How to Hire a Salesperson Who Works 24/7/365

Imagine if you will, that you had the services of a magnificent sales person who you paid a paltry amount of money, yet he or she would work for you 24/7/365.

While it is not for every small business, having a powerful phone message on-hold can add dramatically to your bottom line. Despite this statement, many small business owners do not have or use such a service. Some of the objections to having a solid message on-hold include:
• We do not want to be so impersonal.
• We are so small we do not need it.
• It costs too much money.
• It is a hassle to maintain properly.

Yet, in my research with clients who use a message on-hold system, and the providers who offer this service, the evidence is overwhelming that a good message on hold system can annually bring in thousands of dollars of additional revenue to your business.

According to marketing specialist, Jay Conrad Levinson, A typical business receives as many as 100 calls a day and puts callers on hold for over 17 hours each month. A whopping 70 percent of those calls are placed on hold for an average of 90 seconds. A depressingly large 90% of callers hang up within 40 second if “on hold” means dead silence. And 34 percent of those never call back.

On-hold marketing reduces hang-ups by 77 percent because instead of silence, callers hear marketing messages. It increases telephone on-hold time as much as 230 percent. A full 88 percent of callers say they prefer an on-hold message to music or silence. Best of all, 19 percent of callers buy something when they hear a powerful marketing message while on hold.

Here are three solid reasons to consider having a good message on-hold communication system.
• It can enhance your image. When a person calls your company and is put on hold while waiting to talk to a particular person, a good message on-hold, can create a more professional perception.
• It is an excellent opportunity to educate and inform. Tim Brown, Owner of http://www.EasyOnHold.com says, “while a prospect or client is waiting on-hold your message can educate them about your company's services, mission statement, areas of expertise and anything else that would be important for them to know. ”
• 100% Exclusivity. With most forms of advertising, you are constantly fighting for your audience's attention, competing against TV, radio, outdoor advertising or social media, to name just a few. With a good message-on hold system, your message and only your message is communicated directly to your listener.

Just recently I completed a project where I coached one of my clients, Tony Grech, owner of Greko Printing and Imaging. Tony wanted to add a personal message to his company's message on-hold system. By adding his voice and specific points he wanted to mention about his personal guarantee, excellent team and community services, he was able to customize his message-on hold to create an emotional impact on the listener. To listen to this excellent message simply call Greko Printing & Imaging's business number at 734-453-0341.

As I have always said, “If your prospects or clients do not know about specific services or products that you offer, they do not exist, at least in their minds.

Prices vary on the amount of services you want. However, a good system starts at about $ 750- $ 850 plus an annual maintenance fee. This type of an investment is self-financing. In other words it pays for itself with the additional sales your company will incur because of its' effectiveness to communicate your products and services.
There are many suppliers of this service. Shop around and find one that fits your needs and wants.

To enhance the impact, I would recommend that you make sure you can add a personal message in your own voice to this message on-hold.
When you have your message on-hold, up and running, you will be utilizing the power of a 24/7/365 salesperson that can boost your sales and your profits.

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The Recipe for a Successful Small Business

Every successful dish starts out as a trusted recipe, if the recipe is followed, the dish is successful every time. It is almost impossible to determine the amount of money lost through small business failures during the last five years. In 2009, the Kauffman Foundation estimated the start-up cost of a small business at $ 30,000, while the US Small Business Association estimated the start-up cost of a home based micro business at $ 1,000 to $ 5,000. In 2013, approximately 28 million small businesses in the USA. Assuming a one to one ratio of success and failures, it is clear that US entrepreneurs loose an enormous amount of money to failed businesses. If there was a recipe for a success in business, it would include outstanding customer service, strategic partner selections, strong processes, effective marketing and monitoring.

Outstanding customer service : Small business owners must be mindful that customers have the right of choice and a wide range of options from which to choose. Therefore, outstanding customer service must be both a strict principle and a clearly defined goal. Satisfied customers are your best referral and advertising tools.

Strategic partner selections : No one succeeds alone, the relationships we form are critical to our success. Whether business partners, team members, referral sources or key vendors, entrepreneurs need to be deliberate and strategic about these relationships. All of these relationships have the potential to affect customer service and profits.

Strong Processes : A good business process cuts across many, areas of business operation. Therefore, it creates efficiency, lowers costs and improvements customer service. Business operations are affected by people, technology and, processes; with processes working as the glue that holds the people involved and the technology applied, together.

Effective marketing : Understanding the difference between being a business owner and a technician is critical to success. A business owner's time is better spending working on the business. But most entrepreneurs can not afford to relinquish all technical responsibilities. A workable solution is for small business owners to set aside at least 30 percent of their time to work on marketing and monitoring. Marketing can affect current and future product and service offerings, it requires interaction with existing and would-be customers, improve customer retention and loyalty and add to profits. Monitoring is equally important as there is no other way by which to measure business goals and make timely adjustments which can result in minimizing losses in customers and profits.

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Small Business Owners: Utilizing Technology to Improve Profits

If you really want to become more profitable and improve operations in your company, you have to shift your focus from the following limiting thoughts about technology.

  1. If I buy the latest production software we will be in good shape
  2. We do not do that here
  3. We are unique, we do not have competition that use technology to help them generate profits
  4. The plan is in my head, people will steal it off the computer
  5. All I need is more sales to make more profits

You've got to get the right mindset by eliminating restrictive thoughts, and then you'll be ready to improve people, processes and profitability.

Do you ever wonder how a company can start out with just one idea, a passion and a vision, then 10 to 20 years later have thousands of employees and millions in sales?

  1. What did these companies do to become so successful
  2. Are the owners smarter than you?
  3. Do they work harder than you?
  4. Did they have better equipment or people than you?

No. But they do use better technology tools to drive operation (the people and the process). Operations represent about 60% or 80% of all your overhead costs but they're the least understood by US businesses.

For decades, the Japanese have focused on operations that have driven innovation and a culture of continuous improvement. In the right small business owner hands, operations and technology can be a competitive weapon.

Now, ask yourself how can your small company — with just a handful of employees and limited resources — turn operations and technology applications into a powerful weapon to beat competition and learn to grow and thrive!

Why invest in technology / What are the benefits

The bottom line is, if you're suffering from tight cash flow, exhausted lines of credit and top-line growth, then you have weak operations and have underutilized the technology applications onsite or off-the-shelf that can help you.

First step to rapid profit improvement is to start by asking your employees. They usually know where costly blocks and bottlenecks are hidden.

Technology can store employee survey results that help you to plan profitability.

Employee Questionnaire (sample)

  1. Are your interests and aspirations being challenged
  2. Does each department in this company have measurable standard designed to increase profitability? Does each area have documentation of process flows and procedures of how it should work?
  3. Does everyone in this company share the goal of improving the company profits? Does the CEO hold town hall meetings about 'planned profits'?
  4. Are you regularly told when you do good work?
  5. Do you get the help you need to do a good job?
  6. As an employee, do you feel you can trust your direct supervisor / manager?
  7. Are owner / managers open and honest with employees?
  8. Does the company provide you with continuous training in areas that will make you a better employee? Has it trained you on how to cut operating expenses or increase revenue to improve profits in your area?
  9. Are your responsibilities generally explained, well planned and organized?
  10. Is poor performance tolerated by management? ie, worker performance, operations bottlenecks and customer relationships.

The following are other ways business productivity software drives business processes more efficiently to gain optimal results:

Create an open and communicative environment.

By storing evaluation information within a formal database, managers can more easily communicate business strategy and create measurable goals for their employees that will support overall company objectives. In allowing employees to see the whole picture and understand better how individual goals fit into the company's business objectives. This can create a energized and engaged employees, thereby raising the business productivity of the company.

Motivate your employees using technology.

Based upon the information gathered in an online performance evaluation, managers can compare current skills with those required for advancement or other recognition or reward opportunities that present themselves as the manager tracks progress on employee goals through the year. You may also find you need to redirect employees to different departments if you feel their business productivity could increase elsewhere. If there are impediments to better performance, the company should review why it is happening and try to eliminate these through better allocation of resources or additional training.

Monitor business productivity and employee progress on goals.

Business productivity software solutions enable managers to more easily track progress during every phase of goal completion and offer immediate reinforcement or coaching to keep performance and deadlines on track in daily operations, and utilize performance measures for strategic planning.

Electronic Commerce

There are many business applications related to e-commerce, from setting up your online storefront to managing your supply chain to marketing your products and services. These technologies fall into three main categories:

Business to Business (B2B)

  • Purchasing indirect supplies
  • Look for catalog-based websites offered by suppliers for corporate purchases, similar to business-to-customer websites, for purchasing indirect supplies such as office furniture, pens, paper, and general office equipment.
  • Leveraging your existing Web presence
  • Improve your existing business-to-customer e-commerce website. Greater sophistication can be added into your store to target your business clientele.

Business to Customer (B2C)

The global reach of the Internet has allowed many businesses to sell their products and services online, both at home and abroad. An electronic storefront is a website with many pre-built e-commerce components like electronic shopping carts and secure payment gateways that you can use to set up an online store.

Internet Marketing

Everything you do to promote your business online is Internet marketing. For example, Internet marketing strategies include (but are not limited to) website design and content, search engine optimization, directory submissions, reciprocal linking strategies, online advertising, and email marketing.

How to Implement Technology to increase profits

IT implementation can be a valuable tool for increasing workplace productivity, but without a careful selection of the right technologies for your specific industry and comprehensive employee training, it can also serve to reduce productivity, profitability and employee satisfaction. The return on investment will depend on whether the technologies are implemented right for a given business' needs and how prepared employees are to use them.

Step 1

Brainstorm a list of business process improvements you may be able to realize from a technological implementation. Your list should include three categories: improvements that you know to be possible, and which are core requirements for your expense; a wish list of things you would like to have, but which may be future development efforts; and a list of things which would transform the way you do business, but which may not be possible. These three goals provide you with a present-day implementation goal, as well as a future development target – and it may be that your transformational goals could be far easier to reach than you expect.

Step 2

Determine whether you intend to develop these technologies using in-house resources, or through outside consultations. Almost every major workflow technology requires extensive customization, implementation procedures and training. Small businesses can sometimes get by cheaply using staff members technologically profitable – but mistakes made at the beginning of the process can ramp up costs later on when you turn to professional outside support.

Step 3

Avoid specifying particular technologies if you do not have the technical expertise to evaluate them properly. The purpose of the administrative process at this stage is to define goals and budgetary constitutions; non-technical managers who wed themselves to specific technologies too early can miss out on fundamental cost savings, and choose a technology not the best suited for the work.

Step 4

Circulate your request for proposals among outside consultants and implementors, or establish an internal process for doing the same amongst your staff if you are keeping the work in-house. Major technological implementation will not succeed if they are added to the existing workload of an employee. Proper technological implementations can be more than a full-time job in and of themselves. Staff members shifted to technology implementation should have their existing duties moved to other staff resources.

Step 5

Negotiate a time frame, budget and implementation benchmarks with your external or internal staff resources. If you are working with an outside consultant, your contract should include protection against running over budget and over schedule. Likewise, the consultant will protect his own firm by setting specific terms of the work to be completed, and charging you extra if you change them over the course of the contract.

Step 6

Develop an implementation timetable, including the following steps: test deployment to review the work; training, if necessary; a transition phase from the current workflow to the new technology; and production deployment of the completed technology. This last phase is typically followed by an iterative process, in which improvements to the technology are collected from the staff who have direct experience working with it. When budget and time allow for it, apply a new cycle of upgrades to your technology to ensure that you are getting the most out of it.

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5 Infectious Diseases of Small Business and Their Cures

Your business can come down with maladies, wheezing and coughing and not functioning as well as it can. The infection can spread until multiple parts of your business are affected.

You can cure them if you make the right diagnosis and take action.

Bug # 1. Nostrategitis. Lack of strategy is a common ailment among small businesses. It's common because nobody teachers strategy for small business. There's so much focus on action that no one tells you to take the time to think about the big picture.

This is where a focus on the impact you want to have, the positive contribution you want to make in your business, community, and beyond comes in. When you have clarity on the impact you want to have, it gives you the focus you need to create a coherent, high functioning business. You end up with a strategy and business that are aligned with your values ​​and how you want to show up in the world.

The Cure : Step back from doing and look at the big picture. Start by giving thought to the impact you want to have. Ask yourself good questions: does this thing I want to do help me to have that impact? Is what I'm planning going to align with other things I'm doing in my business and will it help me reach my goals?

Bug # 2. Slow-to-reactivitis. Oh the slow spread of inaction , waiting to see what happens. Maybe things will improve. Maybe I'll get more clarity about what to do next.

This is where the optimism that most entrepreneurs have in spades fails us. You might be thinking: Well, it should work! That expert over there said so.

Truth: every business is different. Be prepared to tweak your own business as needed.

The Cure : When something's not working, take action sooner rather than later. You can prevent the spread of the infection by facing the reality of what's not reaching your expectations. Call that experiment done and failed (it's not you that that's failed, it's the experiment!). Do some research, talk to someone who knows, and decide on new action.

Bug # 3. Anti-trackingitis . This secondary infection really helps other bugs grow. Bug # 2 really takes hold when you have no solid data to base your next moves on. Inaction spreads because of the vacuum created by no real information.

The Cure : To help you in determining the amount of the illness so you can take the cure for Bug # 2 above, track your important outcomes. Take your medicine, even if numbers are not your thing. These data will be what brings you out of the funk, if you're willing to look at them with a critical eye.

Bug # 4. Icandothisalone disease . Oh the myth of the intrepid and lone adventurer! Being an entrepreneur has its own romance to it: the crusading figure out to conquer whatever field you're in. Making headway by sheer grit and determination.

MYTH !! There is not an entrepreneur alive or dead who has made a success of their business without the help of others. And I mean serious help.

The Cure : Excise the myth. Just cut it out. One of the great joys of having your own business is the creative company you get to keep. That includes your clients, your team, and any other business owners who accompany you in this treatment. Work on building and nurturing those relationships.

Bug # 5. Worktilyoudropitis . Whatever your business is doing well or doing poorly, you can fall victim to this condition: working too hard.

When you're focused on your impact and things are going well, you can become so engaged that you lose sight of the big picture and neglect other aspects of your life.

And when you're struggling, you can be tempted to throw more work at the problem.

The Cure : Clarify what's most important to you and organize your life and work around that. Determine if the extra time you're spending actually results in better outcomes.

Take breaks in your day, your week, and your month. Rejuvenate by having fun, eating well, and exercising. Bring more fun into your business with creative approaches and a focus on what you really love to do. As much as possible, let others do the rest.

Not to carry the metaphor too disgustingly far, your business can be under the weather from the creeping crud. These common infectious diseases of small business can take hold, if you do not put the cures to work.

Even better, take measures to stay healthy, and you'll keep these infectious diseases at bay.

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Web Payment and Some Essential Facts That No One Would Tell You

The new edge technology has made us dependable on the virtual world of electronic programming. Since the concept of electronic payment has entered the scene, many a conversation remains in the corner, and the tech-freak individuals are diving to hunt the information. In today's' scenario electronic payment gateway is not only a thing to cherish but also its application has tailor our living. Starting from education, daily necessities to business portfolio everything calls for its blessings.

Now, to be more precise business entrepreneurs have been utilizing this at its fullest to secure the transaction. At present everywhere the demand of electronic payment devices has been growing. Electronic payment gateway is now tightly knit with the web.

However, usually, a vendor roams around some specific choices when they start acknowledging about online payments using the internet. They begin showing off their interest in manifold objectives. They try to build a web shopping basket by composing software on their own, or by purchasing an outsider programming to do this. They try formulating an outsider payment framework, just like AcceptPay or PayPal or typically utilize an aggregator administration, PaySwyft for instance).

Whatever choice is at last chosen, there are a few issues for a trader to consider:

Marketing concerns

Any business should own a viable perception of how much they want to advert. They need to comprehend the overall appearance of the payment pages. In a few organizations, this may not make any difference in particular, and a non-exclusive payment site might be fit for the reason.

Site supervision and accessibility

The fundamental objective of any organization, while including web payment, is guaranteeing that the payment site is reliably checked and accessible for use. In any case, the suppliers bought to have the capacity to effectively give these accessibility measurements to any business to make the web payments' pages a success.

Customer assistance

Numerous concepts should be fleshed out when settling on what sort of administration is required for your clients. For instance, is the framework going to be easy to use for all individuals who might be keen on utilizing it? Do you require every minute of every day, 365 days-year accessibility? Do you need universal payments? Then again can your framework quickly discover a payment exchange when needed? The moment you have collected answers to all these questions you are prepared to start the venture.

PCI-Compliance issues

The PCI Security Standards Council offers exhaustive benchmarks and supporting materials to improve payment card information security. The PCI Data Security Standard incorporates prerequisites for the safety administration, approaches, methodology, system engineering, programming outline and other basic defensive measures. With an interior or acquired arrangement PCI consistency must be taken care of forthrightly.

Costs / Fees

One other issue to consider when tolerating credit or check card payments through the web is expenses or charges. Numerous organizations that work on flat edges could see those edges crumble significantly as credit or charge card expenses (immediate and backhanded) would include an extra (and possibly superfluous) layer of expenditure.

According to the last examination, the payment channels and choices on the web have grown. Now, more clients are getting habituated with the entire procedure of paying electronically. The whole process of offering payment options using the Internet will turn out to be more helpful for organizations. In any case, there are a few conceivable techniques accessible to accomplish this and a few essential territories of thought to consider.

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5 Tips for Writing Website Content for Your Small Business

Regarding your online presence, your website is, in essence, an ambassador for your business. Through it, you present your small business to your customers so they can understand all you offer.

Are you conveying a clear and compelling message through your website content? Here are 5 tips for writing website content that engages your niche market:

1. Make your copy current

Do not assume you can toss any old article or other form of content on your website to fill up space and engage your site visitors. People check out … and stay on … websites that offer timely and useful information. Update your site regularly on products and / or services your business offers.

2. Have a focus for each page on your site

Do not have your “About Us” page offering product warranty information. Do not have a Product page crowded with customer service information. Have a specific purpose for each page. Do not confuse visitors with a mish-mash of information loaded on one page touching on varied subjects.

3. Incorporate some white space

Make it gentle on your visitors' eyes through integrating white space on your web pages. It's an eyesore to have copy that extends from margin to margin. It's also an eyesore, as well as annoying, to have to scroll endlessly to read with no break in the text. Create white space pauses to let your site visitors easily read your content.

Create white space, and appealing organized content, through the use of headlines, sub headlines, and bullet points. Add photos, graphs, graphics, and such to further enhance your page copy and give readers a break from big blocks of text.

Use shorter paragraphs. Use shorter sentences than you would in a hard copy piece of writing. Reading on a screen for an extended length of time is still a chore for some people, especially when the material is not properly organized for web reading.

4. Make your content SEO suitable

Is the content you put on your site Search Engine Optimized? Integrate search terms appropriate for your business into the articles, blog posts, and other content you place on your different web pages.

If your business is selling gloves, you would have the word “gloves” in your copy of course. However, you can refine this further with phrases such as “men's gloves,” 'women's gloves,' and more. example would be “suede women's gloves for casual occasions”.

Do not overdo keywords, though. Make sure your content reads naturally and conveys useful information in an easy-to-read way to your readers.

5 . Have your pages focus on your customers

Your web pages must center on your customers and their wants and needs. Yes, you do have to give information about your small business, what you offer, and even your history in the business. Neverheless, gear all copy to the customer, and how your business overall exists to serve them and give them the solutions and benefits that they need.

Take the time to create compelling website copy that gets your message across clearly to your customers (and potential customers). Consider the above 5 tips for writing website content that connects with your visitors and spurs them to stay on your site and see all you have to offer them.

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Top 10 Biggest Benefits of a Custom 3D Printing Service

Before making any 3D masterpiece such as jewelry, games, toys, gadgets, vehicle parts, idol, and much more, every company requires printers that can build the object in 3D to show its clear view. However, various organizations also provide the custom 3D printing service for customized goods as per the requirement of the customer. It all begins with the virtual designing of the object that customer wants to create using a 3D modeling application of the CAD file. Here, 3D printing is the method of making the 3-dimensional concrete objects from the digital file through CAD coding.

Neverheless, with the lack of this advanced knowledge and the programming tools, its benefits and usage, people are taking the place of 3D printers. However, it is quite clear from the previous usage that custom 3D printing service has served greatly. Here are the 10 benefits of this service, which will certainly prove its effectual usage:

1. Rapid Prototyping: this is the computer based development strategy that offers the rapid prototyping that transforms the digital model into the 3D prototype with the help of additional manufacturing technologies such as SLA, FDM, SLS, and DMSL. It is faster than human's development skills.

2. No time and less spec: the new 3D printing technology provides the quick and accurate delivery of the printing. Because of this model, the printing is possible within a day or next day. This helps in each production development and services to the project management.

3. Geometry shapes. No problem: with the latest technology and the inventions in the 3D printing, the development of any geometric shape like holes, square interior cavity, unrealistic overhang, and so on, are possible.

4. Wide printing options: with rapid prototyping printing services, other services are SLS (Selective laser Sintering), object 3D, SLA (Stereo lithography), DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering), And FDM printing that ensures the high-quality printing of parts.

5. Less expensive: the injection tools for prototyping and the overall production runs are a pricey investment but it allows the additive manufacturing at the faster rate with accuracy. The machine parts are reliable and long lasting.

6. Reduction in risk: it gives the advantage of examination by developing the ready-to-use test plastic prototype that builds the confidence of further development rather than developing an expensive model tool for verification.

7. Clear interaction: means the conceptual image of the object is far better than the theory written in 1000 words.

8. Feedback: By revealing the product's prototype in the market, this will give the clear picture of the potential buyer and the investors or can raise the capital through previous selling.

9. Real object judgment: with the virtual prototypes on the computer screen, one can not touch or feel it. However, the real prototype test model will give the exact ergonomics and scale of the product.

10. Customization: with the custom 3D printing service, the user can custom, tweak, and uniquely modify an object as per the requirement. Usually used in dental, jewelry, and medical industry.

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Marketing Your Business: Promoting the Articles (and Other Content) You Write

Okay, you have that informative content written and submitted to an article directory, blog site or another web portal. Now you're going to sit back and watch the traffic roll in to your website. Simple as that, right? Unfortunately, the answer is “No”; you still have work to do to promote your pieces so that you garner a wide audience for it.

Consider the following tips for promoting your business writing and reaping the benefits of your promotional work:

Get the Word Out Via Social Networking

The various social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, as well as others present opportunities to let others know you have a new article or other content published on the web. Use these sites to provide links to where your writing resides, whether on your website, blog, or in an online publication or article directory.

Utilize a Blog

Start your own blog and post your article on your blog, or link to where your article is from your blog. Just make sure, if you start a blog, to update it frequently with fresh content two to three times a week. A blog is only as good as the content posted on it, so having a blog will spur you on to keep writing those quality articles.

Newsletters

Do you have a newsletter? If you do, include a feature article in your newsletter. This keeps your readers up-to-date with relevant information that relates to you and the products and services you offer.

Do not have a newsletter? You can start one and send it out monthly. Make sure the content of the newsletter speaks to your audience's concerns. Make sure it is not a blatant sales pitch disguised as a newsletter. Make all of your newsletter content as informative and useful as the feature article you're including within – or why would anyone take the time to read it?

Utilize the Social Networks of Family / Friends

The popularity of social networks affords you the opportunity to reach a broad network of people. You can develop your audience through leveraging the social networks of your family and friends. Asking them to link your article or blog via their social networks opens up new possibilities in terms of readership for you.

The Takeaway

Offer the 'Goods' Before Focusing on the Sales Process

Do not let the ultra-competitive sales function get in the way of giving your prospects the 'goods' they need before making a buying decision. These 'goods' are the articles, blog posts, newsletters, brochures, data, statistics, case studies, testimonials, reports, peer reviews and more concerning the solutions you're offering them to help them make smart buying decisions.

Upon being requested to provide further information, and also proof of the validity of your product and service claims, do you rush off a rehash of old information (articles, brochures, product pamphlets, ads, emails, etc.), hoping to expedite the sales process?

This is the wrong approach. Consistently present and promote fresh, relevant, timely information.

The writing of a quality article or other content directed at your niche market is just the beginning of your responsibilities. Your job as a small business operator (and marketer) is to offer prompt delivery of this useful information.

You want your writing to reach as many people as possible. Therefore, get to work on the promotional aspects as concerns your writing. With a little effort, you will build that audience you desire for your efforts.

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3 Critical Financial Ratios Small Business Owners Should Track

There are four ways to increase revenues and two to increase profits. You can increase revenues by increasing the number of transactions per customer, increasing the average sale, increasing the number of customers and raising prices. You can increase profits by lowering costs and / or increasing prices. Remember that your revenue is the total of all money you bring in and your profits are what is left after all expenses and taxes.

Most small business owners have an accountant or at the very least they use accounting software which can provide financial statements, balance sheets, etc. This is all good! You do not need to be an accountant to manage your business, you do need to calculate and track certain critical criteria. Waiting until the end of your fiscal year to see where you are at may be your downfall or you might have changed something you should not have because it was more successful than you thought.

The numbers you should track very closely are found on the following reports: Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement and your Income Statement. Your accountant creates these for you. Hire a good accountant, and make sure you understand what you are looking at and what your numbers mean. Learn to read these reports and keep track of critical numbers so you do not suddenly find yourself on the verge of bankruptcy. Take bold and immediate action if and when needed to continue moving towards your revenue and profit goals.

3 Critical Financial Ratios to Track:

  1. Gross margin (also called Gross Profit) = Income minus direct costs.
  2. Net income (also called Net Profit) = Revenues minus all expenses and taxes.
  3. Overhead to sales & Wages to sales ratios = Total overhead costs as a percentage of your income and total wages as a percentage of sales.

Let's now take a look at each of these numbers to understand their importance and how they can affect your business short-term and long-term. Your net profit is directly affected by your sales, sales price and variable and fixed costs. Measure your financial performance regularly to obtain a clear image of your financial situation before you make any drastic decisions.

Gross profit or gross margin represents your profits left over after you deduct income minus direct costs. Gross profit is what you have left to pay indirect overhead costs. The direct costs are the costs associated to your products and services sold. Direct costs include: cost of purchase or manufacturing plus freight, customs, duties, losses, interest paid on product funded, local delivery (if you do not invoice for it separately), responsibilities and bonuses and direct advertising costs (if you allocate an advertising budget directly to this article).

Your net income or net profit is your bottom line. This is how much you have left after all expenses and taxes are deducted from your total revenue. Many forget to account for taxes paid. We have to pay the taxman, so this should be count as an expense.

If the overhead to sales or the Wages to Sales ratios go up, figure out why. Many reasons can affect these ratios. Some are temporary and acceptable. Others may indicate a bad trend. For example, if your wages to sales ratio goes up because you have just hired a new salesperson, this is acceptable and temporary. If, however after a few months, this ratio stays high, there is a reason for further analysis. Did this salesperson sell anything during this time? If so, do his sales cover his salary? If the answer is yes, it is an indication that sales from other sources are down. Tracking these two ratios on a monthly basis will help you keep costs at a reasonable level and take corrective action before they get out of control.

“You can not improve what you do not measure.

Small business owners are bombarded by interruptions. It is imperative to stay on top of key financial data on a regular basis. Do not just rely on instinct or what you staff tells you. Track these numbers and more so you have a clear unbiased picture of where your business stands. Take immediate corrective action when needed to get back on track towards your goals.

You can not improve what you do not measure. Manage your financials or they will manage you!

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Article Writing Tips: Marketing Your Business

Do you plan to populate your small business website with informative original articles for your target audience? Are you planning to engage in article distribution to online publishers to build links back to your website? If you are engaging in one or both of these tasks, it's important to plan your articles first.

Readers desire logical articles that move logically from sentence to sentence, from point to point, from paragraph to paragraph. They want an interesting read that's enjoyable as well. In addition, they want articles that reward the time they've invested in your piece.

Here are a few article writing tips for marketing your business:

Decide on the purpose of your article

Is the article to establish yourself as an expert in your field through conveying useful information objectively? Is the article promotional in tone, intended for your website and not for article directories or trade magazines (print and online)?

Concentrate on Developing Your Idea

Consider your audience, and develop your idea to suit that audience. Again, this depends on whether it's a straight informative article for online or print publications or an article more blatantly promoting your products / services through your website, your blog, and such.

Do the Necessary Research

Perform the research necessary to get your point across to your readers. This may involve interviews, book research, online research, or practical use of a system, method, process, product, or service. Do the research you need to do so your article has that authoritative voice to it.

Come Up with a Working Title

Of course, you can change the title later on, but having a working title helps you focus your writing. You tend to adhere to the topic the title purports and this means less chance of meandering off topic.

Create an Outline

I know some writers disagree with this point; they just wing it, let their thoughts flow, and claim an outline hinders them. I do not subscribe to that belief. An outline helps me focus my thoughts, as does the above-mentioned working title. An outline is a road map that guides you through the major points you wish to cover.

Remember the old saying, “If you do not know where you're going, any road will take you there.” Without an outline, you risk ending up somewhere else (topic-wise) and not dealing with the original premise of your article.

Write

Go to it; write that article according to your outline. Get the words down on real or cyber paper so you have something to hone to a finished piece. You can move step-by-step, confidently, to your desired conclusion. Take that first step and start writing.

Rewrite as necessary

Writing is writing. Polish that article so it's free of spelling errors, grammar errors, and so it clearly presents the information in an easy-to-read manner for your readers.

Writing an article is easier when you plan it out and take a systematic approach. Try the above tips and see where it takes you. You will develop an orderly approach to creating quality content that results in original articles ready for your target audience.

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Here’s Your Small Business Blog Checklist

Your regularly updated small business blog (a form of copywriting for promoting your business) is a wonderful tool for keeping your target market informed. Quality content, in an engaging voice, helps you build a rapport with your readers – customers and potential customers.

Carefully plan your blog – its reason for being – and the goals you want it to achieve. Focus on its purpose and measure whether it's delivering results.

Here's your checklist for creating and maintaining a first-rate business blog:

Do Do you know your audience?

Have a clear picture of who you are directing your content to. Your small business blog is not a general interest blog targeted at everyone . It's a specialty blog targeted to your niche market. You know who they are, so create content accordingly.

H Have you planned your post?

Do not wing it when composing your blog post. Sure, sometimes the words will just flow without much thought. However, most of the time you will need to plan (and maybe even outline) your piece before getting into the nitty-gritty of the writing. This will make for a clear, organized blog post that does not stray off topic.

Are Are you providing useful content?

Do not waste your readers' time by giving them bland, mediocre content. People will regularly click their way to your blog if they know it offers current, useful information, that's relevant to them. Research your topic carefully and offer new insight into your topic, and tie it in with what you as a small business operator offer.

H Have you created a quality title?

Give thought to your opening salvo. Your title should spark interest in the reader. It should cause them to want to investigate your piece further. Create a headline that invites the reader to spend time with your blog post.

The title should make them believe that they will gain valuable information from reading your writing. Remember, people come to a blog to find new information, tips, advice, and solutions – especially when they visit a business blog.

H Have you added photos?

Enliven your blog post with at least one photo. Make sure photos are appropriate to the subject of your post. Moreover, make sure photos are of high-quality, clear and vivid to add some punch to your piece.

H Have you considered length?

Say rather what you need to say and do not stay at it ad infinitum . Do not have a long-winded post that should really be broken up into two or three blog posts. Strive for a post in the 400 – 500 word range, give or take some.

Yes, you can have longer pieces if you so choose. Nonetheless, make the content engaging to encourage readers to continue to the end of the piece. Your aim is to give them precedence and concise information presented in an easy-to-read way.

Readers will scan headlines, subheads and bullet points to retrieve the info they want – fast. You do not want them clicking away from your site after scrolling and seeing there was still too much content to read?

Consider this above small checklist for making your small business blog a winner.

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Aerospace Needle Bearings – What You Need To Know And How To Buy Them

Aerospace needle bearings are precision bearings which are manufactured to meet the very strict aerospace applications and aircraft control requirements. These bearings are made to the highest standard, meeting very high quality control standards to make sure that they give a long-lasting, strong and durable solution that aerospace companies can rely on and trust.

In most instances these special bearings are made from stainless steel, although there are cases where they are manufactured using different materials. They are corrosion resistant, coated to ensure that they can handle all-weather conditions without rusting, so aerospace companies can use the bearings with complete confidence, knowing that they will not rust, wear or break in the long run.

In addition to being corrosion resistant, the aerospace needle bearings also need to be shock resistant, while being resistant against extreme temperatures. When you think of an aircraft in the sky, they go through extreme temperatures, often freezing temperatures and engineers need peace of mind that the bearings can withstand this and will not break when the plane is flying with hundreds of passengers on board at any given time .

These bearings come in different shapes. The measurements are based on three points, the bore size, the outer diameter and the width of the bearing.

There are some very important factors you are going to want to take into consideration when buying aerospace needle bearings. The first is to ensure you buy the best quality product. The best way to ensure this is to try to find a supplier who will not only supply you with the bearings you need, but they manufacture them as well. Finding a company that manufactures and distributes under one roof can give you the peace of mind you need that they follow strict quality controls to ensure you enjoy the best quality bearings now and moving forward.

Finding a company can be quite a daunting task and if you do not have a reliable supplier, then you are going to want to turn to the internet to source that one supplier who you can build a long lasting business relationship with. Going through this research process now to find an aerospace needle bearing specialist is worth it as once you find your supplier, you can just order moving forward, without having to go through this process again.

Look for companies around the world that can supply you. When it comes to such an important product that you want to know is the best quality, choosing global suppliers is something you will want to consider, ensuring you buy the best of the best.

It is advisable to identify a few companies you feel you can buy from. This way you can review each company in detail and then compare them against each other, along with the bearings, to ensure you are buying the best quality, puring your mind at ease when next working on a plane which is due to transport hundreds of passengers to a destination on the other side of the globe.

Always set yourself a budget, but never let price be your deciding factor. Quality is more important than price. If you can not find the bearing you want, you need to ensure your supplier can have the part manufactured to your unique specifications, always ensuring you get the best quality at the best price.

The last step is to choose an aerospace needle bearing specialist that will give you fast dispatch and delivery times, so you can get the plane completed and ready for take off.

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5 Quick Productivity Tips for the Busy Small Business Owner

Here are 5 tried and tested productivity tips that every small business owner needs to follow …

1. Use technology to manage your time, tasks and appointments
A lot of advances have been made in technology that helps people, organize their daily schedules, remind you about appointments and also helps to chart out your day. In fact, you do not have to carry around any calendars or paper organizers; you can schedule the appointments on your smartphone, and it will send you reminders. For example, cloud-based applications allow users to store their data and programs on a virtual platform which you can access from anywhere. With this technology, you can check your schedules and tasks without having to open your laptop or PC.

2. Do not Multi-task
Multi-tasking was once considered a very resourceful quality. But what a lot of business owners do not realize is that multi-tasking does not deliver quality. When you handle too many tasks at a time, you are bound to leave room for errors, and this hampers the result. Multi-tasking also leads to a drop in focus, increased stress-levels and ability to meet business goals. Focussing on one job at a time is s sensible way to enhance productivity. You will remain more focused and relaxed and have a better job satisfaction. You can use advanced apps and software to organize tasks and finish each task with finesse and on time. This is applicable not only to the owner but can help employees also to deliver their best performance.

3. Keep a clutter-free workspace
Cluttered space does not promote productivity. The work areas have to be neat and tidy at all times. Office cluttering usually occurs due to the presence of too many files, documents, papers, etc. The second you walk into your office and see so many papers lying around, the mind shuts down. Maintaining a clutter-free and clean work space is necessary to create a pleasant atmosphere at the office. The use of online software to store data is an excellent way to avoid cluttering in the office.

4. Get a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants provide service from a distance, maybe from their home or another office. You need to pay them only for the services they perform; it is something like freelancing work. You can designate not-so-important tasks like proofreading, doing paperwork, making schedules, writing a press release, articles, blogs, etc. to them. So your work gets done and you can use your time to attend to more crucical work. There are numerous other services also that they can perform which can save you lots of time. Getting a virtual assistant will help you meet the business goals more effectively and efficiently.

5. Take a break
This is necessary for every individual. Business owners need to be creative and should possess quick decision-making skills, but when you subject yourself to continuous work every day, these qualities start to deteriorate. Setting aside 15 minutes every day to meditate helps to revive and freshen up the mind. When you have a sound and peaceful mind, the productivity also improves.

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Important Tips To Purchasing Aerospace Cutting Tools Online

Aerospace cutting tools are used extensively in the aerospace industry, but when you are buying tools online which are going to be used on things such as air-planes, which are responsible for transporting hundreds of passengers at a time, thousands each year, it is effective that you choose a product which is of the highest quality and sourced from a leading manufacturer and distributor.

With this type of item, you can not take any chances, which means that you will want to search for distributors from around the world, not only relying on aerospace cutting tools which are manufactured in your own country. With improved shipping methods, you can order from anywhere in the world and enjoy the convenience of fast and effective to the door delivery at all times.

Start by searching online to find suppliers. It is advisable when searching for suppliers that you choose companies that manufacture and distribute the aerospace cutting tools. This way you can speak to them about their manufacturing processes, ensuring that they meet quality control standards and are guaranteed to meet your particular requirements moving forward.

Choose a minimum of three companies. Three companies gives you the opportunity to review and compare the companies against each other to identify the one supplier you feel will give you the best service and that you can use time and time again in the future.

With the three companies at hand, you can now take a few minutes to review each company in detail. Go through their website with a fine tooth comb. Identify how long they have been in business and what other aerospace companies they supply. Read through their about us section and their delivery information, make sure you learn as much about each of the companies as possible, highlighting the positive points of each.

Having this valuable information at hand, you will now want to conduct some independent research. The best way to do this is to type the company name into your search engine, going through the results. Look for independent review sites and online forums on your industry. This is a chance to read up on honest feedback from past and current customers. This single step can help you knock one, if not two of the companies from your list, making your list shorter and easier to identify the right supplier for your company moving forward.

You can now start focusing on the suppliers manufacturing processes and attention to detail to make sure you receive only the finest quality aerospace cutting tools that you know you can rely on and trust now and in the future. Quality is obviously imperative in your industry, so make sure the companies remaining on your short list have a proven track record for superior quality.

Ensure you have a set budget to work to. Keeping within your budget is going to be a challenging task, but you want to ensure you find the best quality at a price you can afford. When comparing the companies against each other at a later stage, price can help you choose a supplier if they offer the same quality products. Never let price be your deciding factor without you have two companies offering you the same quality and you are torn on which one to use.

The last steps include reading up on the company's delivery information. You want to ensure that no matter where in the world the supplier is they will provide you with fast delivery times.

Now you can compare the remaining companies, identifying that one company you will use for your aerospace cutting tools on a long-term basis.

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Steps Involved in Finding a Route Buyer

The sale of a route involves many processes but the most hectic part of the process is finding a qualified buyer for the route. IDA takes pride in assisting route owners to get qualify route buyers. We utilize the following steps when finding a route buyer

Step 1 – Creating Awareness

The first step we to take when finding a route buyer is to create awareness about the route which is for sale. We create a listing for the route and we advertise the route online so as to inform possible buyers of the availability of the route. We make use of every available marketing resources and we also contact people who we know are capable of buying the route. The aim of the awareness is to generate interest in probable buyers.

Step 2 – Qualifying Potential Buyers

The moment anyone shows interest in the route, we kick-start the qualification process. This process involves the completion of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which states that the potential buyer will keep all information about the route confidential. Once this has been sorted, we start discussing the detail of the route, and how it works with the likely buyer. We try our best to provide them with as much information needed to make an informed decision about the route. Once we are certain that the prospective buyer is a good candidate for the route, we proceed to verify the financial status of the likely buyer so as to be sure that the prospective buyer has the financial capability to make the purchase.

Step 3 – Connecting the Buyer to the Seller

Although IDA offers consultation for both route sellers and buyers , we ensure that potential buyers get to meet the seller after the prospective buyer has been found worthy of making the purchase. This enables both parties to discuss issues such as the route schedule, major accounts, route sale price and so on. They also get to visit the route together.

Step 4 – Negotiating the Purchasing Price

We believe that all the information which we have provided for the potential buyer coupled with the discussions with the seller and the ride-along would be sufficient for the possible buyer to make his final purchasing decision. Once the decision has been made, the potential buyer sends an offer to the seller either directly or through IDA. We assist both parties all through the negotiating process. The moment an agreement as being reached about the purchasing price; we proceed to close the deal.

Step 5 – Closing the Sale

At this stage, the company associated with the route handles all the necessary paperwork for the purchase. Once all the paperwork is completed, financing is approved. IDA ensures that the buyer is prepared for the closing of the deal. If we are sure that the buyer has all the information needed to close the deal, we proceed to close the deal. IDA commission becomes due only after the transaction has been successfully closed.

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