We at The WIN Companies are pleased that our “Small Business Town Hall Open Forums” have brought about solutions for owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs of small business about which they were previously unaware. Many of the participants were concerned with increasing current sales, the rising costs of doing business (especially health insurance), effective use of resources, business structure for tax purposes, increasing the value of their business for future sale and more.
It was a pleasure to be able to introduce successful strategies to help these professional get solutions. One solution that has been well received is WINs Business Acceleration program. WIN Business Acceleration, Inc. (found under our Services tab) offers premium, affordable and comprehensive payroll, workers’ compensation, medical, dental, vision, supplemental and commercial insurance coverage to those employers of one or more who have previously been able to only obtain the poorest coverage at the highest rates. By working collaborative to mitigate the risk for insurers and negotiating economies of scale with large volume and premium partners WIN has been able to create this program to level the playing field for small businesses with their larger competitors.
If you have already attended a Town Hall and would like more information, a downloadable .pdf, or to learn about the affiliates program, visit us at WINcompanies.com/Services/WIN Business Accelerator or call us at 949.502.4200. If you would like to attend a Town Hall and find solutions for your business, register at WINcompanies.com or eventbrite.com. Due to popular demand, additional dates will be added at lunchtime and specifically for referral partners.
What is the one thing that small businesses never have enough of? Money? Partially True. According to Andy Paul, author of Zero-Time Selling, 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales, “If you don’t have enough money, then the one thing you wish you had more of is TIME.” When analyzing your company’s needs versus your resource constraints, business owners are often left in a difficult position. They need a team to support them, but cannot yet afford one.
To solve the underlying problem of overwhelming amounts of work and no (or little) support, business owners begin to take on more and more hats. Some hats may fit them well, generally those directly related to their product or service. Other hats, may not fit well at all. So how can owners of the new “lean start-up” find time to focus on the areas of business that will generate money? One way is by outsourcing your “front desk” functions.
In our last blog we spoke about the benefits of selecting a quality “reception service.” When an owner is handling the front desk, many calls are going to voicemail or to an automated system instead of your customers being greeted by a knowledgeable, welcoming, person who is able to immediately address product or service related questions and route their call to the proper associate. This can be catastrophic to sales conversion and customer support. In this blog, I want to address the opportunity cost of two other hats: scheduling and the use of (or lack of use) of customer relationship management (CRM) software.
By engaging with an outsourced executive assistant (as opposed to just a “reception service”), that service can enable shared scheduling on-line to enhance your customers’ experience, increase your conversion rate, and to free up time for the owner. The business’ calendar can be shared online and appointments can be booked directly for anything from a consultation, to an estimate or a service without the business’ owner or its employees being involved. Better yet, clients’ expectations are exceeded by the prompt service. The business owner can then use that time to build their business, see more clients, work on your business instead of in it (as the esteemed Michael Gerber advocates) and yes – make more money!
Now you may be thinking, there is nothing else that my outsourced executive assistant can take care of for me. There is no more time that can be created. Not true! Every company must have and fully utilize a CRM system…but in reality less than 20% of small business clients even own a CRM system and less than half actually use the one they have. Again, by engaging with an outsourced executive assistant all incoming leads are input timely, customer interactions are recorded, and emails are attached into the CRM system leaving a complete record for each prospect and/or customer. Follow ups and reminders related to each prospect and customer are assigned and scheduled in the CRM system and 100% lead follow up and customer satisfaction can be targeted and ultimately attained. Having a comprehensive file on communications with each relationship is PRICELESS. Should your business experience any turnover – or your memory fails you – you have a comprehensive history to refer back to. Your ability to exceed your customers’ expectations will again gain you both new clients and referrals from existing clients.
The ultimate benefit is, as I always say, that by engaging in professional behaviors your company instantly gains trust and credibility within its marketplace. That trust and credibility can ultimately be the difference between someone buying from you, or buying from your competition.
According to the Small Business Association, “7 out of 10 small businesses will succeed for 2 years, about half of which will survive for more than 5 years” (that means 15% survive greater than 5 years). Conversely, according to Wikipedia, “historically, 87% of business incubator graduates stay in business.”
Meanwhile, Answers.com provides some of the advantages of joining a business incubtor including:
- Shared operating costs.
- Consulting and administrative services.
- Access to capital.
- Legitimacy in the community.
- Universality of the incubator concept.
- Comradeship of fellow entrepreneurs.
But, is incubation the only co-operative entrepreneurial concept on the market in 2011? The answer is NO! At WINcompanies.com, we offer professional service and high tech firms the ability to conglomerate with other highly talented firms under our Business Accelerator allowing for the following additional benefits:
- Corporate legal counsel.
- Liability coverages.
- CPA and volume discounts.
- Corporate perks.
- Access to large group health insurance.
- CFO services including analysis of: corporate financial package, business plan, cash flow (or burn), forecasting.
- Support of strong management team.
This conglomeration allows a business with several employees, to enjoy all of the benefits of being a business with more than 100 employees. At the same time, it enables the business owner to focus on their product or service and not the business’ overwhelming daily infrastructure needs that detract from the owners primary focus; selling and serving clients. The savings in both dollars and time spent (opportunity costs) are priceless.
Acceptance to the WIN Business Acceleration program is by interview and invitation only. For more information, contact us at info@WINopp.com.
Virginia Lorimor, CPA*
Chief Excellence Officer
The WIN Companies
entrepreneurship, starting a business, business incubation