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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Tips to Protect Small Businesses

Firstly, realize that business is business. You have something which someone wants. You have stock, business products, equipment, or cash. This is the start of protecting your assets. And this applies equally wherever your office is located. Even if you have a home office, make sure you have a door which locks. Monitor who is allowed in, and when. Be aware of who has been in there and always keep cash or valuables under lock and key.

There is no denying this is annoying, but would you rather take the time to lock that drawer, or lose the cash? A friend employed a maid, who was recommended by another friend. The girl was apparently from a good family, hard worker, etc. After two weeks of arriving late, doing a sloppy job, my friend noticed three thousand euros in cash was missing from her (unlocked) home office desk drawer. Not a pleasant feeling. And of course, impossible to prove.

It is easy to be too trusting. And if you are responsible for taking on part time or full time help, you will want to trust them. You will have a hard time accepting the fact that a trusted employee is stealing money, time, equipment or products. It has been estimated that in the USA one third of all employees steal from their employers. The prevalence in underdeveloped areas and countries is probably much higher. Think about installing a simple closed circuit television system when you are not there. If you make it public to your employees, it will act as a deterrent. It is a way to still have your eyes and ears open, even when you are not there. The prices of this kind of surveillance equipment are coming down all the time.

You have probably invested a substantial amount of cash in business equipment. Take the time to make sure that it is all marked with a security marker pen. Pay particular attention to small removable items, like laptop computers, calculators, fax machines.

Be aware that locks only slow down a thief. They don’t keep them out. Quality locks with substantial deadbolts will help. Pay attention to adequate lighting. Remember that thieves don’t like light, noise, dogs or anything which draws attention to the area in which they are trying to operate.

Take great care with your business keys. Have a key register and keep a record of who has what keys, the dates they were given out, and by whom. Before you use your key register, ensure that you have noted how many of each key there is. Don’t label them with addresses or specific information as to where they unlock. Instead, use a code only you know. Such as, O1, O2 – meaning office keys number one and two. Then if they are lost, and found by someone unscrupulous, the key will not lead them to your door.

New businesses tend to be more trusting of accepting checks because they are trying to build the business and want to attract customers. Crooks realize this. They thrive in these situations. Establish a firm procedure with which you are comfortable and believe is equable, then no matter what, stick with it. One exception to the rule may cost you dearly.

So no matter how busy you are, take some time to implement just some of these protection ideas. In the long run, you know it makes sense.


Advantages of Starting a Cleaning Business

* A successful cleaning business can easily be started by one person who does everything from billing to marketing to the actual cleaning. You can start the business part-time and keep a full-time job until the business grows and can support your lifestyle.

* You’ll provide the cleaning services at the client’s building, so more than likely clients will never go to your “place of business”. Therefore, you can easily run a commercial cleaning business out of your home. A spare room or garage can hold your supplies and equipment, and you can use a spare bedroom or small corner of any room to do your paperwork. Working out of your home saves the cost of leasing or owning a building and you can write off part of your home mortgage and utilities as business expenses.

* You can start a cleaning business with only a small investment in supplies and equipment. As your business grows and you offer more services such as carpet cleaning or stripping floors, you can buy or lease equipment.

* When just starting out you will probably do most, if not all, of the work by yourself. If you need employees you can work with a temporary employment agency and avoid the challenging tasks of payroll and paying employment taxes, social security, unemployment, and worker’s compensation.

* A cleaning business can start out as a sole proprietorship, which is the easiest and cheapest way to set up a business entity. As the business grows you can consider changing the structure to a corporation or limited liability corporation, which may require an attorney and an investment of several hundred dollars.

What steps are needed to not only start a cleaning business, but to make sure that it is a successful cleaning business?

* Begin by writing a business plan. This does not have to be a long document, but a three-to five page document that you prepare to help you focus and decide the basic parameters of your cleaning business. Include the following in your business plan: business name, location, geographic area you will serve, competition, business structure, marketing plan, accounting procedures and a cash flow spreadsheet. Remember, a business plan is to help get you focused – it is not a hard and fast document that outlines the day-to-day operations of how you will run your cleaning business.

* After deciding on a business name and business structure, it is important to decide on a particular “niche” for your cleaning business. Do you want to clean small office buildings, large office buildings, medical clinics, banks, new construction or government buildings? It is much easier to start with one particular niche and focus your marketing efforts on a select group, rather than spreading yourself too thin.

* When just starting out your cleaning business you can easily operate on a shoestring marketing budget. Avoid the expensive and often ineffective newspaper and radio ads. Market your cleaning services through networking (especially through your local chamber), cold calling (in-person and by telephone), talking to property managers, and watching for new buildings going up in your area.

* Once you decide to start a cleaning business, develop a relationship with a janitorial supplies distributor. Although it may seem like buying supplies through a distributor is more expensive than buying through a “big box retail store”, there are many advantages in working with a distributor.

A distributor can teach you how to use supplies and equipment properly, which will save your cleaning business time and money. A distributor has knowledge of new products and can let you know when a cheaper product works just as well as a more expensive item. Through a distributor you will be able to buy concentrated and more effective cleaning chemicals. Knowing what chemicals to use and how to use them can directly affect your bottom line. This is advice you cannot get from a big box store! And besides giving advice and training, a janitorial supplies distributor may have leads and referrals that can lead to profitable cleaning accounts.

* Another important person to find right at the start of your cleaning business is an accountant. A good accountant does much more than figure out your taxes at the end of the year. He or she will provide financial advice and guidance throughout the year and help you make important financial decisions such as when to buy or lease a piece of equipment or whether you should rent office space. This will help to save you money.

Hard work, dedication and attention to detail will keep your cleaning business going. Taking the time to make plans for your cleaning business will help to ensure that your cleaning business is successful!


Tips for Minimizing Backorders with Your Drop Ship Business

Monitor Quantities on Hand (QOH)

The most obvious thing you can do to protect yourself from backorders is to closely monitor quantities. Doba provides a data export tool that can help you monitor supplier inventories. If you are able, monitor quantity trends before listing an item in an auction.

If selling items at an online auction, you’ll typically want to only list items that have a large number of items in stock. However, if you have monitored quantities before hand and notice a product isn’t “flying off the shelves”, you may be comfortable selling items that have a lower number of items in stock.

Run Shorter Auctions

I once listed an item on eBay that had only one item left in stock. Even though I knew the item to be a slow moving item, listing something with a quantity of just one had me a little worried.

As such, I decided to run a three day auction. The faster the auction got over with, the sooner I could drop ship the item to my customer, and the less I would have to worry about it. I wasn’t concerned about losing potential business from having a shorter auction because listings typically get the most views and bids in the last 24 hours anyway.

Cancel the Auction if the QOH Reaches Zero

Along with monitoring QOH’s before listing an item, you’ll want to continue monitoring quantities throughout the auction. If you notice quantities dropping each day, you’ll want to keep an even closer eye on it.

You can’t drop ship an item that isn’t there. If the quantity ever reaches zero, go into your auction right away and end it early.

Drop Ship an Item to Yourself to “Pad” your Inventory

Shipping a few items to yourself to pad your inventory is perhaps the most effective fail-safe to prevent backorders from having a negative impact. This is particularly advisable for items that are regular sellers for you.

Usually, you’ll only need to keep one or two items in your personal inventory, even if you typically have several auctions with the same item running simultaneously.

If an item goes out of stock, you’ll always have the one or two items on hand that you can ship out and still have time to go through and end all your other auctions early until the item comes back into stock.