THE CONTINUITY FACTOR
The best new ideas are often old ideas brought back to life. Sometimes the ideas are altered to fit particular circumstances but, many times, the application is altered to fit current circumstances.
Over twenty years ago, when I was in the financial services industry, I decided to alter our business from commission-based to charging a monthly fee based on a percentage of assets. This was a radical thought at the time because the brokerage business was based on commissions. The change was also difficult to execute because it took some time for monthly income (based on a lower rate) to catch up to handle current overhead. The change required confidence that the new monthly fees would last and we had to temporarily cut overhead at the same time.
Fortunately, it proved to be the best decision I ever made in business. Since that pivotal moment, I have never had a business that did not have a continuity component attached to it. Additionally, every business we consult with is taught the value of continuity and has it structured into their business plan.
Continuity income is simply income that is based on a monthly plan or membership program. If you have a continuity program, you can count on a certain income stream coming in each month whether you find a new client or not. This is not to say that you do not need to keep looking for new clients, because you do. Instead, it is a mechanism that produces income so that, should you have a bad month in finding new business, or should the economy falter, you still have money coming in regularly, allowing for time to make adjustments. If you do not have a continuity program in your business or profession at this time you have to get a certain amount of new customers or you are going to have serious problems in a short amount of time.
The ideal goal in a continuity program is for the continuity to first cover your monthly overhead. When you do that, all new business goes to profit and expansion. The next goal is to make money just on your continuity.
When we present the continuity factor to clients, some have an immediate “ahhh” experience. Others struggle with how the application could possibly be structured into their business. These clients frequently say the same thing: “But my business is different.” Trust us. It’s not. Let me give you some examples so you can see the applications of continuity in different businesses. Our goal is for you to consider how continuity can be applied to your business so you can enjoy its benefits.
A real estate broker in Iowa works exclusively with investors. He has a successful track record of finding good income-producing properties. He offers a tiered continuity program where investors pay different amounts each month for the opportunity to be higher up on his investor list in order to see new properties first. For $1,000 per month, you get to see them immediately. In addition, he must agree to work with you exclusively and give you a fee as a buyers’ broker when you buy the property. He also represents you when you sell the property. The continuity factor in his business takes the pressure off having to find something new in a particular month.
Frequently, continuity is designed around a marketing service or an ad campaign that a company has developed to consistently produce new clients. For example, a client we are working with has a commercial cleaning company. They have developed a very successful lead generation system. We are developing a monthly payment program based on providing leads to other cleaning companies in non-competitive areas that pay a fee for the exclusive rights to those proven marketing methods.
Our latest client is a pizza business, which our law firm is franchising. The pizza delivery company sells a monthly membership service that gives discounts and higher priority for phone orders based on membership levels.
And to blow your mind even more: We actually know of a funeral director that guarantees recovery for the family of a lost one and charges a continuity fee for counseling and grief services.
Continuity in your business will improve your income and your stress level. We encourage you to think about how continuity can be used in your business. If you want help, let us know.