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Common Mistakes of New Internet-Based Entrepreneurs

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Choosing the Wrong Metrics of Success

Consider the industry and market. Many businesses are seasonal, especially in the eCommerce field. Short-term measurements may hold limited relevance for long-term success. In addition to sales revenue, important considerations may include customer satisfaction, customer turnover, customer engagement, as well as the cost of acquiring new clients. Feedback from customers may prove just as useful and important input for long-term growth as raw numbers reflecting factors such as sales revenue.

Remember the bottom line. Metrics such as site views are a good sign, but don’t let your head puff up until you’ve seen the end rewards. Beyond tactics such as “search engine optimization,” businesses should flesh out their intelligence with a multidimensional approach that provides multiple perspectives and can better develop strategies for the future.

Plan for a Reasonable Balance Between Supply and Demand

In the initial excitement of contract negotiation, business owners might overestimate demand for their projects. Wise entrepreneurs take baby steps while wading through the planning phase. The time for a deeper plunge is after a realistic assessment of product demand. Only after meeting demand becomes a challenge in itself should a new business expand its initial investment.

Too much product at the outset complicates a website, adds to maintenance costs, and wastes the original investment.  There is something to be said for keeping it simple.

Work Out Sales Promotion Strategies in the Early Stages

New business owners can also go overboard with their initial advertising. Remember to carefully ponder sales promotions, and tailor them to your company’s goals. Some business managers can dump money into advertising that can misfire, even harming brand image or simply wasting resources.

A tasteless, spammy, or annoying sales promotion does no one favors. Neither do wasteful practices such as carelessly executed free sample campaigns. Remember that ads should take advantage of the right time, place, and style to effectively influence potential clientele.

Prioritize Wise Contract Negotiation

Irrational optimism can doom new companies. Small business owners need to put together contracts with the worst possible outcomes in mind. Human nature tends to assume everything will go smoothly, but the inevitable snags often pop up unexpectedly. Veteran business owners should pour over contracts with a fine-tooth comb with an eye toward the life of a contract rather than the bare minimums and the foreseeable future.

Careless Choice of Advertising Partners

Remember that you have as much of a right to choose your advertisers as they do to choose you. Advertisers need to stay relevant, ethical, and lucrative. Advertisements should stay interesting and tasteful. In other words, new business owners should maintain self-respect and not get carried away in the excitement of finally receiving sponsorship.

Consider Effective Customer Contact Strategies

Email lists can provide a free method to reach prospects on demand. Remember to form these lists quickly, efficiently, and ethically. When soliciting contact information, make sure to obtain a full profile of the customer’s interests, goals, and potential. Effective customer contact lists can save a fortune in advertising later.

Conclusion

Ecommerce presents its own set of risks. Without careful contemplation, Veteran Business Owners can go overboard in the wrong direction at the outset, in ways that can quickly deplete resources. The remote nature of the online customer relationship amplifies these. Careful, realistic, and multidimensional feedback and planning can effectively prepare for success in the modern, largely internet-based economy.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Can Same-Day Pay Help a Labor Shortage?

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

“Same-day pay” saw a redefinition in recent years. The past stigma associated with same-day pay has worn down in the face of current needs. In the past, observers have associated same-day pay schemes with agencies and employers that sometimes exploit those desperate for money. However, despite the stigma, economic developments and technological advances could make these relationships more workable.

  1. Same Day Pay in the Past Historically Has been Associated with Exploitation

Some temporary agencies have always used “same-day pay” to fill labor shortages. Often, these agencies use people who may need the money more than the companies need labor. Sometimes, the agencies and their clients “fudged” the labor factor to compensate. In other words, the workers have ended up doing harder work than they bargained for. 

Developments in technology and in the economy might sand out some of the inefficiencies that prevent more streamlined processes. Remember, the “same-day work economy” keeps many workers active. Such workers may include college students, caregivers, retired people, those in difficult straits, and any number of other people who just plain have labor to provide.

On the management front, managers often struggle to find the right labor at the right moment. Companies make do with what they have, and sometimes lack the flexibility to adapt to sudden changes in the market. 

“Same day pay” can provide an incentive to bring workers on board with short notice. Sometimes companies need labor now, and in exchange can tap into any supply of people who need money today. However, small companies may have trouble developing an equitable synergy between management and worker in these circumstances.

  1. Finding People and Keeping People

The “neglected labor pool” is diverse. Often, those outside the traditional labor market need short-term gigs. In addition, many competent people have idled for years, due to the prejudice against “gaps in employment.”  

Simultaneously, many smaller businesses need good help. As these companies and these people “find each other,” the businesses and the people can grow together. The employment role can grow as the relationship grows, and the business can grow as a result.

In other words, short-term labor and same-day pay can be a blessing for workers and managers. The right strategies and processes can separate the most exploitative practices from that synergy.

  1. Payroll Service Providers Have Advanced Technologically. Fees Are No Longer as Burdensome to Business Owners or Workers.

In the past, payroll service companies charged larger fees for the processing of quick paychecks. For example, cutting a check for a same-day worker may have cost a pretty penny. Smaller businesses sometimes paid in cash, which may have prevented the best possible record-keeping.

These days, technological advances have facilitated these short-term employment relationships. Expenses for cutting a same-day check, direct deposit, or even cold, hard, cash, have relaxed. Veteran Business Owners can thank technological advances for a decreased burden in the recordkeeping department, and increased efficiency in processing their workforce payroll issues.

  1. Bottom Line

The recent labor shortage has caused burdens throughout different sectors of the economy. However, advances in the “short-term economy” could facilitate a new synergy between small business owners and even some parts of the neglected workforce. Many companies have adopted a novel practice of providing half the pay on the same day, and the balance during the payroll period. 

In general, same-day pay has become more workable with technological advances, which can help both workers and employers with their record-keeping and avoid fees. Veteran Business Owners should always consider the exploitation factor, but also consider the benefits to all parties when determining employment relationships.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Anyone can start a small business. As your business grows, you may absorb greater liabilities. Soon enough, operations may complexify. At some point in this process, your procedures should account for the unforeseeable. Natural disasters may occur, as well as conflicts with customers or even with the court system. At this point, before you know it, your own assets may be at risk.

From the beginning, the best safeguard is a good records system. Even with your first small Etsy transactions, your standardized procedure for recording the most casual purchases may still hold credibility with a variety of governmental bodies, including unemployment and other administrative tribunals, should conflicts arise. 

Remember, as the demands on your new business turn more hectic and bustling, separation of your own assets from those of your business becomes more crucial. 

Different Business Entities

Fortunately, transforming your business into any one of several legal corporate entities may keep this oil and water separate, in order to simplify matters when complexities arise.

As your business develops, the business may shape-shift so that the institution should split from the ownership. After this split, creditors can no longer reach the private assets of the ownership. 

Incorporation can close a veil between the business and the ownership. The separation between ownership and operation allows fair accounting in situations where new stakeholders come into the picture, or situations complicate themselves beyond the owner’s ability to manage. 

Different kinds of incorporation may include registration as an S or C corporation or an LLC, or “limited liability company,” which often protects a business when multiple stakeholders drive the business’s direction. S corporations are most popular among small businesses because of the tax benefits.

Many small, home-based companies often don’t bother to take such measures. Incorporation may require annual fees, as well as differing taxation requirements. Some businesspeople may not find either incorporation or registration as an LLC worth their while. They may feel the corporate body itself may transform into an unwieldy entity not worth the benefits from the business endeavor itself. Either choice is valid. However, business incorporation does provide many tax advantages as well as protection from creditors, absent extenuating circumstances.

Business Insurance 

Incorporation with the state is not the only way to protect private assets. Several types of business insurance provide additional protection beyond a strong corporate veil between the owner and the institution itself. Business insurance diverges into countless varieties including business interruption insurance, property insurance, and workplace compensation insurance, as well as many more. Many sorts of business insurance protect against sudden disasters and accidents 

Remember Your Plan B

Even outside your business proper, your underlying skills may serve you as a freelancer. Business owners may freely utilize their talents outside their LLC or registered corporation. Additionally, freelance work often serves as a contingency plan when the main enterprise sputters. Remember that even in the worst-case scenario, no one can take away your talents and skills.

The Bottom Line

Fairness dictates the separation of a business itself from the assets of the owners in many situations. The operations of a business may bring in additional stakeholders whose missteps may drive the corporate direction wayward, and often, unforeseeable problems should stay within the corporate confines. Regardless of the type of corporate structure, entrepreneurs should prepare for sudden business problems to stay business problems whenever possible, and not immediately cause the ruin of hearth and home.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

How to Lead Effectively in a Dynamic Environment

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

1) Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Always Provide Clear Direction:

Employees should know enough to work independently to achieve the company’s goals. Management should have established procedures, routines, and policies so that the workers have a working understanding of their priorities. Interviewers should have some idea of a typical workday, even from the onset of the hiring process.

– Always stay up-front about changing goals and directions.

– Continue to provide praise for a job well done.

– Utilize multiple platforms, including but not limited to email, Zoom, GoogleDocs, and Skype.

2) Recognize the Importance of Morale:

Keeping employees in high spirits minimizes turnover and keeps the workplace alert in the face of new challenges. The environment itself should remind staff that the architects of the business care about their comfort and well-being. A sense of community can foster teamwork and cooperation. 

– Celebrate the Small Wins 

-Build Confidence in Job Security

-Re-work the company’s goals to fit circumstances. In other words, stay “in touch” with changes and be flexible.

-Always communicate COVID-19 protocols.

-Avoid infringing on employee downtime, especially during a crisis such as COVID that may bring added responsibilities.

3) Stay in Touch with Customer Needs:

Also, remember the importance of communication with customers. The needs of customers and the needs of your staff are interdependent. Veteran Small Business Owners should always consider the importance of a loyal network of well-wishers. 

Strategies to develop these networks could involve integration with the community, charity work, shared interests, and any of a variety of strategies to ensure brand loyalty.

Possible strategies (as discussed in previous blog posts) can include the following:

-Discounts and coupons

-Special advertising promotions

-Events relevant to your industry or individual product(s).

-Publication of newsletters or email lists that describe advances and developments.

4) Stay in Touch with a Changing Environment:

Think of how different we are now compared to 2019. The economy has shifted many possible functions. Remote work has even become the norm for many enterprises.

Let’s take that a step further. Now consider how different we are from 1985! At that stage, even computers were a novelty. Dramatic changes in the economic landscape are inevitable in everyone’s lifetime. In other words, change is eternal. Every good owner needs to stay prepared and embrace change.

Here are some strategies:

– Adopt new technologies as they arise to stay competitive.

– Shift employee tasks as their roles evolve with the surrounding economy.

– Strategically update your online presence to keep up to date with changes in your industry or society in general. Consider COVID updates as an example.

5) Evaluate Regularly:

Remember the importance of feedback, not only for your employees but your company in general. Positive feedback brings even stronger results than negative ones. During rough patches, business owners should celebrate small wins. Managers can make an event out of, for example, meeting a sales goal. The general workplace environment should stay upbeat, while the management provides an honest assessment of workplace performance.

Some ideas for regular evaluation may include:

-Regular feedback meetings on a periodic basis, not just when an issue arises, but as a routine process in managing the workplace.

-Inviting feedback on various aspects of the business.

-Providing discounts and incentives to employees, possibly tied to performance.

-Alter expectations for the business depending on circumstances.

Conclusion

Events like the COVID pandemic can change the game with the running of a small business. Those at the helm must use the skill in steering the company through these troubled waters. Use caution and stay calm. This way we can develop the flexibility and wisdom to ensure that everyone comes out on top.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Inventory Backlogs: Prevention Part One of Two

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Vast deposits of excess stock can leave small business owners bewildered or perplexed in the wake of a “failed” marketing attempt. Remember, excess inventory generally has some value to someone. However, prevention generally spares entrepreneurs storage expenses and manufacturing costs. 

Whatever happened to the Avon Lady? Multilevel marketing schemes are back with a vengeance. These companies can famously leave a garage full of excess merchandise. But what about the tribulations of small business owners who manufacture their own products?

As a general principle, unused products are a liability for small businesses. Such products gain the moniker of “deadstock” after collecting cobwebs in the back shelves of warehouses.

The Pandemic has brought fluxes in inventory to all sectors of the economy. Supply chain disruptions have plagued the worldwide economy since March of 2020. Skeleton crews on all fronts have left companies alternately oversupplied or undersupplied, even as demand has mushroomed since the early part of this year.

Inventory shortages are nothing new. First, demand fluctuates naturally due to a variety of market forces. Fashions move forward, circumstances change, and consumer needs oscillate accordingly. 

Second, businesses sometimes rush to meet demand. In the process, quality may suffer, leading consumers to search elsewhere. Over-eager business owners sometimes churn out subpar products to meet demand. The result leaves the owner in the lurch for storage and disposal. No one wants a trove of shoddy “skinny jeans” manufactured in 2008, especially in 2021.

Third, some businesses may lack effective inventory management systems. Internal operations may well disrupt a good balance between different types of products. Good online inventory management programs may include Fishbowl, Netsuite, and Quickbooks, although options for businesses are vast, and may include proprietary options as well. Also, consider the everyday operations of a company outside the computer system.

Fourth, the business may be marketing one product at the expense of another. Marketing resources may gravitate in one direction, based upon the expertise or biases of the company staff. Leadership on hand may know more about one product than another. Sometimes leadership and staff simply prefer one product over another. Such cases may simply present a human resources challenge.  Enthusiasts of one type of product on the marketing front may compensate for an oversupply of fans of another.

Finally, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Remember that disastrous ET video game from the early eighties? Most ended up in a landfill. The landfill was excavated, and some collectors of vintage arcade games paid over $1000 for cartridges of a terrible but historically significant video game. Even in most cases of overstock, hope remains.

Best practice avoids excess supplies of unmarketable products from the outset. However, as with most of life’s problems, excess inventory is often unavoidable. With the resurgence of multilevel marketing, overstock has reached new levels in some quarters. However, certain business practices have long resulted in inventory imbalances, even before the Pandemic. 

In Part I of this two-part series, we examined strategies to prevent excess deadstock, to begin with. In Part 2, we will examine strategies to dispose of excess inventory, online and otherwise once such stock inevitably accumulates.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article of this two-part series has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

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