September 21, 2011

Tips on How to Maximize Deals Offered by Coupon Code and Discount Vouchers

discount coupons
Businesses have invented a new way of marketing and that is through coupon codes and discount vouchers. If you check the Internet, you will be able to find a lot of discount shopping sites that offer coupon codes and discount vouchers that you can use for your online purchase and even printable coupons that you can use for your store purchases. Businesses have found this a much affordable way to advertise their products. If consumers will try their service and products because of the promo that they offer, chances are these consumers will become their regular clients if they become happy with the service or product that they got.

There are a lot of sites that you can find which has a list of discount vouchers and coupon codes that stores offer. Let us take for example you want to buy a pair of shoes from shoebuy. You can easily look for a coupon code for shoebuy by just searching in Google the key phrase “Coupon code shoebuy” and you will be presented with a dozen of sites that has available coupon codes for shoebuy. This coupon code are a series of letters that you can enter upon checkout or this can also be printable coupons that you can present for your in store purchase. Discounts that you can get by using coupon codes and vouchers can be as little as 10% to as much as 50% discount. Some coupon codes offer free shipping for online purchases which can sum up to be a big amount as shipping cost can be costly too.

Because of the discounts that you can get with promo codes, consumers are sometimes tempted to purchase an item even if they have no need for it just to take advantage of the discount. Which lead us to asking: Can coupon codes really help in saving money? The answer is YES if you will just know how to use this coupon codes wisely and here are a few tips:

  1. Always look for coupon codes before finalizing your purchase. There are a lot of promo codes available on the net so you should always remember to look for one before paying for any of your online purchases. Once you find one, don’t settle for it just yet and you should compare with the offers of the other sites to see where you can get a much bigger savings.
  2. Sign up to different stores’ mailing list. Signing up to a store’s mailing list entitles you to receive newsletter and announcements of the stores on-going promos. Some stores even offers exclusive discounts to their members so it is wise to subscribe to their mailing list to avail of this exclusive offer.
  3. Use coupon codes and vouchers as much as you can. Every time you visit a local store or you purchase something online, use as much voucher as you can. Do not hesitate to use the vouchers even if it will give you only a small dollar of savings as it can sum up to be a big savings in the long run.
  4. Use the coupon codes on sale items. By doing this, you can get a much bigger discount. I remember when we went to Coach Outlet store in Woodbury Commons during the Memorial Day Sale. I was able to buy a Coach bag for only $80 since the bag was already on sale and I was still able to use my 30% voucher to get the bag.
  5. Remember that these coupons codes are not your ticket to justify your shopping spree. Coupons codes are there for your use if you want to get something at a discounted price but you should learn how to exercise self control too as you may be tempted to purchase things that you have no use for just because you want to take advantage of the discount that you will get from these promo codes.
A smart shopper knows how to put these discount codes and vouchers to good use and with the tips mentioned above, you will surely be able to maximize on deals offered by these discount vouchers.
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8 Things to do When Starting Your Business

If you are busy starting a new business there is a lot to remember and many things you should do to set up your business properly. Having enough finance to back your undertaking is the first thing necessary, but this is only the beginning. From organizing marketing campaigns to hiring a commercial cleaning company and making sure you have adequate security doors, setting up a business is no small feat.

start your own business

Finance

To start any business you will need to have your finances in order, usually starting with acquiring a business loan from a bank. You will need to present to the bank a comprehensive business plan along with evidence that you can finance the business. You will need to have enough money saved up to support yourself for the first year at least as it is unlikely you will make a profit for a little while. You will also need to keep putting funds back into the business to help support it and ensure its growth.

Marketing

You will need to have a solid marketing campaign in place, especially when you first start out. You will need to let the public know that you business is about to open and then inform them when it is up and running. You can advertise on television and radio, if your budget stretches that far, otherwise you can drop flyers or brochures in letterboxes, pay for signs, take out an advertisement in newspapers or magazines and you should have your own website.

Fit out your shop or office

You will need to fit out your shop or office. If a shop you will need a counter and cash register, you should get connected to Eftpos, which you do through your bank, and you will need shelving, lighting and change rooms if you are opening a clothing store. With an office you will need desks, chairs, tables, computer equipment and all the usual office equipment.

Hire a commercial cleaner

Rather than do the cleaning yourself, if you have a large office or shop floor, you should think about hiring a commercial cleaner to come in once a week or even more, to professionally clean your premises.

Hire staff

If you are opening a retail store you might just start out on your own until your business gets busier or bigger, but with a larger store or office you will need to hire staff. You will probably need to hire staff if you work in a trade. Understand all your responsibilities that come with hiring staff, such as Work Cover, taxes and the correct procedures to paying wages and superannuation.

Security

You can increase the security of your business by having a security door and even security screens on your windows.

Product development

If your business is based around a new product you have developed then you will need to continually research and make this product better. If you own a retail store you will also need to look into the products you sell. You want to sell what your clients want and need so keep a track of market trends.

Insurance

You will need to take out business insurance, insure the premises and it can be a good idea to take out income protection insurance on your own income.
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September 18, 2011

Tips On Investing In Commercial Properties

commercial properties
You’re thinking of buying a commercial property as a property investment but are overwhelmed by all the many options. Just as with residential there are many factors to consider. So here are a few starting tips.  

Tip 1 – Research the Local Area

The commercial market, just like the residential market can go through peaks and troughs. So investigate how well the economy has been going in the area that you’re looking to purchase in. There are simple, obvious signs. For instance, a street full of vacant shops with ‘for lease’ signs on them isn’t very encouraging to buy into. Beyond that, it’s good to check out the local demographics: how many users and consumers are in the area. The local chamber of commerce should give you a reasonable idea about the growth of businesses and the strength of the local economy.

But also research the local infrastructure and any plans for development. So, are there council plans to build a freeway or a new rail station or improve local transport links? These are factors that will dramatically push up the value of any property investment where it’s retail, industrial or just office space. Also investigate any possible negative developments that may be planned. For example if your planned investment is a retail space this could be harmed if a major shopping centre is about to open across the road.

Tip 2 – Investigate the Overheads

Commercial properties can sometimes have higher overheads than their residential counterparts. Make sure you’re aware exactly of what all the maintenance costs will be. For instance, things like repair of lifts or carpets or air conditioning or heating. You’ll have a lot more users in the property and so therefore expect there to be more running repairs. A building report or similar tracked over the last five to ten years should give you a good idea of what to expect.  

Tip 3 – Research the Tenant

In many ways this is the most important factor in any commercial property investment. You really need to investigate just how stable and financially secure the commercial tenant is. Some commercial tenants are immediately more safe than others (for instance, a government agency is hardly likely to default on the lease) whereas a new, untested business (for example, a new media company less than a year old) could be considered high risk as a tenant. So make sure you’re absolutely on top of the tenant’s financials. A tenant who wants a longer lease is also far more desirable. But you also need to consider if the tenant is likely to renew the lease at the end of the period. If they are a growing business will they want to move somewhere larger in five years time?  

Tip 4 – Research the Market

This comes down to investigating the area that you’re biying into. Commercial real estate is usually divided into three types: industrial, retail and office. So, if you’re considering buying a warehouse space to lease out then its worth researching the market that it will be used for. For instance, if the space is currently used to produce paper you should investigate to see how viable that business will be in the long term. Similalrly, if it’s a retail space – for example, a shoe store – research just how well the local market is doing. Remember you’re not buying an investment property, you’re also investing in a business so you need to be aware of all the latest business trends.
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September 16, 2011

Think Your Business Needs a System Upgrade? You’re Probably Right

One of the major nuisances for business happens at the nuts and bolts level- Business systems. These are the moving parts of the functional side of the business, and most businesses are usually stuck with “ad hoc” networks, a menagerie of different systems doing different things. This is incredibly inefficient, and a whole new species of business software called enterprise software has evolved to manage systems far more cost-effectively.  

                                           business system upgrade

Overview

If you’ve ever worked with some of the strange combinations of different systems which always seem to involve multiple entries for everything, you’ll know the problems. You’ll also appreciate how hopelessly out of date the "ad hoc" systems are in the modern business environment. These systems aggravate the tedious and expensive process of transferring data from one system to another.

This is a particularly important problem for many online businesses and New Economy businesses, some of which are almost exclusively conducted on mobile devices. Ecommerce is famous for its vast range of mysterious different business applications, none of which seem to interact with each other or anything else. Phones and pads and their endless apps are worse, particularly if you don’t have a good hookup to your administration systems. In effect, you wind up with a series of different systems supplying your data, all of which has to be turned into meaningful balance sheet figures.

For conventional businesses, the situation is just as bad, although good business accounting can minimize the inefficiencies to some extent or at least act as damage controls. The problem, however, remains, with a large range of possible issues arising from multiple systems.  

These are typical cases:

  • Sales 
  • Inventory 
  • Business accounts 
  • Ordering 
  • Customer relations systems 
  • Ecommerce systems 
  • Credit cards and banking 
  • Warehousing 
  • Financial management systems 
  • Business planning systems 
  • Payroll 
  • Human Resources
Here you see a total of ten common business systems, usually all operating on different software. To get an accurate picture of your business, you may need ten separate reports correlated to provide you with a single snapshot. The multiple systems create these situations. Management has difficulty accessing comprehensive data at any given point in time, simply because of the nature of the business systems.

Enterprise software

The trouble is that the various systems can do their own jobs, but not much else. The new enterprise software is a holistic concept which creates a "single stream" management system. It was developed specifically to put an end to the expensive, costly administrative problems and put management back in control.

With enterprise software systems, you can get a full live summary of all your operations on a single dashboard. You can generate reports when you want them, not just when the machinery churns them out. These new systems are so good they’re even used for business planning and as sources for financial projections. Even better- The enterprise software systems are scalable. They can grow with your business, and have the processing power and grunt to deal with business expansion seamlessly.

The enterprise software systems are many classes above the old systems. Providers also supply technical support and guidance for customizing your new system to meet your needs. Check out these systems. You’ll be astonished. 
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September 4, 2011

Staff retention- The New Frontier for Business Performance

Staff retention deals with an issue right at the heart of business performance- The business skills base. Many employers simply don’t recognize the value of skills, despite the enormous efforts they put into getting skilled staff. The blasé way in which "hiring and firing" is treated really is pretty ignorant at a time when head hunting is a boom sector in the employment sector.


There are also cultural issues in many businesses. The notorious "churn-over" effect, the constant turnover of staff is considered normal. It isn’t. It’s expensive, and failure to retain staff should tell employers they’ve got a problem. People leave jobs for better jobs, obviously, but if you’ve got a 20-30% turnover of staff per year, like some health care sector jobs in the US, doesn’t that tell you something?

Skills and Knowledge Retention- Managing the Brain Drain

Retaining skills and knowledge, is the core issue in staff retention. The fact is that losing skills and knowledge directly affects business performance. It can also affect client relationships very negatively. Some clients prefer to do business with particular people. These business relationships are sensitive, and in some cases the client may decide the employer isn't much of a business partner if they can't retain talented staff.

This reaction to the loss of skilled people is one of the key indicators of a falling skills base. Business credibility in areas like sales and services can be severely affected by loss of the vital "people skills". In some industries like finance, loss of these born client relations managers can be a cue for clients to move with them- To their former employer’s competitors. Ironically, it's also pretty common for people having unrecognized talents at one employer to move to another where they become star employees and thrive in a more receptive environment.

Staff Retention Strategies

The fact is that skills and knowledge define business performance, and staff retention strategies are based on this principle. Managing the brain drain is an ongoing process. Staff retire, staff may obtain qualifications and move on, leaving gaps in the skills base.

Staff retention strategies vary:

  • The retirees are often retained in a consultancy capacity in many firms, indicating how highly valued their skills are. 
  • Some selected staff with special skills may be retained with better contracts. 
  • Staff development programs enhance skills, provide professional credentials and are positive incentives for staff to remain.
These are the broad parameters for staff retention, but the real onus is on employers to recognize skills and knowledge values and make sure they retain key staff.

The key issue here is the identified value of staff relative to business performance. Losing a top salesperson is often a disaster for some businesses. Losing a good accountant can make a business vulnerable to fraud. Losing a good manager can mean losing the entire performance of that area, if the replacement manager can’t maintain the same levels of efficiency.

The days of ignorant "hiring and firing" are over. Good staff can always find jobs, but employers can’t always find good staff.
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