Fall Soccer Season Begins

 

Well, I got suckered into coaching not only my son’s U12 soccer team, but also my daughter’s U8 soccer team. We held our first soccer practice yesterday and I’m already starting to brainstorm about what type of soccer spirit items that I want to get for the team. Soccer leagues don’t typically have the same support as football teams (in America); therefore, there is not as much money to purchase soccer spirit items. So I will just have to either completely sponsor the team myself and buy the spirit items or get other businesses to go in with me and purchase some items. I’m thinking we could be the only team out there with thundersticks to make some noise or maybe some rooter pom poms for the parents to cheer on our team. Mini soccer balls are a great giveaway to give the kids to play with. One year I even purchased full sized soccer balls and gave out a soccer ball to the MVP of each game as way of showing my appreciation for that player’s efforts. My coaching philosophy is to not stress winning, but to stress to the players to play their best and not give up and focus on teamwork. By doing that, every player is a winner no matter what the final score shows. As a matter of fact, with that philosophy, the last time I coached a U10 team, we went undefeated for the season. Soccer is a great sport and is a great form of exercise. It is also a great way to promote teamwork with kids. Make sure you support more than just football and take an interest and invest in a soccer team.

Ideas For A Referral Program To Increase Sales

 

It is rare that I come across a business that isn’t interested in increasing their sales. A successful referral program is a great way to generate some extra sales. There are many different approaches you can take when starting a referral program, which will all be based on your type of business, your customers, and your profit margins.

Some businesses with higher profit margins offer cash. Some service providers may offer a free month’s service with a referral that signs up. Another great approach is to offer a free gift to your customers who bring in or refer a new customer to you. In order to completely take advantage of the free gift that you will give out, you should get your business logo printed on the gifts. I’m not talking about giving out a koozie or a pen, but giving out premium promotional products.  There are thousands of promotional items out there that have a high perceived value and that would be useful.

To drive my point home, here are just a few ideas for these various business types to give away to their customers who refer a friend.

  • A gym could give out a really nice duffel bag to anyone who refers a friend.
  • A web designer could give away a computer mouse with their website printed on it.
  • A football team could give away a full sized football with their mascot on it.
  • A car dealership could give out custom printed floor mats.
Whatever gift you choose to give out for your referral program, make sure it is a useful and worthwhile gift. Once you decide what you want to give, plaster it all over your Facebook page, twitter, posters in your store, and tell every customer you speak with. If you gift is nice enough, your customers will promote your business and you will see sales increase.

Marketing With Back To School Products

 

With schools around the country back in schedule, it’s a great time to take advantage of that opportunity to market your business through the use of school promotional products. With all of the budget issues going on in today’s economy, school budgets are being cut every year, leaving them short on items. Most schools welcome donations of supplies, so why not give them items they can use that have your logo plastered all over them. Below are some back to school ideas that schools use on a daily basis and are great marketing items.

  1. Promotional Pencils – Pencils with your logo and business contact info are great. Kids in the lower grades use pencils every single day.
  2. Personalized Pens – Pens are used in the upper grades, so let’s not leave them out. There are many great pens that can bought in bulk for under 50 cents each with your logo.
  3. Highlighters - These are also used more by the older students as their reading and studying gets a little more intensive.
  4. Calculators – As students begin their advance math classes in middle and high school, calculators become a necessity.
  5. Sticky Notes – Sticky notes always come in handy by students, teachers, and the administrative staff at schools.
  6. Rulers - Rulers come in handy in math and art classes and they are very cheap in price.
  7. Custom Clipboards – Clipboards are very handy for teachers and the administration and sometimes needed items in the classroom.
  8. Lanyards – Lanyards are great for teachers to keep up with all of their keys for the school as well as holding their ID badges.
  9. Laptop Cases – Most teachers now have their own personal laptops that are used frequently for school purposes, so wouldn’t it be great if they carried their laptop in a case with your logo?
  10. Calendars – Teachers have many deadlines, so a calendar is a necessity.

Should You Fire Bad Clients?

 

We all have clients that we dread dealing with. You know exactly who I am talking about. I’m sure several names just came to mind. These are the clients that waste so much time with you yet they only buy a small amount of products or services. When it comes down to numbers, you are actually losing money on them. With the hours you are wasting for a $50 sale, that’s time you could have been helping another client or prospecting for new sales. So my question to you is, “Should you fire a bad client?”

My thoughts are ABSOLUTELY. Cut ‘em loose. But how? It’s probably not good for business to just tell them that you don’t want to deal with them because they take up too much time. So what can you do? You can always come up with some extra “research” fees or other fees to help facilitate the firing. In most cases, these types of customers do not want to pay extra for anything. They want you to spend unlimited time on them and give them a rock bottom price. If you fall into this, you lose every time. If by some chance they agree to pay the extra fees, then you have covered your time and maybe your bad client has just turned into a good client.

Here’s another option: Just tell them that you have other tasks awaiting you. Tell them that time is money and you can’t spend hours on this project without incurring additional charges. Explain to them that attorneys, graphic designers, web designers, and most other professionals get paid by the hour for the work they do and that your profession is no different.

However you handle firing your bad clients, it should be a varied approach depending on your specific clients and your given situation, which will be different for every business. Handle the situation tactfully and be respectful. Honesty can go a long way. And in the end, if you lose this customer, you actually win.

Is BPA Still A Concern?

 

What is BPA? It is Bisphenol A,  which is a chemical used for many purposes. It is used to make plastics and used with canned foods to prevention corrosion of the can. This chemical is also used on carbonless paper and thermal paper. This chemical, in high doses, acts similar to estrogen on the body. Many agencies have claimed it increases the risk for various types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and metobolic dysfunctions, such as diabetes.

Even if we stop drinking out of plastic bottles, we are exposed on a daily basis. You see many types of plastic bottles now that are BPA Free which is great. If you can avoid it then great. If not, I wouldn’t get too jazzed over it. There are thousands of things we are exposed to on a daily basis that are harmful for us. All of the claimed increased risks of cancer and other conditions were found in animals from long term, extremely high doses of BPA. Many of the claims are thought to not have a whole lot of credibility due to the levels of BPA the animals were exposed to. Another recent BPA Study published in Toxicological Sciences had volunteers exposed to high levels of BPA for a 24 hour period for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and measured the amount of BPA in their system hourly by blood and urine samples. It was found that the body was able very quickly detoxify and excrete the chemical. During this time of high exposure, the volunteers were exposed to BPA 1.3-3.9 times higher than the 95th percentile of the U.S. Their blood serum measured was below the limit of detection in 86% of the volunteers.

In layman’s terms, this tells me that if you are healthy and you aren’t repeatedly exposed to high levels of BPA, then there isn’t much to worry about. I’m all about avoiding anything harmful or even potentially harmful when possible. As a matter of fact, I do only drink out of BPA Free water bottles on a daily basis and make sure my kids bottles have BPA Free Water Bottles. Since we are exposed to BPA anyway from multiple other avenues, such as canned goods and other plastics, we might as well help our bodies out when we can. But I don’t think it’s anything to freak out over if one day you drink out of a bottle that contains BPA. The dose from a water bottle made of plastic with BPA is so minimal. I don’t think any guys are in danger of growing breasts and crying uncontrollably due to the estrogen like effects from BPA.