Be picky about extending credit

Depending upon your business, chances are you have to extend credit to customers. Which means you have to send out invoices to get paid, then rely upon customers to pay in a timely way.

Make sure your credit customers understand that your terms are net 30 days. Then stay on top of your accounts receivable, sending out statements and other reminders so the customers don’t stall with their payments. Studies have shown the longer you allow a customer to avoid paying a bill, the less likely it is that he or she will ever pay you at all.

You don’t have to extend credit to everybody. Remember that it can cost you big time having a customer who’s a deadbeat. Deadbeat customers strangle your cash flow, and can ultimately sink your business.

If you do find yourself with a customer who doesn’t pay, negotiate to get what you can. Tell him you’ll settle the debt for a discount, provided you get the money right now. Yes, you may take a loss on the deal, but it’s still better than suing, which always costs more than you think.

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Overnight commercials: Cheap radio advertising

If you’ve looked into radio advertising, you know that morning and afternoon drive-time commercial spots can run into big money. That’s when stations get their biggest audiences, so they charge accordingly.

But you can still run a low budget campaign by buying overnight spots, which are cheap to start with, and are often sold at deep discounts. Sure, the overnight audiences are small, but your campaign can still be effective. Listeners who are up till all hours seem to be very attentive to what comes out of their radios. Many direct response marketers rely heavily on overnight radio, because their return on investment is better here than on the high-cost radio hours.

Make sure you have a compelling advertising message, and that you have enough in your budget to maintain ongoing frequency. Just a few spots won’t do much for you.

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Should your ad or brochure counter your product’s weak feature?

Maybe.

It depends on whether that product feature is widely recognized by your market as a negative. While dealing with a product problem directly in your market is often the best way to retain credibility in the market, drawing attention to the problem when your market doesn’t really perceive it as an issue suddenly makes it an issue. Customers who had never given any thought to it before are now saying, “Hey, wait a minute…” and using it as a reason not to buy.

Be careful. Be certain that an issue truly exists before you attempt to counter it.  An objection by one customer probably doesn’t confirm that you have a problem. Your sales rep just might be using the supposed issue as an easy excuse for poor sales performance.

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