24 Nov I’m considering offering teleclasses to my employees so they can learn new things. Is there an advantage to doing it this way rather than holding a company retreat or similar and doing it in person?

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....

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24 Nov I have a small fashion boutique store and after being at my current location for 3 years, my landlord has raised my rent and I simply cannot afford to stay here any longer. I have looked around for a new home for my store but the asked rent is too high for me. I would love to be able to negotiate with my existing landlord but need help with the strategy. What can I say to him so he will agree to reduce the rent?

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...

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24 Nov We are open 6 days a week, today being Wednesday; we might get 2 people in all day. This trend has been happening since January of this year, every Wednesday the same. My question is do you think it would hurt my business to go ahead and just close on Wednesdays?

You need to consider whether it's worth the time to stay open. Do you have a large electricity output? Are there costs associated with operation that need to be offset by actual customers on a daily basis? Is there a reason for the slow day...

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24 Nov What is a USP?

A USP is an acronym for “unique selling proposition.” Basically, it's a concept that originated in the 1940's and the idea is that every advertisement makes a proposition to the customer that suggests that buying the product or using the service will grant them a...

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24 Nov Our leather supplier increased his price, part of which we need to pass on the customers. Switching suppliers might require a trial and error period if no prior relationship is established. Are there other options besides switching to a new supplier and the potential future quality of my products?

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...

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24 Nov Question from a family-owned bakery – a few months ago another bakery opened up only a few blocks away from ours and it seems that our regulars are no longer coming to us as often as they used to. The competitor has similar goods and beverages and prices are very close to ours. We are not used to competition, what should we do to keep our customers?

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...

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