From The Blog

Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, making them 54 to 72 years old, and the U.S. Census Bureau indicates an estimated 74.1 million of them in the U.S.

Photo:  Carolyn Michael-Banks
CEO/Founder of A Tour of Possibilities, LLC
www.ATOPMemphis.com ~ at the LevelUp Conference 2018

The estimated number of Boomer women is 38.44 million. In addition to their existing assets, Baby-Boomers are set to inherit $15 trillion over the next 20 years. Add to this the fact that women drive 70% or more of all consumer purchasing.

Despite these figures, Nielsen estimates that less than 5% of advertising dollars are targeted to adults aged 35 to 64. According to the report, “Typically, once a group of consumers reaches the so-called ‘cut-off’ age of 49, marketers ‘go back to go,’” the report says.

Knowing more about Baby-Boomer women can help you market to them. 7+ facts:

1. Once the college bills are out of the way and children launch their own households, the discretionary spending power of 50-plus women soars. They spend 2.5 times what the average person spends. Women are the primary buyers for computers, cars, banking, financial services and a lot of other big-ticket categories.
– Marti Barletta, Primetime Women

2. Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby-Boomer women represent a portion of the buying public no marketer can afford to ignore. With successful careers, investments made during the “boom” years, and inheritances from parents or husbands, they are more financially empowered than any previous generation of women.
– Mary Brown, Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer—The Baby-Boomer Woman

3. Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion. Many Boomer women will experience a double inheritance windfall, from both parents and husband. The Boomer woman is a consumer that luxury brands want to resonate with.
– Claire Behar, Senior Partner and Director, New Business Development, Fleishman-Hillard New York

4. The number of wealthy women investors in the U.S. is growing at a faster rate than that of men. In a two-year period, the number of wealthy women in the U.S. grew 68%, while the number of men grew only 36%.
– The Spectrem Group

5. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care:

  • 91% of New Homes
  • 66% PCs
  • 92% Vacations
  • 80% Healthcare
  • 65% New Cars
  • 89% Bank Accounts
  • 93% Food
  • 93 % OTC Pharmaceuticals

American women spend about $5 trillion annually…over half the U.S. GDP.

6. Women represent much of the online market – Digital Divas by The Numbers

  • 22% shop online at least once a day
  • 92% pass along information about deals or finds to others
  • 171: average number of contacts in their e-mail or mobile lists
  • 76% want to be part of a special or select panel
  • 58% would toss a TV if they had to get rid of one digital device (only 11% would ditch their laptops)
    51% are moms

Source: Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather

7. Women and sports. Women make up:

  • 47.2 % of major league soccer fans
  • 46.5% of MLB fans
  • 43.2% of NFL fans
  • 40.8% of fans at NHL games
  • 37% of NBA fans
  • Women purchase 46% of official NFL merchandise
  • Women spent 80% of all sport apparel dollars and controlled 60% of all money spent on men’s clothing
  • Women comprise about one-third (34%) of the adult audience for ESPN sport event programs

Source – www.she-conomy.com

Here’s what research says, as provided by Jan Marino, BoomerCafe.com:

As the unofficial spokesperson I feel compelled to let you know what I’m hearing from 10K of my closest boomer friends. Here’s a list of ten things that we Boomers want and need from service providers:

  1. Explanations and education about your product or service intelligently delivered informing us why we should invest in your product. 
  2. Options about what the trend of the service/product is … i.e. what’s its “shelf life” 
  3. Engagement with us. We really want to mentor and help others not make the same mistakes we did. We may appear arrogant, but we’re not…we just don’t want to be ignored. 
  4. We want you to know that we control over 70% of the disposal income in this country and we have lots of places to spend that money. We won’t spend it with companies that ignore us or call us aged or aging (even if we are both … you don’t need to remind us). 
  5. Use clever and well thought out campaigns for marketing. Don’t be afraid to go mobile. Offer us deals and great products especially women’s clothing. We have lots of money to spend on clothing, but not many of us can wear a size 0 or show our midriffs. 
  6. We are health conscience and not as worried about our sex lives as ads claim. Help us stay in shape and look good. 
  7. Our pets are part of our family and we think they need stuff, so we’ll splurge on them. 
  8. Our parents are a huge part of our lives and we are taking care of them. Products and services that makes life easier for them and us will sell if treated in an intelligent way…. i.e. NO cold calling…form relationships with families. 
  9. Reinvention and career services that help us stay on top of trends and technology are imperatives. We want to stay well-informed, so we can talk to our children and grandchildren. 
  10. We still care about changing the world and philanthropy. Get large numbers of us interested in worthy causes. We fully understand that the earth’s resources are limited, and alternative methods hold great returns.


NIta Black, CEO/Business Strategist
www.NitaBlack.com

“We provide business tools to help clients monetize their ideas.”

“Learn how to sell.  It’s the best investment you will ever make.  Mark Cuban says so.”  This is a quote from Jeff Haden’s article at Inc.com (August 2017) – enjoy the short video interview of Mark Cuban, billionaire investor, NBA team owner.

You need an angle – email me at info@NitaBlack.com #businessstrategist if you would like to discuss.  You need a sales budget.

How to Budget Sales.

One way to get an idea of a reasonable sales budget for a startup is to look at the industry data. Starting with census data, even though it is always dated, will help a start-up know how many companies are out there and average sales. Go to www.census.gov to pull Sales/Receipts by NAICS industry code. Start with the U.S., then the state, and then MSA and/or county to review geographic reports. Look at the total number of companies in each geographic area and calculate average Sales/Receipts per firm.

The industry information tells you how much was sold by your competitors.  It helps clarify the size of your target market, in dollars spent with your competitors by potential customers.  White papers and other research should help you estimate sales – a key line item in your budget.  The Sales Budget helps you set goals for all other line items in your budget.

Choose the information that is most relevant and comparable to the startup. Assume that it will take at least three to five years for a startup to reach the average Sales/Receipts per firm in the industry. Be conservative in your sales estimates. Consider preparing at least three scenarios of most likely, best case, worst case estimates so that appropriate planning can be considered for required capital, labor, and other resources.

Often, cash flow problems arise because of high growth as well as low growth.  Below is an example (see case study) of how the industry data can be used as a basis for the Sales/Receipts budget.

Sales Budget Process – Case Study.

The Market – XYZ Flooring Company is part of the Construction sector 23, doing business as a specialty trade contractor classified as NAICS 238330 and competing in the Memphis, TN MSA. Can you see how this information maps?  We start with the Construction sector, then choose a specific trade within the total sector.  Next, we look at the US data, data by state, data by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), data by city and/or county.  These levels of information usually tell us something that helps us compete for customers.  We choose the most relevant data, based on the company’s mission and vision.

The Sub-Sector – The construction industry sector has three major groups of companies – (1) Construction of Building (236), (2) Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (237), and (3) Specialty Trade Contractors (238). Specialty Trade Contractors include flooring, as well as poured concrete, structural steel, framing, masonry, glass and glazing, roofing, siding, electrical, plumbing and HVAC, drywall, painting, tile and terrazzo, finish carpentry, site preparation, and other specialty trade contracts.  Within the 238 sub-sector, there were 39 Flooring contractors reporting under NAICS 238330 in the Memphis MSA for 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These businesses employed 175 workers with an annual average payroll of $6.9 million.

Geographic Region – XYZ Flooring competes for business primarily in the Memphis MSA, although growth is expected through sales in the three states of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. 2007 information reports 187 flooring contractor businesses in the state of Tennessee, 67 flooring contractors in the state of Arkansas, and 42 in the state of Mississippi. Average annual sales size per business is reported as $917,000 by Tennessee companies and $652,000 by Arkansas companies.  This lets us know what may be a reasonable sales budget for XYZ Flooring.

Base Budget Plus Future – As a startup XYZ Flooring’s Sales Budget assumes it will take five years to reach the average Sales of approximately $652,000. The first-year sales are $385,000 based on 5 to 6 retail (consumer) orders per month at $2950 average price per order. Approximately one-half of the annual sales are retail resulting in a total retail sales budget of $194,700 annually. The remaining sales budget of roughly $192,500 includes 10 commercial orders a year at $19,250 per order. The company’s budget is based on an 80% pipeline of orders already placed, with 13 retail orders or $38,000 lined up for the first quarter plus $46,200 in pending commercial orders.

Growth Assumptions – Our source of referrals for both retail and commercial customers are well-established and are believed to support the current Sales/Receipts Budget. An annual growth of 10% for the first five years is assumed conservative, based on industry data provided by xxx Flooring Association which indicates recent historical industry sales growth of 12% to 15% per year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

As the startup builds a track record each week, each month, each quarter, and each year, budgets should become more reliable. Who knows, a startup may outperform the industry in the first year so using several scenarios will help predict company needs and avoid crisis management.  Below are a few FAQs to help you as a startup.

  1. How do I calculate Breakeven Sales? Breakeven Sales in dollars is equal to Fixed Expenses divided by Gross Profit Margin.
  2. How do I calculate Gross Profit and Gross Profit Margin? Gross Profit in dollars is Revenue less variable Cost of Sales. Gross Profit Margin as a percent is Gross Profit in dollars divided by Revenue.
  3. How do I calculate Net Profit and Net Profit Margin? Net Profit in dollars is Revenue Less Total Expenses. Net Profit Margin as a percent is Net Profit divided by Revenue.
  4. How do I calculate Breakeven Sales plus $100k Profit? Breakeven Sales in dollars plus $100k Profit is equal to Fixed Expenses plus $100k divided by Gross Profit Margin.
  5. What costs are typically included in the line item variable Cost of Sales? Variable Cost of Sales includes materials and labor costs which vary with Revenue. For example, a $10 widget may have $3 in material cost and $3 in labor cost for a total of $6 in variable Cost of Sales per widget.
  6. What is positive Cash Flow? For example, Client ABC orders 100 widgets at $10 each which equals $1000 in Revenue. Client ABC pays Startup Business XYZ on the date of the order. Business XYZ has thirty days to pay Vendor to purchase product and twenty-five days to ship to Client ABC. Positive Cash Flow in this example is $1000 for thirty days until payment by Business XYZ to Vendor is made.  It’s great if you can collect money from your clients first and then pay your vendors and your people later.  That way you have cash in the bank before you actually need to spend it.
  7. What are Fixed Expenses in a Business? These are typically rent, utilities, insurance, office staff, W-2 employees, and other expenses that must be paid each month, quarter, or year, regardless of the level of Revenues in the Business. It is important to hold fixed expenses at a very low level, in the case of most startups.
  8. Why does a Business need research? Research should answer questions that help a Business compete and survive long-term. These are questions like (a) Who am I competing with, (b) Where are my competitors and what do they “look like”, (c) What are my target clients buying, (c) Who can pay for what I sell, (d) How much will they pay, (e) How much are my competitors charging and many other questions.
  9. What is a Sales Plan? Unless clients are begging you for business, typically, you must go find them. You must evaluate who your “best” client is and how to reach them. Where do they live/work, what do they do, why will they do business with you, and how will you reach them? The sales plan includes who you should contact, how often contacts should be made, in what ways should you contact, what actions should be taken over what period, and what goals within what timeframes can be reasonably attained.
  10. Why is a Sales Forecast important? A financial forecast starts with the Sales Forecast. This can be based on industry data, regional demographics, or other information. The goal of a good Sales Forecast is to estimate the financial performance of a Business for the coming day, week, month, quarter, year, or years. It helps set the expense budget for the same period. If actual Sales are significantly less than the Sales Forecast, the management of expenses becomes even more critical for long-term survival of a Business.
  11. Why is a Marketing Plan important? A Marketing Plan has several core components that, when completed by the Business Owner, will clarify how to reach clients that will buy from you. A Marketing Plan includes the estimated cost so that you can budget for these expenses. It is an integral part of the Business Plan, identifying the unique selling proposition of the business, the competitors of the business, and strategies to connect with and/or retain clients so that the Business generates adequate revenue to operate in a profitable and successful manner.

Learning how to sell without a Sales Budget is like learning to water ski with no boat.  Your sales budget will clarify what products and services are sold and which ones drive the most revenue.

For more information on building sales and other business strategies, contact Nita Black at (901)413-1315.  You can also find Nita on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Experience success!


NIta Black, CEO/Business Strategist
www.NitaBlack.com

“We provide business tools to help clients monetize their ideas.”

What is a Steel Magnolia anyway? Let’s read what Wikipedia says.

STEEL MAGNOLIAS IS A 1989 AMERICAN COMEDY-DRAMA FILM DIRECTED BY HERBERT ROSS. IT IS THE FILM ADAPTATION OF ROBERT HARLING’S 1987 PLAY OF THE SAME NAME. THE PLAY AND FILM ARE ABOUT THE BOND A GROUP OF WOMEN SHARE IN A SMALL-TOWN SOUTHERN COMMUNITY, AND HOW THEY COPE WITH THE DEATH OF ONE OF THEIR OWN.

THE STORY IS BASED ON ROBERT HARLING‘S REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE OF THE DEATH OF HIS SISTER, SUSAN HARLING ROBINSON, IN 1985 DUE TO COMPLICATIONS FROM TYPE 1 DIABETES. HE CHANGED HIS SISTER’S NAME IN THE STORY FROM SUSAN TO SHELBY EATENTON-LATCHERIE.

 

THE TITLE SUGGESTS THE MAIN FEMALE CHARACTERS CAN BE BOTH AS DELICATE AS THE MAGNOLIA FLOWER, AND AS TOUGH AS STEEL.

As a woman in charge of her own destiny, maybe you can relate. Delicate and tough?

Ideal Leadership Traits

Have you thought about your leadership style lately and what traits you possess? How would you describe your ideal leadership traits?  Those traits that you seek and want to possess long-term.  Are you patient and calm, pushy and arrogant, somewhere in-between?  How would you describe yourself as a successful leader?  What does it take to be successful in business, or really at anything you decide to tackle?

Of course, you probably know Fred Smith or know of him. As the CEO and Founder of Federal Express, you can watch his video produced in December 2016 and read the article in Entrepreneur.  His tips for success start with “Believe.”  Believe in what you are doing, with all your might.

Or you might research successful women and how they define success. In Forbes Magazine (July 2016) in the article How Do We Define Success for Women Entrepreneurs, Patti Greene asks the following questions:

  • If a woman organizes her business to focus at least as much on growing a successful family as growing a larger business – is that success?
  • If a woman really enjoys performing the work of the business – delivering the product or service herself and choosing not to become an employer – is that a successful entrepreneurial outcome? Let’s remember that if we didn’t have the non-employer businesses we would need to create approximately 22 million more jobs across the country to take their place.
  • However, if a woman’s aspirations are to grow a much larger company, does she have access to the resources, particularly those of capital and network, to build that type of company successfully? Research findings over the past few years are fairly robust that women have equal access to debt based funding, while still lagging substantially in accessing equity capital.

Lead for You

We can google this and research that, all day long, been there, done that, searching for the definition of success. The main thing, imo, is that we do something. We make the best decisions possible at a given point in time and then run with it.  We look at ourselves often, celebrate the wins (even small ones), and percolate the fixes every day, one day at a time.  Yes, success can be like brewing a good pot of coffee – percolating is good!

Leadership Self-Assessment

If you are a business owner or a wannabe business owner, or just want to take some time for yourself to self-reflect, answer the following statements with the answer that best describes you.  We ask you to use one of the five following answers:

a. I disagree.

b. I somewhat disagree.

c. I agree.

d. I somewhat agree.

e. I strongly agree.

There are no right or wrong answers.  This should be a quick run-through – ready, set, go!

  1. I am more of a visionary and less analytical.
  2. I am more detail oriented and less big picture.
  3. My business and personal goals have been updated within the last six months.
  4. I made money last year.
  5. I know my banker.
  6. I owe money to a bank and/or outside investor, family and friends.
  7. My financial records are in good order and bookkeeping is up to date.
  8. I have at least three written goals to attain within the next five years.
  9. I like thinking and planning strategically.
  10. I have a strategic plan in place that has been updated within the last twelve months.
  11. I am open to advice from others.
  12. I have an established customer base.
  13. I have written and current job descriptions for myself and my staff.
  14. Each of my staff participated in a job performance review within the last twelve months.
  15. I offer health and retirement benefits that cover me and my staff.
  16. Each of my staff participated in a job performance review within the last twelve months.
  17. I have identified my target market in dollars and unit volume.
  18. I have a marketing calendar in place for the current year.
  19. I know what job positions will be needed for the current year.
  20. I have facilitated a team meeting with my staff within the last thirty days.
  21. I know how I stack up against other companies within my industry.
  22. I have a tax problem with the IRS.
  23. My technology strategy and IT support are clearly identified and in written form.
  24. I know what capital expenditures are required for my business over the next two years.
  25. I have identified a specific exit strategy and timeline.
  26. I have obtained a valuation of my company from an objective third party professional.
  27. I have a clear and defined process or processes to deliver my products and services.
  28. I have a clear and defined process or processes to keep my customers happy.
  29. I have a problem changing directions, even when something is not working.
  30. I like new things and have a problem consistently finishing a project well.
  31. I totally trust all my employees.
  32. I like projects.
  33. I like continuity.
  34. I like change.
  35. I have a comprehensive communications strategy that is working well with my staff members, my customers, my prospects, and with the public.
  36. I know my competitor’s unique selling proposition and how they are successful in their business.
  37. I have a rock star management team with few gaps in expertise/experience.

If you have now completed the above assessment, total the number for each answer. Total up all the a’s, the b’s, etc.

The point of this type of assessment is to identify your behaviors and clarify what is important to you, your family, your business.  Look for common threads in your answers, where you are now and where you would like to be – in terms of your own behavior.  Identify changes that you want to occur and then sleep on it.  Next, do your research to help you set realistic goals for making these changes – by specific dates that you set for yourself.

If you want feedback, email your self-assessment results to info@NitaBlack.com.

Are you a Steel Magnolia or do you even want to be one?  To identify tools and strategies that can make you more money AND ecstatically happy with what you are doing, contact Nita Black at (901)413-1315 or go to her website at www.NitaBlack.com.  You can also find Nita on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Experience success!


NIta Black, CEO/Business Strategist
www.NitaBlack.com

“We provide business tools to help clients monetize their ideas.”

Visualizing Your Dream

I love posting things on the wall to organize my work day.  What about you?  What about birthday stickers and different emoji posts on Facebook and in texts?  But when it comes to visualizing my dream business, what I want when I grow up, I can get stuck.  All words and no pics – makes for “no fun” these days.

Back in the day, I decided to attend a class called “Operation Jumpstart”.  The materials were provided by the Kauffman Foundation which is a well-respected resource for tons of research and business tips/materials.  The course was offered by a local non-profit and the cost was nominal.  The biggest commitment I had to make was the time to attend 36 hours of class time over a 12-week period and complete assigned homework.  Yikes!  Little did I know that I would feel like I was in grade school again.  A story board (think emoji board, in today’s world)?  Are you crazy?  What is this going to do for me as a “seasoned” business strategist?  I do not have time for this, nor did I ever like to draw.

After the initial rebellion, I proceeded to quickly put together the bare necessities to complete the board as assigned.  When the next class was held, I was ready to turn mine in and be done.  Over-achiever maybe?  I was surprised to learn that no one else in the class had the understanding that this was homework, so the assignment was repeated and due date was extended to the following week.  Oh, well, I am ahead of the game – but wait?

As I looked at what I had done, it became more obvious to me that I had not thought through many of the underlying components of the story board.  If I was going to spend my time doing this, I needed to do it right – do you agree?

The five major sections on the story board were (1) the Entrepreneur (that’s me/you), (2) the Customer, (3) the Products/Services, (4) the Money, and (5) the Future.  On the original board, I had pulled clip art to quickly fill in the “blanks”, so to speak, so that the story board would cover the five major sections e.g. homework would be completed with elements as required – and not much work on my part.  The purpose of the story board was to tell the story of your business, the who, what, where, and how.  Much to my surprise, I found the story board very helpful in forcing me to continue to clarify what I wanted to do, who my customers would be, where I would get the money to do what I wanted to do, and what the future might look like.  More importantly, what exactly was I going to sell?

I know this is risky (maybe too transparent for some readers), but below is my original story board.  Although roughly organized, this is where I started with my story – addressing the five important sections. Below is my storyboard.  I am no artist and you can say or think whatever you wish…can you say “cheesy?”

For example, let’s start with the Entrepreneur – that’s me.  See the lady in the black dress with a briefcase and flying over tall buildings like Wonder Woman?  Well this is me!  Don’t ask me why, but I just liked this image and thought it was appropriate.  Sometimes I really do want to fly over tall buildings, but think better of it later.  The rest of the images reflect the visualization of my dream at that time in my life.

The more I looked at the story board, the more work I saw that I needed to do.  Too, too busy, and so many things I wanted to do.  And the title – I put that up there last and then changed it a couple of times.    You will see on the flip side of the story board, the title changed again.  I guess this is part of the evolution of any plan – figuring things out, and not being afraid of changing if it is not the best fit at that time.  The story board should evolve into a visual component of the business plan, like it or not!

On the flip side of the vision board (above), you can see the Future in the top left-hand corner with a “Sold – for Value” sign.  This means that the vision was to grow the heck out of this business to create value thru revenue and earnings so that it could then be sold – maybe to a major banking system that needed fee income and more commercial loan customers.  Sounds out there, to some of you, but I believed this could happen.

The Entrepreneur, that’s me, and my picture are on the bottom left of the story board with the phrase “The Collaborator”.  This is the branding – collaborator – that is still important to me today.

The story board (today we might call it an Emoji Board or Info-gram?) made things more visible to me – several ideas were formed that previously I did not have.  Even though I’m not an artist, I was glad that I took the time to complete the board – even if it was a not-so-favorite class assignment.  Of course, when I look at it next month, there may be more work to do.

Oh, well, this is entrepreneurship…I love it.

For more information on Visualizing Your Dream and other business strategies, contact Nita Black at Info@NitaBlack.com or go to her website at www.NitaBlack.com.  You can also find Nita on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Experience success!


NIta Black, CEO/Business Strategist
www.NitaBlack.com

“We provide business tools to help clients monetize their ideas.”

Nita Black - Business Strategist

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