Home » Business (Page 2)
Category Archives: Business
It has been found that tested theories and frameworks still form the foundation when developing a strategy for your business. To develop the right strategy for your business you need to do the following things:
Identify a product or service to sell
This is the first step in developing your business strategy. You need to remember that there are thousands of products and services that you can sell; however, for you to compete effectively with other businesses, you should ensure that your product is unique and better than other products in the market.
You need to think for you to come up with a good choice. To be successful in your efforts, you should go for products that you like and you enjoy selling. It’s recommended that you choose a product that you are able to visualize yourself selling it.
Experts recommend that you should be able to see yourself selling the product or service for the next five or 10 years.
For you to settle on the product or service, you should ensure that there is real demand for the product or service at the price that you are interested in charging.
You should also ensure that the demand is high enough for you to make a profit. The demand should be concentrated such that you are able to advertise, sell, and deliver the product at a reasonable expense.
Identify your customers
There is no way your business will be successful if it does not have customers; therefore, you should ensure that you identify the customers who will buy your product or service.
The right customers should have the ability of buying the product at the price that you will be selling at. This means that you should be able to tell whether you will be targeting the poor, middle class, or the rich.
You also need to ensure that the product is valuable to the customer. Here you need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see whether the product will be of value to you.
Identify how the product will be sold
Once you have identified the right product and the right customers, you should determine how you will sell the product.
You can decide to sell the product by yourself or you can hire other people to do it for you. You also need to determine how you will promote your product or service. Here you can promote using word of mouth, or other ways such as TV, radio, or social media.
When it comes to online selling, one important thing you should remember is that there will always be customers who will abandon their shopping carts. For one, there are consumers who visit online retailers merely for research and do not really have an intention to finish a transaction. There might also be issues that hinder them from completing the purchase. These may include poor user interface, hidden or high shipping costs, or a lengthy checkout process. Another issue that online merchants have to face is security.
If you work hard for your money, then it follows that you simply won’t hand it over to an online entity promising to exchange a product or service for it. Consumers want to feel secure when they are making an online purchase. Your buyers want to make sure that the exact item they purchased will be delivered to their doorstep.
At the same time, they’d want their credit card information as well as other sensitive data kept secure. As an online merchant, you’d want to keep cart abandonment to a minimum. That is why it is worthwhile to invest in website design and SEO and offer the best pricing, shipping and payment options. But merchants should never put customer safety and even their own network security as an afterthought. One significant step toward guaranteeing your network’s and your customers’ safety is PCI credit card compliance.
From there, several things can go awry if you remain complacent. Although many would like to think of the Internet as a true democracy, it is still far from that. The truth is that it is somewhat akin to a public market place where there are legitimate businesses plying their wares alongside shady sellers and even pickpockets biding their time, waiting for an unwitting customer to make a false move.
It doesn’t help that these baddies are shrouded by the veil of anonymity and even geographical distance. A proactive approach that online sellers use and even enterprises which rely on an IT infrastructure, is to enlist the services of specialists in penetration testing tools. Hackers have, rightly or wrongly, gotten a bad rap for compromising network security and even stealing sensitive information. Indeed, many of these hackers have made a living out of these illegal deeds.
However, some have reformed their ways and now help organizations pinpoint weaknesses in their network infrastructure through network penetration testing. Through this test, a business can learn its vulnerabilities and put into place the necessary remedies that will reinforce security. With the aid of these experts, you do not have to watch at the sidelines.
A chemical search engine is of immense use if you regularly need information on chemicals. If your line of work or study involves the use of many chemicals then you will definitely need accurate information on a number of different chemicals. There exist many databases of chemicals that include all relevant data about chemicals; they have search engines which enable you to extract useful information from them. If you have the CAS No. of any particular chemical then you can use the database to identify it correctly and get all available information about it.
Be sure to choose the right chemical database and search engine that has the following features:
1. Comprehensive data: The database should contain all necessary data on every known chemical. It should have high quality information which is indexed correctly and updated very often, and is assembled by a team of scientists. The best databases are recognized by reputed organizations in this field, both in the private and public sector. They can have large numbers of entries divided among organic and inorganic chemicals.
2. Depth of data: CAS records contain a lot of data such as chemical names, formulas, structural diagrams etc. Certain databases give out a lot more information about others and you will have to choose one based upon the depth of data you require.
3. Ease of use: The search engine should enable you to browse the database by category or name, depending on which one is more convenient for you. Similarity searching is also very important. It should also make use of advanced technologies that enable accurate results to be obtained as early as possible.
4. Affordable: Search engines rarely offer data free of charge, especially if the information is of very high quality. However, it’s a good idea to locate one that offers results at reasonably low prices. This will enable you to keep your overall costs down and is a very important factor if you need to use it on a regular basis.
5. Quick: The search engine should be able to provide answers within the shortest possible time, often no more than a few seconds, ensuring that work can proceed with as few interruptions as possible.
Since chemical search engines generally require you to set up an account before you can access the data and charge you for their services, it’s a good idea to do the necessary research before selecting one to use.
For your business to be successful, it has to include an ongoing dialog between you and your clients.
Unless your business, your offerings, and your processes are informed by what your clients want, you end up, eventually, with no business at all.
More often than not, this is a matter of following the breadcrumbs. What you offer is snapped up by multiple clients right away = what they want. What you offer just lies there like an empty glove = not what they want.
If it’s the latter, then you either change what you offer, or you find new people to offer it to.
There is much to be learned too in casual conversations with clients. You get to be a detective, listening closely, and seeking out clues for what they are looking for. You probe and question to find out more.
Sometimes it’s an experiment. If you’re offering something really new and innovative, finding out whether it’s something your clients want is a matter of running a pilot, getting feedback, modifying, and offering it again.
One avenue for finding out what clients want is seriously underutilized. This method seems to be mysterious for many business owners. They sometimes don’t even think of it. Or they think of it, and dismiss it.
The mysterious method? Ask!
Directly approaching your clients to ask for what they want is a valuable adjunct to all the breadcrumb following, clue hunting, and incidental conversations that can bring you necessary information.
This is where social media can come in really handy. If you have a tribe that follows you, you can put it out there on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a quick way to get lots of feedback in a short time.
Got an email list? Send out a request for feedback on a specific question.
If you want direct feedback on an ongoing basis, conduct surveys. In my consulting business, I sent out a short survey after every project. That way, I could tweak my approach and offerings before they got too far off track.
Surveys are best approached the same way you approach marketing: from the client’s point of view. Ask about the client’s experience of both what you delivered and how. If anything was less than outstanding, what was it and how could it have been better?
Surveys are also a chance to explore what else the client might need. What else could be offered?
Were they happy enough to refer you to someone else? If so, take names: find out who they would recommend you too, and contact the referral, if you have their permission.
It’s important that clients know that you’re doing something with all this information they’re providing. You can respond directly to the client and tell them how you’re addressing their concerns.
Some entrepreneurs are afraid to ask outright. They prefer to take the behind-the-scenes approach. It’s almost as if by asking up front, they are afraid they are admitting that something is wrong.
That kind of fear does not serve you, or your clients. You need to know what your clients are thinking and feeling about your business.
On large projects, ask at the midpoint how things are going. With what you learn, you can adjust and carry on.
This kind of connection can be very affirming for your relationship with your client. They’ll know that you really want to hear from them. It encourages them to say more.
No one is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. If you take that approach, improvement on an ongoing basis, you’ll always get better. You’ll always have more to offer. And your clients will thank you for it.
This mantra helps: progress, not perfection.
One important thing to remember: you always have the final say in whether or not you act on the feedback. It’s part of the dialog. You ask, you get feedback, you discern what’s right for you and your business, and you take action. Then the conversation starts again.
Ask what you need to know. It’s a good idea.
How much flexibility do you have in your business?
One of the biggest advantages of the Information Marketing business is that it truly is a business you can do from anywhere.
Sometimes things happen and you have to be away from your business for periods of time. Sometimes, events come up that require you to be away unexpectedly… even when you have appointments on my calendar, and it’s great to have the flexibility to be able to go handle situations or to support a family member, and not miss a beat in your business.
And, if you can do that without rescheduling a bunch of things because you can do business with a phone and a laptop. Or an iPad or some other kind of tablet or device like that.
You don’t have to miss coaching and consulting clients calls. Whether you have an information marketing business or you have a brick and mortar business, you should think about whether or not you have your business set up in a way that allows you to do things in your life as they happen and as they come up, that you want to be doing. That’s why you opened your own business, right?
You wanted freedom, You wanted to make more money – or at least have some control over it, you wanted the time freedom and do the things you want to do.
So, if you’re missing out on things with your kids, or things with your spouse or partner because of your business – and it’s happening on a regular basis, you might want to think about how you have things set up in your business.
You don’t need to get a new business, or be in the information business (but it’s a great adjunct and it’s a great lifestyle business). How can you make your business meet your lifestyle?
Have you ever been told you live to work? Most people work to live.
How much flexibility do you currently have in your life and business? How much would you like to have in your life, to be able to do more fun things, to be able to travel, or own another home or buy an RV or jewelry, or more time with your kids?
It doesn’t have to be about things, because in the long run, it’s not the things that are important, it’s the time that you get and the time freedom you have.
Do you know which scrap metal pays the most? Well, if you know the price, then you can get a handsome price for it. When people realize the value of a few specific metals, then they put all their concentration in collecting those metals. However, you must not just look for particulars. The best is to take them all and get something magical out of the one you thought was less important. So, the next time you find people discriminating scraps, you will understand how much money they are leaving in the curb just like that. Here is an unofficial list of the scrap that can fetch you money. It will give you an idea on what kinds of scrap you should sell.
3. Water Heaters
5. Batteries of all kinds
6. Air Conditioner
7. Lawn Mowers
8. Tire and basketball rims
9. Pet cages
11. Ironing boards
12. Strollers and Shovels
Other items from which you can extract metals include: Music instruments, metal drums, television, computer, screws, nails and bolts and so on. From the following list you can understand that there is money even in the small things. Now that you know, you need to find places where scrap is easily available. The street is waiting for you, so collect as much as you can.
The few places where you can find scrap:
1. Kitchen – An excellent source indeed! Look for those old cooking pans, spoons, cookie sheets, copper pots and the likes.
2. Living Room – Television, lamp bases, window frames – aren’t these some of the common things that we see in a living room?
3. Bathroom – This room too has a number of things like dryers, washers, plumbing pipes and etcetera. If you like to deck up your bathroom, then you must also have a nice collection of bathroom fixtures. These can definitely yield a fair price.
4. Garden and Attic – Both these places are a storehouse of junk and you never know how much money they can bring forth. Iron railing, swing sets, rusty metal table, old metal chair, broken appliances, ornaments and other accessories which you do not use any longer.
5. Garage – Last but not the least is the garage. You can refer the garage of your house as the treasure trove of scrap metal. There are a number of things in these places that are in one word “precious” in monetary terms.
What are you waiting for? Get your hands dirty now and strike a good scrap deal at a nearby junkyard!
Presentations are an inherent part of today’s workplace… business presentations, public speaking and general communication. All involve formal and informal levels and ultimately impact your career progression. So here is a 9 step process for how you can improve your persuasion skills and so become a more effective persuader.
- Understand the issues faced by your audience. It is often said that a busy person (and who isn’t busy these days?) can only deal with 5 topics at any one time. If you are going to get air time with busy people you need to make a connection from the very beginning with what is currently on their mind. So you need to link the subject matter of your presentation to one of these key items which means you need to research your audience.
- Decide what kind of presentation it is. Is your presentation a pitch for something (such as resources for a project, agreement to go ahead with something or even a pay rise), is it informing the audience or is it to build goodwill (for example at a supplier event)? Is it a formal presentation in front of many people, an informal presentation to a few or even a one-to-one conversation with someone?
- Decide your objectives. What is it you want as a result of the presentation? Do you want people to leave feeling enthused for your project? Do you want commitment to give your project money? You need to decide what you want before you design your presentation.
- Create a “hook”. This is a vital part of your presentation. You need to grab your audience’s attention from the very beginning. For example, Robert Cialdini has found that the most absorbing presentations and articles start with a mystery. The presentation then engages the audience as they unravel the mystery together.
- Create your memorable opening. This is closely linked to the hook. In their book “Made to Stick” Chip and Dan Heath tell the story of someone pitching to venture capitalists for investment in developing a new laptop computer. He started by throwing onto the table a plastic folder and declaring that this was his new laptop. Clearly it wasn’t but it started a discussion about how a laptop could be made so thin and small.
- Craft your action focused ending. Too many presentations follow the formula “tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you have told them”. This might work if your objective is to inform the audience. For every other type of presentation it is insufficient. What you want is action of some kind so finish with what you want them to do – a “takeaway” list of actions.
- Use graphics for impact. Most people respond better to images than to text. Think about all of the slide shows you have had to sit through that are crammed full of text and bullet points. Images have more impact as long as they are relevant to the topic and are unique. Avoid stock photographs that bear no relation to the point you are trying to get across.
- Pull it all together into a coherent story. Do not underestimate the power of a story. We are conditioned from a very young age to engage with and respond to stories. Don’t get “cute” but do have a story that unfolds with a well-crafted opening, middle and end.
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. As a golfer once told me, amateurs practice until they get it right – professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.
‘Remember in our youth the standard return-to-school “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay? This summer has given me several lessons that have value for you today.
The story begins with a local police officer knocking on my door at 9:00 one night, asking me about my brother, Billy. Of course, you know what happens next–I find out that Billy died in a motorcycle accident a few hours earlier. He was 57, divorced, with no children. He was a floor layer, a regular ordinary guy. Like you and your team members.
First lesson: we are in a business of relationships. Don’t let corporate purchasing and hard bid tactics make you forget this. While price is part of the purchase consideration, the quality of your work and the relationships you foster with your clients, customers, and co-workers are paramount. I first realized this as word about Billy spread through the grapevine and I received numerous calls, emails, and cards of condolence from across the country. These were unexpected and much appreciated.
I saw it again at his wake. Having worked his trade in the New York area for over 30 years, my brother was well-known. On that Memorial Day weekend, we were visited by many of his associates. Not just tile guys, but the Foreman from the Laborers, and a superintendent from a General Contractor, to name a few. There were even guys who had worked with our father in the business-and some even remembered when I had helped out on a few jobs, way back when! Connections between people-that’s what it’s about.
Next lesson: how is your health? Construction is hard work, yeah. But it isn’t a substitute for quality exercise and eating. Billy wasn’t in bad shape, but he wasn’t in good shape, either. He loved to eat; cooking was his hobby. He didn’t exercise. And he had coronary artery disease. In fact, he may have had a health crisis that triggered the crash. We don’t know for sure. But we do know that he was not taking care of himself and now, he’s gone. Are you taking care of yourself? (If not for yourself, then for those who love you.)
“Divorced with no kids” sounds like an easy estate to deal with, right? Well, it would be if
- there had been a will (there wasn’t)
- there had been up-to-date beneficiaries on his life insurance policy (his ex-wife is still listed, although that wasn’t his wish; he just “never got around to” changing beneficiaries even though they’d been divorced for several years), and
- all his records had been kept in one place (not even close).
Looking through files and folders is never easy, but having to weed through pay stubs from 1986 makes the process even harder. I realized that my finances and directives are in a similar state of disorganization. I am currently creating what I call the Red Envelope, where all of that information is being placed to make the process easier for whoever needs to deal with it. We need to do this for the benefit of those around us. If you are a business owner or the head of a household, this becomes even more important.
By now, you may be fed up with my personal ramblings. But remember what my brother did for a living. He was a regular guy, he was just like you and the guys who work for you and with you. I am hoping you can learn from him so your team is better off.
Custom IDs play a very important role in many settings. They could be used to identify people in conferences, used as entry cards in offices and also to reassure employees of their positions in a company.
Traditionally, many companies made their ID cards in the same format, only making very few changes on the names and logos. However, with the modern technology and invocation, it is possible to come up with custom ID cards. These types of cards are easily created using desktop publishing tools, and anyone can create them.
What To Consider When Making Custom Ids
Whether you choose to create the custom IDs on your own or engage a professional company, you must consider the following factors.
– The purpose
A custom ID meant for an event cannot be designed in the same way as the one meant for an employee. The design and the details to include will always differ. For a seminar, you may need to include: the attendant’s name, the name of the event, location of the event, the affiliation of the attendant with the company holding the seminar and the dates.
An employees ID cards should have the name of the employee, their passport sized photo, their department, company logo and their position in a company. Essentially, the details to include in the ID should be dependent on the purpose of the card.
It is important to consider a sizeable ID card where all the details should fit in, and be legible to everyone. People must never struggle to read what is written on the ID. However, the size should never be too big and cumbersome to the user.
– Tastes and preferences
The graphics and the shapes used to make custom ID cards should be attractive; nobody wants to carry along an ID unattractive. For a company ID, it is important to find the type that reflects the profession and the theme in an office. An employee should feel proud to produce this ID in any place. An event’s ID should also reflect the events’ theme.
It is possible to come up with custom ID cards that are affordable, yet of good quality. Many designers offer a discounted rate for bulk ID printing. Still, by printing the IDs on your own, it will be possible to save on some costs. You must however ensure that the paper material used is of good quality, and can last for long- especially when it comes to employee’s IDS.
If you search online every day, you will find hundreds of ads seeking a freelance writer. Along with these hundreds of ads, come many people wanting the gig. There could be hundreds of applicants that want to work the gig, but the person looking only needs one person. This is why it’s important to stand out when you reply to an ad.
When you reply to an ad, make sure you give the person exactly what he is looking for. If the ad says it wants your resume, samples, and a cover letter, make sure you send all three of them. If you don’t follow the directions, you have a pretty good chance of not getting the gig.
When sending your resume, make sure most people won’t have trouble opening it. Send it as a Word document or in text form. You don’t need it to be fancy. You need it to give information about your knowledge and skills.
The samples you provide should be some of your best work. It should also be relevant to the topic you’ll be writing on for the gig. People want to know how well you can write for them, and the only way to show them that is to give them a sample of that writing.
The cover letter is probably the hardest part. You should never copy and paste your cover letter. It should always be unique to the gig you’re applying to. You should start with something intriguing about yourself. You can then go into the reasons you are perfect for this gig. Don’t make it too long because people won’t read it all. You need to state what’s important and end it with a polite conclusion, which is usually information about how you can be contacted.
Always Be Professional
Don’t take shortcuts because the only person you’ll be hurting is yourself. The first impression you give people looking for a freelance writer is through an email. It could be your only shot at getting the gig, so put your best forward first.
When you receive a reply, don’t get lazy. Respond with the same professionalism as you did with the first email. People can turn you away at any time, so don’t risk it by not responding to their emails with the information they need to make a final decision.
Now that you have this information, go out there and start to apply to freelance writing gigs. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of work coming in to bring in a decent income.