Monthly Archives: March 2017

Does Your Website Follow “The Iron Law of Marketing?”

Many websites unwittingly ignore ‘The Iron Law’ of Marketing. They begin by explaining features about the company, e.g. how long they’ve been in business, what their premises look like, etc. The truth is that most visitors to your website couldn’t give a hoot about the features of your company! What they primarily care about is WIIFM.

WIIFM stands for ‘What’s In It For Me’. It’s ‘The Iron Law of Marketing’. Unless visitors to your website can quickly see what your business can do for them, the chances are that they’ll be gone quickly, typically in seconds. Once they’re gone, they’re gone – probably never to return.

WIIFM – ‘What’s in it for me’. Are we really so self-centred? Well, yes, I’m afraid that we are. Please don’t feel guilty – it’s just the way we’re hard-wired. Sure, farther down the line, we care about others. But, first and foremost, we’re concerned about how we survive and thrive. That’s simple evolutionary common sense.

If you want your visitor to stay on your website, you need to heed ‘The Iron Law of Marketing’. You need to give your visitors WIIFM – ‘What’s in it for me’. But the paradox is this: the ‘me’ shouldn’t be you (i.e. your premises, etc). It should be them – your visitors.

You need to put yourself in your visitors’ shoes and address what they’re interested in, what they might want, how you may be able to help them.

Most companies are concerned to get ‘targeted traffic’ (i.e. potential clients to their sites) through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and other clever stuff. And this is important – very important indeed.

But if most of your prospective clients leave your website in a few seconds, isn’t that just a little bit silly? (And we’ve all done it, me too!) Isn’t that rather like filling a bucket with water… which just runs out of all the holes in the bottom?

It’s not rocket science! We simply need to show visitors to our websites the benefits of doing business with us. And we need to do it in a fun, interesting manner.

If possible, we should pack our websites with ‘FREE gifts’, so that visitors derive immediate benefit. One of the most valued gifts is FREE information which you give to your visitors and which will help them.

I’m amazed when I see websites created and run by people ten times more clever than me… yet doomed to failure because they broke ‘The Iron Law of Marketing’ – WIIFM, ‘What’s In It For Me’.

Often it just needs a change in focus and some alterations for your website to be much more successful. If you disregard WIIFM, it will become your worst enemy. If you take heed, it will become your best friend.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing Today

Marketing is essential to any business and is generally referred to as the most important aspect of any business strategy. Large companies spend millions of dollars to hire reputed agencies to handle the marketing of their business whereas smaller companies rely on more creative and cost efficient methods. In the extremely competitive world of today, social media marketing is the new ‘in’ thing and definitely here to stay. In a nutshell, it means using social media such as blogs, community sites, video sharing sites etc. to market a product or a business.

Certain popular websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube which have more than five million visitors everyday are considered to be an important hub for marketing. Promoting your business using these sites is a very attractive business proposition since they offer a huge amount of steady traffic everyday. In today’s world, social networking is extremely successful and social media marketing is very important to a business because of the sheer number of people that access these sites regularly.

The reasons why this type of marketing is so important, or rather, essential for a business are many. Firstly it is a low cost investment when compared to the other options available, offering many links to your site for free. Social media is generally free to use but marketing the same thing through conventional methods would cost you thousands of dollars. These sites get a lot of traffic and they in turn generate traffic to your site. Also it acts like a word-of-mouth concept that people tend to believe when compared to commercial advertising.

To make a lasting impact on the user and build a successful business any entrepreneur should be adept in social media marketing. There are a number of factors to keep in mind while promoting your business online so as to maximize its potential and achieve realistic real time sales. Lehman Hailey believes marketing through social media is a potent method that will make your site profitable over time.

Following are a few pointers that an entrepreneur would do well to remember while utilizing the immense scope of this type of marketing. Firstly, one should always try to give a clear account of the company’s product or the contents of the business instead of exaggerating and claiming the impossible because this discourages people from visiting your site whereas a more realistic picture generates slow but steady traffic over time. Secondly, it is important to post as many links as you can wherever there is a provision to do so.

Any business becomes profitable only if the end product promised by the company or the entrepreneur is really as good as advertised and produces customer satisfaction. There is no sure-shot formula for success using marketing since it only gives more visibility to the business and the end sales depend only on the efficiency of the product. However, social media marketing is an important tool that, when properly used is a highly beneficial and promising enterprise.

Customer Relationship Management Marketing = Starburst Opportunities

“It is easier to keep an existing customer rather than trying to find a new one”.

Companies know their bottom line is directly impacted by repeat business and without it, the business can struggle. Customer Relationship Management Marketing can generate new opportunities, repeat business and most of all, additional revenue.

Whether large or small, each and every business is dependent upon their customer relationship strategy. All companies should be driven by their customer wants and needs, otherwise they can struggle and eventually fail. Aligning client needs with company products and services is critical in client retention and company growth.

CRM systems help track every aspect of a customer through sales and into ongoing support. Many companies fail to utilize their own client base for revenue generating opportunities. Through these systems, marketing other products and services to existing clients can create “Starburst Opportunities” that can add to the bottom line with minimal expense.

For example, you may have an existing client using one of your software tools for a significant period of time. Over time, their usage of the tool increases and history of various support calls come in that has been resolved by another application or service your company offers.

This is a perfect opportunity to call on the existing client to present the new offering. The current relationship is leveraged for a new sales lead that could very well benefit the client as well as the company m a true win/win situation.

In summary, your current customer base is a hotbed of potential sales of other products and services you offer. You already know the client and their wants and needs, so you are ahead of the curve when it comes to building rapport and presenting your offerings. Customer management relationship marketing is another channel that should not be ignored, if you are not using it, you are leaving money on the table.

Does Your Pool Cue Matter? The Truth About Modern High Technology Pool Cues

I started playing pool at the young age of 7 years old, during the winters growing up in northern Maine when the temperature reached 50 below zero and it was too cold to ski. The rec room at Loring AFB had a couple of pool tables, and as a very athletic kid I had a natural curiosity about the game, and after watching a few games I was invited by one of the airmen to play a game with him. He showed me how to hold the cue stick and make a bridge, and got me a little wooden box to stand on so I could reach the table. It did not take long for me to become addicted to the game, and soon invited my friends to play. We spent many a cold winter day inside that rec room, playing for hours, making up our own rules and games, and eventually even betting nickel candy bars on the outcome. Yeah, we were big spenders!

When summer hit, we put the cues away and played baseball all day long. My dream, since I was 5 and saw the Dodgers play in Los Angeles several times before my dad was transferred to Loring, was to be a pro baseball player, and I eventually got a baseball scholarship to college in Texas, where my dad retired in 1966. Through the years, every spare hour not spent practicing baseball was spent in a pool hall, and after my baseball career ended with a torn pitching shoulder, pool became my number 1 interest. I won my first tournament when I was 17, at a bar that my sister worked at, and won a cue stick as first prize. I was thrilled beyond belief, until I screwed the stick together and rolled it across the table. To my horror, it rolled like a corkscrew, being so warped as to be unplayable! Back to playing with a bar stick!

For the next 20 years, I hustled pool where ever I was working at the time. I drilled oil wells all over the country, and made as much money hustling the roughnecks after their shift as I did from my salary. As a mud engineer, I was responsible for checking many different rigs daily, and got to know, and play against, hundreds of different pool players each year. Moving around the country to different areas on a yearly basis, I was able to keep under the radar and remain a relative unknown, so it was never any trouble to get a money game going. I do not think I ever met a roughneck who did not play pool, and most of them had a pretty high opinion of their game. That usually changed when it came time to pay up!

In 1989 I met the Alexander brothers on a golf course in Dallas. Nick, a lawyer, had founded Clicks Billiards many years before, and now had a total of 20 pool halls from Phoenix to Florida, with his original pool hall right there in Dallas at Abrams Rd. and Northwest Highway. Greg, his brother, was the General Manager, and responsible for hiring managers for all 20 of their pool halls. By this time I had retired from the oil business, and made my living on the golf course and pool halls every day. Greg and Nick were both members of Sleepy Hollow Country Club in south Dallas, where I hustled golf every day. Greg was a 3 handicap, and after I had played with him 3 or 4 days a week for several months (and took quite a bit of money from him), he asked me if I played pool. Heh heh heh. "A little bit", I said, and he took me that night to the original Clicks Billiards, to try to win a little of his money back.

After he paid up the hundred I beat him out of that night, he offered me a job, as assistant manager of the original Clicks. He knew I had never bar tended before, but assured me I would pick it up quickly, and would fit right in with the pool players who made up their core customer base. Was he ever right! I took to it like a duck to water, and ended up meeting most of the best pool players in Dallas, and some of the best in the country. Clicks had several exhibitions, including one by Grady Matthews, and one by Ewa Mataya, the Striking Viking. Clicks was also where I met CJ Wiley, the road player who won the ESPN Ultimate Nine Ball Challenge in 1995 or 96. There were many, many top notch professional players at Clicks, with many a $ 1,000 game of one pocket going on day and night , with lots of major Dallas bookies bankrolling a lot of the action, and sweaters on the rail by the dozens, just watching … or praying, lol.

CJ rolled into Clicks in 1990, and proceeded to terrorize the local pros. He was an instant legend, steamrolling every major player in town. Guys who scared the dickens out of me would not even touch CJ when he offered them the 5 and out. His rep grew, and his ranking did too, eventually reaching # 4 or 5 in the world of Pool. Working there, I became fast friends with CJ, and when he opened up his own room in Dallas, CJ's Billiard Palace, I eventually quit Clicks and went over to manage CJ's place. When he opened up, 90% of the action, and pro players, went with him. He had 12 Gold Crowns, as opposed to the 4 at Clicks, a kitchen, and was open 24 hours. The action never stopped.

So what, you ask, does all this have to do with the title topic? I bought my first cue, a Thomas Wayne model, in 91, and while it was beautiful, with lots of gorgeous inlays, and very responsive, it really did nothing to improve my game. I played with it for 3 years until it was stolen, and I loved the cue, but I could play just as well with a bar cue, providing it was the right weight and had a good tip. I spent 700 dollars for the cue, but I really did not need to. It did not give me any advantage over a house cue.

I had a severe back injury in 1994, that made me quit playing golf and pool. I did not want to risk an operation, and it was not until 2008 that I got some non-narcotic medication from the VA that let me bend over the table again without excruciating pain. By this time, Predator Cues had come out with a 10 piece shaft that was hollow at the tip, significantly reducing cue ball deflection at impact … or so they claimed. Having been away from the game for 14 years, I had read little about these cues, and was intrigued, to say the least.

For those of you reading this who do not know what cue ball deflection is, here it is in a nut shell: When a cue ball is struck to either side of the vertical axis … the center line …. the cue ball will deflect, or "squirt" in the opposite direction. So if you hit the cue ball using right 'english' … hitting the cue ball right of the vertical center line … the cue ball will deflect to the left, and vice versa .. The amount of deflection varies, depending on speed of the stroke, the distance from the center line (or tip offset) the cue ball is struck, and the mass of the tip. In other words, the more english you apply, the harder the stroke, and the bigger the mass of the tip ….. these factors will all increase the amount of deflection, or squirt. This squirt must be compensated for when aiming, or you will miss the shot quite often.

This is where the Predator technology comes into play. With a small hollow space at the end of the tip, the reduced mass drastically reduced the amount of deflection by allowing the cue ball to push the shaft out of the way at impact, instead of the shaft pushing the cue ball out of the way. The 314 shaft became very popular immediately with professionals, and the Z shaft reduced deflection even more by reducing the tip size from 12.75mm to 11.75mm. A shorter ferrule also helped reduce mass, and therefore reduce deflection even more. Independent testing has the Z² shaft and the 314² shaft from Predator as being the # 1 and # 2 shafts in the world in causing the least amount of deflection. Predator cues and shafts are used by over half of the top 40 professionals, 3 of the top 5 women professionals, and over 35,000 players worldwide, according to the Predator web site. These professionals are not paid to play these cues. They play them because their living depends on their playing ability, which is enhanced with this high-tech equipment.

Since Predator led the way in the mid 90's, many companies have now joined the technology revolution. Lucasi Hybrid Cues offers the Zero Flex Point shaft on all their hybrid models. This shaft has technology similar to the Predator shafts to drastically reduce deflection. They offer these shafts with many joint types to fit most cues made today. World Champion Thorsten Hohmann from Germany now plays Lucasi Hybrid.

The OB-1 and OB-2 shafts also offer low deflection technology, and John Schmidt recently changed to the OB cue. He said he ran over 400 balls playing straight pool, the second day he used the OB shaft.

I had to try out one of these cues myself, and I must say: I love the new high-tech pool cues. I play with a Predator 5K3, and despite not having played in 14 years, my game has ascended to a level way higher than I ever played before. The reduced deflection makes the hard shots using english much simpler, by reducing the amount of compensation for squirt.

In summation, the advance of technology has shortened the learning curve for beginning and intermediate players by reducing cue ball deflection, and requiring much less compensation for the squirt effect. And the pros, who make their living with a cue? Nearly all of them play a low-deflection shaft of some kind. Why would not they? If they do not, their competitors (who all do) will take the money.

While Predator remains the benchmark for low deflection, they are also not cheap. The retail price for a Z² shaft is nearly $ 300, but the new Lucasi Hybrid Cues, with similar technology (and also new grip technology to reduce impact vibration) are a good lower priced alternative. For less than the price of a Predator Z² shaft alone, your can get an outstanding Lucasi Hybrid [http://www.poolsharkcues.com/product_info.php?cPath=6&products_id=78/] that has advanced low-deflection technology and plays fantastically well. If a World Champion like Thorsten Hohmann is playing a Lucasi Hybrid, you KNOW it is an outstanding cue.

So think long and hard when purchasing a new cue stick. If you do not use a cue with modern low-deflection technology, chances are your opponent will be. Everything else being equal, a modern low-deflection cue, or an older cue with a new low-deflection shaft, is going to win the vast majority of the time. Greatly improved accuracy will make it so.

Sample Roofing Contractor Business Plan Outline

Is it worth writing a lengthy business plan for your roofing startup? Business plan preparation can be time consuming and many entrepreneurs are tempted to go ahead without one unless they really need it to prove the viability of ideas to partners or investors.

Your roofing business won’t be a huge, complicated business for a few years anyway so why bother? Well, while I would not suggest that you spend months writing a 100 page report, it could be useful for you to have a 10 to 20 page document on your PC that can be your company blueprint for success. You can make changes to it as you slowly learn more about the business.

It will be the key document that sets out exactly how your business is run. If done properly you should basically be able to hand this document over to somebody when they buy your business and they can take over with very little of your time needed to explain things to them.

Here is a brief business roofing business plan template to give you some ideas on how to put your own together.

Contents Page and Executive Summary

This should be a summary of your entire roofing business plan. If you will be presenting the plan to interested parties then let them know the contents. Include a basic summary of your plans to start a roofing business. Outline the opportunities that you see in the market and what you plan to do in order to capture a piece of the pie for yourself.

Background in the Roofing Business

Prove to yourself or others why you are cut out to go into this business. List details on your education and any relevant experience that you have had in the roofing industry or in business in general. Outline your reasons for wanting to start a roofing business.

Mission Statement

Set out your company mission or philosophy in a few words or a short phrase. Try to think about what you want to achieve with your business apart from profits. You should be driven by a desire to deliver a quality service to people in way that satisfies them and provides great value for them while still allowing you to meet your goals. What kind of products and services do you want to deliver? How will you be different from all the other roofing companies?

Business Goals

Set out the goals that you have for your business in its first few years. Set realistic targets that you know are attainable so that you won’t be discouraged if you don’t meet them. Success can be measured by a number of metrics such as the total number of roofing jobs completed per month, the percentage of leads that become new customers or the productivity of your employees for example.

Startup Requirements

List down all of the products and services that your company will offer and then set out a list of equipment and inventory that you will need to get started. If you need to buy a truck then you will be looking at minimum startup costs of around $20,000.

Startup requirements will also include compliance costs. Depending on what state you are operating out of you may need a contractors license, insurance, bonding or to comply with a number of other relevant regulations.

Don’t forget that as well as purchasing all of the necessary roofing equipment you will also have to purchase materials for your first job. Clients will typically pay a large chunk of your total invoice upon completion of the job so you will have to foot the bill until you get reimbursed when they pay their invoice in full.

Structure, Ownership and Management

There are four basic options to consider for your business structure and they include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC).

Outline how your business will be owned and make a note of the various parties that may have an ownership stake.

Set out a management structure so that there is no confusion among those involved with the business as to who is responsible for managing each part of the business.

Marketing Plan

Identify your target market both by location as well as other demographic factors and describe the kind of people or properties that make up your target market. Include the results of any market research that you do or local industry statistics that you are able to gather.

Set out a detailed plan for your roofing business marketing. This should include how you plan on getting enquiries, converting them into new accounts and maintaining them over the long term. It should also include brand development, pricing, advertising, a sales approach and other marketing methods.

Competitive Analysis

Write up profiles of your main local competitors and try to understand how they run their businesses. Borrow and adapt characteristics of their business that work and look for weaknesses in their business models that you may be able to capitalize on. Figure out how you will differentiate your brand from theirs in a way that allows you to stand out in the market.

Operations

Include details of the day to day operations of the proposed roofing business. Make a note of your office location, business administration and record keeping systems, plans to hire employees and procedures regarding roofing installations or repairs.

Financial Analysis

Outline some of the methods that you could use to obtain financing for your new venture.

Create a spreadsheet that shows anticipated cash flow forecasts over the first few years of business for a variety of scenarios. You can then determine how profitable you think the business will be in a number of different economic climates.

You will be able to find many free business plan examples online but it can be harder to find a specific sample of a roofing business plan. There are some business planning software programs that you can buy but they are usually just generic business plans that have been adapted anyway.

Unless you can persuade other roofing business owners to share their plan with you then you really have to look at templates from other industries and model your roofing business plan on them.

Improve Your Home With Masonry!

A wall is simply a unique portion of the entire infrastructure of a building. All of the elements, such as color, size, shape, texture, and finishing touches, combine together to create limitless architectural expression. Shade and texture convey a certain depth and character to the structure of a wall and yet the overall appearance should exhibit uniformity.

Masonry is a durable means of construction building using different substances such as brick, marble, stone, concrete blocks, limestone, stucco, tile, granite, and glass blocks. Generally, masonry is both the building activity itself and the materials that are used in the process. Choosing the right type of material and deciding how they should be used in the construction of a house is confusing without the proper knowledge and skills. With the help of the right home builder, everything can easily fall into place.

Concrete Masonry Units (CMU)

CMU’s are the most common type of masonry material utilized in building construction. They are often chosen because of the many benefits they have to offer as a wall material. They are cost-effective, fire-resistant, highly durable, environmentally safe, increase structural integrity, and have a better resale value. It is helpful to understand the different types and sizes of CMU’s available since they are manufactured by several different companies.

Bricks

Historically, bricks are one of the most durable and long-lasting types of masonry units. They are made from blocks of ceramic building material originally made from clay or mud. There are several substances used in making bricks, yet clay is the substance that is most generally used today. The advantages of using clay include: durability, classic beauty, low-maintenance costs, low purchase cost, energy efficiency, greater resale value, impact resistance, fire-proof, and availability in appealing textures. Bricks are used in several different applications; however, they are most commonly used for building a house. To emulate classical bricks, the manufacturer burns the material to provide a rustic appearance.

Stones

Stones have been used in masonry construction for hundreds of years. They can be made from local stones, limestone, granite, and sandstone. The quality of the material depends on its resistance to breakage, water penetration, and the ability to be cut into regular shapes. Stones are durable, maintenance-free, natural-looking, inexpensive, offer a timeless appearance, and come in variety of sizes and colors. Stones make a wonderful, long-lasting wall.

Veneers

Veneers are a construction material made from small pieces of stone or brick that are used for low load-bearing solid masonry. This substance is widely known as a “curtain wall” because of its appearance. Some of the advantages of using veneers include: provide effective drainage; promote insulation; affordability; light-weight; easy installation; and lower labor costs when compared to the installation of other walls. There are two methods of wall construction using this substance: the anchored system and the adhered system.

There are several types of masonry material available. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to have some basic knowledge about these materials in order to choose the right type of masonry. Each type has its own beauty and unique appearance; however, many factors must be considered before making a final decision. It is a good idea when making a selection to consult with expert home builders who can offer their assistance in choosing the appropriate masonry material for the improvement of a home!