November 29, 2012
A big part of business success is being organized and keeping it that way. So here are a few tips to help:
1. Create procedures
Even the most mundane procedure in your business should be documented so everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. For example, incoming paperwork should be processed in a way that it is processed through a single handling process of action and then filing. This type of policy keeps those disturbing piles of printed matter from cluttering desks and being either difficult or impossible to locate.
2. Set a schedule
Small businesses tend to run wide open for as long as possible as long as there is work that needs to be done. To avoid burnout and to promote a sane working environment, however, office hours should be set, with scheduled breaks, so everyone involved including workers and customers knows what to expect when they arrive and when they can come and go. This structure makes it easier and more predictable to work for a small company.
3. Use virtual assistants
Repetitive tasks like editing documents, printing reports or answering phones can be done by anyone, so consider using one of the many virtual assistant services that are springing up to get the routine work done at a super-low cost to your business. This frees up your time and others’ for productive work.
4. Have a computer backup plan
Small businesses often end up being disabled for days or weeks at a time just because a key computer or server crashed, losing all the information it contained. Small businesses should have a backup plan in place where all their computers, servers and external storage devices are backed up so when the worst happens, the work can go on. Consider using one of the modern online backup services, so you always have a copy of your work.
Read more… keyorganization
November 28, 2012
‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.’
November 27, 2012
This week’s LDP wine of the week is the Veritas gold winner, the Boland Cellar Reserve No 1 Merlot 2009.
A full bodied wine with firm, yet soft tannins. An impressive core of rich and ripe fruit is complemented by soft oak flavours. Chocolate & violets hints add further interest. The intense red colour invites you to smell the concentrated flavour. As with all our single vineyard wines, it is ultimately defined by its length, allowing for a lingering aftertaste that will stay long after the last sip.
Unfiltered and naturally fermented.
Read more… bolandwines
November 22, 2012
Small business success can be achieved in many ways, but here are a few simple guidelines to the road of success:
You are not all things to all people. Decide on your niche–narrow your focus and broaden your appeal.
- Be Different
If your competitors are doing it, don’t. Stand out from an overcrowded marketplace where so much of the advertising and products look the same.
- Build a Team
Don’t hire an employee to fill a position. Employ a person to be part of a team to build your business.
- Be Fast
Time is the most precious commodity. When delivery is expected Friday, show up Thursday afternoon. Return calls and emails now.
- Say Thank You
A lot. Tell your customers and employees how much you appreciate them. Better yet, do it the old fashioned way: take pen to paper and write them a note.
- Be Consistent
Make sure your business has a consistent look and feel. A customer must get the same flavor from everyone within your organization. Always.
Throw out the reasons you think people buy from you like price, product quality or your warranty. They buy because they like you.
- Fanatical Optimism
The glass must always be half full. Attitude will always win out in the end and infect all of those around you.
- Sell Soft
Don’t ever hard sell. Solve problems. Satisfy wants. Do what is truly best for your customer.
- Leave Your Comfort Zone
Never accept the idea that this is the way you’ve always done it. Never accept that a new idea or technology could never work for you.
November 21, 2012
‘Rule No. 1: never lose money. Rule No. 2: don’t forget rule No. 1’
November 20, 2012
This week’s LDP wine of the week is the Welmoed Merlot 2011.
This is a great value for money wine.
The palate shows ripe berry fruit with a hint of mint and a spicy edge. Nose reminiscent of mulberries cassis and plums with underlying nuances of wood and vanilla.
Medium to full bodied wine with well-integrated wood balanced ripe fruit mid-palate and a persistent yet soft tannin finish.
Read more… welmoed
November 15, 2012
If you have a small business that can be easily replicated, then franchising can help to expand your business at a fast pace.
Here are a few franchising tips:
- Get organized. Think through the process of precisely how your business works. Franchisees will need exact details and guidelines to get their businesses up and running. This process takes some time, but it’s worth it — even if you decide not to launch the franchise option, this will still ultimately help your business run more smoothly. From marketing to signage to business cards to staff training, it all has to be executed in a similar manner. Develop an operations manual to give franchisees a quick way to reference policies and best practices and create an approval process so that you sign off on major decisions.
- Hire an attorney. Getting expert advice is really crucial during the franchising process. For starters, you’ll need to fill out a Franchise Disclosure Document. It has a very distinct format you need to follow, and it’s important to have a lawyer walk you through this process. You’ll need to set pricing, create a franchise agreement and determine intellectual property protection.
- Be picky. Just like dating, you should be extremely selective when it comes to choosing franchisees. It’s easy to find people with capital, but are they the right people? Do they have the right background in order to run a business? This is someone who will be representing you, so it needs to be a good fit. After all, you are in this to protect and grow your brand. Set up an interviewing process and know what your deal-breakers are.
- Build and protect your brand. As a franchisor, your most valuable asset is your brand; protect it at all costs. Your brand represents your culture, your beliefs and your attitude toward your customers. When you franchise, you are giving new people the ability to represent your brand. This is one of the biggest risks of franchising. Clear guidelines should be established for the use of all of the brand assets. You want to be sure that you are sending one clear message from one clear source, and that message is consistent throughout the organization. No detail is too small. This can seem overbearing, but never let anyone use your brand assets in any way, no matter how small, without your prior approval. Monitor everything, pay close attention to videos and pictures, and monitor all social media outlets in a regular and detailed fashion.
- Choose the right locations. What locations make the most sense for your business? Where do you have brand recognition already? Consider keeping your first few locations close to home, but far enough away that it doesn’t hurt sales at your initial location. That way, you can manage logistics easily. Keep in mind you’ll want to visit these locations in person from time to time, so choose locations with easy access to an airport.