2 Writing a sales plan.
3.Writing a business growth strategy.
No matter what, it is all about writing down your intentions so that you
have a step by step map to follow for the foreseeable future to
accomplish your goals. Writing it down is key so that it is presented to
a panel of experts that will basically read it and see if it is
understandable to them so that they can offer feedback in which case it
should be understandable to others and can be brought to light for
At Amerivet we have been writing our growth strategy and our sales
strategy annually to improve how we do business with our customers. The
things learned in this class are certainly of help, but our greatest
help comes from our customers. The feedback that they provide to us is a
class each time we talk with them. The key here is also to write down
what they say.
I keep a logbook of particulars that each customer has spoken to me
about and refer back to it before I go to talk to them again so that I
can speak with accurate detail about subject matter previously
discussed. That way, opportunities do not get lost and I can converse
intelligently with them to meet a particular need. (i.e. the basic
formula of- what is your pain- what is the solution- what is the next
step?) This approach will get you quite a bit of unexpected work and in
the good graces of the customer.
Try writing things down even if it is a simple note and look at them
later when you have a moment at your desk. You will find it to be a
fantastic aid in approaching customers to strike up useful conversation
that may win you future business.
Until next time,
Blog for 10/12/11
Over the years I have learned just how important “Value Add” is to the
bottom line of our business. The thing is that a business “value add”
works both ways. While you provide value to your customers, be sure the
vendors you use provide value in whatever they are doing for you.
As an example, I recently took an entrepreneur class. The class was a
few hundred dollars and it ran once a month from early this spring to
mid-autumn. They were either half or full day sessions so it seemed like
a bargain and that I would learn a lot from it. It also required
homework and some networking with classmates, so it took a good deal of
time. It seems the return should have been great.
Here I thought I would have a team of experts that would sit down with
me one at a time and go through the way I run my company, that would
offer help and ideas, that would increase my bottom line and show me the
best way to plan forward so that my business would thrive. Instead they
spoke first and listened later. In fact today was the first time the
panel of experts even heard what it is I do.
I have to question those that throw out expert advise simply because
they are successful in what they do, but don’t care a whit about what it
is that I do. If you want to help me, get to know me, then see if you
have constructive, specific suggestions to offer me or just admit, “I’m
not qualified to help much in this area.” That adds value to me. I don’t
want to hear a lot of generic rhetoric. I’m a nuts and bolts kind of
guy. Show me how to make the machine that is my business run better, and
don’t rehash information that I heard in the first year of my MBA
program and tell me how much better off I am because of it. Humbug. In
essence, I hired you to paint my house, not to paint my fence. The fence
looks nice when it is painted, but meanwhile my house is rotting.
This may seem like a rant, because it is. I just paid money to be told
something I already knew. As a customer you shouldn’t either. Be sure
that in your business dealings that anyone that comes to talk with you
about a solution for your company, comes for a conversation with you and
is not presenting a dissertation. If they are not interested in your
business you should not be interested in them. Be sure they know what
you do, and why they are there to help you. Be specific about the area
of help and invest some real time, as long as the issue gets across so
that a viable solution can be tried and it improves your bottom line.
Last, but not least, ask them flat out if they can measurably show you
how their solution has helped you earn even one penny more when they are
done with implementation. If they can’t show you how they made (not-
will make) you money, then they don’t get to come back, and you should
feel free to let others know that you were not satisfied with their
On the other hand, if they can come back to you with examples of the
things they brought to you as solutions and they were implemented in
your company, and then can show you the positive financial results you
should not only invite them back to solve something else for you, but
tell all of your business friends about them as well.
At Amerivet we make it a point to see exactly what you need to help
provide a solution for you and then follow through with quality checks
and numbers to show you how we did. If you like what you saw, spread the
news, if you didn’t like what you saw, spread the news, but give us a
shot and I think we stand a good chance of proving our “Value Add” to
you and your company.
Until next time,
Blog for 10/5/11
So, just as we would take a breath to re-evaluate the calendar New Year
with resolutions, so does the government. In this time where new budgets
are evaluated for project management, meetings are held to coordinate,
and finances are prepared for release of new projects we at Amerivet are
doing much the same.
Of course we are looking at the Prime Contractors and available
solicitations, but we are also looking at how we are to physically grow
ourselves over the next government fiscal year. Our friends and closest
allies at Simcona which house our main office are busy clearing out
available space to lease to us as we bring in more Value Add work. We
are also able to house customer inventory with any extra space we have
and provide Just In Time release for them at very reasonable rates.
At the same time we have pneumatic and electrical drops within the facility
to run tooling for virtually any kind of work imaginable. This allows us
flexibility to utilize our additional space in a variety of conceivable
ways to accommodate customer projects and inventory.
Now the hard part.
Like everyone else looking to take on work, we need to find where the
opportunities may be. With the economy in such a state, everyone is
being conservative in their business practices and they look to find
best value for their own sake. This means more looking and less doing
until the circumstances are right. While this is prudent, those that do
offer out work would be reaping the benefit of less expensive labor
available in a super competitive market. We are no exception.
Usually I can have bragging rights that we are able to save a customer
at least 10% on labor costs, but this time of year it is closer to 15%
and anyone that wants value knows how that can improve their bottom
line. I know it seems as if I would lose on my bottom line, but I count
on the fact that I would be able to do good work, on time, every time,
and build a reputation that will make for a loyal customer that I can
add to Amerivet’s resume. If the customer likes what they see from us,
word of mouth advertising will ensue and we can pick up more customers.
Hence, we grow. Stratagem successful.
Over the next few weeks we find out what fate will bring our way, and I
hope to spend a good deal of time meeting with new potential customers
to put this strategy to the test. The result will show up on our bottom
line at the end of our calendar year which coincides with our fiscal
year. Meanwhile, off I go scouting for new business.
Until next time,
Blog for 9/29/11
Well this is the end of the fiscal year for the Federal Government as of
9/30/11. Usually procurement business quells a bit starting next week
while everyone goes over their new budgets and determines how and when
to deploy the new budgets for the projects at hand.
It seems the end of a flurry of available solicitations, but does
provide time to breathe and reflect. The biggest thought that comes to
mind is a shift into more “Value Add” work for us. We just finished a
job of coiling twin axial cable into 30 meter hanks for IEC and we are
continuing forward with a job for Sigma in cutting 3/8” shrink tubing to
.16” lengths. Our customers are very happy with the results and value we
are providing, and we are beginning to realize it is time for more
growth in this area.
Value add production is always beneficial to larger companies when they
outsource time consuming, labor intensive work for two very important
1. They are almost always supporting a higher rate of overhead than a
small business and therefore it is not worth their time to do the work
themselves so it is business prudent to outsource and utilize the
opportunity loss that would have incurred had they done the work
themselves. This essentially gives them increased output.
2. They can consign material to a small business for value add at
pricing the large business enjoys and therefore can easily calculate the
small business mark up of the end product to see if their labor price is
competitive. Thus the best of both small business and large business
advantages are employed.
In the world of Prime Contractors to the US government they also enjoy
the preference points it gives them on large government contracts by
utilizing set asides such as Small Business, 8A, HUB Zone, Veteran Owned
Small Business, or Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
In other words- It is a win/win. The small businesses get good work to
build upon, and the large businesses get improved profit.
Be aware that these set aside small businesses don’t dwell on the fact
they are a set aside on order to get subcontracting opportunities from
Primes. It is just an added benefit to them. No, companies like Amerivet
pride themselves on ability, not disability to get a contract. All we
want is a chance to prove ourselves to each and every client. We have
done so in the past and hopefully word of our capabilities will get
around building our reputation further and more business will come from
So if there is a large business out there that is looking for a small
business with any of the capabilities our website shows please feel free
to contact me directly by phone. I’d love to discuss it.
Until next time,
Blog For 09/01/11
Everyone tells me
writing a Blog is a good thing to have for the website and after reading
a few I can honestly say I believe it. It relates information about the
company on the website and combines it with interesting facts and some
occasional humor whether fictional or based on reality.
I hope to develop
this blog over time to include pictures, videos and audio files. I also
plan to get it set up so people can subscribe and leave comments on the
blogs I send out because feedback is essential in continuous
improvement, and it keeps me in immediate touch with what is happening
out there in the world.
This is all coming,
but the first order of business is to let our readers know what we are
all about. Simply put we are government contractors that procure
products in the world of electronics and perform value add service for
government agencies and their Prime Contractors.
We are young, and
newly successful, and actually came out in the black in our first year
of business which is quite a feat for a small company. We would like to
continue the trend.
I like to think the
main reason people took to us so quickly is that we have a knack for
listening to the customer needs. Many vendors tend to be order takers
without questions. We like to pry (politely) into the customers order to
find out why they need something in particular. It gives us a clearer
idea of how we can provide a superior product or service, and be
prepared to help them better the next time they need us.
For example we may
find out a potential customer is installing data lines for a fiber optic
network and they want pricing for one thousand foot rolls of
Corning cable. We may dig in and find out if
they need an exact match or if they can use a Brand name equal that may
cost them less. We may find out they will be needing to order more in
the future, and with that information we may be able to get a schedule
with pricing that reflects a sizeable discount that we may negotiate
with our suppliers that would also reflect shorter lead times because
they were planned rather than purchased on the fly.
A simple example I
know, but by doing this you establish a working relationship that will
be long term and quite probably get you on a preferred vendor list as we
have with Aberdeen Proving Ground Md.
Anyway, I’m happy
to post my first blog and hope that over time people will return again
and again to see what is happening here at Amerivet Solutions and maybe
pick up a few tips and the occasional chuckle. It should be an
interesting relationship for all of us.
Until next time,