Thursday, August 14, 2008

Business card printing

Business card printing: At your service!
by: Marlon D. Ludovice

Trading of business cards in the business industry is a common and normal practice usually among business owners and corporate executives. This process is one of the marketing tools that show the front line image of every business entities. The cards are being used to create the first contact with the existing customers and the target market at the same time.

It is very important for a business card to achieve printing results that will produce cards that are creative and practical in terms of getting you the inexpensive full color effect. But usually we find it hard to choose what type of services does our business card needs.

Taking consideration of the services offered by different print shops in town, try to prefer the one that have a digital art studio which has extensive graphic design process and printing equipment that are technologically savvy. With this service, it ensures to provide you outputs at the soonest time possible. Thus, from traditional offset printing services to custom printing services, you can rely on the benefits that digital printing technology can provide.

Premium materials are also needed to achieve the desire quality output for your cards. Don’t just settle for a cheaper printing cost if the quality of your business card is compromised. Be wise to pick for the right commercial printing company to do the job for you. Of course professional service of a well-trained team is a vital component for the realization of good and effective business cards. Lot of skills and knowledge are required to accomplish such quality and creative works.

These are but among the few services a commercial printing company offers. Make sure that when you choose the service of a printing company; remember that you are not only to prefer the quality and affordability of the job but most importantly the excellence and perfection it will give for your business card!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Early-Warning-Systems for small businesses

Early-Warning-Systems for small businesses
by: Stephan Szugat

Most of you would say, that this might not be the most important problem small businesses have to solve during their business operation. Well, that might be true, but on the other hand, if your business has an early-warning-system, than it could assist you in operating your business and keeps you focused on solving the bottlenecks you are actually facing.

But first of all, in case of Early-Warning-Systems it is necessary to define what a small business is. A small business is usually a business operated by 1 or a few people, but could also be a company with as much as 500 employees. This article concentrates on small businesses with 1 to 50 employees. As this is the definition of small business, than we have to define what an Early-Warning-System should look like.

While running a small business, the people involved usually have not the time dealing with Early-Warning-Systems a lot. Because of the lack of time, there has to be a lean solution, which takes care of the following things:

easy to use solution
not time consuming
showing recommendations for possible actions/measures on early warnings
giving priorities which bottlenecks have to be solved first
having a short reporting cycle
a reasonable price, every small business could afford.
Lets go to the list one by one.

Easy to use solution

What does that mean? On my opinion, easy usage is, when something is easy and fast to understand. Something I do not need to read a huge book with hundreds of pages or where I have to attend a training, which keeps you occupied by several hours or days, just to know the basic features.

Having a system with huge databases and many features and reporting alternatives, is not only time consuming, it is also annoying, because you ever feel you need to perform a lot more reports. And you always feel that you may missed something.

Furthermore a good Early-Warning-System solution should work with only few input. But that’s another point.

Not time consuming

When you have to input a lot of data that is one possible time consuming task. On the other hand, you do not know, if a huge database will make your Early-Warning-System better. So it is better to focus on a few important data, than having a huge database, which you probably never use.

When concentrating on important data, you are not able to use every data from your business operation directly. Some data have to be calculated to business ratios, which are a better basis for analysis. But this brings to mind to select the right business ratios. There are so many to find.

Well, there are a few which could be used for all kinds of businesses, such as
Customer Contacts
Orders in Process
Customer Loyalty
Usage of capacity
Order Processing Time
to show just a few. Would be an analysis, which uses only 30 business ratios or business numbers a time consuming solution? I guess you say no. But, what would be if you have to fill in these numbers every day? Well, that’s not necessary. One time a week should be enough.

However, even if 30 or 60 values for business ratios per week does not sound much work, but there is a little more work to do upfront, before you could use these values for analysis. You have to find the values in your company, you have to calculate the business ratio values and so on. This I believe sounds to be a lot more work as you thought.

When you install the right procedure to get the necessary data for analysis, you may have an addition big one-time work. It’s all in the procedure you choose. Make it as easy as possible and it won’t be a time consuming task.

Recommend actions/measures

Early-Warnings are signs, which a system should generate, when a point is reached you said it should inform you that a situation is going to be worse. There are many systems out there providing early-warnings, but the question is always, on basis this warning has been calculated and to what will it lead you.

To understand an early warning signal it should be as easy to understand as a traffic light signal. Green says that everything is all right, yellow shows you that caution has to be taken and red should bring the alarm clock ringing at you.

Well, providing recommendations for actions/measures is not a very important feature, but if you are not familiar with business operations or just starting a business it is of help to get recommendations for actions/measures to keep your business running.

But even if you have lot of experience runninga business, it is sometimes very helpful to get new ideas on how to act. Actions/Measures could only be a recommendation here, because industry sectors are different, and it wouldn't be possible to cover all types of businesses.

Showing priorities to solve bottlenecks

Remember the paragraph above about early warning signals, they could be used to find priorities to solve bottlenecks in business operation. First of all the warning signals must follow some rules. That means that the business ratios supplying the signal have to be in a consecutive timely manner to each other. For example, when you have 5 ratios depending on each other in a consecutive manner, than you have automatically a priority to follow when actions are needed.

In case your ratio number 3 has a yellow signal and number 4 a red signal, than you know that you first have to solve the problem ratio 4 is showing, because you got the red flag and it has influence to ratio 5, which was green. This small example shows how important it is to use the right business ratios and how important it is to concentrate on the traffic light systematic when taking actions.

Short Reporting Cycle

A short reporting cycle may be a month for some business operators, but when waiting for Early-Warning-System analysis for about 4 weeks, you are only able to take action on erroneous trends once per month. And in some cases this could be already to late.

Really short is a reporting cycle, which uses a week as its basic period. Why using reporting cycles of one week? Just because you can see erroneous trends earlier and being able to take actions, while others are still waiting their reports to come. On a weekly reporting cycle you could act at least 3 to 4 weeks earlier as on monthly reporting cycles.

I don’t think you are driving your car blind for more than a small part of a second. Just imagine what happens, when driving your car blind for a month, just like the usual reporting cycle for business reporting? You are right, just a few seconds after start driving you have the first accident. Even if you are an airline pilot and having an autopilot system, you steadily have to control the system, to be sure that you are heading in the right direction.

Reasonable Price

Reasonable is a price, which nearly all small businesses could afford. Even if the price is paid in instalments or as rent for the licence to use a system. An Early-Warning-System, as the lean version described here, doesn't has to be very expensive.

However, the decision is yours, if you like to pay more or less on an Early-Warning-System, but you should carefully check the features and benefits a solution offers.


Early-Warning-Systems for small businesses is a very important and often overlooked issue, which could assist to establish a more focused business operation, but only when the Early-Warning-System shows actual bottlenecks and is able to provide priorities for actions/measures.

However, most small business owners or operators are not aware of the problems Early-Warning-Systems could bring them before there eyes. Furthermore, the possibility of finding new target markets, new solutions or ideas to improve existing products, is just a benefit an Early-Warning-Systems solution may offer as well.

If you think the described solution is not an Early-Warning-System, because an Early-Warning-System has to be something where you have to handle lots of data and documents, well, that might be another definition for it, but starting with a small solution is always better than doing nothing. There is no reason to use a big system to provide early-warnings, and for small businesses big systems don’t make sense at all.

About the author:
Stephan Szugat is founder of abenetis a web-based service about Business Management Solutions focusing on the core needs of business management. This includes Operational and strategic analysis especially Early-Recognition-Systems, Knowledge-Management and other Services for small and mid-sized businesses. He has approx. 15 years experience in the Finance and Accounting Area from companies of different size and from various industries.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Locating a Bad Credit Mortgage

Locating a Bad Credit Mortgage
by: Jennifer Hershey

If you are looking to purchase a home or refinance the one you are currently living in, but believe this may not be a possibility for you because you have bad credit, think again.

Just because you have bad credit does not mean you will not be able to receive a mortgage. In fact there are many lenders out there across the United States that are know as wholesale lenders that specialize in lending money to people with bad credit.

The names of these wholesale lenders may not ring familiar to you because they are not the typical lending institutions you see on the street corners of your town, otherwise know as banks.

The first thing you will need to do is locate a few of these wholesale lenders and shop around for a deal you believe to be fair. If you do not have success finding these lenders on your own, you may want to consider using a broker and have them shop around for you.

A broker is not a lender. What they do is assess your situation, than shop around for a lender that deals with bad credit mortgages.

Brokers have access to hundreds of lenders across the country and they can usually find one that has a program that may fit your needs.

Using a broker may not be such a bad idea, they are usually very experienced in their field and will not only find a bad credit mortgage lender for you, they will also council and educate you along the way.

Keep in mind, just because your credit may be less than perfect, does not mean that you are at the mercy of the mortgage companies, you are not.

Mortgage companies are very competitive, especially among the wholesale lenders, so be sure to shop around. Don’t limit yourself to contacting only one broker, say no more than four. Allow for each to assess your situation, than base your consideration of which one you will use on the rate and program that they offer you. Good luck.

About the author:
Jennifer Hershey has more than twenty years of experience in the Mortgage Industry as a loan officer. She is the owner of a mortgage resource site devoted to making mortgage terms and products easy to understand.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

eBay Auction Descriptions That REALLY Sell!

eBay Auction Descriptions That REALLY Sell!
by: Ian Stables

Headline That Attracts

The first thing you need to do is attract people to your auction. The more the merrier. Yes?

You need two main ingredients. Keyword and big benefit.

Your keyword will be the main word that people will search on to find your item. But you need a big benefit aswell to ensure they select YOUR auction and not someone elses.

Powerful Opening Paragraph
Then you need a very strong powerful paragraph to get someone interested enough to read the rest of your auction. And if you make sure it really gets their heart beating faster they're almost guaranteed to buy. They way to do this is by getting them to see themselves already owning your item. Getting them to test drive it, if you like.

If you can, try to get testimonials from people who've owned this item. They could either be a past customer of yours or someone writing about very something similar to your item. If they happen to be famous, well!

Testimonials are other people selling your item. It's very powerful and it creates belief in the quality of what your offering.

List Of What You Get
If this is done right it should sell your item on it's own power.

Everybody likes lists because it's easy to see what you get. Make sure you've got one in every auction. And I don't mean a list of boring features like...

22ct gold
Water resistant
Sekonda make

I mean a list of the benefits...

Look good with this prestigious 22ct gold watch
Don't worry if it's get wet it's water resistant
Know you've always got the right time (Sekonda is accurate)

A benefit is what a feature does for someone. Try to find as many of these as possible. There are certain techniques which are BRILLIANT at finding out the benefits in any item that REALLY SELL! One that I show in my book is particularly effective and quick at this task.

Fantastic Offer Only A Moron Could Refuse
Try to make what you offer your customer well worth the price you're offering. Again, there are ways of making your offer irresistable by adding to it.

Motivating Call To Action
This is where most people fail. They just describe their item and that's it. Sorry! If you want people to bid you've got to write a motivating short paragraph at the end. Tell them why they should buy.

There you have it. Good luck!

About the author:
Ian Stables is the author of the popular ebook "The 37 Effective eBay Ad Writing Secrets". Available on eBay at only £2.97. Click here for details

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How to start a business

Rod Drury: How to start a business
5:00AM Saturday January 05, 2008
By Rod Drury

Successful IT businessman Rod Drury says a business plan is vital. People pitch business ideas at me all the time.

Unfortunately, almost all are fundamentally flawed, and almost all in obvious ways.
With a few exceptions, there are natural laws of technology businesses that you should take note of, so you don't find yourself repeating the mistakes made in previous start up businesses.

There are a number of business ideas that are just too hard and not worth putting your energy into.

Anything that involves text messaging or mobile data is unlikely to be a success.
That's because mobile carriers just don't leave enough on the table to make a buck from.

It's hard to think of anyone who has built a successful business based on text messaging.

Taking on Trade Me will not work.

They already have the customers and therefore they own the market, and only one player wins.

Anything aimed at taking bricks and mortar retailers online will not work. History tells us that.

Anything to do with document or content management will not work because that has been done 10,000 times before.

A start up involving retail point of sale will not work because the cost of sales and support will be too high.

An export-focused business where the founders are not willing to travel abroad will not work because you need to be in the market to understand it.

Any business where the founder is not happy to step aside and letanother person be the CEO will not work.

Any business that only wants to give up 10 per cent for $1 million in its first investment round will not get funded and will not work.

Any business depending on low-cost Google AdWords will not work, because the price of those AdWords becomes valuable, and then it blows your business model.
Any software business where the software development is outsourced to a consulting company will not work because you need to be nimble to close the feedback loop between your customers and your product strategy. Any business without a business plan will not work.

This might sound like a grim reality, but almost all of the hundred or so businesses I've looked at over the past couple of years are flawed because of one or more of the reasons above.

You only need to look at the very few angel or venture capital deals done in New Zealand during 2007 to see that very few ideas are actually valid business ideas.
As a first step before presenting your idea, you need to be able to write a high-level summary of what the business is and why it will be successful, in not more than three pages.

Then you need to test that idea. Try out your idea on friends first.
Make sure you check with someone who will tell you honestly, and not just what you want to hear.

Make sure you check with someone with industry expertise.
A "fast fail", where you quickly discover that your idea is flawed, will save you time and money. My ideas usually come from problems that I have experienced personally.

In areas where I have significant base knowledge, I can intuitively know where there is an opportunity.

Once you've tested your big idea, you need to back yourself and go. One of the first activities is building a team.

Next up, we'll look at setting up a business with multiple shareholders.
* Rod Drury is CEO and founder ofleading NZX-listed accounting software provider Xero (