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”.

How to Advertise Business

Hire a design agency to get the designs for your flyers, posters, advertisements, business cards, door hangers, etc., done to give them a professional look and feel.
A lawn care business requires you to undertake a number of different advertising strategies to reach out to your target market. While some of these can be easily afforded, there are a few which are expensive. However, consider the advertising expenditure as your investment which will help communicate about your business to your prospective customers. This is even more vital, if you are not an established business and are relatively new in the market. This calls for special efforts which will help get the attention of your target market. If you are thinking about maximizing your advertising to gain profit, the upcoming sections will guide you on how to advertise your lawn care business.

Book advertising spaces in the local newspapers, magazines, community publications, church publications, etc. For a business like yours, this type of advertising will not go unnoticed. There are many people who have a large lawn, but have no time to mow or maintain it. Such people are always on the lookout for a good business. Hence, investing in this traditional medium of advertising can reap you a good profit.

Get a printing vendor to print flyers for you at an affordable rate. Generally, you will have to pay lesser for a bulk print order. Mail these flyers to homeowners in residential areas with lawns. You can also distribute them at home improvement shops, malls, supermarkets, parking lots, etc. However, you may have to take their permission before handing out flyers at these outlets. Many believe that flyers are a waste of money; however, contrary to popular belief, they will help bring more and more profit for the business.

Put up posters at a number of places like community billboards, church boards, supermarkets, malls, hardware shops, etc. Let people see the poster and be compelled to call you. Ensure that the poster is designed in an attractive way and conveys the message in minimum words. Also, tell people about the various schemes you will offer through the poster.

Factors You Must Consider Before Starting Business

A vending machine business is one of those few legitimate businesses that require you to put in very little time and effort, but still rake in huge profits. That being said, this venture does have its own positives and negatives, which you need to consider before starting your own venture.

Tips to start a vending machine business
Feel like having a soft drink while walking down the street? … What do you do? Well, it is likely that you look out for a vending machine, insert a coin, and out pops the can. While you have got what you wanted, someone, who perhaps is holidaying somewhere, has made a profit out of it. You could have been this person making profit while being on a vacation, had this vending machine belonged to you. Right? If you are thinking on similar lines, here is your guide to understanding the business, which will help you get going.

Know that this business is a 100% cash-only business with a nominal initial investment, i.e., if you are not opting for those huge machines, and one that does not require a history of sales-and-marketing experience. That you are your own boss, perhaps is the best thing about vending machines. You will be the one to decide the type of vending machine you would want to opt for and where it will be placed. You will also get to decide what the vending machine will sell. And yes, you will be the one responsible for servicing machine from time to time. Once you roll out your own business, you are the only person on whom the success (or failure for that matter) of this business will depend.
Setting It Up
It is better to start small, and climb the ladder of success, gradually. Ideally, you must go in for just one or two vending machines. Select a good spot for the machine, and see how it performs for a month. This way you will get a feel of the routine involved in running the business. If things are not going the way you expected, you can make the changes — in pricing your goods, location, etc. — as and when required. Once you are confident of the way things are moving, besides gaining a monetary incentive, you may opt for more machines.
Decisive Factors
It is quite unlikely that a vending machines business will ever go into loss, though that doesn’t mean it will give you astounding profits either. There are quite a few factors that will decide as to how much profit each of your machines will make for you. As in case of any other business, you will have to take these factors into consideration when you decide to start this business.

Let us assume … that you have decided to start this business with a single machine that will sell cigarettes. You have a competitor, who also decides to start selling cigarettes through a vending machine. Both buy the same machine and sell the same brand of cigarettes. You place your machine outside a gymnasium, or a sports complex, while your competitor places his, outside a pub. It is, but obvious that the competitor’s machine will sell the entire stock of cigarettes even before your machine manages to sell a single pack. If both of you decide to remove the cigarettes and replace them with health energy drinks, your machine will finish its entire stock even before your competitor’s machine sells one drink.

In both the cases, the machines were the same, so were the contents, but the sales figures were totally different. Why? There is a simple, one-word answer to this, and your entire vending business will depend on the location.

Tips For Business Writing

In any kind of business, the activities for achieving success are first analyzed, planned, implemented and then put in the form of ‘words.’ Some of these activities you can find in the form of reports, memos, email, letters or any other documents which can tell you about the business. These documents can be best defined as the hard copy or soft copy trail records of the results, activities or proposals of business or official communication. From the title, top 10 tips for business writing, you can make out as to what are the easy guidelines to become a successful business writer.

A business writing document can be used to convey important information, either internally or externally, and it may be either a situation or conduct of the business. It is mandatory that any form of business writing is done in concise and clear manner. If not, there can be detrimental results because of miscommunication. Properly chosen words, written in a organized format, can enhance effective business communication and produce desired results.

However, business writing is not easy, but at the same time, not impossible. It is advisable to do one bit at a time. You have to first research about the subject, analyze, understand the points and then conquer. In case of business writing, you need to consider several steps:

  • Preparation
  • Research on the subject
  • Organize the content
  • Drafting the content
  • Review & Revision of the content

The steps given above make the impossible task into possible steps. You can proceed one at a time, and then you can start writing the documents.

Top Ten Success Tips For Business Writing

  1. To prepare, first, you should have clarity on the subject. If you are unable to understand the document which you have written, then seldom will others who read the lines can visualize content in the words. Too many ‘jargon’ or ‘technical’ words might put someone on the wrong side and you might be asked to rewrite.
  2. You can begin by using small, declarative sentences. Do not tend to prove yourself intelligent by putting a longer one where a short one can be replaced. “Ruthless” is the word which you have to use while self-editing.
  3. Also, remember that your superior will have many tasks on hand, and he/she might ask you to change the sentence. In that case, with patience make them understand why you have added the sentence in the required format. Do not change the sentence if you are sure you are right.

In E-mails: Tips For Business Writing

  1. It is an e-mail but it is a document. So be careful about what you say and how you frame the sentences. The words have to be simple and to the point, as an e-mail is a representative of your organization. Keeping in mind, whether you have typed all the points specified to you can give the clients a clear picture. Use the passive voice in sentences instead of the other (active voice) such as “Sam initiated the PRINCE2 meeting” etc.
  2. Have a cautious ‘eye’ for grammatical mistakes when you are e-mailing to prospective clients, senior executives and colleagues. You might be stuck with work, but when it comes to sharing a new idea and that too in the form of e-mail, it needs to be perfect. It is a vital skill that everybody can and needs to improve.
  3. You should also decide on the reaction your audience will have after reading the email. If the points are simply added to the e-mail, then chances are that the writing will be an incomplete structure and the words might be repetitive. In these cases, step back and collect your thoughts.
  4. Have the points in proper order. Simply said, do not go around and round in circles. There are styles which might be different from what you studied in college. The important point has to be in the first paragraph. The experts of business writing have clearly specified – If you are postponing the points to the middle of the letter, then, there will be wastage of time of the reader. In memos or any proposals, the words should not be more than 150, and they should be short and crisp.
  5. Business writing is a skill which you can improve by practice every day, but consistency is the key. You should be the best editor for yourself. If you want to be a distinguished business writer, you should divide your time properly between writing and self-editing.
  6. If you are a science graduate who has done Research, similar to case studies, you would have built content at the beginning and in the end the important points. Unfortunately, that does not work with business writing.
  7. In case you are finding it difficult, it is advisable that you request for help and refer all previous documents of your seniors and adapt to their style as well as format.

Simple Tips To Write Your Business

A tagline is a slogan, which is especially used in advertising or in the punch line. It is really helpful to convince the customer what you are offering them and how that thing is beneficial for them. The simple idea behind creating a tagline is to create an unforgettable phrase that remains in a customer’s mind for a long time.

 It is a must for giving a distinct identity to your business and to explaining your audience the purpose of your business objective. Do you know how to create an effective tagline that’s not too cheesy, not too confusing, and not too boring as well? No idea? Don’t worry; here are some simple tips that help you to write a perfect tagline that delivers your company message.

Keep it simple: One important thing you should consider while crafting tagline is that don’t try to say too much. Otherwise, it may confuse your buyers and distract them from your actual business objective. So, always try to convey your message to your customer hardly in three to five words, which is easy to read and understand as well.

Explain your offered product or service: No doubt; the best taglines is straightforward and unforgettable, but you cannot deny the fact that to give it a special touch to it you should explain your prospective to a customer. So, always try to explain your product and service offered in your tagline and what makes you stand apart from your competitors.

Describe who you are: Another important thing you should consider while writing a tagline is describing yourself. Here “about yourself” simply means the company’s objective. So, always try to write your business goals in your tagline.

Be original: As every business is different and their purposes are also different, so, always try to be original in your tagline as well. Always try to write your phrase, which shows your originality.

Give them a rhythm, rhyme, and ring: If you give your tagline a rhythm, rhyme or ring, so, it should be pleasing to hear. And set in a customer’s memory for a long time.

A tagline is working as a mirror for a company that reflects your business goal to your customer, so, it should be informative and interesting as well. Writing a tagline is not your cup of tea, for this, you can take the help of content or a copywriter, who have the capability to think out-of-the-box and able to understand what you exactly wants him/her to write.

How To Tackle Business Collection

As in case of every business, it is especially true for small businesses to remain in operation only when a healthy flow of income is supporting its everyday prerequisites for resources and inspiration. Without satisfactory and viable returns, no business can possibly continue. Stilted flow of returns, bad debts and lack of growth over a given period of time are serious deterrents to business operation and this is why it is important to appoint separate professional departments for handling the different sections of returns. Debt collection remains a key function, demanding for a specialized team of experts who have had enough experience in the concerned industry regarding coercive collection and have the tools up their sleeves for discreetly pursuing even the most delinquency minded clients into paying up the dues.

Why it is so crucial for new businesses?

Established businesses remain popular in the field by the means of good reputation, word of mouth and paid publicizing. Even when severe debt failures cause distress in its workings, established businesses could go by just fine for a while. However, small startups with limited means cannot survive a collapse in returns. The entire funds of small business enterprises are for immediate investment, no backup to speak of. In technical terms, for small businesses, problematic bad debts can amount of the entire discrepancy between profitability and net losses. Experts say, for new enterprises debt collection could become a rather litigious process.

Here are a few tips case specifically, for small businesses regarding how to manage and avoid debts and the role of a third party business collection agency in the matter:

Scheme out a Payment Policy

Hire a third party debt management firm for tackling your debts and payments, they will create a fully formalized payment policy and hand them out to your customers. Professional policymakers are needed for drawing up the document in clear yet effective language.

  • Ask your collection agency service to execute late fines to encourage on-time payments.
  • Make sure about advance payments before providing the services. You can make it 50% of the payments upfront.

The major plus-point of doing it via a professional collection agency is that you can be relieved that all the drawn up clauses remain perfectly within the boundaries of legal appropriateness.

Invoice Making

You must have come upon one of those invoices that say “payment due upon receipt”. That’s a very effective way to let the people you deal with know that you are aware of every penny being put on due in the bill book. A caution word for immediate remittance of the dues on the invoice always works like wonders. Your debt management agency will know the exact language and form to adopt to get this effect.

Keeping Contact and Sending Reminder Bills

This is the most important part of the deal to be taken care of by the professional collection teams. You don’t want to spend your valuable entrepreneurial time upon such trivialities which is nonetheless extremely important for getting back payments, which can readily go past due without proper attention.

Tips for designing your Food & Drink Business Logo

Food and drink business requires business owners to market their food products and services aggressively. But one of the potent marketing tool they have in their arsenal is an amazing logo to represent them in niche markets.

While your food and drink business logo is a visual capable of attracting customers, the logo design should be such that it adds value to your brand building exercise.

So, here are some tips to creating memorable food and drink business logos that stand out in concepts and use of design elements.

Define Your Business and Audience – Before starting work on your food logo design, as a designer you must have a good knowledge of your client’s business and what it stands for in market. Such information should include details about target customers. Also, business owners must help designers by providing detailed customer profile and business target they wish to achieve. Moreover, it is very important for designers to know personality of your brand. For example, tell if your brand is a B2B company or a B2C company.

Decide on Your Logo Style – There are three types of logos – text logo, symbol logo and combination logo. Text logo comprises of company name and is ideal for small companies that wish to use logo to advertise company name. Symbol logo usually has a graphic icon, which portrays the company image and associates an icon with the company brand. Combination logo has elements of both the text logo and symbol logo, which is ideal to branding a company along with its name in the logo.

Use Perfect Colors – Colors can speak volumes about your food and drink business. In fact, designers now use colors as a tactic for evoking intended emotions from viewers. Remember that viewers will react to your food and drink logo design depending on the intensity of emotion your logo is capable of evoking. For example, red color in your food logo will evoke feelings of love, passion and energy, while yellow gives rise to emotions of happiness. This means that your use of colors becomes a way to send out your business message to customers.

Explore Fonts – Many high quality fonts are easily accessible free today on the web, which is your opportunity to experiment with different typefaces. Find out some new fonts that can give a new look and personality to your food logo so that it stands out. In fact, a clever use of fonts can highlight personality of your brand through your logo. For example, classic fonts used in Coca-Cola logo gives a brand personality to the logo and the company.

Make it memorable – Whichever color, fonts and other design element you chose for food logos, make it certain that the logo is a memorable design. Take for example the logo of fast food global giant McDonald’s logo. This logo is memorable due to its yellow arch design. Similarly, Coca-Cola drink logo is memorable for its unique use of classic lettering style. So, find out ways to make your food logo a unique symbol for your food business.

Hope that these vital tips will help you in designing amazing food logos that communicate well with your target audience.