January 2018
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The Business Voice - Supporting the Moose Jaw & District business community
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January 2018

Upcoming Events:

Citizen & Group of the Year Luncheon - January 18, 2018 - Heritage Inn - 11:45am to 1:00pm
Tickets $30 each - must be purchased in advance.

Dale Carnegie Training Lunch and Learn Workshop - January 25, 2018 - Heritage Inn - 11:00am to 1:00pm
Registration $50 per person - space is limited book early!
Sponsored by South Central Community Futures and Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce

Deadline for MJBEX Nominations is January 31, 2018 - forms are available at www.mjchamber.com 

 

CEO Message

With 2017 now in the past, I would like to take a moment, and on behalf of Staff and Board of Directors of the Moose Jaw and District  Chamber of Commerce, to thank you for an excellent year

It’s certainly been a busy year for us at the Chamber with the variety of events of over 40 we’ve hosted and or attended, we couldn’t have witnessed this level of success without the dedication and support of our members, volunteers and the business community of Moose Jaw!

As we look forward to 2018, we have exciting new potential development opportunities coming to the city and a sense that, this time, things will actually happen. I ask you to take the opportunity to get involved in Chamber activities and I challenge you to engage with other businesses while doing so. Introducing new businesses and non-members to Chamber activities will help build a stronger business community. Begin marking your calendar, as we have exceptional line up of events planned for 2018 including our Citizen and Group of the year awards, Dale Carnegie lunch and learn workshop, the much anticipated Moose Jaw Business Excellence Awards, the Annual Chamber Golf tournament and not to forget our monthly connection and business opportunities that offer you a time and place to simply enjoy yourself, socialize, and make new friends.

In closing I’d like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and a very prosperous New Year.

Rob Clark

 

SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2017 CITIZEN AND GROUP OF THE YEAR NOMINEES:

Citizen of the Year Nominations:

  • Christine Boyczuk
  • Deanne Little
  • Denise Maisonneauve
  • Fern Paulhus
  • Jacki L’Heaureux-Mason
  • Joe Wickenhauser
  • Lorna Arnold
  • Rhoda Murphy
  • Rudi Fast
  • Warren Miller
  • Wayne Cameron

 Group of the Year Nominations

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Moose Jaw
  • Born2Dance
  • Five Hills Health Region Volunteers
  • Moose Jaw & District Food Bank
  • Moose Jaw Cultural Centre Volunteers
  • Moose Jaw Diversified Services
  • Rotary Club of Moose Jaw Wakamow
  • Sawatsky – Koop Families
  • Vintage Aircraft Restorers 

 

Chamberplan.ca
The Disappearing Customer - Mystery Solved

 

The Disappearing Customer - Mystery Solved

For the last two-months we've talked about ways to deliver exceptional customer service. This month we talk a little about why it's so important.

Have you ever wondered why some customers never come back, or return for a while and then disappear?

There have been many surveys over the years looking at why customers choose to be loyal to a company or find somewhere else to spend their money. They all come up with very similar statistics and conclusions.

A few initial points stand out about companies who are perceived to deliver excellent customer service. These companies outperform their competitors in the following ways:

  • On average, they charge 9% more.
  • They grow twice as fast.
  • They gain market share much faster.
  • They average 12% greater return on investment.

So, getting customers to keep coming back to your company is important to your survival and profitability. But, why do customers generally start buying from someone else all of a sudden? Why do they disappear? According to various surveys, the breakdown is something like this:

  • 1% - Die
  • 3% - Move away
  • 5% - Are influenced by friends to shop elsewhere
  • 9% - Find a better price, or a more convenient place to shop elsewhere
  • 14% - Leave because of an unresolved complaint
  • 68% - Shop elsewhere because they experience an indifferent, or poor attitude from staff.

What does this tell us? That more than three-quarters of 'lost' customers are not lost but driven away.

The First 4% - There's not a lot you can do if your customer dies or moves away.

The Led Astray 5% - If they have been lured away however, and you have their contact information in your sales database, you may well be able to coax them back. Perhaps a regular customer appreciation event might do the job?

The 9% Price Conscious - Price is a deciding factor for some customers, but often these people come to realize that value is more important than price. These are like the floating voter in an election - the undecided. From time to time they will become disillusioned and be open to coming back to you if you can offer a better value proposition. These are the people most of your competitors are targeting with loss-leader pricing, low quality products and services, long-term payment plans, and yet another 'blow-out sale' advertising campaign. Inevitably, they offer poor customer service and are uninterested in building customer loyalty. This sort of competition exists in every town and relies on price and easy payments to attract customers. The weakness of this strategy is, no loyalty is built and as soon as the advertising stops, so do the customers. That's when you can woo their customers back. Of course, then you have to keep them!

The 14% Unsatisfied Customers - are costlier than you might think. The most cost-effective method of dealing with a complaint (either justified or not), is often simply to give the customer what they want. Admittedly this is not always possible, and at times you may be glad to lose the customer. The way to justify to yourself 'giving in' is to think of it as a marketing expense; the goodwill you will engender is a very valuable commodity. Someone once wrote that there are just two rules to customer service: 1) The customer is always right; 2) Refer to rule number one. If reducing conflict, stress and time wasted is important to you, then the small costs involved in giving in can be worthwhile.

The Dissatisfied 68% - That leaves us with the other more than two-thirds of customers that disappear - never to be seen again. The ones that don't return because their shopping experience did not live up to expectations. The reality is, the service they received does not even have to be that bad - it just has to be less than they expected for them to try one of your competitors. Customers have long memories and if they feel they were treated poorly, it may be years before they give you another chance.

If you want to solve the mystery of disappearing customers, this is where you should focus your efforts. Look at the most successful companies globally and you will see they are also the ones that provide positively outrageous customer service - all the time.

The good news is, it's never too late to change your customer service culture and lure those missing customers back to your business. Outrageous customer service has a habit of going viral - start getting your customers talking about the incredible service you and your staff deliver and the mystery of your disappearing customers will be solved.

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The Disappearing Customer - Mystery Solved

 

10 Business Plan Mistakes

If you're writing a business plan for the first time, or if you're updating an existing business plan to present to a financial institution or potential investor, you might want to consider avoiding the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when writing a business plan.

1. Too unprofessional

Sounds simple, but bank managers and investors constantly complain about dog-eared documents with coffee stains. Typos are not acceptable - proofread your document. Use a logical format that is easy to follow - include a table of contents and page numbers. Design covers to impress and use card stock for jackets and good quality paper for the content. Spiral bind your document.

2. Too Wordy

Remember, it is not the number of words you have written but the answers you have provided that matters. The person reading your plan does not have unlimited time (or patience) so do not waste it. The bank manager who sees a one-inch thick business plan is unlikely to read it at all and is likely to make a decision, not on the merits of the plan, but on its size!

3. Too Short

Don't go to the other extreme and make your plan so short it fails to cover all the necessary points. Check out several business plan templates for what you need to include. Most banks publish templates.

4. Too Personal

The use of the words 'I' or 'We' in a business plan annoys professional readers. Business plans should be written in the third person. For example:

The Missing Piece JigSaw Company will be located at...

The company will sell...

The owner/manager has ten years of retail experience...

Avoid telling stories about yourself, or how the business came into being or worse still how a lightbulb went off in your head! Don't laugh, it's been done! The business plan is not a personal history it is about the business. View your business in an impartial way. Be as objective as you can because the banker or investor most certainly will!

5. Insufficient Market Research

The biggest mistake is a lack of market research. Never underestimate the knowledge of the reader. If you say there is no competition, you are offering up a challenge for them to find some for you. If you say customers will pay your exorbitant price, you had better have the market research to prove it. One of the biggest reasons for people being turned down for loans is a lack of sufficient research.

6. No Cost Analysis

It is surprising how many people fail to do the simple math to see whether they can make a profit. You must show that you have carefully thought through all costs associated with delivering your product or service. Different businesses require differing levels of gross profit; make sure your business can survive on the gross profit you can achieve.

7. No Break-even Analysis

A break-even analysis is not totally necessary to a business plan, but you need to know how your revenue relates to your expenses. It's surprising how many people do not know this simple, but important fact. If you need to sell 100,000 T-shirts to break-even can you do it? Does it sound reasonable? Is it even possible? And, can you sell even more to make a profit?

8. Unrealistic Expectations

A large percentage of business plans are based on unrealistic expectations - it comes with the territory. Entrepreneurs are optimists, and optimists nearly always expect to do better than they really can. Try hard to keep your feet on the ground. Get other people to give you an honest and impartial appraisal of your projections before you finalize them.

9. Poor Cash Flow

Even if you are doing well and sales are better than planned, you can still go bankrupt. The most important element in a business is cash. You need to pay your bills and if you haven't got the money to pay them you will be in danger of being closed down. Remember, one of the first things a banker or investor looks at in a business plan is the cash flow. Can this business survive lean times? Will it have enough cash at the end of every month to cover its expenses?

10. Insufficient Funding

Early cash flow problems usually come from insufficient start-up capital. New businesses take a lot of money to get up and running. The first few months, or even years, can be all pay out with little cash coming in. Never underestimate the capital needed to start or grow a business. Make sure your business plan clearly shows what cash is needed (and by when) and convinces the reader this is sufficient and you have it, or can obtain it.


The difference between getting a loan and being refused lies in the veracity of your business plan. Avoid these ten common mistakes and you will increase your chances of walking out with the funding you require.

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The Disappearing Customer - Mystery Solved

 

Visioning by Design

Are you a linear or non-linear thinker? If you're a linear thinker then you'll prefer a step-by-step, logical approach when creating a vision for your business. If you're more non-linear, you might look at the future from multiple directions at once.

Neither is necessarily better than the other; in fact, most would agree a little bit of both brought to bear when undertaking visioning might offer the best results.

Having your vision, or overall strategy, written down in a formal manner is effective especially in helping keep you on track but using creativity and visual tools can help the people around you get on board with your vision, and become involved, in a far more powerful way. It's fun and offers a great team-building opportunity.

Whether you consider yourself a linear thinker or not, here are several ways you can use visual design approaches during your next visioning, or long-term strategic planning session.

Draw A Map

Just like we use maps when we are looking for directions to get from point A to point B, draw a map that shows where you are now, where you want to go, and the route you want to take to get there. One method, if you're particularly creative, is to draw a rough outline map (think road map) then present it to your team and fill in the details as a group.

Or, you could simply put in your start and end points, and have your team brainstorm all the ways you can get there. You might be surprised at the things they come up with. Once your team has created the map, reproduce it in large format and hang it in your staff room or office as a reference.

Stairway

Here's another effective visual technique. Draw a staircase with the bottom step being where you are now and the top step being where you'd like to be in a given timeframe (say 3-years). Write down the broad steps that need to be taken to achieve your goal (with timeframes for each step). Once you've listed the broad steps, break each step down into a smaller staircase and write down the micro-steps you need to take to get to the next level. Again, once you're finished, enlarge it and place it somewhere prominent so it becomes a daily reminder of your goals.

Drawing

Drawing can be a fun and creative way to envision business success. Gather your team together and let them come up with the metaphor that will represent your business. It could be a farm, a house, a city, a playground, an office complex, a resort, or a small town. Let the creative juices flow. Once you've created your metaphor, draw it out and ask yourself the questions that might be pertinent to that image. If you've chosen a small town for example, where will you put your town hall, the library, the industrial sector, and what each of these represents in your business. Have some fun with this. You could even hire an artist once you're done to create a professional representation of your work.

Photograph Collage

If you're a hobby photographer (and who isn't these days with smartphones?), take pictures of things that represent your business success and vision. It might be the wide-open spaces of a cornfield representing infinite possibilities; it might be a mountain climber representing commitment and dedication to a task; it could be a computer chip representing progress, ingenuity and the future. Combine the images and create an artful collage of the elements that are important to you.

Get your team to contribute their photos and/or ideas to add to what's already there. Look at each photo you've presented and ask what other images or ideas can be generated from that photograph. Once all your photos are collected, mount them onto a large board and laminate it to display in your workplace. You needn't take your own photographs; there are plenty of sites on the web to download free photos (here are three sites worth checking out: https://www.pexels.com/; https://pixabay.com/; https://stocksnap.io/)


If you're feeling a little stuck and want to generate excitement about your business vision, try one of these creative activities. They'll not only give you and your team a concrete visual reminder of your goals, but will provide some fun, out-of-the-ordinary experiences for everyone to build a stronger sense of team and synergy in your business.

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Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce
88 Saskatchewan St. E, Moose Jaw, SK, S6H 0V4
T: 306.692.6414 F: 306.694.6463
chamber@mjchamber.com
www.mjchamber.com

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