Look Out! Is Your Business on Auto-Pilot?

First there was the fax-on-demand…information received instantly by using a fax machine. Then the Internet evolved into the use of e-mail, producing email-on-demand with the use of autoresponders.

An autoresponder is just what the name implies. It is an auto response that is programmed to automatically deliver a specific message upon receiving the request.

Autoresponders allow your business to be operational around the clock 24 hours a day – 7days a week – 365 days a year. A good example is the Customer Service link provided on so many web sites.

Once you have sent your question or comment to the Customer Service link, you receive an auto-reply message acknowledging receipt of your message.

Autoresponder messages can by used in a variety of ways delivering your strategic information instantly to your targeted viewer /audience. Newsletters, sales information, free reports,
even ecourses, articles and tutorials are just a few of the ways autoresponders can be used effectively.

Follow up is critical to keeping your name, service or product in front of your prospects and clients. Autoresponders allow you to deliver your follow up messages automatically, specifically, and most importantly….timely, to your target audience!

Most all of us are familiar with signing up to receive news about impending sales or discounted items automatically from retail stores. Our e-mail address is entered into their mailing list and the requested information is automatically sent right back using an autoresponder.

But are you aware you also can send pre-determined messages with specific information related to your business, to your prospects and /or clients at pre-set intervals?

For example, let’s say a prospect, client or customer visited your web site and responds to a link on your site to receive more information on your services or products.

Immediately your first autoresponse message goes out thanking them for expressing an interest and giving them the basics on your services or products and any other information in their initial request.

A couple of days later your 2nd message automatically goes out. This is the perfect time to let them know about who you are, your experience, and what you do….your credentials and area of expertise.

A few days later (don’t wait too long), your 3rd message automatically goes out. This could be testimonials and feedback from clients or customers stating the positive experiences they have had as a result of doing business with you. This will associate value with your services.

A couple of days later your 4th message goes out with maybe a free offer, a free bonus, article, special report, or specific tips related to your services or products. If you have an online newsletter (ezine) this is an excellent time to offer a link to your free subscribe area.

Your 5th message could be your final (pitch) response message. Offer any additional products or services you may have that would be of benefit (solve their problem) to your client or customer. Usually by about the 4th or 5th message you have a new client or customer.

The number of messages sent is entirely up to you based on the information you are delivering. If you are offering a tutorial or an e-course for example there could be message for up to 6 weeks or longer. I recently subscribed to receive 89 messages (one a day for 89 days) on a specific subject.

A good impression to ending your response messages, and one more time your name being is front of your audience, is a short survey asking for feedback on your services or your products. This is an excellent way to receive testimonies for use on your web site or other marketing materials.

Using the above example, you can see how autoresponders keep your name and your specific information in front of your targeted prospects, clients, and customers making the critical follow up as easy as (message) 1, 2, 3.

For those of you interested in creating the autoresponder messages yourself for your business, here are the addresses of a few of the most widely used autoresponders:

http://www.getresponse.com,

http://www.sendfree.com,

http://www.aweber.com,

http://www.responders.com,

http://www.autoresponders.org,

http://www.freeautobot.com,

As you can see, having your business on auto pilot using an autoresponder means your time can be better spent marketing your business, creating new services or products (increasing your revenue), or enjoying more quality time with family and friends.

Autoresponders allow you to conduct this critical follow up part of your business to your targeted audience continuously and automatically with little upkeep on your part….allowing you to say, yes, your business IS on Auto-Pilot!

Can I Start a Mobile Detailing Or Mobile Oil Change Business Part-Time?

Due to the recession many people many folks have been laid off and have been forced to take jobs under their skill levels and previous pay. We call these individuals “under-employed” and it is amazing how many people are in this category. One recent survey by the Pew Institute claimed it was one in five people in our current working force, this on top of the one in six, seven, or eight that is unemployed in your area. Think about that for a second.

It is for this reason that many folks have decided to start small companies, very small, on the side. Not long ago, we got a call in asking if we thought that someone could start Mobile Detailing or Mobile Oil Change Business Part-time? So, let’s talk about this shall we?

1.) Can I start doing the auto detailing and oil changing part time without any business set up?

Yes, some people do, although buying a van for mobile oil changing is expensive and so, I wouldn’t advise it. But I wouldn’t advise quitting your job until the business gets going either. So, that’s kind of a catch-22, it’s a hard business to get going because your customers only need you every 3-months as oil intervals are high. Fleet oil changing is a better business model, but you ought to check the areas competition first. For mobile detailing it would be easier to set this up part time doing services for friends and clients. In either case you’ll need to get a business license most likely, I wouldn’t go around breaking the business licensing rules.

2.) For example, like just doing it on the side to start to make sure I want to do this?

Right, so, I can totally appreciate your smart thinking here. Why invest if you don’t like the business? Well, if you are a “motor head” type and like people, you will like the business. You could go work for Wal-Mart in one of their service bays for a while for the oil changing, or Jiffy Lube. For Auto detailing, well just start doing your own car, which you probably already do, and friend’s cars and see if you like it.

Most likely you will, it’s a fun thing to do. Since, you already have experience none of this may be necessary, mostly it appears you are a little scared of biting the bullet and going for it in your own business. Actually, you should be scared, it will keep you from making foolish mistakes, so it’s all good. Having experience and running a business are two-different things of course.

Indeed, I’ve had similar questions and discussions with many franchise buyers before I retired, it’s a choice you are going to have to make a some point, and that choice will have to be yours after a bit of soul searching. These are both good questions, things you must answer for yourself if you are going to start a business of your own.

Opportunities Abound For Individuals And Businesses With Auto Body Repair Expertise

Collision repair is one of the largest sub-industries in the automotive industry today. With the continued increase in the number of motor vehicles on the road, the number cars and trucks damaged in accidents also continues to increase. This increase in the number of vehicles grows in line with the increase in the country’s population. In this vein, business and employment opportunities in collision repair continues to grow. These business opportunities include support businesses like supplying paint, paint booths, spray guns, auto body repair tools, lifts, hydraulic equipment, auto body parts, metal sheets and not least of which are the insurance companies. As a customer, you would deal only with the shop you take your car to, but behind the scenes, there is a long supply chain working to put your car back on the road.

An auto body shop would do well to tie up with dealerships and insurance companies as these are a steady source of referrals. With insurance companies or dealerships, the key to gaining their business is to prove that you have the expertise and equipment to undertake extensive collision repair work. This means a substantial outlay in tools and equipment, as well as a good relationship with parts, auto body repair and paint suppliers so that you can get needed supplies through a credit line.

But investing in even the best tools and equipment means nothing if you don’t have the skilled people to handle that equipment. And herein lies the opportunity for individuals who are interested in auto body repair and fabrication. Skills required in the auto body repair business include damage analysis and estimating, frame straightening, metal and body work fabrication and repair, glass replacement and painting and final detailing. If one invests in training and apprenticeship to gain the skills needed to become qualified, employment opportunities abound in the form of jobs at new and used car dealerships, independent repair shops, collision repair equipment manufacturers, insurance companies, paint and painting equipment suppliers, and even automobile graphics companies and manufacturers.

Auto body repair is not limited to knowing just the skills to effect collision repair. The best auto body specialists are totally dedicated to their craft and bring with them a passion to perform a thorough job each and every time. This means aligning gaps perfectly and ensuring that body lines and curves follow the original shapes to a tee. When you bring expertise and passion to this kind of work, it’s only a matter of time before you, as a business or an individual, begin to turn away customers because of the reputation you will have built with your excellent work.