Dell Technologies

Other eCommerce Mistakes to Avoid: Part 2 of 2

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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, and the cost of acquiring new clients. Feedback from customers may prove just as useful 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.

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 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.


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:

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



Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: 

Pricing to Stay Competitive

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Inflation has become a growing concern as cash has flowed into consumer’s hands following the outset of coronavirus. In theory, businesses should increase prices, especially as labor becomes more expensive. In fact, the economy is more chaotic and unpredictable. Business owners should consider sound realities before they jump to conclusions about how to price their products in the post-pandemic economy.

As discussed in previous blog posts, the pandemic sent the trend toward online consumerism into overdrive. Consumers know they can now resort to online sources that maintain a low overhead. This development bodes poorly for “brick and mortar” stores. Unfortunately for such establishments, the balance of power may continue to shift in the direction of online consumers.

What can a small business owner just out of the military and looking to apply their newfound skills do, especially in this strange new economy? Fortunately, many strategies can simplify marketing efforts.

  • First, human interactions, in general, have become more online over the past few decades. The possible end of the Pandemic will not change this trajectory. During the Pandemic, online interactions only became more sophisticated and established. websites and social media have only gained importance. Every economic participant, including veteran business owners, should become more Internet savvy. 
  • Second, unpredictable shifts in price can leave entrepreneurs unprepared. Given confusing shifts in the economy, business owners should understand current market circumstances in the here and now. For this reason, entrepreneurs should stay vigilant about direct competitors. Confusion may arise from assumptions and inaccurate predictions from the media. Mindfulness about the here and now should prevail.

“Staying vigilant” does not mean cutthroat behavior. “Staying vigilant” means an understanding of a ballpark range for goods and services catering to your specific clientele. Everyone benefits from some level of cooperation. Consider networking groups or your local Chamber of Commerce. Of course, backstabbing tactics only draw the worst kinds of attention.

Learning spreadsheets can help new business owners compare themselves most accurately to rivals in the current, uncharted online market. Microsoft Excel, as well as Apple Numbers and Google Sheets, may provide tools to compare prices with similar online marketers. 

  • Third, new business owners should consider their own costs and capacities. Many analysts divide these costs between variable and fixed costs. “Variable” costs shift with demand and changes in the economy. “Fixed” costs may include contractual obligations such as overhead, payroll, and the costs of maintaining websites. The goals and resources of the business owner may determine the outcome.
  • Fourth, consider profit margin and your own economic needs. Profit margin tends to vary by industry. Usually, profit margin consists of the difference between the cost of maintenance and the income from sales. Great damage can occur when the owner has invested heavily in the business, and profit margins stay low. A home business may need only a low-profit margin, and a restaurant or auto shop inevitably requires a much higher one, due to the cost of equipment.
  • Fifth, underpricing may ruin a business. Many entrepreneurs try to achieve brand recognition through discounts, sales, and cheap products. Misguided attempts at market penetration can leave consumers turning their noses when entrepreneurs need to raise prices to simply pay the bills. 

In short, pricing depends largely on the circumstances of the business owner. Generally, higher investments in overhead and equipment necessitate much more careful analysis. Always, the best price for a product or service depends on the relevant market. Hairbrained schemes such as underpricing rarely serve anyone. Veteran Business Owners need to balance their own circumstances and those of any other market participants, including clients and competitors. 

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:

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



Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: 


Business Loan Scams – Borrowers Beware! Part 2 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter


We hope that you have found the prior article on Business Loan Scams helpful.   It so important to be aware so you and your Small Veteran Owned Business do not fall prey to a scammer.  Remember that scammers often will contact you online or by phone.  Below we will provide you additional types of Business Loan Scams.

  • Ghost Investors: You can receive a call about a “potential investor” lined up to provide you huge amounts of funding immediately and asking for a transaction fee.   Keep in mind when anything sounds to good to be true, it usually is a scam.  Ghost investors are more of a con trying to go after those who might be in the market for business loans and/or funding.   The scammer will act as the “agent” for a large investor, foundation, angel investor or fund who wants to give you money and make an investment in your business.

They are not too interested in hearing your plan or ideas but want to collect your private financial information online such as your social security number or tax identification number for your business.   They will say they need this private information to conduct a background check.  They also will try to obtain an advance fee of some type from you.  They want to hook you and then do a double whammy of taking your personal information and obtaining your money in advance fees.   Legitimate investors take a considerable amount of time to investigate you and they do not ask for fees.

  • Loan Broker Swindlers: These scammers will promise to connect you with a reputable lender in the role of consultant of sorts.   They want your sensitive information and advance fees.

Yes, there are legitimate loan brokers out there, but the real ones will not ask you to pay upfront for their services.   Most ethical loan brokers work on a commission basis and are not paid their commission until the deal closes.  Please beware of any loan brokers who ask for their fees upfront.  If someone wants to buy your business or make a loan, there is a process and it should not cost you upfront.

  • After Financing Business Loan Scams: Stay alert because after you have your loan, there are scammers who will come out of the woodwork.  Below are some of the scams after you obtain your loan:
  1. Debt Relief Scam: It usually goes like this: “If you are struggling with loan payments, get out of debt with affordable monthly payments and we guarantee 48-hour approval”.   The target are people who have trouble keeping up with their loan payments.  The scammer often promises to significantly cut your loan payment or forgive all or part of it.  Once again, they will try to obtain your sensitive information and even your bank account info.   Anyone who promises you a “guaranteed approval” is usually not legitimate.  Again, they will try to obtain upfront fees.  If you are struggling with payments, talk with your existing lender and determine if you can revise the loan so the payments are more affordable.
  2. Debt Collection Schemes: This is when debt collectors harass you, make threats of arrest and try to use fear to obtain money from you.    Collectors are regulated by law.  At the end of the day, they want to work out a plan with you and are not allowed to make threats.  If you feel threatened, it probably is not a legitimate collector.

There are many ways that hard working small business owners can be tricked by scammers and con artists.  We urge you to be on the lookout for the following:

  • Unsolicited Contact
  • Non-Traditional Advertising
  • Upfront Money Requested
  • Lack of a Physical Address
  • Generic Email Address
  • Guaranteed Approval
  • High-Pressure Sales Tactics
  • Too Good to be True

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a business loan scam, below are a list of things you can do:

  • Report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Call local police
  • Report identity theft
  • Contact local credit bureaus

We urge you to be on the alert to avoid business loan scams.  As we previously stated, knowledge is power.  Take your time and confirm that you are dealing with legitimate sources.

If you are interested, we invite you to join VAMBOA.   There are not any fees or dues charged to members.  We will also allow members to use the VAMBOA seal on their collateral and website.  If you want to join, below is a link to register:


By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter


VAMBOA hopes you will enjoy these quotes from famous and successful people.  We hope they will motivate you and help you achieve success in your business.  Often failure will lead to success and many highly successful entrepreneurs have failed a few times before reaching their goals.

We need to learn from our failures and not quit because of them.  There is a saying that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of madness.  By recognizing the things, we do wrong and acknowledging our failures, we can achieve success.


Please enjoy and give each one your consideration:

  1. Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” —John Wooden
  2. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” —Thomas Edison
  3. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” —Albert Einstein
  4. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
  5. “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” —Alexandre Dumas
  6. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” —Napoleon Hill
  7. “You build on failure. You use it as a steppingstone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” —Johnny Cash
  8. “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” —Zig Ziglar
  9. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” —Jack Canfield
  10. “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” —Coco Chanel
  11. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” —Robert F. Kennedy
  12. “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” —Janet Fitch
  13. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” —Ken Robinson
  14. “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” —Charles F. Kettering
  15. “Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” —Oliver Goldsmith
  16. “Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.” —George Eliot
  17. “A man may fall many times, but he won’t be a failure until he says that someone pushed him.” —Elmer G. Letterman
  18. “You’ll always miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” —Wayne Gretzky
  19. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” —John C. Maxwell
  20. “There are no failures–just experiences and your reactions to them.” —Tom Krause
  21. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.” —George Bernard Shaw
  22. “When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed, and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” —Ellen DeGeneres
  23. “It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” —Ellen DeGeneres
  24. “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” —Chris Bradford
  25. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas Edison
  26. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” —Bill Gates
  27. “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” —Richard Branson
  28. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” —Winston Churchill
  29. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” —Paulo Coelho
  30. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” —Mark Zuckerberg
  31. “No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.” —Chris Hardwick
  32. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” —Elbert Hubbard
  33. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” —James P. Lewis
  34. “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” —Lance Armstrong
  35. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
  36. “I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.” —Neal Shusterman
  37. “We are all failures–at least the best of us are.” —M. Barrie
  38. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” —Henry Ford
  39. “I think you have to try and fail, because failure gets you closer to what you’re good at.” —Louis C.K.
  40. “I thank God for my failures. Maybe not at the time, but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.” —Dolly Parton
  41. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” —Steve Jobs
  42. “Part of being a man is learning to take responsibility for your successes and for your failures. You can’t go blaming others or being jealous. Seeing somebody else’s success as your failure is a cancerous way to live.” —Kevin Bacon
  43. “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” —Michael Jordan
  44. “Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” —Gena Showalter
  45. “If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail…it takes backbone to lead the life you want” —Richard Yates
  46. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” —Denis Waitley
  47. “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” —S. Lewis
  48. “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” —Robert T. Kiyosaki
  49. “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” —K. Rowling
  50. “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” —James Joyce
  51. “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.” —Charlie Chaplin
  52. “Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.” —Amelia Earhart
  53. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes–understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” —Arianna Huffington
  54. “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.” —Frederic William Farrar
  55. “You have to be able to accept failure to get better.” —LeBron James
  56. “I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.” —Emma Watson
  57. “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” —Benjamin Franklin
  58. “When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures. So I did 10 times more work.” —George Bernard Shaw
  59. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” —Henry Ford
  60. “With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.” —Criss Jami
  61. “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” —Abraham Lincoln
  62. “Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe.” —Sumner Redstone
  63. Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” —Mia Hamm
  64. “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” —Eloise Ristad
  65. “What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” –John Green


Customer Service for Small Businesses – Part 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter


Train Employees to Provide Excellent Service

Part 2 of 3 of Customer Service Series


Many small business owners are still making basic customer service mistakes that are easy to fix. Taking the time to learn, think, invest in your people, and improve on your service delivery will place you ahead of your competition.



Start by Learn the Ins and Outs of Customer Service Yourself:

-Training Courses

As stated in part 1 of this post, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers quite a lot of free online resources and training materials to help boost your business’s customer service – you take a look at what they offer here:

There are quite a lot of other organizations that offer free training, resources, and mentoring for small business owners. For example, SCORE offers business workshops on a number of topics, including customer service, both in-person and online, with recorded versions available to view at any time.


-Get A Mentor

Consider pairing with a volunteer small business mentor who can answer questions and coach you.


-Continuously Listen & Read

There are so many experts out there that offer other free resources that can be of value to you and your business. Take the time to find and to read blogs and books and listen to podcasts to continue learning.


Train Your Employees to Provide Excellent Service:

For excellent service  every employee needs to be trained on what to do and what not to do.


-Hire the Right People

Start by recognizing that all of your employees are actually salespeople and that you need to hire the kind of people who can provide great service regardless of their position. Your entire company culture should revolve around helping your customers. Take your time to choose candidates who have a caring attitude, patience, and the ability to listen, empathize, ask questions, and solve problems.   Hire positive people!


-Coach Employees on How To Talk to Customers

Employees need to know how to truly listen to a customer as well as speak to them. A casual-yet-professional style of speaking with a light tone of voice can warm up an interaction with a customer and help your company build a relationship, especially if the customer has a question or minor concern that your staff can easily fix. If there is a problem they need to know how to quickly empathize, apologize, and defuse the situation when dealing with a customer who is upset.  Put together a training plan for all employees on the best way to interact with customers and make sure that they practice these skills.


The Telephone Doctor offers customer service training and recommends using the “ASAP” approach to diffuse a problem. ASAP stands for:

  • Apologizing immediately,
  • Sympathizing with the customer’s situation,
  • Accepting responsibility,
  • Preparing to help solve the problem.


-Consider Outside Training for Employees

There are quite a lot of organizations and companies that offer customer service training to help take your business to the next level. Consider sending key employees, such as your customer service manager, to an in-person seminar or bringing in a pro to train your whole team.


-Model Good Customer Service

Make it a point to solve customer problems in front of your employees so they can see how you want it done.


-Watch and Offer Feedback

Make it a point to work near your customer service employees occasionally and offer on-the-spot assistance by making suggestions for alternate ways to deal with customer issues.


-Create a Library of Customer Service Resources

A great resource to have for your employees on how to deliver exceptional customer service is to build a library of frequent customer issues and questions as well as their solutions. Make sure to keep adding to the library as new issues and solutions arise. This is particularly helpful for new employees who can learn how to best resolve common issues that come up.



Exceptional customer service may not come naturally to you, your employees, or your business. Train yourself and your employees to look at things from the customer’s point of view. This is a crucial to creating a culture of excellent customer.  Training can help you identify simple mistakes, help develop ways to combat or solve potential problems, and turn your employees into customer service superstars.


Stay tuned for Part 3 of this Customer Service for Small Businesses.