Sunday, July 11, 2010

Calculating Needs

While on vacation this week a business professional asked me for a little more information on what the Referral Institute is and how I help business owners. They were interested in me, but I came to find out that they were also considering starting their own consulting business as a marketing copy writer. They had over 15 years experience in marketing writing and were wondering if it would be possible to get enough clients to launch their business.

On every Referral Institute region’s website is a tool called ‘Pipeline’ where business owners can put in six specific pieces of their business acquisition statistics and find out how many referrals they need to grow their business to their goal. My copy writer consultant friend and I were hiking – so we did the math of Pipeline in our heads.

Her personal goal was to work enough to pay all of her bills, spend time with her fiancé, plan their wedding, and spend time with their mixed family of three dogs. Her financial goal was to make seventy thousand dollars in the next year. We conversed our way through her business and here are some of the results. She would like to charge $50 to $75 per hour for her copy writing work. She lives in the Boston, New Hampshire, and Southern Maine market and this looks like a reasonable starting rate. Her average project is about 25 hours. Each project of this size will bring in about $1250. She will need to work with about 60 clients (actually it is only 56 projects) to hit this financial goal. Have you spent time figuring out your financial goal, your average client revenue, and how many clients you need to engage with?

Her experience shows that about fifty percent of her clients will probably hire a copy writer a second time in the first year they work together. If she has forty (40) clients and half of them (20) hire her for more work in the next 12 months, then we’ll get to 60 projects in the next year. To get to 40 clients we have to have referrals. Her estimate is that about two-thirds of referrals she’ll receive will become clients. Most clients I work with have been operating for three or more years – this makes knowing the real close ration a lot more specific. I have clients tell me that in the last 12 months their close rate is 56.1%. I know they are honestly tracking referrals and closed business. Are you tracking your referrals?

My copy writer friend will need 60 referrals in the next year to get 40 clients which will lead to 60 projects. Does she need 60 referrals this week? Nope. Does she need 30 this week? Nope. Does she need 10? Nope, although that would be great! She’d like to work about 48 weeks this year, so she’ll need 1.25 referrals each working week of the year (or about 5 referrals per month).

While that may still seem overwhelming to a new marketing communications copywriter consultant, if she has five solid referral sources (people who share her target market and do not compete with her), then she only needs one referral from each of them each month. She no longer has to rely on her own cold calling or door knocking ability, or a large cash investment in advertising. She can focus on developing the right relationships with the right sources and from there give enough referrals and receive enough referrals to hit her financial goal, her personal living goals for the next year, and her work goals.

I help business owners to work less and play more by calculating their referral needs with a tool called Pipeline. If you are trying to figure out the value of an individual referral or how many you need to grow your business, visit and under the Tools menu item select Pipeline. Or call me for a Pipeline Consultation and we’ll talk through the calculation and what it all means to growing your business by word-of-mouth.

If you are in need of a brilliant and fun professional marketing copy writer who is looking to help organizations in the southern Maine, southeast New Hampshire, or Boston areas – I am happy to make the introduction to you. She has a passion for helping high tech (software, web applications, hardware, and biotech) businesses communicate their message to their vendors and clients.

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