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WHAT CAN A 1960’S RACE CAR DRIVER TEACH YOU ABOUT RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS TODAY?

I grew up a race car fan (I still am to some degree), my Father raced professionally when I was young and I’ve held on to the car bug all these years.

Recently I read the (semi) autobiography of Mark Donahue entitled The Unfair Advantage.

Who is Mark Donahue? Although quite successful in his racing career, winning multiple SCCA Championships, The inaugural IROC Championship, the Pocono 500 in 1971 and the Indy 500 in 1972, Donohue did not capture the heart of the American fans, thus he stayed in relative obscurity to those outside of racing.


“Mark Donahue”

He didn’t have the Unser name or the good looks of Mario Andretti or the quotable quotes of an A.J. Foyt, but what he did have made him very successful. So what did he have? A tenacious appetite to find what he referred to as an “Unfair Advantage”.

The Unfair Advantage consisted of literally anything that would help him cross the finish line first. Starting his career as a mechanical engineer, naturally this unfair advantage was often how he and (Roger) Penske setup a car’s suspension, running test after test on skid pads (a relatively unused tool at the time), renting track time for testing, consulting and working with factory engineers and hours of trial and error.

But his unfair advantage philosophy went far beyond his core education and branched out into all facets of racing, including aerodynamics, tire adhesion, engine design, experimental wings, and more.

On one occasion he and the Penske team had an idea to raise their fueling tower to increase fueling times during pit stops. They combed the rule book for hours and found nothing to prevent this innovation. They’re strategy worked by reducing fueling times (the longest part of a pit stop) from 13 seconds down to 3.5 seconds. This unfair advantage put them way ahead of the competition.

On another occasion, they’re Unfair Advantage, for long distance races such as Le Mans and Sebring, was to develop a method to replace brake pads in a fraction of the time as the current conventional method. Typically replacing brake pads (which had to be done several times before newer modern compounds were created) took anywhere from 15 – 25 minutes. They’re method (using the built In vacuum form the braking system to recede calipers shortened the process down to less than five minutes. Imagine, when racing and every second counts, gaining a ten to fifteen MINUTE advantage over your completion every time they pitted for brake pads. Collectively they could gain more than an hour advantage in a 24 hour race.

So how does all this relate to YOUR business?


“Business Growth”

I think you probably see it already, find your Unfair Advantage. Instead of just running a company and maintaining the status quo, work hard to find the unique things you or your personnel can do that no other company in your industry can. Whether it’s a faster way to install equipment, an easier way for your client to pay, cutting out steps for filing paperwork, etc., strive to improve your system. Every minute of time you save in a process and every dollar you save in production, implementation and completion of work or a project is an advantage to your company.

 
 

Learn from those that have gone before you, adapt, innovate and find your Unfair Advantage.

Stop Big Business From Taking Over The Internet – Kill the Greed

JULY 12TH SAVE THE INTERNET DAY!

I URGE YOU TO ACT NOW, TAKE ONE MINUTE, POST A COMMENT AND PROTECT THE INTERNET FROM BEING TAKEN OVER BY BIG BUSINESS!

Please read this short note that will have a HUGE effect on your future.

Big Business is at it again, they are trying to slice up the internet into pieces that they can control and (ultimately) charge you more for using.  Their intent is to pass new legislation allowing them (Verizon, ATT, et al.) to control the speed of service on the internet so that they can reserve ALL high speed for high paying clients (big business) and let people like you and me deal with the “scraps of the internet” by forcing people and small business to use the slower “more affordable” internet.

They tried this two years ago and are now taking another run at it.  The vote is set for July 18th 2017, the proceeding is 17-801.  Today, July 12th 2017, I personally and my company (Meteor Marketing) are asking everyone to click on this link here: MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD  then click on the “+EXPRESS” on the right side of the screen to let them know that this money grab is not acceptable.  It will literally take less than a minute!

If you would like to learn more about this subject, here is a good article that lays it all out.

Blake’s Blog

Too many times we throw our hands in the air and say, well there’s nothing we can do about it.  But NOW is a time where YOU CAN TAKE ACTION!  It will only take a minute of your time, and in return it will save you hours (in slow internet feeds) and / or hundreds / thousands? of dollars in internet access fees.

Not to mention, what they’re trying to do is just plain evil.

ACT NOW OR PAY LATER, THE CHOICE IS YOURS

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How a Half Hour Could Change Your Life and Maybe Bring You a Wheelbarrow Full of Money

HOW A HALF HOUR COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE

No this is not some feel good seminar I’m talking about, or the latest iteration of the newest yoga, it’s something much deeper than that.  Now, I’m not knocking yoga, the health benefits have proven themselves over the years.  But, I am talking about something that could significantly improve your business’s bottom line or if you’re not working for yourself, help to catapult you to the top of the corporate ladder.

What I am talking about is reading.  Wait, before you yawn and move on, let me tell you about how reading, for only a half hour a day helped me to make $7000.00 in just 4 hours.

Years ago, I hired on as a sales rep for the local yellow pages in my area.  I knew nothing about selling other than it involved having conversations with people and that you had to smile a lot.  At least that’s what I thought.  Then I got a call from my mom.  My mom is a wonderful woman that is always trying to help me out with any venture I get into.  This time she helped me out in a BIG way.  She was at a garage sale and she had bought me a book called How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins.  (A must read if you’re in the sales industry).

Not having any sales experience, I decided to start reading it on my lunch break.  Fortunately the chapters are not long and you can read them pretty easily in ½ hour or so.  The book had straight forward practical advice that was easy to understand and apply.  As I read each chapter, I thought to myself, I’ll try this technique on my next meeting with a client.  Lo and behold, it worked!  I did this for about two to three week, each time learning more techniques and applying them as I went, until I was done reading the book.  The information that I learned was invaluable.  I made thousands of dollars because of that book.  Now, not all of it was because of the book, I did sit down and have very good evaluations and training from my boss, and I also grew with experience.  But the book gave me the foundation to learn and grow.

Oh, and how did I made that 7K in just four hours.  It’s because I applied the principles of the book to the last sales day of the campaign.  I got a little lucky, I cold called a prospective client that was working at a real estate brokerage firm who said “come on by”.  I was expecting a quick sale for a couple few dollars and then I would head out to lunch. It turns out this client was starting their own lending company.  He wanted to go big in the yellow pages, and by big I mean BIG!  He wanted a full page ad, he wanted supplemental ads, he wanted the “tip-on” (a special feature where they apply a 3 x 5 card to the outside cover of the phone book), he wanted it all.  And guess what, I helped him get it all.  I was in his office for four hours (skipped my lunch) but of course it was worth it, by the time the dust settled my (eventual) commission for that job was just under 7K.

Of course this article is not written to endorse this specific book, but rather to endorse the habit of reading.  Reading for ½ hour a day on your lunch break equates to about 10 hours of reading a month or approximately 130 hours of reading a year!  Even if you apply this technique only every other day that’s still 65 hours of reading or roughly 13 books!  Think of what you’ll learn about your business, or your industry, after reading another 13 books, and that’s if you only do it every other day.  You could read another 26 books in a year if you’re disciplined!  The next time you see a book that can help you grow your company, or help you to further your career, and you think “I don’t have time to read this”, think again.  Take that 30 minutes and apply it to yourself, invest in your own future.  I challenge you right now, go out and find a book that you know you need to read, or take a book that’s been sitting on the shelf collecting dust, and have it start helping you collect dollars.  So read on your lunch break, It takes no time away from your day, if helps you to feel better about yourself, it helps you to recharge your batteries in the middle of a stressful day and it could someday bring you a wheel barrel full of money.

You Need to Know WHERE Your Business is Coming From!

Today, Google Analytics can help track your internet clientele, but that only goes so far and only gives you some of the information, not to mention it is open to interpretation and bias.

For instance did you know that when a secure site refers a client to an unsecure site it shows up in the “direct traffic” section.  And speaking of direct traffic, if someone refers a friend to your business at an event or social gathering, they will type in your URl and it will show as another “direct traffic hit” when, in fact, it was a referral.

On top of internet advertising, how do you track results from Newspaper ads, Magazine ads, TV ads, Radio ads; and just how many people are contacting your business through referrals?

What is your business doing today to keep track of where your business is coming from?  And WHY is this important?

Let’s answer that second question first.  It’s important to know where your business is coming from for a variety of reasons, the most important is so you can capture more business.  But just as important is to determine how much it costs you to acquire a customer and which advertising medium is working best for you.

Not only are advertising mediums important for their cost of customer acquisition, they are also important for the quality of the customer they attract.  Every business has those products or services they provide, because they have to in order to stay competitive, but really would rather not.  And every business has those products or services that are the easiest to deliver and give the highest profit margins.  (Yes even my business.)

So, I think we can all agree that knowing where your business is coming from is an integral part of helping your company to grow and stay ahead of your competition.

That said, here are a couple old tried and true methods that will, if nothing else, get you started in the right direction.

It starts before the customer contacts you.  Here are a couple very easy ways to help you track your most profitable customer acquisitions streams.

  1. PUT DIFFERENT ADS IN DIFFERENT PLACES. If you’re advertising in three mediums let’s say the local newspaper, a local “giveaway” magazine and the yellow pages (yes they still exist and are being put to good use by some industries), then place a slightly different offer in each location.  For instance in you can put a 25% off add in the newspaper, put a “buy three get one free” offer in the local magazine, and in the yellow pages put a $25 off for purchase of $100 or more.

 

All three of these ads are essentially 25% off, but when the customer calls in and asks for the “buy one get one free” offer you are reasonably sure they saw your ad in the local magazine.  (Reasonably sure because they could have just been told about the offer by a friend and given your business a call.)   However it breaks down for your company you’re still far ahead of those who do no tracking at all.

 

  1. TRAIN YOUR STAFF. If you have staff answering the phone, greeting customers at the door or just taking orders, you’ve got to train each and every one of them on the importance of finding out how the customer heard about your company or special.  Teach each one to work it into the conversation as they are taking the order or greeting the customer.  Be careful that they don’t “attack” the customer with a barrage of questions before they even hear the customer’s concern or request, this will kill orders.  They can respond with replies such as, “The buy one get one free offer is a great offer, where did you see it advertised?”  If the customer cant’ remember, then follow up with “Did a friend tell you about it or do you think you might have seen it in the paper or the magazine?”  A casual “off-the-cuff” questions will elicit a much better response and customer experience than a “check list of questions” sitting in front of the employee.  A strong rule of thumb is to limit your employees to three or less questions.  If they can’t get the information out of the client through three or less questions, then just accept it and move on.

 

  1. AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE. Here’s one that comes from the very old days of mail order sales but is still used everywhere today to good effect.  Add a department to each and every ad.  For instance when you place an ad in the local newspaper, you can simply instruct your customer through the ad to ask for Department NP1 to take advantage of the offer.  You can even code specific offers with individual codes, for instance if you ran a 24% off offer in the newspaper, you could have your customers ask for Department NP25 to receive the offer.  Of course there is no Department NP25, but you’ll train your staff to recognize that as the code for the ad that was 25% off that ran in the newspaper.  They can simply say “This is the correct department” or “I can help you with that.”  Trust me, this is done ALL the time even today.  Pay particular attention to radio and TV ads and you’ll see it popping up everywhere.  Why?  Because it’s free and it works.

 

I mentioned that the last suggestion was free, but of course, they’re all free.  Thus ANY business can apply these techniques and apply them today.  There are MUCH more sophisticated methods of tracking where your business is coming from but most of them (typically) only apply to the internet and usually cost money or require quite a bit of upfront practice / learning to apply them.  I’m not saying they aren’t worth it (which they are) but these are free, easy to implement, simple and  – – they work!

ONE LAST IMPORTANT NOTE. 

Now that you have the process in place to collect all of this valuable information, how will you keep track of it?  Through a simple spreadsheet that you can easily create.  You can collect the numbers in a couple of ways, you can hand out a copy of the spreadsheet to each employee and then at the end of each month or at the end of a given advertising campaign, you can consolidate the numbers and decided on where to spend your money for the next campaign.  (If you want to make it a little easier, you can use google docs for free and make a single online spreadsheet that all employees log into which will tabulate the numbers for you.)

 

Remember, the better you track where your customers are coming from, the better decisions you’ll make about spending your advertising dollars and the more your company will grow.