How to prepare your business

My hometown recently experienced an intense late summer heatwave. With temperatures hovering at a record-breaking 111 degrees one afternoon, I realized that I was the lone person outside at the normally busy community college campus where I teach.

The people I did see outside as I drove home looked understandably weary and stressed by the heat. As I stopped to pick up a few things to prepare a light no-cook supper for my family, I noticed the trashcans outside the store were overflowing with cold drink cups.

Inside the sparsely populated store, I saw some people grabbing watermelon and ice cream. A few others were at a freezer pulling out bags of ice.

There is no doubt that extreme weather affects business. On that day, stores selling cold drinks and ice were bustling, while most retail stores, restaurants and other businesses were slow.

Retail businesses usually see a significant drop in traffic during heatwaves and cold snaps or during stormy weather in any season. Even if your business does not count on in-person traffic, your employees may not be able to get to work or stay as engaged in their work during bad weather. In addition, your supply chain can be significantly interrupted by extreme weather conditions that cause icy roads or delayed air traffic.

Since even the best weather forecaster cannot fully predict how weather swings will affect a business during an extreme weather event, there are some steps you can take to keep your business afloat during bad weather.

Create a weather communication plan. Be clear about setting expectations and communication guidelines for your employees during bad weather. If you have to close your business due to a weather emergency, you don’t want some of your staff attempting to make it into work.  Notify them via group text or through your website of any closings or delays in operation.

For the same reason, have clear communication with your vendors and suppliers about what happens during unexpected weather-related events. While the weather may be a surprise, the way you handle the situation does not have to be.

Keep up with short-term weather forecasts. As a business owner, you are accustomed to keeping up with economic forecasts and with business news. You need to add weather news to that list.

Here’s an example. Knowing that its customers buy more soup in cold, damp and windy weather the Campbell’s Soup Company pays close attention to the weather.  It even links its advertising to the weather forecasts in certain markets with an algorithm called the “Misery Index.” Therefore, if you hear a Campbell’s soup ad on the radio, chances are pretty good that the weather where you are is miserable.

Diversify your product line. I recall a new small business in my town that sold primarily smoothies and iced drinks. The Hawaiian-themed drive-through kiosk seemed to be doing a brisk business during the summer tourist season. As fall neared, however, I watched closely for menu items that would reflect the upcoming temperature changes.

Maybe soup? Hot drinks? However, nothing seemed to change and, not surprisingly, I saw a “For Sale” sign on the shuttered doors before the end of the year.

Seasonal changes are predictable, but you can also experience the occasional cold snap during the summer and warm spell during the winter. Have options for your customers, so that you can meet their needs on a year-round basis.

Tips a Successful Karaoke Business

Try to buy an existing karaoke business or become a part of a franchise, instead of opting for a start-up. This will not only give you an established customer base but will also be far less riskier than a start-up.
If you can sing, are an extrovert, and can entertain others, you will surely make a good karaoke business owner. However, this business will prove to be a disaster for introverted and shy individuals as they will have to deal with many people every day. It is recommended that you work for a karaoke business before plunging in it yourself. This will give you hands-on experience, and you will be able to network and market your business in a better way. If you do not have the funds for investing in a rental or permanent space, karaoke business is ideal for you. You can conduct this business by hosting shows at bars, cafés, restaurants, private parties, etc. However, remember that you will need to source some investment capital for buying all the equipment and paying your employees, if any. It is advisable to buy a digital karaoke system as it will save you a lot of money, effort, and storage space. If you want to know about a few more essential tips to start a karaoke business, read further.

You will require a good karaoke digital system for your business where the files will be played from a laptop and the words will be displayed on the screen. If you think that you do not have the amount to invest in one, you can get CD+G discs which can be connected to a CD+G player, television, monitor, or screen for playing music and displaying words. You can buy karaoke CDs or download music from online websites. You can also buy karaoke music books or make them on your own. However, you need to make copies of these books so that people will select their songs and write them on the slips provided by you. Whatever you do, ensure that you will be able to play your customer’s choice of song in absolutely no time. You will also need good quality speakers, mixers, cables, extension cords, microphone stands, RF converter, and amplifiers. You will also need three wireless microphones. It is advisable that you get one extra as backup. Getting a wireless microphone is recommended because people tend to step on the cables and spoil them. It’s essential that you also carry spare cables, duct tapes, and a tool kit for a quick fix.

Before you start this business, know about the prevalent rates for karaoke gigs in your area. If you are a new player, you may have to charge lesser to survive the competition. Many bar owners may not pay you well even if your show is a crowd-puller. Hence, decide and mention your payment terms in the contract itself. Also, ensure that it is mentioned in the contract about show cancellation or refund policies. Also, predetermine the amount of payment, time of the show, etc., during a private party. If you are to play a special dedication to a bride or a song while a person is proposing to his girlfriend, you can definitely go ahead and charge more fees. Ensure you include your travel and logistics charges in your final figure.

If you do not want to own a karaoke bar of your own, you can always request hotels, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, etc., to allow you to host a karaoke night every week. You can also ask them to host open Mic sessions that will rake in business for both the parties. Other than this, you should also network with wedding and event planners who can recommend you for karaoke nights. This is one business that will prosper through word-of-mouth publicity. Host theme nights which will play a particular type of music; this will give you a lot of customers. Ensure that you have many satisfied customers who will recommend your business to their family and friends. Slowly, your schedule will be packed with offers for karaoke gigs.

If you have to travel to some other venue, like a bar, café, bachelor or hen parties, birthday parties, etc., make sure you interact with the audience keeping in mind what they anticipate from this show. Wear clean and striking clothes; however, remember that you are only there to host the show. So, do not keep speaking, and encourage the other people to take over the Mic. Avoid passing negative comments about the singers as not all of them will sing with the finesse of the professionals. Have a professional attitude, and ensure that people are enjoying their karaoke time. If there is a ‘once more’ for a song, go ahead and play it again. If they request you for having a recording of their song, burn the CD of their performance and hand it to them. You can charge separately for this. If there is a time limitation for the show, ensure that you stop on time.

It is important that you take promotion of your business very seriously. Apart from meeting people who can get you more business, you must have a website or blog giving details about your business. This will allow customers to get in touch with you. Don’t forget to add pictures of the karaoke gigs you have hosted where people are enjoying themselves. You will have to get a written permission from your customers to display their images. You will also have to keep updating the latest schedule of your shows on your website so that people who want to visit can join you at the decided venue. Most of the younger crowd will get in touch with you through Internet, so ensure that you have posted ads on the Internet and websites that give information about the gigs, concerts, plays, etc. Get your website keyword optimized for reflecting in the top searches. Do not forget to connect with customers through social networking websites.
Slowly and steadily, you can recruit and train a good employee to become the host of your karaoke gigs, while you can look after the management of these gigs, collection of money, marketing, networking, and getting new business. Also, keep extra song books as people tend to steal some of them away. Make sure you have a professional approach all the time, and do not give a chance for people to complain. Remember that people may constantly force you to play their favorite songs and keep hogging the limelight. You will also have to learn to say ‘no’. Whatever you do, make sure that the people enjoy their karaoke time thoroughly, if you want to survive in this business.

Tips to Start a Wholesale Seafood Business

Seafood has become very popular lately. The health benefits associated with seafood have put it on the must-have nutrition lists of many health-conscious people. Due to this growing demand, starting a wholesale seafood business can prove to be a very lucrative venture. However, note that this business is susceptible to frequent inspection from the authorities and has stringent rules and regulations. As consumption of spoiled fish can lead to illness and adverse health effects, it is essential that you look after the cold storage requirement strictly. Also, lack of proper safety and sanitation at the place where you will operate can affect the health of your employees. Hence, it is important that the place is cleaned and sanitized from time to time.

Conduct a feasibility research about the area where you intend to start your business. Survey the existing competition to understand the rates in the area. Speak to other people who have started a similar venture in some other area and understand the benefits and risks involved in the wholesale seafood business.
If possible, try to buy an existing business instead of opting for a startup. You may not get a loan easily for a startup as opposed to an already-established business. Also, the business will come with its own share of client base, and you will not have to start from scratch. You can also opt for a franchise to start the wholesale seafood business.
Before starting the business, contact your local, state, and federal authorities to know about the licenses, permits, clearances and permissions, tax registrations and receipts, inspections, rules and regulations, etc., for starting a wholesale seafood business.
Have a foolproof business plan in place for the success of your venture. Calculate the budget which will be needed to start the business and know where to source it from. Know about the composition of your target market, its location, and the means to reach it. Plan how you will be getting the seafood to sell and fix its quantity and price. Know about the transport, cold storage, packaging, cleanliness requirements, etc.

How to Write a Business Report

Business information report helps make the reader understand the business plan, business growth strategies and the goal of business. Business report writing for an audience can be internal, that is within the organization as well as external, that is, clients or banks. These audiences are either from technical background or non-technical background. It can be a tedious task for those who find it extremely difficult to organize and write a detailed report.

It is very important to follow a proper format when writing business reports. There are standard business report writing formats that can be easily understood by anyone reading it. These sample business report formats also help reduce your time of preparing one as it helps you become more organized. These sample business report formats are developed by professionals over the years. These well-written business writings also do not waste the time of the reader and do not allow them to skip the information that they should be reading.

Title Page
The title page includes the name of report, the author’s name and date. You can also write the reason of report on the title page to inform the reader about the problems or solutions offered.

Letter of Transmittal
This is used to announce the release of the business report and give the reader its necessary background.

Content Page
This page includes the table of contents of the major titles or heading mentioned in the report. You should include the letter or memo of transmittal in the table of contents. If there are sub headings in the report, try to include them too. You should mention the page number on which the main heading and sub heading lies. The page numbers should be written an inch from the bottom of the page.

List of Illustrations
This page is used to mention the illustrations included in your business report. When it includes only figures, title the page “List of Figures” or if it includes only tables then mention, “List of Tables”.