Business Stress!

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by fenton, Nov 9, 2007.

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  1. fenton

    fenton Contributor

    318 3
    Ive recently started my business as most of you know. Im finding it especially hard work getting it off the ground. Ive sent flyers, got some press releases going in, more flyers targeted this time. Ive also got some sales letters going out soon but what if they produce nothing. I can see a very skint christmas coming up. To top it all off my partner has decided to go visit her parents for a couple of months in new zealand, she has of course asked me to go but I really cant at the moment, but just feel like dropping everything and goin. While she is away im having to foot all the bills too and with no money coming in im literally gonna be broke. I have never been in this situation before I used to work 4 hours a day for a better than average salary. Im not sure what to do, im at my budget for the business too until the money starts coming in. Any experiences you've had for a pick me up. Or maybe a better way to get my business working.

    Gary:(
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: fenton Member since: Aug 6, 2007
    #1
  2. Calibre Designs

    Calibre Designs Contributor

    2,868 352
    Hey Gary,

    Sorry to hear about your situation. I would like to help you out and I am sure that many forum members will join me. To help, please list out all your skills and services, inside and outside the business. Are you a sole trader or a Ltd co? Your location?

    Thanks

    Kay
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: Calibre Designs Member since: Sep 12, 2007
    #2
  3. RapidBI

    RapidBI Contributor

    207 2
    Hi
    Any business take much longer to kick start than most peple think.

    As you were prev. only working 4 hours a day, is this something you can go back to while your business grows?

    Have you offered key cutting services a 'cut' for any business they bring - this will be a time people are 'service aware' and more likely to sign up....
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: RapidBI Member since: Jun 2, 2006
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  4. AdamJ

    AdamJ Contributor

    774 170
    Hi Gary,

    For what its worth, I too had never had any financial worries, secure job, etc. About a year after setting up the business my mortgage had literally tripled with me taking extensions to live on, I had debt everywhere, three credit cards full which I'd never had before, bounced mortgage payments, the lot. But, slowly the business got its momentum going, the debt is starting to come down and the reward of no boss and a comfortable income is on the horizon now. So my advice, stick with it. Its hard to see the future in a positive light sometimes but you'll get there.
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: AdamJ Member since: Oct 12, 2007
    #4
  5. Croam

    Croam UKBF Newcomer

    55 4
    Hello Gary,

    I am really sorry about your worries. Indeed, we all go through that stage where we think, have I just gone mad and made the worst mistake of my life? It normally goes away.

    Even at risk of sounding like a dragon, I think you have a few gaps to correct in your strategy:

    1. Don't expect customers to come to you, promotional materials look good, but you need to always! follow up.

    2. The only way I see you will sell your service is with what's know as the fear factor. A bit like insurance, nobody really wants it, but what if... The advantage insurance companies have, that you don't, is that nobody else can help the customer. In your case, other people can (my family have a copy of my keys for those eventualities).

    3. Selling it to business, I don't see it work very well. Businesses in business parks or office buildings have contracted security with, you guessed it, copy of the keys. Small retailers normally give keys to more than one member of staff.

    As harsh as it sounds, you need to sell it using the fear factor, so people think they need your service, otherwise, I think you will only get the attention of those people who have lost their keys in the past and have not left a copy with a trusted person.

    I might be wrong, but this is honestly how I see it. Maybe a myth, but there are some people out there that can sell sand in the Sahara, so you could make it work.

    Best of luck

    Marco.
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: Croam Member since: Nov 1, 2007
    #5
  6. elite123

    elite123 Contributor

    344 7
    Hi,

    I dont mean to be mean but it doesnt sound like a great money making idea. Although, I think it could work if you work hard at it in the right places.

    I think see if car cleaning places can help you run promotions, perhaps the person cleaning the car can get a % of the yearly fee if they can get someone to sign up.

    Also garages, car parks, etc etc. Anywhere that the person can be persuaded. See if local supermarket will let you pitch up at the main door.

    I know that if i had a letter, flyer that i wouldnt do it, but I could be persuaded if someone sold the benefits to me.

    My advice save the money on flyers, get into the marketplace and talk to people to sign up !
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: elite123 Member since: Nov 23, 2005
    #6
  7. kay_louises

    kay_louises UKBF Newcomer

    29 1
    Hi Gary,

    All I would say is keep positive during this initial period, as hard as it may be. All businesses take time to get off the ground, and even longer to get a good return, but by perservering you have the chance to make it in the long run. As Mike said, is there an opportunity for you to go back to your 4 hour a job or something similar in the interim period?
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: kay_louises Member since: Oct 1, 2007
    #7
  8. Rienne

    Rienne Contributor

    401 27
    Gary

    Sorry to hear it isn't working out. I have to say I'm also a little sceptical about who needs this service. What did your market research tell you? In the meantime here are a couple of things which have occurred to me. One is the pricing, the other is the perceived security and the third is guarantee of service. I am talking about residential really as, along with a previous poster, I think most businesses have it covered.

    1. Pricing. Clients pay £35 a year but also have to pay a callout. Lots of services which pay an annual fee sell a "but it's free if you have to use it" benefit, bit like insurance. I think if I paid you an annual charge, I would want at least one callout included which makes my subscription "free". I would also not differentiate callout charges between night and day. Basically to be honest you are not offering anything clever or advantageous in the eyes of the customer.

    There could be a few ways to cut this and of course it depends on your costings. But you are offering insurance, and so it is your risk to calculate how many times an average home is going to call you out.

    2. Security. I think you could make more of the SIA logo on the site. Also you mention uniformed staff and marked vans - do you have a picture of them you could publish? Any testimonials? Hiring / vetting procedure for the staff eg CRB? Picture of your "vault"? Is it secure? How?

    3. Guarantee. Can you really get from one side of Birmingham to the other in the rush hour? Maybe you could think about scaling the initial operation down to a smaller area, and perhaps it would give you more credibility.

    This may not be directly relevant or useful but I do hope this helps at least give you some ideas. I think this business could do something but, paradoxically, only when it is scaled enough to be cheap and definitely straightforward for consumers to "get".

    kind regards

    Jeff







    - silver service - £35 a year and no callout charge.
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: Rienne Member since: Oct 1, 2007
    #8
  9. fenton

    fenton Contributor

    318 3
    No chance of getting my job back, I was getting away with murder anyway I was booking 10 hours a day. I was going to be moved into account management but thats like 12 hours plus, a day with lots more worries on top. Thats when I decided enough working for someone else.
    I think my problem is sales. Ive never been a good sales man, I was a project manager before and had people to do that for me. Ideally I would like to someone employ a sales guy to get some business though I doubt thats gonna happen at the moment unless its commission only.
    To answer Calibre. I am a sole trader, im great at planning offer as per web site including concierge. Dont get me wrong I have sold some business and the market research showed a really good interest. I think the only way to get business is face to face but im no good at that which is a distinct disadvantage obviously.
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: fenton Member since: Aug 6, 2007
    #9
  10. Sally@CC

    [email protected] Contributor

    872 26
    Hi Gary

    Sorry about your current stress levels, yes it is hard but positive mental attitude is required.

    Have you posted a flyer on here to see if people are getting the right message?

    I disagree about big businesses not requiring your services. I used to work in a huge corporation and my secretary used to just nip to the local key cutter with petty cash (other than security keys that had to be sent away) but the turnover in staff meant constantly getting new keys.

    Do you also sell locks? I used to use a mobile guy that also supplied locks, if a staff member left and didn't leave their keys I wanted new locks right this minute plus all the extra keys for all the staff. So I would say go for big companies but you have to sell a whole service not just say I can cut you a new key, go where volume is required. Make them see that your service can add to their security.

    Do you fit and service locks? Maybe you could add that if you don't. We used outside storage with padlocks and constantly had to hacksaw locks off because they rusted up inside, so I contracted a local handyman to come and service them regularly and never had any trouble after that. I was quite happy to pay him to do this as it saved the stress and swearing. Many places have a handyman but you have to sell them the idea that you are a 'key & lock expert'.

    Have you been in touch with your local crime prevention officer to see if there are any services lackng that he thinks you should offer?

    Get positive, get creative and get going. :D

    Sally
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: [email protected] Member since: Oct 17, 2007
    #10
  11. cqueen

    cqueen Contributor

    313 3
    Learn from my mistake...

    When I started my first business just over 2 years ago, I was in the same position as you.
    I was running out of cash and customers were rare. Yet I wouldnt get a part time job because... well I'm a job snob.

    Ultimatly this inability to take a crap job to stay alive cost me the business and thats a real shame because I still to this day feel that my business would have thrived had I been able to stay with it for a few years.

    So my advice... get a part time job just so you can at least pay the bills, because if you dont then you'll crumble just like I did and end up back looking for a job anyway (I havnt mentioned the spiral of depression, aguements with other half etc etc).
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: cqueen Member since: Feb 10, 2006
    #11
  12. fenton

    fenton Contributor

    318 3
    Cheers Jeff thanks for the info. I kept the annual cost low and charge a call out so consumers would not be calling me out all the time for non emergencies e.t.c.

    Gary
     
    Posted: Nov 9, 2007 By: fenton Member since: Aug 6, 2007
    #12
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