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staff Editor in Chief Maggie Rios Marketing Director Javier Hinojosa Public Relations Maggie Yoo President/CEO Andrew Yoo Operations/Events John Amour Education Contributor Marco Garza Print Shweiki Media
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YOUR TRUSTED BUSINESS RESOURCE
EDITORâ€™S NOTE Us reissedo, fitudeMolut que porepel igenimetur? It gives me great pleasure to introduce Business Adviser Magazine, your trusted Business Adviser. With a dedicated panel of industry experts and a hands-on approach to answering business related questions, Business Adviser Magazine provides business owners with the information necessary to succeed. We want to be the spark that ignites the entrepreneurial spirit and fosters business growth by providing the resources needed for business owners to prosper. This magazine will discuss all areas of business including Human Resources, Accounting, Marketing, Management, and Finance. We recognize and appreciate the responsibility as your trusted Business Adviser. In doing so, we will demonstrate that achieving business goals and integrity are complementary. I welcome you to explore and allow Business Adviser Magazine to ignite the entrepreneur in you!
Regard Maggie Rios
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how do you measure success
new Mercedes-benz cla
In every issue Fun Facts 12 Finance 19 Lifestyle 22 Health 26 Strategy 28 Management 36 Tech 40 Sales 50
why people donâ€™t buy from you
A Closer Look At Two Interview Questions
preparedness is the key
Yet, 78% of all candidates - regardless of the level for which they are interviewing - wing it! And frequently cause themselves to be weeded out in the process.
“Why do you want to work here?”
Here’s where you get to show off your research. Tell the interviewer what you’ve learned about the company, and why it’s appealing to you. SPECIFICS are the key here. Relate those specific examples from your experience to what you’ve learned about the company, their focus, and their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the ad, your recruiter, your friend who referred you, or from where you learned of this opportunity. For instance, perhaps their ad stated that they were looking to establish a marketing department from ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges, making things happen - there’s your answer - along with examples of how you have grown, established, or done market research in a parallel situation. Share what you can do and why you feel you can make a contribution and benefit the company. This question is about how YOU can benefit the company, not how the company can benefit YOU.
Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip you up. You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the best light, but you’d be surprised at how many people completely miss the boat. Merely to hope an interview has a positive result is not enough. That’s basically forfeiting your ability to drive up the percentage of a positive outcome.
“Tell me about yourself.”
Some interviews are lost right at this point. This is not an invitation to go on and talk about everything that has happened to you since you were five years old or since your first job out of college. Nor is it the time to shrug your shoulders and give an unplanned, one-sentence answer. Some people, especially those who haven’t prepared and have a tendency to talk when they get nervous, find themselves rambling. Put together a nice little 2 - 3 minute verbal bio about your career, your qualifications, and why you are interested. Know what you’re going to say in advance. Knowing who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and what you’ve accomplished - and having it all on the tip of your tongue - can make or break you for a job offer - not just for your perfect job, but sometimes for even finding ANY job. Being able to sell yourself, your skills, how you can benefit a potential company and then being able to close the deal necessitates taking the time to research and learn the company.
Should You Spend On Advertising and Marketing?
hether you are an emerging company or you have been around for a while, if you want to survive you must master the market place. The name of the game is, “brand recognition.” Give your customers more opportunities to say “yes.” Winning customers… that’s it! Don’t just think that you have the best company in town and customers are going to run to you. You have to run to them first! If you are in a slow market and your company wants to grow, you need to get busy and get moving! Take advertising and marketing serious. It truly is an important component of success for your business.
Print Vs. the Internet Where should you focus your marketing effort to get the best bang for your buck? I find that people here in the Texas Rio Grande Valley have not moved swiftly toward using the web as their primary source of information. Unlike most major cities in the US, newspaper, magazines, faxes and postal mail seems to be the preferred medium for most here. However, Internet usage and is the future and is rising. Young people are most definitely on the web, with social media leading all media groups. Having a unified strategy makes sense in this market. Have a print strategy and a web strategy. Coordinate the message so that it is the same in every print publication and on the web. Choose magazine publications that are targeted toward your market. People here in the Valley really read magazines. Work with the
representatives of the magazine and design highly targeted ads with key words that appeal to the interest of your audience. Newspaper and postal mail can also work but it can be quite expensive. Responses to a mailing can be as low as fractions of 1%. If you are not committed that can be discouraging. But, if you understand the science you can do well with it. Don’t just judge if you get a customer or a call from a single advertisement, sometimes it takes time for the customer to get around to contacting you. The rule is, “it takes a minimum of 3 viewings” for the message to be registered in the mind of the reader. If you advertise one time and pull the ad, you are not even giving your target market an opportunity to say yes.
One Word Can Make The Difference If you don’t get the desired response from an advertisement, try changing the words. You would be surprised how much one word can make a world of a difference. I track and graph responses to my advertisements, and it never ceases to amaze me how a little phrase or one small word connects and the graph jumps. Once I know what that word is I can repeat it over and over again and have multiplied success.
About the Author Bernard Beale is currently the editor of the GO Health Magazine and director of the Cooper Wellness and Disease Prevention Center. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management. He has many years of experience in finance, marketing and management. Mr. Beale is currently coordinating efforts to bring a major health summit to the Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2014. He can be contacted at 956-627-3106.
My final advice to you is, invest in your marketing strategy. Decide if you want to grow steady, fast or very fast. You are going to have to spend some money. Plan on it or don’t be in business! Master the market place and stick with it until you get it right.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 Embassy Suites Hotel â€“ McAllen
6:00pm to 11:00 pm Live and Silent Auction
For sponsorships, tables or more information, call: March of Dimes - Texas Chapter McAllen at 1-800-580-3256
BY JAVIER HINOJOSA
START-UP COSTS Starting a business is not an easy task. Here is a brief introduction at the costs associated.
f you are considering starting your own business, then you have no doubt considered the investment required for various business start-up costs. The first thing you need to do is find a market that your business can be successful in. Next you must look at approximately how much it will cost you in just basic business start-up costs; business licenses, lawyer consult fees and form preparation fees, accountant fees/accounting programs, inventory costs, business insurance, leases, and utilities are just a few of the standard traditional business startup costs. You must also consider how you are going to support yourself and your family while you venture takes off; this could be at least two to three months, and you want to make sure you can pay your mortgage, all your bills, feed your kids, and have a little extra left over for incidentals, in addition to business start-up costs.
When starting a business, it is imperative that you contemplate all start-up costs and ensure funding will be available at all stages. A shortage of cash can kill a business before it is even born.
If you choose to not have a physical location for your business, you may want to consider offering your goods and services via a website or mail order catalog. This is a great way to reach a large audience all at once, but business start-up costs associated with this mode of doing business can be expensive as well. By the time you pay someone to create your website, host it, register your domain name, and start a merchant account, you have made quite an expenditure, unless of course you are capable of building your own website, which many people are. Yahoo! offers web hosting, domain name registration, business email, and store front options for a very reasonable price worth checking out. This is a great way to save on some of those business startup costs that could otherwise break the bank.
donâ€™t need to lease that 900 square foot shop for $2800 a month to sell what you can sell just as easily with a website and a little marketing campaign. Business start-up costs do not have to be astronomical, in fact, they can be quite the opposite. You can visit a number of online sources that offer an abundance of information on business start-ups costs and links to essential sites that can help you get your business up and running!
The traditional way that business has been conducted in this country has changed dramatically since the advent of the World Wide Web, opening the door for a number of new ways to conduct business. You no longer have to have a physical storefront address to sell your goods or services, a rather archaic point of view. More and more people are buying goods and services on the internet, which is a great place to feature your business while keeping your business start up costs at a minimum. You
MOST EXPENSIVE ITEMS: 1. Lawyer Fees 2. Inventory 3. Accounting Fees 4. Business Insurance 5. Operating Equipment BUSINESS ADVISER
weird inventions that made someone money
Alarm clock that uses voices. Here’s one of those easy inventions, and it isn’t even that weird. Use one of the “sampler” chips that are found in electronic keyboards. Push the button to record a short message-alarm. Wake up to your own voice, or record a wake-up message from a sexy friend for more motivation. Have it say what you want. “You’re late for work!” might work, or might just give you a heart attack.
Furniture that glows in the dark. Perhaps it would be more practical to have just the edges trimmed with a glow-in-the-dark material. No more bumping into the coffee table in the dark, and a nice party atmosphere too.
Wind chimes made from bones. There are a lot of people out there who like the morbid side of life, and I’ll bet they buy wind chimes too. Of course, they don’t have to be human bones!
millions selling rocks Gary Dahl, a California advertising man came up with the idea of a pet rock in 1975 after a conversation with friends about cats, dogs, and birds being too much trouble and costing too much money. He said a pet rock was an ideal pet - easy and cheap. Dahl spent the next two weeks writing the Pet Rock Training Manual - a step-by-step guide about taking care of it and how to train it. He went to a builder’s supply store and found a Rosarita Beach Stone that sold for a penny. He packed the stone in a box shaped like a pet carrying case along with the book.
Pet Rock Millionaire The Pet Rock was introduced at a gift show, where the store, Neiman-Marcus ordered five hundred. After a news release showing Gary surrounded by boxes of his Pet Rocks, Newsweek did a story and within a few months was shipping ten thousand Pet Rocks every day. He even appeared on The Tonight Show twice. By Christmas that year two and a half tons of rocks had been sold, three-fourths off all the newspapers in America had run Pet Rock stories. A million rocks sold for $3.95 apiece in just a few months making Gary Dahl an instant millionaire. The story of the Pet Rock is a never-ending source of inspiration to create new crazes that sweep the nation and make millions for the genius who thought of them.
Committed to Building on a Foundation of Trust, Innovation, and Service.
Experience the Rilemar Difference
5. lack of capital Check your business assumptions. The norm is optimistic sales projections, too-short product development timeframes, and unrealistically low expense forecasts. And don’t forget weak competitors. Regardless of the cause, many businesses are simply undercapitalized. Even mature companies often do not have the cash reserves to weather a downturn. Be conservative in all your projections. Make sure you have at least as much capital as you need to make it through the sales cycle, or until the next planned round of funding. Or lower your burn rate so that you do.
1. Big client syndrome. If more than 50 percent of your revenues come from any one customer you may be headed for a meltdown. While it both is easier and more profitable to deal with a small number of big customers, you become quite vulnerable when one of them contributes the lion’s share of your cash flow.
2. Creating in a vacuum
top 10 business mistakes 4. low prices Some entrepreneurs think they can be the low price player in their market and make huge profits on the volume. Would you work for low wages? Why do you want to sell at low prices? Remember, gross margins pay for things like marketing and product development (and great vacation trips.) Remember, low margins = no profits = no future. So the grosser the better.
You and your team have a great idea. A brilliant idea. You spend months, even years, implementing that idea. When you finally bring it to market, no one is interested. Unfortunately you were so in love with your idea you never took the time to find out if anyone else cared enough to pay money for it. You have built the classic better mousetrap.
3. Equal partnerships Suppose you are the world’s greatest salesman, but you need an operations guy to run things back at the office. You split the company 50/50. That seems fine and fair right now, but as your personal and professional interests diverge, it is a sure recipe for disaster. Either party’s veto power can stall the growth of your company, and neither holds enough votes to change the situation.
6. out of focus If yours is like most companies, you have neither the time nor the people to pursue every interesting opportunity. But many entrepreneurs - hungry for cash and thinking more is always better - feel the need to seize every piece of business dangled in front of them, instead of focusing on their core product, service, market, distribution channel. Spreading yourself too thin results in sub-par performance.
7. crazy overhead Keep your digs humble and your furniture cheap. Your management team should earn the bulk of their compensation when the profits roll in, not before. The best entrepreneurs know how to stretch their cash and use it for key business-building processes like product development, sales and marketing. Skip that fancy phone system unless it really saves time and helps make more sales. Spend all the money really necessary to achieve your objectives. Ask the question, will there be a sufficient return on this expenditure? Everything else is overhead.
9. no clear offer Can you articulate the return which comes from purchasing your product or service? How much additional business will it generate for your customer? How much money will they save? What? You say it’s too hard to quantify? There are too many intangibles? If it’s too difficult for you to figure, what do you expect your prospect to do? Do the analysis.
10. not admiting mistakes Of all the mistakes, this might be the biggest. At some point you realize the awful truth: you have made a mistake. Admit it quick. Redress the situation. If not, that mistake will get bigger, and bigger, and... Sometimes this is hard, but, believe me, bankruptcy is harder.
8. perfection-itis This disease is often found in engineers who won’t release products until they are absolutely perfect. When it comes to product development, Zeno’s paradox rules. Perfection is unattainable and very costly at that. Plus, while you getting it right, the market is changing right out from under you. On top of that, your customers put off purchasing your existing products waiting for the next new thing to roll out your doors.
IT’S ALL ABOUT
Passion is the main driving force behind every successful entrepreneur.
You can research successful entrepreneurs and will find that they had a real passion for their mission, business plan, and success in general. Passion invariably drives one to work harder and smarter. Successful entrepreneurs need long-term traits such as determination and focus. Determination to continuously improve your business is essential to keep the company competitive. Remaining focused throughout the life of
your business creates a positive impact on your business, employees, partners, stakeholders, family and friends as well.
“To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.”
-Sister Mary Lauretta
TO TALK TO
Jose Davila CSD, CSP Farmers Insurance
Street Address: 3000 N MCCOLL RD Ste A Mcallen, TX 78501
Office: (956) 683-0500 Fax: (866) 686-5391
How Obamacare Insurance Requirements Apply to the Small Business Owner Small business owners need to know how the Obamacare rules for insurance requirements are going to affect them.
nder the “Affordable Care Act”, large
FT employees will be subject to a
employers with 50 or more full-time
penalty of $2,000 per employee
equivalent employees are required to
(minus the first 30). Employers who
provide health insurance for their employees,
offer qualified but unaffordable
beginning in 2014, or face a tax penalty.
coverage will be subject to the
On July 2, 2013, the Obama administration
lesser of $3,000 per subsidized
delayed by one year the employer mandate so
employee or $2,000 per employee
it will now take effect in 2015. The president
(minus the first 30).
did not delay the start of the individual
mandate, which will go into effect on January
Effective January 1, 2014,
Online Health Insurance Exchange
Obamacare requires all Americans to have health insurance
Individuals and small businesses will be
coverage or pay a penalty. Since many
mandate. Among them are
able to obtain health coverage through their
employers are small business owners with
individuals who have a religious exemption,
state’s online health insurance exchange by
less than 50 employees, many individuals will
individuals who are not required to file a
2014. Governor Rick Perry has chosen not
not be covered under an employer-sponsored
return, and individuals who cannot afford
to implement a state-run health insurance
plan. Self-employed individuals will also
coverage based on formulas contained in
exchange in Texas. The federal government
be subject to the individual mandate. The
the law (if minimum amount of premiums
will operate exchanges in those states
penalty is scheduled to be phased in over the
they must pay is more than 8% of Adjusted
that choose not to establish an exchange
next several years as follows:
(Anderson). There will be four levels of coverage available:*bronze, which covers 60% of covered benefits, *silver, which covers
For 2014, the penalty is the greater
of $95 or 1% of applicable income
70%, *gold, which covers 80%, and *platinum,
which covers 90%. Plans will be required
of $325 or 2% of applicable income
to cap the maximum out-of-pocket costs
for enrollees. The current limits are $5,950 for an individual and $11,900 for a family (Fishman). In addition, health insurers will not be able to deny coverage because of
For 2015, the penalty is the greater
For 2016, the penalty is the greater
of $695 or 2.5% of applicable income, and •
For 2017, the $695 amount is
indexed for inflation.
A premium assistance credit will be available for individuals who purchase health insurance from a state exchange if their income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line. This credit will be paid directly to health insurers by the federal government. You can obtain an estimate of the credit you could qualify for
preexisting medical conditions.
Applicable income is the excess of household
by using the “Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy
Employer Mandate – Large Employers
income over the threshold filing amount.
Generally, the annual penalty cannot exceed
the cost of a bronze level plan, and an overall
Small employers with 25 or fewer employees
A large employer (50 or more full-time equivalent employees) will be subject to one of two penalties if at least one of its employees receives government subsidies to help purchase insurance in the exchange. Employers who do not provide minimum essential coverage to at least 95% of their
cap will apply to family payments. The penalty for children is half the amount for adults (Fishman).
Exemption from Individual Mandate Penalty Certain individuals will be exempt from the
who provide health insurance may also be eligible for tax credits.
Sources: Anderson, Carla. “Texas Health Insurance Exchange: Gov. Perry Announces State will Rely on Federal Insurance Marketplace.” Healthinsurance.org N.p., 16 July 2013. Web. 19 July 2013.
The benefits of:
business credit O
ne of the many difficulties of starting a small business is gaining access to capital during the startup phase. With the large growth in small specialty businesses across the country, credit card companies are beginning to design special programs to help this new breed of business achieve success. For even those small businesses that have access to capital, the perks and benefits associated with small business credit card programs, can still be useful to help you compete more effectively in the marketplace. Below are just six of the many ways in which a small business credit card can help your business to operate more smoothly and improve your bottom line.
Ease Your Cash Crunch
A small business credit card can ease your businessâ€™ cash woes. Through the development and implementation of a sound financial plan that utilizes a credit card you can guarantee that your business will always meet payroll, be able to purchase inventory on an as needed basis, and manage both seasonal and business fluctuations without depleting your cash reservoir. Another added advantage is the cash advance feature, which allows you to withdraw cash from an ATM to cover emergencies and other unanticipated expenses. Unlike a personal credit card, a business
credit card also provides a business size credit line, which is substantially higher.
Keep Track of Business Expenses
Through the use of a credit card, you can, with little to no effort, separate your business expenses from your personal expenses. This allows for easy identification of tax deductions and filing of accurate income tax returns.
reports, data and advice on developing business and marketing plans, conducting market analysis, and pricing products through a companyâ€™s web site. You can also increase your knowledge of other products and services like software programs that can help your day-to-day operations run more efficiently.
Secure Multiple Cards
Build Credit to Qualify for Larger Loans
Access Free Business Resources
Perks and Rewards
You can also secure more than one card through small business credit card programs. This allows you to give employees the authority to make purchases while freeing up your schedule for more pressing issues. You can also do this with ease since you are also given the ability to set spending limits for different employees, which will further help you to control your expenses.
Anything free is good! Some credit card companies also provide clients with a wealth of resources to help manage cash flow and develop good record keeping procedures free of charge. Extensive reporting is conducted on both a monthly and bimonthly basis to help you track your expenses down to the penny. Additionally, free business checks and electronic funds transfers are also available. In addition to that, you can also access
Obtaining a credit card and using it wisely can also be a stepping-stone to help your business qualify and secure a loan with a major bank or venture capitalist firm. By establishing a good relationship and credit history with a company that also offers other products and services, itâ€™ll just be a matter of time before other cost-saving services are thrown your way.
Perks and Reward Programs designed especially for small businesses are by far one of the best features of a small business credit card program. Small businesses can earn airline points and cash back rewards just like the big boys. Discounts are also available through select merchants like FedEx and Staples, which can result in huge cost savings for supplies and other operational expenses. Some companies also go an extra mile by providing rental car and lodging benefits.
Cutting Expenses There are many specific ways to reduce your business expenses, but the little things are what usually add up to large sums of money.
BY EDUARDO CANTU
learned about business expenses at one of my first jobs. It was in a fast food restaurant, working as an assistant manager I was responsible for placing the orders for food and supplies. I noticed how many thousands of dollars we spent on ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauce packets. Then I watched for a while, to see how many the employees were handing out at the drive-through window. Pretty quickly, I realized that many of the employees were putting a handful of packets in the bag for customers - before even asking if they wanted any. It was time for a new policy, I decided. I informed all the employees that they were to ask the customers if they wanted ketchup, mustard or any other sauce packets. Then they were to either ask how many they wanted, or let the customer see them putting just a few in the bag, so the customer could ask for more if they wanted more. The customers were happy, and fewer packets went out that window. How many fewer? I donâ€™t remember exactly. What I do remember, is that after tracking our subsequent use of sauce packets, I discovered that the new policy was saving the restaurant about $2,000 per year. I later found a way to rework the schedule to save $15,000 annually on labor costs, while providing better customer service. These business expenses add up. Itâ€™s important to note that money saved is often pure profit. The owners made $15,000 more profit when my new way of scheduling saved them $15,000 in labor costs. To increase profits $15,000 from new sales, they would have needed $60,000 more in sales (after costs, profits are only 25% of sales in this particular business). In other words, finding ways to save money can be a powerful way to increase your profits.
How Do You Measure Success? Have you ever stopped to think what real success is? It is having a yacht and a paid-off home or is it a peace of mind and tranquility?
ow Successful are you? It all depends on the way you look at your life, and what you consider to be truly successful. It also depends on what you use to measure these different valued achievements. Certainly we all have our own priorities, lifestyles, and goals, but there are ways to measure success in your life that are healthier than others. For example, would you consider a person who is extremely wealthy, with a mortgage paid off, three luxury cars, a pool, a tennis court, and a high-status job to be successful? What if that same person had a terrible disease or suffered from chronic pain? What if the anxiety from the job that gave the person so much money felt like slow torture? What if that person spent so much time earning money and making luxury purchases that s/he never had enough time to enjoy those items, or even meet a potential spouse?
Conversely, would you consider a person successful if he or she was living under the poverty line, and never knows where tonight’s dinner will come from, let alone how rent will be made at the end of the month? What if that person was married to the love of their lives, was working their dream job, had lots of friends, was as healthy as anyone could be, and didn’t mind a bit of financial risk? It’s funny how the results change when you look at the different details, or from a different light. The primary misconception that many people have is that money or monetary gain is synonymous with success. But when we look at things from another angle, it’s easier to see the successes in one’s life for what they truly are. Instead of thinking about dollar amounts, try looking at the following three powerful measures for your success:
Living your life’s purpose Planting seeds of hope, inspiration, and encouragement in others Making the most of every day to achieve your true potential When you consider a successful life on these terms, it’s much easier to find the motivation that you need in your life both at home, and in your business. Then again, changing your entire life view of success isn’t something that is entirely easy , unless you know exactly how to do it.
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New 2014 Mercedes - Benz cla Business is all about efficiency. Efficiency gives you the ability to get more for less, without sacrificing quality or time. This is exactly what the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class reflects: pure efficiency. The brand-new 2014 MercedesBenz CLA has an expected launch date of Winter of 2013, but we wish that was a lot sooner. The Mercedes-Benz brand has always been amongst the top most prestigious luxury brands in the market, and one of the most favorite brands for entrepreneurs and business executives. This has always come with a relatively high price tag, usually averaging in the $40-60k range for a four door sedan. The new CLA, however, changes everything. Starting at a surprisingly affordable price base around $30,000, the CLA stands its ground amongst the surging breed of compact luxury sedans. The Cadillac ATS and BMW 3 Series are the only contestants worth of mention, but have a considerably higher price tag. What you get even with the entry-level CLA is nothing less expected from a true MercedesBenz. Standard 17-inch allow wheels, cruise control, power
front seats, driver memory settings, leatherette premium upholstery and a 5.8-inch central display come all standard. Coming back to efficiency, the CLA250 comes equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a respectable 208hp and an impressive 258 pound-feet of torque. The front wheels are powered by a 7-speed automated manual transmission, with paddle shifters for those speed enthusiasts. Reaching 60mph from stand-still takes only 6.7 seconds. If speed and power is what you want, the CLA45 AMG is powered by a modified 2.0-liter engine with an upgraded turbocharger, yielding a jaw-dropping 355hp and 332 pound-feet of torque. That massive power is transferred to all four wheels (4MAtic AWD system) by an upgrade version of the 7-speed transmission, cutting shift times considerably. If a luxury interior, powerful and efficient engine, and an affordable price tag is what youâ€™re looking for, head to your nearest Mercedes-Benz this Winter and be amongst the first to experience this true breed MercedesBenz.
a real business car Breathtaking interior.
Equipped standard with leatherette premium upholstery and a 5.8-inch display, the new CLA lives up to the luxury pedigree of Mercedes-Benz.
The new CLA is longer and wider than the current C-Class sedan, giving you higher comfort and better safety. Fuel economy is compensated by a very efficient aerodynamic body design that competes with the Toyota Prius.
MB of San Juan
“One of the most important negotiation skills you can develop is to get in the habit of finding the other side’s deadline. Time is of the essence. It even says as much on most business and real estate con-
Negotiation Skills You Need To Know One of the most important negotiation skills you can develop is to get in the habit of finding the other side’s deadline. Time is of the essence. It even says as much on most business and real estate contracts. What does this mean in negotiating? It means that whoever controls or understands the elements of time involved in a negotiation has the better position. Many years ago I was looking at a truck for sale. I asked the owner why he was selling (always a good idea). He told me that the IRS was coming after him and he needed to sell the truck by the weekend (It was Tuesday). When do you think you would be able to negotiate the best price on the truck? Maybe right now, but certainly on Friday if the truck is still available. On Friday he would be desperate to get what he could from the truck before it was seized by the IRS.
This guy wasn’t using good negotiation skills. He gave away too much information. More specifically, he gave away his deadline. One of the most important things to understand in negotiating is deadlines. The two things to remember about them are: 1. Don’t give away your deadline(s), and 2. Find the other side’s deadline(s). Find out whatever you can about any relevant deadlines. Sometimes there isn’t a clear deadline, or there are several deadlines for different parts of the negotiation. Whatever the case, the more information you can gather about those deadlines, the better. How do you use that information once you have it? The crudest method is to simply delay and wait until the last moment to negotiate. This only works if the other side doesn’t walk away, and if your own deadline permits it. It also requires that there are not others who can take your place (as is clearly the case with a truck for sale - it might not be there Friday).
“...this points up the importance of getting information on the other’s deadline, but also the importance of not revealing your own.” //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// A bit of sophistication is required to use this information effectively. You may want to start by identifying what is most important to you in the negotiation. For example, if you are buying an apartment building, is the price or the terms the crucial element for you? Let’s assume that price is most important to you. When you wrote the offer, you put some price on it, but you have inspections and other contingencies that allow for everything to be renegotiated. The process of inspections and negotiations ties up the property, so your competition is excluded for the moment. Then you learn that owner really wants to sell by the start of the school year, because he will be moving with his children. Work on everything else in the negotiations except the price. Have inspections done, agree on what will be included with the property, etc. As the seller’s “deadline” approaches, he will be getting anxious to close the deal. Then you let him know you’re ready to close quickly. Of course, you’ll need the price adjusted due to the results of the inspections.
Imagine the abuse he would open himself to if, with ten days to go, the seller learned of his deadline and the cost of the buyer missing it. He could threaten to delay closing unless the buyer paid $10,000 extra for some old coin-operated washing machines, for example.
At this point the seller has the choice of throwing away the whole
Overpay by a few thousand, or lose $80,000. What do you think he
deal. This means starting over, and not moving when he wanted to.
Alternately, he can be happy that he got what he wants most - a quick close. This means giving you your price.
For an everyday example of using deadlines, try buying your next car towards the end of the month. Many times there are quotas that
This points up the importance of getting information on the other’s
dealerships want to meet for the month, and bonuses that salesmen
deadline, but also the importance of not revealing your own. When
get for monthly volume. Saying “I’ll think about it and return on
I was a real estate agent I heard the story of a man who sold his
Thursday,” (or whatever day is the first of the next month) can have
property for a large profit.
them dropping the price fast. It’s always good to practice your negotiation skills.
He had to pay $80,000 in capital gains taxes unless he rolled the money into another property, as a “title 31 exchange.” He had 60 days to close on the new property.
exiting gracefully do you have an exit strategy?
S Having an exit strategy in your business plan allows you to prepare for an unexpected offer to be bought out or worst case scenario, business failure.
ince you own a business or plan on having one in the near future, you have an exit strategy, right? Your answer is probably “No”, which is typical for many people in their first venture of working for themselves. Every owner will eventually exit their business, even if they run it until they die. But then what? Not having an exit strategy before, or very soon after, starting or buying a company is a dangerous proposition. An exit strategy is very important to your personal business plan as well as your tactical business plan. It gets you prepared for the future but also allows you to be ready if something unexpected happens such as an unsolicited offer to be bought out. Knowing how you want to exit your company and when, will allow you to build it successfully and get out at a high value rather than when you are bailing out. Exiting includes selling to an outsider, an investor, a partner, an employee or a family member.
It could also mean not completely leaving but just selling, or giving up, enough interest to relinquish day-to-day control while still maintaining an income. Without planning for these things, you can’t possibly build the value you need to get the money you desire or have the correct structure set up to allow you to sell the business or even give it to a family member. Don’t forget, almost every small business is very dependent on its founders. That makes a company very difficult to sell if the founders want to eventually have nothing to do with the company after the sale. Hopefully you now realize that owning a business also means planning to no longer own the business. Setting yourself and your company up to let you reap the rewards of your hard work and allow you to retire or move on to other ventures is not something to be taken lightly. Good luck and remember that we are always here to help.
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Would you like to add a 2 year warranty for only $29.95? We get asked that question a lot,. But, is an extended warranty worth it?
Are they worth it?
hould you buy an extended warranty with your laptop? You may not want to think about it now, but sooner or later, something is going to go wrong with your laptop. When it does happen, the main question will be who gets stuck with the bill, you or the maker. The standard (free) warranty on a new laptop usually runs around the 90 day mark. That probably doesn’t seem like a lot when you consider how long you expect to own your laptop. What happens when your laptop busts on the 91st day? First of all, even if your laptop only includes a 90-day warranty (and assuming you’ve purchased a well known brand- name system), the chances of your computer dying on the 91st day are very, very slim. Manufacturers don’t offer a 90-day warranty with the expectation that their item will malfunction shortly thereafter. A shorter warranty is likely, at least in part, to be a sales gimmick
to push you towards an extended warranty. All major laptop manufacturers offer a long menu of extended warranty options, each menu item with its own price tag. The two biggest components that factor into the cost of an extended warranty are duration and locality. Through extended warranty, you have the option to extend the duration of the standard warranty from one to three years or even five in some cases. The first extra year is always the most expensive, with each subsequent year costing significantly less. The longer the extended warranty, the better the deal. As for location, the least expensive extended warranties require you to post your laptop (at your expense) to a remote repair facility. With the most deluxe extended warranty packages, a service technician will meet you at your own front door to attempt the repairs. This type of coverage tends to be on the dear side.
At this point, you might decide to go online and check out each manufacturers websites to determine their standard warranty policies. Don’t bother, because most laptop manufacturers don’t have standard warranty polices. Warranties vary from line to line and product to product. Even with a particular model in mind, it’s still going to take some digging. So how do you decide whether an extended warranty is right for you? Your best option is to consider your anticipated usage: If you’re buying a laptop as a second computer for occasional use when you need to travel, you can probably pass on the extended warranty and still feel relatively safe. At the other extreme, if you use your laptop day in and day out as your major system, with half your life spent in airport terminals, you should consider adding as much extended warranty as you possibly can. Fortunately, unlike car warranties, laptop warranties don’t put
i love Running a business online is all about flexibility and freedom. One of the keys .to this is your virtual office Imagine you decide to open a business offline, for example a store selling tools. You will have to find a location, commit to tens of thousands of dollars in rent and, most importantly, actually go to work everyday. After all, who else is going to open the front door each morning? On top of this, your pool of customers is limited to those willing to drive to your location. All of these limitations and aggravations associated with a physical store go by .the wayside when you go online Having worked online for a very long time, I can tell you the freedom to work when you want to is by far the best aspect of the Internet. Here is the proof. As I am writing this article, it is 1:13 p.m. I am at home. I am wearing sweats. After being up all night on a project, I am thinking about going back
my virtual office
to bed. This is all possible because I have an online business. In fact, our business is so virtual oriented that I have never physically met some of my programmers. They live in other countries! Sounds like a good excuse .to travel, however Being online gives you massive freedom and flexibility because you are not limited geographically. Your business should revolve around your laptop. If possible, you should try to store every bit of information online. Taking this approach turns you into a virtual business with a virtual office and lets you access work whenever you want from wherever you want. What do ?I mean by this Assume you have an online business selling something on the web. Where is your physical office? To figure it out, take a look around you. If you are in an airport, that is your office. If you are at home, your office is there and so
on. This flexibility is crucial because it gives you access to your business at all times. You will never get this with a .physical location You are probably wondering about a business address and meetings with clients. Neither is a problem with a virtual office. You can use one of the various mail box services for your business address. Just make sure they list the box number as a suite. As to meetings, you just go to clients who will appreciate the fact you don’t make them come to you. If you must host a meeting, you can rent conference rooms in “executive office suites” in any town or city. Compare the cost of renting an office suite versus leasing a physical office for three or five years, and the virtual office advantage should .be very obvious I love my virtual office and you will too. It saves you money, gives you flexibility and is one of the primary benefits of .running a business on the net
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reasons people don’t buy from you
You don’t make people feel safe when they order. Remind people that they are ordering through a secure server. Tell them you won’t sell their e-mail address and all their information will be kept confidential.
You don’t make your ad copy attractive. Your ad lists features instead of benefits. The headline does not attract at your target audience. You don’t list any testimonials or guarantees included in your ad.
You don’t remind people to come back and visit. People usually don’t purchase the first time they visit. The more times they visit your site, the greater the chance they will buy. The most effective way is to give them a free subscription to your e-zine.
You don’t let people know anything about your business. They will feel more comfortable if they know who they are buying from. Publish a section called “About Us” on your web site. Include your business history, profile of employees, contact information etc.
You don’t give people as many ordering options as possible. Accept credit cards,
checks, money orders, and other forms of electronic payments. Take orders by phone, e-mail, web site, fax, mail, etc.
You don’t make your web site look professional. You want to have your own domain name. Your web site should be easy to navigate through. The graphics should be related to the theme of your web site.
You don’t let people read your ad before they get your freebie. When you use free stuff to lure people to your web site include it below your ad copy or on another web page. If you list the freebie above your ad they may never look to see what you’re selling.
You don’t attract the target audience that would buy your product or service. A simple way to do this is to survey your existing customers to see what attracted them to buy. This information will help you improve your target marketing and advertising.
The Surest Way to Boost Sales If you have a small business and you are looking to boost your sales and make the public aware of your business, how do you going about doing this? There is one sure way that I know to boost sales and create awareness. It may not be sexy, but it WORKS! The best way to “start” marketing any business is to develop a marketing plan. And before you decide you don’t have the time or expertise to create a plan, I urge you to understand why it is so important. Creating a plan will force you to determine who you want to make aware of your business - it really is not just “the public.” You need to identify who can most benefit from what you are selling. If it’s a retail store, how far can you expect people to travel to do business with you? This will in part depend on what other stores can fill their same need. You also need to identify who these competitors are. Creating a marketing plan will ensure you understand these basic facts BEFORE you do any marketing. Why is this important? Because it is the only way you can ensure your marketing will be effective. No one wants to waste valuable marketing dollars. But that is exactly what many businesses do when they don’t take the time to figure out exactly who they should be marketing to and what they should be saying. Without this you are just doing “random” marketing and hoping someone will respond. Why not do “laser” marketing designed to reach exactly the type of people who are most likely to respond, and with a message that speaks directly to their needs?
Today’s Companies Face By: Marco Garza When it comes to operating at peak performance, today’s entrepreneurs face a variety of obstacles that can prevent them from meeting their business goals. There are a myriad of systemic pitfalls than can expose a company to risk and distract entrepreneurs, managers, and employees from what should be their primary focus -- Growing their business.
here price is high for ignoring foundational
process Inconsistency breeds risk in the work-
tenure, merit, and skill set.
risks. Obviously, company exposure to
place. It can also result in poor hiring decisions.
Risk #5: Employee misclassification The
Recommendation: Establish a consistent hiring
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and some state
practice. Follow uniform processes, conduct
laws mandate, among other things, that certain
proper background checks, use trained inter-
employees receive overtime pay for overtime
viewers, and create offer letters that provide
worked. Incorrectly classifying employees as
exempt from these protections, when they
should be non-exempt, can result in awards
financial losses due to fines for non-compliance is on most top entrepreneurs. However additional outcomes such as negative publicity and reduced customer confidence can also have a detrimental impact. This article, not only identifies ten foundational risks that can distract the business owners achieving their business’ goals; it also offers recommendations for minimizing or eliminating those risks altogether.
Risk #1: Company managers. Managers represent the company to employees. As such, they can create “strict liability” if they take action that is inconsistent with company policy or is in violation of laws or regulations. They can also have a profound impact on employee success and retention. Good employees don’t leave a company, they leave bad bosses. Recommendation: Train your managers on the basics. For example, train managers on recruitment and selection, coaching and managing performance, addressing discipline in a consistent and productive manner, delivering
Poor or inconsistent onboarding
of new hires Inconsistent or incomplete onboarding opens the door to claims of discriminatory practices and can lead to unhappy and/ or unsuccessful employees, as well as retention
Recommendation: Create a standard employee onboarding checklist. Implement a process that includes a sign-off at the conclusion of each phase, supplemented with departmental or role-specific training requirements. Inconsistent compensation
practices Wage claims are on the rise and the Department of Labor has increased staffing under the current administration.
difficult messages, and ending the employment
Recommendation: Tie compensation to competi-
tive market rates. Doing so will bring consis-
Poor or inconsistent selection
company. Additionally, incorrectly classifying a worker as an independent contractor can result in similar risks and penalties. Recommendation: Seek legal counsel with expe-
of back wages, fines, and penalties against the
tency and objectivity to decisions around pay. Variability in pay should be based on education,
rience in employment law for guidance on FLSA and independent contractor classifications. Federal and state laws regarding classification of employees are tricky, and employee classification issues should therefore be referred to experienced outside counsel. The IRS and many other state and federal agencies use very specific tests for determining what constitutes an independent contractor, so contractor/employee issues should also be referred to experienced outside counsel.
Insufficient documentation of
performance or behavioral issues Documenting performance issues is a key step in address-
ing misconduct or poor performance and
descriptions cover essential work functions,
protecting the company. Failing to properly
including the physical ones along with any
document incidents leaves employees
other requirements each position requires.
unaware of the need for improvement, cre-
ates problems for managers, and may lead to liability for the company.
Failure to follow published
policies Consistent policies and procedures help set expectations and are essential for
Recommendation: Use a “Record of Counsel-
smooth operations. Evaluate and imple-
ing” or “Corrective Action Notice” to docu-
ment policies specific to your company’s
ment performance issues as they arise. It
situation, and then follow them.
is important to seek objective, experienced human resource guidance before taking disciplinary action to help avoid emotional or knee jerk decisions.
Lack of a performance man-
agement system A performance management system improves communication and ensures each employee’s activities and focus are aligned with the company’s objectives. It also documents accomplishments or misses, and provides objective, observable guidance for merit increases, and incentive compensation. Recommendation: Reward and pay employees based on deliverables. Provide performance input to the executive team regularly through a documented performance management system; develop shared expectations around performance ratings to ensure consistency in evaluation of performance; use goal setting templates and performance review forms in developing a performance management system. A well documented performance management system can be a key vehicle in executing a company’s business strategy.
Nonexistent or incomplete
job descriptions Clear, easy-to-understand job descriptions encourage the accomplishment of business objectives and protect the organization from charges of discrimination and unfairness. Recommendation: Use a job description questionnaire to assist in gathering
Recommendation: Ensure appropriate policies are documented and accessible to employees. Implement only the policies that will be applied consistently throughout the entire organization.
Risk #10: Failure to train on harassment prevention Harassment prevention training sometimes limits the company’s liability and partially fulfills an employer’s obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment in the workplace under various laws. Recommendation: Conduct harassment prevention training every two years and in the onboarding process for new hires. Training can be delivered online or in person. Either way, make sure to document participant names, and the date and location of the training.
Here are some guidelines:
About the author:
Marco Garza, UniqueHR
Conduct an HR assessment to identify areas where improvement is possible
“Choose your battles” and prioritize those issues most affecting the company’s risk and/ or bottom line
Marco serves as a trusted HR partner to growing businesses, helping them contain costs, minimize employer-related risks, relieve administrative burden, and keep them focused on core business. He can be reached at 956.240.4544.
Create a realistic timeline for accomplishing your risk management goals.
information. It’s important that your job
RESIDUAL INCOME Why it’s better to have residual income and not solely depend on paycheck income?
Residual income by definition is income earned by an individual that are generally coming from his assets at hand. It allows a person not to worry anymore spending 8 hours a day in the office working as his personal assets are now earning money for him.
hy it’s better to have residual income and not solely depend on paycheck income? Residual income by definition is income earned by an individual that are generally coming from his assets at hand. It allows a person not to worry anymore spending 8 hours a day in the office working as his personal assets are now earning money for him. The current practice for people in earning a living is by getting a job and work either on an hour or annual basis. They have salaries or paychecks that they receive usually on a monthly basis and this allows them to buy the things
they want, travel to places they want to travel or simply buy anything that their paychecks allows them to buy but the happy story ends where the money has been spent already and people have to continuously report back for work and continue on with their current jobs again and again. Their paychecks do arrive again and again but so does the effort for them to continue working for that hard-earned money. People can aspire for higher salaries by getting promoted in their current companies or they can opt to aspire for higher paying salaries with other companies. They can get a higher
education, maybe an MBA degree and be assigned to higher management positions like a supervisor or a manager in a company. Their salaries become higher and their lifestyles can become higher too. Still, at the end of the day, they still have to report for work the next day, get more worries and pressure from work as they still have to continuously work their way on a daily basis in order for them continuously enjoy the paychecks they are receiving that will allow them enjoy and sustain the lifestyle that they want to enjoy. This is technically the rat race and it’s a cycle in most people’s lives that goes
on and on. The cycle of coming to work doesn’t end. This is because people will always have obligations to pay the bills, to put the food on the table and to simply enjoy a good weekend doesn’t end too. So how will it be possible for anybody to get out of the rat race of working 8 hours a day? How will it be possible to simply just have the money that can sustain the lifestyle one would like to have and go on with life with the expectations of still being able to receive continuous income in the bank? The answer basically lies with being able to create wealth for oneself not solely on the basis of becoming an employee and receive a paycheck continuously but simply by being able to have income coming in the bank without necessarily working for it on an hourly basis. This is what we call residual income. Residual income, also what we call passive income generates income for a person thru his assets. These assets can be in a form of real-estate properties that returns rental income. Shares of stock in a blue chip company that consistently returns back dividends is also a way to earn residual income. This is also true for mutual fund shares that consistently return earnings to the
fund owners from the funds’ investments. The process of switching from a lifestyle funded by earned income from a job to a lifestyle funded by residual income generated from a person’s established assets will be the challenge for anybody who’s currently tied up in the rat race cycle. Being able to save enough money or capitalize on a person’s talents and skills in order to bring in income consistently without him returning back to work for good is the process towards financial independence. People who have capitalized on their talents and skills and have settled down towards financial independence are those who have maximized their residual income potential. Songwriters for example may only need to write just a few songs that will make it big on the MTV or Billboard charts that will consistently sell out record sales for a lifetime will have residual income by earning royalties for every song they wrote that is played in the radio or sold in record stores. Entrepreneurs or successful businessmen that started their business and capitalized on their business ideas
that have taken off towards success can expect consistent profits from their businesses. They’ll just need to hire effective managers and people that will continue to run their businesses for them and they can just expect their businesses to grow and receive profits from their business operations. Why residual income is better than all sources of income? Its because it allows anybody who has initially capitalized on his efforts to plant his seeds on business ideas, artistic talents, or investment strategies regardless of his family background, education, age, or even career background. Residual income allows financial stability and freedom without the need to be back at the office the next working day again and simply enjoy the free time to devote it on their love ones or on the things that they’ve always wanted to do in life.
The point to remember is this: the “e” on the front of “e-business” does not stand for “exempt.”
Do I Really Need A Business License And Tax ID?
o I really have to get a business license? This is one requirement that many e-business entrepreneurs think they can skirt because they don’t have a brick and mortar establishment. Sorry Charlie. Operating an e-business out of your office or out of your home does not get you off the hook when it comes to licensing. Depending on your location you may need a city and county license. Luckily, such licenses are relatively easy to obtain and are not expensive. For local licensing requirements, contact your city or county government offices. Home businesses are also subject to zoning laws that regulate how property can be used and may restrict various activities. You should check local zoning requirements and property covenants. You can find this information at the court house or by calling your local license department. Legalities aside, the best reason to get a business license is it allows you to set up a business bank account using what’s called a DBA. “DBA” stands for “doing business as.” A DBA is another name that
you use in the operation of your business instead of your personalname. For example your name might be Joe Jones, but you might use “Jones Internet Services” as your business name. Having a business license will enable you to set up a business account and get checks printed with your business name, giving you that all important air of professionalism that many e-businesses lack. Do I really have to get a tax ID number? Online companies with a physical presence, or nexus, in a state are required to collect and report taxes on sales of taxable goods made to customers living within that same state. For example, if your online business is based in California, you must collect and report sales tax derived from fellow Californians making purchases on your site. For this reason you will be required to have a tax ID number if you’re selling taxable goods (most services are not taxed). Getting a tax ID number is usually a simple process of filling out a form and paying a nominal fee. You will file quarterly reports and remit any sales tax that is due. One word of warning: many entrepre-
neurs have gotten themselves into deep trouble because they saw fit to spend the sales tax they had collected instead of sending it to Uncle Sam. This can mean death to your business and jail time for you. Many times this mistake is innocently made when a business owner commingles funds collected as sales tax with their normal business checking account. Open a separate bank account and deposit sales tax monies into the account and do not touch it until the time comes to send the money in with the quarterly report. Do I really have to pay taxes on income from my website? We’ve talked about this before and the answer is still the same: Just because your income is derived from an e-business does not mean that the income is not taxable. The point to remember is this: the “e” on the front of “e-business” does not stand for “exempt.” In the eyes of the law your e-business is susceptible to the same laws and regulations that govern the corner mom and pop, so make sure you conduct your business as such.
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How Zumba changed my life. I lived in Houston, TX for over 10 years, in which my time was mostly preoccupied by work and my professional life. Due to this, it was rare that I found time to focus on my health and exercise, much less time for my favorite hobby, playing the drums. On September 14, 2009, I found a wonderful woman during her visit to Houston. I would have never imagined the impact that day would bring to my life, without a doubt, the best blessing life could’ve ever gifted me. When I met Elizabeth Zepeda, I immediately fell deeply in love with her, and it was her that introduced me to the world of Zumba.
y name is Jose Luis Rafael Muñoz, better known in the Zumba world as “Rafa”. I want to share with you a bit of my history and how it is God gave me the opportunity to be part of the world of Zumba.
It has been over 6 years now teaching Zumba to thousands of people whom we try to help reach their goals on a daily basis. When we first started, Liz and I opened a studio called “Liz Dance Studio”. This marked an important milestone in my life, in which I decided to move to McAllen, TX with Liz and begin
my Zumba career. I received an intensive training program for one week in that studio, after which I become a certified Zumba instructor. The thought of being able to help people improve their health while celebrating and dancing flooded me with joy! I first started with a weight of 189 lbs. and for these wonderful 6 years I’ve managed to maintain a healthy 130 lbs. while doing what I like best, Zumba! These experiences are what I want to transmit to my students and everyone else. I am currently teaching Zumba at both McAllen’s and Mission’s Gold’s Gym. I have achieved several Zumba certification such as Zumba, Zumba Toninn and Zumba Sentao. Based on my experience, I would like to recommend Zumba to everyone and invite them to never doubt themselves. Come dance with Liz and I at McAllen’s or Mission’s Gold Gym!
South Texas Gold’s Gym Owners Named ‘Franchisee of the Year’ McAllen, Texas (July 29, 2013) – Local Gold’s Gym entrepreneurs Eliud Garcia, Esteban Garcia, Teresa Garcia and Cynthia Garcia-Pope were named the “Franchisee of the Year” at the annual Gold’s Gym National Convention held in Las Vegas in mid-July. The award recognized Gold’s Gym South Texas for their consistent demonstration of excellence and support of the Gold’s Gym brand. The Franchisee of the Year is determined by evaluating each of the more than 200 franchisees in the Gold’s Gym network on different criteria including local marketing programs, member services, day-to-day operations and community involvement. Gold’s Gym Laredo was also awarded “Best Community Service Program” Internationally which is a testament of their commitment to their local community.
“The Garcia Family are well deserving of this year’s Franchisee of the Year award. In addition to quality operations and top notch customer service, they go above and beyond in serving their communities and the brand,” said Mike Epstein, President of the Gold’s Gym Franchisee Association. “They bring a passion and family atmosphere to everything they do that represents the Gold’s Gym family and their fellow franchisees at the highest level.” “It’s truly an honor for us to win this prestigious award,” said Cynthia Garcia-Pope. “We are proud to have delivered on our promise to provide a one-of-a-kind workout experience for members. We’ll strive to exceed our customers’ expectations in the years ahead with the best in exercise equipment and amenities at our world-class gyms in South Texas.”
About Gold’s Gym Established in Venice, Calif. in 1965, Gold’s Gym is the largest full-service gym chain in the world with more than 650 locations in 35 states and 30 countries. The iconic brand ranks in the top 15 percent of Entrepreneur magazine’s 2011 “Franchise 500.” Gold’s Gym offers the latest equipment and services, including group exercise, personal training, cardiovascular equipment, group cycle, Pilates and yoga. With 3 million members worldwide, Gold’s Gym helps all kinds of people achieve their individual potential through fitness. For more information please visit www.goldsgym.com or www.facebook. com/goldsgym.
What’s Your Company’s Email Policy? D
oes your company have an email policy? Did you even know there was such a thing? Well, there is, and if your company doesn’t have one you are not only risking the professional image of your firm, but also risking potential liability issues that may arise from the misuse of your company email system. Having a published email policy accomplishes three objectives. First, it teaches your employees how to use email in a professional manner. What’s that? You’ve never really given much thought about the emails your employees send out? Well, you should, because ill-composed and unprofessional emails not only reflect on the employee, but on you and your company, as well. Chances are most of your employees don’t even spell check the emails they send to your customers and partners. Chances are even greater that they are sending other items through your company email system that may get you sued.
Consider this: if one of your male employees sends an email to a female employee that might be considered harassing in nature, you may be judged to be just as liable for damages when her attorney comes calling with harassment suit in hand. Creating a company email policy also helps lay out the ground rules for personal use of company email. When an employee is on your clock, using your computer equipment, and your network, and your resources they should understand that personal emails should not be sent or received using the company email system. This can be a hard rule to enforce, given that kids now email their moms at work after school and soccer coaches email everybody, but as a rule, personal use of the company email system should not be allowed. An effective company email policy also helps cover your corporate backside against liability. Take the example above of the potential harassment suit caused by an insulting
Business emails sent/received every day.
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emails by use. “If you can prove that employees knew that sending such emails were not acceptable under company policy, your liability can be greatly lessened.”
email. If your company has a clearlystated email policy that details what is considered inappropriate, you can minimize the company’s liability by proving that employees were trained in the proper use of email. If you can prove that employees knew that sending such emails were not acceptable under company policy, your liability can be greatly lessened. Having a good email policy can also give you a competitive advantage over the competition. As email becomes the professional communication medium of choice, composing professional, thoughtful emails can truly put your company ahead of the pack. I can tell you from experience that I have actually won contracts simply because the customer was impressed that I replied to his email quickly and professionally. In other words, I’ve made thousands of dollars just because I respond quickly and use a spellcheck-
er. Is this a great country or what? How do you create an email policy? If you have other existing policies in place, such as those that pertain to business communications, access to confidential materials, personal use of the telephone, sexual harassment, etc. you should be able to establish an email policy using the existing policies as guidelines. If you need to start from scratch you can still write the policy yourself with a little time and research, however, many companies rely on professional consultants to do the job for them. When you realize the importance of an email policy and understand the ramifications of not having one, you’ll probably agree that its money well-spent. An email policy doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out document. Most policies are no more than a few pages long, written in plain English that every employee can easily understand.
The key to the success of your company email policy lies in the training of your employees. You can’t just establish a policy and expect everyone to follow blindly. Once the policy is written it should be distributed to employees and can even become part of future employment contracts. Explain the policy to your employees and have them read and sign to signify that they understand and will adhere to the rules. Many companies are now realizing the importance of email and are putting on training seminars that not only teach their employees how to stick to the policy, but how to compose and respond to emails, as well.
Here’s to your success!
The Secrets to Social Media Marketing Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. How exactly can you benefit from these social media sites and maximize your business exposure?
ocial media marketing is the process of gaining consumer attention and maximizing product advertising through the usage of social media sites such as Facebook, Pintrest, and Twitter. A local business that has capitalized the utilization of social media marketing is Shop 112. In December 2011, Myra Brown and Monique Jeffery opened a clothing boutique, Shop 112 in McAllen, Texas. Within a year and a half, Shop 112 had over 30,000 Likes on Facebook and 6,000 on Instagram! This brings to question, “What is the secret to efficiently yet effectively utilize social media marketing?” Monique Jeffery, Marketing Director of Shop 112, provides 8 essential secrets to social media marketing that has ultimately led Shop 112 to success!
Secret #1 – Provide a reason to “Like” your webpage When establishing a website, ask yourself “What are you offering ev-
eryday that makes people “Like” your webpage?” Shop 112 provides a 10% discount if you “Check-in” on Facebook while at the store, stating that you were at Shop 112 before purchasing your items. This discount is advertised on the sales tag on the clothing item. A costumer always looks at the price before purchasing, what a strategic purchasing motivator!
ability to have their response is not only a tool to get to know your consumer; furthermore, the comment is then reflected on the commenter’s Facebook page, thus expanding online exposure. Competitions and giveaways can be used to encourage the consumer to comment or respond.
Secret #2 – Branding! Branding!
Think about all of that email that goes straight to spam, you do not want to be that spam. Posting too much can be detrimental. Your posts will be overlooked and undervalued. Make sure you post just enough to keep your consumers engaged and wanting more.
Branding! The content that you display is critical to branding your business. Keep it applicable and consistent. If you are a retail clothing store, do not advertise a car on your website. It may misguide and confuse your consumer about your business.
Secret #3 – Engage your Customers. “Do you prefer stripes or polka dots?” Asking questions is always a great way to engage your customers. The
Secret #4 – Don’t Overload.
Secret # 5 – Schedule your Facebook posts. As a business owner, sometimes you may not have the time to post every single day. A tip Monique gives, is to schedule your Facebook posts. Facebook allows you to pre-schedule your
Engage your audience. Social Media Marketing is becoming an essential marketing tool for connecting with customers and optimizing online presence. Social Media describes the tools and platforms, people use to publish, converse and share content online. Video, pod cast, blogs, discussion boards and social networking sites are all tools, online businessmen can use to build relationship with their customers and keep them on websites longer. Social media provides more opportunities for organizations to present optimized content that can be indexed by search engines and ultimately improves site rating.
posts, utilize this. This will allow you to be consistent and stay organized. Social media gains the most amount of exposure on the weekends, don’t disregard this opportunity!
Secret #6 – Post Pictures and Videos. Consumers are more likely to pay attention to a picture or a video rather than worded text. Youtube videos, pictures on Instagram and Pintrest are great tools for this. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Secret # 7 – Be Responsive! If a person asks a question on your website or comments on a photo, be responsive. Monique states, “If someone asks, always reply. It is not like an email where you have a day to respond, one day is a day too late.”
Secret #8 – Don’t Be Afraid to Post Something on the Fly. Spontaneous posts are fun. For example, UPS delivers a new dress, take a picture and post it! This will encourage your costumers to quickly go purchase the dress and be the first ones to wear it. However, do not do all of your social media marketing on the fly. This can overload your customers and interrupt with your consistency.
Philanthropist Note: Business Adviser takes great honor in giving back to the community as well as opening our doors to great opportunities for others to help as well. â€œIt is better to give than to receive,â€? is a quote that I have heard and now I can safely say that it is entirely true.
Business Adviser Philanthropist Chariman
Business Adviser at work...
2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.