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WIBO Week 9 ~ Making a Profit: Financial Decision Making

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Now that we’ve learned how to “crunch the numbers”, this week we use those numbers to solve a problem or evaluate an opportunity in our businesses.

I love how this course is so practical, meaning we apply everything we learn to our own businesses. Doing the math may feel tedious at times, but when you you’re doing it for your own company, as opposed to some random case history of people you don’t know or care about, it makes a huge difference in your motivation level. Onward!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 8 ~ Making a Profit: Pricing Strategy

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WIBO

Now that we’ve learned our breakeven numbers, this week we learn to calculate the OPTIMUM PRICE for our products and services.

It’s important to break even, no doubt, but the ultimate goal of this class is to learn how to make a profit. Your optimum price may stay low, but understanding how much you could charge to make greater profits offers an important perspective.

Thank goodness WIBO has 9 course locations in the NYC area: Harlem, Downtown Brooklyn, Lower East Side, South Bronx, Washington Heights, Central Brooklyn, Long Island City, Southeast Queens, and Yonkers. Since I’ll be in LA for Taxi’s Road Rally next week, I made up the lesson by attending this unit’s class in Washington Heights (four blocks from my house!!).

I volunteered in class to get help with my profit planning, and wrote my company’s breakeven analysis on the board. The Discussion Leader helped me check my numbers (which I’m constantly revising!) on the board, and it was just like being in math class again – but better. This time math class was showing me how to make money with my music business. SWEET!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 7 – Making a Profit: Costs

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WIBO

This is the week where we begin to learn about creating a Breakeven Analysis for our businesses. In other words, we learn to do the math that determines how much money our businesses need to generate to be successful.

Without a doubt, this is the part of the course that separates the dreamers from the doers. This section is the reason I put off taking this course for 3+ years. This also is the week that people start dropping out of WIBO. Yeah, it’s all fun and games to visualize your ideal day, and create vision boards, but put numbers to paper?? Ha!

It’s not enough to have products and services to sell. We also have to sell enough in order to pay our expenses, to break even.

I will say, though, that creating a budget for my “ideal life” in black and white makes things DO-ABLE! Like, it’s no longer a dream if you can figure out how to do it on paper. It’s a great feeling to see what can be accomplished. I just have to do it!

I recently read a quote from a successful entrepreneur whose company was sold for 2.8 Billion that inspires me: “I still work 100 hour weeks,” says Harry Gruber, “but it’s not really work. I find something fun to do and then get someone to pay me.”

As scary as this week seems at the outset, it’s important to know what we need to earn in order to break even. I’m in this class to win, so I’m sticking with it (wish me luck)!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 6: Helping People Buy

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The main lesson of this unit can be found in its title: We cannot make anyone buy our music. We can only help them to do so.

When we are in the position to sell our music after a performance, for example, we can help a potential fan to purchase our music by:

– Having our CDs there to sell (!)
– Making an authentic connection with him or her
– Asking for the sale!

It is not enough to have CDs for sale. You gotta sell ’em too!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 5 – Searching for Customers: Prospecting

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This week at WIBO we learned about prospecting for customers.

Guess what? Not everyone will buy what you’re selling.

Prospecting is about learning who is interested in buying your music (or other product), so you don’t waste time with the folks who aren’t.

In our class this week, there were technical difficulties with the audio equipment that plays our weekly case study, so this week’s visiting discussion leader offered role play instead.

Whenever my coursemates attempted to woo her with the features of their product or service, our discussion leader would stop them to remind them that they hadn’t asked her the first question about her needs.

This role play was quite eye-opening for me. I was able to understand how important it is to get into a prospect’s mind, find out what they need, and build rapport with them.

As helpful as the recorded case studies (and their related discussions) are, participating in role play helped me understand how to ask the right questions.

Even if you have the persuasive ability to sell ice to an eskimo, your ice business will improve if you aim for thirsty people in the desert.

WIBO Week 4 – Promoting Your Business

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If you’ve been following my WIBO blog posts, you’ll notice that we’ve been learning a lot about marketing in WIBO’s “How to Grow a Profitable Business” class. In other words, marketing is the foundation of your business, whether you sell music or magazines.

You may have a stunning product or service, but if no one knows about it, no one will know about it. Marketing is how you tell the world who you are, and what you are offering. Everyone has their own methods for marketing: promotional materials, the internet, cold calling, email, PR, etc, and now I’m learning how to find and target the people who want what I have to offer.

I can’t remember if I mentioned that the WIBO course in my neighborhood of Washington Heights was sold out, so instead of a 4-block walk, I have an hour commute to get to class. The thing is, I now LOVE my class in the South Bronx. My coursemates are fascinating (mostly female), and we’re located practically across the street from a police station and a subway. Every Monday evening finds me very excited and ready to go to my WIBO class – and I’ve already seen improvement in my business life! Thank you, WIBO!

For more info on Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), visit http://WIBO.org.

WIBO Week 3 – Identifying Your Target Market

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When I decided to take a closer look at the folks who like my music vs the musicians who like my music business info, I have to admit that this was an instinctual decision. I just had a feeling that I had (at least) two audiences. But now that I’ve started doing market research, it’s obvious that it’s two different groups of people.

For example, my research shows that most of the people who enjoy my music are female, while most of the musicians seeking music biz info are male. There are more differences, obviously, but even this information provides a strong indicator that I cannot market my CDs the same way that I market my musician eBooks. This is good stuff!!!

Later in the week, there was an Uptown Networking Night presented by Beverly Susan Carter in my neighborhood of Washington Heights. Beverly, a tax professional (and former WIBO teacher), hosted an event for creative entrepreneurs of all kinds. While I knew that Washington Heights and Inwood were filled with creative people, I started to see my community as a potential home base for my music biz activities. Can’t wait to see where my market research will lead!

For more info on Workshop in Business Opportunities, visit http://WIBO.org.

WIBO Week 2 – Market Research

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The second week of WIBO’s “How to Build a Growing Profitable Business is all about Market Research.

As we learned, it’s not enough to say that your market is EVERYBODY. Our fans, clients, and customers often have things in common, such as gender, age, geographic location, income level, etc. A target market is made up of the folks who are likely to visit your website and buy your product or service.

This week’s work is to find out who my target market is, and where they hang out.

I’m coming to find you!!! 😉

Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) – Week 1 – Basic Requirements

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WIBO
I just started taking a course called “How to Build a Growing Profitable Business”, which is presented by WIBO – Workshop in Business Opportunities, a non-profit organization in NYC that teaches aspiring and established business owners how to build their business. I heard about this course years ago, but the timing never seemed right. A few weeks ago, a couple of friends of mine signed up for this course, and I was like, “No way they’re taking this course before me!” and I signed up (hey, I never said I was perfect)!

For the next 16 weeks, we’ll meet once a week with successful entrepreneurs that lead the class and teach us about topics such as market research, marketing, financing, record keeping, cash flow, etc. It’s a practical class which includes case studies and discussions in which everyone will do homework on their own businesses. There’s even going to be a graduation in January 2011. I’m going to blog my experiences with the class so feel free to check in!

My company Moxie Entertainment has been in business since 1998, but much of my learning came from books, role modelling successful people, and good old trial and error. Since I don’t know what I don’t know, I’m taking this course to fill my knowledge gaps.

I’m especially looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and applying it to myself as an artist/entrepreneur, as well as my clients. As our course leader says, to have a business, you only have to sell something. In other words, if you’re a musician with a CD to sell, YOU’RE IN BUSINESS!

WIBO has been around since 1966, and it was started in Harlem by a man named Walter Geier. He saw the need for aspiring entrepreneurs to get business training, and they’ve had over 15,000 graduates for this program. They also have a great alumni program for WIBO graduates too. This course is offered every February
and September in 9 locations (3 in Manhattan, 2 in Brooklyn, 1 Bronx, 2 Queens, and Yonkers).

Week 1 of this course is about Basic Requirements of an entrepreneur:
* What is your product or service?
* What are your goals?
* What kind of person are you?
* How will you capitalize your strengths?
* How will you overcome your weaknesses?
* What technology will you use?
* What tasks will you complete by next class?

The regular price of this course is $199 but they offer a sliding scale based on annual income. They also offer the course free as a re-entry program for incarcerated individuals. You can learn even more from their website at http://WIBO.org