Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Small Questions, Small Steps, Big Profits

"The next time you're worried about something, ask yourself, 'What small thing can I do right now?' Then do it. Remember not to ask, 'What could I possibly do to make this whole thing go away?' That question does not get you into action at all."

So says Steve Chandler, author of "100 Ways to Motivate Yourself."

This has two important implications:

1. One small action is more productive than any amount of worry, and
2. Trying to solve a big problem at once can paralyze you with confusion.

Whatever you're doing to build your business today, you can't do it all. But you can do something.

Here's a simple way to do something small today that adds up to big revenue tomorrow. Ask yourself this question:  
What small, trivial thing could I do to grow my business? 
The results may shock you.

Want an example?

About 12 years ago, I ran a business called Guaranteed Resumes. It was successful -- I was usually booked with resume-writing clients 5-10 days in advance.

Problem: I lost out on prospects in a hurry. Whenever somebody called asking if I could write their resume the same day, I had to politely decline. I was booked, you see.

After a few months of turning down business (and losing money), I asked myself a simple question: What could I do to stop losing these prospects?

The answer didn't come right away. I quickly got -- and rejected -- the idea of hiring employees. Later, I set up a joint venture with a local writer that failed.

But I kept asking myself the question: What could I do to stop losing these prospects?

Then, I got an answer.

I created a simple Web site and "staffed it" by arranging to send prospects to other resume writers across America. These writers were fast and could write resumes the same day. I processed the credit card orders, in exchange for a commission.

I named the site 1 Day Resumes (now offline) and linked to it from the main page of my Guaranteed Resumes site. Now, people in a hurry were directed to that new web site. I didn't even have to answer the phone.

The results?

An extra $21,000 in sales in one year, from almost no effort on my part -- about two hours a week managing the site and customer service.

The extra profits didn't come overnight, but they did come -- after I persisted in asking a simple question to build my business.

There's big power in small questions.

And it's worth repeating: What small, trivial thing could you do to grow your business?

You can't receive if you don't ask.

(For more ideas like these, download Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)


  1. What's a good way to find out how to expand my business? I can't think of any prospective customers that I might be losing that I can make money off of.

  2. An easy way to learn what people want is to ... ask them.

    Example: You can put a search box on your web site for free, using a service like It gives you a report of what people are searching your web site for.

    After looking at the search report, if you offer what people are searching your site for, make it easier to find.

    If you don't offer what people are searching your site for, set up a joint venture with another business and take a cut of the sales you send to them.

    That's just one idea. There are more. Find them :-)