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August 25, 2010 No Comments
Often times small businesses battle with finding cheap marketing ideas. Small businesses need to gain more profit, but need to be able to put out money for marketing. How do you find marketing money when you’re barely clearing the bills? Here are 3 ideas to turn pennies into large profits.
Flyers can be created for just pennies a piece. While people don’t always like to find flyers under their windshield wipers, they do like meeting business owners. Face-to-face time with customers is a great way to draw in business. If feasible, get out door to door in neighborhoods around your business. Once you have a chance to meet the people, leave them with a flyer. They will remember meeting you and have information to look over long after you have left.
Events and Open Houses
Through a special event. For example, during Halloween season, you could throw an open house. Rent an inflatable jumper, have things for people to do, refreshments and offer a peek at what you do. If you offer a service, have a demonstration on hand that plays over and over through the evening. Free events draw crowds. Events do not have to be expensive and can be done for less than an ad in the mainstream newspaper.
Mailers for After Hours Sales
Pick a section of town that you feel would be interested in your business. For example, if you have a specialty furniture store, pick a high dollar retirement neighborhood. Then send out exclusive invitations to them for an after hours sale. You can even print up the invitations yourself. Treat the invitations with as much class as a wedding invitation. You can pick up inexpensive gold lined envelopes, black ribbon and gold confetti from any office supply or even some dollar stores. Then have your staff dress the part. Serve punch and cookies on a table with real linens. Your customers will be surprised at any detail you give the party.
Marketing does not have to be expensive, it just has to be personal. Hand made invitations to events make for cheap, one-of-a-kind money-making marketing. Special events draw crowds that may not have been to your shop before. Flyers, when handed out face-to-face are a unique way of getting your face and business out to the public. People like different, personal marketing. There are a number of cheap marketing ideas for small business. The only thing that limits the ideas is your imagination, so get thinking and get creative.
August 23, 2010 No Comments
eBay Sellers: The Basics of Best Match – Tue, Aug 17, 2010
Achieving high ranking in eBay’s “Best Match” listing is not as complicated as it may seem. Furthermore, getting higher in the listings can boost sales significantly. While eBay will not reveal the exact algorithm that they use to rank listings, it is still a good idea to understand and follow the suggestions provided by eBay itself. Some of the features that eBay looks for in good listings are: Competitive Pricing, Superior Customer service as measured by the Top Rated Seller status, Keyword Rich Titles, Use Dropdown Item Specifics, and finally, list in the appropriate category.
Friend and Foe? Combating E-Commerce ‘Friendly Fraud’ – August 17, 2010
Friendly fraud is defined as a situation when a customer purchases goods or services online and then contacts the credit card company to dispute the charge claiming fraud, non delivery of goods, and item not as described as the reason for the dispute. When the bank reverses the charge, it is called a “chargeback”. Friendly fraud is expensive to retailers and difficult to combat. Some tips to decrease the incidents of friendly fraud. One step a business can take is to improve customer service; make it easy for customers to contact the seller before calling the credit card. Another step retailers can take is to evaluate marketing efforts. Are item descriptions misleading or are affiliate sales associated with a larger percentage of chargebacks? Finally, merchants that use Payer Authentication programs such as those offered by Visa and Mastercard shift liability for the chargebacks from the merchant to the credit card issuer.
Great Wholesale Golf Products are Par for the Course -August 18, 2010
Golf is a one of the most popular sports with personalities that are constantly in the news; interest in the sport never seems to wane. Though there are many specialty stores and outlet markets offering consumers great deals on golf equipment and apparel, there are still opportunities for smaller sellers to tap into this multimillion dollar market. Even if you do not play the sport, it might be a good idea for store owners to search to see what wholesale products are available that might complement existing catalogue offerings.
Q2 E-commerce Sales Total $39.7B – August 19, 2010
According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales for the second quarter of 2010 were 39.7 Billion dollars. Adjusted for variations and price change, this represents an increase of 2.6% over the first quarter of 2010 and an annual increase of 14%. Year to year growth of online sales have been less consistent. Compared to the same quarter in 2008, there was a decrease in online sales of 4.8%. Analysis by comScore indicates that retail spending in 20010 is growing at a rate of 9%, the third straight quarterly increase.
August 20, 2010 No Comments
Every week, you probably receive a pile of circulars from the grocery stores in your town. Before you say “junk mail!” and throw them in the trash, consider the ways that you can save money using these ads.
The great deals that you see on the front of the circular are called “loss leaders.” These are extra low prices that actually cause the store to lose money. Why would they offer you products at a price lower than their wholesale cost? The answer is because the stores understand how people spend money. If they offer you, for example, breakfast cereal at $1.50 per box, chances are that you are going to buy marked-up milk to go with it. Even better for the store is if they set up an attractive display of breakfast cereal, toaster pastries, orange juice and breakfast sausage. Now suddenly you are buying all of the things that you don’t need, all for the sake of saving a dollar or two on breakfast cereal.
The good news is that you can beat the stores at their own game. Gather up all of the circulars that are within a few miles of your home. Don’t worry if they’re in opposite directions; chances are, you will be going past them all within a week’s time anyway. You don’t have to do all of your shopping in one day, after all. If you live in an area that is inundated with grocery stores, then pick three stores that you would like to visit this week.
Make a list of which items are a great deal at each store. You might be buying breakfast cereal and chicken at store A, milk, eggs and pork chops at store B, shampoo and apples at store C, etc. Now make a rough menu plan. Can you incorporate all of these great deals into your weekly menu? If they’re non-perishable, can you use them within a month? If not, cross the items off. Buying food that will go bad before you eat is is not going to save you any money. What else do you need for the meals that you have planned to eat? Look through the circulars again, searching for those items. You should now have a list of where you will buy each item that you need.
While this approach takes a bit more time than doing all of your shopping in one place, it will save you money in the short- and long-term. How do you organize your shopping to save the most money?
August 19, 2010 No Comments
Send your kid off to college with enough supplies to last them a full semester. Wholesalers offer the means to do so without taking out a third mortgage. Check out this semester’s top 10 list of ideas to help stretch your dollars.
College life takes it’s toll when it comes to doing laundry at laundromats or dorm rooms. It seems like there are more unmatched socks than ever at college.
Just as quickly as socks disappear, so do underwear. Buying in bulk is a great way to ensure your student has enough to last all semester.
#8 Storage and Disks
Whether it’s thumb-drives, CDs or DVDs, disks are always a welcome addition for any college bound student. It’s always a good thing to have something to back their work up on. With a wholesale pack of them, they might even share with their roommates.
Since their spending the time “hitting the books”, give them the tools to help retain everything their reading. Highlighters are the perfect tool for the job. A bulk order ensures they will have enough for the whole semester.
Many snacks can be bought in large quantities. Things like macaroni and cheese, snack size bags of chips, and other items offer wholesale pricing for large quantities of goodies that won’t go bad quickly.
#5 Bathroom items
Bulk quantities of soap, shampoo, body wash, hairspray and hand soap will be a welcome addition for any college student living away from home.
#4 Toilet Paper
No college student wants to run out of toilet paper. Wholesalers offer packages of toilet paper for cents per roll.
#3 Laundry Detergent
This is a great item to buy in bulk at wholesale rates. Laundry soap is one of those necessities that you can never have enough of. Don’t forget fabric softener or sheets while you are at it.
Batteries are another one of those things that you never have enough of or never have the right size. A bulk orders of batteries in multiple sizes are sure to please every college student.
#1 Phone Cards
Phone cards can be bought through wholesale dealers and can be used on pay phones. Prepaid minutes can be purchased for cell phones, too. Mom and dad will get the pleasure from students having these gems. Phone calls home to the folks and no collect call charges are just added perks.
August 18, 2010 No Comments
There isn’t a single part of American commerce that doesn’t have its inception at some point with a sale. Despite this, the function of sales and sales management is probably one of the most neglected aspects of a business. This is hard to understand for two reasons, first, because sales is the literal public personality of a business, and second, because sales is the driving force behind any growing business.
When a business is small, it’s usually not hard to for the CEO or President of a firm to be the lead (or only) salesperson. After all, he or she is often the one most intimately familiar with the business or product. And for a small startup, that person may even be the only person employed by the firm, making their sales efforts indispensable to success.
As a business grows, however, this personal approach to sales can become impossible, making a sales person or an entire sales force a necessity. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and managers have little if any experience in a personal selling or sales management role to address this. As a result, they tend not to consider it too carefully when making their marketing plans.
Sales is considered by many to be the “sharp edge” of the business process, and for good reason. Not only is it necessary for the creation of revenue, but it is also one of the largest investments made by a business. A single salesperson or a team of salespersons that have little idea of which products or which groups of customers to concentrate on, have too little knowledge of competitive activity, do not present the business well, or don’t close sales, don’t pay, they cost. Even worse, a situation like this means they are not managed well.
A recent survey on the effectiveness of sales representatives showed that an average of two visits for a salesperson was needed before a sales decision, whether positive or negative, was made by a client. This truth shows how important those communications are, and how much good salespersons can be to the future of a company.
If your company is not gaining the sales revenue you expect, it might be time to not only look at your overall marketing plan, but to look closely at the attention paid to visits by each salesperson to maximize their effectiveness. After determining whether a salesperson is effective or not, a decision can be made as to whether a larger sales team is justified.
August 16, 2010 No Comments
Why more consumers aren’t buying with their smartphones – August 12, 2010
A recent survey of more than 1000 PriceGrabber.com customers indicates that while many shoppers plan to use their mobile phones to assist in their holiday shopping, few expect to complete purchases via their mobile phone. Customers indicated that completing purchases through smart phone applications took too long, finding products was difficult, and credit card transactions are sometimes not permitted. Retailers should focus smart phone applications on providing customers with added convenience and cost savings opportunities.
eBay Sellers: Are You Taking Advantage of Free Listings? – Mon, Aug 09, 2010
Anyone selling on eBay should take advantage of numerous free listing specials periodically offered by the online auction house. The current promotion ending September 7, 2010 offers free listing fees on the first 100 items listed in an auction format. Though there are some restrictions to the offer, these types of cost savings can be of great assistance to sellers who have been hit hard with numerous fee increases in the last year.
DHGate.com, a leading Chinese wholesale trading platform, announces an additional 8% discount for online wholesale orders greater than $209. The discount will be automatically applied to the online ordering platform. The discount, scheduled to end in October, 2010, is intended to coincide with the peak season ordering in preparation for holiday sales.
The Advantage of Attending the August 2010 Las Vegas Off Price Show – August 9, 2010
The 2010 Off Price Trade Show is getting ready to kick off in Las Vegas, NV. This trade show is known to be one of the premiere trade shows for off price and wholesale apparel. The projected turnout is expected to be over 10,000 buyers. Find out why this show has been deemed a “treasure hunt” by industry insiders. This year, the show is expanded to include home and gift items in addition to the usual offerings of apparel and footwear. Las Vegas Off Price Trade show runs from August 15-18, 2010 at the Sands Expo, Halls A & B.
Wholesale vs Dropship : Which Is Your Best Choice? – August 12th, 2010
Starting a business online first requires finding a niche – what types of products to sell and to whom. The next decision is whether to find wholesale sources or to use a dropshipper. There are pros and cons to both methods. The pros of wholesale merchandise are higher margins, control of the product, easy promotions, and easy returns. The benefits of using a dropshipper are: easy start up, no need for a warehouse, and sellers are not stuck with products that do not sell.
August 13, 2010 No Comments
The trick to saving money on your electric bill is to look for small changes you can make. Each of these small changes may have a minimal impact on your bill, but when taken together the savings will add up.
- Turn Off Your Computer At Night
Many people leave their computers on at all times, but there are large stretches of time when the computer is not being used. Why pay to leave the computer on overnight or while everyone is out for the day? A PC Energy Report US in 2009 found that $2.8 billion could be saved each year in the US if everyone turned off their computer each night.
- Avoid Standby Power Loss
Standby power loss occurs when appliances and chargers draw small amounts of power even when they are turned off. This is what powers lights on your TV or DVD player for example. The short term cost for each devise that is left plugged in is small in the short term, but when you consider the long term cost of multiple devices, the costs add up. Some sources estimate that as much as 10% of a typical residential power bill comes from these standby losses. You can cut down this amount by unplugging devices that do not need to be on. You can make this easier by plugging things into a power strip and then simply turning off the strip.
- Switch To CFL Bulbs
Using CFL or compact florescent bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs to save money. Although CFL bulbs have a higher upfront cost, they can last 10 times as long and use 75% less energy. Replacing just five 60 watt bulbs in your home can save you over $30 the first year alone and as much as $180 over the life of the bulbs.
- Buy a Programmable Thermostat
Buying a programmable thermostat is another tip that involves an upfront cost. A programmable thermostat allow you to set a comfortable temperature while you are home and save energy on heating and cooling costs during the hours that you are out. Depending on your habits, you may save as much as $100 per year.
By making these 4 small changes, you will start to see savings on your electrical bill. What other small changes have you made to save electricity and lower your bill?
August 12, 2010 2 Comments
- Cereal Bars
This one’s a no-brainer. This kids’ snack is ridiculously easy to pack, it’s way quicker than making your own batch of rice krispie treats or something similar. They come in all sorts of flavors, so the kid who finds them in his or her lunch won’t get bored with all the flavors.
They ultimate in corn syrupy goodness, you’ll find these on the pseudo-fruit snacks aisle. Is it solid, liquid, or something in between? Actually, it’s all of the above.
If the thought of buying Gushers made you cringe in fear of the next dentist bill, you might want to go with something more natural. Raisins are nutritious, and unlike fresh grapes, they keep for a long time. You can lay in a huge supply and have yummy, healthy snacks for weeks.
- Red Bull
Ok, this one’s obviously for the older students. That is, unless you really want to try teacher’s patience.
- Pigs in a Blanket
Once the kids are finally back in school, there’s nothing a parent wants to do more than spend the afternoon cooking a fun, delicious snack for when the little darlings come home. Or not, so there’s always…
- Pizza Rolls
Even a six year old can probably figure these out. Zap, eat, enjoy. They might even manage not to make a mess with these things.
- Fresh Fruit
There’s only one main factor that determines what foods kids like to eat. That factor is sugar, and fruits are sweet enough to appeal to kids while being chock-full of vitamins, fiber and other nutrients.
- Popcorn Snack Mix
Microwave Popcorn Lung notwithstanding, popcorn is surprisingly healthy when it’s air-popped and not slathered in butter and salt. Add some other ingredients and you’ve got a great snack. Make it sweet with cinnamon sugar, some M&Ms and graham crackers, or take the salty route with pretzels and nuts.
- Chocolate Covered Stealth Health
If it’s got candy on the outside, the kids will love it. So give them chocolate covered healthy things – peanuts, raisins, almonds or even ants. Gross? Insects are actually very nutritious.
- Broccoli and Cauliflower
Hey, maybe your kid is a vegan in the making. You never know. If not, there’s probably at least one vegetarian kid at school who wants it, so long as they’re not all desperately trying to trade their crunchy lunches for sweets.
August 11, 2010 No Comments
The General Services Administration (GSA) procures all of the goods and services used by virtually every other Federal agency. It holds contracts for items ranging from office supplies to airplanes. GSA monitors all federal contracts for compliance with federal purchasing regulations, including the percentage of contracts awarded to small businesses such as yours.
GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization works on behalf of small, minority-owned, disadvantaged, veteran, and service-disabled veteran businesses to ensure that such businesses have equal access to federal contracts. Small business technical advisors work in the national office in Washington, DC. Small Business Utilization Centers are located throughout the United States, including Chicago, Boston, Denver, New York, and San Francisco, to name a few.
The regional offices provide a variety of services geared towards helping small businesses succeed. Procurement networking sessions, roundtables, and interagency networking breakfasts provide small businesses the opportunity to network with one another and with federal agencies that may be interested in purchasing their products. Marketing strategies and techniques workshops offer valuable and viable suggestions to help you run your business.
The Office of Small Business Utilization also operates the Center for Acquisition Excellence. This on-line academy provides procurement training on your schedule. The courses are offered free of charge and can provide you with invaluable insights regarding your business. The “Using GSA Schedules” course teaches vendors and customers how to use GSA schedules. Schedules are complex contracts containing a multitude of vendors selling their supplies to Federal agencies. However, many of the schedules are not limited to Federal agency use. For example, many of the schedules are open for cooperative purchasing – a program in which state and local governments and select nonprofit organizations can access federal pricing through the schedules while eliminating the inherent costs associated with procurement. These non-federal customers can save thousands of dollars on a single purchase through the use of GSA schedules. After completing this course, you will be able to decide whether or not placing your business on a GSA schedule will help you generate sales locally. The “Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts” course teaches vendors and customers how to purchase technology and technology-related services through Federal contracts.
Finally, the Office of Small Business Utilization provides links to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Procurement Technical Assistance Program. While GSA holds the majority of Federal contracts, DOD also contracts for many of its own supplies and services. The Procurement Technical Assistance Program will enable your business to access DOD contracting and subcontracting opportunities through Centers located throughout the United States.
August 9, 2010 No Comments