chances, to try something new or to just simply get a better night’s sleep. I may, in fact, not even use the cash right now. But just knowing that it is there allows me to approach my work with a different perspective. I remember having to take one of my daughters to the dentist to get a couple of cavities filled. She was not looking forward to having the work done (who is?) and was even a little scared. So when we got to the dentist’s office and got settled, while I was not able to sit with her during the procedure, I was able to sit in a place where she could see me the entire time. She never needed me to come over and intervene in what was going on. But just knowing that I was there and available enabled her to not just endure all that goes on to get one’s cavities filled, but she did it bravely without any complaining. In a similar way, just being able to look and see the existence of cash in your company’s bank account helps you to face the challenges that you are going through, or maybe oven the possibilities that you are looking to take advantage of, in a much healthier and peaceful fashion. It will give you the courage to face the challenge, to try the new adventure or to take the risk that others may not have. And it will give you the assurance to not panic when things do not happen the way that you thought they would. Having cash enables you to be able to say, “I may be uncertain about some things, but because my business has been able to generate cash, I am certain that we will figure it out and make it!”.

Second, it allows me to plan for and invest in the future. Technology is constantly changing, as are the needs of your company and the opportunities that it will have to grow. In order to stay competitive with other businesses, become more efficient in your day to day operations, or even diversify what your company offers, you need to be able to invest in equipment, facilities, personnel, or all of the above. To quote the great Wayne Gretzky, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” Where do you want your company to be in 5 years? 10 years? Where will it need to be in order to accomplish your goals? What needs to change in order to continue to meet the needs of your customers, or gain new customers? What is necessary for you to stay ahead of your competition? And what will it take to get you there? These are questions that we need to be asking ourselves on a regular basis. And while the answers to these questions may not always be set in stone, failure to ask these questions is a formula that says you will never achieve the greatness you desire – for yourself and for your business. Having the cash available means that you can not only plan for the future, but you can build towards it. You have the ability to spend money today so that you will see the benefits of that spending tomorrow and the days to come. And thus, have a competitive edge on those in your profession who do not have the cash to spend for the future.

And third, it allows me to ride out the lean times and unexpected challenges that the future will probably hold. As a former boss once taught me, “Expect the best and plan for the worst”. You never know when your business, or this country for that matter, may experience a challenging time. It could be something predictable like an on-coming economic recession or a seasonal lull, or as unpredictable as a hurricane or a computer system crashing. But chances are, sooner or later something will happen to disrupt the normal pattern of your business. If you have cash on hand to fill in the gaps that these disruptions will cause in your cash flow, you will be able to ride out this lean time. You might have to make some additional adjustments, but you will survive. Without the cash in hand, you might be forced to make decisions that are damaging, or even fatal to your business. By having the cushion of cash in the bank, you are able to weather storms that other competitors are not. The cash might just be used to pay bills that the current cash flow is not covering. Or it might be used to continue to pay valuable employees, even though the accounts receivable is struggling, so that you do not lose them. Either way, you are able to hang on until the storm passes. One of my favorite movies to watch at Christmas is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. During the scene where there is a run on all of the banks, George Bailey rushes to get the cash that the Bailey Brothers’ Building and Loan has on hand in order to meet the demands of his customers that are panicking. At the end of the day he only has two dollars left. But it is enough to get them through the crisis and remain in business.

Got cash? I want to encourage you to take the time to discover how much CASH you really do have, decide how much you think that you need to have and determine how to best use it.

Brett Ellington
Project Administrator

Note: This is the first of many articles to follow from various authors about building your business.

Doing Disney

Brett Ellington, Project Administrator of Pivotal Performance Processes of Woodstock, GAMy family and I had the opportunity to go to Disney World this past Christmas break. The good news was that it had been several years since we had been, and we were all very excited to get back to one of our favorite places! The bad news was that due our schedules, the only time that we could go was during the busiest week of the year. But at the end of the day, we had a wonderful trip. So what did we do that enabled us to have a memorable and enjoyable time in spite of the crazy crowds? Continue reading “Doing Disney”