5 Tips for Improving Margins and the Bottom Line

There are really only 4 ways to increase profits – sell more, improve margins, cut costs or do all three. Costs always have a habit of creeping upwards over time. So, periodically, it pays to take a hard look at them and then eliminate the things we can live without. But there’s a limit to the extent to which we can cut costs before we hurt our company’s long term growth potential. To get steady, incremental increases in profit we have to sell more and improve margins.There are only 2 ways to sell more – add new customers or increase sales to existing customers. In my experience, when we talk about selling more we tend to put the focus on adding new customers. But we know that it costs at least 6 times more to sell to a new customer than to an existing client. That’s not hard to understand when we consider the “acquisition” costs – e.g. advertising, telemarketing, etc.So, the first tip is to avoid losing your least expensive prospects – existing customers. They must be convinced that we do a great job; otherwise they wouldn’t buy from us. Every business loses some customers over time, but when customers leak away, replacing them with new ones cuts into profits. The key is to focus on our “retention rate”. We need to have a process that alerts us when a customer stops purchasing from us. And we must find out why exactly they’re leaving – not simply make assumptions. Keeping customers satisfied is better for your bottom line than replacing them.The second tip is to remember that all customers are not created equal when it comes to profitability. Pareto’s rule tells us that 80% of our profits will come from 20% of our customers. But, how many of us slip into the situation, over time, of treating all customers as equally important? That actually hurts our profits because we waste money using the same marketing and selling techniques on everyone and treat them the same way when they contact us.

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So, how do we recognize the 20% of customers who give us 80% of our profits? They are the companies who buy from us regularly and understand the value of what we do for their business. They focus on quality and reliability rather than price and they pay on time. Because they are successful in their field, they have the potential to grow, allowing us to grow with them. They may even refer potential clients to us. These are our “A” customers. Can you identify yours?Tip number 3 – it makes good business sense to treat “A” customers differently than the others. Everyone in the organization should know who they are. So, when they talk to them on the phone or face-to-face, answer their email, make product for them or pick their orders, these “A” clients get the most prompt, attentive, efficient service we can give. We should market differently to them too. Stay closely in touch personally and via email, e.g. send them our newsletters, and develop the relationship by figuring out how we can help them respond to the changes in their industry.Next tip – watch the customers who offer some, but not all, of the benefits of our “A’s” very closely. They still focus on quality and reliability but may not have been around as long as “A’s” and so may not buy as regularly and/or as much. These are our “B” customers, and apart from what they do for our bottom line today, they have the potential to be the “A’s” of the future. Identify them and build a strong relationship with them. They may get fewer face-to-face visits than the “A’s” but they do get regular calls from our internal sales staff – a very effective but much less costly method of maintaining contact. They are also on our email database.Then there are customers who buy smaller amounts consistently but who have very little potential for further development. These customers – our “C’s” – are solid contributors to the remaining 20% of our profits but the ones who may be most likely to drift away. Our sales and marketing strategies are designed to maintain these relationships in a cost effective way. Primary contact is via regular (but less frequent than for “B” clients) calls from internal sales and email contact about the products or services they buy.The final group is easy to recognize – they complain most and buy small quantities of our products irregularly. That’s because they are focused on price and discounts. They buy from us only when we’re cheaper than our competitors – they have no loyalty. When they do buy from us, they are abrupt, demanding, they always need delivery immediately and people hate dealing with them. Processing their orders requires our staff to drop everything else and get them to the front of the line. They are our “D” accounts. Dealing with “D’s” can be so disruptive that occasionally they even cause us to make mistakes with the orders for the profitable customers.

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So, the fifth and final tip is to “fire” your “D” accounts. That’s correct, if orders from “D” customers are profitable they’re at the bottom end of the margin scale and the amount of resource required to get them out the door wipes out anything we were going to make. Yet we all have “D” accounts – why don’t we just get rid of them? We don’t have to be rude, simply play them at their own game – quote high prices or long lead times. They’ll make the decision not to deal with us. Do it often enough and they’ll stop calling.Focus on your “A” and “B” customers and you’ll improve your margins. Match your sales and marketing resources to customer type and get rid of your “D’s” and you’ll improve the bottom line. Make retaining “C'” customers a priority; work hard at turning your “B” accounts into “A’s” and get your sales staff focused on understanding your “A” accounts’ business – then you’ll not only sell more but you’ll make more profitable sales.To share your experiences, to take issue with anything I’ve said or to get some insight in how to execute send me an email jimstewart@profitpath.com or call me at 416-258-9610.© Copyright ProfitPATH, a division of JDS & Associates Inc., 2007

What No One Knows About Properties

Selling Houses and What to Ponder Upon It is only a smart thought this time for you to just grab the best deals when you wander into real estate business. Selling and advertising houses that are for sale are the things that you can choose to do where you can gain a great deal of profit. If ever you have constructed a newer house, you will feel better, at this point of time, that you choose to sell it for good. On the chance that you will just pick one quickly without seeing their experiences, you will never be glad for the outcomes. You can give him commission in the event that he can settle decent negotiations with a prospect purchaser. You can locate a land specialist who can be proficient at offering houses. What you need to do is to look from the yellow pages or the local list. Without a doubt, you can discover a few people who can work admirably with you in the event that you pick one from a dependable office. You have to check the local list as every one of the names of organizations and associations which are allowed by the state to work are recorded there. You will be ultimately feelsome satisfaction in the event that you just discover an office that has demonstrated track records with regards to services. You should make sure that those companions have had a go at offering their homes and they have turned out to be effective for that. You have to pick an organization that has a great deal of specialists for you need to be served instantly. When you read reviews, you will get positive and negative input however you will have the capacity to see one of the prospects to harvest the majority of the positive surveys. It implies that such land organization is truly doing great from that point onward. When you are allocated, you have to require significant investment through evaluating the individual. On the chance that you have to offer the house at the earliest opportunity, you truly need to work things out. Since you would prefer not to work with a beginner, it is appropriate for you to just get some information about his length of service in the business and the quantity of customers which he has served.
What Research About Properties Can Teach You
On the chance that he will disclose to you that he could discover a great deal of conceivable purchasers for your home, you have to have a conversation with him for he can unquestionably present to you the best individuals. What he needs to do is to approach your consent to have time for open house so that the prospects could go to your property and survey it through their owneyes. He will most likely demonstrate to you that he can finalize a negotiation regardless of how old your home can be. He can give you a schedule when your home is expected to be sold when the purchaser promises to purchase the property.Questions About Sales You Must Know the Answers To

find the right Yoga teacher

I am often asked by beginners about how to evaluate a Yoga Teacher?

The following is the “CALM check list.” These factors are basic criteria that your Yoga Instructor should meet before you continue on to a second Yoga class.

CALM gets it name from four main factors: Communication, Assist, Listen, and Modification. For the right Yoga teacher, you should be answering with a “yes” to all questions.

• Communication: Does your Yoga teacher talk to you, and other students, in a manner of mutual respect? Can you ask a question during class time?

Does your teacher show compassion for you and other students? Does your Yoga teacher take the time to lead you through a guided meditation or relaxation? Meditation and relaxation are major aspects of Yoga practice.

There are Yoga teachers who just want to get “their workout” done. Beware of Yoga teachers, who are so important, they don’t have time for you.

Some students love this air of superiority and, unfortunately, some people love abuse. If you want to learn Yoga, you need an open line of communication with your Yoga teacher.

• Assist: Does your teacher care about your form? Will your teacher give you a verbal or physical assist during your Yoga class? Are props encouraged in your Yoga classes?

Some students never have major problems with alignment and some do, but if your teacher doesn’t give verbal cues, what does that tell you?

• Listen: Does your Yoga teacher take the time to listen to your feedback? Is your teacher “in the moment” with the class?

Once in a while, there is a Yoga instructor who runs, “The-it’s-all-about-me-show.” You are not going to learn anything from this type of teaching. Beginners will be put at risk, trying to keep up with a seasoned Yoga teacher who doesn’t explain anything.

• Modification: Does your Yoga teacher allow modifications and props? If your teacher discourages props, you are in the wrong place.

Some students will need props for life depending upon their range of motion. Just because a teacher can do a posture without props, doesn’t mean every student can.

Summary: Stay away from abusive Yoga teachers, and if you are attracted to abuse, there is always professional help. Some students crave “the stern, but loving parent” types. They will push you harder, but how much pushing do you really need?

Respect is a two way street, and you deserve as much respect as your Yoga teacher does. Let common sense be your guide. You should feel good after a Yoga class, and you might even feel muscle soreness days after a vigorous class.

Make sure your Yoga teacher meets the above criteria before making a commitment.

Why not learn more about Services?

Advantage of Hiring the Best Moving Services

Moving out is one of the most annoying things you will experience, it takes a lot of time and effort. It is important that you are careful when you start packing. People may be careful in arranging and organizing everything from the furniture and other things but they sometimes forget the most important aspect in moving. They often forget about hiring the best moving services and hire any company. Anyone would choose the best moving services as long as they are reliable and affordable, it is a fact that all of these people would love to have their stuff handled carefully. Most of them just don’t have a general idea about how to look for the best moving services.

But the best moving services will always be different from the criteria of each person, it means that someone’s best company might not be the best for you. Some people might be looking for affordable movers that would be able to give out good services and fit in the budget while some people would search for commercial movers. There are also some people that would not mind if they spent a little extra for hiring the best moving services, as long as they get the best result with the moving process.

But there are different parameters that you can use to define what the best moving services is for you. The parameters for the best moving services is that they need to have consumer grievance handling, they also have to have good reputation, reasonable prices and quality moving services. It would be better to look for the best local movers because some movers will only be operating in specific areas.
How I Achieved Maximum Success with Resources

There are some steps to follow if you really want to hire the best moving services according to your criteria.
The 10 Best Resources For Businesses

You can always use the internet for references.

Most of the people have already tried moving once, go ask your friends if they have tried. You should go and ask them if the movers they chose were good at all. This will be a good way in knowing which company will be good for hiring. There will be some websites and web pages that these moving companies will have, this will be a good place to do a background check. You can find out a lot from their websites, you can find out about the rates they have as well as the area where they operate. You need to know if they are licensed, if they are credible and do they have insurance along with their employees. It will be a sign if you hear about a company that has a lot of good terms. This would mean that the company is a company that you can trust, one of the traits that the best moving services will have.

The Frontline Equals the Bottom Line

Most of us have heard the expression, “The frontline equals the bottom line,” as it pertains to a company’s employees. It means that as far as the customer is concerned, a company’s frontline employees ARE the company. After all, rarely do customers come in contact with the executives of an organization. Those frontline employees are truly the face of the organization. But as leaders, do we perform in a way that is consistent with the frontline equals the bottom line philosophy? In many cases, I think the answer is no.I was thinking about this issue recently while eating in a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant. As I was observing the employees, the reality of the frontline equals the bottom line really hit me. These servers, bussers, bartenders, etc. are the most important people in the company. I knew this intellectually (I’ve talked about it for years), but the trueness of it hit me at that moment. These employees are typically the lowest paid in the organization, treated as expendable, often treated in a condescending manner, and yet they are the most important people in the company. If these employees fail in their duties, it makes no difference how smart the Sr. VP of Marketing is. The transaction between the customer and the company (the frontline employee) can easily crash and burn if that frontline employee doesn’t do his or her job well. This is true in restaurants, hospitals, banks, grocery stores or any other industry/organization. Executives can call in sick, but if the truck drivers for a distribution center don’t show up one day, now there is a situation. When they do their jobs with pride and enthusiasm, the likelihood of company success is exponentially increased. When they do their jobs with boredom and skepticism, the greatest technology systems in the world won’t help.

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We should treat our frontline employees like the stars that they are. We should honor them for the work that they do because they are the ones that make the world turn. All of our strategies, visions, and corporate goals are only as good as the execution of those plans; and execution ultimately comes down to frontline people doing things. Theirs is the most honest work of all. The customer was either happy or she wasn’t, the delivery happened on time or it didn’t, the cooler was either stocked or not, the food was either hot or it wasn’t. Frontline employees don’t need a report in a binder to know how things are going. The score is real time for them.I think what is missing in business today is knowing the importance of the frontline at a gut level. Most of us know that we should say the frontline is the bottom line, but I don’t think it often shines through in our actions. If it did, we would be having pizza parties regularly, pitching in to help when things are busy, taking employees to lunch regularly to ask what can be improved. We would hold celebrations all the time. We would say thank you at every opportunity. Think about those times in your personal life when you were grateful for something that someone did. I mean truly grateful. Remember how sincere and heartfelt your appreciation was toward that person? Can you remember the last time you showed that level of appreciation to an employee or group of employees in your organization?The need to be appreciated is one of the strongest needs of all. When employees work hard all day, doing the real work of the company, being treated with honor isn’t too much to ask. Asking me to clock in and clock out says something about how you feel about my honor. Giving keys for the supply cabinet only to managers and above says something about how you feel about my honor. Having a lavish holiday party for the executive team while giving me a $2 tree ornament says something about how you feel about my contributions. Walking by the reception desk, the loading dock, or the stockroom without acknowledging employees, taking a moment to see how things are going, or just saying thanks, are all behaviors that tell employees what management really thinks. Is it any wonder that most studies show employee engagement is abysmally low?

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My wife and I used to have a housekeeper, Val, who cleaned our house once a week. She was truly an excellent housekeeper and cleaned even the hardest to reach areas. Debbie (my wife) sincerely appreciated the extra effort and always showed her appreciation. My wife and Val became good friends. One time Val mentioned that although she cleaned a lot of houses, Debbie was the only one who appreciated those extra touches and actually showed appreciation. What is important to note is that Debbie didn’t say thank you to get Val to do the extras. Debbie thanked Val because she did the extras. Val, however, said that she wanted to do more because of the appreciation. It was simply a sincere cycle of performance and appreciation. Saying thank you to people who work hard is simply the right thing to do. And usually when we do the right thing, we get the right thing in return. Not always, but usually.You know who the frontline employees are in your own organization. I challenge you to take a hard look at the level of appreciation that you show those frontline employees.Something to think about: Do your employees know you appreciate them? How do they know you appreciate them

How to borrow from Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga is often praised in the mass media as the new fitness-craze promising weight loss, and increased strength and flexibility. However, when one sees a yoga practitioner curled up in a seemingly impossible pose, the natural tendency is to think: “Well this person has been practicing for years, how can Yoga help me lose the weight now?”

Through the acclaimed Sun Salutations, that’s how.

What are they?

These exercises are a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, Sun Bathing and Prayer. They have been practiced for centuries by Yoga Practitioners in India, Martial Artists and African Wrestlers and as a system to rejuvenate the body and soul are beyond compare. It’s been said in the Drugless Healing circles that one round of the Sun Salutations is much better than a week of exercises at the gym!

They are very simple to learn and just about anyone, regardless of their fitness or flexibility levels can learn these simple exercises. In actuality, if you are familiar with “burpies” (the calisthenics exercise), they do derive their origin from the Sun Salutations.

Here are some of their benefits:

-They alleviate disorders of the skin and waist.

-Flexibility increases and breathing is corrected, moreover, they mildly exercise the legs and arms, thus increasing the circulation.

-They are the best way to burn calories and reduce weight and are often recommended for obesity and depression.

-They are an effective way of loosening up, stretching and massaging all joints and internal organs of the body.

-They stimulate and balance all the systems of the body including the endocrine, circulatory, reproductive and digestive system.

Technique:

1. Stand straight with the palms together as in a prayer position.

2. Inhale and stretch the arms above the head.

3. Exhale and bend forward while touching the toes.

4. Inhale and stretch the right leg away from the body in a big backward step and keep the hands and left foot firmly on the ground. Bending the head backward the left knee should be between the hands.

5. Inhale and hold the breath. Move the left leg from the body and, keeping both feet together and the knees of the floor, rest on the hands (arms straight) and keep the body in a straight line from head to foot.

6. Exhale and lower the body to the floor. In this position, only 8 portions of the body come in contact with the floor: the two feet, two knees, two hands, chest and forehead.

7. Inhale and bend back as much as possible bending the spine to the maximum.

8. Exhale and lift the body of the floor. Keep the feet and heels on the floor.

9. Inhale and bring the right foot along the level of the hands; left foot and knee should touch the ground. Look up, bending the spine slightly (same position as #4)

10. Exhale and bring the left leg forward. Keep the knees straight and bring the head down to the knees as in the third position.

11. Raise the arms overhead and bend backward inhaling. As in Position 2.

12. Exhale and drop the arms and relax.

You have now completed one round. Perform as many rounds as possible in multiples of 3. Ideally you want to aim for 6 rounds minimum and up to a maximum of 30. It only takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on your speed and intensity and is best practiced with as little clothing as possible before an open air window first thing in the morning.

You could do a search in Yahoo! Images for “Sun Salutations” to see a visual representation of these powerful exercises and be rest assured that with a sensible diet and a wise combination of these exercises-with any other fitness regimen you may choose-you are well on your way to attaining natural weight loss, increased strength and overall fitness with the help of yoga.
So don’t get intimidated when you see a seasoned practitioner in a seemingly tough pose. Yoga is for everyone and can help you lose weight.