Local Business Networking

April 6, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

Owning your own business of any type is going to require some networking. Networking refers to a method that builds awareness of your business among people who may use your products and your services at one time or another or even to refer to someone else your business. Your best bet when it comes to finding additional network contacts is going to be with other business owners since networking is all about getting to know other people.

Many types of networking opportunities is what you will find around you. If you belong to a club or association, then these will all be a part of your network. From there, every person you talk to and every person you come into contact with is going to be a part of your network.

Make a lasting impression If you talk about what you know best and about topics that are important to your business, then you will be able to make a lasting impression on the people that you meet. During a conversation, if there is a topic that you are not sure about, then it wouldn’t hurt to ask questions. This will show that you still want to know more and that you are a part of the conversation. Just listening is going to keep you out of the conversation and will not make a lasting impression of you on any one.

Making your voice known Have you considered joining local men and women’s associations or chambers of commerce? Join the local PTA, the sports boards, and join clubs that interest you. Create a club and build your local network from that point if you don’t find a club locally that does interest you. If you are able to have more people that you contact, then this is going to increase awareness of yourself, of your business, as well as what you have to offer. You have to be proud of what you are doing even if you are selling online and to build a network of people that will call on you when they need your products or services, you need to talk about it as often as possible.

When you have built a good network, maintaining and setting goals for yourself if an important thing you should do. Once you have set goals, you need to keep them. This means, that if you strive to meet one new person a week, or to make it a point to call one person you know each week that is not a current customer, you are going to increase your business. For instance, whenever you make five calls and out of the five only one turns into a sale, then that is one more sale that what you had. Use this for your personal success and increase the exposure for your business.

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Some Basics Tips To Start Your Export Business

February 23, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

One of the earliest forms of business was exporting. Through the export business, we’ve gone on to explore new lands, take over countries and formed alliances with other businesses internationally. These days, people are finding out that being in the export business brings them excitement, adventure and financial rewards no different from what people from ancient times had experienced.

You don’t need to have a multinational company to engage in the export business, most companies in this business is are small and operated by single proprietors.

Choosing which type of business you would like to export would be the initial step in setting up your export business. If you’re thinking of entering the export business then Export Trading, Export Merchants, and Export Management Companies are three of the more popular choices. In Export Trading, you target the specific products that are in demand in foreign and international markets and focus on finding these products to them. Once you have located the goods, it will be up to your company to export these goods to the buying company.

Businesses or individuals who buys produce directly and then later sell them again to other markets are called Export Merchants. Export Merchants deal in different kinds of product and a variety of markets. They don’t handle exports for other companies, and handles direct importing only.

Companies who need another party to handle the exporting aspect of their business seek the assistance of Export Management Companies. Envision a company who would like to penetrate the international market but has no experience in doing so. That’s when the Export Management Company comes in – to handle that part of the operation for them. Their services are actually rented by the original company and they get paid by commission or percentage of the sales.

When dealing with international business and foreign trade, it is necessary for you to be acquainted with the particular laws that would affect your business; this includes not just your state laws but federal and international laws as well. If you want to gather more material on how to start an export business, then go to your local small business administration.

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Twelve Tips To Finding The Best Outsourcing Company Discussed In Brief

February 19, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

Outsourcing is more than just a partnership, it is the process of having somebody else legally assist you in work-related matters. The goal of every company should be to create synergy, which requires that the best outsourcing company or consultant must share your vision and display a workmanlike passion for the job.

Success in business would depend greatly on finding the right outsourcing company and for this you must do the following.

Determine clearly what your core business competencies are. Both strengths and weaknesses alike must be explored.

Come up with a concrete idea of your plans for the future and your business’ objectives.

Create an outsourcing proposal that outlines your objectives as well as needs. Get down to brass tacks on your proposal – it must include your project’s details, your expectations and other forecasts as well as all pertinent timelines.

Do extensive and comprehensive research on different outsourcing companies to find out which meets your requirements. Alternately one can hire a consultant to carry out the search.

Look for an organization that is capable of sourcing blue chip talent. Are you dealing with a company that is flexible in operations?

Interview at least 3-4 organizations. Scope them out by reviewing their projects and speaking to their referrals. Be sure to meet key personnel to gauge their competencies. Of course you want to ascertain how conversant they are technologically.

Perform a time and motion study in order to gauge whether the company of your choice will satisfy your requirements. Whether their infrastructure and training will be in synchrony with yours. Compatible systems can also ensure synergy. The costing should address impact of increased flexibility, difference in productive and time management, which is the time taken to reach the market and its effect on competition.

Do detailed reading on the non-financial facets and the different advantages of outsourcing.

Check with local chambers of commerce or other associations that focus on human resource.

A few things have to be done before settling on an outsourcing company – to make sure you are dealing with a trustworthy firm, you must check into their security policies and procedures, the company’s reputation and find out whether they are absolutely, positively qualified to help achieve synergy.

Seek answers. Are they an established and financially sound company; what is their customer service philosophy; what is their service record; who are their current clients; is their estimate transparent or are there any loop holes; are they limited or can they expand along with your growth; is there an implementation plan; what about disaster recovery mechanisms; can they deliver?

See whether you and the vendor have any cultural or language barrier to overcome, and whether you can facilitate a steady and streaming flow of communication. If cultural barriers can be broken, then both parties can gain some traction.

The perfect outsource possesses several key underpinnings – it should encourage your company to achieve excellence, work in concerto with you with the endowment of technology and blue-chip talent, share your vision AND mission and make a productive contribution.

Interview until you find somebody worthy. After selecting a company, make sure that the minutiae of the contract are explained thoroughly. You do not want to allow your interests to take a back seat. It takes trust, collaboration, communication, and chemistry to make an outsourcing successful.

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Do You Have What It Takes To Think Up A Small Business Idea That Works?

February 11, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

Most likely you are aware of the potential of small ideas leading to tremendous success in business. If you want to prepone that success, you have to work quickly and come up with an idea that works for the business market at large. That’s step one – the next part of your trek would be to implement that idea in a business sense. Of course, this is a very difficult step and having the idea is only the start of the journey. You will probably have to survive many seemingly insurmountable challenges before you can truly progress on with your business or company. Again, the long, strange trip is just beginning, and before you can even think of starting, a lot of questions must first be answered.

Some of the main aspects you have to concentrate on when you have business ideas are the abilities and gifts you can pour into the business. It is very important for you to be identified with your business project. Those ideas should be based on activities and actions you take pleasure in doing. A person with shaky hands who considers anything arts and crafts to be anathema would not be somebody who would be comfortable nor successful in the field of custom-made crochet or knitting projects. On the other hand, if you like working with children, setting up baby-sitting or tutoring business would be an excellent idea. In this case, without any doubt you business will be more successful because you will have put your mind, effort and also your heart on it.

The next thing you have to do, and this is a very important step in the process, is to analyse whether your region would be needing your product or service, or if they will not. Would the people in your locality really need your product? Are you dealing with light competition, or is the market quite close to saturation? You should ask yourself whether or not you are the only one offering that service or product. If you are not, you will have to analyze the competence you will have to face. If you happen to be offering a service rather than a product, you must consider whether this is a unique one-time-only service or something that customers will have to go back for. Of course, you would have a better chance of success if you opt for the latter option.

However, there are other miscellaneous considerations that have to be attended to. These aspects are described below.

One of them is that if the idea is unique, you will reign the market. But if there is much competition, it will be difficult to enter into the market.

A second point would be if you can offer quality from the very beginning, otherwise, you won’t succeed.

One final point to be discussed in brief is the capital for your business – have you enough of it? So many business ideas require precious little capital and can reap huge financial benefits. Every business requires research, but some more so than others (e.g. daycare service) while others would require a sizable amount of money for operational costs. So take this recommendation into account before investing all your money in a small business idea.

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Dude, Lose That Secretary!

February 10, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

Peer out of your office door, what’s your secretary doing right now? You might want to get cracking on that pink slip if your answer is either — reading Cosmo, checking out the latest showbiz tidbits on OMG and/or napping off that food coma. In a perfect world, a secretary would only be paid commensurate to the actual work they do, not for the hours they spend “looking busy.” A small business can circumvent such a situation by hiring a secretary only on a part-time basis to manage office affairs, while having an answering service take care of incoming calls.

If you’re not as good in Math as I am, it’s time to grab that calculator and assess the situation with six variables from A to F.

Variable A. Secretary gets paid $12.00 per hour. Variable Two – Secretary works a standard eight hours a day – or so you hope. Variable C – Secretary spends 40% of the day at work handling office affairs. Variable D – Secretary spends 30% of the day at work handling inbound phone calls. Variable Five – Secretary goes on lunch for an hour, which is 12% of the work day. Variable F. Secretary spends 18% of work day remaining unproductive

In summation, your secretary is earning $96.00 on a daily basis. Breaking things down pursuant to the six variables mentioned above, they are earning $38.40 per day for actual office duties, $28.80 per day for answering the phone, $12.00 for eating lunch (that is, if lunch is paid) and $17.28 for having fun at the expense of your valuable bandwidth and office space. Now let’s expound on the above theory and multiply the numbers above by 22 business days, or one working month — secretaries earn $844.80 a month for office liaisons and other issues, $633.60 for handling inbound telephone calls, $264 for eating lunch and the remaining $380.16 for goofing off.

So, if only 3.2 hours per day are spent managing office business, it doesn’t make sense for business owners to hire a secretary for an entire day when most of their duties can be outsourced to a call center. But it only gets more “fun” when you take into account “free time”, which encompasses quick breaks to take a wizz, smoke a cigarette, drink a cup of Joe, etc. — in that case, round up the 3.2 hours to four hours, and adjust your monetary figures to $48.00 daily or $1,056 monthly. Also, lets take $250.00 as an average market price for utilizing an answering service for a one month period. And remember that part-time employees, or employees who work less than four hours a day, do not need to take a lunch break.

Alrighty then, it’s time for me to reveal those vaunted grand totals to all you business owners reading this from wherever you are.

Situation A. You will be spending $2,112 per month if you hire a secretary for all office-related tasks.

Situation B. A business owner who hires somebody as a part-time secretary and lets an answering service take care of phone management will be paying a comparatively paltry $1,306 per month.

So with all that in mind, an individual who owns a business can save close to $10,000 annually (actually $816 per month or $9,792 per year) by utilizing an answering service. Remember that this figure does not even include the increase in business opportunities if you have somebody available after hours, twenty-four by seven, answering inbound calls. Having a live operator available at all times makes your small business appear larger than it really is, and allows your business to thrive, look and feel more secure because after all, you are ensuring that somebody is on board all day long to answer customer concerns.

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Keep Your Free Time Free And Still Increase Business!

February 10, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

As business owners or managers we often find it difficult, even in the best of situations, to get out and seek new business. You’ve probably thought that if you could just find a way to squeeze that into your day without spending more time away from your family or working weekends, you’d be all set, right? Yes indeed! There IS a way to remain unencumbered by work after hours, and all you need is some prep work on your part.

Keep a box of business cards in your car. There are many clever ways you can distribute those cards, so you want them handy at all times.

After paying for your meal and right before leaving a restaurant, place your business card on the table.

When you mail out your payment, sneak in a business card in the envelope.

Take a trip to the local bookstore, go the section related to your industry, and, without being caught, slip your cards into some of the more popular books. Put them right smack dab in the middle of the book to prevent them from falling out, and make sure nobody catches you should there be a strict “no private reading” policy!

Place a card rack full of your business cards on the counter of your dry cleaner. Most of them are more than happy to help out a good customer.

Start a card distribution brigade by having your friends hand out your business cards.

Make a goal of meeting at least one new person each day. Let us assume you like ’80s hard rock and heavy metal, and notice some fellows at a bar debating over who’s better, David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar – introduce yourself, share your mutual love for Van Halen with them, then subtly redirect the conversation to your business when the timing is right. Make the most out of a long queue at the grocery or post office by starting an informal chit-chat. You may never see or even talk to these people again, but chances are good that you will.

Share a meal with a friend or colleague. Look, everybody needs to eat to survive, and no man is an island – so what’s in it for you? Perhaps you and your friends and business partners need to catch up and eat your lunch together!

You can actually use your lunch hour to connect with the people you have to remain connected with.

Interact with somebody whom you genuinely enjoy being with and you won’t even notice that you are supposedly “at work.”

Your name stays at the front of their minds – great for referrals!

Do your networking in an organization that isn’t affiliated to your work. When we say any organization, we mean any organization – it could be your local church, nonprofit or your youngest child’s Pee Wee soccer club! No, you do not have to settle for working with a business-related organization and having to size up your competition, and you do not have to be on your toes, keeping your ducks in a row with regards to the Chamber of Commerce! If you don’t currently participate in something that’s not related to work you should seriously consider it. Remember that work-life balance is crucial to one’s sanity in the corporate world, and you can also subtly inject the necessities of work into such activities!

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How To Increase Your Sales

December 13, 2011 · Posted in Business · Comment 

Here are some great sales-improving tips!

Make sure you show your prospects how much enthusiasm you have for your business and your products. They will be affected by your enthusiasm, too.

End your sales letter or ad copy with a strong closing. You can offer a bonus, a discount, a benefit reminder, an ordering deadline, and the like.

Please your complaining customers. You can refund their money, give them a discount, give them a free gift, solve the problem quickly, etc.

Exciting your customers will make them want to tell their friends all about your business. You could give them a free vacation certificate or something like it.

Supply your prospects with extra confidence so they will buy from you. You could use endorsements, testimonials, guarantees, warranties, and many more.

Build your opt-in list by allowing your visitors to sign up for a free e-zine, ebooks, software, contests, sweepstakes, etc.

Offer new things to your prospects or customers. You should not hesitate to design your web site and ad copies the way you want them.

Give part of your total offer to your customers right after they order from you. If you must ship the item, then make one if your bonuses available online.

Write and submit your own articles to e-zine publishers or webmasters. And make sure it is written like an article and not an ad so it will be published.

Show them that you are an expert at what you do, and they will be convinced. You may write a book, publish an article, and many more.

Consider cross promoting your product with others in a package deal. You can have an ad or flyer for other products that you sell and also have other businesses selling for you.

And when you deliver or ship your product, slip a coupon for other products you sell inside the package.

This will attract buyers.

Send a catalogue of add-on products for the original products that they have bought to your customers. This can be attachments, upgrades, special services, and so on. If customers like using your product, then they would buy the add-ons.

Offer gift certificates for your products. You’ll make sales from the purchase of the gift certificate, when the recipient cashes it in. They could also go to your website to buy your products.

Send your customers free products with their product package. The freebies should have your ad printed on them. The freebies can be bumper stickers, shirts, ball caps, etc. This will allow other people to see your ad and order.

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