Roofing Contractors For Rental Homes

Finding the right roofing company can become tedious and annoying. Comparing local roofing contractors is a chore! So which one do you choose? How can you make it easier? If your rental home is in need of a roofing job, which company will make it simple and show you the breakdown of expenses so that you can claim them on your tax return? So many questions and concerns! There are three main topics to consider when looking for a roofing contractor for your rental home: Which roofing company will have an itemized invoice for easy expense recording, a roofing company's guarantee, and the speed of the roofing company.

First, let's look at the expenses. You must ask the roofing contractor if they send you an invoice, but not just an invoice. You want the roofing company to break down the expenses so that your tax preparer can record the expenses easier on your schedule E rental property. Some expenses can be fully rendered the year it was paid for while others have to be put down as an asset and depreciated. The roofing improvement itself is an asset to your property and must be depreciated in a 7 year period. But you do not have to put your total roofing upgrade under the asset. You can deduct smaller expenses the year you pay. You could save much more itemizing the expenses this way! So make sure your roofing contractor breaks down the fees: Labor, supplies, permits, etc. The labor and main roofing supplies have to be put down as an asset and depreciated, but the work permits, garbage hauling expense, misc. supplies, all can be deducted the year you pay for it!

Second, the roofing company's guarantee is extremely important whether it is a rental home or your personal home! If the guarantee does not cover certain things you will want to know exactly what the guarantee covers! It is important to ask your roofing contractor the details on the guarantee because weather weather can damage the roof, animals can damage the roof, anything can happen!

Last but not least, the speed of the roofing company is extremely important to a rental property! If your tenants are busy people or do not like to be bothered a roofing job can become extremely stressful to your tenants! Make sure to find out how long the job will take and exactly when they come so you can give your tenants a 30 day warning, a 2 week follow up warning, a week follow up warning, and the next day warning so they are fully prepared . Let them know exactly how long the job will take. The yard will look messy and garbage will be flying everywhere. Make sure you have home owners insurance and warn your tenants to keep children out of the yard! There will be nails and other debris lying around! Last thing you need is a lawsuit!

In conclusion, make sure to follow these three topics to find the perfect local roofing company! Make sure to keep yourself as least stressed as possible during the search, have fun, and make sure to record everything! Roofing jobs on rental homes can be very stressful, but hopefully this helps!

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A GSA Schedule is a Business Value Enhancer

Is a GSA Schedule an Investment?

Simply put A GSA Schedule gives access to a market, that being the federal market. Marketing dollars spent have both an immediate effect of hopefully making the phone ring as well as a lasting effect if the firm can obtain brand recognition. The top brands in the world Google and Apple are said to have brand values ​​to those firms of in excess of $ 100B.

A GSA Schedule is similar to a brand in that it creates a lasting revenue stream for the firms. Once a firm gets on schedule, they are taking the first step to building the government portion of their business.

A GSA Schedule serves as the “starting point”

The majority of people we speak with do not do work with the federal government because they have no “starting point”. By this I mean that they do not know an effective means to start doing business with the federal government. The reality is that federal buyers like to work with people they have experience with and know will do a good job. But this all takes second fiddle because federal buyers have to follow federal acquisition regulations which requires them to need a legal means to buy a firms products or services. Therefore a firm needs a “contracting vehicle” to have any chance of doing any sizeable amount of work with the federal government.

What is a Federal Revenue Source Worth to a Firm?

When my father was younger it was always said invest in General Electric. The rational always was in good times GE sells aircraft engines, locomotives, and appliances, in bad times that they are selling things to the federal government. So the theory was they are always going to make money. In 2008-2010 many small construction firms that had ins with the federal government survived and their counterparts without federal revenue did not. Having a government source of revenue is important, it is not a hot growth sector, the federal budget typically grows at 1-3% per year. However, when it is needed, it helps a firm keep the lights on.

How Much Would it Cost to Replicate my Competitors Federal Marketing Advantage?

The real answer is that you could not. If you have a competent competitor in the Federal Sales space and had an unlimited budget it simply would not matter, you could not take their federal market share within 2 years. In five years you could make major headway, but federal sales is all about a continuous methodology and it takes time. The counter point is once you have established your federal sales channels you will also enjoy this barrier to entry from your competitors.

How Valuable are These Federal Sales Channels?

65% of acquisitions in the federal contracting space since so the acquirer can have access to new / federal markets. These firms are purchased for their relationship and capabilities within various federal agencies as in many cases the only way to gain quick access to an agency is for a large firm to buy their way in.

What Advantage Does More Experience Translate to in the Federal Market?

Firms with over 10 years of Federal Contracting Experience win contracts greater than 53% of the time. The longer a firm is part of the federal market place the more the firm's skills and relationships grow. This gives long tenure federal contractors 10+ years more than double the contract win rate of new entrants.

How Effective is a GSA Schedule as a Starting Point?

80% of active GSA Schedule holders do over $ 1 million per year in federal contracting and receive 47% of the firms revenues from federal contracting.

A GSA Schedule as an M & A Asset

A GSA Schedule is one of the few transferable government contracts, and will follow the acquiring company in a business sale. A GSA Schedule is your first step in entering the federal market place.

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Choosing the Right Milk Pasteurization Equipment for Your Dairy Business

There are several major dairy equipment and milk processing machines such as homogenizers, milk pouch machines, storage milk tanks, dairy products, milk pasteurizer equipment, soft drink pouch packaging machines, refrigeration systems, milk pumps, industrialized homogenizers, clean-in-place ( CIP) systems are installed primarily in liquid processes, like dairy, for the purpose of cleaning the interior of the equipment without disassembling it.

Dairy processing involves pasteurization, separation, and drying, mixing and cheese-making storage.

Pasteurization is the heat treatment of a product to eliminate pathogenic bacteria and condense enzymatic activity. The resolution is to make the product safe for ingesting and to increase the shelf life of the product.

In today's dairy processing equipment industry, pasteurization is a prevalent process widely applied in milk sterilization. Milk pasteurizer equipment is able to eradicate pathogenic bacteria that are harmful to our health, and preserve milk quality as far as possible. Milk pasteurization machines works on the principle of tubercle bacillus demolition, curve and cream separation, thermal demolition curve. They can not only sterilize raw milk, but also play an important role in fermentation.

Before selecting any milk processing machines for your dairy farm, you should understand your dairy business needs and what kind of milk processing equipment is favorable in most effective way.

To find the best milk equipment it is very important for the farmer to run a dairy farm to achieve success. If you own a dairy farm (big or small) then to choose the best milk processing equipments in dairy farms can make a big difference in the working of the farm. You must be very careful about choosing dairy equipment manufacturers as well. If you have underprivileged, cheap unproductive milk equipment then it can be risky for your milk processing business and you have to continuously spend on repairing and maintenance which deduct from your production costs. Few dairy farmers are capable of maintaining the machines & equipments but while others find it more difficult economically to survive. They have to turn to consultants for professional expertise on choosing the right milk processing equipment.

Also, these milk processing machines are useful for producing good quality cheese by carrying out different processes like block forming, mold filling, whey handling, draining, mellowing, liquid filled cheese, and pasteurization. Similar to ice cream production, the milk processing machines are helpful in performing various operations like mix preparation, extrusion, filling, freezing, handling, hardening, inclusion and at last packaging. All these propelled hi-tech machines assume the primary part for agriculturists to get leads and accomplishment in the dairy business.

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Business Sale to a Competitor – Why They Always Pay Less

The unfortunate truth … A competitor never pays more for your business.

Although there are legitimate reasons for a competitor to have significant interest in your business and recognize inherent value, history has taught us that competitor acquisitions of small businesses yield the lowest transaction value based on price, structure and terms.

While you have built a turn key business that has considerable value, a competitor has most of these organizational / operational elements in place and will view the overall value differently.

Many competitors approach these acquisitions as the purchase of a customer list, picking up a few good employees, adding an asset or two, and possibly establish a key relationship or territory with a vendor. Some are simply looking to eliminate a competitor. The bottom line is that they do not need everything you are selling like someone new to the industry. The worth of this turn key operation is not valued the same from a competitor versus an outsider.

Does a competitor need, want, or place significant value on the following assets?

Tangible:

• Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF & E)

• Vehicles

• Inventory

• Real Estate

Intangible:

• Customer lists

• Client Contracts

• Systems, processes, and intellectual property

• Brand name, website domain, phone numbers

• Reputation

• Online Reviews

• Vendor supply agreements, licensing agreements, exclusive territories

• Proprietary computer software

• Trained and in-place work force

• Goodwill

Outside buyers will require all of these assets to continue business operations and take the company to the next level. Competitors will not need all of these assets and those assets that they require are valued lower, especially the intangible assets.

Therefore, the recommendation to a business owner who is considering a sale and may be entertaining a discussion with a competitor, is to develop a list of their objectives and goals when selling the business. Even at the most basic level “I want to sell my business for the highest price”.

Does this mean the highest price with 100% seller financing / earnout or is the goal to receive the lion's share of proceeds at closing? The goals and objectives can vary significantly among business owners pursuing a business sale. Experienced M & A Advisors and Business Brokers are adept at qualifying a buyer who is most aligned with these goals and the assets being sold.

Several examples of goals / objectives include:

• Obtain the highest price with a portion of seller financing contingent payments

• Obtain the highest price with a portion of contingent payments

Maximize cash at closing

• Seek an exit with no continued involvement with the business

• Remain with the business in some capacity with less responsibility and time commitment

Find buyer who:

• Has adequate funds to close

• Has industry or related experience

• Is local or willing to relocate to local to the business

• Acquires or leases the real estate as part of the business sale

• Does not cherry pick inventory, vehicles, or FF & E

• Has necessary business licenses or requires only minimal training and transition assistance

• Expects to retain the current roster of employees

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube …

Competitors and complementary industry businesses know one another. They see each other at conferences, industry association meetings, and vendor reward trips. It is not unusual for overtures to be made about acquiring a competitor's business. Most often, these discussions start out innocently; a desire to purchase is made with numbers floated that sound great to the prospect seller and an NDA is signed. Discussions are held, and business financials are provided to the competitor. A consequent meeting is scheduled, and a non-binding Letter of Intent is received. Further due diligence is pursued, significant confidential information is provided and an offer, far different from the one originally discussed, is made. The deal falls apart. The result is no deal and unfortunately, a competitor now has highly sensitive information on your business. This is the worst situation possible and happens far too often.

Selling larger businesses to a competitor is not that unusual and the focus of this article is not to say that these sales should never be done; but merly to highlight the value differences that should be expected and the risks involved in divulging sensitive company information when engaging a competitor.

If it is appropriate for a business to be sold to a competitor, having a professional intermediate is critical. Following an established process, providing information in stages, protecting sensitive information, qualifying sincere inquiries or ferreting out a fishing expedition are some of the key benefits that an intermediate provides.

Additionally, it is the intermediary's ability to discreetly market the business to many prospective buyers versus negotiating with only one candidate that enables the transaction value to be maximized. Each confidential marketing program is customized per engagement but extremely these programs are focused on creating multiple offers wheree the best price, terms, and conditions can be achieved for the seller.

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Significant Tips To Get Started With A Great Vending Machine Business

Most of the people look for the business opportunities that require no special skills and less operational cost too. The setting up of a Vending Machine business requires no professional training or skills. An estimate says that this helps in generating near $ 7 billion in a year as sales. One can install any vending machines right from foods and beverages to beauty products or any other customized products. Therefore, here are few pointers that will help people to get started in this business:

Research for Good Vending Machines

People must research thoroughly for such workable and intelligent machines that they can easily find near their location. They must take the services from popular suppliers who sell quality vending machines. Moreover, customized machines are also available according to the needs of a buyer.

Think About the Products to Sell

This is one of the most important things to know for setting up a vending machine business. Think about different statistics for varied types of products. Like, at some places, candies, ice creams, and beverages do well while at some other places, foods, and snacks or alcohols are much in demand. Therefore, one can target a particular age group too and get customization for their products.

Choose a Better Location

This business works well in high-traffic locations where the visitors are much in a number. These machines can be set up near the factories, restaurants, malls, golf courses, healthcare centers, car dealerships, service centers, offices, etc. Before placing a vending machine at a particular location, one must check out for the electrical outlets over there. People can even place this type of products on some establishment's site. For this, one can offer commission to the manager of that location.

Check out the Budget

Another important thing that one must keep in mind is the product setting up a budget. One must do a thorough planning of energy bills, accessories required for the vending machines, necessary supplies, maintenance expenses of the machinery. For this, the owner can take help of the experienced professionals from a popular company who sells such types of high quality and latest machines. One thing worth considering here is placing the machinery in higher traffic areas, be careful to chain it with strong fixtures.

Thus, before starting a vending machine business, it is mandatory to do the homework well and carries out a complete market research. This will help the owner not to face any loss in the future and earn a significant amount of profit through this business.

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Tips for Selecting the Ideal Warehousing Services

With an increase in population, it has become evident to look after the needs and necessities of the people. With huge population comes great consumption and to store the products to be consumed warehouses plays a very vital role. Warehouse services have scattered globally since the business could not look after each and every specification of the storage, transportation and distribution process all single handily. These services have gained huge popularity as they ease up the process and relieve the burden of many business homes who are engaged in manufacturing or production process. But there are certain specifications and factors that businesses do need to be sure about before delegating the special task of storage and delivery to any warehousing company.

Highly Embedded or Equipped With Technology

The logistics and warehousing industry has been developing ever since its inception and craves for the technology that can faster up or speed up the entire process of storage, transportation and delivery. Before hiring such services, it is a must to check, however they have advanced tools, software and machines to gear up the activities in a required manner. Each day there are new advances in such industry, therefore it is important to go for the one that has a lot to offer based on the current market needs.

Experience in the Industry

Novice or inexperienced service providers will not be able to combat the challenges ahead and will not be aware of the ways to lead to the effective process, activities or outcomes. Sincere and experienced companies in the industries have a grip on the activities that can lead to effective results. They have the knowledge of how to deal with the uncertain environment or conditions and also have a good hold on correct use of the technology. Therefore, it is very much important to hire those services that have experience and idea of ​​working in such environment.

Skilled and Educated Staff

Skilled and diligent employees are very much important under the warehousing services since they carry the each and every activity with their sheer efforts. Therefore, it is very much important to ensure that the employees and staff of such services are highly knowledgeable and dexterous and has possible ways to deal with the situations of such unspecified industry.

With the rise in consumption of the people, it has become obvious to give rise to the warehouse jobs hiring process as it will help to form more and more warehousing companies to ease up the burden of various businesses.

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Why You Need A Logo To Represent Your Business

There are always three pillows for your new startup or company to get recognition – the name of your business, slogan and the most important thing which is the logo of your business. A logo is the mark or symbolic representation which gives a representation to your company. A logo can be considered as a face of your company which can give you the instant recognition in your target audience.

A logo can be in different forms –

• Words and letters – ex – IBM, shoutmeloud, Nestle etc
• Pictures and symbols – ex – Apple, adidas etc
• Emblem logos – ex – starbucks, burger-king

Why your business should have a logo –

There are many reasons which show the importance of logos for your business –

A logo gives a face to your name –

Every logo gives a face to the name of your company. Not only this, even a logo can show the brand persona by its style, size, font, symbols and the way of representation. If the logo is alive in the mind of the people then they can also remember the name of your company. It is helpful in providing a competitive edge to your company.

A good logo is helpful in getting the loyal customers for your company –

A professional and good logo helps people in remembering the name of your company. If the logo is really good, it will be alive in the mindsets of people when they see it either on the road, newspaper or social media applications. They will definitely choose you over the competitors whenever they will be needed about your product or service.

A good logo makes you professional in the mindset of people –

When an individual chooses you as a company to fulfill their requirements? Definitely if you are a good company having a long last standing relationships with your customers and as well your services are up to the mark than your competitors. A good logo made with complete professionalism shows that your working is also professional and an individual chooses you as their serving company.

A professional logo gives a competitive edge to your business –

One thing is thoughtful here that every good company which is alive in the mindsets of people and having very good conversion volume as well, they have an iconic logo. Like – quick sprout, shoutmeloud, McDonald, Burger King, Dreamteam Technologies etc.

These companies have spent thousands of money from their table to make their logo iconic, messaging, interactive and innovative so that it can place a unique place in the eyes of the people. This shows that if you show the care in having a good logo then absolutely you would also care for having good products and services for your competitors.

Your logo provides the visualization to your company –

You have certainly heard a phrase that a picture is worth more than 1000 words. Sometimes a name of your company can be forgotten by the people but a good pictorial logo can create the image in the mind of people about your company and it gives a separate recognition to your company.

Conclusion –

As the essence of the post a good logo is really necessary for your business because it –

• It shows the history of your company
• It gives the credibility and reputation to your company
• It gives an image to people to remember your company
• It helps in branding of your company
• It helps in revenue and profit optimization

So be ready to have a good logo for your business if you are going to start a business of your own and be prepared to bring money on your table!

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Why Is Expense Report Automation a Must?

Gone are the days when we had to carry out lots of mundane tasks and be inefficient in managing processes. Today, technology is making the processes easier and more simplified, allowing employees to spend more time on important tasks. Undoubtedly, every business process will benefit from automation; however, automation can help make business processes more efficient. Automation can greatly benefit business processes that involve administrative tasks. One such business process that involves a lot of administrative activities is expenditure reporting. From travel booking to report processing, there are many phases where automation can work and save time for everyone involved. Not only would this make the process efficient, but also adds value to the organization and improvements the bottom line.

Let's take a look at a few reasons how automation can help and why it is required to make the process efficient.

Save Big

Time is the essence of every task we carry out in business. Automation would not only save a lot of man-hours, but also cut the time it takes to process reimbursements requests. Now let us see why expense reporting takes more time. Firstly, the employee has to spend more time to fill in the expense report, save all the receipt and send the reports to the approver. Approvers will have to verify and validate all the reports that come in and then approve upon successful validation. Verification should not be done in a hurry, all the details need to be error-proof and validation should be done to figure out illegitimate expenses and misreporting. To be done in less time, organizations need to compromise on the verification process, which could result in expense fraud. What if you could complete verification in a shorter amount of time? This is what you can do with automation. Expense management software will automate the validation process by flagging suspicious expense claims and sending back to the submitter for correction. Not only will this save time in processing expense reports, but also cut various steps in the expense management process.

T & E Policy

Organizations have detailed travel and expense policies in place but do not always make sure whether these policies are enforced in real-time. Enforcing T & E policy is tedious and sometimes organizations need to allocate some resources to make sure everything is within the policy. This is where automation comes in. Automated expense report system will help you automate T & E policy enforcement and ensure employees can not submit out-of-policy expense claims.

The software restricts entries in the expense report. For instance, your T & E policy will say that only a particular category of hotel chains is allowed for booking, but how about when your employee books hotel that is not there on the list. When you do this in a spreadsheet, it will become difficult to track and ensure employees do not submit expenses for approved vendors. In contrast to the traditional process, automated expense solution will restrict employees from submitting any data that is not there in the T & E policy.

This will make sure out-of-policy reporting will not happen. This is just one instance and the same can happen with any other aspects of expense management. The software will not allow any exceptions and if it is there, the system would bring attention to the supervisor. So, everything will be done right and in a timely manner.

Reports & Analytics

Real-time reports is one of the major reasons for automation. By automating the process, you can have the chance to completely analyze the entire process and get insights that can help guide in the decision-making process. Taking data-driven approach towards decision-making will give you the visibility and transparency into the system, a desirable way to control fraud and misreporting happening in your organization. Analytics can help organizations plan and forecast better. Budgets can now be more practical as you can understand where the gaps in the process are. Say the finance department wants to know whether reports are processed or any other information, analytics will give you all the details in just a few clicks.

Expense report automation can help businesses in many ways. The software solution will transform the way expenses are reported and reimbursed while doing away with the most undesirable aspects such as misreporting, fraud and reimbursements delays.

Another major benefit that software offers is reminders and alerts. A lot of miscommunication might happen when employees take a manual approach, but the software solution triggers continuous notifications and alerts to all holders to ensure there are no communication gaps and the process is running smoothly.

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What Small Business Owners Can Learn From the Genius Marketing of the Olympics

The next time a small business owner requests you for an advertising tip that is guaranteed to work, tell them to follow the strategy used to promote Olympic games. That's right. Olympic games.

There is a very specific blueprint, introduced by the US TV networks more than a quarter century ago, that is followed in every round of the Olympics. Winter Games, Summer Games. It does not matter. The same “Magic Beans” are used again and again. So what is the secret? Do they focus on the glamor sports? No. Do they promote the big match ups? No. Do they hype the spectacle of the Olympics. No.

They do something far more important: establish an emotional connection between the audience and the athletes by broadcasting, in advance of the games, touching profiles of the athletes, highlighting their struggles, fears, dreams. When the Games arrive, the unknown athletes are living, breathing people the audience cares about – which was the goal all along. Make viewers watch by making them care about the athletes .

Note there is no hard sell, which is typically what you see in small business advertising. Instead, the goal is to establish an emotional connection . This is not easy or simple. It does not happen overnight. And it only works if you dare to be … human.

Stop being a stiff, corporate business “bot” – and start being yourself. People tell me that my website is “just like me”. I take that as a great compliment because it means I was able to connect with a complete stranger. It also means that my web pages are unlike any other. I own them. They are me.

It makes a difference that goes straight to my bottom line. For example, we captured the interest of a significant advertiser because the business owner liked that our “Meet the staff web page” included a photo of our dog and some text that stated he was our “Directory of Security.” He thought that was creative and fun – which was exactly what he wanted for his campaign. Most important, he had connected with us as people. We were no longer just one more advertising agency.

You will always do better if you remember this simple rule of marketing, which is at the heart of the Olympics marketing strategy: people connect with people, they do not connect with things – not even a thing as big as the Olympics.

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Don’t Make A Big Mistake When You Sign Your Claim or Certification

The Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (“CDA”) contains a few simple requirements for claims over $ 100,000, including certification. Yet to this day contractors have consistently violated the certification requirements and, as a result, had their claims dismissed by the Boards and Courts. This is a big mistake that is easy to avoid. The mistake occurred most recently in NileCo Genl Contracting, LLC, ASBCA No. 60912, Sept. 22, 2017. It seems as if a technology-crazed world sometimes refuses to use the most low tech machine of all-the pen because the pen is just not electronically convenient. Government contractors should be lower tech when signing claims.

The CDA states that each claim for more than $ 100,000 must be certified to state that:

1. The claim is made in good faith;

2. The supporting data are accurate and complete to the best of the contractor's knowledge and belief;

3. The amount requested accurately reflects the contract adjustment for which the contractor believes the government is liable; and

4. The certifier is authorized to certify the claim on behalf of the contractor.

41 USC § 7103 (b). These particular requirements are included in Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) 33.207 (c) and the disputes clause in every contract. The FAR also states that the certification may be executed by any person duly authorized to bind the contractor. Id. Although the Contract Disputes Act does not define the term “execute,” the Boards of Contract Appeals have consistently held for at least 10 years that “to execute a Contract Disputes Act certification, there must be a signature by a certifier.” “Signature” is defined in the FAR as the discrete, verifiable symbol of an individual which, when affixed to a writing with the knowledge and consent of the individual, indicates a present intention to authenticate the writing. This includes electronic symbols.

FAR 2.101

A failure to sign the certification as required strips the Court of Federal Claims or the Boards of Contract Appeals of jurisdiction to hear the claim and is not a correctable defect that can be corrected to restore the jurisdiction.

Here are four cases over the past ten years (the last of which cites a 1993 case), where a “pen and ink” signature would have saved the contractor from having its claim dismissed by the Board:

[1] NileCo Gen'l Contracting, LLC, ASBCA No. 60912, Sept. 22, 2017. The contractor wasrely used a typewritten signature block (“Anwar Ahmed Director”). The Board dismissed the claim even though the contractor claimed there had been a course of dealing permitting use of the typritten signature block. The Board noted that the parties could not override the jurisdictional requirement of an executed certification through a course of dealing-and could not confer jurisdiction by agreement of the parties.

(2) ABS Dev. Corp., ASBCA No 60022 et al., Nov. 17, 2016. For some of the claims in the appeal, the contractor used several typewritings of a name (usually typewritten by electronic means) purporting to be signatures. “A typewritten name, even one typewritten in Lucida Handwriting font, can not be authenticated and therefore is not a signature. [Also] The typewritten” // signed // “is not a signature because it can not be authenticated. name, there is no way to tell who did so from the typewriting itself. ” These documents were dismissed as unsigned certificates.

[3] Tokyo Co, ASBCA No. 59059, April 23, 2014. The claim was stamped “TOKYO COMPANY for general contracting & services Baghdad-Iraq Build 23 St. Al-Karadaa” above the typed words “General Manager of Company BENIAMEN MONADHIL.” The Board held that a stamp bearing the company name, explaining what it does, and its address and the typed but unsigned name of the general manager “are not particularized and do not specifically identify the person executing the certification.” Again, the claim was dismissed.

[4] Teknocraft, Inc. , ASBCA No. 55438, April 3, 2008. The company marked its certification as follows:

// signed //

Sam Kumar

President

Technocraft, Inc.

The Board stated that the notation “// signed //” in the signature block was tantamount to being void of a signature, and was a fatal defect. “The computer generated nonspecific notation is not a discrete verifiable symbol which can be authenticated.” As we discussed in Hawaii Cyberspace, citing Youngdale & Sons Const. V. United States, 27 Fed., 516, 561, 87 (1993) ), the necessity to sign the certification is to hold the signer 'accountable for any falsities contained therein.' Without a signature, the purported author of the certification could just as easily disavow the certification because “// signed //” can not be authenticated. “Proper implementation of the certification is fundamental, going to the essence of the requirement.”

The Takeaway: Using the “high-tech” method of signing a CDA certification or claim may result in a big mistake. Use the “low-tech” method of signing them-with a pen, not with a computer. Do not type “signed” or anything else-insert a real, live signature of a person authorized to bind your company and avoid this easy pitfall. Sign both your claim letter and your certification the same way-with a pen. While it may be easier than an electronic point to use a typed signature, the risk is too great.

Further note: the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (“E-SIGN”) Act does not require the government to accept electronic signatures. The Act provides that a governmental agency need not accept electronic signatures with respect to a contract. See Excel Bldg. & Dev. Corp., B- 401955, December 23, 2009, 2009 CPD 262 262, citing 15 USC§ 7001 (b) (2), FAR 4.502. The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has issued guidance to federal agencies explaining that the Act does not force contracting parties, whether the government or the private sector, to use or accept electronic signatures and records. See Guidance on Implementing the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, Memorandum for the Heads of Departments and Agencies, M-00-15, OMB, Sept. 25, 2000.

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Employee Suggestion Schemes

“Employee suggestion” schemes are an effective way of generating cost saving initiatives. In addition to the financial benefits, there is usually a positive impact on workplace morale. Encouraging and rewarding staff to put forward cost saving ideas is likely to result in many initiatives being identified, in part due to the number of personnel thinking about reducing costs. Sometimes ideas that appear inconcential make a significant difference. Sainsbury's saved over £ 60,000 after a member of staff suggested repackaging mangoes. The shop floor worker noticed that the supermarket sold larger volumes of fruit as a result of a “two for £ 2.50” promotion. The mangoes were supplied in boxes of five, which rendered in consideration waste due to the odd number. Repackaging the fruit so that it was supplied in boxes of six resulted in considering less waste. The “Tell Justin” ideas scheme has generated over 50,000 ideas to date since it's inception in 2004.

1) Keep it simple

The most effective suggestion schemes are usually simple. Siemens Automation and Drives in Cheshire have a scheme called “Ideas Unlimited”. The site employs around 400 staff and generates over 4,000 suggestions per year, of which approximately 75% are implemented. Savings identified through the scheme are estimated to be in excess of £ 1m per annual. There are no paper forms to complete, with ideas submitted through an intranet application contracted of just four screens; (i) idea generation, (ii) evaluation, (iii) acceptance, (iv) rejection and implementation. All managers are invited to appraise initiatives, with a culture of driving efficiencies embedded in the organization's culture.

A straightforward employee suggestion program could for example offer rewards of £ 50 (bronze), £ 100 (silver) or £ 200 (gold) for approved initiatives, with exceptions probably made when noticeable cost savings are achieved. An alternative, more elaborate approach could have offered employees a percentage of delivered savings. Whilst this sounds great in principle, it is often very difficult to quantify savings savings, leading to administrative effort in validating amounts saved, and the incentive due to the eligible employee.

2) Recognize and reward good ideas

Praise and recognition have an enduring impact on employee engagement. Some businesses have a monthly bulletin or intranet in which employees are given recognition for delivering successful cost saving initiatives. For example, Siemens Automation and Drives regularly publish a league table which reports savings by department. This generates healthy interdepartmental rivalry, together with conveying recognition for good ideas.

It is worth considering that rewards should ideally be commensurate with the level of saving delivered. Exceptional ideas should not only be acknowledged but rewarded accordingly. In 2017, Argos received bad press when an employee came up with an idea that allegedly saved the company £ 1.5m. Following Sainsbury's takeover of Argos, the individual suggested that delivery drivers only refuel at Sainsbury's petrol stations. The employee received a £ 10 gift card in way of a thank you!

3) Listen to your employees

A Gallup study in 2016 found that only 17% of workers strongly agree that their company has open communication through all levels of their company. Regular engagement with employees is likely to have a positive impact on overall participation. Encouraging, listening and acting upon feedback from staff will improve the likelihood of running a successful employee suggestion scheme.

4) Analyze results

Monitoring metrics such as: (ii number of ideas submitted, (ii) number of ideas implemented, (iii) amount saved, and (iv) amount saved in full time equivalent (FTE) will provide useful data.

5) Other considerations

There are many operational challenges that need to be thought-out when rolling out an employee suggestion scheme. For example:

1. Should staff over a certain grade be eligible? (Eg senior management and directors?)
2. Should employees be rewarded for savings identified within their designated area?
3. Who is responsible for approving initiatives, and what is the process?
4. Have tax implications of rewards been given due consideration?
5. How does the business ensure that employees are not focussing on identifying cost saving initiatives at the expense of their day-to-day role?

There are many points that require careful thinking and deliberation when implementing an employee suggestion scheme, but the financial and staff morale benefits are usually worthwhile.

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Make Up Your Own Rules in Biz

There are many tried and true strategies and systems out there for growing a wild successful business. However, use them only as guidelines, and make up your own rules to the business game.

Here are the top 4 reasons why you've got to ditch your preconceived notions of how to attract loads of clients and do it YOUR way.

  1. You know what's best for you, not somebody else.

When you're calm and tuned in to your heart, you're certainly your own best authority. Now, if you're emotionally sideways or in the thick of a heavy issue, do not make any earth-shattering decisions. When you come back to a neutral place, you'll see more clearly and take actions that will serve you. You may listen to all the outside advice you'd like, but in the end, you have to make the choice that feels best to you.

  1. Things go quicker, easier, and cost less.

When you look at the standard process for creating something in your business, you may accept it for the way it is. But what's possible when you create a new standard? If Eva Gregory and I had listened to Chicken Soup for the Soul's process for book publishing, we would've taken forever to write our book for them.

They said it would take about 1.5 years. We said we knew it could take less. When we finally got the green light, the process took less than a year. The actual writing took three months. Easier than I've ever imagined!

Another example is the purchase of my first house. I had no realtor and neither did the seller, who was out of communication in rehab. I had no prior experience in real estate. I took the sale on as a learning seminar.

When I finally went in to sign the escrow papers, they could not believe how I completed the process by myself. (I found myself some loopholes.) Lots of people helped me, but my newbie spirit looked at everything as possible rather than as an obstacle.

  1. Be a pioneer! If your mind can think it, you can create it.

If people settled for what was in front of them, nothing new would ever be created or invented. Sure, other people might tell you that you're nuts when you think outside of their box. So what! They'll try to convince you that your idea or way of thinking is impossible or illogical. If you have the vision, I promise it's a worthy cause to pursue.

Do you see something that can be improved upon in the world? Take action! Sure, the big dogs might already have a team working on it. But as history will show, newbies can and do prevail. Google took on Yahoo and MSN with some pretty sweet results.

  1. Current rules and choices may not fit you. Create a new choice for yourself.

When options a, b, and c do not feel good, you've got to create choice d and maybe an e, f, and g. The best perspectives happen when you start looking for new combinations of the available elements.

Let's say you want to take some friends out for a special dinner. The two restaurants you had in mind are both booked solid for that evening. Do not settle for something less.

If you knew you were going to get the ideal food, service, and atmosphere at those two restaurants, how would you handle this situation? You might get an idea to call back the restaurants with some wild pitch for them to let you in. If you were grounded, you probably might get a yes. You also might talk to some friends to get new ideas. But you definitely would not let this minor setback throw you off.

The rules in the US used to make it difficult to travel in Cuba. (Maybe they still do!) Do people find ways of doing it? Yes! And many of them are legal! You can always find a choice that meets all of your criteria. Stay in possibility and you will find your perfect solution.

When you're really following your heart, you'll always make decisions that are in your highest good, as well as the good of others.

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What Small Business Owners Can Learn From the Disastrous Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial

Imagine you are the marketing director of Ram Trucks. You have just sat down to hear a pitch from your big-time advertising agency on the creative concept for your Super Bowl ad.

“We are not going to do just another truck commercial with the usual imagery and messaging,” says the Agency's Creative Director. “We are going to do something much bigger, something that touches the hearts and minds of truck buyers.”

You are interested, even a little excited. This could be something that elevates your brand. A game changer. “Our theme,” says the Creative Director, “is service to others.”

That could work, you think. Trucks are, after all, a service vehicle. There is a connection.

And then comes the big reveal. “The sound track for this commercial will not be provided by a male with the usual deep-throated, whiskey-soaked voice,” says the Creative Director. “No, no. We are going to go with a man who spoke of service to others like no other – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Months later the commercial is ready for viewing. “It is even better than we thought,” says the Creative Director. The lights go down and the commercial begins. You hear the soaring words of Dr. King while watching slice of life images of people in the service of others. Mixed in are some images of people next to a Ram Truck and, at a high point, there is the usual beauty shot of a Ram Truck. The commercial wraps with a black screen showing a single line of text, “Built to serve” and the Ram Truck logo.

The lights come up. What do you do?

Do you trust the instincts of your advertising agency? After all, they are the pros. Or do you trust your gut?

Here's the answer. Boil down the commercial to the core concept. Keep it short. Not more than 10 words. Forget about everything else. Do not consider the wonderful editing, the perfect casting, the spirit rising music. That is all secondary.

I would compress the Ram Truck commercial into these nine words: Use Dr. Martin Luther King to sell Ram trucks.

Now what do you think? My reaction would be swift and clear: not a chance. For every person who might buy the concept, there will be many more who will react negatively. At best, they will see the use of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s soaring oratory as inappropriate. At worst, they will be enraged by the attempt to make the civil right's leader a shill for Ram trucks.

Use the same thinking the next time someone brings you a great advertising idea for your small business. Do not be enticed by the prospect to be on the radio or TV for the first time. Pay no attention to all the bells and whistles as they just might be little more than “lipstick on a pig”.

Focus in on the core concept. Write it down on an empty sheet of paper, where the concept will rise or fall on its own merits. And then trust our gut.

See the actual Ram Truck commercial and make your own judgment.

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Six Simple Rules To Getting The Competitive Spirit on the Right Track

Being a formidable player in the corporate world is no easy task. You have to be ready to tackle competition all the time. Here are six simple rules to beat them at their own game.

  1. Market research comes in handy to get to know what people want; it also helps to understand what people expect from the competition. Understanding this in totality helps down the line as you build a brand from the get.
  2. Up the ante in the value stakes of the product or service that is on offer. This is bound to reap huge rewards for an upcoming and even an established brand. The target and client base will notice these tweaks and be appreciative as you laugh your way to the bank. You also gain an edge over the competition.
  3. Establish a rapport with the customer base and keep in touch with them through the journey. The idea here is not to spam them with constant drivel, but to keep them abreast of new developments, discounts, and encourage them to opt for early bird offers. It helps a great deal as you beat them through simple marketing methods.
  4. An exciting promo never lost out in the campaign stakes. Use the online medium to generate hype as you build up a tempo with everyone interested in knowing what is trending and doing the rounds. Keep on with the momentum and once this gets to be a talking point, launch the product / service. The idea is to form the right time and then go for the kill, so to speak.
  5. Quality is another most intelligent way to get ahead in the game. Testing the service or product needs to be the foremost objective before the launch. It establishes a reliable angle and does not allow competition to sneak in with maneuvers and gain because of losing focus.
  6. Never give up or give into negative chatter is one of the best points of all time. Most of us fight shy of getting ahead in the game primarily because of robust players in the market. However, that does not mean that you can not do your bit and edge ahead in the game of competitive business sport.

Simply Put

Being competitive is an exhausting experience but something that is expected to be a part of the business world. To get ahead in the game of barter entails that you are ten steps ahead of the competition so that profits are on the charts, not losses.

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Top 3 Reasons Small Businesses Fail at Marketing

I often speak to groups of small business owners and I keep hearing the same comment over and over again with many of them saying that marketers do not matter or marketing does not matter anymore.

There are many reasons I've heard as to why marketing does not matter: “all my business comes by referral,” “I never spend money on marketing and my business grew,” “marketing is a waste of money,” “I see no value in marketing, “” marketing is all luck so why spend money on it, “and so on.

Oh, how they are so very wrong! Below are the top 3 reasons why:

1. Their definition of marketing is wrong

When business owners tell me that marketing does not matter, they usually have a totally different understanding of what marketing is than those who recognize how marketing contributions to business goals where it enables you to charge the most money you can for your services and products.

Marketing is first about spending time building a solid foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales. Until the business finds a way to change the context of how their ideal customer views what they do, and then becomes the obvious choice provider, they'll find that their marketing efforts never seem to build momentum or gain any return on investment.

You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the head of your customers. Or, to look at it in a different way, to be able to address the number one question on your customer's mind at exactly the right time.

So, how do you do this? The conversation that is taking place in every prospective customer's mind revolves around two major points. There is a problem they have, and that they do not want … and there is a result that they want, and they do not have.

Those who often misunderstand marketing believe that it is only about advertising campaigns, brochures, flyers, website, email marketing, SEO, tradeshows, social media, copy, etc. These are the tactics – the way you implement your marketing. I'd argue that marketing is essentially the core of business strategy because it is about understanding the current customer, tapping into their fears, their goals and their aspirations and then creating products and services that the ideal customer is willing to buy from a brand they now they know, like and trust.

2. They believe either they or their co-worker can do it

Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business (or even big business when it comes to it), it's difficult to identify the areas that require outside help. A business may be able to set up their newsletter, add plugins to WordPress, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post, and clumsily create header graphics, but you need somebody who is trained, practiced, and skilled at looking strategically and holistically at the marketplace, understanding the customer, and then creating unique opportunities based on this understanding.

Just think about it for a minute; just because you have a calculator and excel does that mean you are an accountant? If you have a ruler, pencil and have watched some episodes of Grand Designs – does that make you an architect? If you post regularly to your friends on Facebook and Instagram – does that mean you're a social media expert?

So why do small businesses believe that by buying a Mac and some software they will become a designer, marketer and communications expert?

It needs to be led by a strategic marketer who can then develop an integrated marketing approach. Can you or your co-worker do this? In some cases, you can. But those who can are most likely to either come from marketing or consulting backgrounds where they have transferable skills and experience defending and delivering against a growth strategy.

If you are a small business, you need somebody who will have a very solid, process, streamlined, consistent, repeatable approach. First, they will research and learn about your company in great depth, the dynamics of the marketplace and identify shifts, trends, and changes. From there, the strategic marketer will be able to present the different elements of your marketing plan in logical order of how you should construct them, update them, or revise them; and identify the key areas you should be focusing on – be it generating leads, converting leads, increasing transactions right down to changing prices.

3. They hire the wrong marketing help

There is a huge misunderstanding around marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and marketing execution.

There is a difference between being strategically capable, creatively capable and executionally capable.

Small business owners do not hire a strategic marketing coach / firm to develop creative graphics and headers; nor should you hire an advertising / graphic design agency to handle marketing strategy. A small business does not need to hire a consultant or a firm who is a strong marketing officer when their biggest need is a strategy for sustainable growth. You may get more attention, but not the best results.

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