A Home-Based Business Online
Editor: Elena Fawkner
Publisher: AHBBO Publishing
small business ideas
Contact By Email
IN THIS ISSUE
Hello again and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers who
have joined us since the last issue!
This week's article looks at smoothing out the peaks and troughs
we all experience in our businesses at various times of the year.
If you're not one of the fortunates enjoying pre-holiday sales
surges, take heart. There are ways you can anticipate slow times
and take steps to compensate for them.
Instead of Tips for Newbies in segment 4, this week I'm taking the
opportunity to look at a new program that I'm sure you've come
across by now: Going Platinum. I believe this program has enormous
potential but it does involve a somewhat elusive concept and there
is a lot of confusion and misinformation about it as a result. Hopefully,
this week's program review will clarify things a bit.
Thanks to those of you who took the time to let me know
that you found the navigation bar at the new AHBBO site
(AHBBO) site difficult to read. I've changed it on most
pages now and hope this fixes the problem. If anyone continues to
have problems with it please let me know!
Finally, please note that the AHBBO ezine will be on sabbatical
from December 17 through 31. The last issue of AHBBO for 2017
will be December 10. The first for 2001 will be January 7.
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this week's
Remember, this ezine is for YOU! If you have comments
or suggestions for topics you would like to see addressed,
or would just like to share your experiences with other
subscribers, I want to hear from you! Please send comments,
questions and stories to Contact By Email .
You can make a lot of money by writing and self-publishing your
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© 2017 Elena Fawkner
You may have read in your local newspaper yesterday of
Amazon.com's stock rise of 15% on the back of strong holiday
season spending. Etoys' 49% rise and Buy.com's 25% increase
followed suit. Overall, the Nasdaq (the tech-stock index)
Good news for the likes of Amazon.com, right? But is it really?
What happens AFTER Christmas? Here we go *again*. Investors
are jumping back on the bandwagon on the strength of a
holiday buying frenzy. Up goes the stock and everybody jumps on
board. After Christmas, back down it will go, investors will wring
their hands and bail out, the stock will nosedive and everybody will
start moaning about the great internet shake-out of 2017. Again.
The holiday boom is nothing new, of course, and it certainly
isn't restricted to online businesses. And there's nothing
wrong with a holiday-spending induced surge in business.
Provided business is respectable during the remainder of the
year as well. After all, if business is ONLY good at holiday
time, how is that business going to survive for the rest of the
How about you? How is your business faring now that Christmas
looms? If you're a retailer, this may be a good time of year
for you. If you're not, then, like me, you're probably finding
things pretty slow right now as people go into underdrive as the
year winds to a close.
No matter what your business, there will usually be certain
times of year that are better than others. The challenge is to
be sufficiently successful during the good times to be able to
weather the slow times. Better still is to be able to
anticipate your slow times and compensate for them, in effect,
smoothing out the seasonal highs and lows. In this article, we
look at ways to do that.
=> Learn From Ants, Not Squirrels
Those of you familiar with Jim Rohn will also be familiar with
his ants philosophy. Ants never rest. They are constantly
working. They don't rest over summer. Why? Because they know
winter is coming. So they work all summer long to build their
nests so they have shelter in the winter. They do something in
winter too because they know summer is coming. I can't remember
now what it is but it's really big.
You may be thinking of squirrels as another example. Storing
nuts for the winter and all that. But that's only half the
story. You, unlike a squirrel, don't get to rest during the
winter just because you've gathered nuts during the summer.
Even if you've gathered enough nuts to last through winter,
where are next year's nuts going to come from if you no longer
have a business by the time fall comes around again? So, don't
think like a squirrel, think like an ant. In the summer, think winter.
In the winter, think summer.
=> Think Bottom Line
Don't just focus on your sales. Focus on your bottom line. If
your costs are $10,000 and your sales are $20,000, your profit
is $10,000. Similarly, if your costs are $5,000 and your sales
are $15,000, your profit is still $10,000. So, during times
when you know sales are going to be low, look for ways to reduce
costs. Now, some costs are fixed and there's just nothing you
can do about it. Rent, webhosting fees, ISP fees and the like
are examples of fixed costs. Costs like payroll, however, can be
variable. So think in terms of reducing your variable costs.
In the case of payroll costs, flexible staffing arrangements may
be the answer. Rather than hiring another employee because
you're run off your feet at certain times of the year only to
find you have trouble occupying that employee during other times
of the year, hire temporary staff to help you out during busy
times. You don't have to buy a cow to get milk. Just buy the
=> Know When Winter Comes
You can't plan for winter if you don't know when it's coming.
So analyze your sales history and identify, as best you can,
where your peaks and troughs (summers and winters) are. Only
then can you anticipate your slow periods and be ready for them.
Seasonal promotions can be a good way to temporarily increase
sales during a slow period. Let's say your regular price for
widgets is $10 and during your "non-slump" time you sell, on
average, five a day for a total of 35 a week or $350. Your
costs are $200, leaving a profit of $150.
Let's also say that during your slow times, you sell an average
of only three a day for a total of 21 a week, or $210. Your
costs are still $200 (we'll assume sales all come from existing
inventory), leaving a profit of only $10. So you're in the hole
$140 compared to non-slump time.
If, during your slow period, however, you were to run a
promotion (or "sale" if you prefer that term), you can make up
some of your lost profit. Let's say you decide to sell your
widgets for 10% off for the month of July, traditionally your
quietest month of the year. So, you drop your price to $9 per
widget. As a result, you find that you're now selling five a
day again for a total of 35 a week, or $315. Your costs are
still $200, which leaves a profit of $115. Much better than $10.
Now, this is obviously an over-simplistic example. In the real
world, all of your costs would not be fixed and, as a result,
lower sales would translate to lower costs. You'd vary your
stock purchases for a start or, if you manufacture your own
product, you'd just produce less, thereby resulting in lower
expenditure. But hopefully this example illustrates well enough
the principle of promotions as a tool for increasing profits
during slow periods.
=> Back-End Sales
Slow times are also a good opportunity to go back to customers
who have bought from you in the past and directly solicit
business from them. This is particularly effective if you run
an online business. Just pull out that mailing list of previous
purchasers and introduce them to another item in your product
line that may appeal to them. Once someone has purchased from
you once, they are MUCH more likely to do so again in the
future. The increased sales you generate in the form of
back-end sales can help you ride out a slump.
=> Introductory Specials
Slow times can also be a good time to introduce a new product or
service. Think of it as a way of testing the waters before the
big push for sales during your peak sales period. Again,
previous customers are a good source of prospects for purchasing
new products. Simply publicize an introductory special for
valued customers. Giving people the opportunity to be among the
first to acquire something not yet generally available can be a
powerful sales generator. It appeals to people's desire to feel
special or exceptional in some way. So think about taking
advantage of this human tendency to help increase sales during
your winter times.
=> Increased marketing
Simply increasing your marketing efforts may help smooth out a
trough but be judicious. There's no point generating additional
sales if the marketing cost of generating those additional sales
exceeds the profit generated! Look instead for low-cost or
no-cost marketing initiatives you can take to increase awareness
of your products and services.
=> Strategic Alliances
Another idea, especially if you run your business online, is to
forge strategic alliances with businesses whose busy times are
your slow times and vice versa. This is a win-win situation for
both of you as you each have the benefit of each other's
relatively higher traffic during your respective busy times
which can help offset your respective slow times.
=> Constructive Use of Down Time
Finally, don't discount the value of slow periods as an
opportunity for business and product development. Investments
of time in these developmental activities can make a substantial
impact on the long-term viablity of your business. These are
activities that can be hard to find time for when you're busy so
learn to embrace slow periods as an opportunity to invest in the
future growth of your business.
It's easy to get discouraged when you're working as hard as
ever but the sales just aren't coming in. It helps to know that
virtually every business (with the possible exception of funeral
homes I guess) has slow periods. By thinking like an ant and
focusing on winter in summer, you can go a long way towards
turning a long cold winter into spring.
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WHAT IS IT?
The Going Platinum "Community" (to be launched mid January
2001) is kind of a cooperative online community. Similar to AOL,
it will be a full service ISP, search engine and directory, shopping
mall, virtual office and much more all in one. The difference
between Going Platinum and an AOL, however, is into whose
pockets the profits from the site flow. These profits include
*substantial* advertising income in addition to the other features
mentioned above. With AOL, the profits flow to AOL. With
Going Platinum, the profits flow to its members.
HOW IT WORKS
To be a member of Going Platinum is kind of like owning a share
in a publicly listed corporation. Every Going Platinum member is
given one position (or share) in the Going Platinum Community.
This position is free.
You can earn additional positions by joining the Going Platinum
Affiliate Program. This also allows you to earn up to 10 times more
of the revenue generated from your own internet activity within the GP
Community, and the activity of other GP Community members you
have referred to the Community, than if you just stick with your original
single position. This is because, as an affiliate, you earn commissions
not only on your own and your direct referrals' internet activity within
the Community, but on indirect referrals as well (your referrals' own
referrals) for four levels. No different from any other multi-tier
WHAT IT COSTS
=> Basic Membership
It need not cost you anything at all. If you want to join as a basic
member because you're primarily interested in the Community as a
resource, it's free.
=> Paying Member
If you want to participate in the Going Platinum program with a revenue
generation objective, there is a one-time initial fee of $25 to become a
paying member and thus be eligible to participate in the affiliate
Even then, if you choose to open an account with CompuBank (US
residents only), you actually get a credit of $25 because Going
Platinum/CompuBank give you $50 just for opening the account.
As a paying member, you are also eligible for inclusion in the referral
placement process which allocates spillover referrals and referrals
generated by other Going Platinum promotional efforts. There will
always be spillover referrals because each member has a maximum
39 member organization. If you refer more than 39 members, then
the surplus is "spillover" and these referrals are allocated to other
Going Platinum affiliates (i.e. paying members).
=> Membership Fees
As stated above, your first position in the GP Community is free,
as are all the benefits, features and tools in the member area.
To become an affiliate, there is a one-time fee of $25, allowing
you to earn up to 10 additional positions and giving you expanded
use of everything available in the member's area (remember, though,
the GP Community is not being launched until January). This fee
is fully refundable, no questions asked.
Thereafter, there are monthly membership fees to be paid for
participation. These, however, are taken out of your commission
earnings. The amount of fees depends on your "round": bronze,
silver, gold or platinum. You are automatically entered into the
bronze round when you become a paying member.
=> Monthly Fees
The following is an extract from the "Membership Fees" page at
the Going Platinum website and compares the monthly fees of the
first two positions in your organization:
Round Monthly Fees
Pos. 1 Pos. 2
Bronze $25 $50
Silver $125 $250
Gold $1,125 $2,250
Platinum $6,125 $12,250
Before you fall off your chair, remember, all fees are deducted
from commission. You never have to pay anything out of pocket.
WHAT YOU CAN EARN
Now, take a look now at the earnings you can expect from the affiliate
program (excludes your earnings from GP Community activity).
Round Monthly Earnings Range
Pos. 1 Pos. 2
Bronze $0 - $322.50 $322.50 - $645
Silver $322.50 - $1,612.50 $1,612.50 - 3,225
Gold $1,612.50 - $14,512.50 $14,512.50 - $29,025
Platinum $14,512.50 - $80,512.50 $80,512.50 - $161,025
As you can see, the sky is literally the limit. Going Platinum already
has close to 100,000 members. Millions are projected to join post-
launch. I urge you to visit the site and check it out for yourself.
Invest some serious time there. It takes a while before you really
begin to appreciate the enormous potential of this program.
This is a no-risk proposition. It need not cost anything to join (in fact
you can be in the black before you even start if you elect to open a
CompuBank account) yet you have everything to gain. I personally
know of affiliates who are already earning hundreds of dollars a day
and this is BEFORE the GP Community is even launched.
"I have a home-based practice as a Life and Business Coach.
Since the majority of my coaching is done virtually via
telephone, fax and e-mail, I am able to work with clients
who live anywhere in the world. I've found both your e-zine
and your website to be great sources of information for both
myself and my clients.
"I'm interested in your opinion about whether I should include
the monthly fees for my coaching on my new website. The advantage
of including the fees would be in reducing the amount of time I spend
in free "sample" sessions with those who cannot afford my rates.
However, others that see the fees before the sample session
may decide that my rates are too high. Much of the real value of my
coaching is communicated during this sample session.
"The purpose of my website is mainly to describe who I am and
what I do to potential clients, especially those referred by existing
clients or by other coaches. Many of the current clients I've attracted
have visited my website after reading one of my articles or newsletters.
They typically are interested in knowing more about me, and about
coaching in general.
Barbra White, MBA
Life and Career Success Coach
Phone: (505) 271-1037
Fax: (509) 695-9141
"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for."
~ Louis L'Amour
Hmmm ... tricky question. My opinion, for what it's worth, is
not to include your session charges. Many people may just write
off the whole idea as too expensive depending on what their
perceived value of your service is. I imagine that most people have
little idea of what a personal coach actually does or how personal
coaching might benefit them. For this reason, I doubt there is a
pre-existing high perceived value, at least as a general rule.
On the other hand, however, if they take advantage of the
complimentary coaching session and find it helpful, then you at
least have the opportunity to create a high perceived value which
will make it easier for the client to justify the expenditure. The real
question is whether a half hour consultation is a worthwhile
investment for you to *possibly* acquire a new client. This is a
business decision and depends on any number of factors, not the
least of which is what else would you be doing with that half hour?
On balance, I'd be inclined to omit your rates from the site and
treat the complimentary session as an opportunity to increase the
perceived value of your service. Even if you don't convert that
immediate prospect into a client, who knows who else they'll tell
about your service? And who knows when the straw that breaks
the camel's back will come along and that prospect you coached
six months ago and never heard from again decides that enough's
enough and it's time to take action?
By the way, I think your site is excellent. I really enjoyed your
article "Energy Drains ... What Are You Tolerating?". I recommend
it to all AHBBO readers. It's at
If you want your site seen by thousands, write and tell me
about it! But make sure it's one you've created yourself
or have had created especially for you. No self-replicating affiliate
8. Subscription Management
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Elena Fawkner, Editor
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