Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Upside Down On Your Car Loan

I'm angry with the auto industry!  Not with the vehicles but with this specific selling practice:  Burying old loan balance into a 'new' loan.  This practice is used when a customer has an outstanding balance on a vehicle loan and wants to purchase a new vehicle.  It's called being 'Upside Down'.  Both the customer and Dealer/Finance company are at fault in this crazy transaction:  The customer for not paying off one vehicle before purchasing a new one;  The Dealer/finance company for actually writing the loan agreement!  The end result is that the customer pays way more and for a longer period of time!  

Here's a real example:  An associate just buried $20,000 into a new vehicle lease on a new vehicle that had a capital cost of $50,000.  Total indebtedness:  $70,000 on a vehicle worth $50,000!  She has the same monthly payments as before due to a longer lease term.  But hey...she got floor mats and an extended warranty thrown in for 'Free'!

This should be criminal!  It breaks one cardinal rule of sales:  There is no customer benefit.  I can already hear the howls of protest:  'But the customer wanted it and she gets to drive a shiny new vehicle'.  No comment!

Come one people...put on your big boy pants!  Don't buy something you can't afford especially when it depreciates faster than you can pay it!

If you are upside down, here's how to get out from under it:  Facts about underwater car loans.

Until next time...
Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Small Business Marketing in 2020

Running a small business is challenging!  You're the 'go-to' person for everything:  Staffing, sales, operations, customer service and of course marketing.  Most days marketing falls to the bottom of the to-do list.  

But there are ways to stay on top of marketing your small business.  These are top three things I share with the students in my Small Business Class at George Brown College:
  1. Set up your website.  Optimize it with keywords that help search engines serve you up in relevant consumer searches.  
  2. Set up your Google My Business Page.  Google has a step-by-step process to help you.  Your Google My Business page works with online searches to help optimize your online performance
  3. Set up your Facebook Business Page.  Facebook marketing has replaced the local newspaper by giving you tools to target by demographic, psychographic and geographic profiles.
That's 101.  Here are more tips to help you market your small business:

Until next time...
Chris Morales, Marketing, Toronto

Monday, April 13, 2020

Adapt to Succeed

Change is all around.  Climate, technology, economic, business. The pace has quickened.  What used to change in 18 months now can change in 18 weeks.  It is daunting but doesn't have to be overwhelming.  Here are 7 things a small business owner can keep in mind to keep up with the changing times:

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing

Monday, April 6, 2020

Adapt or Die

Adapt or die!  Brutal but true.  

Business owners are facing this reality now as they cope with the COVID-19 crisis.  Closed businesses wonder if they will be able to re-open;  the remaining open businesses are dealing with significantly reduced revenue.  There are no easy answers. 

I had a conversation with my Cousin in Kingston, Jamaica recently.  Jamaica is currently in a heavy lock-down:  The International airports are closed to all incoming traffic;  All the hotels are closed.  In a country heavily dependent on tourism, this is catastrophic across the entire economy.  

My cousin is a business consultant and I expected the worst.  I was pleasantly surprised when she said that local businesses had already adapted to this new reality:  Grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants were now delivering direct to their customers.  "They adapted quickly because they knew no help was coming".  

Here in North America we are not used to that.  We're not used to this sudden change in the business landscape. In Jamaica they are used to frequent upheaval.  People have to adapt quickly to the changes.  It's a lesson we are now learning here in North America.  How do we start?
  1. Stop referring to this as 'living in challenging times'.  Life is always challenging...we've been lulled into complacency.
  2. Adapt now.  Aggressively look for ways to satisfy customer's changed needs
  3. Move your business online, particularly mobile
  4. Stop waiting for 'new normal'...this is normal
Adapt or die.  Thanks for the reminder Cuz!

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing, Author

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Crisis Crazy

Are you going crazy yet?  If you're any business owner, you've got one thing on your mind 24/7:  Cash flow!  As sales dry up whether your essential or non-essential, your cash flow has gone negative.  And it looks to stay that way for quite some time...even after we get the all clear and start spending again.  

I've been mulling this over the past couple of weeks.  I've talked to a number of small business owners who are coping so far.  One is able to continue business at a reduced level with all his people working from home.  Another had to close her two retail locations;  So far she has managed to keep her staff on the payroll and with the recently announced Federal wage subsidy program is optimistic she can ride this out for the next 6 weeks.  Finally, a small manufacturer pivoted from his main business into providing a COVID-19 product in high demand.  What these business owners all have in common is a calm head.  They've all been able to rise above the noise, get above the 'crazy'.  

The outcome of this crisis is that we will all learn how to be better at what we do.  We'll learn how to cut out the noise and focus on what's really important.  Both to our businesses and to ourselves.  I'm optimistic that what the world looks like after this crisis has passed will be better.

Until next time...
Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing, Author