How to Answer The Price Question

If you would like a better way to answer "the price question" that many potential clients ask early on in the sales process, then give this short article a read. It offers very good advice on how to handle price shoppers.

When someone calls a business, what's the  number question most people ask?
That's right: The Price Question. The moment you answer "the price question", you are dead in the water.


Often times prospective clients don't know how to judge what you sell based on anything other than price.
In this case, you need to be the one to show him or her how to evaluate what you sell. Prospective clients also may be looking for a low-price- in which case I suggest you drop em' like a bad habit. Why? Because price shoppers make very bad customers.

Ever hear the phrase, "if they come to you based on price, they'll leave you based on price"? It's true.
Price shoppers don't make loyal customers or clients. They tend to complain a lot. They brag to their friends that they paid next to nothing for what you sold them. It's not good for business.

You have two options when someone calls your business and asks the price question.You can either:

1) Educate them on how to judge what you sell based on things other than price.
2) Or, you can drop em' like a hot rock and move on to bigger fish.

The choice is yours.

Speaking of Choices

I suggest you price whatever you sell on the high side. If you deliver more value (which you'll have to do if your prices are higher than the norm), then you'll be perceived as a "better business". This perception will attract quality clients. Why be the low-price bottom feeder when it's just as easy as being a higher price (and better quality) business?

And Another Thing

Remember the characteristics that make low-price shoppers bad clients? The opposite applies to clients  that are willing to pay more. Nine times out of ten, "value shoppers" are fun to work with. They appreciate the hard work you put into delivering your product or service. They also have a tendency to refer their friends, family and work associates. Talk about hitting the jackpot. You go from selling to troublesome "price-only-matters" customers to closing deals with good quality folks who value what you do and make your business much more fun.

The choice seems obvious: Sell based on value to those looking for value.

By Wesley B. Murph
Photography by  Jan Pietruszka

Wesley Murph is the author of "The Little Black Book of Small Business Marketing Secrets: 10 Proven Ways to Add New Customers, Repeat Sales and Referrals to Any Small Business!" which includes a campaign he wrote for a client that pulled a whopping 35.7% response to an ice-cold list. And even though Wesley rarely accepts new clients, you can get more tips like the one you just read by going to


How to Get Free Publicity by Using Media Calendars

In addition to the regular calendars that we all use, many media outlets, especially print ones, use two additional calendars.

The Calendar of Events
The first is a calendar of events. Usually, these run for a week at a time, sometimes just on weekends. If you have an event, send the calendar editor a short notice. As you write your item, try to match the format of the listings.

For example, some calendars start with the topic, followed by the date, location and cost. Others start with the topic, then the cost, date and location, etc. Although the difference seems small, noticing it can be important.

If you follow the exact style of a calendar, you make it easier on the person who has to not only pick and choose calendar items (from the many that are sent) but edit and format them. When they see an item that matches their format, they are more likely to use it because it means less work, which translates into finishing the job sooner so they can move on to the next task. Use human nature to your advantage.

*Expert Tip: Another secret to getting calendar listings is to keep your pitch short.

The Editorial Calendar

The other calendar is the editorial one. Most publications do an issue or a special section on various topics throughout the year, such as health, personal finance, automotive, and so on. Call the paper and ask for the editorial calendar. Sometimes somebody in the newsroom will send you one or you may be able to get one from the advertising department.

Once you have the calendar, check it to determine when they are going to do a focus on a topic that relates to what you do. Think of some aspect of your work that will interest and/or inform the publication's readers.
Send the publication a press release a few weeks ahead of time and follow up a couple weeks after you send it. It will increase your chances to get free publicity.


By Danek S. Kaus
Photography by Photomorgana

Danek S. Kaus is the author of "You Can Be Famous! Insider Secrets to Getting Free Publicity. Learn more publicity secrets at and find out how you can be interviewed on over 150 radio talk shows []


7 Ways To Get Good Word Of Mouth for Your Design Firm

7 Ways For Small Businesses To Get Good Word Of Mouth

The most effective advertising a company can get is more difficult to achieve but much more effective and lasting than traditional media advertising. It is word of mouth advertising, and it is earned rather than purchased. It is your customers' opinion of your product, which at times can be very vocal with praise or derision.

It is available to start-ups as well as large corporations. It can be achieved with minimal cash outlays by doing things right. It can be earned quickly or over a long period of time, depending on the product or service you are selling. Word of mouth is sometimes instantaneous. After people view a new movie, they talk about what they've just seen. It could be "What a great picture" or "This was a stiff." Descriptive word spreads quickly, and new viewers of that movie result if those who saw and liked it tell their friends. On the other hand, word of mouth on an automobile takes a much longer time. Drivers are interested in how well the car drives, the ease and quality of service, the car's trade-in value, how problems are handled, car breakdowns, etc.

Here are seven factors to consider for creating a good word of mouth for your company and its products.

1. Quality - From day one, all company employees must be aware of the importance of maintaining quality, and systems must be put in place to monitor it. Any products or components outsourced must be rigorously inspected to see that your standards are met.

2. Service - Regardless of whether your product is a high or low service one, customers' problems with its use must be addressed and solved with a minimum of effort on the customer's part and in a timely fashion.

3. Instructions - Many products need to be assembled or explained. The instructions accompanying the product must be clear and concise. Many companies fail miserably in this area and devote little time and effort to it. Poor instructions can turn off consumers to all your future products and create bad word of mouth.

4. Communications - All contact with your customers and their inquiries must be promptly addressed with courtesy and knowledge. This starts with the telephone.

Tip for Entrepreneurs: Have humans answer your phones, not computers like most large companies do. This simple move will start you on the good word of mouth path with your customers. Also your receptionist, who I call "The Director of First Impressions," is a more important hire than most employers acknowledge. You want an upbeat, intelligent, pleasant person in that slot. Management's interactions with employees, suppliers, and stake holders should also be first class and monitored. This good word of mouth as well as customers are important to the company's health.

5. Value - The value you deliver on your products to customers is paramount in their returning and spreading the good word about you. It must meet or exceed their expectations. A good maxim to deliver to all the employees is to under promise and over deliver.

6. High integrity - You want all your stakeholders and customers to trust you. This trust must be earned continuously. It takes time to develop, but can be lost in an instant. Problems must be addressed and solved quickly. They cannot be ducked, delayed, or shifted politically. Mistakes should be admitted and corrected. People want to do business and work for trustworthy companies.

7. Be a good citizen - There is no doubt that a company's prime responsibility is to make a profit. To not do so will eventually lead to its demise and the loss of all jobs. Do not be embarrassed to earn a profit. However, I believe the company has a responsibility to take actions to enhance the quality of life of their community and employees. This good citizen appellation should not be just empty promises for show. If real, it is also good for your business, your family, and your sleep.

By Bob Reiss
Photography by Leloft

Bob Reiss is the author of Bootstrapping 101: Tips to Build Your Business with Limited Cash and Free Outside Help. Bob has written a 22 page E-Guide to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Sales Reps. Click HERE for more details and to order your Free copy. To read more tips for small business success­, entrepreneurs can follow his weekly blog. Bob Reiss has been involved in 16 start-ups, is a three-time INC 500 winner, a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Business School, and the subject of two Harvard case studies. He is a frequent speaker at university entrepreneurial classes.


4 Critical Rules for Getting Publicity for Your Design Firm

Getting Free Publicity For Your Business Depends on These Four Critical Rules

Getting free publicity for your business depends on a number of factors. Above all others, though, there are four cardinal rules you can't afford to ignore if you hope to be successful. Not following them is a sure fire way to start depending entirely on luck instead of skill for your progress.

These rules that should be spray painted across the wall in the front office of every business are:

1. Be Organized.

It's fun and definitely rewarding, but getting free publicity isn't a game. You need to have a good idea where you're headed and how you plan on getting there. Success doesn't come from a single "flash in the pan" encounter with the press. You become successful when you start developing a steady flow of press releases. This only happens when you're organized. Carefully plan your campaign before you get started. Know exactly why you're sending out a press release and what you want the end result to be. Have your press release, bio sheet and Q&A ready to go before you start any publicity campaign. Have several follow up releases ready to go. Send them to reporters 1-2 weeks apart.

2. Be Different.

Remember you're in the news business. By definition, something isn't news unless it's different. Being different isn't that bad a business strategy, either. If you offer the same product everybody else does, packaged in exactly the same package, then you really have very little other than price to negotiate. If you can find ways to fill niches nobody else is, then you start building loyalty, and developing seeds for a powerful news stories. That's the road to free publicity.

3. Be Consistent.

The old adage about all news being good news is wrong. Just because your name appeared on the front page of the paper doesn't mean you've made it. Yes, it offers momentum, but you need to be sure you're rolling in the right direction. Earning the reputation of being self seeking and ruthless won't help much if you then try to get free publicity when you open a series of homeless shelters. Chart your end goals and then move towards them, in a consistent, steady pace.

4. Be Persistent.

Don't give up. It's all a numbers game. One press release sent to a few reporters won't do much to help you to get free publicity for your business. You might send out press releases to get free web publicity and get absolutely no response. That's not a reason to give up.Try tweaking it a bit. Change the headline. Make sure your format is correct.

You might need to frame your story differently. Is it practical? Would the average person stop in their tracks to take a second look at your headline? Does the content of your story constitute a news item or an ad for your product? If your press release is nothing but an ad for your business, you can be sure it'll be tossed out. Reporters will see that you're only looking for free publicity without giving them something to work with. It's about hanging in there, not giving up, when others might. As long as you're still in the ring, the fight isn't over.

Being prepared before you launch your publicity campaign and systematically sending out your press releases every week or two will go a long way toward leaving a lasting impression about you in the minds of reporters. That, in turn, will increase your chances of getting calls from reporters to do interviews and getting free publicity for your business.

By Paul Hartunian
Photography by Franz Pfleugl

Ready to really learn press release format? Paul Hartunians free publicity information center will teach you and many other aspects of publicity. Visit now to get powerful profit-producing publicity tips!


Interior Design Marketing: Developing a Strategy

Small Business Marketing: Developing a Strategy
Marketing is a crucial part of business success. In order for any business to survive, other people need to know that the company exists and what you can do for them. It is even more important for interior designers  to make a name for themselves. Developing a good small business marketing strategy is what you need to rise above competitors. Careful research, proper introduction and good follow up are crucial to building a strong customer base.

Research Your Market

Do you have a target market in mind? Get to know the customers you want. Find out what groups your products or services will attract the most. Visit local events to network and let people know you are there. Bring business cards or something small to hand out to people that you meet.

Find companies and agencies that need your products or services. Research your target market for an accurate assessment of the things you may be able to offer. Send out a short poll (no longer than 10 questions). It is a quick and easy way to find out what they need.

Examining the competition closely will help to find areas of neglect your company can fill in. For example, a restaurant would consider making special dishes that the competition doesn’t offer.  Figure out what special niche your firm fills that others do not. Studies show that specialty companies do better than those who try to do it all. Once you have this information, put it to good use.

Introduce Your Business

Start out with a simple brochure, flyer or postcard. Any piece of marketing should include these basic elements:

- Who you are

- What you offer

- Where you are located

- How to contact you

Appeal to prospects by emphasizing those unique specialties that only your business offers. Target their specific needs in your advertising. This is where all the research comes in handy. The thing to focus on is one or two particular needs they have that you can take care of for them.

You can send a uniform flyer or brochure, or you can customize each one to maximize the appeal to each business or demographic you send the information to. As long as you have the important key elements, the rest is flexible.

Make the most of the experience you have. Don’t make anything up, but if you have a track record, people will be more likely to pay for your products and services. (ex. Serving for 25 years and counting!) Let them know of similar clients that you have had and similar work that you have done. A long time in the business is something you should take confidence in.

Other things you might include in an advertisement are:

- grand opening/reopening date

- special sales

- top selling services
- number of clients to date

- company slogan

Follow Up

One of the most neglected aspects of marketing is follow up. It is always good to have new customers, but to truly be successful, you need at least some of those people to come again. There are some very simple things that you can do to inspire repeat business.

If you get phone calls or emails, respond to them. Give a call back or a reply message to thank them again for inquiring. This is especially important if the client has purchased your product or service. Reminding them that you are still in business and appreciate them as customers will encourage loyalty. Offering coupons, discounts or a free item (ex. pen with company logo) is also a way to thank clients and encourage them to come again.

If you follow these steps to an effective marketing plan, you will see your business take off. Once you find out what works for you, do it again and again.

By Chesley Maldonado
Image by StockChoice

Chesley Maldonado Bio: I obtained my BA in English in 2006. I have experience in research, essays, article writing, and web content, and I am a full-time freelance writer. I have a Christian blog: where I focus on Christian living and Scripture. Otherwise, I write on a variety of topics, as you can see below. Feel free to comment on these articles and on my blog. If you would like to contact me, you can email me at chesley.maldonado (at)

Working With Difficult Clients: How to Handle a Loose Cannon Without Getting Burned

Everyone has difficult clients, the ones that make you wince when they call, you dread meeting with, and you lose sleep thinking about sending your bill to and having to deal with their adverse reaction. However, there are simple steps you can take to improve your business relationships with these loose cannons. The following are six ways to handle difficult clients:

1. Watch for warning signals.

It's easier to not start a relationship than it is to sever an ongoing relationship. When you are interviewing potential new clients keep an eye out for warning signs such as potential conflicts of interest, involvement in high-risk business, unrealistic expectations or mild personality disorders. Many times warning signals show in an introductory meeting but because a business desires the challenge of the work, or could really use the additional revenue, they choose to take the client on anyway. While it might seem like a good idea at the time, this can be a costly mistake. When you are weighing a potential new client remember to factor in their behavior and their expectations. If it appears that it will be less than professional in the future, you should seriously consider the situation before taking them on as a client.

2. Prepayment is a must.

When rendering a service in today’s cutthroat business world you should always request prepayment from your clients. When you encounter a client that is a loose cannon you will fully understand why. Although you may be a professional and always do the right thing, you cannot expect that same behavior of others. This is especially true when providing a pure service, where there is no transfer of physical goods. Often a service may have a high perceived value prior to rendering it, but afterwards, since the client is not really left with any physical evidence, that perceived value can change. For example, before getting a massage a client is in pain and they really want one and $100 sounds like a reasonable price to pay to alleviate this terrible pain and tension. Afterwards, however, they feel pretty good, their pain is a thing of the past and suddenly $100 for an hour on a table may seem like too much for a back rub. Make sure you settle up before you render the service, because you can’t get refund on your time. Too many people will try to renege on payment because they have blown their budgets on bad business decisions and this should not be part of your risk. Take this out of the equation by simply saying, "Our policy is payment up front." By using this phrase you can keep it professional instead of personal. The only ones that you will lose with this approach are the ones that would have given you trouble, so losing them is a good thing.

3. Stay out of the drama.

Do not get pulled into your client’s drama. Even if your relationship becomes more personal as you become more of a trust advisor or confidant to this particular client, it is important to keep your relationship with your client drama free. You can do this by keeping the issues current and by remaining an adult, responding rather than reacting. Drama is easy to get pulled into, and since they are your client you will have a natural tendency to want to help. They will want you to get as worried or excited or frantic as they are and it will be difficult not to get swept up in this especially when dealing with someone with a strong personality and a strong desire. However, part of the value that you provide as a third party is your neutrality, so cling to it. Make sure you remain unattached because this is what allows you to offer the perspective, skills or solutions that the client lacks. You don’t want to appear to be uncaring when they are unloading all of their issues and panics, but they will ultimately be better served if you remain in the rock of strength position, solid and grounded, and not to be swayed by the whim or crisis of the day. You will have a better chance of actually working effectively with your client if you follow this policy without exception.

4. Get it in writing.

With phones and the internet speeding up our business transactions we can sometimes forget to get things in writing like expectations, job requests and approval. This is never more important than when you are dealing with a client that is a loose cannon. They are prone to blustering and giving you directives that they will later deny. Often when people get into their crisis mode, they are not even entirely aware of what they are doing, they just start spouting off requesting that you do things that are not necessary or could potential damage their own image. The speedy communication devices of today are an efficient way to confirm your client’s expectations. Send them an email reiterating what they asked you for and what you are going to do to satisfy that request. Sometimes seeing it in writing will make them realize their own irrationality and bring them back to the land of reason. If you also assign a time estimate of how long it will take to complete that it may help them to realize that everything has a cost and time component to it, which is something that loose cannons often forget. They want everything they ask for now. When they realize that this is going to cost a certain amount of money, or delay other pressing priorities, it will help them to put things in the proper perspective. By reflecting back their verbal expectations to them in a written form it helps them to think more clearly as they can now see what they are asking for. Documentation and liberal communication help ensure that if a mistake or misstatement has been made it will be caught before a problem arises.

5. Make sure you are not putting all of your eggs in one basket.

It is exciting when one client engagement starts to grow and generate more revenue for you. It is often easier to grow existing client relationships than it is to attract and build brand new ones. And it is also a sign that you are doing a good job of delighting your customer and providing good service. However, there is a danger here when one client starts to dominate your portfolio. Just as you would never want to have your stock portfolio too heavily weighted in one company or one industry, as you build a book of business it is important to diversify as well. As one client starts to take a dominant role in your overall client portfolio there is a balance of power shift that is not in your best interest. A good rule of thumb is that no one client should ever make up more than 30% of your revenue. Ideally as you grow you want this number to be closer to 10%. However, with startup and small businesses this is a hard principle to stick with because most small companies will gladly take revenue from wherever they can get it. When faced with a client that is difficult, but represents a substantial portion of your business, you need to have the discipline to not get sucked in. Of course you want to continue to offer great service but don’t do so at the expense of your own business building efforts. Keep making time for your own business development activities, they are just as important as servicing your clients. Keep networking, marketing, going on sales calls and seeking new clients. Don’t get sucked into doing more work for your existing clients than you are paid for thinking it will be worth it in the future. Keep your eggs spread out in different baskets. Depending on one client especially a difficult one is a big mistake.


6. Decide when to say when.

We have all dealt with clients who are extremely needy, demanding or otherwise complicated. However, if a client does not respond well to boundaries and protocol that you set for your business, then you are in trouble. Each of us must decide what limits we will allow a client to push us to and where we will draw the line. You should always remain professional and composed with a client. There is no excuse for loosing your cool. To prevent letting frustration build up know where your line is and clearly define it to yourself and to your clients if you can. You are in control and by having a balanced portfolio you can insure that you never lose that power. You should always be able and willing to let go of a client that becomes abusive or undesirable.

In business and in life we are all bound to make mistakes. Bringing a difficult client into your business life can be one of those mistakes, but you can avoid that mistake or turn it into a positive if you follow our advice. It comes after years of learning the old fashioned way through mistakes and missteps ourselves. Part of the advantage of having an advisor is to not have to live through all of the mistakes yourself. Learn from those who have already been down that path. Of course, making mistakes is a part of learning but so is taking good advice.


By Elizabeth W. Gordon
Image by Photoeuphoria


Elizabeth W. Gordon, founder and President of The Flourishing Business, LLC, is a visionary leader who has a passion for helping others achieve their entrepreneurial dreams and enjoy more of the best in life. With a vast and diverse background in many business arenas, Elizabeth regularly has the opportunity to share her business acumen with clients, large and small. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Atlanta and the Board of Directors of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Atlanta. She is an Accredited Executive Associate of the Institute for Independent Business (IIB) and a certified Life Coach.


Protecting Your Design Firm with Liability Insurance

Insurance is for the unexpected.
Make sure your design practice is covered.

-V. Carr
Managing Director
The Interior Design Resource Agency

General Liability Business Insurance

As an interior designer and small business owner, you have a lot of responsibility including running your business and looking after its welfare. Even if you run your business very carefully providing the best of working conditions for clients and employees, including making sure that the quality of your service and products meet set standards, you never know when things could go wrong. This is where general liability business insurance comes to play. The following paragraphs will explain how general liability insurance can help you cover unforeseen accidents, lawsuits and other catastrophe and save you a fortune paying off the costs which may be associated with defending you in court.

What is General Liability Business Insurance

As a designer small business owner, you will undoubtedly need protection from clients filing a lawsuit against you due to services which they may not like or which may have gone wrong. Business liability insurance protects you not only against property damage and personal injury, but also covers you against damages and fees incurred due to legal costs. There are different types of business liability insurance which you can acquire that depend on your design firm's needs. The most common liability business insurance includes general liability insurance, professional liability insurance and product liability insurance.

General liability business insurance can be considered the first line of defense to protect your business against claims of wrongdoing and negligence. If a client or contractor files a lawsuit against you, this insurance covers you against losses which you might incur. Moreover, it covers bodily injury which may be caused to your employees. In the event that clients hired you for a job that your team was required to repaired something  say electrical appliances or plumbing operations, that breaks down again, you can use your general business liability insurance to cover the extra costs. In addition, medical expenses for a person who is injured within your business premises are covered as well.


General liability business insurance protects your business from advertising claims, property damages and injury claims. Professional liability insurance is beneficial for since it covers business owners who provide some kind of service. It also protects against omissions, errors, malpractice and negligence. On the other hand, product liability insurance may be needed as it covers you against injury which may occur in the process of using a particular product.


In addition to the above mentioned insurance, you can attain small business liability insurance, to save your small company from crumbling in times of need.


General Liability Business Insurance Quotes

Once you have an idea of general liability business insurance, you may want to know how to go about getting the best quote. There are several insurance companies which provide such insurance, but you need to search for the best deal. The best way to search is by getting quotes from several service providers, so that you can compare them and choose the best premium.

How Much Does General Liability Business Insurance Cost

General liability business insurance costs depends on the kind of business you have. Premiums depend on the risks which you want to cover. If you have a home based business, you may have to pay anywhere between $350 to $700 USD or more every year. Try to gather as much information on liability insurance cost, so that you have all the details before buying a policy.


While buying general liability business insurance, you should see to it that it covers medical bills which you may have to incur in case a person is injured within the premises of your business or job site. Moreover, it should also provide cover against legal costs in case you are sued and a lawsuit is filed against you. Go through the fine print thoroughly so that you know all the terms and conditions before you sign the dotted line.

By Madjya Bhattacharyya
Image by Editorial1


What to Do When Clients Challenge Your Design Fees

3 Simple Strategies for Client Clarity

Okay, so let me paint you a picture to share my tips for client clarity... let's say you just finished a client discovery session and offered the client to work with you privately and make a 5 figure investment in your services. Let's, for the sake of the example, assume that the client was expecting an investment a little closer to 4 figures and as a result, he pushes back with something like... "So what makes you qualified to charge that much?"

From time to time everyone needs a little clarity. Yes, that includes your clients and prospects. What's important to note at those times, is as the service provider, you must always keep a level head and provide a response that will add value, not create discord. While the customer is not always right, the customer always deserves to be treated with respect and provided with a level of service that is respectful and exemplary of your brand.

It's important to note that clarity is not a personal attack on you. It means that the decision to invest in your services is a stretch for them and that produces fear and in fear, we want to find a way out. We position ourselves that way by seeking clarity or creating an objection to what we know is exactly what we need to achieve our next level. Our ego begins to run rampant and the result... well, let's just say that it could be a less than favorable conversation where you, the service provider, must encourage a response to maintain your brand positioning and get the new client.

When faced with an experience that may be less than favorable, because I get it, no one wants to be challenged, it is still your responsibility to remember why you are in business and what level of service you've committed to offer your clients and prospective clients. Don't take a question as a sign that you are not an expert and cannot solve their problem. Instead, take it as an opportunity to provide additional education and perhaps coaching them successfully out of their comfort zone.

To mitigate such situations, I have a few recommendations for you:

1. Take a deep breath and gain clarity. By ensuring that you understand completely what it is that they are asking, you can avoid a lot of drama and defensiveness. Questions and a need for clarity go hand in hand with making a life or business change, investments that will alter the course of existence for an individual. Remember, our natural inclination, as a consumer, is to find a reason to say no, while your natural inclination as a business owner is to evoke a yes response.

2. Put yourself in your customer's position. The financial services company where I started my career's mantra was "Think of yourself as a customer." From that mantra, it really shifted my perspective whenever I was on a customer service manager call. While I may have not agreed with their perspective, I shifted to see things their way. Together we could arrive at a collaborative destination. When you see things from their vantage point, you will often become clear about why you are meeting resistance and then you are better able to effectively offer counsel that gives them a level of comfort with the life changing decision they are poised to make.

3. Listen and then respond accordingly with facts. With your expertise your expertise you can then give them the comfort to progress. So let them get it all out and then help them to understand why the investment is not only necessary, but also essential for them to solve their problem the right way. Reassure them by highlighting success stories of clients in similar situations to theirs and how working with you made the difference. Remind them of what they said they needed by using their words. This is why I recommend during all client or prospective calls that you have a notepad and pen handy. You can then capture their words for their problems and remind them of the level of importance they placed on the problem and that they see you as the solution provider.

When you take the approach of education when they give you resistance, you will gain the client, grow your brand and set yourself up for an amazing success story for having the courage to hold them accountable to what they need to grow to their next level.

by Darnyelle A. Jervey.
Photography by Sugar Free Sk

©2012 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, The Incredible Factor Business Mentor and Coach, is the founder of and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System


10 Tips For Improving Your Design Firm's Cash Flow

Top Ten Tips For Improving Your Cash Flow

1. Stick to your budget.

(If you don't have one, make one now.) The budget is part of a business plan. You want to know exactly how much to spend on each large item you purchase and when you will have the cash to do it. Your cash flow projection coupled with your forecast will give you the proper timing for making purchases. The items you have budgeted for should also be part of the business plan.

2. Bill your clients regularly.

Many business owners are so busy selling to new clients that they forget to invoice the clients they have already worked with. Put the task of billing your clients on your calendar and then stick to that schedule.

3. Get a retainer for your services before you begin the work.

If you are going to be working with a client over a period of time, you will want to request some money up front before you begin to deliver the service.

4. Give a discount for early payment.

You will be able to collect the money more quickly if you offer a discount for prompt payment.

5. Accept a credit card for payment.

Although you have to pay the credit card company for this service, having the convenience of a credit card allows the client to pay immediately. Collection is now the problem of the credit card company.

6. Use your own credit card to finance purchases but do it cautiously.

If the interest rate is low and you can pay the credit card company back relatively quickly, credit cards are often a good way to even out your cash flow.

7. Establish a line of credit with a bank.

This is relatively easy to do so long as you have good credit and it gives you a cushion of cash when things are tight. Sometimes the bank will offer a really good rate to encourage you to become their customer for other banking services.

8. Put the cash that you have on hand in an interest bearing account.

No reason to have cash sitting in an account that doesn't accrue much interest. As cash grows consider money market accounts, CDs and savings accounts.

9. Pay your outstanding bills judiciously.

Notice which vendors are willing to wait for payment and which will charge you interest if you are late. Schedule payment to maximize the cash in your account.

10. Consider getting an expert to watch your cash flow. Have someone (financial advisor, accountant, bookkeeper) available to run financial reports each month so you know exactly where you stand in your business.

By Alvah Parker
Photography by Dani Simmonds

Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (The Attorneys' Coach) and a Career Changers' Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website