Friday, November 30, 2012

Accept Credit Card In Your Business

Should you accept credit card in your business transactions? Many small companies or home-based businesses avoid doing so because of their concern over fees and expenses that may drain away potential profits. Yet the actual cost of implementing credit card payment processing equipment, along with associated monthly and annual fees, may cost less than you think. The application process is easy, many banks are willing to work with small business owners, and exciting profits are possible, so what are you waiting for?

Learning how to accept credit card in your business processing is simple. First you will need to apply for a merchant services account. You can do this by browsing the Internet to find a bank, credit union, or other reputable lender show is willing to help you set up a credit card processing account. Then you will need to decide which equipment plan to go with. You can start small and work your way through increasingly complex layers of sophisticated technology as additional sales bring in extra profit for reinvestment. However, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you implement credit card processing strategies for your business.

To accept credit card in your business customers, you should first find a merchant services account provider, often a bank or other financial institution that can help you by underwriting the associated expenses for this type of project. Many lenders will let you apply over the Internet for a merchant services account, and you may receive a response within a day or two. Decide what type of processing will work best with your business. For on-site companies or home-based businesses, you could set up a credit card processor for basic credit payments when a person comes by to purchase your products or services. But if you travel to your customers to deliver goods, you may want to invest in a wireless credit processor that can go with you. Typically these items cost several hundred dollars, or you can lease them for a set monthly fee. Depending on your personal business needs, you may want to get a pager, an e-check and debit processor, or Website credit processing as your business expands into the e-commerce arena.

The next most important way to accept credit card in your business transactions is to set up a Website as an Internet marketing tool. Your merchant account will help you to do this at a pace that will match your company budget. The Website can provide information about your goods and services, price lists, FAQs, industry tips, and a host of other information that will attract customers from around the world. Providing credit card processing service at your site can increase your sales volume and impress customers who are looking for convenient shopping methods without the hassle of waiting for a store to open or a sales associate to offer assistance.

Move your business to the next level of sophistication by applying for a merchant services account so you can accept credit card in your business payments.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Long-Term Strategy For Securing Affiliate & Joint Venture Details

If you want star affiliates in your market to join your affiliate and promote your products, you really have to go out and find them. You can certainly promote your affiliate program on your own website and to get people to sign up, but the best results come when you go out and find your own joint venture partners…and it sounds like you already understand that.

You can find potential partners by finding websites that:

- Have good website traffic
- Have decent sized email lists
- Target your buying audience

How do you find these people?

- Go to your favorite search engine and see which sites come up near the top for your target keywords.

- Check their ESTIMATED traffic ranking at Alexa.com – this site very roughly estimates how popular a site is based on traffic and page views. The lower the ranking number, the busier the site. This is not a foolproof method, but can be used as a guideline to compare websites in similar markets.

- See which sites link to your competition. Go to Google or Yahoo and type in the following: link:yourcompetitorsdomain.com. Just substitute "yourcompetitorsdomain.com" with your competitor’s actual domain name. The results that show up will be sites that link to your competitor. You will potentially find some good sites to partner with here.

- Check DMOZ.org and the Yahoo Directory for websites in an appropriate category for your market.

How do you approach these people?

The common method of many website owners is to send a mass email to entice the webmaster with the lure of commission. Of course, you should make every effort to get a first name to personalize the email and use your Autoresponder to automatically add their name into your email. Include information like their first name, their website URL and any other personal details you can include.

This method will get you the most partners for the least amount of time and effort. Of course, if there are some websites that you REALLY want to say yes, you will need a more personal touch. Realize that in competitive markets, these webmasters probably receive many joint venture requests and yours might be sent to the trash, along with the rest.

If you want to be taken seriously:

- Offer to send them your product for free so they can review it – or just mail it to them right away without any expectations. Even if they can’t promote your product now, if you treat them cordially, they might just promote your product down the line.

- Show them that you know something about their business and comment specifically on some of the projects they are working on or some of their products that you have purchased

- Do something for them first. List them as a recommended resource on your website, etc., and tell them about it.

- Pick up the phone and develop a relationship. Perhaps you can offer to promote his or her product first, instead of asking for a favor right away. Don’t be in a rush to get them to promote your product or you may just burn your bridges completely.

- Show them proven results of other affiliates or illustrate how well your website converts visitors to sales.

Overall, realize that you're probably going to get a lot of "Nos" before you get to the "Yesses". Don't take it personally because people are busy and they can't promote every product that comes their way. Just be open to developing relationships as that is the best long-term strategy in finding great JV partners.


Monday, November 26, 2012

A Heavy Global Industry

The global demand for heavy construction equipment has increased dramatically over the preceding years. This demand of heavy construction equipment is highly accredited in part to the recovery from a recession in assorted Asian countries, as well as in Latin America, Russia, and Africa. Regardless of the fact that the heavy construction equipment industry is not as heavily concentrated as it had been in previous years, acquisitions are still going strong and substantial partnerships between competing companies are on the rise.

As technical advances in the heavy construction equipment design and security help marketing efforts get ahead, the price increases have a tendency to remain modest in retrospect. This also speaks for all new, used, rented or leased heavy construction equipment alike. Each year the heavy construction equipment industry is meeting a global demand of turnout at about six percent each year. The heavy construction equipment industry has been sharing in the worldwide drive with a number of countries to construct new projects and to restore older public and private structures.

Heavy construction equipment mainly consist of the following main categories: mixers, cranes, loaders, trucks, tractors, graders and rollers, just to name a few, as well attachments and parts. All heavy construction equipment is used in a wide range of applications from major infrastructure projects to office buildings and from housing to factories, power plants and mining. The extent of use of heavy construction equipment is so broad that key measures in demographics, such as the population growth, along with ample growth in economics, are the main influence of the demand for heavy construction equipment in the world today.

Projects that require the sporadic use of heavy construction equipment also call for significant amounts of capital investment. In privately funded projects, investors seem more receptive when interest rates are low and when there is a reasonable rate of return. Most public works programs are ventured upon during recession as part of a broader financial turnout. In developing countries, the rate of sustainable economic growth is a major concern as sporadic trends tend to be shorter and more under consideration in mature markets. This may influence a country's ability to attract external capital or to generate its own.

Heavy construction equipment and its components can be manufactured in fewer locations to service the global market. Heavy construction equipment can now move without any obligation between mature markets, while some emerging countries still require exports to qualify for liberated imports.

Regions and countries vary widely in their demands of heavy construction equipment to perform tasks of building and re-building. The need for heavy construction equipment in these regions are more related to upgrade and maintenance of the existing infrastructure and buildings than it is to new projects. In other developing regions, the need for heavy construction equipment is used to build new projects such as highways, airports and urban buildings, etc. With a growing global demand of heavy construction equipment, the possibilities of building are endless.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Critical Tip To Make An Outsourcing Project Successful

Understanding what you want to accomplish is critical to a successful outsourcing venture.  Although there are many who claim to offer offshoring procurement services, the fact remains that only the business contemplating outsourcing can determine the what, who and when of any offshore service project.

To this end, a business needs to understand the WHAT of any outsourcing project.  The what of course, is what will be outsourced.  It's not enough to simply state we're gong to outsource IT technology services, or Human Resources, or any other facet of the business.  To determine the WHAT means an intimate understanding of how your business is currently handling that work. 

So the first order of business when considering outsourcing is:

Define the current Process.  This should be done with an understanding of requirements.  Requirements should be clearly defined in such a way as to eliminate ambiguity and offer a measurement method.  Fast service is NOT a metric.  Answering and resolving a specific type of customer inquiry within x number of minutes IS a requirement. 

The exercise of defining the current process allows you to understand the details of what actually needs done.  This information will be needed when/if transferring that process over to your new outsource partner. 

Now would also be a good time to do a cost benefit analysis on the proposed process.  This allows the business to have a solid estimate of the current operating costs of the process under consideration for outsourcing.  When doing this analysis, be certain to honestly consider all the costs involved. 

I was involved with a major technology company who insisted that any cost that couldn't readily be quantified, be marginalized or simply ignored.  They based the decision to outsource their internal help desk for thousands of people based on a simple statement; "Support call costs will go from 25 dollars to 6 dollars."  Problem was that they didn't cover all the costs.  Although they required calls to be answered within a certain period of time, they didn't set a resolution time.  When support was in house, an engineer could call for support and get a resolution in hours.  After the transfer however, that same call took a minimum of 3 days and sometimes over a week for resolution.  The cost in lost productivity to the company because the engineer didn't have access to his files and email were never considered in the simple statement above.  If the total costs were considered, the savings would have been much less significant.


So the key tip is to know your process and costs prior to considering offshoring any project.  By being armed with solid information, it's then possible to select the right outsource partner and make a good decision for the business.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Change in Career a Change in You

Some of us are lucky (or unlucky) enough to start our own business, we work all the hours under the sun and moon and think that this is it, this is going to make me, I will be happy and have no worries about bills and the future. Sadly,it's not quite like that. If you're into manual labour you generally end up with no money and all sorts of

ailments like back pain, trapped nerves (very painful!) or even the odd limb missing. All from slogging your guts out 24/7! And if you do find that job you always wanted?

Are you still there? I'll bet your not or you won't be in the near future. Why? Because you aren't getting the appreciation you feel you deserve, you know you do a good job, and you know you could do it better but something's stopping you, stopping you from progressing and stopping you.

Why is this? Have we been brought up to be like this? For the average person we weren't taught how to look after our bodies or our minds at school, we were doing homework on Arithmetic's, English, French, Geology and Physics to name a few, all good if you knew what you were going to do in life! Society didn't teach us how to make money or be happy or to look after ourselves, it just taught the basics so that we could fit in.

But fitting in doesn't work!.....we all have that built in desire to be successful, to be better than we are, it's only with us for a certain period of time and you know when

it's running out, it's inbuilt, we are human and it's natural. You have to take a look at yourself and almost go back to school, your school! Do it the way you want to be taught not how society taught you.
Your school, what is your school?..........It's anything you want it to be!

You just need knowledge, only WITH THIS TIME its knowledge you want to learn and you can get enthralled in. You can work any amount of hours in the day as little or as much as you want, but the big difference is that you will be enthralled with your new venture, you will want to work all the hours life allows (and your family) and the

appreciation will come from yourself.

Your life that has passed by (which goes too quick in my book) has gained you a wealth of knowledge that YOU know, that you can pass on to others that need that information.

Information that is valuable and easy for you to convey to others, it's called a niche.

So you see, to all those out there with yearn and the willpower (and we all have it, it's natural) you have an opportunity that no society has had before us. The world is a small village, and the reason for that s.......................... the INTERNET.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

32 Words That Can Change Your Life

We all have ways of testing opportunities that enter our lives.  Some of us just dive right in based on feeling, others walk straight into what they know is right by a gut feeling or intuition.  And if it’s not gut feelings or emotions that are the tests of opportunities, it is the logical mind persuading us to ignore those feelings and emotions and test it with our reality of reason.

Most of us do not have a predetermined strategy for testing opportunities, or even more generally to test the actions we take and the choices we make in our lives.

There is an easier way to determine if our choices we make and the opportunities we receive ‘pass the test’.  This simple 32 word statement of business ethics was first created in the 1930s and used to turn around a failing company.  These four questions were applied by each employee to each and to every minute detail of the company’s workings.  This little list of four questions from Rotary International, a humanitarian business organization, is the most widely printed, translated and reproduced piece of business ethics today:

“Of the things we say, think or do:
1.    Is it the TRUTH?
2.    Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.    Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4.    Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

If we built businesses and our lives based on these very simple 4 questions we would be coming from a place completely the opposite of the competitive mind and the lack mentality.  As you can see, these questions prompt you to choose what is true, fair, and good, making choices that can build friendships and goodwill.  It helps us to see how the choices we make can be beneficial to all concerned. 

Because of our societal influences, we most often are inclined to make choices and act based on a competitive mind.  This comes from the perspective of lack, scarcity, and ultimately greed.

Any opportunity based on the model of competition and lack will simply not pass the test.  Competition promotes strife.  It embodies winning one spot, taking it away from all the other people who want it.  It misleads people to believing there is only one chance for success, when in reality there is plenty for all.

The competitive model encourages people to rely on a source outside of themselves to give them what they need.  This denies the power of their own ability to create what they want.  This narrow focus shows they are choosing to ignore the possibility of creating this opportunity in their own lives, instead of trying to win the spot from millions of others.

This simple testing technique takes us completely out of the competitive mind of greed, scarcity and lack.  It turns our thoughts and choices toward the positive, realizing there are opportunities we can take that can provide increase for all concerned.

I invite you to use these questions to test your actions and opportunities in your life.  If you are seeking opportunity, these questions may help you see things in a different way.  In doing this, perhaps you might find an opportunity in your life which truly allows you to benefit the world, while at the same time reaching whatever your dreams, goals, and desires are.

Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Tips to Succeed in Your Legitimate Home Business

Virtually everyone would jump at the chance to start a legitimate home business so they could work at home and attain financial freedom. But not everyone has what it takes to transform a home business opportunity into financial success. Here are ten tips that will help you achieve your personal and financial goals through running your own legitimate home business.

1. Secure your start-up funds. Any successful business owner will tell you that you need to invest money in your business in order to make money. A home business is no exception. Expect to spend a maximum of $5,000 for a legitimate home business opportunity. If the opportunity is sound, you should be able to get back your initial investment within a matter of days or weeks, but you do need that initial investment.

2. Get high-speed Internet. If you don't already have DSL or a broadband Internet connection, you should have it installed. The best home business opportunities are Internet based, so you need reliable and speedy Internet access.

3. Find the right opportunity. Like every other person, you have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Find a legitimate home business that draws on your strengths. If you aren't a salesperson, for example, stick with a home business that doesn't require you to make cold calls.

4. Get support. Launching your own business can be a daunting prospect, so be sure that you have the support you need. Look to family members and friends for encouragement, and look to the company with which you affiliate to provide you with a sense of community.

5. Take advantage of available resources. Unless you are a seasoned entrepreneur, you probably aren't aware of the nuances of running a business. The home business opportunity you choose should have a number of resources available to you, so take advantage of them. These resources might include a back office set-up, daily or weekly conference calls, and online tutorials.

6. Key in on marketing. The success of any business, whether a brick-and-mortar store or an Internet-based business, is marketing. The bottom line is, if people don't know about your business, you'll never turn a profit. Take full advantage of the marketing tools and advice that you're provided.

7. Set up a wok schedule. The wonderful thing about being able to work at home is the flexibility that comes with it. However, setting your own work hours doesn't mean that you don't have to work. It's helpful - particularly when you're starting out, to schedule your work hours as though you were going in to a "regular job." In doing this, you'll ensure that you put in the time necessary to make your business succeed.

8. Minimize any distractions. If you've never worked from home before, it's easy to divert your attention from the task at hand. While you're working, close the doors of your home office, turn down the ringer on your home phone, and vow not to check your personal email. Forget the laundry and the errands, and concentrate on your business.

9. Keep good records. It may not seem important know, but come tax time, you'll need financial records of all of the expenses and income associated with your home business opportunity. Some people use a spreadsheet, while others use special accounting software. Either way, keep track of everything, and keep your receipts.

10. Have fun! Having the knowledge that you're working toward your financial freedom while being able to work at home in a legitimate home business is incredibly rewarding. Always keep your goals in mind, and have fun creating a stable future for you and your family.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

10 Tips to keep your cleaning staff motivated

In any cleaning operation the cleaning supervisor or company owner is probably the most important person who can motivate cleaning crews to take pride in their work. But how one can motivate, instruct, communicate and lead the cleaning staff?


Keywords:
areal building services, building cleaning maintenance services, janitorial cleaning services, property management services.


Article Body:
In any cleaning operation the cleaning supervisor or company owner is probably the most important person who can motivate cleaning crews to take pride in their work. But how one can motivate, instruct, communicate and lead the cleaning staff?

In every job that I have had from cleaning floors to managing teams across the nation – I have used motivation to drive high performance and results from my teams and myself. 
Motivating and leading is what I love to do.

Often time cleaning company owner face the problems keeping his supervisors and cleaning crew member motivated. Cleaning crew member start outs doing a great job from the first day, but when cleaning company owner starts trusting him, his performance goes downhill.

This makes the company owner to think how can he motivate, instruct, communicate and lead the cleaning staff to have the same interest that one do have as a owner?

Here are some basic tips for the cleaning business owner to motivate their crew members:

1.    Find out the strengths and weaknesses.
2.    Praise them for their “strong” points and reward them publicly.
3.    Identify their weak points and encourage them for improvement.
4.    Give them recognition as things happen.
5.    Provide interactive discussions, fast paced meetings, and up to date equipments.
6.    Emphasize on the importance of taking breaks.
7.    Bring in temporary help to support your team during peak workloads.
8.    Offer competitive salaries and commissions
9.    Maintain a sense of humor and friendly relationship with your staff.
10.    Conduct a staff interest survey to see if they are in the most appropriate position.

Whether you are looking to energize your cleaning supervisor, manager or crew members these 10 tips will work for you. But you must need to realize that no one will ever do things just like you.

Investing a little or more time in motivating your cleaning staff is the raw material of personal energy that makes every person and every organization successful. De-motivation or poor moral is a cancer and can infect a lot of people and yourself too in your organization.

So, keep motivating your employees.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

9 Ways to Increase Business Profits Quickly and Easily

Many business owners who operate a business want as many clients as possible, both those who have just started their business and those who have owned one for a long time. They are, however, not fully utilizing all of their assets as they could be in order to achieve their desired results.

The objective of increasing business profits isn’t only met by attracting more clients.  There are several other reasons why a business doesn't make as much money as it should besides not having enough clients.

Here are a few simple, yet effective business coaching ideas that will help you unlock the hidden profits in business and also some reasons why things aren't operating at full potential as they should:

- Focus more time on the important matters - you may not have enough time available to boost your business, especially if you are the one who is serving clients on a regular basis. In this case, you should consider hiring somebody to help. Running a business takes a lot of work, so let the employees handle the day-to-day issues, while you take care of the important ones such as developing strategies for present and future growth.  Set aside an hour each week to brainstorm ideas, implement strategies and nurture key business relationships.

- Carry out competitive intelligence on other businesses, especially the ones that are successful and emulate them. This doesn’t mean copying whatever they do.  Take the best parts of your competitor’s business and apply them to your own.  It is also very important to keep a close eye on the competition, regardless of the nature of your business. If you are running a restaurant, for example, you should inspect the services, the offers and the prices of the competition. By doing a little research on other businesses, you will be able to reorganize, improve your services, adjust the prices depending on the competition, as well as introduce new offers to your clients. By knowing what your competitors are up to, you will always be one step ahead of them.

- Spend less of your gross profit on overhead and ineffective marketing.  Lease unused space in your office or warehouse.  Track sales as a result of expense.  Employ salespeople on a higher commission scale rather than a high base salary.  Test and measure for effective marketing campaigns before dumping a ton of money on any marketing campaign that is doomed to fail from the start.

- Instead of competing on price, develop an ultimate strategic advantage™.  Emphasize the qualities that make your business stand out and create a whole new positioning in the industry.  Find out what really matters to your clients by surveying them and give it to them. 

- Talk with clients and find out if they are delighted or not.  Ask for suggestions. Dissatisfied customers will not return, while a delighted client will refer others.

- Nurture existing clients.  Instead of focusing on acquiring new customers, concentrate on nurturing and maintaining the clients that you already have! Make sure they are pleased with the services you provide for them and pay attention to their needs, desires and complaints. It is very important to establish and maintain good relations with your clients, as they are the ones who keep your business running.

Many business coaching companies encourage selling more to existing clients because it improves a business bottom line by increasing the lifetime value of a client.  It also brings new clients, attracted by positive experiences from your delighted clients.  Referrals lower your acquisition cost through word-of-mouth marketing and this also adds to business profits.

- Up sell other products/services.  Selling extras is known to be a great method of increasing profits.  For example, grocery stores strategically place many magazines and snacks near the checkout. People browse and buy these while waiting in line raising the average dollar sale with these extras.  McDonald’s is well-known for its up sell before a sale is completed by simply asking a simple question to add on more products (complete meal, fries, sundae, or apple pie).

- Increase your advertising - advertising is expensive but if things work well, the money will definitely return to you. You can also try to make the best use you can out of free advertising. Get the most out of promotions and limited offers, especially around holidays.

- Seek out business coaching advice. Having a comprehensive set of business strategies can help you further, by providing you with new efficient methods of increasing the profits of your business.  To operate a business effectively long-term, most businesses will have to deploy several strategies in order to diversify their sources of leads and maximize their profitability through smart marketing, team building, and business process management.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

10 Reasons Why People Don't Buy From You

1. You don't make people feel safe when they order. Remind people that they are ordering through a secure server. Tell them you won't sell their e-mail address and all their information will be kept confidential.

2. You don't make your ad copy attractive. Your ad lists features instead of benefits. The headline does not attract at your target audience. You don't list any testimonials or guarantees included in your ad.

3. You don't remind people to come back and visit. People usually don't purchase the first time they visit. The more times they visit your site, the greater the chance they will buy. The most effective way is to give them a free subscription to your e-zine.

4. You don't let people know anything about your business. They will feel more comfortable if they know who they are buying from. Publish a section called "About Us" on your web site. Include your business history, profile of employees, contact information etc.

5. You don't give people as many ordering options as possible. Accept credit cards, checks, money orders, and other forms of electronic payments. Take orders by phone, e-mail, web site, fax, mail, etc.

6. You don't make your web site look professional. You want to have your own domain name. Your web site should be easy to navigate through. The graphics should be related to the theme of your web site.

7. You don't let people read your ad before they get your freebie. When you use free stuff to lure people to your web site include it below your ad copy or on another web page. If you list the freebie above your ad they may never look to see what you're selling.

8. You don't attract the target audience that would buy your product or service. A simple way to do this is to survey your existing customers to see what attracted them to buy. This information will help you improve your target marketing and advertising.

9. You don't test and improve your ad copy. There are many people who write an ad copy and never change it. You have to continually test and improve your ad copy to get the highest possible response rate.

10. You don't give people any urgency to buy now. Many people are interested in your product but they put off buying it till later and eventually forget about it. Entice them to buy now with a freebie or discount and include a deadline date when the offer ends.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

9 Ways to Improve Staff Morale

Staff turnover costs American companies millions of dollars every year.  The cost of lost work days, interviewing candidates, reviewing resumes, checking references, filing paperwork and training the new staff member is much more expensive, in most cases, than creating a work environment where staff members are happy and want to stay. If you're worried about waning staff morale in your company, here are some things you can do to keep employees happy and productive.

Give bonuses.  Even a little bonus can mean a lot.  Bonuses improve morale and increase productivity.  Explore the possibility of different bonus structures including:  holiday bonuses, birthday week bonuses, sales bonuses, hire date anniversary bonuses, and education bonuses.

Plan a staff retreat.  Time to relax and get to know your colleagues in a social environment improves teamwork and again, productivity.  However, many people won't want to spend a weekend away from their families even if you put them up in a nice hotel.  Think one-day staff retreats twice a year.  Close the office on a work day and spend the day at a spa, golfing, at a theme park, going to dinner and a movie, hiking, kayaking, or at the zoo.

Pay for education.  Most community colleges and computer centers offer relatively inexpensive classes to help people improve computer skills, management and leadership skills, or language skills.  If an employee is willing to spend time taking one of these classes, reward him/her by reimbursing part of the tuition or giving them a completion bonus.  The desire to increase education and learn new skills is an attribute of a good employee. 

Involve their families.  An annual holiday party or summer picnic is a great way to bring employees together along with their families.  Even a barbeque at the park with a game of softball or water balloons can be a lot of fun.  During the holidays, rent an ice skating rink or get everyone together to volunteer at a soup kitchen.
Buy new chairs and keyboard trays.  Let your employees know that their comfort and safety is your concern.  Most employees won't spend over $100 on a keyboard tray, but you could.  And who wouldn't appreciate a top-of-the-line ergonomically-correct keyboard tray that adjusts for height and tilt with the touch of a finger?  We found great deals at Versa Products

Have casual days.  Casual Fridays are nice, but so are special casual days once a month.  Let people come into work in jeans and comfortable shoes and they'll be in a better mood.
Free kraft services. Most employers provide coffee for their staff but the staff end up making it.  Bring in healthy snacks once a week like a fruit basket, individual mini salads, or trays of bagels.  You can also stock up on Stash or Tazo teas, biscotti, yogurt, granola bars and those 100-calorie bags of chips, cookies, and pretzels.  Having lunch delivered once every couple of weeks is also a nice gesture and employees will appreciate the money they save from having to buy lunch out.  Another fun event is to have the employees make lunch once a month.  Alternate between the men and the women, different divisions of the company, etc.  Make sure even upper management gets involved.  Staff will learn new recipes and techniques from other employees and they'll have fun.  The rest will enjoy eating!

Flexible schedules.  If possible, give staff schedules that accommodate their needs and reduce commute time.
Gym memberships.  Paying for their gym memberships or paying a Pilates instructor to come once a week after work is a nice way to encourage employees to stay fit.


Friday, November 9, 2012

9 Characteristics That Millionaire And Businesspeople Have in Common

In May 2005, Forbes magazine reported that there were 691 billionaires in the world. 1400 people across the world turn into millionaires every day. Want to become one of them? Of course you do. Everyone wants the freedom to do business in the way they choose. There is so much power in running your own business – and having a business that runs itself, which for many people is the ultimate goal.

Making money is not the only goal of becoming an internet millionaire – it’s about freedom. Many people across the world are gifted with experiencing this freedom everyday.  How can you become one of these people? What kind of life, and business, do you want to run? Would you like to be able to check your email from your private plane? These are the kinds of goals many people have in mind when they begin to forge ahead with their business ideas. But the truth is that the rich and the successful – the millionaires off and online – have about nine characteristics in common, not that different from a lot of people we all know. Most of them exhibit some or all of these. The truth is that we all have the potential for greatness – if we can train ourselves to keep this in mind as we go about our business day.

1. They don’t blame.  Successful businesspeople don't blame others. Instead of making excuses for bad outcomes, or reassigning responsibility to others, they take time to learn from their own mistakes.

2. They are decisive. Millionaire-types have a vision. They take quick, decisive action aligned with that vision. They’re action oriented, always pushing forward toward their goals.

3. They trust their intuition. If something seems like it’s not quite right, they trust that instinct. If an opportunity excites them and sounds like a great idea, they go for it.

4. They are singly focused on their CORE business.  Successful entrepreneurs may be inspired by ideas, but they always remain true to their vision. They focus on opportunities that are aligned with their business’s purpose. If you sell retail products on eBay, don’t try real estate investing the next day. They don’t lose focus. They may sell their products on eBay, write articles, focus on joint ventures, and go to marketing seminars, but all of their efforts, and FOCUS, help them move toward their main goals.

5. They are marketing focused. Millionaires, including such giants as Bill Gates, understand the importance of building on their core business. They hire people with specialties in marketing. They work hard at building their email lists, gaining exposure, and are constantly looking for ways to reaching a wider audience.  If you want to build a decent income, you sell products and services.  If you want to be insanely rich, then you create and control markets. The key to your business, and creating phenomenal success, is marketing.

6. They understand the importance of continuing education. Successful businesspeople are always learning and drawing from other people’s experiences. They listen to how other people have achieved their success, especially if these people have expertise in another industry. They are constantly learning about new approaches and strategies, and thinking about how they can apply it to their own business.  

7. They are not afraid of making mistakes. Any big company online will tell you that they’ve had their share of downfalls, even such giants as eBay or Craig’s List. Mistakes are building blocks for success – by making mistakes, you learn what works, and what doesn’t. You don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going. We all make mistakes, and one of the most powerful things you can do is glean feedback from them. Feedback is a great way to learn from your customers and colleagues. You need to look at feedback and take it with a grain of salt - it helps you learn and grow. See your mistakes as learning lessons

8. They model their business for success. Internet millionaires model other people, strategies, and systems. They constantly look for models of success in everyday life and think about how to incorporate these lessons into their own strategy. They even look at their competition for answers. Whatever niche you're in, subscribe to some industry newsletters, buy their products, and learn HOW they create success.

9. They build a team to rely on. No matter what stage you are in with your business, you’ve got to realize that you simply cannot do it all. You can’t be an expert in everything.  You want to create a great team of people. How can you find them? Go to seminars and workshops. Hone your networking skills. You’ll often find that like minded people that are out there constantly learning and attending, seminars and workshops. Getting rich is a team sport.  You have to have people that are cheering you on, encouraging your success.

These are some inherent characteristics of business millionaires. Can you apply them to your business and your life, too? Of course you can. If you can keep these principles in mind, you’ve got the millionaire mindset. No, you aren’t going to get there overnight. Making a million dollars takes some time. You can’t make a million dollars if you haven’t made your first hundred. So focus on the first hundred, first thousand, and first hundred thousand. Thinking this way goes a long way toward your goals – finding success, gaining riches, and living the kind of life you want to live.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

7 Ways to Stop "Selling" & Start Building Relationships

Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder to keep us from backsliding into old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down the wrong path with potential clients.
New Thinking = New Results

Maybe it's time to take a different approach. Maybe we need to seriously analyze our sales thinking so we can identify why we're not making more sales. Take a look at the table below and thinkabout your current selling mindset. How would your selling behaviors change if you changed your sales thinking?

Traditional Sales Mindset Vs Unlock The Game™ Mindset:
1. Always deliver a strong sales pitch. Vs Stop the sales pitch -- and start a conversation.
2. Your central objective is always to close the sale. Vs Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit.
3. When you lose a sale, it's usually at the end of the sales process. Vs When you lose a sale, it's usually right at the beginning of the sales process.
4. Rejection is a normal part of selling. Vs Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection. Rejection should never happen.
5. Keep chasing every potential client until you get a yes or a no. Vs Never chase a potential client -- you'll only trigger more sales pressure.
6. When a prospect offers objections, challenge and/or counter them. Vs When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them.
7. If a potential client challenges the value of your product or service, you must defend yourself and explain the value. Vs Never defend yourself or what you have to offer -- it only creates more sales pressure.

Let's take a closer look at these central Unlock The Game™ concepts so you can begin to open up your current sales thinking and become more effective in your selling activities:

1) Stop the sales pitch -- and start a conversation.
When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves. If you don't know what this is, ask your current customers why they purchased your solution. One example of an opening phrase might be, "I'm just calling to see if you'd be open to some different ideas related to lowering the risk of any computer downtime you may be having in your company?" Notice that you are not pitching your solution with this opening phrase.

2) Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit.
Let go of trying to "close the sale" or "get the appointment"-- and you will discover that you don't have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward. If you simply focus your conversation on problems that you can help potential clients solve, and if you don't jump the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you will find that potential clients will actually bring you into their buying process.

3) When you lose a sale, it's usually right at the beginning of the sales process.
If you believe that you lose sales because you make a mistake at the end of the process, take a look back at how you began the relationship. Did you start with a presentation? Did you use traditional sales language like, "We have a solution that I believe you really need" or "Others in your industry have bought our solution, so you should consider it as well"?
When you use traditional sales language, potential clients can't help but label you with the negative stereotype of "salesperson." This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to you from a position of trust. And if trust isn't established at the outset, honest communication about the problems they're trying to solve, and how you might be able to help them, becomes impossible too.

4) Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection. Rejection should never happen.
Rejection happens for only one reason: Something you said, as subtle as it might have been, triggered a defensive reaction from your potential client. Yes, something you said. To eliminate rejection, simply shift your mindset so that you give up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, everything you say and do should stem from the basic mindset that you are there to help potential clients. This makes you able to ask, "Would you be open to talking about issues you might be having affecting your business?"

5) Never chase a potential client--you'll only trigger more sales pressure.
"Chasing" potential clients has always been considered normal and necessary, but it's rooted in the macho selling image that, "If you don't keep chasing, it means you're giving up -- and that means you're a failure." This is dead wrong! Instead of chasing potential clients, tell them that you would like to avoid anything that resembles the old cat-and-mouse chasing game by scheduling a time for your next chat.

6) When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them.
Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on "overcoming objections." These tactics only put more sales pressure on potential clients and also fail to explore or understand the truth behind what the potential client is saying. When you hear, "We don't have the budget," "Send me information," or "Call me in a few months," do you think you're hearing the truth, or do you suspect that these are polite evasions designed to end the conversation?
Rather than trying to counter objections, you can uncover the truth by replying, "That's not a problem" -- no matter what clients are "objecting" to -- and then using gentle, dignified language that invites them to reveal the truth about their situation.

7) Never defend yourself or what you have to offer -- it only creates more sales pressure.
When a potential client says, "Why should I choose you over your competition?," your first, instinctive reaction is probably to start defending your product or service because you want to convince them to buy. But what do you think goes through your potential client's mind at that point?
Something like, "This 'salesperson' is trying to sell me on why what they have to offer is better, but I hate feeling as if I'm being sold." Rather than defending yourself, try suggesting that you aren't going to try to convince them of anything because that would only create sales pressure. Instead, ask them about the key problems that they are trying to solve, and then explore how your product or service might solve those problems --without ever trying to persuade.. Let potential clients feel that they can choose you without feeling "sold."

You too can improve your sales effectiveness if you are open minded and willing to try a new and more natural selling approach.

Monday, November 5, 2012

7 Ways to keep Customers Coming Back to Your Site


You've built a website. Wonderful! The next question to ask is this: Once you get a visitor's attention, how can you bring them back?

Of course, you don't want every visitor returning, but rather customers and potential customers. Articles and other content published on your site should be relevant, interesting and well written. Unique content will give your site a better chance of reaching targeted visitors through search engines.

Here are seven ways to keep customers coming back to your website:

1. Run short-term specials. Internet users love a bargain, and sales are a sure way to capture attention. Use short sales periods to motivate people to act — giving them three months to make a decision will just help them avoid making the decision to buy. Let users know that the items on offer are always changing to encourage them to visit your site regularly. And get creative with your specials. For example, consider giving away a free gift rather than just cutting the price.

2. Make your site topical. Internet users often look online to learn more about interesting topics in the news. Creating a link between your business and a hot news story can be a great way to attract visitors to your site. This is a common tactic used by public relations firms to get media coverage, and could work equally well for you.

3. Update information regularly. Why would a user want to return to a website that rarely changes? Keeping your information up-to-date sends a message to visitors that your company is current and serious about doing business.

4. Hold a competition. This is a great way to get visitors excited about your website and what you do. Consider asking users for feedback, so that it doubles as a market research tool. Prizes don't need to be extravagant, but should be fun and appropriate for your target market.

5. Send out an e-mail newsletter. This popular promotional tactic is an effective one. Don't expect to build a list of thousands of subscribers, but focus instead on building a high quality list of targeted readers. When sending a newsletter, keep it short and informative. Promotions are expected, but don't overdo it.

6. Join niche e-mail groups. If you have the time, participating in a targeted e-mail list is a great way to connect with potential customers and keep reminding them about your business. Participation in a group works best when your company services a niche market. For example, the owner of a pet store might join a mailing list for pet owners. By participating as an expert, the storeowner is able to promote his business to a community of prospective clients.

7. Know your customers. An understanding of the needs and goals of your clients is the best way to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective. Statistics and tracking reports will help you gauge the interests of visitors to your website. Website usage statistics will help you understand how people come to your site, and what they do once they have arrived. Are they finding what they want, or do certain pages on your site trigger them to leave? Was the contest you ran successful? This understanding will help you hone your online marketing efforts.

Friday, November 2, 2012

7 Steps To Achieving Joint Venture Projects

Joint Ventures are considered an essential part of growing your business and becoming successful. However, many people looks at JV’s as a fearful or overwhelming idea.  If you follow some steps and have some preparations together then you can move forward confidently.

First, before approaching anyone, do you have your business set up and do you know what you want to do a joint venture on.  Many of the people that you approach may already be receiving several offers, so preparation is the key.

Then decide on who you want to have JV’s with.  If you are not sure, you can do some research to help you find some potential people.  The details on searching can be an article in its self, but to highlight you can:
Look at what your business is; what other businesses would complement yours.  Then search the web for them.  You can also ask around at forums and newsgroups and ask for referrals. Once you have done that carefully, pick a handful that you would like to try.

Look at their websites. Ask yourself, what is it about them that I like and why would I want to do business with them.  What about their site stands out for me and that I could comment on.

Is there a report or course that I could try get to know them better. Is there a product that I can try? Is this even the right person for my JV? When you understand the other person, not only will it help you approach them, you will also be able to know if indeed you could recommend them to your list.

Then decide which of them you would want to work with. Now you can approach them. Think about what your goal is for the JV. Yes, there are the thousands of dollars it can bring, the free advertising and leveraging each other’s resources, but what is the ultimate goal for each JV.

What would your answer be when the potential JV partners says, "So, what do you have in mind?" Is this JV about writing and promoting a book, starting a contest, creating a product or sharing advertising costs, just to name a few.

While you are thinking about your answer, you need to realize that <b>the potential JV partner is thinking, WIIFM.  </b>(What’s in it for me).

Why should he or she pick you over (or as well as) the other people that are also approaching them. Think about how this will help them. Do you have a large list, or contacts that they may want? Do you have stats to show how your plan will help them?

If they say no, and some will for many reasons, go on.  They may already have too many things on the go right now. Ask if you can contact them in the future.

There are also different rules and viewpoints on the initial contact. I have heard some people say to phone, as they get so many emails that the call would stand out. Others have said, don’t presume to phone and interrupt them when you haven’t already met them. 

There is a combination of things that you could try. For example, send an email that you wish to call. Send a letter via the post office. I have even seen people send requests by an express service and have included a number of different trinkets, samples and attention getters.  You may need to experiment, as each person is different.

Ultimately, I believe that you should show that you have taken the time to get to know them on some level and know what their products are.  When people feel that you respect them and their product or service, this can go a lot farther than being seen as just a source of your revenue.

Ultimately, plan, prepare and then take action and you will find yourself not only attracting great JV partners but also making good friends along the way.

"I’ve always found it very important to do your homework first and then talk."
–Irwin M. Jacobs, Qualcomm Inc. CEO-

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

7 No Cost Tips to Market Your Business

Marketing a business can be fun, exciting and creative. It can also be very frustrating and expensive if one doesn’t know what outcome they are looking for or how to evaluate cost effective methods of marketing.

Over the years people have come to know me for my unique ability to develop low cost and no cost strategies to market and promote a business, product or service. Strategies that have realized incredible returns.

Some of my successes have included:

- Before my last book was published I pre-sold over $8,000 in books
- Over 250 people registered for a recent seminar in less than 2 weeks and the cost to promote was under $25
- One company used my strategies for a career expo and made over $180,000 in consulting fees
- One speaker sold over $23,000 in product sales back of the room at a two hour seminar with strategies outlined in my program

I don’t share this to impress anyone, rather to impress upon you when using the right strategies for your market, you can realize some incredible results.

People have also come to know me as someone who is a stickler when it comes to putting systems in place. My marketing successes are a direct result of the systems I have implemented.

With a bit of forethought, planning and desire, you can successfully market your business in a very effective manner. Below are seven proven strategies sure to increase visibility, leads and sales.

1. Business Cards
Business cards are often one of the most underutilized tools in one’s marketing.
Use the front and back of your business card to gain full benefit. Depending on your market you can put some very valuable information on the back such as a sports schedule, emergency numbers, or special dates people want to remember.

Keep some in your wallet, your automobile, on your desk, and some at home. Be sure to carry them with you wherever you go and be willing to hand them out as opportunity presents itself.

Creatively distribute your card. When you eat out you can leave one with the tip.
If you borrow a library book, use one as a book mark. Hand them to clerks in stores who may know other people who could use your product or service.

When someone gives you their business card be sure to enter their information in your database. Send them a short note or email within 48 hours of meeting them to keep your name fresh in their mind.

2. Send a picture
A great way to keep your name fresh in a customer’s mind is to send them a picture of when they purchased a product or service from you.

Put a picture of a buyer’s auto purchase in a beautiful calendar. Likely, the proud owner of the vehicle will display the calendar for the next 365 days.

For specialty gift shops, when a customer makes a substantial purchase, have a picture taken with the shop owner. Frame the picture and send it to the customer.
Chances are very good the picture will be displayed proudly for friends and family to see.

A dentist who specializes in smile makeovers can easily arrange to have a professional makeup artist and photographer capture the patient’s beautiful new smile. No doubt the patient will be more than happy to show others their new look.

3. Associations
Associations particular to your market are a great resource for marketing. There are associations specific to virtually any industry, job type or business. A quick web search will likely show you how much is available.

A major opportunity within many organizations is the chance to network. Additionally, to make presentations. Along with presentations come publications.
Often, when you do a presentation, you will get a mention in the association newsletter, their Ezine and/or on their website.

In many cases, when an organization has a newsletter or Ezine, they welcome the presenter writing a press announcement for them. It saves them time and often assures you have a better chance of the information making it into the publication.

They may also welcome you writing an article for their publication or website.
This lends itself to pre-presentation visibility. Additionally, you will position yourself as an expert and increase credibility.

Most organizations have the following opportunities that can help you to gain visibility and do some very effective marketing:

-Newsletters
-Internet listings
-Links to you website
-Discounted advertising rates
-Networking opportunities
-Business referral services
-Special recognition events
-Education seminars
-Business and membership directories

In many cases you will need to be a member of the association to take advantage of the multiple marketing opportunities. In other cases membership is not necessary.

4. Committee Involvement
Committee involvement is a great way to give back to the association or community while building visibility for you and your business. In some cases, you may even want to get involved in a committee where you have little experience or knowledge. This will give you an opportunity to stretch yourself and meet and network with individuals you may not have otherwise had the chance to meet.

5. Contests and drawings
Contests are a favorite for many businesses such as restaurants or those that have high foot traffic. Contests are a great way to build your database quickly.
You are generating very hot leads when you have a contest with people who have already frequented your place of business. The key though is to do back -end marketing. Far too many businesses hold contests, get lots of names and do nothing with them. In this case, it is a complete waste of time to hold a contest.
You can advertise a contest to gain new foot traffic in your place of business.
Trade show booths are a great place to hold a contest. Pre-show marketing helps to generate traffic at your booth. Invite people to stop by booth # _____  (whatever your booth is) to enter to win. Creative contests can also generate free publicity.

6. Cross-promoting
Join with other companies who have products or services that compliment yours and promote each other. Let’s say you have a massage business. You could partner with a candle company to sell their candles to your massage clients. They can give out coupons for your massage business. Or the candle company can partner with a gift basket company. Cross-promoting is only limited by your imagination.

This can considerably cut down the cost of business promotion and allow each business to use promotion techniques that might be too expensive to implement alone.

7. Bonuses
Secure special offers from various businesses who want to share a similar market as you. When a customer buys a minimum amount they receive a bonus packet with the various offers from the other vendors. This is a win/win all the way around. The other vendors gain visibility, you have something extra to offer you customers and the customers get incredible value for their purchase.

Be aware of who you cross-promote and joint venture with. You want someone who will be equally committed to a campaign.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Your Work at Home Business

Whether you're just starting out with your work at home business or you've had a home business for many years, you'll need to stay motivated if you're going to see continual success. Everyone goes through a home business slump occasionally, but it's those who stay motivated who will reach their goals. Here are five simple ways you can stay motivated in your work at home business.

1. Work from a List

Create a daily, weekly and even monthly list of things to do in your business. This sounds so simple, but yet a "to do" list is a powerful tool in helping you accomplish home business tasks. Prioritize your list each day so you can do those things that are most important first. If you have tasks that you absolutely dread, then put those tasks at the very top of the list if possible. This will give you a free mind for the remainder of the day to concentrate on the tasks you enjoy.

A list can consist of many things, from promotion steps to phone calls to make, and even a stack of papers that must be organized on your desk. Most successful business people create a list and then check off items as they are completed. This gives a sense of accomplishment throughout the day as you complete tasks.

2. Search for New Opportunities during Slow Business Times

Having a slow time in your work at home business? Don't despair. And, whatever you do, don't go apply for a job at the local fast food chain - just yet! Stay motivated by seeking out other home business opportunities that may tie into your current business.

Perhaps you offer a product or service that sells very slowly during the spring months. You could seek out related products or services that would be popular during those months to offset the other in profits. This will give you a chance to make money and enjoy multiple streams of income year round!

3. Take an Online Training Course for Better Education

Educate yourself through online training courses related to your field so you can learn how to maximize your skills and profits. There are many training courses available online today in the fields of web design, graphic design, online marketing, real estate, travel, office skills, medical, insurance, and finance.

With online training, you choose only those courses that will benefit you and your work at home business. You can usually take the courses at your own leisure from home, and will pay far less than you would for a college course.

4. Expand Marketing Avenues

Don't settle for less. Use the wisdom and experience of others who have been in business a while to expand your marketing avenues. You might consider reading after top marketers to get Internet marketing ideas. Also, there are many ways to promote your work at home business off-line.

To stay motivated, always test your efforts to see what results they bring. This is far more exciting than paying for ads and never knowing if they work or not!

5. Network with Others

Another way to stay motivated during a business slump is to network with others. Find others in related fields who can offer advice and encouragement about your business. A work at home business can be lonely at times because you never leave the house! Finding others online and off-line who do the same thing will give you an outlet for those lonely days.

Use these tips to stay motivated in your work at home business. You deserve success, so don't give up!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

5 Ways to Incorporate Network Marketing with Your Home-Based Business Opportunity

Many people are looking for a new business opportunity to make money at home. The Internet has made it possible to market products and services all over the world. This has created a huge potential for individuals to be involved in their own home business.

Some people work at home for themselves, providing services to others, or selling their own exclusive products. There are business opportunities in MLM, and network marketing that allow a person to earn money while selling for someone else. Either way, it depends on the ambition and dedication of the person involved. Any business can become a success with hard work and a product that is easy to sell.

Finding a Business Opportunity

Network marketing is about selling and dispersal. You want to get your product known to prospective customers and have it distributed so that it creates more sales for you. By investing a small sum of money, you can begin to make money and work from home selling your own products or products for another company.

Promote Your Business

The first and best form of advertising and marketing is word of mouth. Whenever a person finds a new product, or a new store, new doctor, or a new restaurant, they tell everyone they know about it. This stirs up interest and encourages people to try something new. If you have a product or service to sell, the ones who use it will become your best form of advertisement. Many businesses depend on this positive form of network marketing.

Secondly, to make your product known to more people, try printing business cards to hand out everywhere you go. When you go to the grocery store, church, school meetings or other everyday places, hand your cards out with a friendly smile. This will spread your name and increase your business opportunity.

Thirdly, you can promote your products through your own website or by emailing people from related websites. The Internet is also useful for marketing by submitting articles related to your products to other websites.

Fourthly, another effective network marketing tool is a send-out card. These keep you in touch with your clients and customers by using a more personal approach. Sending an email is easy and cheap but it does not seem as personal as a card addressed to them

Fifthly, network marketing is not just about making a one-time sale. You need to generate new sales and keep your customers coming back for repeat business. A business opportunity that enables you to add products or sell multiple products to your previous customers will give you a solid foundation for building a steady yearly income.

Following up on your customers will build a relationship that will develop confidence in your home business. By thanking your customers for their business and staying in touch, you show them how valuable their business is to you.

Build Your Home Business

The success of your home business will depend on your dedication and hard work. You don't have to start out with a lot of overhead expenses and huge facilities. By investing a few hours a week, you can slowly build your business and not be overwhelmed by debt. Start working today to build up your home business and enjoy fulfillment and financial security.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

5 Tips To Successful Joint Ventures

When businesses think of team building, business owners usually associate it with building their company’s internal workforce into a lean-mean fighting machine.  Team building, however, should be extended to include external relationships such as those with other businesses.  Enter joint ventures or JVs for short.

Joint ventures generally are business partnerships established between two or more parties (individuals, business groups, companies, corporations) for the purposes of expanding the business and achieving merits by joining forces and working as a team. The parties involved in joint venture agreements complement each other, leverage each other’s assets assets, compensate each other’s weaknesses, and at times equally share risks.

Less than 5% of businesses actually use joint ventures effectively and most don’t even use it at all.  In order to get the most out of joint ventures correctly, multiple factors such as choosing who to partner with, approaching potential partners correctly, negotiating a win-win deal for all parties involved, and having a well-coordinated execution need to be taken into consideration.

There are several types of joint ventures. Big companies may join forces to become even more powerful and thus dominate the market, while small companies may team up to build a stronger presence in their market niche in order to fend off bigger, resource-rich companies. JVs can also be used to gain access into foreign markets. Foreign companies often form joint ventures with indigenous companies that are already present on the market, but lack capital or financing to truly take advantage of the market potential. Foreign companies can bring money, new technologies and competitive strategies into a joint venture deal, while benefiting from the relationships and the brand of the domestic company.

These complementary partnerships benefit all the businesses involved if set up correctly with the right partner.  Here’s a powerful but simple example of a JV that many businesses can take advantage of to grow their small business fast.  It is a highly efficient method of increasing business profits by teaming up with another partner whose business is non-competitive and offers a highly valuable asset, a highly responsive client list that would be interested in your products or services. By tapping into this hidden goldmine, small businesses can save thousands of dollars in marketing expense to reach their target clientele while achieving the goal of boosting the bottom line.  The business offering the vehicle in which to reach these clientele, the client list, benefits from offering complementary products and services that it does not sell and makes a cut of the sales generated from marketing to this list.

Here are 5 tips for joint venture success:

- Choose your partners carefully.  A joint venture has greater chance of being successful if partners have an excellent reputation. An essential component to good team building is having the right partners.  They must be trustworthy and have a high level of integrity.

Joint ventures involve extensive team building effort because it is a relationship between two parties and if the relationship is to last, it must be nurtured and kept going.  Both parties must be able to trust each other and deliver on each other’s promises.  To find the right partner, perform solid market research and approach only businesses you would want to do business with long term.  If you want to form a partnership with a certain company, make sure that its business practices are in-line with yours. It would be very difficult for you to form a reliable team with people who lack motivation or professionalism, so you should look for well-trained, open-minded potential partners.

- Know what to expect from the beginning of any JV relationship.  Know from the start what your goals are, what you want to accomplish, and see if your goals are attuned with the partner.  Each company should come up with a marketing plan and clearly specify what is expected from their potential partners.

Plan your strategy ahead of time and make sure you cover all the legal aspects stipulated in your joint venture contract, like resource availability and management, special allocations, mutual gains, deductions and income issues. Stick to the business development plan and establish new priorities and goals as you progress. By efficiently managing resources and by maintaining a good, competitive business policy, you will secure the longevity and the success of your business.

- Draft proposals like mini-sales letters.  Compose a professional proposal letter explaining the advantages of the joint venture in a convincing way. Keep it short, clear, concise and coherent while briefly introducing your business and why they should do business with you.  Remember to tune in to the radio station your prospective JV partner listens to, WIIFM or What’s In It For Me.

If you want to propose a joint venture to anyone you have to give them a really good reason why they should do it.  Otherwise, they will most likely decline your proposal. Big, successful companies receive many joint venture offers so you have to stand out. You should educate them about the advantages and the benefits of choosing you over the others. If this partner happens to be a dream partner, stay persistent as persistence demonstrates sincerity and determination to make it work for the potential JV partner.

- Avoid shooting too high with your offers.  If you are a smaller business, do not target your offer to a large company first as it will most likely be thrown away.  Instead of aiming too high at this point, establish successful joint ventures with small companies in order to get noticed by the bigger, powerful ones.  Establish a reputation as a solid business owner who knows how to turn joint ventures into gold for their partners.  Businesses naturally gravitate towards successful businesses.  Remember to toot your own horn by announcing JVs through press releases and/or articles in trade magazines.  As your business expands, the competition will quickly become aware of your presence, and there is a chance that powerful companies might come up with proposals of joining forces with your company. 

- Be honest and open with all business transactions always.  Once you have negotiated the details of the joint venture, the actual work begins. In order to keep things going, a lot of trust, understanding and expertise are needed for ongoing team building on both sides.  Maintain an open dialogue and always address issues upfront before it becomes a bigger problem that threatens to break up the partnership.

These are the basic rules for joint ventures and it is ultimately up to you to see whether a deal will be successful.  Learn with each joint venture deal to improve on the next deal.  Deals can only be made if you go after them.  With lots of hard work, you’ll develop enough expertise to be a joint venture expert and take your business to the next level.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

5 Tips for Estimating Your Start-up Costs

Before you take out a second mortgage, use these rules to figure out the realistic costs of setting up a business.

Have a Solid Plan — Then Change It
Most business start-up stories say that you have to have a business plan. And you do. But that's not the beginning and end of figuring out your start-up costs.
Jeff Shuman, who directs entrepreneurial studies at Bentley College, says, "The conventional wisdom is that an entrepreneur sees an opportunity, comes up with a business plan to capitalise on it, determines the capital that needs to be raised, raises the capital and then applies it to building the business described in the business plan."
There's one major problem with that model, says Shuman. It all hinges on getting the business right the first time, and that doesn't often happen. "In reality, it's likely that some of your initial assumptions are pretty good and others aren't going to be worth the paper they're written on," he says.
Shuman and others say that figuring out your start-up costs means regularly reviewing your assumptions and changing your initial model. Writing a plan is good because it forces you to write down everything you are going to need to start your business.
But that initial plan is likely to change repeatedly as you learn new things and incorporate them into the plan.

Be Willing to Pull Back
It's tempting to add up everything you need for the full-fledged business you imagine, and decide it's what you need to start out.
But pulling back and looking for a smaller model can give you a way to get started while also saving money. Shuman uses the example of someone who calculates the total cost of starting a retail business in a local shopping centre.
"You could start that way and write a business plan based on that amount," he says. "But maybe you'd be better off renting a stand and testing what the demand is for your products at that location."
This consumer testing reduces your initial start-up costs. The result is that the initial cycle of your business is dedicated not so much to generating profits as to generating information. "With this, you can fund your business on a cycle-by-cycle basis," Shuman says. "When you go for the second cycle and for expanding your business, the numbers are now based not on focus groups or surveys but on real-world experience."

Calculate Prices and Time Correctly
Calculating your initial cash flow is part of figuring out your start-up costs. It's an area where businesses are sometimes less optimistic than they should be. "Small business owners may under-price their product or service, thinking they have to come in at the lowest price point to compete," says Barbara Bird, who chairs the business management program at an American university. "They don't necessarily need to do that."

Correctly Estimate Your Start-up Time
Yes, when beginning a business, time can be money. Let's say you're going to have fixed costs such as a monthly lease. If you have to make improvements to a space before you can actually open for business, those fixed costs are going to be additional start-up costs until you can actually open for business. I've watched many entrepreneurs draw up a timeline for their ventures and get tripped up on the safety and inspection requirements imposed by local agencies.
For that reason, I think one of the first places a prospective new business owner should go is to the local government planning or license department. Construction permits and inspections can push a prospective opening date back by months. If you fail to take into account the cost of this time, you could be short of working capital right at the start.

Be Realistic About the Cost of Money
Many small business owners finance their ventures by running up big balances on their personal credit cards. Others tap the equity in their homes.
But self-financing isn't a practical option for larger ventures. Tom Emerson, who directs the entrepreneurship centre at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, says start-ups should figure in the cost of capital when determining initial expenses and cash flow. "The cost is usually based on what the interest would be, were that cash invested in something with similar risk on the market" Emerson says. "It's usually a figure that is a few percentage points or more above the prime rate."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Money Online

There are many ways to make money online today, and thousands of people are earning a substantial income from the comfort of their own homes. How are they making money? With a successful Internet business, of course!

Perhaps you want to earn a part-time income from home or start a full-time Internet business. Maybe you're a mom who wants to stay home while earning a living. Or, maybe you're sick and tired of the "rat race" and want to settle down with your own home business. Whatever the case, you can choose one of the sure-fire methods of making money online below to get started.

1. Offer Services That Other Web Business Owners Will Need

Many people earn money online while offering services that other Web business owners need on a continual basis. These services include Web hosting, domain name registration, web design, and content writing. Every new website must have a Web host, domain name, web designer and content. These services are available everywhere online, but fortunately, there's always room for a few more! Online users are starting new Internet businesses every day. So, the potential for making money online with these services is tremendous.

You can start from scratch with these businesses or find a company that allows you to resell its products and services. For instance, instead of setting up your own servers to become a Web host, you can become a reseller of hosting services and share a part of the profits. With this setup, your primary job is to promote the service. The parent Web host company does the rest.

2. Expand Your Present Business

If you already own a business, you can expand it by using a website. If your company has its own website, your customers can go online to learn more about you, buy your products or ask questions. It's a great way to advertise and build customer trust. Also, you can mention your website address in all your print, television and radio advertising to maximize results.

3. Start a "Niche" Internet Business

Many people start small Internet businesses that reflect who they are or what they enjoy. The word "niche" took on a whole new meaning when the Internet came into existence. A niche business can be anything you want it to be - an online flower shop, online classic car club, online magazine, online clothing store, online shopping mall, online photo stock agency, online candy store, online quilt outlet, or an online shoe store. Choose something you enjoy doing and find a way to build a small Internet business around that theme. And, don't let the word "small" fool you. Owning a small business is a great way to make money on the Internet!

4. Earn Money Online Through Auctions

Don't have time to manage a website? Try online auctions. You can sell just about anything at eBay and other Internet auction sites, but be sure you choose a market that has a strong demand. Some items sell well through auctions, some don't. Also, be sure to choose a product with a high profit margin so you don't lose money each time you list your items.

5. Provide Internet Marketing Services

Online company owners are always looking for effective ways to promote their websites. If you're a savvy Internet marketer, this business offers a tremendous money opportunity for you. You can earn money online while helping others increase their profits. Internet marketing today involves search engine promotion and SEO, Web content and optimization for article pages, pay-per-click campaigns, keyword research, press releases, banner and pop-up advertising, e-zine and mailing lists, and link exchanges. You can specialize in one of these areas or offer marketing techniques for all categories.

These are five proven ways to make money online. Each of these opportunities can provide a steady stream of income if you work diligently to promote your online business and services and always provide excellent customer service. Use these ideas to get started making money today!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

5 Super Wealth-Building Tips Pave the Way to Financial Freedom

There are so many things involved with building wealth that it would take much more than one article to explain it all. So, we've put together a simple five-step guide to help you get a great start in building wealth for a lifetime.

Step 1: Set Specific Goals

Goal setting is a task that can be easily put off - especially when you are extremely busy in day-to-day activities. However, goal setting is the first and one of the most important steps you'll take to achieve wealth. Set both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals may be daily, weekly and monthly goals. These should reveal where you would like to be financially by a certain time in the near future.

Long-term goals include the amount of wealth you would like to accumulate within a year, two years, or maybe even five or ten years. Both types of goals are necessary to build wealth. Without goals, you are wondering blindly with no care or thought of what's ahead. This pattern of life is sure to leave you empty-handed!

Step 2: Create a Business Plan

Every successful business from the past and today started with a plan. Your business plan should illustrate where you are now, where you plan to be in the future, and how you're going to get there. Write these few notes down on paper. Then, fill in the blanks to create a rough business plan. It's easier than you think.

*Your current income
*Business profits and expenses (if you already own a business)
*Business budget (or personal budget if working for someone else)
*Capital needed upfront to promote and operate business
*Plans to acquire the capital needed (source of capital)
*Spending plan (promotions, supplies, inventory, online expenses, etc.)
*Expectations (What results do you expect from your initial efforts?)

Creating a business plan is a necessary step to build wealth through your own business. Even if you don't own a business, you should write down a similar plan to reach your personal wealth goals.

Step 3: Avoid Harmful Debt

Debt is the one of the key reasons many people never accumulate wealth. But remember, there are two types of debt: harmful debt and necessary debt. Harmful debt is the debt you create for things you do not need such as excessive shopping, luxury items, expensive cars that you can't afford, etc. Necessary debt is a debt most people must have to live, such as a mortgage, car loan (affordable), medical, college, etc. These debts are a part of life for most families and will be for many, many years. However, even these types of debts should be kept well within your income limitations. If you can only afford a $250/month car loan, then shop around until you find one at this price. Don't give in to the temptations and pressures to buy the fancier, more expensive car with a $450/month payment. It's not worth the risk!

You may ask, "I thought these steps were for building wealth?"

As it happens, debt is the opposite of wealth.  The more debt you have, the less wealth you will accumulate. You can't save money or invest money that belongs to someone else. If you earn $3,000 in income this month, but owe $2,000 in loans (before everyday living expenses), you can't possibly have extra money to save. You must either earn more or sell some items to pay off your debt. You should avoid this "debt trap" if you intend on building wealth for the future.

Another type of debt is one for your business. You may take out a small business loan to get things started or to promote your business. If you are uncertain about whether the business will bring profits, try to avoid business debt until you have tested it a while.

Step 4: Develop a Personal Plan

Above, you developed a business plan. Now it's time to create a personal plan. What tasks will you do daily to build wealth? Put yourself on a schedule and a strict budget. Work toward your goals daily by making a list of things to do and marking off each item on the list as you complete the tasks. In your budgeting, include a set amount of money you will put away in savings (savings account, IRA, stocks, bonds, etc.) If you plan to invest, be sure to diversify your investments. Choose only one or two high-risk investments and several "safer" investments such as mutual funds or bonds.

Step 5: Stay focused on the Goal, not the Circumstances

No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, keep your eyes on the wealth-building goal ahead. Even if sales are down in your business, don't stop dead in your tracks. Remember, businesses have ups and downs. If you remain steadfast toward your goal during the slow times, the busy times are bound to be much better than ever. Your income will grow and you will have the extra money needed to reach your wealth-building goals.

In a nutshell, building wealth does not happen over night with one get-rich-quick program. It happens with consistent labor toward the goals and tasks you have created. You can build wealth for your future if you do not waver from these basic truths that have worked for millions of others!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Start-up Ideas for Your Home-Based Business

So you've decided to start a home-based business? That's great, but where do you start? If you're online quite a bit, then there's no reason you can't start a business right from your own home on the Web. There are so many resources available online today that you can benefit tremendously from the research of others while building your own business. And, there are many companies that will do lots of the work for you when you join with them.

Here are five easy start-up ideas for your home-based business to save you time and money.

1. Choose Your Hours

Decide how much time you will be able to invest in your home-based business. To be honest, there are many new business owners who never make it because they're not willing to invest their time. If you work a full-time job and plan to keep it while your home-based business builds, then you should determine how many free hours you can spend working. Can you invest a few hours per day, or week perhaps?

Once you choose your hours, stick with them on a consistent basis. Treat the home business just as you would a store with operating hours. If you open a store from 9 to 5, then someone must be there during those hours. So, if you plan to work on your new business from 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. five nights per week, then let this be your "operating hours!"

2. Choose a Business

Even if you plan to start a business selling products of your own, you might find it useful to join with a company to sell their products to build extra income at first. You can even do both if you can invest enough time and effort into both businesses. Choose a product or service that you enjoy selling. No business is fun if you dislike it. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to be successful.

3. Prepare Your Home-Based Business Work Area

Before you start a home-based business, be sure your home office is up to par. Upgrade your computer to a fast one with a super-fast Internet connection so your work will not be hindered by outside factors. Also, get a very comfortable desk chair with plenty of back and arm support. Choose a keyboard and mouse that you're comfortable with, and organize your desk. Working in a well-organized environment clears your thinking so you can work and promote without distraction.

4. Investing Your Money

Before you invest a dime, be certain it's the right business for you. When selling products for others, you might be asked to invest money before getting started for inventory, membership, a website, and so forth. If so, study every aspect of the business before doing so. Any business start-up will require some monetary investment, but you need to think before you invest.

Once you've chosen a business to invest in, set up a budget solely for your business. Having a business account at your local bank will help. Also, set up an account with an online payment processor if possible. PayPal and StormPay are two of the most popular ones online right now.

5. Use Your Talents and Skills

Whether you sign on with an affiliate company or start a business selling your own products and services, remember to use all your talents and skills. Maybe you're a great typist or a very savvy Internet user. Perhaps you know how to design websites, printed flyers, or promote online. Use your talents to maximize your home-based business profits.

Don't just sit at home and dream of owning your own business. Use these five start-up tips to get your home-based business moving today!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

5 Reasons Why the Right Point of Sale Equipment Increases Profits

Whether you own a restaurant or a retail outlet, the right point of sale (POS) hardware and software can increase your bottom line. Here are five reasons why:

1. Return on Investment. While there are POS systems at many different price points, there are inexpensive software solutions that have great functionality, work with a wide variety of types of hardware, and can integrate with other business software. For example, if you are looking for pizza shop software, Point of Success is a low-priced restaurant POS software package that has a wide range of features. Similarly, Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (also known as Microsoft RMS) is a cost-effective solution for a clothing boutique.

2. Enhance Customer Service. If you're a restaurateur or a retailer, your relationships with your customers are paramount. POS equipment can ensure that your employees can spend more time interacting with customers and less time entering information into equipment. Restaurant POS software, for example, allows employees to enter and track orders, so mistakes are minimized and customers aren't kept waiting. Similarly, retail point of sale software can give your staff immediate access to availability, prices, and the location of inventory. This means that your customers can get a high level of service, increasing the likelihood of repeat business.

3. Increase Efficiency. If you can increase the efficiency of your restaurant or retail store, you'll soon see increased profits through a decrease in staffing costs, losses due to errors, and improved accountability. Microsoft POS, for example, allows your employees to quickly and efficiently check out customer purchases with built-in credit and debit card processing. It also enables you to do everything from tracking work hours with a time clock to tracking cashier tasks. This kind of transparency enables you to make informed decisions about policies and procedures, as well as to track problems back to their source.

4. Lower Training Costs. With point of sale software and hardware, you have a standardized training approach for your employees. By customizing the software to correspond to your menu items, for example, a trainee can quickly and easily enter orders. That same software can print preparation tickets or display orders on a kitchen monitor. With pizza shop software, you can easily train delivery drivers to pick up delivery dispatches and note their availability when they return from deliveries.

5. Improved Reporting. One of the primary benefits of point of sale software is its reporting capability. Better reporting gives you the information you need to do everything from making buying decisions to preparing your tax returns. Reporting capabilities vary from software package to software package, and the type of business you have will most likely dictate the type of software you need. For example, Microsoft POS and Microsoft RMS both allow you to manage and track inventory, generate purchase orders, track customer purchase histories, and track employee hours. Microsoft RMS offers even more reporting options, including customized reports, the ability to track backorders and layaways, and the capability to manage account receivables of customers.

The importance of point of sale equipment and software can't be overstated. It may seem like a significant investment, but it will more than pay for itself with increased sales, efficiency, and reporting.


Friday, October 12, 2012

5 Proven Strategies for Internet and Network Marketing Success

There are many opportunities in network marketing to help you reach your life goals. You can work from home and enjoy a steady cash stream while setting your own hours and doing what you love most to earn an income. But if you're like the majority of people who join a team of online network marketers, you probably aren't sure how or where to get started with Internet and network marketing. Here are five proven strategies to get you started.

1. Start Your Own Network Marketing Website

With your own network marketing website, you can build a profitable business model for your team. Your website can be used to provide information to newcomers as well as update your team members on a regular basis. A website can be used to enhance off-line network marketing as well. For instance, you can print your Web address on your business cards, letterhead, envelopes, postcards, and in printed ads. Those interested in your proposal can visit your website for more information. Your website can contain almost unlimited information that will help convert prospects into team members.

2. Start Your Own E-zine

An e-zine is an electronic newsletter sent by email to a database of subscribers. An e-zine builds trust and establishes you as an expert. At your website, you can set up a subscription form for your e-zine. Those who sign up are obviously interested in your offer, so you can send e-mailings to them weekly and use the e-zine to get them back to your website. This is a great way to turn visitors to your site into network marketing partners.

3. Answer Questions in Forums and Discussion Groups

With forums, you cannot merely advertise your business, but you can answer questions and include a link to your email or website. Find work-from-home forums online that are related to your network marketing business or that might cater to your target audience. Observe and read the questions and answers for a while before posting to get a feel for the people and atmosphere. Then, answer those questions pertaining to your type of business in a truly helpful manner. The person asking the question might visit your website as well as any others who might read the post. It's a great way to meet new people and market your business.

4. Create Network Marketing Excitement

Another thing you can do online is to create network marketing excitement for your team members. At your own website, you can hold contests for your team members, random giveaways, provide hosted space for your team members to create their own profiles or mini-websites, do feature bios on your team members, and more. These will motivate your network marketing team to work harder and increase their cash stream (and yours) while having fun.

5. Content Writing about the Internet and Network Marketing

One of the most powerful ways to promote your website is to add valuable content articles to your website on a regular basis. Articles should be targeted about network marketing and working from home. They should provide your target readers with helpful information. At the conclusion of each article, you can include a signature/bio that will lead the reader to your sales pages.

Add articles to your website on a regular basis and submit articles to free article directories for maximum results. Articles will help attract search engine traffic to your website without any cost to you.

There are also many other methods of Internet promotion for network marketing such as e-zine advertising, banner advertising, contextual or paid search engine ads, free traffic exchanges, and affiliate programs. Whether you are part of a global resorts travel business, a profitable reverse funnel system, or another successful business model, you'll be amazed at the results when you combine all of the promotion methods above for the Internet and network marketing!