Category Archives: Business

4 Reasons your Business Needs a Better Inventory System

Inventory management is one of the most essential aspects of running a business. Over the long term companies that are able to manage their inventory effectively are generally in better position to make long term investments in the business. There are many people who are interested in investing in upgrading their inventory management system. Here are four reasons why every business needs a better inventory system.

Inventory Drives Sales

Having more inventory in the store allows you to maximize sales in an area. Over the long term, the more inventory that is purchased the more can be sold. If you do not have the proper amount of inventory in the system, the total number of sales you hit will be reduced. There are many companies that are struggling to reach their sales goals. Many large retailers are reporting a decrease in sales over the previous year. If you are someone who is trying to jump start the sales of your business, investing in an inventory system that gets more product to the stores is a great way to do so.

Proper Inventory Levels Improves Margin

There are times in a business where there is too much inventory. Having too much inventory on a product is an issue for several reasons. Over a long period of time, the inventory will have to be discounted in order to get it off the floor. This results in margin erosion. The margin on a product is the retail price minus the amount of money that was paid to purchase the product. As a business, enhancing margin over the long term is essential to staying in business. Proper inventory management practices can help greatly in this area. Having a system that works for you to enhance inventory levels in the right places can help prevent these issues.

Fewer Holding Costs

There is a holding cost in having too much inventory in the DC. Having the proper inventory levels is essential to reducing holding costs. At the DC level, there are many costs to having too much inventory in an area. Having a large amount of inventory is something that many companies have to deal with. The more times the DC workers have to touch the product, the more money is spent. There is a huge area of opportunity to maximize the efficiency of DC level work at many companies.

Store Execution

Investing in a better inventory system will allow stores that work within your company to have better store execution for different events. This is essential to the store looking full and shopped for customers. Anyone who is interested in providing a better experience for customers needs to invest in a better inventory system. Over a long period of time, this is an investment that will pay off greatly. There are many companies that are interested in upgrading the look and feel of their stores. Investing in your inventory system is one of the best ways to do this.

5 Reasons to Use Professional Answering Services

A common misconception about professional answering services is that they are an extravagance or they are only suitable for large organizations. The truth is professional answering services are affordable, suitable for both large and small businesses, and can help business owners save time and money and improve their customer service. There are many benefits of using professional answering services.

1. Phone Calls will be handled more efficiently
Business owners and employees handle multiple calls each day. Employees are likely to handle calls from different people in different ways. One of the benefits of professional answering services is that they free up employees to do other things rather than spending hours each day answering phone calls and redirecting calls to the right people.

When people call to ask for directions and inquire about policies, your professional answering service can take care of the issue and save you the interruption of the phone call. In addition, the professional answering service can help answer questions, take messages, and redirect the call to the relevant people.

2. Easy to set up appointments
Professional answering services are particularly suitable for businesses such as doctors and lawyers offices that require appointment scheduling. Business owners no longer have to worry about the hassle of appointment scheduling and their time will no longer be tied up to answering calls and finding dates that work for them and their clients. Once you let someone else handle your calls, your time is better spent meeting with clients and providing other services.

3. Calls Get Answered throughout the day
Most business owners are not always available to take off-hour calls. In fact, you may not even know that someone called until the following day when you check your voice messages. With professional answering services, your calls will be handled at any time of the day or night, and even on holidays. This will make your customers feel that your business is giving them the time and attention that they want. This is a win-win situation where your customers receive 24-hour telephone support and you are freed from worrying about answering off-hour phone calls.

4. Supplement your Staff without the Costs of Hiring
Small businesses are looking for ways of reducing their operational costs and giving their businesses the presence of larger firms. On the other hand, large businesses look for ways of outsourcing their more mundane business tasks and maintaining a professional appearance. This makes professional answering services suitable for both large and small businesses because they fulfill the needs of both.

5. Increase Revenue
Businesses with professional answering services do not only increase their customer’ perception of their businesses, but they also do not miss opportunities for sale. Customers are more likely to leave messages with a live person than with an automatic answering machine. In addition, many professional answering services have developed call answering protocols and programs that ensure clients receive the best possible experience.

 

5 Clever Ways to “Up-Cycle” your Office

Upcycling is the creative reuse of items that would otherwise end up being discarded. While there are many blogs and bulletins dedicated to upcycling various items as a hobby or form of craft, this can be a powerful tool around the office to save money and lighten a business’ burden on the environment.

Binder Clips as Cord Organizers

Every office worker has dealt with the nightmare of untangling cords and power-supplies, and keeping every wire untangled seems next to impossible. The next time that you find your office has a preponderance of those ubiquitous black binder clips, you can use them to organize wiring. Clipped to the edge of a desk, these little doodads hold your cordage firmly, keeping the wires safe from devolving into a wild mess of knots.

Toilet Paper Rolls as Wire Organizers

Did you know that Americans throw away about 17 billion cardboard toilet paper tubes annually? Your office can do a small part to reduce this egregious waste by upcycling these handy little tubes into cord organizers. Great for computer cords, power supplies and headphone storage, these little cylinders keeps each cord in its place while eliminating any harmful kinking of wiring that can lead to fraying.

Sticky Notes for Detailed Cleaning

Those cubic towers of pale yellow sticky notes are everywhere in any office. The next time you rip an adhesive note off of a pile of work, think twice before you toss it. These little papers make great keyboard cleaners. They’re thin enough to get in between keys, and the adhesive can pick up all the little pieces of lint and other detritus that can make typing difficult.

Bread Ties for Cord Labels

It seems like a disproportionate amount of many workdays are spent trying to make sense of the mass of cords that power each workstation, printer, copier and other necessary equipment. The plastic bread ties that get thrown away in the break room are perfect for fastening around the base of individual cords. This saves time, eliminating the need to follow a cord back to its appliance, and it prevents the accidental unplugging of essential equipment.

Make a Smartphone Stand out of Paperclips

Paperclips seem to end up everywhere: on your desk, on the floor and in the trashcan. These little flexible pieces of metal can be upcycled almost endlessly, but a quick, easy and useful way to reuse one is to make it into a stand for your smartphone by:

  • Flattening out the paperclip so it is completely straightened
  • Double bending the base into a rounded V shape
  • Bending the legs of the V so it can stand on its own

This hand-crafted stand will cradle your smartphone, enabling you to listen to music or view videos hands-free.

Looking for ways to reuse office supplies is budget-smart and environmentally friendly. Who knew that objects intended for the garbage could be so useful?

How to Increase Your Trade Show Traffic

When organizing and planning the details that surround a trade show may take several weeks but it just takes a few hours to flop. Without several attendees buzzing at your stand, money and effort all the time you have invested can seem a waste. But if the trade show-offs were not successful, companies would be so inclined to have them included as an important effective part of strategy making, thanks to their enormous draw.

As a matter of fact, this past year the internationally respected Austin-based SXSW trade show drew over 60,000 attendees in 4 days according to the official reports. You only need a small percentage of the participants who are interested in your brand, and you would have paid for them. Before setting those temporary walls and hanging your signage, you will have to look at these reliable ways you can capture an audience at the next trade show.
1. Bring SWAG
Think first before putting up your order at the pen because this can seem like a no-brainer. It is recommended to give unusual items that families use. For example, you will be setting up a store in Washington. How much of use would the poncho get into the ever raining city? Or the ever sunny Texas, Austin. You would probably think about getting sunscreen logos on it. Think about the demographic and location when in doubt before settling for a more individual thing.

2. Host a Wi-Fi spot
With numerous people stranded at the 4G or 3G network, it’s a godsend thing to have a reliable and secure Wi-Fi connection. It also offers potential clients what they need desperately while giving you the time they require before you serve them as well as meeting their needs.

3. Send eBlasts
Use an original and creative to invite attendees personally at your booth. Get a mailing list especially from the event organizer. Be sure to give the details of where you are located and concisely what you are doing but never forget the personality. Inject warmth in your email and make it sound appealing and inviting to the audience. A valid email and an original one can drive many from their homes straight to your premises. Look at smallbiztrends.

4. Bring a Charging Station
Between the tons of contracts information and the pictures you are exchanging, your battery will work overtime as well as for your attendees. Attendees will often want an extra luxury for charging their gadgets. You will have more than enough time by setting a mobile charging station while potential customers wait in the line patiently.

5. Get Good Banners and Signage
The importance of ensuring your banner and signage cannot be overstated. They make the first good impression of your brand. They are the voice and face of your company when facilitators are giving out demos.

6. Hire Professionals
Travel with your most informed staff as well as the qualified event planners to make sure your do not get at a hitch. Let the professionals take care of Wi-Fi connections as your sales personnel focus on capturing leads. this can be found at business2community.

4 Surprising Facts about Laundromat Businesses

Today, the laundromat business tempts some entrepreneurs to seek tidy profits. Modern, high-tech laundries populate urban and suburban landscapes. Four surprising laundromat business facts interest anyone considering buying one of these small businesses:

Fact Number One: Decor Matters

During previous generations, people often appreciated the convenience of using local laundromats so much that business owners could rely upon their customers at unattended turnkey facilities to treat the premises gently. Unfortunately, in some modern locations, laundromats without attending staff suffer from poorly maintained conditions.

Most experts stress that laundries, more than many other types of small self-service businesses, absolutely must maintain hygienic, clean conditions. Even self-service units require frequent cleaning and maintenance in order to retain a pristine, welcoming appearance. One 57-year old businesswoman in Texas reportedly developed a chain of successful laundromats in her home town simply by using this formula.

Fact Number Two: Startling Demographics

A recent study revealed some startling demographic information about generational differences in the way people today approach the topic of laundries. A survey of 502 women in the USA discovered that Baby Boomers, the large demographic extending from the post-WWII through the affluent 1960’s. possess considerably higher skill sets with respect to sewing and cleaning than younger age groups.

Women between the ages of 18 and 33 had not learned as many sewing and laundry skills. In fact, knowledge about things such as washing clothes and replacing buttons declined with each younger age demographic. Millennials knew the least about these domestic skills. This study hold implications for businesses interested in establishing laundromats.

Fact Number Three: Combo Laundromats

The recently established laundromat-coffee shop- bar called “The Wash House” in New York’s trendy East Village epitomizes some modern marketing trends. Laundromats today sometimes enjoy popularity by offering clean premises, plus comfortable dining.

While previous generations of Americans might have viewed the combination of a laundry and restaurant with skepticism, younger patrons increasingly prefer to visit establishments offering both basic clothes cleaning facilities and food. The ability to entertain patrons at a laundromat now helps assure greater customer loyalty.

Fact Number Four: Drop-Off Laundry Convenience

Another popular trend, especially among Millennials and young professionals, relates to the convenience of drop-off laundries. Many customers will pay a premium to enjoy the luxury of having laundry staff finish the washing while they relax in pleasant surroundings.

These marketing trends bode well for businesses which offer both self-serve areas and laundry drop-off services. The ability to use fast, high-tech machines enables many companies to complete washing and drying rapidly. Customers may drop off clothes and then attend to other matters, such as shopping or dining. They return at designated times to collect sparkling clean laundry.

A Bright Future

Will today’s innovative laundromat entrepreneurs succeed in creating a brighter future for themselves and their communities? Business predictions prove difficult sometimes. Yet the weight of evidence suggests that many of the creative individuals working in the laundromat industry today have found a successful marketing niche.

How Long can you Expect Glass Whiteboards to Last?

Whiteboards (a.k.a dry erase boards) were created in the late ’50’s or early ’60’s, depending on whether you prefer the UK or US version of the story. The first models were made of steel, eventually giving way to laminates, ceramics, and other materials. The ubiquitous melamine model is the most common today, seen in schoolrooms and other nonindustrial settings. The lifetime of a melamine whiteboard is an average of three years or less.
Tempered glass whiteboards are the most recent development in this field, and are used most often in industrial, architectural, and other high-end applications. Their look is somewhat sleek and futuristic, often seen on detective shows and in movie war rooms. How well do these innovative teaching tools hold up? Are they cost effective?
They can be quite heavy to mount on a wall, depending on size. Fortunately, mounting one is likely the last time in the life of your glass whiteboard that it might incur damage, depending on the following couple of caveats.

Feeling Frosty

If you have a frosted glass or otherwise coated whiteboard, there is a small chance of permanent “ghosting” during heavy use. Whiteboards accumulate this effect when they aren’t cleaned often enough or an image or writing doesn’t completely erase. Often this can be rectified using whiteboard cleaner or isopropyl alcohol, but if not totally cleaned off, the effect can be cumulative and eventually render your board unusable.
Most of these types of boards come with a ten to twenty year warranty on the surface of the board so through normal wear it will still last quite a bit longer than most other types.

A Magnetic Personality

Many tempered glass whiteboards come with a white backing on metal plate to increase clarity and allow for the use of magnets. While use of these magnets will cause little damage, over time tiny scratches can begin to show, especially in the coated whiteboard versions. The unfrosted versions are fairly immune to this damage and most of the companies that sell these include a lifetime warranty on the surface of the whiteboard through normal use.

Through The Looking Glass

Tempered glass whiteboards don’t stain or wear like other types of whiteboard. Tempered glass is almost ten times at strong as regular glass and is totally nonporous. The unpainted models will never ghost regardless of how long you keep an image or writing on it.
You can reasonably expect a tempered glass whiteboard to last twenty years or more. In fact, there’s no reason not to expect it to last your lifetime and longer.

3 Reasons Why Flyers are Still Relevant for Business

As the world becomes more digitized every day, many business owners doubt the efficacy and relevance of flyers. However, traditional print media still offers unique appeal to potential and existing clients. Keep reading to learn why Entrepreneur magazine says flyers are a good way to advertise a business.

Expanded Market Reach
While most people use mobile phones to surf the Web and connect with companies, there are still many potential customers who prefer traditional print media. This is especially true for older consumers or individuals weary of aggressive Internet marketing techniques, such as invasive pop-up and search result ads. Due to consumer concerns over privacy, software and technology solutions are becoming better at blocking online ads and data mining techniques that track personal information. Well-designed marketing flyers allow new businesses to establish a favorable impression with new customers and raise brand awareness with existing customers. Internet marketing can reach a global audience, but what matters most for financial revenue is actually engaging with local customers.

Cost Effective
Many businesses struggle to maintain an adequate advertising budget. There are effective online solutions, such as using blogs and social media, but these are very time consuming. Flyers are a very cost effective way for businesses to engage recipients with interesting content. For example, flyers can ask intriguing questions, pose a fun riddle or even challenge the recipient to find the hidden image. Even better, flyers allow the business to create eye-catching designs that present an appealing balance of well-positioned content and images. Printing business flyers is relatively inexpensive through online graphic design companies. Businesses simplify their marketing process through regularly distributing flyers every few months in target areas.

Multi-Purpose
Flyers can effectively be used for different purposes. First, they are most commonly used for door-to-door contact. They can also be left under windshield wipers or with businesses. This type of anonymous cold calling is useful for raising awareness of the target company’s products or services. This is one of the primary methods that new companies use to build up a market share of clients. Second, doorknob hanger flyers are useful to follow up with new customers or potential customers who have requested information. These flyers are more personalized and effective because they typically offer special rebates or discounts. In fact, these flyers can be part of a marketing campaign that offers existing customers a free gift. B2B companies can use customized fliers that offer rewards a great way to establish a business relationship with other companies.

Traditional print flyers are still relevant for advertising and marketing purposes. They are an affordable way for companies to gain a foothold with potential customers in a saturated market. Print flyers offer intense local outreach and multi-purpose functionality.

Donor Communications: Fundamental Rules to Follow

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in existence today in the United States! Even more jaw-dropping is the amount these organizations receive in donations – over $1.74 trillion dollars (in 2013).

So suffice it to say that donor communications is an area of nonprofit operations that cannot be overlooked or over-emphasized. These fundamental rules will ensure your nonprofit develops strong, healthy communications with your donors.

Rule #1: Talk to your donors about THEM, not about YOU.
It may seem counter-intuitive to talk with your donors about anything other than you and your organization and the needs of your constituents. Yet studies show donors give out of a desire to participate and to know their presence counts.

So the more you talk to your donors about how THEY can help, why their presence matters, how their gifts are being used for good, the more future donations you can expect to receive.

Rule #2: Build a relationship that isn’t all about money.
Just as people volunteer as much to make new friends, network and find meaning in their life as to help others, so too do donors give for all of these same reasons and more. In your relationship-building, you want to provide avenues for your donors to enjoy these additional perks – starting with a two-way relationship with you.

If you host events, make sure your donors are invited and recognized. Send communications filled with joy and fun. Ask your donors for their feedback (surveys and polls are great for this, especially for long-distance donors) and advice. Host teleconferences or webinars where your donors can participate in discussions, ask (and answer) questions and feel seen and heard.

Rule #3: Create a team.
Any football fan knows that a team is made up of participants who each play a different role within that team. Yet when they come together, all their separate roles make sense and great things can be achieved when the whole team works together.

In the same way, your donors need to know they are an essential part of your organization’s team. By letting them get to know their teammates in other areas, sharing what each player (or committee of players) is working on and showcasing the bigger picture of how the whole team works to serve the greater good can form a strong, long-term bond that practically ensures ongoing giving.

By implementing these three essential donor communications rules, your nonprofit organization will begin to build realistic, sustainable revenue streams through your donations program. As well, your existing donors will be more excited to spread the word about your organization’s work and increase their giving.

How a Property Manager Can Maximize Your ROI

When you buy a property, part of your job as a landlord is to find a tenant, make sure that he or she is paying rent and responding to any concerns that the tenant may have. However, if you have more than one property, it may be difficult to do all of that work yourself in a timely and budget friendly manner. How can a property manager help maximize the return on your investment?

Property Managers Will Find the Best Tenants

You don’t have to spend much time worrying about vacancy rates, demanding rent checks or responding to repair requests if you have quality tenants. A property manager can screen applicants to find those who have paid their rent in the past and want to remain in one location for a long time. Furthermore, tenants who are professionals or who have children are more likely to take pride in the condition of their property. This reduces the need for maintenance as the tenants may take care of minor problems themselves.

Property Managers Can Take Care of Administrative Work

Your property manager will take care of the administrative side of being a landlord for you. This allows you to spend more time buying properties that you can rent out or flip for a profit. The more properties that you have available for rent, the more money that you can make each month. When you don’t have to deal with paperwork and other tedious tasks, you won’t get burned out and lose your passion for being a property owner and landlord.

Property Managers May Help You Research New Opportunities

A property manager may be able to help you analyze the potential risk or reward associated with buying a new property. In some cases, he or she may have an intimate knowledge of an area that you have never lived in or visited before. This may allow you to buy in new cities without running the risk of buying a property that no one wants to rentor charging more than the market will bear. If you get less than you project or can’t rent a property at all, you will fall well short of maximizing your return on investment.

Hiring a property manager can be one the best business decisions that you have ever made. This person can help collect rent checks, screen for only tenants who can pay their rent and make sure that maintenance is performed in a timely manner. If you have many properties spread throughout a wide geographic area, allowing a property manager to work on your behalf can save time and money that would otherwise be more profit in your pocket.

 

Small Companies: How to Streamline Your Business Processes

Introduction

There are millions of people in the United States that own a small business. Small businesses employ the majority of workers in the United States, and they are a major reason why the economy has grown so quickly in recent years. There are many advantages that small businesses have over larger ones. However, many small businesses could run their company in a more efficient way. Here are three ways to streamline your business processes in order to run more efficiently and earn higher profits.

Start With Why

One of the most important things for any company to do in order to function more efficiently is to start with why. This question will help to frame all of the other decisions that must be made. Most companies are in business to provide a product or service to customers. It is important for every company to understand how much their companies depend on their products or services. Always start with this question in order to help frame other decisions that must be made. This article is a great over view the importance that small businesses have in their local economy and why branding is so important.

Find and Eliminate Waste

No matter how small a company is, there are going to be processes that are not value added to the bottom line of a company. It is important for small business leaders to find and eliminate waste in their company. Companies that run efficiently do not have a lot of processes that do not add value to the company. One of the best ways to find these processes is to take a high level view of the business. There are many things that may make sense in the day to day operations of a company. However, when looking at them from a different angle it is easier to see that they are not adding value to the company.

Invest in Technology

One of the best things that any company can do in order to streamline their business processes is to invest in technology. As this article says, one of the biggest areas of opportunity for many companies is customer loyalty programs. This is just one example of how technology can make a business more efficient. Any company that has outdated processes is spending a lot of time and money that is not helping the business over the long term. Always work to invest in technology that can then be used to help make a business run more effectively. There are many small businesses that have a lot of opportunity in this area to earn higher profits and serve more customers over the long term.