Are You Ready For Some Business?

It’s really a shame that Hank Williams Jr. wasn’t able to communicate his political views as effectively as his love for football. I really miss him opening up Monday Night Football games.

But tell me, are you ready to do business? Really, really ready?

With all due respect to those like my wife who go through life making plans that have all the attention to detail of a third-grader’s water color project, making a business work takes detailed planning and effort. So let’s take a look at what we’ve got to do to get things moving in the right direction.

And in business, the right direction is any upward movement in the bottom line.

To be successful we have to consider the four basic elements of any good marketing plan. Dr. Jabs at California Baptist University (Riverside, Calif.) drilled these into my head over and over back in the day, and no matter how hard you try everything boils down to them.

Product. Price. Place. Promotion .

Goods and Services.

What you’re selling is perhaps the most important of these four. Dr. Jabs might beg to differ, but over the years I’ve found that if you don’t really believe in what your trying to sell, you’ll never give it 100 percent. Oh, you might for awhile to impress some supervisor, but eventually you’ll slack off because you just won’t be that passionate about it.

Pet Rocks circa 1975

Pet Rocks circa 1975

Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in several industries where I really loved the business I was working for and the products we were promoting. When I was teaching, that look of accomplishment and understanding on a student’s face was the best high ever. When I was giving seminars on financial literacy in schools and to the community, hearing stories of how I had effected someone’s budget and quality of life did it. And as a sports editor for nearly nine years, getting to tell exciting game stories every day was just incredible.

For me the trigger seems to be making a difference. And that is a big reason I latched onto Lyoness when it was presented to me. Lyoness allows people to earn a few extra bucks back on their every day shopping without any buy in whatsoever. And with that same free membership, they can share the program at a minimal cost and create a small to medium revenue stream.

Lyoness helps people help themselves.

So what is it that drives you? Is it making a difference? Is it the pride and prestige of being the leader? Is it the almighty dollar? Look at your past jobs and what has made you really happy in them. Ask people you’ve worked with when they thought you were at your best. You might  be surprised.

Now that good feeling aside, you really do have to have a product that people want and, at least in their mind, that they think they need. Real need versus perceived need is unimportant, as the latter becomes the same as the former if people believe it. Don’t believe me? Why do you think we have a gazillion fast food places? It ain’t because we really need them, it’s because we think we need them. Get rid of them and America’s obesity problem ceases to exist.

My nephew once had a great idea for a trash can that stopped the bag from bubbling up with air when you put a new liner in. It was a plastic can like every other one you see in the grocery store, except it had small holes in the bottom to let air out to prevent the bubbling problem. He had a patent company give him rave reviews and they took some of his cash and even got to a development stage before finding out that no one really wanted the product.

Why? Well, there were two reasons. First, anyone with a hand drill could easily punch a few holes into their one plastic trash container and solve the bubbling problem. Second, anyone who has done that knows that no matter how clean you are, the inside bottom of your trash container gets stuff on it and starts to stink. And when there are holes in your can, you whole kitchen stinks.

Nice idea. Bad execution.

So check your idea to make sure it meets an actual need, that it works and that it can’t be easily replicated. That’s a great start.

But as P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” And as a culture, Americans are some of the biggest suckers around.

I say that to point out that not every product is going to have some logical use or function. Don’t believe me? I leave you with two words: Pet Rocks.

I rest my case.

How Much Is That Gonna Cost Me Again?

As Madonna told us, we’re living in a material world, and we’re all pretty much material girls.

Price is really the center point of whether or not your product will survive. It’s the key player on the Supply-Demand Curve that will determine whether you make it big or make nothing at all.

quarter_guy_walking_lg_whtI’ve always found price to be a funny thing. You can have a great product and determine that you want to make just a little on each sale, but sell a lot of them to make a substantial profit. But when the consumer looks at it they say, “Well, it doesn’t cost very much so it must not be very good quality.” It makes no sense to the businessman trying to crack into a new market, but we’re not selling to ourselves. Again, the perception becomes the reality and reading what the consumer is thinking is the key.

Most recently I saw this in my freelance photography business. I take great pictures but couldn’t get enough gigs as my prices were evidently too low. I actually had people tell me they thought I must be giving them a cut rate product, when what I was trying to do was make the youth sports picture buying process more affordable for the masses. Having been through that as a player and a parent, I knew how much is spent on my kid’s athletic endeavors.

But when I raised my prices, the gigs started coming. It made no sense, but it made me more money.

It’s been my experience that people will buy into a 10%-20% discount on the going price and not think there is a drop off in quality. But go much beyond that and their wheels start turning, even if its done with bogus inferences and information.

And that may be one of the biggest hurdles that Lyoness faces. While multi-level-marketing (MLM) companies keep trying to bring people in with promises of big money only after some initial buy-in, Lyoness seeks to do exactly the opposite. The returns are small at first and are completely dependent on your business savvy and effort.

The price is definitely right, its just not what people expect.

Where’s Waldo & Your Product

Where you plan to sell your product is also important, but less so in today’s internet-driven market. But unless your Chris Henson, a buddy of mine from college, you better look into it closely.

travel_map_lg_whtChris was a unique guy who I’ve always said could probably sell anything to anyone. One day while chatting I told him just that, stating “I bet you could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo.” Without missing a beat he replied, “You bet! To them its a heater.”

That kind of thinking eludes me most days. I have flashes, but that thought process is rare and does not come easily for most of us.

I’ll state the obvious by saying that you’re likely not going to do well selling snow cones in the middle of the Christmas rush, unless of course you’re below the equator. So look for a natural fit – either one that seems logical or one that people think seems logical.

One of the great aspects of Lyoness is that it can be used just about anywhere. From groceries to autos to travel and everything in between, you have a lot of options that can help Lyoness work for someone. You simply have to show them the places it works and let those that referred you and the program do the rest.

And delivering it is very easy. Moments after they are registered they have an electronic version of the membership card they can use on their phone or one they can print out if they really need something in their hand.

Takin’ it to the Streets!

Once you’re ready with the first three P’s, get the word out. Many a great product has died on the warehouse shelf because no one ever knew it was there.

The Internet makes it really easy to get the word out these days. Places like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are great avenues to tell people what you have and where to get it. But everyone is using them, so how do you make yourself stand out?

For starters, be unique. Now that sounds obvious, but its not easy. There has to be something special in what your product does or how you present it. Your product may be an updated version of some old standby, but if you give it a twist that catches the attention of your target market, it could be a winner. Even a flash in the pan could be enough capital to get you to the next bigger project.

One of the trends today are viral videos. Something weird is always making its way around the net, so get creative. If you can find the hook that becomes the next Harlem Shake, you’re in.

Lyoness’ hook is what we talked about earlier – its free. That tends to bother some people because they immediately hear the old adage in their head about “You don’t get something for nothing.” True enough. Lyoness is free, but it requires the shopper to be a little more discerning in their purchases to make money when they shop. And if they want to make a little more at it, Lyoness requires that you share the program with others.

But it’s overall uniqueness is what drives Lyoness ahead of the others. Merchants drive the benefits, not the members. And that make it very unique.

Product. Price. Place. Promotion.

In large part these four items will determine just how successful you’ll be in any business. Knowing how to address each and how to best represent your product within those four areas is a big step in getting your product off the ground.

If you’d like more information on Lyoness, or would like to get registered for a free membership, leave a comment or drop me a line with one of the links on this page. As always, the information and the membership are free.

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About Tim Allen

I am a former newspaper writer/editor/page designer that still loves to write and share my experience and views. I presently own a digital marketing firm and live in a small town in Big Sky country.

Posted on September 9, 2013, in Business / Finance and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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