Monthly Archives: September 2017

Choice of answers Services that benefit Small Business

Answering services assume importance when the employees find it difficult to keep a track of unattended messages and revert to the callers. Many times, a business may lose revenue despite attending to messages on a prompt basis, since a number of callers may hang up instead of leaving a voice mail. It’s time to turn to a professional service when messages start piling up, and delays in answering customer queries translate into lower business revenue. A 24-hour service, that is geared towards handling customer queries, ensures that a business provides the desired level of customer service, and retains clients while roping in many more.

Preferred Answering Services

These services may be virtual or live. The latter is preferred since the caller has the opportunity of talking to an operator who can render the desired assistance.

Virtual Services

A virtual answering service or a virtual receptionist is programmed to answer calls in the name of the company, take the message and inform the recipient by email or SMS. This is an automated service that is set-up to handle either select calls or all calls that are not answered within 15 seconds. These services also allow the caller to obtain a series of information based on responses to prompts. It may also divert calls to a call center in case a busy signal is detected. The caller, whose call has been routed, is typically given the option of speaking with an operator or leaving a voice mail.

A virtual order taking service can be useful for a business, when clients typically call after normal business hours to place an order for a specific product or a service that has been advertised on television. Businesses can also use computerized telemarketing to advertise products. This is done by connecting a computer to a standard phone and programming it so that numbers are dialed automatically.

Live Services

These services give the caller the opportunity of talking to operators, who assess the urgency of the call and decide on the course of action. If the call is not urgent, it may be transferred to an automated service. This is useful for entrepreneurs who would like to provide a service that is personalized to suit the needs of the clients. An operator is desirable, when the business would like to set up appointments with potential customers or would like to conduct surveys to gather public opinion.
A number of such service providers invest a great deal of money for setting up systems that provide virtual answering services in addition to meeting 24/7 call handling requirements. Telecommuters and solo entrepreneurs benefit from using these services that help render a professional appearance to their enterprise.

Reduce Overhead Costs in Small Business

Those who’re trying their luck in the field of entrepreneurship, and are already doing some small businesses, must be aware of a decently vague term, called overhead cost. Though this term may appear vague inherently, it can have a great impact in saving you some precious money when you’re running your business.

Stated in simple accounting terms, overhead costs are business expenses, that are not directly involved in contributing to the profit, but they’re vital to run your business. This may include anything like office space, office stationery, office furniture, cafeteria, etc. For small businesses, extra expenses matter a lot, because capital investment is limited and so maximizing profit and preventing loss is the only key to survival, especially in times of harsh economies and destabilized markets.

Guide to Cutting Your Operating Costs in Business

Regular expenses that are not directly involved in producing goods or providing services are known as overhead costs. It is obvious that you can’t keep your overhead expenses zero. Let us take one example. Electricity is a basic need in the offices, and so you can’t prevent employees from using it! Yes, you can manage electricity usage effectively, and even ask employees to use resources in the office premises frugally. This will in turn lower the overhead costs for your business, saving huge resources of money. Here are some more tips to manage the extra costs.

Enlist Your Business Expenses
Starting a business is not easy, and if you have been in the business world for sometime, you must be aware of the fact that it is a daily battle you need to fight to survive. Hence, you got to manage your overhead costs and be proactive in listing all your business expenses. Now, what you list requires business judgment and understanding. To put things in perspective, consider the fact that you own a small printing press, where the need of computers and electricity is essentially 24 x 7, and so you can’t list electricity as your overhead cost. Some tangible overhead costs in business field are as follows:
Taxation, audits and penalties that, changes in government rules and laws can bring.
To maintain efficiency of employees and provide them all comforts to work, known as ‘downtime costs’, you need to be willing to spend some extra money.
Any changes in bureaucratic and regulatory changes.
Any legal battles and disputes that can result in some court room cases.
Natural disasters and economic downturn, that are inevitable, can cause you to spend some money on the damage done.
In cases of theft or damage of products, you got to pay the extra money.
Any unplanned and unexpected development in infrastructure of the building.

An Effective Marketing Strategy in Itself

Cross merchandising is nothing but a clever display of closely related products from different categories, that encourages the customer to purchase all of them. In turn, it also lifts up the sale of products from different categories. Cross merchandising can be done by displaying the products on a mannequin, or by actual positioning of merchandise on racks or shelves.

In this Buzzle article, learn more about the concept of cross merchandising, in case you are thinking of employing it in your store, or just to show you how supermarkets manage to make you spend more than you intended to.

Before you think of employing the strategy of cross merchandising in your business, consider the following points:
Products must have a logical connection between them
For cross merchandising, the merchandise must naturally go well or complement each other. The customers should be able to relate them together. I’ll elaborate this point with a few examples:
✜ A shoe retailer can benefit by displaying socks, shoe shiners, shoe insoles, laces, and odor-controlling foot creams and powders together.

Electrical appliances
✜ If a retail store houses electrical appliances, like mobiles and laptops, then displaying accessories, such as mobile cases, laptop bags, headphones, memory cards, audio and video CD’s, etc., may help increase the sale of accessories.

Men wears
✜ For men clothing retail outlets, accessories like ties, cuff links, belts, and perfumes do the trick, whereas with woman’s clothing, fashion jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, perfumes, etc., could be displayed.
Plant and gardening equipment
✜ For nurseries, displaying fertilizers, gardening gloves, and decorative pots next to the plants will help increase sales.

Snacks and drinks
✜ Chips or any other salted snacks, if kept next to soda, soft drinks, or liquor, may boost the sales of both items.
Ice cream
✜ Pairing ice creams with sweet sauces, like chocolate or strawberry, are a great way to increase the sale of sauces.
✜ Mayonnaise, salted sauces, and salad dressings could be kept next to the fresh produce of fruits and vegetables.
Fresh breakfast
✜ Breakfast cereals could be bundled up with packaged milk, and fruit and vegetable juices, to create an image of a complete breakfast.
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✜ Utensils pair well with cereals and pulses.
Gifts, toy and stationary
✜ Gifts, soft toys, and stationery usually go well together.
So, now do you know why mannequins are decked up in a full ensemble, complete with a scarf, sunglasses, a handbag, and matching jewelry, instead of just plain clothing? It is done to make you look at the complete picture, and induce the desire to make you buy all the stuff to recreate the same look on you.
Strategic Placing is Very Important
In case of a stand-alone retail outlet, the owner should make it a point to place the items in a way that would make spotting and buying the related products easier. Cross merchandising will bear results only if the customer spots the related items. If everything is just kept haphazardly without any logical sequence, the customer will not be able to differentiate, and the shop may lose a sale. Make proper sections, and keep the related products together. Even if you group things together, the overall appearance should be neat and uncluttered.
For supermarkets, the gondola ends/end caps could be a great location for cross merchandising. These are easily visible and also do not stand in the way. At the billing counters or checkouts, small racks could be placed that could display the ‘on-the-go-pick-me-ups’ like candy, chocolates, and mouth fresheners, crossed with daily essentials like scissors, nail clippers, and clothespins.

These Home Business Ideas for Men

Nowadays, some men prefer staying at home and working. There can be many reasons for an increase in this trend. Not everyone has the money to buy a new property for business, or maybe pay the rent even. The best option in these circumstances is to start a business from home, and look for some work from home ideas that might interest you. There are many home business ideas for men that require less investment, in terms of money and property. While most men usually know what they want to start as their business, some just want to try their hand at something new. For those of you who want to start something new, here are five options that you can choose from. These will help you start with legitimate work from home. Check them out!

Some Home Business Ideas for Men

Writing Studio
A writing studio is one of the easiest ideas for both men and women. In this work from home business, you don’t have to write anything yourself, if you wish to. You don’t even need an office to operate from. All you need to do is take orders from websites that deal into content writing, and give them to freelance writers to complete. Once the work is done, you can send it back to the company and collect the payment. Then you can pay the writers and keep a share for yourself per order. By doing this, you are taking money for only being a mediator and nothing else. However, contributing always helps, doesn’t it?

Travel/Insurance Agent
You can open your own travel consultation firm from home where you can advise people where they can travel, how, and in how much. Basically, you can plan the traveling part of a holiday for people, who want to go to specific destinations, in specific prices. This will just need some contacts, and a good, extensive search from your side. On the other hand, you can also be an insurance agent where you get commission depending upon the number of people you get insured. The payment, commissions and incentives in these jobs are very lucrative.

Tuition
Tutoring children will help you make a lot of money. This is undoubtedly one of the best home business ideas for men. Most of the time, people take this up as a summer job, but it is one of the best ways to make money from home, for students too. However, this job would demand commitment for the entire year. But, you are then financially secure for that duration. Isn’t that great? If you can make little space in your home for these tuition classes, you can earn a lot. Also, commercially starting tuition under a name, can give it a boost. If you get tired after teaching for some hours, or if the students increase considerably, you can hire teachers to teach.