| Want To Start a Business That Sells Physical Products?

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Running a business is complex and is never going to be a walk in the park- however some definitely face more challenges than others. If for example your business sells physical products rather than say online services, this throws up lots of different issues which you as a company owner will need to overcome. Here are just a few things to consider when you’re selling products.

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Manufacturing

Will you be buying cheap from a wholesaler and selling for a profit, or creating your own products? If you will be selling your own, you will need to consider the logistics of making them. Will you open your own manufacturing plant to mass produce your products, bearing in mind this will require a lot of money up front to get started. Or will you outsource this to another company, which will be easier in the short term but cost you more in the long run? You will need to consider everything from materials to packaging, for example a business selling artisan coffee would need to decide between custom coffee packaging or jars. Have a think about the products you will be selling, and how you will be creating them.

 

Fulfillment

Once you have your products, you will need to pick, pack and send them out to customers- this is known as fulfillment. Making sure everything is correctly packaged is important, not only will it protect items and prevent them getting damaged in transit but it also makes your company look more professional. Again you have the option to outsource here if you don’t want to do so in-house, if you send items in bulk or they are very large it could be worth doing so since a professional company will have the experience and equipment needed to deal with this.

 

Delivery

The way you have items delivered will depend on the kinds of things you’re selling. Large, bulky items or if you’re sending big crates of items to things like businesses, a courier will be the way to go. You then have the option to add things like parcel tracking, next day delivery or anything else. Smaller, lighter items could be sent via post. Going to the post office with large volumes of parcels every isn’t practical, however you can book business collections with the postal service for a fee, which is something to look into. If you’re offering free shipping, make sure you’re making your money back elsewhere for these kinds of costs. The good thing about using the postal service is you can easily send items across the globe as long as they’re not prohibited.

 

Shipping Globally

Speaking of global shipping, this is an important thing to address in your business. If you’re able to sell and ship your products across the world you massively increase your potential customers. For larger items that can’t be sent via post, you would need to look into things like fleets of ships and airmail. If you regularly do large deliveries overseas, you could consider investing in your own fleet.

| Get Your Employees To Whistle While They Work

Posted in Staffing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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Keeping things simple, a happy employee is a hardworking employee. If your employees are happy, it’s going to mean great things for your business. You’ll find that your business is more productive and efficient. It might even lead to greater levels of profit on the market. When you start to get employees to smile while they’re on the job, there are no longer limitations on how high your business can soar.

So, the question now becomes, how do you keep your employees happy.

 

A Positive Work Environment

The first step is ensuring that you are creating a work environment that employees actually like. You have to be careful that you’re not in the situation where things are a little dicey, to say the least. Indeed, it’s fair to say that issues with relationships and emotional health can crop up in any office. While they are common, that doesn’t mean that they are completely unavoidable. Quite the opposite.

You need policies in place for dealing with issues like bullying and yes, harassment. Anything like this at play in your business will have a detrimental negative impact on your company. You wouldn’t believe how damaging things like this can be to your business but you should because Hollywood is currently giving a front row seat to the issue.

 

Make Things Easy For Them

Don’t make things difficult for your employees. Something like a month in hand is dastardly and financially, will make things incredibly difficult for your employees. In fact, it will, for lack of a better word, make them feel as though you always have a tight grip over your finances. It’s understandable why businesses do this because it gives them capital and it ensures if workers have to be let go they get the money they need, without any financial pressure on the business. However, it’s still a bad move.

Another issue that you want to watch out for is giving accurate records of pay to employees. A lot of smaller businesses aren’t great at providing paper or even digital records of pay. This can be an issue when an employee needs to prove their income. They may have to use a check stub maker which will be beneficial, but this is still making things a little more complicated for them. They won’t thank you for this, and they will not propel your company to the top of the market.

 

Make It Feel Like A Family

Finally, you need to make sure that you are doing what you can to maintain a positive relationship between you and your employees. Essentially, it is important to maintain a basis where there is a high level of respect and engagement. If a worker feels as though their voice is not being heard, it is unlikely that they will be happy in their position or even eager to continue. Essentially, you have to make sure that they don’t just feel like another cog turning in the system.

We hope you find this information useful and ensure that you do keep your employees smiling and whistling at work.

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| 8 Very Common Mistakes When Investing In Real Estate

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

When you want to place your money somewhere secure, it makes sense to invest it. Precious metals, the stock market, Bitcoin; these are all places you can put your money and watch it grow. For some, saving their cash makes sense, as it can stay protected and safe while you decide what to do with it. It can gain some interest, but generally savings do not have the capacity to make your money grow. The right investment – whether personal or commercial – can make your money earn more for you without you putting much effort into it. This is where real estate is a clever investment. When the market is in a good place and recovering, people invest in real estate to catch a good deal. The thing is, there are right and wrong ways to go about investing your money in real estate, and there is very careful planning involved. You can’t just rush headlong into an investment in a property. You need strategy and proper planning before you can put your money in, otherwise you can fall victim to the traps of investment. There are some common mistakes you can easily fall into when you are looking to invest in real estate, and we’ve got some of them for you here – as well as how to avoid them!

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Expect To Get Rich Quick

Many people believe that if they invest in real estate, they’re going to be rolling in cash quickly. It’s an easy mistake to make, because the belief that owning a house means you are a part of a wealthier dynamic is a common belief among people. It’s why many aim to own their own home. It’s a great long-term investment that may pay off in your old age, but if you’re hoping to benefit from tomorrow you need to look at something else. You need a good risk tolerance with investment in real estate, so getting rich quick doesn’t come into it.

 

Expecting To Go It Alone

When it comes to buying a property for investment, you need a crack team of professionals supporting you. It’s important to have an advisor, a lender, an attorney, an appraiser – the list seems to go on! It is a rather large business decision to invest in real estate, and as with any business, the team of people you have around you is going to make a difference. It’s not just about support, either, one mistake you make can be picked up by those around you before you see it.

 

Expecting To Manage Without A Plan

You cannot jump into a property purchase, that much is very clear. When you buy a house, you need to have a goal and know it. For example, you wouldn’t buy the house first and THEN decide whether it’ll be a rental property long term or a holiday home. That decision has to be made before you purchase, and it can influence the very house you put your money into. It’s not a transaction, it’s an investment strategy and having a successful investment will mean sticking to your budget!

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Expecting To Go In Blind

You may never have invested in a property before, but naivety cannot excuse you. If you want to buy a home as an investment, you need to do your research and educate yourself first. Investment means putting financial security of yourself and your family on the line and this isn’t a risk you should take unless you are fully aware of those risks and how they can affect your life.

 

Expecting To Get Away With Paying More!

If you buy a property that has been overvalued, your investment isn’t going to be a solid one. Doing the right research is important and analyzing the market – while it may not be a strength for you – should be done by a professional. If you buy a property that is seriously above budget, then you may as well not have a budget! If you are confusing asking price with market value, you will get a nasty surprise later on when you don’t make any money.

 

Expecting To Skip Due Diligence

A property deal can move quickly, quicker than you expect it to. But you should never sign a contract or any other piece of paper without ensuring you’ve checked and rechecked everything twice. The costs, market conditions and the property condition need the appropriate research. If you skip this step, you will end up with a property you cannot resell, which makes the whole idea of an investment null and void!

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Expecting Not To Pay Out

Being a landlord is expensive, there’s no doubt there. You have to ensure you have a good cash flow to cover repairs, insurance, missed rent payments and other miscellaneous expenses. If you plan to have a company manage the property for you, that’s another expense you need to consider. You also need to remember that buying a property doesn’t mean you’ll be able to let it out straight away. It has the potential to sit empty for a while, which means you’re going to need to cover the mortgage in the meantime, along with insurance and other taxes. This is, again, another reason planning is so crucial!

Not Having An Exit Strategy

If you’ve never heard of requiring an exit strategy, you haven’t yet done enough research. What do you do if the property you invest in doesn’t get rented out? What if you couldn’t sell it on? What if there is a stall in the rental market? You need to have an exit strategy in place, just in case any of these things don’t happen. Most people who lost their investment in real estate property didn’t have the right plan B, C or D to help them out.

When you intend to invest in real estate, you need to know everything – even the bad bits! Mistakes are easily made, and you want to avoid those as much as possible. Be informed, educated and ready for anything and your investment could be a great one!

| An Effective Construction Team Depends On These Things

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Any effective construction company is always backed up by an effective team. However, in order to be an effective team, they need a few things in place first. Whether you own a construction company currently or you’re thinking of starting one, you need to make sure the following things are in place to be as profitable, efficient, and successful as possible.

Read on to learn more!

 

Defined Team Goals

It’s important for a construction team to have goals to get things done effectively. Define goals on every project, whatever it may be. This can easily be done with a preconstruction meeting, or even by using construction collaboration software. By doing this you can discuss methods, and ensure you are emphasizing safety and staying within the budget. When all of these things are discussed and you’re sure everybody is on the same page, things can continue.

 

Trust Between Team Members

Team members must trust and respect one another before they can work on a job together effectively. A lot of the time, people with different professions (e.g. architect, builder) must communicate together to ensure they are completing the project to the desired brief. It could be beneficial for them to learn about the work they do and spend time getting to know one another. This could help accomplish what they set out to do more effectively.

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Clear Responsibilities

Each member must understand their individual responsibilities. It’s also important to understand the duties and responsibilities of other team members, as this will prevent an overlap of duties and confusion on who is doing what. Each person should be totally clear on what is expected of them.

 

A Clear Cut Budget

Having a clear cut budget gives the team an incentive to keep things within a certain price point. Whether you’re looking at a fuel supply and delivery service like Gas Oil Drums, or property development software to help complement a project, the team needs to stay within a certain budget. Make sure this is clear cut and emphasize how important it is to stick to the numbers.

All in all it’s so important that you stay engaged with the team to ensure they are getting on OK with the objectives. Celebrating both big and small wins is recommended too. It’s worth bearing in mind that when people with different personalities and jobs work together, conflict can be unavoidable. It may stem from different points of view, simple misunderstandings, or even interpersonal issues. It’s essential that managers keep an eye on employees to recognize any conflict and handle it as soon as possible. Skills like listening, communication, negotiation and problem solving are all great for resolving conflict. Don’t let a small problem become a big issue.

A highly effective team will always produce quality outcomes for a project. In spite of the difficulties and challenges that can crop up, each leader must remember the techniques of building an effective construction team. This will allow successful projects every time.

Thanks for reading!

| Why the Aging Population is Great for Business

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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It has been approximated that there will be more than 70 million over-65s living in the USA by 2030, and many of them will live on for decades after they reach retirement age. Although this could lead to some challenges, particularly when it comes to the extra resources needed, if you’re an entrepreneur, the aging population could be really good for business too.

Why? Older people tend to have more disposable income – they’ve built up their assets over many decades of hard work – and more free time. Many of them also need more support from day to day, which means there are lots of opportunities to make money from the older demographic.

Here are just some of the ways you could benefit from the increasingly large older population…

 

Care

Buying a home care franchise or setting up your own retirement home company could see your business booming pretty quickly. As more people live well past retirement age into their 80s and 90s, their need for help and assistance with their day to day care. Right now, there aren’t nearly enough care providers to adequately look after everyone who needs it, so carving out a niche in this area could really pay off.

 

Senior Travel Companies

Senior citizens who have lots of disposable income and lots of free time love to travel are great target customers.  They tend to spend on such things as cruises, road trips, vacations in the sun – they love them all – and what’s more, they love traveling with other people of their age. So, if you set up a travel company aimed solely at providing stimulating vacations for older people, where the trips are strictly for adults, you could do quite well.

 

Online Dating

Today’s retirees are just as internet savvy as the rest of us and many of them are looking for love. When people reach their 60s and beyond, many of them are divorced or widowed and many are looking for a second chance at love. Providing it to them by creating a really good online dating website for the over-60s is a great way to get your start in business, not least because the over-60s are the fastest growing demographic in the online dating game. Setting up a new site is pretty easy too.

 

The Fitness Industry

There was a time where you’d retire and then spend your days reading, knitting and maybe meeting up with friends a few times a week. Today’s seniors are much more active than that, and there is a burgeoning senior fitness industry. So, why not set up a gym for the over 60s, offer yoga classes for the older body or market fitness trackers that appeal to the grey dollar? They’ll love it.

 

Property

A lot of retirees have invested well in property, and many of them still live in large family homes too big for their needs, If you could set up a service that helps those seniors who are looking to downsize to do so with ease, you could make a pretty profit. You might also consider working as a property manager for those retirees who have a portfolio of properties to supplement their retirement fund.

As you can see, targeting the aging population could be quite lucrative no matter what industry you’re in!

| What Your Business’ Website Might Really Be Missing

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

It’s no great secret that the website is hugely important for the ongoing success of most businesses these days. What is however hard to define is how it is that so many of these websites fail to achieve the ends they are meant for. After all, a business’ website should effectively promote and improve the image of the company, but how often does this really happen? If you are keen for your website to do its job as effectively as possible, there are some key things you might want to pay attention to. Let’s have a look at some of the qualities your website could be missing.

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Strong SEO

So many people spend a lot of time on the building of a website, and forget almost entirely about the other important side to it: drawing people in. if you don’t successfully make people come to your site, then it is only really doing half its job. A lot of people worry about how to make this happen, but the truth is that there are specific ways to ensure that your website gets up the top of the search engine’s results page. That group of methods is often known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and it is one of the most centrally important aspects of running a business’ website. Get yourself a decent SEO agency that is able to bring about these kinds of results for you, and it will make a huge difference to your website’s performance.

 

Easy-To-Find Information

Most of the time, your website will be visited by people looking for more information on your business. It is therefore crucially important that you make sure to have such information readily and easily available the moment they arrive to the site. This means, for example, that it is not a bad idea to have your contact information at the top or side of every page. Having easy-to-find information like this will ensure that your visitors are getting what they need, and will make your website much more functional on the whole. You should do the same with any other information you might find is necessary, such as having an FAQ page.

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Simple Design

One of the single biggest mistakes people make with their websites is in over-complicating the design. If you want your website to appeal to people as much as possible, then it is often essential to keep the design as simple as possible. A simple design will almost always be more attractive to visitors, and will mean that they are much more likely to stay and really look through your website. Of course, you don’t want it to be so stripped back that you don’t provide anything at all – but there is definitely much to be said for a simple website.

As long as your website has the above, it is much more likely that it will work properly as a website, and that will almost certainly mean that your business gets much more in the way of custom too.

| How To Beat Real Estate Investment Fees

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Real estate is one of the most popular ways to spend your money at the moment. The market is perfect for homeowners at the moment because any property you buy is likely to appreciate in value. Rents are also at their highest level in decades so you stand to make a lot of money if you invest in property.

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As well as renting them out, you could always consider buying a property to renovate and sell on. The value will shoot up after you do a bit of work on it and you’ll make a quick profit, if you can afford it, that is.

When you’re reviewing your finances, the price of the house itself and the costs of renovating it before you rent it out are only part of the story. There are so many different fees involved with buying a property and they can really push the price up. Not taking these into account means that your numbers might be completely out and you can find yourself short of money. If you end up with a property that you can’t afford to renovate, you aren’t going to make anything from it.

Most people that buy a house are a bit lost when it comes to real estate fees. They don’t know how much it’s likely to cost or who they even need to pay the fees to so they often end up getting a big shock when the bills come through. If you want to avoid that happening to you, you need to get to grips with all of the different fees involved in real estate purchase.

 

Real Estate Agent Commissions

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I guess you already realize that you’re going to have to pay your real estate agent a fee but people often don’t understand how the fee is calculated and who pays it. There is a figure of 6 percent that people often quote as a flat rate that all real estate agents charge but that’s not true. The average fee is actually 5.1 percent but they vary depending on the agent and the property. That number is a percentage of the final sale price of the house so you won’t know exactly how much it’s going to be until an offer has been put in and accepted.

Who actually pays this fee is more complicated than you’d think. Does the buyer or the seller pay, and is the money split evenly between the two real estate agents on either side of the deal? The money comes out of the equity of the house before the money is paid. For example, if you sell a house for $150,000 and the real estate agent fee is 5 percent, that $7,500 comes out of the $150,000 before the seller is paid. That means they end up with $142,500 for the house, but who gets that extra $7,500?

It all depends on the contracts that are drawn up before the sale. In most cases, it does get split down the middle but some contracts will stipulate that one agent gets more than the other. Once the sale has gone through, the process still isn’t over. The money can’t go straight to the real estate agents; it has to go through their brokers first. All licensed real estate agents have to work under a broker and they’ll usually take a cut of the commission before it gets passed on to the real estate agent.

That’s how it usually goes down but there are some real estate agents out there that work for a flat fee. It can be a good way for you to make savings when selling and buying a house if the flat fee is lower than the average percentage fee would be; however, expert investors often warn against these kinds of real estate agents because the service that they offer isn’t usually as good. They’re often making less money than they could be on a sale and the amount of work that they do tends to reflect that.

If you feel that the fees are too high, you can contest them. One of the most common reasons that this happens is because a house sells very quickly. If it’s only listed for a couple of days before somebody puts a good offer in, the real estate agent hasn’t actually done that much work. They’ve taken some photos and listed it, then done one or two showings. That’s not worth the money that they’re going to be getting paid at 5 percent, so it’s often disputed. Similarly, if it takes a long time to sell the house, the amount of money that the real estate agent gets doesn’t reflect the hours that they’ve put in, so sometimes they’ll dispute the fees as well.

 

Recording Fees

The recording fees, often called stamp duty, are fees that you have to pay to the government when you close a deal on a house. You have to pay the government a fee to create official records of the sale. Without that, you don’t technically own the house because all of the paperwork like the deeds etc. hasn’t been updated. The fees vary from county to county and the authorities also record the mortgage agreements as well so the price depends on the details of the sale. They’re usually worked out by the page so it can change quite a bit but it’s only a few dollars per page so this isn’t one you need to worry about that much.

 

Mortgage Application Fees

You’ll be paying a big chunk of interest on your mortgage every month, and the mortgage company will charge you a fee for the privilege. Once you’ve found a lender, you’ll have to pay them a one off fee for processing all of the paperwork. You need to be careful because there are a lot of extra fees added that are often called ‘junk fees’. They get the name because they aren’t realistic fees and half the time, they’re just tacked on for the sake of it. Some lenders will even charge you an application fee just for filling out the paperwork, even if they don’t end up accepting it and lending you the money. Document preparation fee is another ridiculous one that they try to sneak in there quite often. It’s supposedly for the cost of getting all of the paperwork together which is absurd because what they’re essentially charging you for is somebody printing some pages off in the office. Wire transfer fees are fairly common as well and if you see them, question them. It doesn’t cost them any money to transfer fees so they shouldn’t be charging you for it. Mortgage companies are very sneaky when it comes to adding those extra charges so always make sure that you go through your bill thoroughly and ask them to clarify exactly what all of the charges are for.

 

Property Taxes

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Property taxes are one of the biggest expenses for homeowners all over the country. There is such a huge variation between the states so, depending on where you are, you could get off lightly. The average is about $2,000 a year but in certain states, it can be up to ten times that amount. The cheapest states in the country are Hawaii, Alabama, and Louisiana with rates coming in at less than half a percent. By the time you get to the top of the list, places like New Jersey are charging nearly 2.5 percent every year in property taxes. You should consider the rate of property tax in a state, and balance it against the value of the property before making any decisions. You might be able to get a cheap house but if it’s in a state with exceptionally high property taxes, those savings will be swallowed up after a few years, and then you’re just losing money. You can also contest the fees if you think they’re too high.

 

Appraisal Fees

An appraisal fee covers the cost of having somebody come in and value the house for you. You need to do this for a couple of reasons; firstly, you need to know whether the price you’re paying for the house is reasonable or not. If you go in blind, you could be massively overpaying for it. The second reason is that you aren’t going to be able to borrow any money if you haven’t had an appraiser come in first. The property that you’re buying serves as collateral for that loan but your lender isn’t an expert on real estate, they aren’t going to come and look at the house. But they do need to be sure that if you default on the loan, the house will be worth enough for them to recoup their money. That’s why they won’t lend you money without having the house valued first. The appraisal fees will usually be added on with the rest of the mortgage fees but you should be able to find out upfront how much it’s going to be. Usually, they’re somewhere in the region of $300 to $500.

Buying and selling property comes with so many fees on top, make sure you can actually pay them before you start looking for houses.

| Make Your Startup the Biggest Event of the Year

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting


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One quick glance at Google and you’ll see hundreds of event posts for businesses. More than ever, companies are beginning to understand the importance of a party. Not only does it generate leads, but it also makes an incredible first impression. And, that is the most important thing to remember. Organizations that throw lavish events have to be on the ball, which is where your startup comes in handy.

Before you jump the gun, however, there are a few things to consider first. Here’s what event planning startups have to think about before they act.

 

Transferable Skills

It’s not essential to have the correct level of party-planning experience to be successful in the industry. The great news is there are transferable skills which link every business on the planet. To be successful, a person has to be organized, creative and have problem-solving skills. Don’t worry because even though the list is long, you’ll have these skills in abundance. Of course, the art is to transfer them from one career to the next without a hitch. As a rule, try not to overthink things too much. Just write down what needs doing and tick it off the list one by one. It’s as easy as pie.

 

Contact Book

Another skill which is helpful is the ability to network. When you put on an event, there are lots of different variables. Invariably, something will go wrong at some point. Your talents for problem-solving will help, but only so much. To put out every fire, you need a phone number or an email address. And, the more you have the better because your contacts increase the chances of success. Lots are apparent, but there are some such as tower hire companies which don’t seem too important. However, if you have an event, you’ll need a stage. Without a travel tower, the process of erecting one is mighty tricky.

 

The USP

Sorry to harsh your buzz, but there are lots of rival companies which offer a similar service. By no means is this a reason to quit. However, it does there should be an attempt to vary your services. Otherwise, the company won’t stand out from the crowd. A favorite of the event industry is to offer luxury events in elegant surroundings. If that costs too much, bespoke event management may be the way forward. Nowadays, dressing up for a novelty party is in vogue. So, you shouldn’t have qualms turning a function room into the Coliseum if necessary.

 

Patience

It was mentioned that things could go wrong. If the idea freaks you out, the industry may not be for you. For those who are ready but scared, remember that patience is your best friend. Yes, when the proverbial hits the fan, things tend to go into overdrive. However, the best way to find a solution is to slow down and take a breath. Without patience, the stress and pressure will take its toll.

Hopefully, your business will be the biggest hit of the year.

| Eco-Friendly Marketing Ideas For Green Fingered Businesses

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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With over 70% of millennials willing to pay more for an eco-friendly product, it’s no wonder businesses are going green. But wait because there’s more. It turns out governments are handing out grants and tax cuts to get organizations on board. Plus, green technology is getting better and reducing costs for businesses of all sizes. Let’s face it – you’d be mad to miss out.

There is one potential pitfall, however, and it centers on marketing. Not to be cynical, but customers won’t know you are helping the environment if they are unaware. So, the business has to promote the fact unashamedly. However, it has to do it strategically because arrogance and smugness are turn-offs. Also, the customers need to know you’re not doing it to make money.

It’s a delicate balancing act and one which establishments struggle with daily. Thankfully, there are solutions. These are the marketing tricks which businesses can use to promote their good deeds.

 

A GSP

GSP stands for green selling proposition. Every product or service has a unique feature which customers love. For the most part, the marketing strategy should exploit the products and services best attributes. Instead of focusing on a non-green USP, the plan should incorporate a green selling point. Take appliances as an example. Customers are not angels and want to go green because it cuts costs in the home. Household appliances, especially kitchen ones, are the main culprits due to their inefficiency. A seller who promotes their goods use a small amount of electricity will get alot of interest because the feature is high on consumer lists. The great thing about this tactic is the natural selling proposition. It doesn’t look out of place and customers won’t see it an inorganic.

 

Renewable Energy

Realistic renewable energy methods include wind power and solar energy. There is no way better way to reduce CO2 emissions than to produce energy without fossil fuels. Not only does it help the environment, but it also cuts cost and makes money in the long run. Seriously, some governments pay businesses a pretty penny for the energy they put back into the grid. From your point of view, there is another pro to renewable energy: size. Solar panels and wind turbines are big and bulky and easy to spot from a mile away. Even the small and sleek versions are large and conspicuous. The reason this is good is that customers should see your commitment to Mother Earth. When they walk down the street and notice solar panels on the building, they will log the info. The same goes for a wind turbine or any other source of clean energy.

 

Recycled Goods

One small and effective way for the company to do its bit is to recycle. Simply put, you take materials such as plastic which is bad for the planet and put it in a different bin. The same goes for glass and anything else which isn’t biodegradable. The marketing flaw is evident here because it isn’t easy to promote your recycling effort. However, using salvaged paper is a fantastic place to start. The benefits of reusable paper are twofold (excuse the pun). Firstly, the feel of the paper is different to “normal” dead wood. Just by touching it, it is possible to work out the old trees have been around the block. Never underestimate the intelligence of customers because they don’t need spoon feeding. But, if you want to put it on a plate, you can do just that with recycled paper. Lots of vendors promote the fact their paper is from salvage and don’t turn off the consumer. Logging is a major talking point around the world and the public is not averse to saving trees. Telling customers you recycle appears unnatural unless it’s with paper.

 

The Explanation

Of course, the business can be upfront with its base and explain the process. It goes without saying that the financial aspect doesn’t need mentioning. However, the part about helping the planet and cutting costs and CO2 emissions is fair game. The next time you surf the web, look out for how many sites utilize this tactic. It’s by no means conspicuous because the homepage should be interactive and engaging. But, the “about us” tab is a perfect place to explain the transformation. Don’t be afraid to mention the customer’s contribution, either. A smart way to promote your strengths is to give other credit for the conversion. Just say the customers demanded greener products and services and you listened. A couple of sentences is all it takes, so don’t feel the need to write an essay. People who read the section will get the gist without an in-depth account.

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Art of Subtlety

The idea of putting your heart and soul out there for everyone to see is unappealing. No one likes to be vulnerable, and it may backfire if customers think it’s corny propaganda. A more subtle method is best in this case, and logos have a perfect solution. Have you ever seen the eco-friendly labels on green products? A green house or building in a leafy ball? Wherever you are in the world, everyone knows what these symbols mean. So, adding them to a piece of recycled paper or the bottom of a landing page is logical. And, it gets better because the logos are small and unobtrusive. In many cases, they are hard to spot among the crowd of text and video content. Still, they have a knack of standing out and catching the eye. For extra subtlety, try and place them near significant landmarks on the page. For instance, people will search for contact details because they need to know how to get in touch. Putting a symbol next to the company phone number is a simple way to raise awareness.

 

Online Links

It’s fair to say customers who read about eco-friendly products will get lost along the way. The industry is a lifesaver, but it doesn’t know how to interact with people in an uncomplicated way. Some people think there is no point guiding them through the process because they don’t care. All they want to know is that the firm has gone the extra mile to provide green products and services. Well, even if they don’t care enough to do the research, a link never hurt anyone. Say the page mentions power factor correction and no one knows what it means. A simple hyperlink gives the reader an opportunity to learn more. Rather than be lazy, you can be proactive and engage with the audience. Who knows? A handful of people may fall into a rabbit hole and spend thirty minutes studying your processes. If this happens, they are more likely to engage with the company’s methods.

 

Tag, You’re It

Businesses are jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon, but some companies are up at the front driving. And, credit to them because they saw the revolution coming before anyone else. Nowadays, they are the ones who are synonymous with green products and services. Customers even look to them for validation. Because marketing is a patience game, it will take years to challenge their dominance. Thanks to their foresight, they are the market leaders. But, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. By going into business with the big dogs of the eco-friendly world, you can piggyback off their success. Just by being partners means your base and theirs will see you as a legitimate friend of the environment. The more prominent firms may not be on the same page, but local vendors are different. As you know, SMEs are always looking for new revenue streams, and your proposal may be ideal.

 

Green Vehicles

Depending on the size of the firm, the company assets may include cars. Plenty of businesses use company cars for the sake of their employees. For example, the insurance comes included, which is one less payment for the worker. Plus, a car gives the employee a chance to generate leads and complete transactions while promoting the firm. It’s a win-win for both parties, especially when the car is good for the environment. As soon as a passer-by sees the motor, they will instantly link it with the company. Even better, some makes and models are known for being green. It goes without saying, but the Toyota Prius is at the very top of the list. Just make sure it isn’t a Volkswagen or a diesel engine after the emissions scandal.

 

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Charitable Donations

Finally, the company can donate money or services to charities which focus on helping the planet. Organizations such as Greenpeace are both reputable and legitimate. Therefore, there is no reason worry about the donation being fraudulent. Also, charities tend to disclose their contributors in emails or monthly newsletters. As a result, there is no need to boast about the pledges to your customer base. The charity will do it for you, and that makes the donation even more organic.

There are plenty of reasons to green a business in this day and age. Being able to promote the fact is one such cause. Thanks to the tips above, now you can without turning off your customers.

| The Workplace Is The Heart Of Your Business

Posted in Small Business at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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If you were to ask a group of entrepreneurs about the key to success in any business, they might each give a different answer to the next person. Some business owners might say that the key to success is finding an innovative product the consumer can’t resist. Some business owners might say a strong brand is all that matters. Some business owners might say you simply find your gap in the market and excel from there.

While the above things are components of success, to some extent, no business is anything without a well-functioning workplace. Your employees are the brain cells of your business. It doesn’t matter how interested consumers are in the branding of your company or the fact that you’re addressing a gap in the market; if the standard of customer service and product quality doesn’t deliver because of a poorly-functioning workplace then your business isn’t going to be successful. The workplace is the heart of your business and here’s how to get it back on track.

 

Communication

You need to foster a collaborative mentality and determined spirit in the workplace if you want your employees to stay on track. If they’re not communicating well with one another or with you as their employer then things are going to start to fall apart. Forget the dull “school desk” layout of your office; encourage a light and friendly atmosphere in which your workers are in an open-layout environment with the ability to communicate ideas to one another. Freedom is key here; perhaps some employees will still prefer to work alone at their desk so as to get everything done on time but they should still have the option to collaborate when necessary. Most importantly, make sure you communicate with your workforce; hold frequent meetings to update your employees on current products and objectives so that nobody loses focus of the end-objective.

 

Health and safety

‘Health and safety’ needs to be a priority in the workplace. Give your employees ergonomic chairs and keyboards so as to protect their posture. It’s about safeguarding their health but also ensuring people can work effectively; employees with aches and pains won’t be focused on their job. Of course, workplace safety most likely extends beyond the office if your company deals in manufacturing or packaging goods. You also need to think about the safety of workers in the warehouse if this is the case. Hard hats and work-appropriate clothing are a given but you also need to ensure your employees are trained in keeping themselves and their co-workers safe.

One person’s mistake could put other people in danger so ensure that everybody is qualified with regards to using all the tools and equipment at their disposal. With regards to the safety of the warehouse itself, you might also want to look into features such as a ladder safety gate to provide protection against falls from the loading dock. Remember, it’s your duty as the employer to keep your employees safe in their working environment just as much as it’s their responsibility to keep themselves safe.

 

Productivity

As mentioned earlier, a strong workplace needs strong and determined employees. Communication is part of this but productivity might still slip if people don’t feel excited about their jobs or their surroundings. If you want to increase productivity in the workplace then you need to create a work environment in which people feel inspired and passionate about what they’re doing. Giving praise can help with this; your employees want to feel like their work means something. If you notice their hard work then this could make all the difference. You could even offer rewards such as early finishes or bonuses at the end of the month to really incentivize employees to work harder so that they can get recognition and a prize.


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