Thursday, June 17, 2010

Marketing with little or no marketing budget...

That was the topic of the morning at The Kitchen Table Network (Cleveland) this morning.

Our presenter, Leah Squire from byokids.com.au, shared some very important tips on Marketing, based on her book "Marketing With No Money".

Like most of us, when we start our business, our Marketing budget is very small, if not non-existent right? But how else do we get our name out "there". How do we tell people how great our business/product is?

In short...we need to market it. And we can do it, even with a very small marketing budget.

Leah suggested her following top three free/low cost marketing strategies:

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – this is crucial for those with a website...it is how Google "finds" you...so check with your web designer..."Google" yourself and see where you rank...you need to be on the first page, preferably in the top 3-5 (non-paid) listings.
  2. E-Marketing – keep in touch with your clients, and potential clients...Leah suggests at least every 21 days. It doesn't have to be specifically about your product...but something new in your industry for example. Try the following link for free E-Marketing www.mailchimp.com
  3. Article Writing – try and build a good relationship with a journalist from your local paper; send an article about your business to the local paper close to print date...there's a fair chance it will go to print; you can also try the following link www.sourcebottle.com.au – it's a website where journalists and blogger look for sources, while helping businesses get publicity.

Leah also mentioned:

  • Getting your clients talking about your business...ask them to tell others about you, or if they would mind giving you a written testimonial.
  • Get your logo out there! On uniforms, or the car...it's great for branding.

I found Leah's chat with the group today particularly relevant because Leah started the same way most of us did...so we could relate to her situation, and then see how it can be done!

Of course, if you have any other marketing tips to add to this we would love to know what they are...so please leave a comment J

Regards,

Samantha

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Liquidity - What is it and how to manage it

Who knows what liquidity risk is? I'm sure everyone has heard the term but it's important to understand it and manage it. Liquidity risk is the risk that a business will be unable to meet its financial commitments in a timely manner - either as short term cashflow or in the long term when loans are required.

Here are a couple of the financial ratios which can be used to identify and measure liquidity and risk.

Current Ratio is Current Assets/Current Liabilities

Depending on your industry, a good ratio would be close to 2:1 and if it is lower and closer to 1:1 then maybe you should look at either increasing your current assets, reducing current liabilities or trying not to finance non-current assets with current liabilities.

Working Capital is Current Assets - Current Liabilties

It is said that a good target for working capital should be one half of operating budget. This can be improved by reducing current liabilitites such as short term debt, or increasing current assets such as the collection rate/time of accounts receivable.

Consider how you can change some fairly minor things in your business such as:

- comparing the timing of when or how often you pay your bills with how often and how soon you are paid,

- how many days your stock sits in your store or wharehouse,

- how long you have to wait for a stock order to be filled once you place it (ie how long might you be without any of that stock).

Also be aware of outside influences which may have an effect on your cashflow such as seasonal fluctuations.

Are there any things that you have done in your business that you think might help other businesses manage their cashflow and their liquidity risk? We'd love to hear about them...

Leesa

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