Monthly Archive for March, 2012

Become an effective small business negotiator

In poker, if you don’t know who the mullet is, you might be the mullet.

Don’t be a mullet. Watch this video to learn how to become a student of negotiating, and you will become an effective negotiator.

Watch more of Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

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Small Business Advocate Poll: How would you respond if a presidential candidate asked your economic outlook for 2012?

The Question:
If a presidential candidate asked you how the economy is looking for your business in 2012, what would you say?

12% - We are expecting significant growth this year

55% - We see signs of improvement, but nothing significant

33% - We’re still waiting on the recovery to start

My Commentary:
No less than six people are crisscrossing the U.S. at this moment with the same thing on their mind: The desire to be elected President on November 6. The Republicans have four candidates, Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul; the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson; and, of course, the incumbent, Barack Obama.

There are many issues that have been debated and which are part of each hopeful’s stump speech; but none more than the economy.

So where are America’s small business owners likely to fall on this most-important topic? We wanted to know what reaction a presidential candidate would get from a small business owner out on the hustings, so in our unscientific online poll we asked that very question: “If a presidential candidate asked you how the economy is looking for your business for 2012, what would you say?” Here’s what you said.

The big group, 55%, said “We see signs of improvement, but nothing significant.” The next largest part of our respondents, 33%, lamented, “We’re still waiting on the recovery to start.” The smallest group, only 12%, said “We are expecting significant growth this year.”

We’ve been polling small business owners online with questions about the economy and their businesses for over two years, and the numbers have not changed very much. But the most compelling finding in our economy-focused polls has been that when you combine those who are doing just okay and those who are still struggling, the number has consistently been between 75%-90%.

There are 28 million small business owners in America and another 70 million who work for small businesses. Based on our polling responses - which compares closely to several scientific small business surveys, including the gold standard, Dr. Bill Dunkleberg’s NFIB Survey of Small Business optimism - it seems clear that the now-famous slogan of Bill Clinton’s former political advisor, James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid,” may be more valid in 2012 than it was 20 years ago when the term was first used.

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Yesterday on my radio show I talked more about how small businesses feel about the economy and why politicians should pay attention. Take a few minutes to click here and listen or download.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: Are you worried about declining American manufacturing?

The Question:
Are you worried that America has lost too many manufacturing jobs over the past 20 years?

75% - Yes, and we should do what we can to bring those jobs back to the U.S.

25% - No, the 21st century economy naturally has fewer manufacturing jobs


Jim’s Comments:

It is the height of understatement to say that the issue of creating and preserving manufacturing jobs is complicated. Manufacturing jobs are influenced by globalization, technology, politics, capital markets and customer expectations, just to name a few.

Nevertheless, when Americans are asked what should be done about manufacturing jobs in the U.S., the response, as we see with our poll this week, almost always indicates that the solution is simpler than it really is.

As you can see above, three-fourths of our respondents said “Just bring the jobs back,” while the rest are more willing to acknowledge the forces that are influencing the evolution of the marketplace. I will have more to say about this in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

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Blasingame’s Law of Sales Pipelines

Here’s a maxim: Selling is a numbers game.

A maxim is a generally accepted truth and this is one because of two realities:

1. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of things that can cause a fully qualified prospect to not complete a transaction, at least not on your preferred schedule.

2. Regardless of all of the bumps on the path to a signed contract, it’s still your job to produce enough sales revenue to stay in business.

Enter the sales pipeline.

A sales pipeline is a planning concept that helps managers and salespeople forecast sales for any given period – week, month, quarter or year. Think of your sales pipeline as overhead plumbing with faucets positioned at the calendar intervals your business requires. And from these faucets you draw the mother’s milk of any business – sales revenue.

Pipeline faucets come with screens that only allow a sale to pass through. So into the pipeline you load only those prospects you have qualified. That means the prospects that have answered enough questions to allow you to determine that what they want, and your ability to deliver, will combine to produce a faucet-conforming sale within the timeframe or your forecast. Once in the pipeline, a prospect is either on track to become a sale or a forecasting mistake to be removed.

As you record a prospect’s entry into the pipeline you must include what you know about their stage of decision-making, plus what you have to do to move them to customer status. Identifying what’s left to be done with each prospect – demo, trial, proposal, final close, etc. – will help you forecast which faucet –you can expect a sale to pour out of, whether next week or next month.

At this point, let’s refer to The Bard. In Act I, Scene III, of Hamlet, arguably Shakespeare’s most important work, Polonius famously says, “This above all, to thine own self be true.” If you aren’t honest about a prospect’s progress to faucet-conformity, you’re setting yourself up for forecasting failure.

How much revenue you draw from your sales pipeline depends on the twin standards of sales success: quantity and quality.

Here’s Blasingame’s Law of Sales Pipelines: Load the pipeline with enough prospects on Monday (quantity) to have enough qualified prospects to close on Wednesday (quality) so that you can draw the sales you need from your pipeline on Friday (success).

Forecast sales successfully with quantity, quality and to thine own self be true.

Today on my radio show I talked more about sales forecasting and the sales pipeline strategy. Take a few minutes to click on one of the links below to download or listen.

Blasingame’s Law of Sales Pipelines

Forecasting sales with a sales pipeline strategy

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

A Small Business Minute: Build your small business on trust

Trust in a small business is not a means to an end, it must be an organizational way of life. Watch this one minute video on how to build trust in your organization.

Watch more of Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Check out more great SBA content HERE!




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