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  • Writer's pictureJim Payne

It has been said that most people would rather be the guest of honor at a funeral rather than the one having to give the eulogy. Public speaking is really hard for most of us. The rub is that to promote your business, you must at times get up in front of a bunch of people and tell them about what you do.

You can make this easier on yourself by practicing. Toastmasters is an ideal approach to getting that regular practice. It is a structured meeting with two or three speeches by members who then get evaluated by the other members to provide immediate feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Toastmaster clubs meet weekly so that the practice is regular. If you think about it, a monthly practice session would probably be worthless for building good speaking habits.

To find a local club in your area, simply google toastmasters. There is no need to signup in advance, just show up to see how it works.

I have been a member of Toastmasters for several years and it has helped me immensely with public speaking and speaking in smaller groups.

Profitability strategy which often includes public speaking is always a fun discussion. Please feel free to give me a call at (352) 317-5692 if you have some ideas or questions that you would like to discuss.

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  • Writer's pictureJim Payne

Cost plus some additional amount for profit is the more traditional approach to pricing. However, economists tend to recommend the value pricing approach as being the sounder approach to pricing. Unfortunately, value pricing is a lot harder to do since the business owner never really knows what the customer value amount is at any one moment. Nevertheless, businesses are moving towards value pricing as the way to maximize their sales prices and ultimately their bottom line.

Here are some of the more common pricing models:

Cost-plus pricing models:

1. Cost plus a percentage markup

2. Single flat fixed fee

3. Unit pricing – i.e., cost per employee

4. Industry standard pricing – i.e. union rates

5. Hourly rates for time spent

6. Blended hourly rates – team rates rather than individual rates.

7. Competitive price matching

8. Annual contract with inflation increases

Value pricing Models:

1. Base price plus optional add-ons – Instead of bundling a bunch of services, you break them down to their most basic categories and let the customer add on the features they are willing to pay for. An example is the airline ticket in which meals and luggage are an additional charge.

2. Menu pricing – The customer is given a good, better and best option for a bundle of services. This seems to be the norm for most web-based software services today.

3. Demand-based dynamic pricing (surge pricing) – The price is constantly adjusted based on demand. Think of Disney and the price differences between busy and non-busy days.

4. Percentage pricing – Think of real estate commissions which are based on a percentage of the sales price.

5. Component-based menu pricing – To buy a computer from Dell, you go to their website, select the model, and then add all the components that you want included.

6. Auctions – The ultimate in value pricing where customers bid against each other to determine who values the product the most.

7. Contingent pricing – This is mostly seen in the legal profession where they only get paid if they win.

8. Pay what you want – The very scary approach of leaving the price completely up to the customer after the service has been received.

These are just a few of the pricing models available for consideration. Getting your price right is the single best thing you can do for your business’s profitability.

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1. Play to your strengths - this requires serious thought to understand what your strengths and weaknesses really are. Consider reviewing the SWOT analysis monthly and update it as you discover new things.

2. Be different from your competition. A company that looks like all the others can only compete on price.

3. Effectiveness is much more important than efficiency. Efficiency is all about minimizing the input vs. output. Effectiveness is all about producing the most valuable output.

4. All profit comes from risks taken. The Drucker outline of risks: From <>

1. The risk one must accept, the risk that is built into the nature of the business

2. The risk one can afford to take

3. The risk one cannot afford to take

4. The risk one cannot afford not to take

5. Keep it simple. Business planning is a communication tool used to explain the goals and the reasoning behind them.

6. Sunk Costs don't count. This is one of the most powerful emotions that contaminates your thinking. The idea that because you have already invested X dollars in time and money into something, you must continue with that something. Planning should be about the future, not justifying the past. This is an incredibly hard thing to do.

7. Planning is worthless unless put into action. Do not wait for the perfect plan - implement and adjust.

8. Business planning is never done. You need to review it monthly and update it as you discover what works and doesn't work.

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