Rhonda Abrams is
president of The Planning
Shop, a publisher of books
for entrepreneurs (www.
tising, whether it’s print, TV or radio, every media
outlet has unsold space they sometimes sell to
smaller advertisers at a fraction of the regular
price. A company I know got nationwide remnant
ads on CNN for only $500. In this economic environment, ask for deals!
E-mail newsletters. Web-based services
with pre-formatted templates that maintain your
list and do all of the technical work for you (
except writing a few paragraphs) are a cheap, easy
way to regularly remind customers and referral
sources of your value.
Advertise on specialty items. Keep your
name in front of current customers by giving
small, inexpensive gifts with your name printed on
them. It’s an ad perceived as a gift.
Offer samples. Typically the one thing you
can most afford to give away is your own product
or service. Sampling applies not just to food items
or trial versions of software but also to limited
free offers of your services or other products.
Remember, when times are tough, smart businesses look for every advantage. So get out there
and market, market, market! C
Get out there
THE ECONOMY is bad and going to stay that way
for a while. If you run a business, what are you
going to do? There’s a long-recognized rule: In bad
economic times, companies that maintain their
marketing come out healthier than companies
that cut back their marketing.
But budgets are tight, so you have to market
smarter. There’s a common misperception that
marketing equals advertising. But marketing is
much more than that. In my new book, Successful
Marketing: Secrets & Strategies, I cover the entire
range of marketing tactics available for small and
new companies. In particular, I focus on those
marketing tactics that are most affordable.
Here are a few key affordable marketing tricks
taken from my book.
Tighten your target market. Smaller, highly targeted marketing options are far cheaper—
and often more effective—than tactics that will
reach a larger audience. Let’s say you’re selling
a new kind of baby product. Exhibit at a local or
state meeting instead of a national conference of
pediatricians; advertise in a local publication just
for parents instead of the regional newspaper.
Ask for “remnant space.” If you are adver-
Rhonda Abrams’ newest book is Successful Marketing: Secrets & Strategies. Register for Rhonda’s free
business tips at www.planningshop.com. Copyright
Rhonda Abrams 2009.
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter “connection.”
At Online Edition, search
Collections made easier
By Leonard Sklar
ARE CUSTOMERS SLOW in paying you or not
paying at all? Here are some ways to collect more of
what is owed to you.
A collection phone call is 10 times more productive than another billing statement.
Call frequently. Calling once or twice a week
is not harassment and is far more effective than
monthly calls or invoices.
When you call, always ask for payment in full,
sent today. If you have to negotiate, it’s best to start
from the strongest position.
If your customer is vague and offers to send
“a payment” or “something on the account,” tell the
customer, “That’s great, but we need to have a specific amount on a specific date.” Then, ask for half
now and the balance in two weeks.
If you agree to accept multiple payments, ask
for postdated checks to be sent now, along with the
you will mark it on the calendar three days from
that date to let him or her know you’ll be looking
for the check.
If you get no cooperation, say that you hate
to turn the account over to collections, but you
may have no choice. That tends to focus your
debtor’s mind. C
Offer a discount for PIF—payment in full—today.
When you get a promise to pay, confirm the
amount and when it will be sent. Tell the customer
Leonard Sklar ( email@example.com), a Costco
member in Redwood Shores, California, is a collections consultant, trainer and author of The
Check Is Not in the Mail (Baroque, 1991).
SOME ECONOMISTS are crying, “The sky is falling,” while
others are focusing on blue
skies ahead. Bestselling
author, economic forecaster
and Costco member Harry S.
Dent Jr. does both.
In his new book, The
Great Depression Ahead:
How to Prosper in the Crash
Following the Greatest Boom
in History (available at select
warehouses and Costco.com),
Dent explains how to weather
the current financial storm.
Dent’s financial prognostications have proven accurate.
He predicted the great boom of
the 1990s and Japan’s downturn in the late 1980s, and, in
1992, foretold a global depression that would begin in 2008.
“This downturn is going
to be deeper and last longer
than most think,” says Dent.
“The businesses that get
focused, lean and mean early
on will gain market share
from this survival-of-the-fittest
process. There are very specific actions you can take.”
Among them are:
Defer capital expenditures
and loans until the worst
of the downturn, when
assets and real estate will
be much cheaper and
interest rates lower.
Identify the parts of your
business that you want to
grow long-term, and sell or
close everything else to create capital and cash flow.
Pay off high-interest loans
and refinance in the downturn at lower rates to be
Choose fixed-rate loans
into late 2010, or later, that
switch to variable rates
from there on, saving
refinancing cost s.
Protect your personal
assets from lawsuits
through trusts and variable
annuities where possible.
As Dent says in the
book’s prologue, “Best of success to you in the great crash
and depression ahead!” C