Dave Says Ė On Business Edition
(What should I pay them?)
Iím in the process of opening a business with volunteers until I can pay them. How should I plan for their salaries?
When I opened my business years ago I had two team members. One of them got a tiny, little salary and the other was on straight commission. You kill it, drag it in, and you eat it. He knew if he didnít kill something that he was going to get skinny in a hurry. That guy is still with me today, and I promise you heís eating very well!
I think the best idea is to share what they bring in with them. If possible, structure some kind of commission into the deal, maybe with a small base. But youíve got to start with small salaries. Your first few hires will be the hardest, because the moneyís so tight in the early stages.
(Correcting the behavior)
My wife and I own a small bakery, and we have a large account to provide wholesale pastries to a client. We work on a 30-day payment period, but heís more than two months behind on the bill. How should we handle this?
In cases like this, the best thing is to go to his office and have a friendly sit-down meeting. Thereís no reason to be abusive or threatening, but he needs to understand that you guys canít act like his bank. Youíre a small business, you need your money, and things have to change.
Start out by letting him know that you need him to help out by getting current on his bill. This is a fair request, since youíve provided services and he owes you money. Remind him, too, that he picked you for the job because youíre very good at what you do. You also need to come to an agreement that from now on he needs to pay you within 10 days of delivery. If he doesnít like that, it might be a good idea to switch to a cash-only basis. In other words, payment is due on delivery. If these options donít work, then politely tell him to get his stuff somewhere else.
Chances are this guy is just another small-business person who is just disorganized. Heís probably not a cheat. But you definitely need to correct this behavior before it gets too far out of hand!
(The key to being a great salesman?)
Whatís the key to becoming a great salesman?
I can sum it up in one word Ė serving. And donít think for a second that serving means being subservient. Iím talking about being proactive, and making an effort to ensure that customers and potential customers alike are served well. Serving means youíre excited about what you have to offer, and you believe youíve got a great product at a great price. It means youíre determined your customer is going to have a great experience, and if you happen to hit a bump in the road you will take care of it in a way that will make them forget it ever happened.
Serving is an attitude. You have to provide goods or services in a way that makes your customers willing to trade their time or money Ė things that are very precious to them Ė to interact with you and your business. You can pressure people if you want, but thatís going to lead to a dull and frustrating life of one-shot deals. But if you serve people well, youíll not only have clients for life but theyíll also send all of their friends your way.
If you help enough people, Brent, and make that your first order of business, youíll never have to worry about money. Thatís a different attitude, isnít it? But Iíve got news for you Ė it works!
* You can pre-order Daveís newest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, at daveramsey.com.
About the Author
Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert, popular national radio personality and the author of three New York Times bestsellers Ė The Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace Revisited and More Than Enough. In them, Ramsey exemplifies his lifeís work of teaching others how to be financially responsible, so they can acquire enough wealth to take care of loved ones, live prosperously into old age, and give generously to others. Ramsey offers life-changing, financial advice as host of a nationally syndicated radio program, The Dave Ramsey Show, which is heard by 4.5 million listeners each week on 450 radio stations throughout the United States. His syndicated column, Dave Says, can be read in more than 300 print and online publications worldwide. For more small business advice, please visit daveramsey.com.