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Category Archives: Business Development

What’s The Right Credit Card For My Business?

gty_credit_card_choice_kb_130405_wgA number of credit card providers have been really aiming at including small businesses in their product line. For new, small businesses this can work wonders as it is a lot easier to get a credit card than a loan from a bank.

Of course, there are dozens of choices available and this can often make it quite hard to choose a specific card. The best way to evaluate the sort of card that’s best for your business is to take a look at its spending habits. Different businesses have different spending habits, depending on the sort of business they have.

Balance

Consider if you plan on paying the balance over each month, or whether you will pay it off with time and want to pay the minimum payment. If you do decide to carry the balance then you will need to take a look at the annual percentage rate, as this can end up being quite costly for business if it goes wrong.

For those that wish to carry their balance and also have good credit, take a look to see if you can get a 0% credit card, as this will mean you pay nothing back for a set period. Fixed rates can be very attractive when interest rates are rising; however this is not the case currently.

For businesses that pay all of their balance each month, they should look for cards with rewards or longer periods of grace. These businesses can benefit greatly from paying back and the rewards for being disciplined are good. However, make sure you are disciplined as the costs for not being so are also high.

Charge Cards

A good alternative to the credit card is the charge card. This card differs as it allows businesses to have a short line of credit. The card will always be paid back in the full amount at the end of the month and there are harsh penalties. However, if you do pay back in full your business will receive a number of benefits for doing so. Charge cards often also charge an annual fee and there is a similar process to the credit card application online, when applying for one.

Though, if you do need flexibility, then a credit card is a better option – just be aware of the interest charges and when you need to pay the balance.

Rewards

We’ve mentioned rewards on a number of occasions and both credit card and charge card companies issue these. These often come in the shape of air miles, cash back and discounts at retailers, hotels or for services. Access to airport lounges and hotel upgrades are also part and parcel of these benefits and perks. The main thing here is to pay attention to the fine print if you choose a card with these perks, as the costs of not meeting the criteria are high.

So, in conclusion, the best way to choose a card is to look at your businesses situation and all the financial products out there and then take your ability to pay into account. By then choosing a card around your ability to pay, you can be sure that you will avoid steep charges and gain all the benefits you can.

Cormac Reynolds writes financial articles for a variety of businesses and blogs and has done so for many years.

 

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Going ‘Green’ is Good for Business, Exec Says

Tips for Companies Trying to Clean Up Their Act
Despite pressing economic worries, the environment remains a top concern for consumers the world over. And that means environmentally-friendly business practices are as necessary for the bottom line as they are for the planet, says Joe Veilleux, president of Euromed USA (euromedusa.com).
“Being a producer of natural ingredients for pharmaceuticals and health supplements, we’ve always held environmentalism as a major company value,” says Veilleux, a registered pharmacist.“We’re glad to see that, even when people face unemployment and other economic hardships, they’re still committed to green practices.”
Recent polls, including BCG’s annual International Global Green Consumer Surveys taken throughout the recession, reveal an unwavering commitment to environmentalism, he says.
“Even at the height of the recession in 2008 and 2009, more than a third of consumers said they were willing to pay a little more for products that are better for the environment,” Veilleux says. “A majority said they consider a company’s environmental credentials when making purchasing decisions.”
Euromed recently earned “green” ISO 14001 certification for its Barcelona factory by meeting stringent criteria established by the world International Standardization Organization, which sets standards for sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
“In the five-year process of re-engineering our factory to meet the ISO 14001 criteria, we learned a lot that can benefit other companies,” Veilleux says. “Some of the steps we took cost little to nothing; others were, frankly, expensive. But all companies today need to be aware that consumers are looking at what they’re doing to – and for – the planet, and they’re making buying decisions based on that.”
These are some of the initiatives undertaken at Euromed Barcelona, which manufactures herbal extracts and natural active substances for customers in the United States and Europe.
Recycling biomass – the company’s manufacturing waste product. We’ve found different ways to recycle the post-extraction biomass, depending on the product involved, Veilleux says. “Much of the residue is sent to companies that specialize in creating bio-gas – specifically, methane, which is used to generate power,” he says. “However, the residue left from milk thistle has such a high nutritional value, it’s actually used to feed farm animals. We ship the waste product to a company that dries it out and cleans it before it’s added to feed for pigs, chickens, cows, and the like. The biomass is given away for free, he adds.
• Wood pallets become compost. At Euromed, wooden pallets are reused until they can’t be used any longer. “At that point, they’re sent to recycling facilities, which use them in composting products,” Veilleux says. This step was easily accomplished by working through waste management companies.
• Printer toners get refilled. Empty toner cartridges are shipped to the company’s supplier, where they’re recharged and returned for use. If not for recycling, the toner cartridges would be deposited in landfills.
• Cleaner air and water. The company purchased new equipment to accomplish these goals, including on-site wastewater treatment and water purification plants, and equipment to decrease atmospheric emissions.
All totaled, Euromed spent $1 million to $2 million to upgrade its factory. It was money well spent, Veilleux says.
“We’re excited about the certification because it verifies that we’re one of the world’s leaders in environmentally friendly production,” he says. “That’s very important to us — we rely on plants, the Earth’s natural, renewable resources,not only for our business but for our personal health.
“We have a special interest in making everyone aware of how vital it is that we all take steps to prevent environmental damage.
About Euromed USA
Euromed USA supplies standardized botanical and herbal extracts and natural active substances for use in the pharmaceutical, health food and cosmetics industries. By extracting the necessary chemicals, the company can guarantee its products meet the precise chemical specifications necessary. Euromed was founded 40 years ago. Its parent company is the 100-year-old Rottapharm-Madaus corporation based in Italy.

 

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Mexican Labor in California: can ya even still tuck your own baby in at night?

As much as we would like to bitch and moan at the fact that they’re “taking our jobs,” The undeniable truth is that we would be up a fecal creek without a paddle without our neighbors from the south.  I am not talking about having to order a McDonald’s double double in Spanish, or possibly saying “leche” instead of milk, I am talking about the backbone of the “AmericanService industry.  When was the last time you had an all white crew clean your office?

We just spent a long weekend with our relatives from Chicago. Brother-in-law who is an investment banker, with a great deal of knowledge about the workings of life itself, issued the following observation from a Chicago perspective:

Not only are they willing to do some of the things that we are not, they are actually more acclimated to some of the conditions that we are.  Can you imagine a gringo now days working on a roof at 120° with a tar mop, or a nail gun? We just had our roof completely replaced on an 8000 square-foot triplex, by a “American” contractor. The work was amazing, and the direction did come from Ryan Saber, but I guarantee that not one gringo lifted a hammer. Job well done, but if the truth be known, the actual work was done by the Latin crew.  The skill in acumen of these people has long transcended the ability to take our lettuce and strawberries.  I went on a sport fishing trip over the weekend, and guess what nationality the kid was who is taking care of all of the tackle in managing that none of our lines got crossed?

Of course, when the neighbor had to have four 100 foot palm trees removed from her property, a feat that was accomplished with amazing skill and precision, guess who was called again.  After the cleanup, guess who again was called to install the new landscaping.  As I sat on the porch watching this deficient machine in action (in the company of the two Mexican people that clean my house for me) I was again struck with the fact that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a white boy bending over with a pick his hand.

What reminded me to post this blog is the following: after putting in an excruciating seven-hour day at my laptop preparing social media profiles and redesigning websites while watching last night’s football game on TiVo, I was relaxing on my front porch by 5 o’clock enjoying an adult beverage when a delivery truck arrived with the neighbors washer and dryer. Although slightly annoyed by the idling diesel and it’s combatant fumes which were interrupting the solitude of my egregiously exhausting day, I stopped to take notice. These guys showed up and performed an absolutely amazing job. It would’ve taken we gringos an hour to do what they did in about five minutes if we have had sense to do it.

Not only did they cut all of the boxes and drop the washer and dryer amazingly skillfully, they had the sense to put all of the attachments i.e. hoses and wires onto the appliances before they even bothered to wield them into the house.

This is not to mention the hundreds and thousands of quote “professional people” that happen to be of Hispanic descent.  The Dr. that I visited an emergency room last night, my Dentist and my Atty.  are but a few that come to mind.

I guess what I’m saying is “since we’re neighbors let’s be friends.” I grow tired of my “patriotic” friends complaining about other people who were not only willing to do things that we are not, but do them far better than we would be able to even if we were willing.

We as a country have lots of things to work out; including welfare, social Security, education, and (frankly) language skills… but the bottom line is that we welcome them into our country every day.  It might be skillful to realize that we do have  things to work out, and to get on with doing that instead of watching Fox news to find reasons to fear and hate.

Both of my children attended Adalante Spanish immersion school. I had a chance to see firsthand how many families were working three jobs, commuting literally hundreds of miles in some cases, and doing everything they could to better their families and contribute to their communities.

I can understand how some “every day working Joe’s” might feel that they are being treated unfairly, and have some resentment about “social benefits for illegal’s.” (I wont even go into the argument of whether they have just as much right to be here as we do). What I really can’t understand, is how some bloated trust fund politician that has never had a real job in their life could have the audacity to challenge the right of an oppressed people to come to America for refuge, and to work hard to make a living for there families, largely doing work that we cannot and are not willing to do any more.

 

What ever happened to …

“Give me your tired , your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free… “

Did that have an expiration date that I was unaware of?

Muchas gracias a mis amigos que trabajan duro!

 

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The toys we have on our iPhones

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Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I have always enjoyed technology but find something new every day. In writing my grocery list I noticed that my notepad on my iPhone has speech recognition software. Thinking myself very clever I composed a short note on my notepad and cut it and pasted it into a text message to send to my wife. Having thought this absolutely wonderful are you then cut a note and started to pasted into my WordPress blog. Much to my surprise I found that the blog site also house Word recognition software. Our iPhones grand.

You have to go through and edit some of the translations but generally this saves an immense amount of time. Especially if you are trying to type on an iPhone, I am no where as good as my kids are at that.

I always enjoyed writing blogs, but sometimes the act of typing takes longer than it takes for a thought to get out of my mouth.

With my new discovery I can speak as quickly as the thoughts enter my head and record them at the same time. People sitting next to me on the train might think I am talking into a robotic device but then after all I guess I am. This entire blog was my first attempt and written entirely on speech recognition software from an iPhone 4 ain’t excuse me. There have been no editing at all so excuse some of the grammar and misspellings but all in all I think this is a very valuable tool.

 

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Plastic Card Alternatives

Last time, I wrote something about how wood pulps can be used to make biodegradable plastic cards for retailer and business promos. Of course, we all know that this will definitely require an expensive machine, or an equally huge fund, in order to pull off. This virtually renders smaller businesses unable to make these eco-friendly cards. These cards are very helpful with promoting your business, and you can’t just stop using them for your promos, memberships, and gift cards. If you’re one of those businesses who are looking for a cheap, eco-friendly alternative to plastic cards, then you are in luck. I’ve listed down a couple of alternative media and materials that you can use to market your business the same way as how you use your standard Plastic cards!

PaperPaper is the obvious choice if you’re looking for the cheapest alternative. It’s easier and cheaper to produce paper cards than their plastic counterparts. They are made of resources such as wood or used paper, which are quite renewable. The card itself is biodegradable and easily disposable. This card is the perfect choice for one-time use cards such as discount vouchers or gift cards. The only flaw with paper cards is that it is not practical to use them for data cards with magnetic strips – but you can definitely add QR and Bar codes in it, just as long as customers make sure these paper cards won’t get wet.

E-Mails – E-mails are the fastest and easiest way to get in touch with a potential client or customer. However, using e-mails for marketing will also require you to make a decent-looking webpage. There are also unwritten, ethical rules regarding the use of e-mails for marketing. Rememember that people do not want spam, so don’t send it to just anyone! You’ll want to post a “news feed” subscription in your site so that you’ll be able to have an e-mail list where you can send e-mails without worry. You should also mention that you’ll be randomly giving away discount promos via e-mail to encourage folks to subscribe.

Mobile Gadgets – I was planning to list “alternative” to your typical plastic cards but this one is more of like the plastic card’s “next step in evolution”. The invention of smartphone innovated how common folks gain access to resources that you can’t usually get from outside your home, such as electronic cash and Internet. Your business shouldn’t get left behind by this technology, so start taking advantage of it! Electronic credit is already accessible via smartphones so folks can pay for your products or services on the dot. A lot of freeware sites provide ways for clients and customers to scan QR and Bar codes with their smartphone’s cameras. The image above is a great example for using these scanners: Koreans placed a virtual grocery store for customers to scan. Each item for sale has its own QR code to be added to your shopping cart. With electronic money, customers can pay for the item and have it delivered to their home while they’re still in the train. Of course not every business can afford electronic billboards like that. For a cheaper alternative, use posters, stickers, or tarpaulin banners.

These 3 tips are both eco-friendly and cheap for small businesses to use. You can even do most of these things on your own! Hopefully, this can help your small business to stay afloat and compete with bigger business rivals.

 

Therese Shaw is an advocate of recycling through turning clutter into art and other practical items. When not doing arts and crafts, she does freelance writing occasionally for companies like Cardprinting.us, a print service that uses environmental friendly plastic cards and offers keytagprinting.

 

The Significance of Lead Scoring in Marketing Automation

Marketing automation platforms – those that allow ‘dripped’ marketing by email, text message or another form of contact – have become incredibly popular as more consumers integrate the internet into their daily lives.

What is ‘Lead Scoring’?

Lead scoring refers to the process of choosing how close a lead is to purchasing based on where they are in the prospect cycle. For instance, if a prospect visits a website and spends two or three minutes browsing around before entering their email address into a form and leaving, they would likely score very low. Conversely, a prospect that has clicked through from a marketing email, browsed an online shop and added items to a shopping cart is likely very close to making a purchase, and would score much higher.

Motivating the Prospect to Take Action

Lead scoring is the best way to make marketing automation software work with high efficiency. Leads that are already close to purchasing or have made a purchase in the past are going to be turned off if they receive marketing material directed at cold prospects and brand new leads. By using a multi-step marketing campaign, leads can be coaxed to higher and higher scores and eventually converted when they are ready to purchase or end up making an impulse buy. Leverage marketing automation software to continually provide more and more motivation for the prospect to respond, and they will take action accordingly.

Creating a Long-Term Conversion Plan

The vast majority of prospects won’t convert the first or second time they are contacted. As a matter of fact, research suggests that prospects – especially those being contacted via email – may take up to ten or more contact points before they are converted into paying customers. This is where marketing automation software comes in handy; these automation platforms never forget about a prospect, and can be set to contact them with new content indefinitely. Invest the time and resources in creating a long-term contact and conversion plan for your prospects and with a few tweaks along the way it is sure to pay off.

Without a doubt, modern marketing automation software platforms offer marketers the ability to connect with leads and prospective customers far better than has been possible in the past. As long as campaigns are planned, executed, analyzed and optimized for improvement, there are few better ways to market to leads generated online.

John is a small business owner, and contributing writer for Aprimo marketing software.

 

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10 Of The World’s Dullest Trade Conferences

It’s true that what’s ‘cool’ and what’s ‘dull’ are pretty subjective and one person’s best trade conference ever could be an event of excruciatingly boring proportions to someone else. Despite this, there are some trade conferences that most people are not going to consider exciting, no matter which way you look at them – such as these 10 of the world’s dullest trade conferences.

1. The International Water & Effluent Exhibition (http://www.sustainabilitylive.com/Content/IWEX/7/) might well be of interest to those within the industry, but to the rest of the world, a conference that deals with the disposal of various different types of waste and water technology is not going to float many boats.

2. Kiosk Europe Expo (http://www.kioskeurope.com/ke-expo). It’s a trade conference about self-service terminals – enough said really.

3. The International Portable Toilets and Public Health Facilities Exhibition (http://www.toiletschina.com) is definitely something of an acquired taste and unlikely to hold much allure for anyone without a very specific interest in certain types of sanitation.

4. Contamination Control & Cleanroom Products Exhibition (http://www.cleanroom-technology.co.uk) no doubt deals with some essential issues, but for the average Joe, the subject matter of this exhibition isn’t going to be worth cancelling any plans for.

5. American Coatings Show (http://www.american-coatings-show.com) is three whole days of events and exhibitions dedicated to – yes you guessed it – coatings; that’s paints, sealants, adhesives and the like to the rest of us. Unless you have a very specific interest in coatings, you may well be better off watching paint dry…

6. The Plastics Design & Moulding Exhibition & Conference (http://www.pdmevent.com) certainly seems to deserve the title of one of the 10 of the world’s dullest trade conferences – I mean there’s not a lot you can say about plastic design and moulding is there.

7. The Festival of Quilts (http://www.twistedthread.com/pages/exhibitions/viewExhibition.aspx?id=38&view=overview) may have limited appeal for those in the professional quilting business, or anyone who wants to indulge in several days worth of quilting talks, demonstrations and presentations. For most of the rest of the world though, it’s not going to offer anything groundbreaking.

8. The International Cheese Technology Expo (http://www.cheeseexpo.org) is a focused event for those in the cheese and diary industry – looked at as a percentage of the world’s population, that’s not a huge figure, so the number of people who might find this expo more interesting than cleaning out the fridge is likely to be small. Buy tickets for this for any enemies you have with a dairy intolerance.

9. Harrogate Flooring Show (http://www.theflooringshow.com) claims to be the UK’s only dedicated flooring event, a title that it may well hold for very good reason. This is one very specifically for the flooring enthusiasts – there’s not even a roofing exhibit to break up the monotony.

10. Lets face it, offices are pretty dull places at the best of times, and tend to be somewhere most people try to spend as little time as possible. A whole trade conference about offices then is only for real gluttons for punishment. The Office Show (http://www.officeshow.co.uk) offers two days of presentations, Q&As and exhibits about office equipment, stationary, office furniture and the like, creating a giant office-like environment.  Yay.

Although there might be some strange souls among us who relish the thought of events like these, on the whole it’s probably fair to say that these 10 of the world’s dullest trade conferences give each other a run for their money in terms of the yawn factor.

John wrote this guest post on behalf of Just Displays who provide exhibition displays and pop up stands which will make even the dullest trade show look a bit more exciting!

 

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