Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 13th 2015 Contents DECEMBER 13 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
FINANCIAL ROAD MAP | SBG7
The case aren, 25, has been
unemployed for a year
since the advertising
agency she worked at
closed down after they
lost a major account. In
the five years spent at the agency, she
worked as an assistant to both the IT
manager and the head of copywriting.
To date, she has sent out over 200 applications to companies
in the advertising industry but to no avail. Karen is convinced
that the reason for the dismal response is her lack of a first
degree and, more specifically, failure in mathematics.
Anyone who has worked with Karen would attest to her
solid work ethic and excellent creative writing skills. She tried
using this talent to get freelance copywriting jobs but the
opportunities were slim and the money was nowhere close
to her $5,000 salary.
Frustrated, she complained to one of her agency clients
about the difficulties in finding work. The businessman sug-
gested that she use her skills to provide a newsletter writing
service, as companies might want to keep in touch with their
clients. Karen has no idea how to pitch such an idea to a
prospective company, much less how to charge for her service.
Nick's assessment and advice
Paycheck and profits
Employers or business owners often perceive hiring new
employees as an addition to their overheads as well as an
increase to their severance liabilities. They see the cost rather
than the benefit especially if they are accustomed to low pro-
ductivity, high absenteeism and high job turn over. They often
make decisions purely in terms of the bottom line.
A job hunter seldomly thinking about how they can help
a business owner (potential employer) increase profits or reduce
costs. Their focus is often on the paycheck or gaining experience.
Karen is very fortunate to hear the facts directly from a
businessman who believes she might be helpful to other busi-
nesses. If she can shift her thinking from looking for a job
and a steady paycheck to offering something of value then
the responses may be different.
The value of relationships
Many businesses are constantly on a drive to boost sales
by acquiring new customers, however, research shows that it
is cost more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing
one. Estranged relationships with existing customers force
businesses to spend thousands, even millions, in advertising
and brand building to counteract the effects of attrition in
their customer bases.
Customer relationship management (CRM) has been given
much lip service from its inception but the fundamental prin-
ciples remains the same. Maintaining a healthy, ongoing rela-
tionship with existing and potential customers will not only
ensure top-of-the mind awareness---when the client has a
problem to solve or a need to satis-
fy---but will also provide opportunity
to exploit the power of word of mouth
that exist in customers social circles.
At the point when a sale is made,
the needs of the customer and the
business are met. The customer gets
the product or service and owner gets
the money. Quite often, when the item
is not a staple it is very easy for the
business to "take the money and run" because the customer
will not be returning for some time.
In such cases, it is essential to keep in touch until they come
again. The challenge is what to say when contact is made with
The power of helpful information
Businesses that recognise the value of keeping in touch,
sometimes get it wrong in that their communication is often
laden with more products to buy. After some time, the customer
will become immune and disengaged with the bombardment.
It is a rare commodity to think and write creatively, something
that Karen has in no short supply.
There is a saying that: "people do not care how much you
know until they know how much you care."
Very little effort is needed for customers to do business
with someone who provides ongoing helpful information. We
see someone like that as an experts and place them in positions
of importance in our minds. Isn t this what branding is all
I can personally testify of the effectiveness of keep-in-touch
systems such as a regular newsletter.
Several years ago I published a monthly printed newsletter
called PAYDAY that gave quick tips for managing money.
Reports from my readers indicated they loved it and it made
them want to call for an appointment. However, as the clientele
grew and time became a premium for me, the newsletters
stretched out to quarterly and then fell off completely. The
result: I lost 50 per cent of my repeat business. A newsletter
takes time, energy and money to produce but the benefits are
As business owners become busier, the value of their pro-
ductive time increases. This means they are forced to make
tough choices in the use of this time. Therein lies Karen s
She can quite competently take this burden away from an
entrepreneur at a lower price point and provide the same or
greater benefits as if they did it for themselves. The business
will not have to bother with HR issues and the money spent
will be an investment not a cost.
Apart from pitching this idea to prospective businesses,
Karen can also speak to the cost savings achieved by leveraging
email and cloud technology.
Knowing how much to charge for such a service is both a
science and an art and prices evolve over time. The following
is one approach:
Karen has to map out all of the steps in the development
and management of a basic newsletter. She will then need to
establish how long each part of the process will take to complete.
In the beginning, some of her estimates would off but over
time she will master the art of pricing from trial and error.
If she wants to earn an income of $5,000 per month assuming
a 40-hour work week, the value of her time is $31.25 per hour
($5,000 / (40 hours x 4 weeks). If a job takes 15 hours, then
the client s bill would be $468.75. Karen will need to get around
10 to 11 similar clients to earn that monthly salary. She will
also have to build in any other costs---apart from her time---
which could include third parties such as graphic designers
and printers if hard copies are used.
Anything new is usually faced with resistance especially
when cost is involved. Karen could offer discounts or a free
first issue to entice prospective clients. When they see the
real value, they would want to continue. As time passes she
will get better, do jobs more quickly and be poised to charge
Metrics of success
Many digital mail services provide statistics on the number
of people who open and read the e-newsletters. If there are
links within the body of the document to get further information
such as coded offers or campaigns, then click through statistics
could also be gathered and analysed to tweak for effectiveness.
Sales can also be measured depending on the suggestions
in the publication and so the investment not cost could be
F C C
Profiting from your strengths
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