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Friday, 14-Aug-2009 01:40 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Appropriate business gifts for your customers

When in the position of needing to extend thanks, whether to special customers or clients, there are business gifts to investigate as an option. You may also need to give something to a person or company that you do business with. There are some unwritten rules to follow when you are deciding on what to give who.

The most important thing to remember about business gifts is that you don’t want to make them too personal. Whether you’re giving them to a client or customer, or a business acquaintance- don’t go out and buy warm, fuzzy socks for someone whom you aren’t even on a first name basis with!

If it seems obtuse, understand that some folks just don’t get it. A business relationship should remain in that category when giving gifts. You know someone for the type of work they do, then give them something that they will use within those boundaries. Even break-room supplies would be good in some cases. Gift credit to a place that they can get things is nice. Tickets to outings are always appreciated by someone in the company. If you go with promotional items, don’t flood the office with it.

You will probably be OK with giving just a cap or travel mug with your company logo on them. If you flood the place with logo items they will likely become disinterested. They may feel you are trying to bowl them over and then they will want nothing to do with you or your business. That is not what you want to happen.

For the corporate world, you should adhere to presents that are somehow connected to the realm of business that you are in. Concerts tickets, or a spa gift card is always lovely and not too personal. If you spend an excessive amount of money then you won’t look as good, just like giving out too many promotional products with your company info on them will not look make you shine either.


Wednesday, 12-Aug-2009 07:19 Email | Share | | Bookmark
How to Make Money

Use the law of supply and demand to your advantage. Most of us are familiar with the law of supply and demand--the more there is of something, the cheaper it is; conversely, the rarer the product or service, the more expensive it is.

However, other than when we get to a toy store before sunrise to get on line for the latest fad toy that kids can't get enough of, we don't really apply the law of supply and demand to our own lives--particularly our careers. For example, if you're aspiring to do something that many, many other people want to do (so much so that they do it for free, as a hobby) then it will be far more challenging for you to make money doing it.

On the other hand, if you do something that most people don't want to do, or if you get very good at doing something most people don't do all that well, then you can make a whole lot more money. In other words, choose a career in pharmacy over photography.

Does your job offer upward mobility?If your career path is going nowhere, resign gracefully and switch careers. Research occupations to find out how much they pay and what their future outlook is (in the U.S., you can find this information in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook). Find an occupation that pays well, and invest in the education and/or training to get you that job. Look for employers that offer competitive salaries and ample opportunity for advancement.

If your goal is to make enough money to retire early, prioritize earning potential over job satisfaction, since you plan on getting out of the rat race early, anyway. Consider the types of jobs that pay extraordinarily well in exchange for hard work, little psychological satisfaction, and a punishing lifestyle, such as investment banking, sales, and engineering. If you can keep your expenses low and do this for about 10 years, you can save a nest egg for a modest but youthful retirement, or to supplement your income while you do something you really love doing but doesn't pay much. But keep in mind that delayed gratification requires clear goal-setting and strong willpower.
Recognize that time is money.

This critical piece of advice is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who was an accomplished American inventor, journalist, printer, diplomat, and statesman--the ultimate multitasker. Your ability to manage your time (and stop procrastinating) is a critical ingredient in your ability to make money. Whether you have a job or are self-employed, keep track of what you're spending your time on.

Ask yourself "Which of these activities make the most money, and which of them are a waste of time?" Do more of the former and less of the latter, simple as that. When you're focusing on high-priority tasks, get the job done well, and get the job done fast. By working efficiently, you're giving your employer or clients more time, and they'll appreciate you for it. Remember that time is a limited resource that you're always investing. Will your investments pay off?

Jack up your prices. If you're providing a skill, service or product that is in high demand and low supply, and you're making the most of your time, you should be making good money. Unfortunately, there are many people who are too humble or fearful to demand that they get paid accordingly. It's the pushovers in life who get taken advantage of and exploited, so if you think you might be one of them, learn how to stop being a people pleaser.

If you work for someone else, ask for a pay raise or get a promotion, and if none of that pans out, revisit your career options as described previously. If you're self-employed, the first thing to do is to make sure your customers and clients pay up on time--this alone can substantially improve your income. Check your prices and rates against those of your competitors--are you undercutting them? Why? If you're providing a superior product or service, you should be getting at least the average, unless your profitability depends on mass production, in which case you're probably making a lot of money and wouldn't be reading this article anyway!

Be proactive. Remember Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong." Make plans, complete with as many calculations as possible, then anticipate everything that can go wrong. Then make contingency or backup plans for each scenario.

Don't leave anything to luck. If you're writing a business plan, for example, do your best to estimate when you'll break even, then multiply that time frame by three to get a more realistic date; and after you've identified all the costs, add 20% to that for costs that will come up that you didn't anticipate.[1] Your best defense against Murphy's law is to assume the worst, and brace yourself. An appropriate amount of insurance may be something worth considering. Don't forget the advice of Louis Pasteur, a French chemist who made several incredible breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease: "Luck favors the prepared mind."

Friday, 7-Aug-2009 02:19 Email | Share | | Bookmark
What to Look For in a Payment Gateway Company

For businesses that are looking to accept credit card payments online, security is always an issue. You want to be able to reassure your clients that their important financial numbers are not going to be misused, but if you have the numbers stored on a computer, they are vulnerable to a hacker attack. The solution? A payment gateway company.

What It Is

These companies provide a method of verifying credit cards in real time by sending the information immediately to a bank. There is no information stored anywhere since it is simply transferred. If the card is not reported stolen or wanted for fraud, then the transaction will be continued.

There are numerous benefits to using this technology. For one, no stored credit information means that the client’s payments are as secure as they can be, something the business can promote when encouraging sales. Many people are wary of paying online and the assurance of secure processing tends to help them make a decision to buy.

Another advantage to the business is a large reduction in the number of stolen or fraudulent card numbers being used, which protects the business from monetary loss, as well. While it isn’t possible to completely eliminate the use of invalid card numbers, using a system like this will definitely keep the problems to a minimum.

How to Choose a Payment Gateway Company

Not all companies are the same. While all process the information in a similar manner, online businesses need to ensure that they are choosing the right payment gateway company for their business. It’s a good idea to check out several companies and read reviews if possible so you can get a better idea of what to expect from each one.

One of the most important areas to look at when choosing a payment company is which shopping carts they support. For companies that are just getting started, this isn’t a big problem because they can set up a shopping cart that can be easily integrated with the payment service of their choice. However, if the business already has a shopping cart and has set it up with their products, chances are, they will want to find a company that will work with the cart the business is already using.

It’s important to check the rates and fees, as well. Some companies charge a fixed rate per transaction, others will charge a percentage. Compare prices to be sure your business is getting the best deal for the number and type of payments that your company will be receiving. For example, if the majority of a business’ products are under $10, a fixed fee of $1 per transaction will be more than a percentage of 2.5% per transaction, but if the majority of the sales are over $50, the fixed fee is far more economical.

Payment gateway companies are not required in order to do business online, but they should certainly be considered. Choosing the right one is very important, since it can affect the future of your business.

Tuesday, 4-Aug-2009 08:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Find out What Kind of Business to Start

List your interests. This will help you focus on businesses that will provide the greatest probability for success and eliminate possible failures.
List your skills. No one can be all things. If any aspect of business does not fit within your skill range these are the areas where you will need to get help.
Assess your personality. Are you a people person, or do you enjoy working alone? Do you love to serve others, or do you find people a pain? What age groups do you enjoy serving? One ingredient that is sure to lead to failure is a reclusive or abrasive personality. Think about the people that you have met in business. Who were the ones that you wanted to give repeat business to?
Determine how much risk you can tolerate. Going into business can be scary; especially the first couple of years. Some businesses are scarier than others. If you lie awake nights wondering how large loans are going to be paid, or if you're going to be sued, maybe a business with less upfront capital or probability of lawsuit is more for you.
Determine how much time your business will require, and ask yourself if you are willing to commit the time. Many businesses require a huge time investment. Can you and your family tolerate a twelve or fourteen hour day schedule?
Take some classes. An excellent place to start is SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), an organization that helps educate individuals considering starting a small business. After taking some SCORE classes some people are convinced that starting a small business is for them, while others are convinced it is not.
Have a plan. As the old saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it.
Set it up legally. Hire an attorney experienced in setting up businesses. He will guide you through the paper work and make sure things are done properly. A good attorney will not just do the paperwork and determine the business type (Inc, LLC, etc.) but will also advise you on common errors to avoid that can get you into trouble.

Sunday, 19-Jul-2009 16:10 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Don’t let this one get away!

The Softail Standard is considered an original long factory custom and an excellent canvas for customization, so here’s your chance to win one of the best examples around!

Clean title, only 9500 miles and all maintenance has been completed by an authorized Harley mechanic.

10K maintenance has been performed 2 weeks ago. All oils were changed last month and tires have approximately 800 miles.

There is NOTHING wrong with this bike, if I were physically and financially able I would ride it to California tomorrow. There are far too many details to list, but I’m listing some of the main features.

· Twin Cam 88B Engine

· 5 Speed Transmission

· 45mm Mikuni carburetor

· Factory raked front fork and chrome riser

· Factory stretched fuel tank with chrome console

· Digital oil level and temperature gauge

· “Flame” chromed foot pegs

· “Flame” Custom handmade grips

· Chrome primary cover

· “Harley” analog clock

· Screamin Eagle Race Tuner

· Screamin Eagle II slash cut exhaust

· Screamin Eagle spark plugs and 10mm wires

· Metzeler ME 880 tires with low miles

· Authentic Harley Saddle bags

· Detachable backrest/luggage rack

· Detachable windshield used 1 time

· Smoked turn signal lens kit

· New battery last year

Note**Although this bike has never been laid down, there is 1 small ding in the tank from the turn signal. (Think of it as a character mark.)

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