EMAC has organized for the simple purpose of allowing business people to ask simple business questions which have been answered by business professionals without the expense of paying for the quality professional time as other websites began doing. We believe people need a break and a helping hand. The majority of these Q & A are related to small business issues, many just good common sense or simple direction.
We have seen that in most cases there are many answers to a single question. Our goal is to help you find the one or more answers you seek by sharing a few of our experiences in the form of answers to questions over the past few years. Which we hope will allow you to make a more informed decision in regards to your original question. We will not answer legal or account questions within this section, there are many qualified websites and professionals out there to assist you with those types of inquiries.
EM Advisory Corp would like to thank all of you for your questions and participation over the years. We commit to answering each of your questions to the best of our abilities.
For one, talk to your customers. Being in business means building a relationship with your customers, and if they have a problem with your business that you don’t know about, ask yourself if you have been listening to them. Talk to the customers that haven’t left and even those who have, find out what they like and don’t like about your service, then fix it. Try a little new marketing by offering your current customers better discounts for referrals. They can show off your work to their neighbors. Ask if it would be ok to take a certain amount off the bill if you could put a sign in their yard, choose the yards carefully. Your best advertisement is good work.
That really depends on your business. But to start, I am sure your brother, the lawyer, could help you find someone in his field to use besides himself, i.e. “my friend could help, he practices …” There are all sorts of different types of lawyers and their specialties are specific, such as patent, corporate, and structural. If you’re planning on trying to get a patent, for example, you will need a patent lawyer. Generally you can find legal help online for reasonable prices these days. It’s no longer necessary to keep one on retainer like it used to be.
We do not tell fortunes here. This is one of the hardest questions that only you can answer; your success depends on you. All businesses are different, and there’s no way to predict whether it will succeed or not. However, realize that so much of your success depends on you. The work that you put into your business translates into success, so be aware that no matter what you’re doing, it won’t necessarily be easy. Visit the Services Section at www.EM-Advisory.com to get a few more ideas for yourself, and always think out of the box.
First of all, consider your standards. Are they too low? If so, your employees might be getting bored. Are they too high? They might be getting too stressed. Remember that each one is a unique source of knowledge and skill. Make sure your employees have everything they need to do their jobs and clearly communicate with them what you expect. Most importantly, get to know them so that you can reward them in ways that are meaningful to them as individuals. Find a balance with them, and they’ll work their best for you.
The first thing you might want to do is take a look at how your business is built. Is it easy for one department to contact another? Do they have a reason to? Are the tasks you’ve designed made for them work with one another, or are those tasks keep them apart? Do you do anything as a group away from the office environment? I know that I’ve answered your question with questions, but these questions are the ones you should be asking yourself. How you create your internal structure of your business makes all the difference in how your people and their departments communicate.
Sure there are! nBanks are not the only place you can find money these days. You might want to look for private investors, people with enough money that they’ll be able to help. In fact, there is a website specifically for that opening in the end of April, 2009 called www.BC-OnDemand.com . You also might want to consider talking to the US Small Business Administration who can provide loans to start-ups and are usually easier to deal with than the banks.
While it sounds like you’re doing the right things to run a gym if you want to draw new people in, you need to do something unique. What kind of group fitness classes do you offer? Talk to your existing members or set up a suggestion box (if you don’t have one already) to see if all of their needs are met. There needs to be a reason to attend your gym that makes it different from any other in your area. Consider this question, are your members leaving and not working out, or are they leaving for another gym? If it’s the latter, consider why these other businesses are taking your customers. What do they have that you don’t? If it’s the former, what can you do that will convince people that working out is a smart investment? You might change your ads to focus on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, or sponsor events that focus on healthy living and how regular workouts can contribute to that. You need to research both internally and your surrounding marketplace.
There are several options for accounting software that can help you out. QuickBooks is by far the most popular, well-known application for this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best for your needs. How many different reports do you need? Do you have a payroll at all? How important is tracking inventory like art supplies? Do you own a computer? Consider what you need and then look for software that meets those needs. Looking at websites that compare various applications like www.toptenreviews.com can give you a good idea of what each application has to offer and how much it’ll cost. You might also look for software that offers free demos so you can see if it’ll work for you. Further, there are online services that can track all of this for you so you don’t have to worry as much about the record keeping.
Great question, but nowadays banks choose people not the other way around unless you have a minimum of 6 to 7 figures to give them. Banks are all about collateral, yours, if its large enough they will talk to you. There are several things you should consider. First of all, do your homework and make sure you know everything about your business, your history, and anything else a bank might want to know. Will this bank be in business tomorrow? Besides financing you, what do you want to get out of a bank? Find a banker you’re comfortable working with, and line up a couple of other people at the bank that are familiar with your business in case one person leaves. Find somebody who’s willing to send business your way since they do have a vested interest in making sure you do well. Also, make sure you can be honest with your bank about good news and bad. Finally, think about potential growth. If you’re approaching a bank’s lending limit, then they won’t nbe able to help you expand in the future. Always try new options in your search, think out of the box. Visit www.EM-Advisory.com a little self promo never hurts.
Being next to a vet is a great location for you, but just location won’t help you expand. There are several marketing strategies you can use, but your best bet would be to try targeting audiences in corresponding businesses. Like you do with the vet’s office, see about partnering with smaller pet stores or dog walkers. Think about whom else works in your field and work with them to attract new customers. One of your best advantages is that you have a clientele who can benefit from knowing other good companies that will help them with their pet ownership issues, and never forget viral marketing; word-of-mouth is your best business friend.
Obviously, you should talk about your business. What’s important to remember is that you need to be straight and honest. You can try and fast-talk your way into new clients with half-truths and false promises, but that won’t provide you with a nconsistent client base, and it eventually falls apart, usually sooner than later. Being honest and direct will encourage long-lasting relationships with your clients and help you succeed. Keep your ears open for your “new customer” nlikes and dislikes, stay away from his dislikes, try slowly to relate to his likes which might be in common with yours. You are always selling and marketing yourself.
If your regular customers are going to the other bakery, there’s something that they offer that you don’t. It could be that they’re simply closer to a large portion of your customer base (walking distance?), but odds are that they are doing something different from you that is attracting your customers. Find out what that is. Are they offering a different promotion? Do they have products you don’t make? Is it a presentation or customer service issue? Once you discover what the difference is between your bakeries, you can find a way to make yours more attractive again.
When you’re talking about working with suppliers, you’re talking about a relationship with another business owner. That relationship has to be about more than money. I can see that you’re concerned about quality, but have you considered service? Delivery? How fast you’re taken care of and how carefully? All of these should factor into any decision regarding a supplier. Consider also your customers. They might not mind a small price jump if you can keep it reasonable and the quality remains the same. They might be ok with a different quality product. Is there anything you can do with the leather to off-set the quality difference? Sometimes quality craftsmanship can make things better in the long run. In the end, your situation is not unique, but it will benefit you to do the research you need to, not only on other suppliers, but on your customers and your own capabilities.
First of all, keep in mind that real estate works in cycles. By agreeing to a longer-term lease with your landlord, you might put yourself at a slight disadvantage in the future, let that idea alone for now. Remind him that it won’t be easy to fill the space. You’re an established business and have a much better chance of consistently paying the rent than a start-up that has no track record of success. More importantly, they know what to expect from you, and a new tenant could easily be a nightmare. Consider offering a simple profit share plan of your sales on a temporary basis and tie it to a potential rent decrease. Look for non-tangible benefits that could possibly help your landlord. How about advertising for other locations your landlord might own? Cross-promotion with another business? Find new ways to compensate for the rent and you’ll be able to talk them into something you can afford.
There are several advantages to a teleclass if your company is large enough to support it. You can reach a wider audience for less cost. It’s more environmentally sound to not have people traveling all over the place. People can review later if they want. The risk is that you distance yourself from the people you’re trying to teach. I wouldn’t entirely eliminate the face to face contact of in-person lessons, but consider adding teleclasses to your arsenal of communication tools, and consider having the teleclass in employee groups.
This is actually a good idea in today’s marketplace, you should always ask, it doesn’t hurt. If you’re a business buying product to resell and you ask for no terms and you pay cash, you should pay less than the business who buys both on credit and/or terms, i.e. 90 days. Remember paying by credit card will cost the merchant money to process that payment, and “time” in regards to terms, very expensive. Cash is so far the most reliable payment method when it comes to making sure that the funds are real and available.
The first thing I’d try is to find out what the specific issues of consulting verses employment of the selling and buying parties were. Talk with each of the parties; find the common ground in the specifics of what they both agree on. I’d then see if it was possible to create a new agreement which focused on both of their individual needs.
For one thing, keep the compensation simple. Percentages of order values work well in cases like this. Decide if you’re doing straight commission or a base plus commission. Try to keep the program incentive based on performance and long term contractual agreements. If you speak with a few of your reps to be surprised how often they might suggest less than more of what you were thinking, at that point a little more will make them “hungry”, watch your bottom line, but value the future volume they’ll produce. Just think about what you need and structure your compensation plan accordingly.
There are several ways to go about this. The first and most cost-effective is to simply contract your need as it may be needed, if you’re not able to learn it or dedicate the time for it yourself. Look at IT services that hire on a per-need basis for big problems. Offer incentives to employees who are willing to fix minor IT issues. These are good options for small company budgets.
If you’re website is reselling something directly to consumers, then the best way to value it would be membership and purchase history’s, followed by the rate of new members monthly and about a dozen others factors besides the sites ranking in the world against its closest competitor. If you are engaging in a sale currently, please contact us directly at EM Advisory Corp, to many times company owners leave too much off the negotiating table.
Generally speaking, tough economic times is a good time to look into buying and merging companies since you’ll be able to get it for a good price, but you should also make sure to do your due diligence, this is not a time to guess. If you’d like specific advice on an upcoming purchase event you can contact us directly at EM Advisory Corp, or thus make sure you contact someone who can be completely objective by understanding both your needs and the other company’s wants. Just by your question please contact someone.
There are specific laws dealing with how internet radio pays for the use of licensed music, originally outlined by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed in 1998. It established rules and guidelines for how much internet radio has to pay. However, at the time that amount was really restrictive. There has been an ongoing debate about it since then, and only as recently as September 2008 did the US Congress pass a law stating that the amount of royalties an internet radio broadcaster has to pay would be based on a percentage of revenue, and January 2009 when that was accepted as official by the US Copyright Royalty Board.
That depends on what business you have, but in general it’s more civicly responsible to do so. Large national chains will almost always be able to undersell local shops just because they have the buying power to keep their costs lower, but keep in mind that money spent there won’t stay in your community and you will get lower quality customer service when the actual decision-makers are hidden away in a skyscraper in another city rather than working behind the counter. If you can afford to do so, building a relationship with local suppliers will get you better quality products and better service than working with a chain.
Taking on a partner doesn’t always make it easier to run your business and can, in fact, make it more difficult. What you should look for in a partner is somebody who compliments you, and makes up for your weaknesses with their strengths. I know somebody whose uncle was an amazing salesman, but didn’t know how to run a business, so he hired my friend’s father, who helped him quadruple his business within two years. Make sure if you do take on a partner that you have a clear understanding in writing of what everyone’s rights and responsibilities are.
Wages are a tricky thing, but generally they’re set on the basis of position importance and skill requirements. What you should do is consult your accountant and trade association for the most current practices in your area, as well as cost ratios and profit margins. There is a federal minimum wage and several states have one, but for the most part once you have an idea of what the standard is, wage is something that you work out with your prospective employee.
There are three things any loan officer is going to want to know: what you’ll use the loan for, how much you want, and how will you repay it. These three things comprise the big question “Why should we give you money?”nnBe ready with a smart, well organized business plan that outlines projected financial statements, as well as the name, location, and production facilities of the company. You’ll also want to have in there your legal structure, marketing structure, business organization, and your qualifications to run this type of business, as well as the qualifications of key people in your prospective company.
A well-written business plan is a good beginning when it comes to looking for start-up capital. If you need help writing one, you can find an almost limitless number of templates online or hire somebody like the people at our sister site EM Advisory Corp to help you write it.
This will require a little trial and error after you’ve discovered what your competition charges. You’ll find that as you would begin your business and place bids on properties to service, you’ll learn quickly what you can charge to beat your competitors while offering additional services your competitors don’t. Keep supply and demand in mind and always check out your competition to see what they’re doing, both in terms of pricing and services offered.
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“I feel like a hero to my Board of Directors thanks to you. Your confidentiality is much appreciated and your suggested changes to our approach with the new structure to handle the referral pass-through have worked so well that we needed to put 5 new associates in place, thank you again.”
“Your analysis of our current marketing efforts turned out to be spot on. Your suggested changes are already showing results over the last 60 days of running them, thank you, your services are under rated. We will be calling again.”
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“I can’t deny that your services are invaluable. Not one person in my company was able to see our own mistakes. It does take a trusted advisor to look in from the outside and you have been that advisor. Thank you, for showing us a way to identify and correct these issues for the future.”
“One simple paragraph in our 98-page contract created a lifetime of residual payments back to the Partnership, thank you for seeing it. The statement you made is so true, “attorneys are not businessmen.” We will call you when we prepare for our next purchase.”
“The promotion was a complete success. The way you structured it allowed me to deduct the campaign and giveaway expenses from my taxes. The biggest benefit has been the permanent increase in my customer base. Thank you.”
“I never thought that the use of a separate website could benefit this section of my business. That thinking was just being out of touch with my own customer base. Our overall transactions have tripled over this last year. Our future continues to grow again.”
“One month! You changed our direction in a month. I never realized that I was inadvertently forgetting about what has turned out to be a profitable division of the business, and that same division was our problem, to begin with. Your quick analysis gave us the step up we needed.”
“Until I saw the numbers with my own eyes, I did not, could not believe what you were telling me. But it is true, you saved me over $600,000 of unneeded advertising spend in the first 6 months of this year over last year. I was most impressed with the fact that we sustained the same revenue, thank you.”
“You are correct, everything is a negotiation. I am very glad that you sat on our side of the table with the quite expertise you demonstrated. This sale will allow myself and my family to choose again.”