Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Show Me the Money!

Ah the allure of starting your own business usually means being your own boss, setting your own hours, waking up when you want to, blah, blah, blah, but one of the best perks of being a business owner is MONEY!! Yep the almighty dollar. We want to make money, yes our passion is a driving factor but the reward of MONEY will definitely drive many of us to propel our business. However as much as we want money some of us aren't quite sure how to make it. Basically some of us are not sure on how to make a profit and what it takes to charge our clients while remaining competitive.

When it comes to business, pricing is everything. You can have a fantastic business model, a great website, a niche market everything and anything that can help your business succeed, however none of that will matter if you're not savvy at how you should be selling/pricing your products and or services. Unfortunately there isn't a concrete formula on how you should be pricing your goods, however there are some suggestions that perhaps can lead you in a suitable direction.

1) Production Pricing - Don't just look at what it cost to produce a product but also consider the behind scenes that comes with this product. For example, operational expenses, the time you took to create the product, how much should you pay yourself for creating the product, licenses, taxes. All these items should be taken into consideration when pricing your product, don't rely on the typical 20% overhead as your pricing, you may have more or less to consider. You want to be fair to your customers but you also want to be fair to yourself!

2) How Low Can You Go? - This where researching your competitors comes in, whatever you do try to stay on par with your industry. Our instinct tells us to compete with money we should go lower to get the business. However there are some drawbacks in doing this: 1) You can cheapen your industry, which wouldn't be fair for anyone and 2) Some clients may believe if you're charging too cheap you may not have much to offer. Think of this way, would you rather shop at Marshall's or Neiman Marcus? The other issue with going too low is your customers become accustomed to low prices and in the event that you have to raise prices they may view it as an insult and go elsewhere.

3) Rely On Your Service - These days with automatic everything from customer reps to tellers, putting a price on service is hard but it can be done. You may not have the best product in the world, let's face it you're a small business, competing with Wal Mart wouldn't make any sense. Yet you can still compete by offering niche services, being attentive and keeping your customers informed, essentially service the heck out of whatever you do. You'll find that in this penny pinching economy service is one commodity that is still valued and is actually top dollar!

For more tips on pricing check out this article and video from the Wall
Street Journal
which offers some real life mistakes/perspectives on pricing.

Note: QC Hustle does not endorse or advertise any products mentioned in this article. Article is solely for informational purposes.

Wishing you Prosperity,
QC Hustle

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Mommy Factor

This Mother's Day edition of QC Hustle is dedicated to all the mothers who work hard in their everyday job of parenting but also for those who dream big and want to succeed success for their future babies (descendants).

Any mother would tell you starting a business ain't easy, no ifs or buts about it! Starting a business takes diligence, creativity and support. Sometimes when you're the mother you're the supporter of your family and you wonder who's there to support you! When I look at my family and the demands I have as a mother, wife and business woman there is no doubt that feelings of being overwhelm at times appear. I learned to combat some of these feelings and still work at pursuing my dream by ensuring the following:

1) Don't Drive Myself Crazy - Having a "drive" is great but not when it runs you over. If you're feeling overwhelm chances are you are overwhelmed! Breathe, take it easy and know there's always tomorrow and the day after but today is your current and live in the moment. At times the moment may be to just chill.

2) The Tug of War - My daughter wants me to hang with her, my husband wants me to watch a game with him, everybody wants me but I don't want any of them, ( I know that sounds mean) but sadly for many of us at certain times especially when our creative mojo is going at full force this is exactly how we feel, what's a gal to do? First of all set some parameters but more importantly communicate with your family regarding your dreams, demonstrate it, keep them abreast. Basically get them in the moment. At times they'll understand and sometimes they won't but they'll never take it personally because they'll know they too are a part of your dream and sometimes that's all they want.

3) Be Your Own Boss - Take advantage of being an entrepreneur, control your schedule. If you have a PTA meeting then don't schedule a business meeting at the same time. Easier said than done, I know, but the fact is it can be done. Let's face it we all go into business so we can control and fulfill our lives, this should not only be in a profitable sense but a life worthy sense as well. Basically you are the Boss so do you and manage your destiny and time.

At the end of day a working mother and a business woman are all the same thing; we never rest and we are always creative whether its with our business or family. The best part is we can make it happen :)

For more information on how to be a productive business mom check out these few tips from Working Mother magazine.

Wishing you Prosperity,
QC Hustle

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Using Social Media Optimization (SMO) to Increase Your Business Prescence

The term social media is relatively new considering Facebook the mammoth of social media just took off around five years ago. Yet this evolving technology has morphed, dominated and made us so dependent on information that we cannot live without it. Aside from social media plaguing our daily lives, it has also leveraged many smalll businesses to compete with the "big boys"! One advantage a small business owner has is the ability to be personable. We do not have directors, managers, sales people, for the most part when we start out we are all this and then some! With this being said a customer will know when we're conveying a message it will be from the heart and not from an employee meeting a goal. So, how do you use Social Media to promote your brand, gain loyalty and let your customers know the real you?!?! Some of our QC Hustlers have provided suggestions on various Social Media avenues that can possibly help you in getting your word out!

1) Create, Release and Don't Stop - If you haven't done so already create a page for your business on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In for starters. When doing so use the same bio and profile for each, this lends to consistency and stability for your brand. The main exercise with social media is keeping up on it. Post every day, don't be ashamed if you post more than once. Chances are your customers are on more than once. The more you post the higher of a feed your status will become. Note: Facebook has a link which allows you to post your exact Facebook post to Twitter, a great time saving feature!

2) Social Media Bookmarking - While Facebook and Twitter are great, there are some of us who want all our information in a consolidated place. Delicious, Digg.com or Stumble Upon? provide the capability of creating traveling bookmarks with up to date information. This way your customer doesn't have to go to Facebook to see what you're talking about, with anyone of these bookmarking sites they can "bookmark" you and see all your post regardless of the social media being used.

3) Start a Conversation - The word "social" means the interaction of the individual and the group, so why not get social?!?! Ask a question on your post, solicit opinions or survey your customers. Chances are if a potential customer likes what you have to say or hate it, they will still remember you, which in all cases is a good thing! SideNote, check out Quora a website designed to help you build online questions or SurveyMonkey for building online surveys.

4) Show Your S&P (Smarts and Passion) - You may not be on the Fortune 500 list today (mind you I'm saying today, you WILL be there one day!), but this doesn't mean you don't know your stuff. Show your smarts and passion for your industry, post trade articles, videos, upcoming news. Remember social networking is about keeping in touch and keeping your customers in the loop! Just imagine the combination you're offering of being affordable, personable and brilliant within your field!

5) RSS Feeds - I'm sure many of us have heard the term RSS Feeds and like me it sometimes seems to complicated and not friendly at all. Well contrair mon frie (sp) trying to be French for a minute :) RSS Feeds are a good thing, it allows your readers to get information directly from their Outlook or other email services. Check out your website parameters on creating an RSS Feed link.

6)Freebies and Rewards - Just like when you're hanging out with a friend and treat him/her to a cup of coffee, why not treat your customers. Depending on your business you can offer discounts or referrals on your Social Media page. You can also create triva games by using a virtual prize reward system like Badgeville, which allows your customers to answer questions and then reward them with badges. You can determine the hierachy of a badge and let them work their way up in points which ultimately can reward them a gift for their winnings.

Lastly Social Media Optimization (SMO) is a term you should get use to, almost like the web buzz word of Search Engine Optmization (SEO), honestly without the two you don't stand a chance in the world wide web.

For those of you who are still unsure about Social Media and possibly afraid of the privacy backlash take a look at some big companies who have used this mechanism and the awareness they have gained from it.

Au revoir my fellow QC Hustlers, look forward to socializing and seeing your business on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Note: QC Hustle does not endorse any of the products listed. Our articles are for informational purposes only.