Creating Value – Part III

Belief.

A Belief that you have and share, about the marketplace, about your customers – this is the third big powerful wagon to hitch your business to.

How you view me shapes our relationship. Back to Seth Godin’s Tribes: don’t just understand me: believe in me, uplift me. Speak to your customers with a shared language and beliefs and values. Find the stories and associations that work for your people.

I love this one. You are a smart, powerful woman who can compete in a man’s world by being yourself.

Together, you and the book are shutting out the cacophony of the world; you are in independent thinker in the sea of sameness. You are resisting!

My customers love where they live, they have a sense of place. They have memories about these special places.

Know your customers intimately, and express your shared belief about your marketplace in:

  • tag lines
  • images
  • thank yous

Find the stories and associations that work for them and for you. Here’s one more:

So that’s the 3 “wagons” you can hitch your business to, in order to create big value that justifies higher margins for a small business:

The Big Idea

  • Problems in your marketplace
  • What do your people want?
  • What hasn’t been pillaged?

The Future

  • What’s in the future that you can identify with?
  • Where can you take your customers that they want to go?
  • Occupy the high ground early

A Belief About Your Marketplace

  • Who are your customers?

What stories and associations work for them?

Make this a topic at your next BforB Round Table conversation!

Creating Value – Part II

The BIG Idea.

As discussed in Creating Value – Part I, Chevy is using The Big Idea – patriotism – to sell their cars.

The Big Idea is often a value that is widely shared by your customers – hence the need to know them really well. Your Tribe, in Seth Godin’s phrase.

Here are a couple more:

Imagination!

The tag line for this baguette is, “ready to bake at home.” Comfort! Cosy nest!

Soroptimist International is committed to, “Improving the lives of women and girls, locally and around the world.” The Big Idea is Gender Equality.

Now here’s mine:

I personally need to feel like I am putting down roots in the place I live; I need to be connected to my community. I was telling a business coach about the toy store I used to co-own, in a small town where people wanted the small town feel. “Sure we were selling toys, but really we were selling the white picket fence.”

She said, “Isn’t that what you’re still selling?”

I slapped myself upside the head and went, “Oh duh! Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – it’s not just me, it’s everyone. I am selling a sense of belonging.”

Finding your Big Idea:

  • What is happening in your marketplace; What are the problems? At Soroptimist, we tackled 2 problems: young women who need to make their first home, and older people needing to downsize. So we created Anney’s Closet, and the mundane explanation is a free store, but the Big Idea is Passing The Torch.
  • What do your people want, that you can give them – adventure? Healthy food? Taking care of their parents or partners?
  • What idea hasn’t been pillaged (Being Green?) When in doubt, go with a classic.

I’ll leave you with a couple more I found:

The Future

The Future is the second big wagon to hitch your business to, in order to create big value. In The Art of War the Chinese general Sun Tzu said, “ Occupy the place of conflict early.” For example, water tables are dropping in the US Southwest. Therefore, water is a precious resource. I can associate with water conservation: occupying the high ground in the place of conflict.

Panasonic ads show the technology to its fullest potential, it brings you into Star Trek. This is the future of play, and Panasonic brings you there NOW.

The tagline for this annual biking event with over 10,000 participants is “Move the City.” You can be part of what cities will be like in the future.

One Soroptimist program is all about the future, based on research showing girls with access to mentoring are far more likely to achieve their dreams:

I’m taking a different approach, similar to Moleskine:

Moleskine is incredibly successful at mixing romance and history into their product. The future is one-world, one-size spandex spacesuits, and rush rush rush.

So my high ground is being ready to respond when people get fed up with the generic world. These paper calendars say, “My life is not disposable.” They are calendars for keeps, about a meaningful life.

Finding your Place in the Future:

What is our world coming to? More importantly, your customers’ world:

  • What’s in the future that you can identify with?
  • How can you advantage of what is going to happen?
  • Where can you take your customers that they want to go?

Your 60 Seconds of Fame

Here is a bit of glimpse to what it’s like at a Business for Business Networks meeting. We have 60 seconds in which to educate and captivate our fellow Business For Business Network members and guests.

60 seconds to help them understand what we can do, and how we can help them and their customers. To demonstrate we are the BEST at what we do, so they can recommend us with confidence.

Are you doing at that in your business? Do you have knowledge and practical tips that would improve the lives and businesses of other members? Do you have stories that give us insight into your world?

The point of Business for Business Networks is firstly to build relationships, and knowledge, and work through roadblocks we face with trusted business peers through round table conversation, to become better business owners and professionals. Second, it is to build our businesses by being recommended by others who trust us.

We gain and build trust by getting to know each other and watch each week, as everyone demonstrates how they are an expert in their field, and offer advice to one another at the round table.

Last week I let loose a bit of a rant in our Low Town Business for Business Networks meeting, which turned into a great discussion on our updates and infomercials and how to improvxe them. I thought I’d share the gist of it with you all.

The Problem: I don’t really know what you do and what sets you apart.

The Solution: Use your 60 seconds to tell us:

  • What’s one aspect of your business? Capson Electric is the top rated installer of NEST systems: what is NEST, that you are such an expert at?
  • How do you do stuff? I described part of my digital painting technique at Blue Heron Art to show how complicated it is.
  • How have you been a hero? I still remember how Iris Mayfair saved a marriage with eyeglasses.
  • What have you done for a customer? Vancouver Island Osteopathy has “fixed” all kinds of joints and muscles and ailments.
  • What sets you apart? Comfort Keepers uses iPads for up-to-the-minute communication.
  • What do you know? Kristen Yarker constantly gives dietary tips that proves she is the number one in knowledge.
  • Who loves you? Share a testimonial.

In other words:

  • Assume I know nothing about what you can do or how smart you are, but I WANT to.
  • Tell me, piece by piece, not just once, but repeat in a few months, because I forget.
  • Take the time to plan and practise – will it fit in 60 seconds? What is the important bit?

Tell me a story, week by week, that shows how awesome you are, and I will recommend you whenever I get the chance.

This is how businesses grow naturally and form loyal customers, be proud of your business because you are working hard to be the best at it.

Don’t be scared to ask for recommended and testimonials from happy clients and customers – you earned them!

If this post makes you want to drop into a Business for Business Networks morning meeting contact one of the leadership team of the group nearest you!

Creating Value – Part I

Most of us in Business for Business Networks own or are a part of small business, with relatively low volumes. That means, to make money, we need to have high margins, fairly high prices. That means, in turn, that we have to offer our customer BIG value. How do we do it?

I started my business under the auspices of the government’s Self Employment Program, with stellar business coaching from The Reger Group. One of the presentations was on just this: Creating Value. It helped me to see how I was doing that in my business, and how I could do more.

By the way, I am also a Soroptimist, meaning I belong to the best women’s organization in the world, dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls. I’ve seen how Soroptimist offers members, volunteers and donors BIG value for their time and money. I thought other Business for Business Networkers might get something out of the ideas, so over the course of a few blogs, I’ll share what I’ve learned.

Here’s one example, the one David Bell at Reger started with:

What is Chevy actually selling?

Patriotism!  If you own a Chevy, you are a full-blooded American.

There was even a song – the theme song to NBC’s “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show” (1957 – 1962):

See the USA in your Chevrolet

America is asking you to call

Drive your Chevrolet through the USA

America’s the greatest land of all

Etc etc for 3 more verses/ refrains . . .  Isn’t that priceless? No matter what we think of the Excited States of America at the moment, you have to admit that in 1957 – this was brilliant. A business can hitch themselves to a much bigger wagon than selling cars, and elevate what they are selling to a much higher level of value – and price.

Stay tuned for “The Big Idea” in part II – of which patriotism is one.

Health Care Plans: Reasonable and Customary Charges

medical insurance coverage benefits

Have you ever wondered what your Extended Health Care plan actually covers?

Typically, Extended Health Care plans include coverage for the services of several types of healthcare practitioners, such as chiropractors and massage therapists.

There is a range of usual fees practitioners in each province charge for services.

Insurance companies use these “reasonable and customary” fees as the basis for pricing their benefit plans and determining the maximum eligible amount that they will reimburse. Most provider associations publish a suggested fee schedule for their practitioners.  

However, there is no requirement for them to charge according to this and fees for similar services can sometimes differ substantially from one practitioner to another.

Most paramedical expenses claimed by plan members fall within the reasonable and customary fee range. If a healthcare practitioner chooses to charge more, the member is responsible for the extra cost. Does this make the current system outdated?

Below, are the reasonable and customary charges for each type of practitioner in British Columbia, Canada (note: Some carriers do not publish their listing as they believe it helps protect the plan member, as some service providers will then charge the maximum allowable rate, as well as limit any fraudulent or excessive service fees.)

Your plan may not cover all the practitioners listed below, so make sure to check your contract or contact your group benefits representative if you are unsure.

Practitioners’ reasonable and customary charges:

  • Acupuncturist (For Initial assessment and Subsequent visit) – $100
  • Audiologist (per hour) – $125 
  • Chiropodist or Podiatrist – (For Initial assessment and Subsequent visit) – $100
  • Chiropractor – Initial assessment $135; Subsequent visit $60 
  • Dietician (per hour) – $150 
  • Massage Therapist (per hour) – $100
  • Naturopath – Initial assessment $210;  Subsequent visit $155 
  • Occupational Therapist (per hour) – $140
  • Optometrist (For Initial assessment and Subsequent visit) – $120 
  • Ophthalmologist (For Initial assessment and Subsequent visit) – $200
  • Osteopath – (For Initial assessment and Subsequent visit) – $120
  • Physiotherapist – Initial assessment $80;  Subsequent visit $135
  • Psychologist (per hour) – $190
  • Social Worker (per hour) – $175
  • Speech Therapist (per hour) – $120

This list only reflects the maximum Reasonable and Customary amount allowed per treatment. Claims will still be subject to the terms of your policy.

Also read: Tips For Reducing Sugar

Usually, a plan limits paramedical services to one treatment, per service, per person, per day. It is the plan member’s responsibility to ensure their paramedical providers possess the credentials accepted by their insurance carrier.

We hope this guide helps you to better understand your Extended Health Care Plan.

If you’re an employer perhaps it will encourage you to review your plan, and whether change could potentially be beneficial for your employees Extended Health Care Plan.

The Value Of Employee Benefits

employee benefits by ly siu consulting

Why Should You Consider Offering Benefits To Your Employees?

As a small business owner, you understand how important your employees are to you. The company wouldn’t be where it is without them. Simply put, employees can make or break the company.

Besides wanting to treat your employees well and making sure they have everything they need to do the best job they can, you want them in good health. Employee benefits are the only way you will be able to ensure and enforce that your employees maintain the best of health.

This can be even more critical if your employees are operating machinery and vehicles or performing any task that could potentially put themselves or others at risk.

Employee benefits plans have numerous advantages:

  • Attract and retain high-quality employees; studies show better compensation and benefits is the number one reason candidates cite for accepting a job.
  • Creates a healthy culture; having healthy employees’ results in increased productivity and reduced absenteeism. This mitigates some of the cost of providing the benefits plan.
  • Tax Deduction; they are a tax efficient way to increase a compensation package for both employee and the employer.
  • Cost Effective protection for employees and their families; there are no requirements to pay into CPP or EI and the employee gets tax free medical benefits.
  • Increased morale; it helps establishes the company policy on health and sickness, employees feel that their well being matters.
  • And last but not least… Employees value employee benefits! For some people it can mean the difference in whether or not they or their child can get something like braces or glasses.

Today, top employees demand a comprehensive health insurance plan.  In fact, in a 2016 Canada health survey, 77% of respondents say they wouldn’t move to a job that didn’t include some health benefits.

As an employer that gives some solid reasoning as to why you should implement benefits (if you don’t offer them already). Employees are looking for a company that takes care of them and their needs, just as much as employers are looking for someone who takes care of the company and puts their best foot forward every day.

Employee benefits are just another reminder that you give what you get. In life and business it is doing things differently or better than everyone else that sets you apart. The truth of employee benefits is that offering them at all can help you rise above the competition when it comes to recruiting your next star employee.

Business for Business Networks – A 21st Century Organization

Welcome to a business network built on trust and business knowledge

Business For Business works because of our culture.

Started in 2005 by Michael Watkins, Tony Joe & Clemens Rettich in Victoria BC, the group wanted regular business networking without what we saw as the ‘bowing and scraping’ in other business networking organizations: too many rules, too much emphasis on ritual, and heavy-handed sales tactics.

We wanted an organization where the focus was on growing businesses by growing relationships and business knowledge. We wanted an organization that treated its members as professional adults. That’s our culture.

The Business For Business ‘special sauce’ is members sharing and engaging at the weekly roundtable discussion. These are an opportunity to learn about other members and their businesses, their challenges, successes and secrets.

We believe relationships built on trust and knowledge are the roots of successful networks and successful businesses.  

The meetings are fun, informative, and casual. There is a lot of laughter, and over-the-top value in the business tips everyone exchanges. As the leaders value is everything to us. Not only do we do everything we can to provide a ton of value to our members we keep prices far lower than other formal business networks.

We currently have four business network groups in Duncan and Victoria with new groups starting up in Nanaimo, Sidney, and New Westminster. Our goal is to become an international network. We are always looking for leaders to start up new groups in their communities.

As a real 21st century organization we also believe in the power of online tools for networking. We provide marketing support, an online internal chat network, a website for members, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and so much more. For example members have the opportunity to meet with in a Google Hangout with other members from all of the groups and an experienced business advisor once a month. No charge. It’s just another benefit of membership.

Our members are passionate about their businesses and about the success of other members.

Stop networking and start building a network. We are always looking for business leaders in new communities to lead a Business For Business Networks local group. Interested? Drop us a line: info@bforbnetworks.com.