How to Give Your Small Business a Competitive Advantage

Today’s small businesses face an uphill struggle. In addition to being in an intensely competitive marketplace, businesses must confront obstacles that larger firms don’t face, including a lack of financial resources, an increased need for visibility, a lack of brand recognition, and a shortage of qualified sales people. To compensate, small businesses must find a way to ratchet up their marketing communications programs.

What small businesses need is a dynamic, cost-effective way of marketing products and services, one that helps them battle competitors and capture market share. Enter the new contender in the marketing arena – video communications. Simple and easy to use, video communications, which includes video email, video on demand and video broadcasting, is helping to level the playing field for a growing number of small businesses. In fact businesses that have integrated video into their marketing strategies have reported a 300%-400% increase in responsiveness to their marketing message.

Video communications represents the next wave of marketing communications. It’s so powerful it’s revamping the way businesses communicate with customers and each other. With video communications, buyers can see that you stand behind your product and/or service. They also can relate to you as a person. And because they can SEE and HEAR you, they can connect with you on more than one level, creating credibility, excitement, and most importantly of all, trust.

Video communications also helps small business challenge companies with bigger marketing budgets, large sales forces, or better brand recognition, without the need for a large financial investment and it helps businesses distinguish themselves from the competition by promoting their unique selling proposition through a medium with the impact of television

Video communications is Ideal for both on and off line businesses, consultants, and professional services. Simple and easy to use, video communications puts a human touch back into the process of communicating with consumers, enabling sales reps, consultants, and professionals to generate “face time” with consumers, clients, and businesses without spending a great deal of time and money. In fact from just a few dollars a week businesses can integrate the power of video technology into their current marketing strategies.

Video communications offers numerous advantages over main stream marketing. In addition to increasing visibility and adding a personal touch to your e-mails and Web sites, video communications:

o generates qualified sales leads

o increases brand recognition

o provides uniformity of messages

o establishes credibility with customers

o generates higher retention rates

o shortens sales cycles

o increases click-through rates

o improves sales conversion figures

Video communications super-charges sales and profits with minimal cost and effort. And thanks to its effectiveness it’s growing increasingly popular with small businesses that are looking for a marketing edge. More important, it’s ideal for today’s time conscious and tech savvy consumers, whose interest in electronic devices, like ipods and mobile phones, continues to grow. As personal rich media goes mainstream, consumers will expect businesses to communicate this way. Those companies that don’t will struggle to remain competitive.

Why the Need For Business Intelligence For Procurement?

Business intelligence tools provide sense to an immense amount of data available to a particular organization through analysis made within a short period of time. The objective is to help people make more accurate business decisions. Because of the complexities brought about by the globalisation of the marketplace, business leaders are in search for business tools that would help them gain better insight of the market and its characteristics. Therefore, when applied, business intelligence for procurement would most likely be the tool that would provide better opportunity for the business since this presents prospects of savings by analysing procurement-related data. Business intelligence helps businesses accomplish both short-term goals as well as the long-term ones mainly by helping the organization become aware of its strengths and weaknesses as that of the competition.

This may be a challenging time in the economy, but this may also be the best time to have access to crucial data about how your business is responding, as well as your competitors, customers, and suppliers. Procurement decisions have tremendous effect on the entire business. Therefore, each dollar saved in procurement adds up to the company’s total earnings. It is determined by the orders and purchases and the frequency these are done. The application of a business intelligence solution would help achieve better procurement decisions since everything that is involved in the procurement process as seen from the bigger picture of the whole organization would help bring out a lot of changes in a wide range of business matters. These include the quantity and frequency of orders and their delivery as well as inventory levels. Procurement strategies would spell out the difference regarding cost savings as well as competitiveness in the market.

While it is true that to optimize profit, a business needs to find suppliers that could offer products the cheapest, cheapest does not necessarily mean the best. Because competition is stiff, being able to provide products customized to the needs and specifications of the customer would be a tremendous advantage over your competitors.

Decisions and selections made in the procurement process will have tremendous effect on the entire business particularly on sales, especially if the products are found to be defective.

But cheaper costs do not lead to good procurement. It also involves quality, which, of course, has a direct effect on the reduction of product defects. Moreover, maintaining a good relationship with suppliers guarantees immediate response from them regarding issues and other concerns.

Finding goods is crucial to the business. And more crucial is finding the best ones and buying them at the best price possible as well as finding the best delivery arrangements at a reasonable cost. In its entirety, this is a painstaking process. But with the development of IT solutions, this becomes easier, although it remains complex as well as risky and tricky because of the endless negotiations and transactions that have to be made over and over again.

However, costs are reduced because transactions are made swifter and cheaper. Inventory becomes updated faster, thereby cutting unnecessary expenses on certain items that have slow turnovers. This then leads to quicker responses to changes in the market trends, more time to perform other tasks besides processing transactions, and many others. The employment of business intelligence for procurement would help determine openings for savings, improve performance through the analysis of current practices, maintain timely delivery, and maintain low costs among others. As a tool, it guarantees quicker decisions regarding the provision of the pertinent data that serve as basis for such decisions to ensure good business.

Business Outsourcing Solutions

Whether part time, or full time, a client’s communications needs are addressed when you engage a professional receptionists answering service. Expert personnel offer a full range of needs for the small business, major corporation, freelancer, government agency, or sole proprietor. The mission of a professional receptionists service for all their clients is backed by a combination of quality technology and manpower.

Supervisors, customer service representatives, and technicians that oversee the upkeep of advanced equipment and software, are at the center of the communications industry. Expertly trained teams enhance levels of productivity when live operators answer calls for their clients. Providing solutions for communications requirements is a goal towards which every business owner and executive should direct their efforts.

A 24/7/365 service promises phone care management at any time, including weekends and all holidays. For businesses who require 24 hour access to clients and their messages a professional receptionists answering service is a perfect solution. Nationwide retail or wholesale merchants want the advantage of continuous sales services and assistance. With virtual live operators taking orders and providing customer service around the clock there is no better way to realize sales potential. Customer service representatives can process payments as well as track, amend, and cancel orders.

If your service offers proprietary software then your office, practice, facility, or store can experience the pluses of business continuity. Live operators answer phones with your company greeting and all the relevant information they need to assist your caller right in front of them on their computer screen.

Redundancy systems for secure data retrieval ensure that professional receptionists answering service is a constant, even in the face of a power outage. Clients should know that their sensitive account information is protected by a secure data server.

An affordable service plan from a receptionists service is within reach because clients only pay for those services they need. Also, because a professional receptionists answering service is rich in its’ administrative support resources, they are able to provide a high caliber service at a low rate.

In a competitive marketplace business owners, executives, and managers are smart to take the advantages that an expert service offers and run with it. That’s because a professional receptionists answering service is dedicated to their client’s wish list for outstanding communications outsourcing. Discover how partnering with an professional receptionists answering service can add value and staying power to your business. Outsourcing communications requirements to an experienced solutions provider makes smart business sense.

A New Way to Earn Money – How to Find Business Opportunities

The most successful businesspersons in the world are not those who were born with money, or who came by it because they won the lottery. The most successful businesspersons are those who knew what to do with the money they had. They knew where to invest the money, how to make it grow, and how to use it to help other people and themselves. In other words, the most successful businesspersons, and perhaps the richest people in the world, know how to handle money because they know how to recognize business opportunities when these business opportunities came knocking.

If you want to earn money and get rich yourself, you need to find business opportunities. Believe it or not, despite our crowded Internet marketplace, and equally crowded brick-and-mortar marketplace, business opportunities still abound. In fact, with the upsurge of products and services, there are even more business opportunities you can take advantage of. For instance, our paperless workplace, although convenient, has also glued people to their computer screens and even damaged a good many postures. Cater to office persons by placing a spa in an office building, and offer low rates to employees who want to have the tensions of the day massaged out of their bodies.

This is only one of the business opportunities that you can look at, but it encapsulates what business is: finding a need, and filling it. All you need to do is to look for what needs are not yet filled, and then find a way to fill that need. This may involve a lot of research on your part, as you will need to look for people with technical expertise, financial expertise, business know-how, and even connections in order to utilize the business opportunity to your greatest advantage. To find that unmet need, you will need strong fingers to click on your mouse, and strong legs to set you walking.

First, enter the Internet marketplace and study it on your own terms. What sites are popular nowadays? With the Web 2.0 paradigm, everyone with an Internet connection can speak out online. This means that many websites will offer people a chance to speak out and have themselves heard, perhaps through blogs, online diaries, photo journals, video journals, and personal websites. Look through the most popular blogs and websites, and see what they provide; look at what they also cannot provide, and use your conclusions to find a business opportunity that you can look into.

Second, go to your local mall and, as in the Internet marketplace, study it on your own terms. What stores are popular, and what kinds of customers does the mall cater to? As you study these customers and stores, look at what unmet needs may still exist. Remember, every new generation born will have its own needs and wants, so there are many products and services that you can still offer.

Third, read your local newspaper, and keep abreast of the news, especially as it pertains to business and lifestyle. You can look at emerging trends and see how you can help out, and still gain money in the process. If possible, look at things that people will always need: food, shelter, and clothing. See how these absolute necessities can play into your strategy.

Fourth, you can go back to school to study business. You will learn how to run a business, and what you need to have in order to manage one correctly. Moreover, you will be able to meet a lot of people on the same intellectual level as you: they can even help you put up your business, and you can all work together, applying all the knowledge that you got back in business school!

There are still many ways by which you can find business opportunities. Whether you study the market, look at trends, or go back to school, you will find ways to help more people and get money to work for you. As long as you know how to see a business opportunity, you will find ways to milk it for all its worth.

Employment in Home Business – A Realistic Viewpoint

There is one thing that at least 90% of us in America have in common and that is this: If you were to ask the average person like myself (really you may not find anyone that would answer this question differently), “Would you want to have a resource that generated a great income?” You’re going to have a problem trying to find just ONE person who would answer NO to that question. Enter stage right: The Internet. THE superhighway of information, communication, data, etc. That’s long been established. Using the net as a vehicle to boost marketplaces, businesses, news, I mean, you name it, it’s gonna be found on the internet. This is where most folks like myself have searched to find some kind of legit opportunity to earn and build some sort of decent income at home via the web. Some people are looking to supplement their income, while others are completely out of work and looking for ANY income.

Trying to avoid the stupid “whatever” wage they’re stuck making, living or dying (so-to-speak) by the infernal time-clock at a job, the BLASTED commuting,…..you get the picture. Now you take these facts that were just mentioned and combine them with a particular measure of frustration and despairation and you’ve got (if you’re an advertiser for that targeted group of people with something to sell) an almost guaranteed buyer reading your ads on the internet! The problem with this (if you’re the buyer) is when you have ten(10) different work-n-earn money from home advertisements, two(2) might be for real legit, but you don’t look into those because you got burned by one of them that wasn’t, or spent money on one that beautifully and elaborately cloaked,or covered up what they were really getting you into, actually they just lied to you about WHAT you would be doing. I know first-hand about this one, that’s why I’m able to write this! I bought into the BEAUTIFUL sales pitch from Angel Stevens about being a “REBATE PROCESSOR”, paid that $200, and learned that WHAT you get trained to do has NOTHING to do with being a “rebate processor”. Articles, Ads, writing these is what you get trained to do, and being an affiliate marketer, stuff I did not sign-on to do! Now, I was EXTREMELY upset when the realization of what was really goin’ on actually set in, she LIED to me and that wasn’t cool at ALL! The “so-called” support team that she has – when you’re on the phone with them – sounds more like it’s based in some one’s house. Not ONE of them (no matter how many different ones answer the phone) could speak a LICK of good english. And I NEVER got an informative – straight answer to ANY of my questions. It was a beautifully written TRAP to suck you into something that was NOT advertised. Why? Because I think it was the best way for her to make a buck because she KNEW the majority of folks would not be interested in the AFFILIATE MARKETING FIELD. Yeah, I brooded and slumped over this for about a month, then did a little more looking before attaining a whole new level of BROKE, BUSTED, and DISGUSTED, then it HIT ME,… I paid that $200 BUCKS, and I’m NOT about to WASTE all the stuff I DID GET from the deal!

I also did more scrutinized looking and found a little niche on the web dealing with I.F.W’s (Incentivized Freebie Websites). Now I’m not gonna explain all the details on how it works, but I found out that it’s not a way to make any solid money if you NEED an income, but you can make (a little, nothing worth getting excited about) money. You may not be told this any where else, but the I.F.W. hook-up is ONLY for those people who are: (1.) Looking to have interesting interaction with others. (2.) They have enough money on their credit card or debit card to kick small amounts around without it hurting them.{What I mean is, any offers that you fill out – and yes it’s ALL about offers – that don’t credit after you’ve paid shipping or made a purchase, spending that money won’t hurt your pocket.} And (3.) Folks with a different sense of having fun – through the offers that do credit, you and your trading partner increase your trader ratings within the I.F.W. forums. There is another thing that I’ve discovered also. If whatever your interested in does NOT display clearly some where on their website the logo for The Better Business Bureau or at least the HonestE Online Member Verification logo – I wouldn’t even waste any more of my time with it if I were you. If EVERY home-based-business advertiser had to go through the acid test of the Better Business Bureau’s Standards For Trust, that would knock-out NEARLY ALL of the home business banners and ads on the web except for a SMALL HANDFUL, because there really is ONLY a few of them…PERIOD! I hope the B.B.B. doesn’t mind me displaying their eight (8) Standards For Trust in this article, but I’ve got a point to make by doing so. Here they are: BBB Standards for Trust

Doing Business Through the Internet – What Does it Hold?

The Internet provides an online medium for businesses and customers to communicate and facilitates the overall economic activity. Businesses in the virtual marketplace enabled by the Internet are referred to as online businesses. There are a number associated advantages and disadvantages of conducting business online.

The following advantages are the hallmarks of conducting business in an online environment:

Ability to conduct business on a 24x7x365 basis – The world market never sleeps. With a global reach, online businesses are conducted on a non-stop basis in a 24x7x365 environment. Global reach – Online businesses conduct their operations around the world in different time zones simultaneously. This kind of reach is never available to the businesses in a physical marketplace. Businesses get an exposure to the world markets using the online medium.

High speed and Relative Ease – The Internet provides a lightening fast and easy to use medium to undertake business transactions. This is partly due to the communication capabilities extended by the online medium. It significantly reduces the turnaround and lead times for the complex business activities.

Reduced costs – Conducting business in an online environment is very economical compared to corresponding investments in the physical infrastructure in case of a conventional business. The associated investments in setting up an online business are negligible.

Despite all the benefits of conducting online business, there are certain issues that must be taken into consideration before moving from the physical to a virtual marketplace. Some common constraints in conducting online business include: Security concerns – One of the major impediments in the growth of online businesses is the security concerns of the sellers as well as the buyers in an online environment. These include concerns regarding the security of personal information, transaction as well as the medium (credit card) details.

Uncertainty regarding supplier, delivery and the physical product – Online businesses suffer from an uncertainty surrounding the physical product, the actual supplier and the delivery of the product. Unlike an offline business environment, the customer is not exposed to these aspects and these remain hidden from the customer in the background.

Unsuitable for certain product categories – Some product categories are inherently unsuitable to transact in the online business environment. For example perishable goods are unsuitable to be transacted in an online environment because the actual delivery might take long time. These products are best sourced from the local markets. In contrast, durable goods are the most suitable to be transacted in an online business.

Limited and selected sensory information – The Internet is most suitable to transmit visual and auditory information including the pictures, sounds and related text. However, it does not allow any scope for other senses such as touch, taste or smell. In an online store, one can select flowers but not smell them; one can see a gadget, but not touch or feel it. One can see the chocolates but not taste them to see if they taste as good as they look. This makes the online medium unsuitable to be used for selling products that need to be touched, felt or tasted before purchase.

Psychic Impact – Holiday Marketplace

Leaders in the psychic and metaphysical communities responsible for the rising frequencies of global consciousness should increase their budget and power in the wake of top hits in 2007 with titles such as “The Secret” and “Ask and It is Given”. Distributors and retailers offering the less publicized books and products such as “7 Oracles” and other self-published books and products is bound to surge the holiday sales to boundless new heights.

The growing populace awakening to their inner and spiritual purpose has led to record breaking highs in psychic and metaphysical interest ranging from the gifted psychic reader to paranormal mysteries of the unexplained. Lower prices and big pre-Thanksgiving sales offered in the holiday marketplace promises a strong infiltration of psychic and metaphysical merchandise.

Throughout the holiday season the psychic communities will be challenged to maintain their spiritual knowingness. Everyone has the influence of fast paced marketers and high rollers entering their modes of practice. It is advisable that you shift your focus to your etheric foundation so that you accept and credit the celestial powers within, of your manifested prosperity and abundance. Those who do not allow time for their inner work are subject to losing themselves in the darker, superficial regions of commercialized principles.

With renewed emotional highs in gratitude and generosity that move psychics to create more joy and balance, the impact those psychics have upon the marketplace projects a more harmonious and balanced business world vision.

An evolved business community validates and encourages every venture, every hope, and every dream that supports the earth, its inhabitants, and all that we have co-created with spiritual frequencies of love, joy, and peace. Therefore this coming season of merriment and peace on earth sets in motion the wheels of an economic evolution.

Import Export Trade Leads and B2B Marketplace – A Know How

Import Export Trade Leads: It refers to the trade leads, which are designed to match the existing exporters and importers. In the Global Market, products are not limited to the boundaries of a particular nation. The supply of raw materials, the manufacturing of the goods, the distribution of these goods to the customers (who can also be of foreign nationals), constitute an interesting process of searching and contacting. These searches through the various search engines and finally getting in touch with the concerned authorities, involve the process of Trade Leads in Export and Import (EXIM).

To have a better understanding, let’s study the components separately and in-depth:

Trade Leads: These are the basis of initializing any trade between two bodies. Trade leads can be generated by many different marketing campaigns or many different sources.

Mailings
Fairs
Trade Markets
Phone (Call Centers)
Database Marketing and Websites are some of the potential sources.

Other effective sources of Trade Leads can be through:

Google AdWords
Ads in trade publications
Membership in associations like Direct Marketing Association is also a viable option.

For Small Businesses: An effective and alternate lead generation channel is the professional networking website called LinkedIn. It’s a free networking through which we can contact our prospects and contact them through In-Mails (which are paid).

Trade Offers: As the name suggests, they are the offers proposed in the course of trading for an economical and profitable deal. These offers are made to the prospects with associated discounts and allowances, which are undoubtedly tools of Sales Promotion, to attract better offers. There exist various kinds of discounts and allowances at every stage of the business. Some are given to the suppliers; some are given to the manufacturers while some to the middle men, who act as mediators in carrying out smooth negotiations and deals. Finally, purchasers and end customers too enjoy the benefits of these discounts through competitive pricing.

B2B Trade Leads: They are the key to the survival of any B2B Company. B2B companies across the world spend billions of their currencies and resources to find Leads – they buy, they capture, they generate, they do everything possible to keep their sales funnels filled with Leads. It is the breather for any B2B operation. With numerous manufacturers and suppliers hogging the market, these leads help in getting in touch with the right choice at the right time for the best business.

Conclusion:

With so many search engines available at the press of a button, choosing the right one and putting it at the best use, lies at the user’s knowledge and experience. With globalization, the world has no doubt become a small place, but, the vastness of opportunities and the depth of innovation have also increased in the same pace. Thus, EXIM Trade Leads are effective tools to dabble and move faster than the fastest.

Build a Simple Android or iPhone App to Promote Your Business

For the uninitiated the world of app development can be as mysterious and out-of reach as a black hole, something to be dreamed and wondered about, but never touched. Making an app for your own small business is entirely within your reach. It is not even that difficult to do yourself. If you would rather shell out the money and not have to deal with the construction yourself it’s fine, but it surprised me when I learned how simple it can be to make a custom business app for Android devices or the iPhone.

Start by brainstorming ideas. Do aspects of your business lend themselves well to an app? What do regular customers need to know about your business? Are there certain questions people call you to ask about your business regularly?

Let’s say you run a small music venue. The obvious things you would want to include in an app are schedules of performers, specials you have during the week, and news, topical things like those you include on your company’s website. Think about how people use their smart phones. A plugin that gives people directions to your theater from wherever they are is a smart feature. An alert that tells people when you book a major artist might also be helpful.

Obviously, your app needs are specific to your business, so talk to your friends and customers and find out what they would like to see in your app. Once you have a list of features and an idea of what your app will look like, download either the iOS Developer’s Kit or the Android Developer’s Kit and head over to BuzzTouch.com. There are other similar websites, but BuzzTouch is the easiest and most app-building intuitive I have found. This website allows you to design an app without knowing any code. The site features lots of videos and tutorials for beginners, and some more refined control for those that know more about coding and app development.

The site constructs apps by manipulating ‘plugins’. These little modules can form screens, menus, and features that will make up your app when it is finished (there is a plugin, for instance, that is a calendar. If you wanted a calendar to be accessible on your app, you could link from your ‘main menu’ plugin to this plugin in your app). Once you have chosen and configured your plugins you export your app, and the site translates what you have built into code. You can submit your app files to the App Store or the Android Marketplace, and use your own company’s website or BuzzTouch to update it and change it as you wish.

The whole process is relatively painless, and the only costs are in submitting your app to the App Store ($99) or the Android Market ($25). In return, you make your business more visible by giving your customers access to your business that is interactive and modern.

How Businesses Are Maximising Effective Use of Catalogues and Brochures

In a busy marketplace, businesses both large and small are finding that effective use of media can give them an important edge over competitors.

Whilst virtually all businesses now have an active and professional-looking website, many are still continuing to go down the route of physical media production such as brochure and catalogue printing. There are very good reasons for this.

Firstly, it is much easier to reach prospective customers using physical media; a door drop or even a leaflet inserted into a newspaper will contain much more information and have a longer-lasting impact than, say, a pop-up advertisement on a web page.

Secondly, catalogue and brochure printers are able to produce a dazzling array of physical media that will inspire public faith in the financial standing and reliability of a business, and encourage more customers to come forward.

Thirdly, for those in the mail order business, a catalogue provides a welcome opportunity for the buyer to browse in comfort away from the glare of a computer screen.

Fortunately, technologies enabling quality brochure and catalogue printing are now so much easier to access.

Advances in desktop publishing, for example, mean that any business can now easily generate quality print-ready artwork in the form of high resolution digital PDFs: secure files containing perfectly aligned colour and text information that greatly minimise the risk of printing and reproduction errors.

At the print end, greater availability of production techniques has resulted in even relatively small print centres now being able to offer top quality printing facilities in addition to laser reproduction. Litho off-set printing, for example, which was once restricted to prestigious magazine titles, and works by quickly and flawlessly transferring images from printing plate to paper via a special rubber ‘blanket’, is now frequently used to produce multiple copies of business catalogues and brochures that are highly consistent and uniform in quality.

These impressive results can be enhanced even further through the use of high-grade, richly fibred papers that not only feel luxurious, but also permit a richer ink density on the page.

Finally, there are key production techniques that can be used to prolong the life of a brochure or catalogue in order to maintain its attractiveness after being handled on multiple occasions.

Coating the cover in a UV varnish, for example, will not only make for a highly glossy product but also increase its resilience.

Collating the pages together using various forms of secure binding will also greatly help in this respect. Popular binding techniques include: saddle stitching (professional magazine stapling), perfect binding (spine-gluing of multiple pages, a technique common to many booklets and coffee table titles) and the more work-like but equally effective comb binding (whereby the spine is gripped by a wire spiral).

An interesting point is that there are now many more print centres available locally to any business, thereby greatly widening the opportunities for quality print production, as well as conferring additional practical benefits such as being able to inspect and collect the finished product in person rather than relying on a delivery company.