Whether you own and/or run a small, medium or large business, at some time, more than likely, you will have to buy business related gifts. If timely and appropriate, the right corporate gift can strengthen relationships with clients/customers and show appreciation for their business, strengthen relationships with suppliers and establish goodwill and create further opportunities for networking. However, ill-advised or ill-timed gifts can have the opposite effect. Therefore, it is important to establish standards and practices when considering the giving of gifts.
Firstly, consider the purpose of the gifts. Corporate gifts are usually considered in relation to a thank you for business referrals, congratulations, “courting” a prospective client or contact, advertising; ensuring long term clients/customers know their business is appreciated and/or for rewarding an employee for a job well done.
It is important to keep the type of gift appropriate in size, price and content for its purpose.
Possibly, more important than the purpose of the gift is who the gift is intended for. So your intentions are not misinterpreted, caution needs to be exercised when purchasing/giving gifts for members of the opposite sex, for international clients/customers/contacts and for individuals who may not be able to accept the gift due to company policy (eg, government officers). Before giving a gift, check out policies, cultures and traditions to determine appropriateness of the giving of the gift, the gift itself and the manner in which to give the gift.
The timing of the gift is also important. It is best to correspond the giving of the gift with the relevant occasion. For example, if the gift is a thank you and appreciation for work provided by a client, ensure it coincides with the completion of a particular activity or the anniversary of the relationship. Further, if the gift is to “court” a new client, have it at the first meeting with the client and not send it two weeks later as an after thought. Remember, to capitalise on the impact of the giving of the gift and not just the gift itself.
Having said this, if an occasion has been genuinely missed, it is better to give the gift late than not at all … just make sure it is seen as a genuine gesture!
When giving gifts, where appropriate and possible, accompany the gift with a hand written card/note. Even if attaching your business card, its nice to add a personal message (for example, “best wishes” or “looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship”).
Finally, how much should be spent on a gift? Unfortunately there is no one answer to this question. The “how much” factor is tied up with the “purpose of the gift” and the “who the gift is for”. Consideration also needs to be given to how much is available to spend in the budget!
If all this is sounding very daunting, talk with a professional corporate gift supplier or consultant for help.
As Balanix Solutions moves towards our 8th Birthday, we’ve reflected on what has brought us the greatest success in our business and why. Like many others, we have spent a significant amount of time and money developing our client base.
During our time we have spent money on web development, advertising, promotion and networking. Which one has brought the greatest return? Without doubt, NETWORKING – not only in terms of dollar revenue but even more importantly, relationship building.
Balanix Solutions sets out to create long term clients as a major objective. To us this means that when a client comes on board it is because it works for both parties and both parties are interested in the long term based on a strong business relationship.
Balanix Solutions uses networking to develop relationships and not as a means of selling our services. In this regard, we look at ways of helping businesses to achieve success. This often means referring business to other businesses that are able to assist without seeking anything in return.
This concept is quite a paradigm shift when you consider that in joining a networking group, thoughts spring to mind that there maybe some people that you could never really successfully network with because they didn’t relate to your business in a way that would be productive. However, with the improvement of networking skills it becomes apparent what networking is really about. If you take the time to understand what others do and show a genuine interest in what they do, then opportunities will arise where you are able to help.
It is important to be genuine in your desire to know and help others. People can very quickly determine whether you are genuine or not which will determine the strength and longevity of the relationship.
When attending a function, don’t simply hand out business cards – take the time to build rapport. It is only when the person you are speaking with has built positive rapport with you that it is likely they will remember you and connect you to your business card.
Once the rapport has been established it is important to maintain the relationship. A system in place is needed to remind you to keep in touch with these people and, equally important, to be on the lookout for ways to help.
For example, recently a client needed to refocus in relation to marketing as they were spending serious money but did not really have a strategy. We were able to refer them to someone we knew that specialised in marketing. The end result was a happy client (because their problem in now well under control), a happy marketing contact (because they now have a client with whom they have the opportunity to have a long and successful relationship) and a happy Balanix Solutions.
Balanix Solutions’ system for networking includes a file containing all network contacts and information is added as we learn more about the person and their business.
We have found that this approach to networking reaps rewards for us. With this approach shared amongst contacts and fellow networkers, referrals come our way too; in some instances, when least expected.
For example, our hairdresser referred a client to us and since then that client has referred another client. The referral was born from a long and strong relationship with no expectations. This made the thank you and gratitude flowers more appreciated.
Which leads to the final point. In being genuine in your relationships, take the time to thank people who have passed on referrals. Depending on the relationship this can be simply saying thank you (in person or by phone if possible) or with a gift or gesture.
With 30 June fast approaching, now is the time for Business Owners to prepare for the next financial year. Here are the four main activities you need to be doing right now to position your business for another successful year.
1. Tax Planning
Make an appointment TODAY with your Accountant for Tax Planning. Tax Planning looks at a financial situation or plan from a tax perspective with the aim to align financial goals with tax efficiency planning. Basically, tax planning looks to discover how to accomplish all of the other elements of a financial plan in the most tax-efficient manner possible. However, a word of caution – while tax planning is an important element in any financial plan, it is important not to let the “tax” tail wag the financial “dog.” As most financial actions have some tax implications, decisions on financial actions need to be made having regard for all matters and should not be avoided solely on the basis of tax.
Undertaking tax planning now can look at any actions to be undertaken before 30 June as well as actions for the next financial year. As planning can be a bit involved depending on individual circumstances, give your Accountant a bit of time to do the best job and don’t leave it to the last minute.
2. Setting Next Year’s Goals and Targets
Now is the time to start reviewing your business plan. If it is sitting in a draw (or on the computer) and hasn’t seen light of day for awhile, get it out, dust it off and have a look at what was planned for the business this financial year and what was achieved. Did things happen as planned? Were goals and targets met (or exceeded)? Did projected costs occurred or did they blow-out or result in savings?
Looking at this information, it is now time to update the business plan for the next 12 months. What goals and targets need to be set? What timeframes need to be identified for actions to achieve goals? What research and reviews need to be undertaken in relation to improvement of costs (eg, can you get a better deal on telephone accounts or stationery/office supplies)?
Planning is a vital exercise for all businesses. It underpins decisions and behaviours as a road map to achieve what you have set out to achieve.
3. Setting Next Year’s Budget and Cashflow Projections
CASH IS KING – the mantra for all business owners. If the business is not making money then it shouldn’t be in business. But more than that, the business needs to make enough money at the right time to cover expenses. Now is the time to use the information at hand to set the business’s budget for the next financial year and look at cashflow projections so you know how much money needs to be in the bank and when to pay the bills.
4. Ensuring Pricing of Goods and Services is Right
This is also the perfect time to review the revenue side of the business. Look at the pricing of your goods or services and see if any changes need to be made over the next financial year. Are you competitive with your prices compared to your competitors? Does CPI increases need to be factored in? Are your prices positioning you in the market where you want to be?
No matter how hard a business tries, if it has increasing costs and is not able to increase price, then no amount of increased sales will lead to increase profitability – in fact, the business maybe simply increasing its loss. For more information on this topic, refer my previous Blog – Increase Price –v- Increase Sales – what to think about.
Call the Balanix Team (3264 4783) today – we can help!
Welcome to Part Three of four Blogs in which we will look at 8 money habits business owners should make sure are NOT occurring in their business.
Not seeing how the little things add up
“While I’m here I’ll just grab some of this and some of that – I’m sure we need it or it will be useful somehow in the business.” or “I know there is a fee if I withdraw from this ATM, however, my Bank’s ATM is outside and round the corner, and the time it would take me ….”
Sound familiar? It’s the little purchases and expenditures that start to add up and can significantly affect cashflow and health of the finances. Make sure you monitor what office supplies and purchases are needed and when .. and only spend to the plan! If you need to withdraw money, either keep a petty cash float or go the extra mile to your bank- those charges can really add up.
Generally think … do I need to spend that money … am I maximising the money I am spending … so there are no nasty surprises at month end.
Not planning for retirement.
Of course we’re planning for retirement … the retirement funding plan is established and superannuation is set up – usual questions such as, is there enough contribution and is the fund performing well, are being asked and monitored.
But what about the business at retirement time?
Plans need to be developed to migrate the business when it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Is it intended to sell the business? If so, what lead time would need to be considered? Will the business be wound down? If so, how will this occur?
As with start up, at business end we need to plan, plan, plan.
Call me today if you need help managing your business’s wealth – (07) 3264 4783
Research reported by Harvard Business Review indicates that key personality traits directly influence top performers’ selling style and ultimately their success.
The seven personality traits of top salespeople are:
- Achievement Orientation
- Lack of Gregariousness
- Lack of Discouragement
- Lack of Self-Consciousness
Do you agree?