Making Small Business Success Possible

Entrepreneurs often have to deal with several tasks at once so their energy is not focused on one thing only. And we all know how dangerous it is to lose focus on business. So I figured I could say a thing or two about this matter. It’s important that focus is maintained if you want to see small business success.

Focus On Your Customers First

If you can meet customers needs, you will keep your business growing. And find success! You should think about delivering more value as this is what makes customers happy. They will keep buying your products and services and will have a lot to say about their positive experiences. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get, so stay focused on keeping your customers happy and you will know what small business success is.

Build Your Sales And Don’t Forget To Build Your Profits

It’s difficult to keep your business running if your operating costs are too high. No matter how many sales you have, they won’t help you if the costs of developing and selling your products and services are high. Watch the bottom line and put profits in front of the number of sales. That’s what matters.

Keep Growing Your Customers Base

It’s perfectly fine to do business with your key customers and treat them a bit better than the new customers. But this doesn’t mean you should rely on your key customers only, you need to keep looking for new customers. Why? Because if one of the companies you are working with goes out of business or leaves you, you will have a big hole to fill in. And it might be too hard to fill that hole. So, grow your customers base as best as you can.

Increase Your Price

Many small business owners think that this is something that will kill their business. But most often than not, price increase does not mean you are going to lose customers, it means your sales revenue will increase. And significantly! It is important to test things out and to set the price at a level people are ready to pay.

These are the most important advices I could think off. Sure, there are many other tips and tricks you can get. Some of these are less, some are more important. But every new information can help you improve your business. So, keep looking and keep trying!

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Construction Loans For Commercial Marketing Projects

Commercial construction loans are an absolute necessity for many proprietors who have great aspirations but little funding. These advances are available from a number of different sources. Various lending institutions and banks are willing to invest in your endeavor.

The construction loan for business is a very appealing financing project for many lenders. The very nature of the purchase offers immediate collateral and real estate tends to increase in value over time. This is a win-win situation for both you and the lending institution.

building in construction

Types of Real Estate Construction Loans

There are various types of commercial construction loans that serve different needs for the consumer. Improving a building or office space is simply a sound investment that makes perfect sense. The projects usually pay off in the long run and they can help a business flourish.

Apartment construction projects are prime examples for commercial construction loans. These are particularly appealing because they serve to help the local community. Improved living conditions make the region more appealing to people looking to relocate. Clean, well-designed apartments for rent are major attractions.

Landlords can find great terms for their business construction loans. They can attract better renters who work and shop in the community. The development of outstanding rental properties is an investment that many lenders embrace.

Office space is another necessity that often calls for funding. A comfortable work environment that is appealing to clients is very important to the success of an enterprise. Consumers have more faith in a business that is clean and up-to-date than they do in ones in unattractive, outdated spaces.

Of course, the same applies to retail centers and industrial buildings. Shoppers are drawn to well-located, well-maintained storefront and industrial companies are represented by their facilities. Choosing to make improvements through commercial construction loans is an investment that will pay off in the end.

Preparing for the Application

While lending institutions are quite attracted to these kinds of investments, many still have significant requirements to consider as well as the process itself. Being prepared takes some time but it can help you achieve the results that you want.

Traditionally, applicants would expect to pay twenty percent of the project’s costs. This can be accomplished simply by having land ready for development. However, many lenders are quite generous, providing up to ninety percent of the cost, even more in certain situations.

Get ready for a profit test. This is an estimate of how much the finished work will be worth compared to how much it will cost. Some organizations opt for a loan-to-value ratio instead. The dream of building or improving your business location is quite attainable. There are many lenders that are eager to help you find the right commercial construction loans to suit your specific needs.

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Every Business Needs A Moneylender

If you are considering buying a new house or have a business idea, you may lack the necessary funds, prompting you to consult a financial expert. At times, you may require smaller loans for smaller duration but you need it very fast. Whatever be your financial requirements, you have to be careful when looking for a money lender. When borrowing a large sum of money, one should be very practical in following these guidelines when looking for a moneylender or a lending institution.

Top 10 Tips to Choose a Reliable Moneylender

  • Reputation: At the outset you must verify the reputation of the lender. In this era of the Internet, it is not difficult. On visiting the website of the lender you can read the reviews posted by its present and past borrowers. Most often, one can rely on the feedback so gathered and get a fairly god idea of the reliability of the lenders.

  • Customer Service: Find out if they are offering good and reliable services 24X7, so that you can expect to contact them whenever you need to get some information quickly.

  • Fraudulent Players: One must avoid fraudulent individuals and companies. Simultaneously, it is imperative not to lose your sense of proportion by impractical promises that some lenders may make. Avoid any deal that seems too good to be true. Some moneylenders do make such deals but these have hidden evil motives.

euros on a table

The best way to avoid getting involved with a fraudulent moneylender is to seek advice of a professional financial consultant. A professional consultant can provide very useful tips because of their diversified experience of handling many deals and accompanied negotiations.

Here are a couple of other factors needing consideration while looking for a dependable moneylender, whether it is an individual or a company:

a) Examining their trustworthiness in their business

b) Establishing their success rate

c) Checking their testimonials by reviewing their track record

d) Getting appraised of the professional characteristics like dedication, sincerity and hard work of the lender

e) Finding out the level of customer satisfaction they can provide, and if they are good at keeping their promises regards timely services and accessibility

f) Checking the rate of interest offered by one lender and comparing it to the rates offered by other lenders in the market. You’ll appreciate that making a comparative study of the rate of interest to be charged by different lenders is vital in deciding in favor of any particular lender.

g) Finding out the area over which they operate and getting aware of the ongoing market conditions

Having analyzed a lender in the light of factors pointed above, you can proceed to freely talk about other aspects of loan. It is imperative to clearly state your requirements regarding the amount of funds you need and your capacity of paying back the borrowed money.

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Effective Strategies for Banner Marketing

You’ve spent money on a banner for your company but do you know where to use it to get the results that you want? If you use it inside your store you’re targeting customers who are already inside your business; if you use it at a trade show or fair in the community you may not be targeting clients who need your products but who are instead searching for ways to market their own products. To be effective, your marketing strategy must use placement that gets optimum targeted views which will give you the most return on your investment. Let’s look at some effective strategies for making your banner do what it was designed to do: promote your company efficiently.

banner

  1. The experts will tell you that the best locations for your banners are at intersections that have high traffic, bustling shopping centres, and locations where your targeted clients are prone to be. Make sure that you follow all rules and regulations when you place your banner so that you won’t lose your investment by forfeiting your banner to the authorities.

  2. Consider using a marketing campaign that you create to last for a number of days or weeks. Either try to find free placement for your banner or rent inexpensive venues in which to display the banner that is representative of your company. You may also want to address the following guidelines that can drive traffic to your business to increase your level of sales. Consider:

  • Incorporating a limited offer that will be attractive to your targeted audience

  • Using a number or coupon code on the banner that clients can register when they order from you for additional discounts or bargains. Then at the end of your campaign note where the orders originated and which locations worked the best for your company.

  • At the conclusion of your timeframe compile all of the data from your banners and determine which locations were most profitable for you. Discovering the areas that your targeted audience frequents will help you to reach them through future banner campaigns.

  1. Visit related companies to see the variety of styles, such as the ever-popular pull up banners, sizes and colours that are available so that you can choose the banner that will work best for your industry niche. Ask the experts what type of material will be best for your needs and then work with them to create a banner that will grab attention, prompt sales, and send your company on its way to increased profits.

By varying the strategies that you use for your company banners you can use this tool to effectively market your company in all areas of your community. From the local pubs to busy intersections to sporting events that solicit banners from sponsors, you can connect with an audience that is searching for a solution to a problem that they are experiencing. Banners are great value for your money and an inexpensive way to establish your brand in your local market.

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The Importance Of Customer Experience To The Future Of Today’s Retailers

Today's Retailers

Due to the growing amount of commercial retailers providing an endless choice of retail outlets for customers, it is important to keep one fact in mind: the customer is always right.  Not necessarily always true, but in order to maintain a loyal customer base and ensure referrals it is the sensible creed to follow.

The question is: why do we need a loyal customer base?   The answer: to ensure a retail outlet’s survival in the commercial world.  For customers to return to an outlet it is important that they experience more than satisfactory customer service.  A returning customer should receive exceptional service emphasizing the importance of the individual when working with each customer.  At 18.21 Bitters, the customer experience is our number-one priority aiming to make your shopping experience an outstanding memory.

Here are a few ways we aim to make you at home in our retail outlet.

Hospitality Industry
1. Elevating Retail As Part Of The Hospitality Industry

At 18.21 Bitters, customers are not just consumers; they are seen as guests in our home.  Hospitality is important to us and we attempt to move beyond customer service to treat each individual as a personal guest.  Our staff show hospitality by greeting each customer as they enter and leave because, well, that’s just good manners.  It is seen that approximately 80% of retail outlets lose customers because they engage in the bad habit of not greeting a customer. In some cases price is not essential for keeping your customers.

Personal connections are essential in a hospitality industry and are encouraged at 18.21 Bitters.  This building of a personal service not only helps customers feel welcome but creates an enjoyable memory.  For example, as a service in the cocktail world we enjoy speaking with individuals regarding their drinking preferences and if they are searching for special cocktails for any upcoming events.

2. Treating Retail As An Educational Experience

Imparting knowledge is important as part of our service as it shows an interest in our stock and can provide you with some fact you may not have known before.  For example, do you know what is in an old fashioned cocktail?  Not many people do.  Sharing this knowledge helps provide some cocktail facts and build a personal connection with the customers.  Chatting about cocktails can also increase the pleasurable experiences had by customers and can lead to sharing news about future events.  Our aim is to make all customers feel as if they have been given attention and provided with something of value during their visit.

3. Allowing For Customer Choice And Convenience

Nowadays, customers are constantly surrounded by numerous options making limited choices in a retailer’s service a bad move.  For example, in previous years our service did not accept American Express Cards as a form of payment despite customers asking for it.  It was soon realized that changes must be embraced in order to provide customers with positive experiences; therefore, to accommodate choice and convenience, we accept all cards as payment.  The results are positive and customers are pleased to accrue miles with each purchase made.

4. Understanding The Customer Experience Begins And Ends With Staff

The behavior of employees is essential in determining whether the customer will have a positive or negative experience.  If staff are not enthusiastic and engaged, it is impossible to make customers feel welcome, connected, and satisfied with the service.

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Trends in Recent Corporate Suit Filing

lawsuit

Lawsuits Filed in Regards to the Environment

As far as cases involving environmental affairs one of the most recent and first cases is in regards to the catastrophe in Brazil involving the mining dam. A plaintiff shareholder filed a suit in New York’s Southern District on the 24th of February, 2016. The suit filed was a  securities class action lawsuit and it was filed against Read more »

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How To Properly Manage a Franchise As An Owner

How To Properly Manage a Franchise As An Owner

For the most part small businesses are run lean, what does this mean? Basically if an owner can do it, they do it. Quite a few years ago my spouse and I were owners of a franchise of Marble Slab Creamery, in order to save money we made the big mistake of managing the shop on our own.

Some of this may seem familiar to you, correct me if I am wrong: on top of managing the general store numbers as well as finances which includes of course expenses, revenue, payroll etc we were also:

  1. Made the schedules each week
  2. Handled complaints and whining from our crew who were teens.
  3. Requested needed inventory
  4. Handled business marketing
  5. We even scooped ice cream every day

Did I forget to mention we also ran our own business on top of the franchise? We had definitely spread ourselves out way too thin. As I look back over everything I am not surprised the business failed. It is crucial to hire a qualified manager if you want your business or franchise to be successful.

Begin By Understanding Your Needs
How To Properly Manage a Franchise As An Owner
Although being the long term manager may not be in your plans it is crucial you spend some time playing this role so you can get a real sense of the needs of your business. Being aware of the details of the running of your business will not only be beneficial to any time you do spend there but also when you have to regularly check in on the manager you will soon be hiring.

Design a training manual which details the way you want each aspect of the business being handled. If it is a franchise there may be franchise mandates to include but the way the store is cleaned or perhaps the way your products are stocked may have a specific way you want them handled.

Once each process of your soon to be managers duties have been outlined you may then design the job description. The duties you previously outlined can be used as bullet points to reference the skills and experience which will be required to take the position.

Set The Bar High

When looking for a manager you want someone who can in essence be “you” while you are not around. He or she should be through when it comes to keeping your staff in check, maintaining customer satisfaction as well as managing shrinkage. A manager should also have experience with dealing with angry clients, managing financial care of any issues which may arise between the staff.

It is important to not settle, make sure you have interviewed plenty individuals before making your final choice, if not you may have some regrets. By offering competitive compensation you will allure high quality candidates. If you offer cheap you will more then likely get cheap and you do not want to slack off when it comes to choosing a manager.

Don’t Just Take Off

Even though you are sure that you have hired and properly trained a manager for your franchise it is important that you still be there. You should regularly check in and some of those check ins should be unannounced, this is a great way to see what happens when they do not know you are coming as well as stay caught up with what is going on. Although you yourself are not the manager it is important that you are in the loop so make sure you do not stop checking in.

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Check Out These 10 Mobile Business Ideas

mobile business

Setting up a traditional retail store can be extremely expensive, especially for people who are new to the business world. E-commerce sites tend to have low overheads, but some people actually want to meet their customers. A lot of people like to watch their customers view their products and use them first-hand.

Stacey Steffe, who is the American Mobile Retail Association‘s (an organization for mobile retailers) president, said there are hundreds throughout the United States. She founded the association back in 2011, and now they have more than 65 members throughout America, and the average cost to start a mobile retail business is around $20,000, but it really depends on how much work entrepreneurs have to put into the mobile vehicle and how much work they are willing to do. It tends to be cheaper to renovate a vehicle than it is to fix up a traditional retail property.mobile business

There are many things people can do with a mobile retail truck. For example, some people sell designer shoes, while others sell knitting supplies out of their mobile vehicle. With that said, if you want to find out a few ways people are using their vehicles as their space to do business, then continue to read on.

1. ARTichoke Apparel Bus- This business was started in Cape Cod, MA, by Kate and Lizzy Escher, and they were selling men and women clothing that local artists designed. For two years, the sisters sold their clothing online, but they they turned their business into a mobile business, and before they knew it, they had a boutique on wheels in the form of a former bus. The bus can be found throughout the Cape Cod area, but people can find out where they are by following them on Twitter.

2. Bootleg Airstream- Sarah Ellison, who is a stylist, started her shoe store in 2011, and she named her shop Bootleg Airstream, which offers various types of eclectic footwear. She sells her items out of a trailer. The trailer features black and white stripes, and people can go to the South Congress Shopping district in Austin on weekends if they are interested in seeing what she has to offer.

3. Yarnover Truck- Barbara Pushies and Maridee Nelson are friends and they have a passion for knitting, and they wanted to start a yarn store, but financial commitment made them think twice. However, they started Yarnover Truck, which was a Little Debbie snack truck that they converted. In 2012, they launched their business and now they can be found throughout Southern California at various music festivals and art festivals.

4. The Flower Truck- Jenifer Kaplan started a mobile flower shop in 2011 after she converted a Dodge ice cream truck. Her mobile flower shop can often be spotted throughout various areas in LA. People will find that she has a great selection of flowers, and many of them are fresh and come with vases. If you’re interested in where this truck will be, then follow the business on Twitter.

5. Celebrities Boutique- Nneka Green-Ingram used to drive buses in NYC, and for years she sold accessories on a sidewalk in Harlem, but then she bought herself a former Frito Lay truck and she renovated it in 2012. Instead of snacks inside the truck, she places accessories such as statement necklaces and sunglasses inside the truck. She sells items that sell for around $5-$30, and people can find her truck parked in Harlem Thursday-Sundays at 125th Street.

6. Third Man Records Rolling Record Store- Jack White, who founded the White Stripes in 2009, started this mobile record store, which is the mobile version of his brick and mortar record shop. The truck made its debut a few years ago at South by Southwest in Austin, and it is a mobile music store, as well as a pop-up performance venue. The mobile truck goes across the country and pays a visit to numerous record stores, as well as festivals, and if people want to know where the truck will be stopping, then they can follow the record store on Twitter.

7. Bath Petals- Patricia Filaseta and Julie Warnock, a mother and daughter team, turned a maintenance vehicle that once belonged to the city and turned it into a beauty supple truck that’s called Aromatherapy On The Go, and it is equipped with a sea salt souffle bar and a bubble machine.  This means their customers can try out some of their all-natural salts and scrubs. The pair started their online business in 2001 and then they eventually expanded it by turning it into a mobile business, which now makes trips to various art shows and food festivals in the LA area.

8. Wanderlust- This is a mobile vintage clothing store that was started in mint green trailer in Portland, Oregon. Vanessa and Dan Lurie own this business, and they added wood panelling to the trainer and opened their business in 2010. Wanderlust expanded and there is a brick-and-mortar shop people can go to, but the mobile store does appear at various art fairs and events that take place across America.

9. Bark Bathe & Beyond- This is a mobile dog grooming business and it operates out of , and Richard Caporizzo owns it. He turned his van into a doggie spa that has features such as a generator, electronic grooming table and water tanks. Richard and his son travel to people’s homes to blow dry their dogs, bathe them and trim them.

10. Street Car Cigars- A lot of restaurants don’t permit smoking, and the same goes for bars. This means cigar smokers can’t enjoy smoking inside such places, but one husband and wife team decided to solve this problem with Street Car Cigars. It is a mobile cigar lounge that is inside an old Airstream trailer, which has leather seats and numerous televisions. The lounge, which is located in Pennsylvania, sells cigars and people can rent it privately, and it has been used for corporate events and for tailgating events.

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What 3-D Printing Could Mean For Small Business

3d printing machines

When a company’s business is to manufacture its own goods it has a slew of options. For one, the company can outsource production to a factory. In some cases, particularly  in China where counterfeit and intellectual property laws are either overlooked or non-existent, it poses risks. The biggest risk is of teaching a factory how to make the company’s goods and then the factory staff selling the idea or making knock-offs in their free time.

The problem with knock-offs is that they did not have to put in the research and development. That means when they make the fake version of a bobbin, they can charge a lot less. In addition, the fake goods could harm the reputation of the actual inventor and their product. Because fake goods are also lower quality, and may faulty, they can also pose a threat to their consumers.

The Big Answer Is This
3-D printers produce a solution to this long-nagging problem for manufacturers who have often turned to China to produce its goods. In addition, it saves the costs of the other alternative — the cost of buying factories and taking back control of production. That is a costly option.

The power of a 3-D printer, also known as additive manufacturing, has its roots in the traditional printing process that uses papers. Instead of a 2-D printout, the 3-D printer spits out objects.

Reducing Production Times3d printing machines
Some companies make specialized products that conform to their individual customers’ own bodies. It means a labor-intensive and more time-intensive process for specialty milling companies. Though, 3-D printers mean that such equipment can now be created from 3-D printers, accurately, and much more quickly. Take a process that used machines that would break down very frequently. It would cost a company time to keep the machines running longer while paying millers to run the equipment for more hours.

Instead, with 3-D printing outputs are accurate, to specifications while producing goods in one-third the time it used to take. Such giant steps in manufacturing is good for business. It could help cut the costs of goods as well as save tremendous costs on square footage and on wages.

Methods To Produce Goods
Fused deposition modeling is similar to an inkjet. It heats the material and forces it through tubes. In this manner, it creates the object layer by layer, one at a time. 3d printing machines

The next style of 3-D printer provides its service through the use of selective laser sintering units. This SLS is the closest to the action of laser printers where 3-D printers are concerned. The output comes from a pile of resin powder whose final product is a hard material.

Stereolithography meanwhile is similar to this process. Though, it uses liquid resin to produce its results.

Dropping Prices
Rather than purchasing and running their own 3-D printers, many small and medium-sized outfits outsource the process to specialized printing companies. While the cost of a 3-D printer has dropped since their inception from $200,000 per printer to now a more reasonable $15,000, it is still risky for businesses to take on that cost.

In addition, outsourcing the 3-D printing process means that companies can work with printing companies that have the type of printer needed to best complete a job.

For companies, it allows for locking down of the production of its products. In addition, companies can create prototypes to keep up with constantly evolving and upgrading products, such as smartphones. Making prototypes is no longer a months-long process. Armed with a solid design team, and a 3-D printer, companies can spend the morning hammering out a design, and seeing how it works by evening.

3-D printing is very versatile because it includes printouts in many different materials. It could include glass, metal, ceramic, and plastic. Many print shops offer a low threshold to get into 3-D printing by charging customers for materials for production. They may charge a small fee for the service of the whole order.

3-D printing provides a real service to all of humanity right now. Printers have come down a lot in price, and make it much easier to produce prototypes. In addition, 3-D printing lets companies maintain control over their proprietary design, which helps to successfully thwart off knockoffs. Fake goods steal from the company’s bottom line, its brand, and its overall good name.

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When Clients Think You Are Too Expensive

Too Expensive

You’ve likely heard it before, and you know you’ll hear it again, clients sometimes think that you charge too much. Of course, your first reaction is to become offended, after all, your work should be valued. However, many clients believe this because they’ve come to believe misconceptions about the industry and they don’t realize what you actually put into their job. So, before you get into a tizzy about this, let’s find out why your clients think you charge too much and see if you can find a better way to negotiate with them so that you’re paid what you’re worth and so that the clients remain happy. You can also analyze why they think you’re charging too much and find ways to navigate around that accusation.

Price Reflects ValueToo Expensive for you

Clients see value in your work in one of two ways.

It’s an excellent price when the value of your work is higher than what you charge.

It’s too expensive and your fee is too high when compared to the value of your work.

There’s a delicate balance between what you do and what you charge. You don’t want to undercharge and you don’t want to overcharge. If you’re charging too much, there is always someone around that will charge less and deliver more. That’s just how this market works. However, while you’re trying to earn a living, you must charge the appropriate amount for your services. You don’t want to lose clients, but you don’t want to undervalue your work either. Anyone can go online and find at least 20 other people that do just what you do. They may even charge less, but they may not deliver like you do. It’s a risk that many clients are willing to take. If you’ve not had a client tell you you’re charging too much, you’re likely not charging them enough money to do what you do.

Don’t lower your rates right away if you do hear that you’re overcharging clients. Take a moment and consider what it would take for you to give a steady client a discount. You don’t want a pushy client always trying to lower your price and you don’t want to devalue your work. Take a moment and ask why they think you’re charging too much. Find out the real reason they believe this.

If clients have never told you that you charge too much, you probably aren’t charging enough money.

Respond: When compared to what?

This is a great way to deal with the comment that you charge too much. Find out what they are comparing your work to. Is it even equivalent to what you are doing? Many times clients are misconstruing another company and what they do for what you do. Find out exactly what they are comparing it to. You can’t control what another company charges, so explain why you charge what you charge. If the client chooses to move on without you that is fine, you’ll have other clients and remember that clients get what they pay for.

Respond: Ignore It

No one has said that you must defend what you charge. You can ignore their complaints. If you’re full of work and doing well who cares what a potential client thinks about your prices? You’re busy so don’t stress over it. You don’t have to waste your time telling someone that may cause you a lot of stress why you charge what you charge. Let it go.

Respond: Find Out Their Budget
Too Expensive for you
When you have a client complaining, ask what their budget is. It might shock them to hear this. Besides, it may also help you to negotiate what they can get on their budget. A good example is to tell them what they can get for their budget. This way, they are going to see what that budget will get and know ahead of time. Perhaps they’re not quite ready to buy yet. They can either save for what they do want, settle for less or move on.

Respond: Do They Really Need This Service?

Often a client will tell you that you’re too expensive to see if you’ll give them a discount. They may not want to make a decision so they leave this in your ballpark. This is an easy way for them to opt out if they change their minds. They may say that they don’t really need you right now but that they are just pricing. They may think it’s a huge hassle to get the job done. Give them your card and tell them to stay in touch when they are ready.

A Cheap Client Will Get Cheap WorkDo They Really Need This Service?

Many clients simply don’t value their work so they want it for nothing. They aren’t doing well overall and they are pushy. This is a huge red flag so heed it. Give them your card and know that they won’t likely pay you if they did hire you.

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