Sunday, November 4, 2012

Promote Your OnBine business

"In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running. If you stand still, they will swallow you." -WILLIAM NUDSEN JR
Your online business gives you the opportunity to sell products/services cost effectively anywhere in the world but your competition has the same opportunity. You should be forward thinking always seeking to improve on your strength against the competition. Seek out new opportunities and devise strategies to take advantage of these opportunities so that your online business will stay ahead.
Attract prospects/customers
Online customers have so much choice of websites,products,services and suppliers this is why you should spend some time,effort and money to attract customers/prospects.One of the most effective ways to attract people is the search engines. Over 70% of online visitors use the search engines;and a huge percentage of these people are buyers.One of your objective in to get listed on the search engines,to make this happen you need to make the pages on your website search friendly.
Follow these tips to make your pages search frendly;
1. Insert meta description tags and meta keyword tags between the head tags of your webpage:
* your title tag should be between 5 and 12 words-it must contain your best keywords and also describe your site
* meta description tags should be between 5 and 20 words
* meta keyword tags should be between 0 and 50 words
2. you should use keywords three or four times in the body of your webpage
3. Submit your website to search engines- add your site to the major search engines/directories and monitor results. Only resubmit if your site does not get listed. You can use automatic tools or you can hand-submit to each site. The latter approach takes more time but at least you can be sure your site has been submitted!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

High Cost of 'Not Doing

9/11, 2001 has hit a whole lot of business. But the most badly hit was air industry. US airlines were virtually on the ground for most of time rather than in the sky. As old adage says. Planes are safer at the ground. But they are built to fly and that where they should be all the time. Almost whole aircraft industry was badly hit by being grounded. Million of jobs evaporated and billion of dollar went under drain. All these were due to not doing anything.
Peter Drucker, in his book 'Managing for result' defines the cost point in the whole supply chain.
1. Productivity cost
2. Support cost
3. Policing
4. Waste or Idle time.
Drucker accept that to some point all three cost centre productivity cost, support cost, policing cost are imperative to any business. It takes massive investment to produce something and market it successfully. A corner cutting here and there can be welcomed but you can't remove any of these three cost centre at all.
But waste rarely needs to be analyzed. It is usually quite clear that this or that cost cannot produce results; whether we can do anything about it is another thing.
But waste is very hard to find.
These fact are hidden the accounts book only. The normal available account will not show this. You need to dig hard to find these unacceptable costs to your product and services,
In it services industry or any knowledge intensive industry, major concern of any top management people in 2001 was the bench period. As industry defines it as a time when your know ledge worker are sitting idle in the absence of project. This cost awesome money to any organization and pull it into big trouble. Lucent technology faces the similar effect in 2001-02.
Although to avoid these waste effort and tools are totally outside of conventional approach to cost control and cost cutting. They required major, prolonged efforts, but the fact is most cost cutting, let alone the across-the-board cut, does not even touch waste. Yet, in business waste is real cost centre. It required a lot of systematic planning and organized effort to recognize a waste in the supply chain and get rid of it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Host a Successful Fundraiser

Hosting a successful fundraiser is no accident. It requires planning, commitment, and more than a little bit of salesmanship. If this sounds like a lot of work, make no mistake about it, it is. But it's rewarding work, it's meaningful work, and done the right way, it can be fun work. Fundraisers present wonderful opportunities to generate both income and good will for your organization, to raise community awareness for your cause, and to create a sense of camaraderie within your group. These tips are designed to help your organization get the most from your fundraiser, in every sense of the word.
When planning your fundraiser, the first question to ask is "when?" Timing is very important and depending on the kind of fundraiser you want to hold, certain times of the year of the year are better than others. The fall and spring, with their temperate weather, are wonderful seasons if you're going door-to-door, having a bake sale, or holding a car wash.
If you're tying into a specific event like an Oktoberfest or school fair, then the dates are predetermined, but if you're opting for the brochure or "pre-sales" method, you have some flexibility over your schedule. Generally speaking, a two-week period is ideal - anything longer than that tends to be counterproductive. Avoid times that coincide with school holidays when people may be out of town. Not only do you want to have a lot of people around to buy your product, you want to be sure that you'll have plenty of volunteers on hand to help.
Once you've decided when, the question becomes "what to sell?" Selecting the product for your group to sell is in itself an art form and there are many factors to consider. Who are your expected customers? What image do you want to convey? If you're a sports team, perhaps you want to choose a healthy product. If you're raising funds for Juvenile Diabetes then obviously, you don't want to pick candy. Of course, there are several generic products that appeal to almost everyone, such as popcorn, gift wrap, coffee or citrus. Often an answer is suggested by the season - spring bulbs, Halloween pumpkins, or Christmas trees or ornaments are excellent seasonal fundraising items.
The decision of what to sell goes hand-in-hand with "what company should you choose to provide the product?" This can seem overwhelming at first - search the Web for fundraising companies and you'll get over 3 million pages to sort through, and sadly, not all of these companies are reliable. Get referrals from other groups if possible, or consult unaffiliated, information driven websites like the Fund Raising Ideas Center for more ideas and advice.
Advance promotion is a key element of any successful fundraiser. A week or two before the actual selling begins, start spreading the word. Send letters home to parents and ask them to network on your behalf. Utilize the media - almost every outlet has some version of a Public Service Announcement that they offer free of charge. Put up posters where it is allowed (but be sure to take them down when your event is over).
When you are ready to begin selling, it's time to "rally the troops". Hold a kick-off session during which you explain the financial and tangible goals - "We need to raise $5000 for new uniforms. That breaks down to X-amount of sales per person." Make sure that the tangible reason (the new uniforms, the trip to Paris, the care packages for troops stationed overseas) is part of the sales pitch. If you're working with a fundraising company that offers to send a representative to explain the finer points of selling, then by all means take them up on it!
During the fundraiser, monitor the progress and keep everyone updated. Offer incentives to the person or team that sells the most. It's almost a cliché, but the "rising mercury in a thermometer" tote board is a visual tool that really works!
When the actual selling is over, there are still a few things to do. If you've opted for a pre-sales version of the fundraiser, you have to place the order with the company and arrange a time for the goods to be delivered. Make sure you schedule enough people to unload and distribute the product, and have a plan for dealing with damaged merchandise or incorrect orders. As far as getting the goods to your customer, deliver them in person whenever possible. A personal thank-you note from the student is a wonderful touch and will give your customer a nice, warm feeling that will carry over until the next event.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Five Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

"A penny saved is a penny earned", the old adage attributed to Ben Franklin, only tells half of the story. A penny saved is really better than a penny earned, because you don't have to pay taxes on it. Here, then, are some time-honored ways for you to save money and improve the bottom line for just about any business:
1. Review and Update Your Business Goals
Many people are adept at staying very busy while accomplishing nothing of value. Don't fall into this trap--and, if you do--dig out as quickly as possible.
In order to succeed, you must set clear goals. If you have employees, those goals also need to be communicated to them. While there are many good and noble goals you can set for your business, one of the most profitable that I often ask myself is "what can I do that will make the most money the fastest?"
This doesn't mean that other goals such as contributing to good causes or providing excellent customer service aren't important. If you don't provide excellent customer service you won't be in business very long anyway. But goals can often be clarified by setting them in order, and determining which will bring the quickest, most long-lasting financial results to your business is a great place to start.
2. Find your Niche and Develop a Competitive Edge
While it's hard to compete with the "big boys", there is plenty of room for small businesses to find their competitive niche. My competitive niche happens to be log furniture. While there is competition in that niche, I don't have to compete with the "big boys" such as Walmart when it comes to selling log furniture. Tracking down Amish suppliers on lonely country roads, developing relationships with those suppliers, picking up, packing and shipping log furniture just isn't part of their business plan. And it probably never will be.
Your niche will probably be something different than shipping log beds, but you can be sure that there is a niche open to you. The key is to find the profitable activity that your business does best, and focus on that.
3. Hire Superior Employees Who Share Your Company Culture
If your business is large enough to require employees, be careful who you choose. In my experience, it's better to pay more for top-notch employees who won't require daily baby-sitting, than to nickel and dime it with job-hoppers who are perpetually unmotivated, late to work, or enmeshed in personal problems so deep that they can't perform their job.
Everybody goes through difficult times in their life, and you need to be sensitive to that. Your company will be miles ahead, however, if you can find employees with the emotional energy to buy into your vision and get excited about their jobs.
You can find, develop and keep that kind of employee by investing significant amounts of time to recruiting and training. Make sure your compensation package is attractive, and, if at all possible, offer health insurance. Incentive compensation or profit-sharing plans can also be quite helpful in motivating employees to previously unheard of heights of achievement.
4. Standandize and Simplify your Procedures
It's amazing how much time developing a simple form can save a company. The more people involved in your business, the more important it is that you have a set of standard procedures to follow. This will reduce training time when employee turnover occurs, lower the chance of errors, and increase efficiency in all aspects of your business.
5. Measure the Results of Your Efforts
Company and personal goals need to be quantified to determine if the desired results are being achieved. Key areas of measurement include the cost, quality, quantity and timeliness of work to be done. Each of these areas can have a profound impact on the bottom line of a business.
Cost: It goes without saying that if two Amish furniture suppliers offer similar quality, furniture design and delivery timing--but one is substantially lower in cost than the other, I go with the lower cost supplier. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but not many.
Quality: Quality is everything in most businesses, and log furniture is no exception. I'm not the least bit interested in shipping defective furniture from Michigan to California and back again, all because a customer wasn't happy. That is a total waste of money, and hits the bottom line directly. This is why we are such sticklers about quality control, and why it's been nearly four years since a customer even thought of returning an item.
Quantity: Generally speaking, if you sell more, you make more. This is certainly the case with rustic furniture suites, especially with the high cost of shipping today. As a result, our website is focused around selling larger orders. We're always happy when somebody orders a log bed, but we try to make it appealing for them to buy a nightstand and dresser too, by offering truly significant discounts. Regardless of your business, you can likely do the same. It's generally easier to sell more product to an already existing customer, than to go and find new customers.
Timeliness: Late deliveries cost money--at least they do in our business. It costs money to overnight packages that could have been sent by UPS ground or the postal service. It costs big money to expedite pallets of furniture. In addition, there is the stress, hassle and disorganization that comes with rushing around to do things at the last minute. This is why I try to leave a timing "cushion" in every furniture order I process. Regardless of what you're selling, you should too.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Marketing To Non-Marketable Customer

Buzz marketing, also known as 'word-of-mouth marketing', 'guerrilla marketing' or 'stealth marketing' is an art of human kind to involve the trendsetters in any community to carry the brand's message, thus creating an interest in, and a demand for, the brand with no overt advertising.
Nirmalya Kumar, professor of marketing, director of center for marketing and co-director of A.V. Birla India at London Business School.
When Dietrich Mateschitz formulated the drink "Red Bull" in 1987 for Australian market, bars initially refused to stock it, seeing it as more of a medicinal drink than a mixer. However snowboarders and clubbers soon recognized the boost it gave them. They started to bring it with them to non - alcohol bars and pubs.
Red Bull has mastered the buzz marketing. In the 8 sales area in US, the representative scouts for the hot spot. They distributed their branded refrigerator and some goodies to the bars and clubs. If other conventional establishments ask for Red Bull, they refuse them to retain the credibility and uniqueness of their community and clubbers. To connect this community, Red Bull use to organize a two - week annual music festival.
Red Bull first marketing technique was to distribute and target the teenagers and college goers. They went where these guys goes. Then Red Bull went around the cities full of Red Bull cars and distributed the drinks to anybody who need energy- Free, the construction workers, Athletes and all.
Coke and Pepsi recognized a new segmentation of their market and tried to capture it with big marketing budget. They created energy drinks. But after millions of write off they are distance number 3 and 4. Red Bull is still the king of energy drink with 65% of market and that is with the fraction of their spending.
Five years back on internet, Google started it operation in the dorm of two Stanford guys (You do not need to know there name, I guess) they created a system for search and marketed it on net with minimal of advertising. End result, after 3 years they become numro uno in search - marketing in the presence of heavy spenders like Yahoo, overture etc
That the power of Buzz marketing. Gone are the days when you write a Cheque for your ad agency and agency will do the marketing. According to Philip Kotler, advertising is a lazy way of marketing and branding. You outsource almost everything, even your brand's undergarments. Traditional marketer thinks that job is over. But buzz marketing is an engaging art of marketing. It is a hard way to market a product and services. Most of marketers do not like it. Because they like their comfortable air-condition rooms.
But in real world, you can't close your eyes and think that your competitor will take pity on you. They are here to eliminate you. Buzz marketing is not a passé' anymore. It is here and happening.
CEOs, be aware, if your people are saying they need different budget for branding, marketing and sales. Think again, someone is not ready to move his butts.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Incorporating Tips

Capitalizing a new business entity is a critical step of the formation process. Failing to take the step can lead to serious legal problems if the entity is ever sued. So, what is capitalization and what steps must be taken?
Capitalizing Your Corporation
"Capitalization" essentially refers to funding your corporation. In essence, you are providing substance to the entity in the form of money or property. Typically, the funding process works in two ways.
Corporate Stock
You must own stock in a corporation to be considered a shareholder. You are already familiar with this concept if you trade on the stock market. For instance, assume you bought stock in Sirius Radio in anticipation of Howard Stern moving to the station. You purchased stock through a brokerage or retirement vehicle by exchanging money for shares. Technically, you are a shareholder in the corporation. Your own corporation is no different.
The fact that you paid money to have a corporation formed does not make you a shareholder. You must exchange property, cash or services to obtain stock from the entity. Only then are you a shareholder in the entity. This is more easily explained with an example.
Assume I start a corporation for the purpose of providing consulting services to other businesses. The corporation is formed with 10,000 shares and I am going to be the sole shareholder. I have cash and certain assets that I am going to use as part of the business. I decide to exchange $3,000, a copier, fax machine and computer equipment for stock in the entity. This exchange should be reduced to writing, but will constitute the capitalization of the corporation.
Corporate Loan
You can also loan money to a corporate entity for start-up costs. There is no prohibition against a shareholder providing money to a corporation. The loan process should not completely replace the purchase of stock. From a tax perspective, however, dividing your initial capitalization into a partial loan can have distinct advantages.
Inadequate Capitalization
State laws govern the formation of a corporation. Inevitably, these laws set forth amounts or formulas for determining the minimum capitalization amount required for a corporation. You must review the laws in your state to determine the amount and make sure you meet the contribution minimums.
Failure to properly capitalize you corporation can result in disaster if the entity is ever sued. Simply put, the suing party may argue that the lack of capitalization means the corporation was never a viable entity because it had insufficient funds to back debt obligations. The argument gets complicated, but suffice to say you are in serious trouble if a court agrees with the argument. Typically, the court will "set aside" the corporate entity, exposing each shareholder, director and officer to the risk of personal liability.
Obviously, such a scenario would be a disaster.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Choosing an Intimate Conference Venue

So you're looking for a conference venue? Not the size of the Taj Mahal, but something just as impressive. A venue with the right amount of space, flexible catering, including accommodation and the right facilities.
This is where the elegance, style and the intimate nature of an independently owned hotel works well as a conference venue. These venues add their unique character and extraordinary service to your event. Finding the perfect environment sets the necessary tone, playing an important part in achieving your desired outcome.
Whether you're hosting a meeting, conference, workshop, training course or social occasion here are a few things to look for in a hotel venue.
Does the hotel have the space you require? Whether the focus of your event is a meeting, banquet or an exhibit, space can be the a factor that is usually underestimated.
Avoid hiring a venue that is big enough to seat 200 when you're only hosting a 20-person meeting. You only want to consider venues that can handle the event you're planning. It is advisable to schedule a visit with your potential host prior to the event ensuring the venue meets your space requirements.
In the case of an event where the number of guests is uncertain, make sure there are sufficient break-away rooms to avoid congestion.
Bear in mind that catering needs to meet the special dietary requirements of your guests. Hotels have a flexible menu and unlike a catering company, the kitchen is at hand when you need it.
Conference Styles
Check to see if the hotel can host various conference styles including a theatre for presentations, a classroom with a blackboard, a reception area and of course a boardroom.
Find a centrally located venue, close to stations and some of the areas main attractions as well as being within easy reach of the airport. With easy access by rail, tube or road, your guests will arrive for your event in good time and ready for the day you have planned.
Small details like air-conditioning make a huge difference. It helps a great deal if the hotel is equipped with latest audio-visual facilities, this way you can avoid lugging around your own equipment or having to rent from a supplier.
Another thing to check for is high-speed Internet or wireless Internet.
The one drawback with venues like convention or conference centres, is that you would need to use a nearby hotel for accommodation. If your event is extended by more than one day, a hotel becomes rather convenient. Depending on the number of guests, most hotels will provide a discount on accommodation.
The hallmark of an independently owned hotel is the unique ambience provided by the venue. Staging an event in the right setting is conducive to a receptive audience. The wrong venue, whether inappropriately large, under serviced or under equipped, can have undesirable results.
Consider one of your local hotels the next time you host an event.