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How to Improve Sales with Community Involvement

Many small business owners focus all their marketing effort on advertising and promotions. As we mentioned in this post on 5 Fundamental Rules of Marketing; marketing is much more than just advertising and many times costs very little to do. One of the great marketing opportunities overlooked by small business owners is getting involved with the local community.
Community involvement establishes long-lasting relationship with your customers that will keep your business on top of their mind for a long time. A typical advertising, in contrast, only has a single transaction relationship where the customer will think of your business as a result of advertising flyer or coupon for a short time.
There are several avenues you can explore to get involved with the local community.
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Demonstrate Confidence in Negotiations to Get an Edge

Post from Guest Contributor Chris Blanton, editor of Ingenious Business Guide.
Many business owners leave money on the table by reacting to pricing pressure by haggling or discounting.
Seasoned deal makers assert in a negotiation that the first person to name a figure loses. Information has value, and the one who possesses more of it is better positioned to come out ahead in a transaction. When one party is ignorant of their opponent’s expectations, the best strategy is to get the other party to name a starting price.
When, as in retail sales, the seller publishes the price, buyers are forearmed with the seller’s expectation but the seller is not similarly equipped with the buyers’. Thus a seller who exhibits price flexibility puts herself at a disadvantage because she better arms her buyer.
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How to Ensure the Business Launch Date Stays on Target

If we have to bet on one thing when it comes to opening a business on schedule; we’d say it WILL NOT. No matter how well you plan, it seems things always go wrong somewhere resulting in delays.
Not being able to open the business on-time can hurt you on multiple fronts –you not only lose sales for every day that the business is not open, while your expense clock is already ticking; but also you end up throwing more money on tasks that are running late.
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How to make more money while giving customer discount

Post from Guest Contributor Chris Blanton, editor of Ingenious Business Guide.
Here is the situation. A loyal customer walks into your business and gets whatever he wants. While paying the bill he asks for a discount. So what do you do? Do you: 1) give in and feel uncomfortable; or 2) refuse and risk losing a client.
The other day I was at the service station D & S Auto in Santa Paula, California where I took my car in for an oil change. When Denny, the owner accepted my payment I inquired “Are you running any specials?” He admitted he wasn’t. So I pushed him: “Can I get a discount?” He looked down at the floor, obviously uncomfortable, and then caved agreeing to knock $5 or 8% off the normally $40 job.
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How to Start a Business with Little Money

In most budding small business owners’ mind, the important thing needed to start a business is money. We think that this is really a misconception. Because of this misconception many good, passionate entrepreneurs are discouraged because they don’t have enough cash to start a business. In fact, we are working with one such individual who is passionate about music and wants to start a music themed coffee shop; but is struggling to find money to do it.
The good news is you can start a business with little money. There are ways by which you can get started as long as you have passion to put everything you have in it. The key is to start small and not go for a big bang as well as have a well-thought plan to achieve your grand vision even while taking baby steps.
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How to Reduce Startup Expenses when Launching a Business

Most people who are launching a business underestimate the time, money and effort required in the initial stage. They end up spending more time and money than they had initially planned. While they are working hard to put everything in order to start the business on-time; the bills continue to pile up and it comes as a shock when they examine the total expense incurred before the money has even started coming in. This is just one of several reasons why an early investment in a good professional tax and accounting software platform is crucial.
There are good reasons to reduce your start-up cost. The less money you spend before you open your business, the more money you will have for advertising and promotion; which is crucial in the early stage. Besides, it will allow you to set more money aside for working capital; which is particularly important for first few months.
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Effective Ways to Minimize Employee Turnover

Post from Guest Contributor Chris Blanton, editor of Ingenious Business Guide.
One unfortunate aspect of management is employee turnover. Many of your hires simply won’t work out. A new worker may develop personality clashes with coworkers, turn out to be incompatible in temperament or values, or may not fit in with the rest of the staff. Or they may not develop the required skill set rapidly enough.
You want to counsel out any employee who is a poor fit culturally to achieve a smooth running organization. Even the geniuses must go if they aren’t team players. Like Netflix asserts: No brilliant jerks! But what do you do if an otherwise acculturated employee doesn’t ramp up quickly enough? Do you show them the door or continue to try and train them?
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How to Lower Fixed Cost to Achieve Financial Flexibility

We mentioned in the previous post that in this times of economic uncertainty your business needs to have flexibility to respond to changing market conditions. One of the ways you can do this is by converting as much of your fixed costs to variable as possible.
The reason for converting fixed cost to variable is simple – fixed costs don’t change with sales or production; while you can control variable costs in response to change in sales. Monthly rent you pay for the building is an example of fixed cost; whereas the amount you pay to buy raw material to make final product (commonly known as Cost of Goods Sold) is an example of a variable cost.
High fixed cost can hurt you in difficult economic times, such as now, and can even drive you out of business. This is what happened to many of the businesses that simply could not cover fixed cost with the sales plummeting. There are several ways in which you can convert fixed costs to variable. Below we have highlighted them.
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How to Survive Economic downturn by Being Flexible

The difficult economic environment in the last couple of years has forced many businesses to close their doors and ruined the dreams of many people. While it has affected almost all businesses, it has particularly hit hard to those who were not flexible.
While it may be too late for some businesses to do anything about it now, if you are one of those who have survived or are just starting now is the time to think about how you should prepare and respond to the downturn that refuses to go out.
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How to Succeed in Starting a Business while Holding Full-time Job

Contrary to beliefs held by some people it is possible to start a business while still working on your job. Many people want to hold onto their current job for as long as possible for reasons cited in this post ; while they are starting business.
While it is not easy to start a business while still working on full-time job; there are ways by which you can succeed as long as you know what you are getting into and take care of important issues that will inevitably surface. In our view, the key to success is making sure you have laid proper groundwork to operate the business in your absence; while still keep a watchful eye on it.
Below we have highlighted several suggestions you can follow to be successful.
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