How to prepare your business

My hometown recently experienced an intense late summer heatwave. With temperatures hovering at a record-breaking 111 degrees one afternoon, I realized that I was the lone person outside at the normally busy community college campus where I teach.

The people I did see outside as I drove home looked understandably weary and stressed by the heat. As I stopped to pick up a few things to prepare a light no-cook supper for my family, I noticed the trashcans outside the store were overflowing with cold drink cups.

Inside the sparsely populated store, I saw some people grabbing watermelon and ice cream. A few others were at a freezer pulling out bags of ice.

There is no doubt that extreme weather affects business. On that day, stores selling cold drinks and ice were bustling, while most retail stores, restaurants and other businesses were slow.

Retail businesses usually see a significant drop in traffic during heatwaves and cold snaps or during stormy weather in any season. Even if your business does not count on in-person traffic, your employees may not be able to get to work or stay as engaged in their work during bad weather. In addition, your supply chain can be significantly interrupted by extreme weather conditions that cause icy roads or delayed air traffic.

Since even the best weather forecaster cannot fully predict how weather swings will affect a business during an extreme weather event, there are some steps you can take to keep your business afloat during bad weather.

Create a weather communication plan. Be clear about setting expectations and communication guidelines for your employees during bad weather. If you have to close your business due to a weather emergency, you don’t want some of your staff attempting to make it into work.  Notify them via group text or through your website of any closings or delays in operation.

For the same reason, have clear communication with your vendors and suppliers about what happens during unexpected weather-related events. While the weather may be a surprise, the way you handle the situation does not have to be.

Keep up with short-term weather forecasts. As a business owner, you are accustomed to keeping up with economic forecasts and with business news. You need to add weather news to that list.

Here’s an example. Knowing that its customers buy more soup in cold, damp and windy weather the Campbell’s Soup Company pays close attention to the weather.  It even links its advertising to the weather forecasts in certain markets with an algorithm called the “Misery Index.” Therefore, if you hear a Campbell’s soup ad on the radio, chances are pretty good that the weather where you are is miserable.

Diversify your product line. I recall a new small business in my town that sold primarily smoothies and iced drinks. The Hawaiian-themed drive-through kiosk seemed to be doing a brisk business during the summer tourist season. As fall neared, however, I watched closely for menu items that would reflect the upcoming temperature changes.

Maybe soup? Hot drinks? However, nothing seemed to change and, not surprisingly, I saw a “For Sale” sign on the shuttered doors before the end of the year.

Seasonal changes are predictable, but you can also experience the occasional cold snap during the summer and warm spell during the winter. Have options for your customers, so that you can meet their needs on a year-round basis.

Check your insurance coverage. Extreme weather events, such as the recent floods in Louisiana, can devastate your business.

The Red Cross calls the flooding in Louisiana the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and estimates that its response efforts should reach at least $30 million.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) representative Rafael Lemaitre reported on August 21 that more than 25,000 people in Louisiana had already filed flood-related claims.

Request a weather-related risk assessment on your business and business property from your insurance company. Shop around to make sure you have enough coverage if a weather disaster strikes. For example, while you may have property coverage, you may want to add business interruption coverage or data compromise coverage for your business.

Have an emergency plan. In weather emergencies, the situation can worsen quickly. Although you hope you never need to implement it, it is important to have an emergency preparedness plan in place.

The first step is to think about what weather-related problems could affect your business and what you can do to prepare for them. The type of emergency will determine the steps you should take to keep your staff, your customers, your inventory and your equipment safe.

Here are some details to include in your emergency plan:

  • a detailed evacuation procedure
  • storage of important company documents in an easily accessible and secure location away from your business location
  • a list of contact information for people to notify, including supervisors, board members colleagues, clients family members and insurance company.
  • the location and directions to the closest emergency shelter. Contact your local fire or police department if you do not know.

Finally, it is important to remember that bad weather does not always affect us in predictable ways.  Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino and her research team asked 200 adults to predict the impact of weather on work productivity. More than 80 percent of the respondents predicted that good weather would increase productivity and that bad weather would decrease productivity.

However, that supposition may not hold up in the real work world. As part of its research, for instance, the Harvard team examined findings from a Tokyo bank that showed its workers were more productive during stormy weather than on clear, sunny days.The Harvard team’s follow-up studies confirmed the trend.

Business Travel Tips

imagesDo you remember the times, when you got a call from your boss at 5 a.m., and had to pack your bags and leave for the airport to take the 7 a.m. flight? That’s how hectic and random, business travel can be, that too when you are least prepared for it. Business trips are not similar to informal trips, as in the latter case, you have ample time to pack, re-pack, and make arrangements. No matter how easy it sounds, to just pick up the necessary things and dump them in a bag so that you can rush out of the house, there’s always something you miss out at the last minute! To make such travel easy, here are a few simple tips.

Make a Checklist
The first and foremost rule is to make a checklist of all the things you would need to carry. This is important, so you don’t end up missing something essential, and your last-minute travel arrangements are made in time. You can include clothes and toiletries, travel documents, first aid, emergency cash, cell phone, laptop, business documents, and travel tickets in the list. Prepare a common checklist which can be used for any business trip, and stick it in a convenient corner.

Pre-Pack
Now, that you have a well thought checklist, you need to make sure you pack all these items well in advance. It makes sense to purchase a travel bag and use it exclusively for business trips. You can pack all the essentials in organized compartments to avoid confusion. This way, you will save packing time, won’t have to run around for missed items, and will definitely not get delayed in catching your flight.

Carry Extras
During a trip, you never know, what you might run out of! Well, in case of emergencies, always carry an extra toothbrush, towel, pair of socks, business suit, shoes, photocopy of filed documents, cash (don’t depend on debit and credit cards), and pair of clothes.

Be Attentive
It is possible that you may be visiting a new place, therefore, you need to make sure you have the right resources for your destination. In case you have to book your own tickets, make sure you look for the best fares available. Make stay and local travel arrangements in advance, so you won’t have to face unexpected problems. Also, carry addresses, a GPS device, and a language translation book, to avoid getting lost. This is especially important for international travel.

Tips for Small Business Owners

14. It has a set number of established rules and yet the system can be freely modified by users as per need. Bookkeeping and accountancy are often confused to be one single discipline. However, these are two different disciplines. Bookkeeping principally involves keeping a proper record of all the transactions that take place, whereas, accountancy involves processing and analyzing the recorded transactions. The point where the two overlap is, the preparation of balance sheet, cash flow statements and other analytical, costing related statements. The preparation of these statements is basically said to be a combination of the two, as it involves both recording and interpretation of transactions. Conventionally, bookkeeping has been considered to be a part of accountancy.

When it comes to small businesses, owners in several cases, are impartial to the importance of bookkeeping and accountancy. However, the use of these two disciplines even in small businesses proves to be productive and effective, in not just keeping a track of money, but also in analysis. Here are some simple tips, tricks and guidelines which will help you to maintain very good books of accounts.

Bookkeeping Tips and Tricks

Before we start off with the tips, here’s one suggestion, make it a point to follow the double-entry system. The significant advantage of such a system is that, two entries offset and verify each other and any possibility of mistake or fraud is ruled out. Essentially, this system, which was developed by Luca Pacioli is considered to be the perfect system to maintain the books of accounts, due to the two self-verifying entries. Apart from that, it is also not that difficult to execute.

1. Proper Books, Every Day
This is the first and the most important step in the bookkeeping process. Punctually maintaining proper books of accounts is in fact the first step of bookkeeping. It is wise to pass journal entries as soon as the transaction takes place. Now, you can select two types of ‘basis’ for the entries, they can be either cash entries, that is the entry is recorded in the books of accounts as the transaction takes place. In accrual basis, the entry is made before the transaction. When you maintain books of accounts, you can pass entries in the journal and then transfer all the entries to the ledger book, before the closing of the day. To simplify matters, you can maintain 5 more books:

Cash Book (for cash transactions)
Creditor-Debtor Book (recording all transactions done on credit or debt basis)
Purchase Book (entries for purchase)
Sales Book (entries for sale)
Bank Book (transactions affecting bank accounts)

These books can be updated regularly, by first filling the journal and then passing the entries in the ledgers and the aforementioned books. Regularity in bookkeeping leads to enlightening accounting and further more, profit.

2. Periodic Balance Sheet
It is wise to prepare a balance sheet at short and regular intervals. One side will contain all liabilities including the current liabilities such as creditors. The second side shall contain all assets as of date and their market value. While preparing such between-the-year balance sheets, make it a point to include all accrual and market values. Such a balance sheet can be prepared at every weekend, after a quarter or after a 6-month period. Fact is, preparation of such a balance sheet always helps you to keep a better track of your financial status and that of the business.

3. Proper Record Keeping
Apart from maintaining the books of accounts regularly, make it a point to accompany them with appropriate records. For example, your purchase and sales books should contain all invoices and the creditor-debtor books should contain all bills of exchange, promissory notes, etc. Keeping such records will help you to keep a tab on the accounts and it is also a very good verification system.

4. Include Costing in the System
Now this one’s a pretty difficult one. You can include a cost sheet, which can be made at regular intervals, such as a week, month or even a quarter. The cost sheet, depending upon your business should include the following:

A total of all possible incomes and sales, per unit (divide the total income by the number of units sold/produced/in-stock) and the number of unsold units and the ones which are still in process (approximate monetary amounts).
The purchases, costs incurred, expenditure of machine hour rate, relevant depreciation and all possible expenditures, per unit or per hour (divide the total expenditure by number of units sold/produced/in-stock).
The third element on the costing statement is the first point minus the second point. In such circumstances, the derived figure should be positive, as it indicates profit.

5. Make Provisions of Expenses
It is advisable to make certain provisions for expenditures such as asset procurement, taxation, loans and payment to creditors. Basically, open a free of charge bank account or take up any fixed return investment in order to make appropriate provision for anticipated or planned expenditures.

6. Regular and Strict Audit
In order to ensure transparency in the financial aspects of the business, make it a point to audit the books of accounts as strictly and as frequently as possible. This will rule out the possibility of mistakes and also the possibility of frauds or late payments.

7. Reminder System
In case if you are using software and programs to keep your books of accounts, make it a point to install a reminder system in order to get alerts regarding accounts payable or receivable, along with the details of the account. This will help you to make pay-offs exactly on time.

Apart from these tips, you may also resort to modifying your own accounting system. Always bear in mind that bookkeeping is all about keeping track of money, keeping track of money spent or earned and also keeping track of the money that is yet to be spent or earned. Discipline, diligence and regularity are the 3 most important qualities, which will help you to maintain fantastic books of accounts and perfectly know the financial status of the company. Apart from that, also take into note that when you know the finances of your business well, you can run your business very, very successfully.

How an Ecommerce Website Can Profit Your Business

10Most of the people are now exposed to the booming industry of internet with the advancement of technology utilized by a maximum number of people around the world.

Now the marketing strategies have completely changed with the increased competition in the market and businessman is looking for more options to enhance their business growth and grow revenue more than their competitors. So, choosing the best website development company is the necessity to achieve good result and promote your brand name.

An e-commerce website has given an exposure to all customers to buy products online and has given a great online shop to all businessmen for sailing and generating tangible profits for their business product.

Whether you have a small or a large scale business, your primary approach is making an e-commerce website like eBay, Amazon, flip cart etc. A professional company has that experience of making similar sites with their skills and experience, so it is recommended to look the best website designing company in Jaipur. Presenting your products online will promote your product brand in online market and drive more traffic towards your site. Online marketplaces are for all kind of business with the great look anQd feel which attracts the customers in great extent.

Some of the benefits of having an e-commerce website are:-

1. Gaining New Customers

To understand the customer’s requirement, you have to monitor the behavior or interaction with your product. For higher sale revenue, it is needed to pay attention to each customer who comes into your shop and how long does a product take to reach to your customer’s place.

In the fast growing, market business strategies are changing rapidly and you have to analyze whether your customers are updated with these new technologies or not. What type of target audience do you have? What percentages of your customers are shopping online?

All these answers will give you an overview of your business strategies which you have to follow to have the visit of more customers in your shop. For having best e-commerce website for your businesses you have to hire a best web development company which will create a wonderful website for your business and manages your product with affordable price.

If you want to increase the percentage of your sale by 30 percent you need to acquire 30 percent more customers and must try some ideas:

Advertising: It can be of two types paid and unpaid ads i.e. Pay-per-click ads, content ads, keywords, or remarketing ads.

Social Media: Tweet about your offers and discounts on special products and expand your followers in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Referral program: To hold your existing customers with you for a long time so, that you have to set up a referral sales program and offer them an incentive to refer your name to their colleagues or known people via email, social media or other means.

Marketing Campaign: To get some social media exposure, you need to put some efforts on renovating your website, changing some market segments that will appeal to different people and looks better than your competitors.

2. Product description

An e-commerce site dispenses its visitors with sheets of data that contain a brief description of characteristics and features of products. The product catalog is there to give all information about the product that you are willing to buy and even the datasheets contain ratings which are given by the past client to that particular product.

Before buying any product customers can go through all the parameters such as size, quality, brand and more details are given. Ecommerce gives you the complete experience of window shopping and help in every step needed by the customer.

3. Easy and simple shopping experience

Search engines are used by millions of people every day to search out what they need or require. Ecommerce solution is also providing the online solutions to customers who have no time to search for an outside market; online store shares the same experience with their customer so that they don’t miss doing window shopping that too, without putting any physical efforts.

Because of the increasing value of the online market, the online promotion becomes the necessity for promoting business. Most visitors prefer to click only on those links which were shown on the top page of search engine. No one wants to turn the next page, that’s why to get more business e-commerce site should place on the first page. This SEO technique helps your e-commerce website to be placed on top and the visible to a maximum number of customers and gain more revenue.

4. Managing of inventory is easy and maintenance cost is reduced

There is a various cost involved in managing this inventory and management of these inventory will cost your time but gives you the easier and simplest way of managing inventory by your own.

An e-commerce platform provides excellent features and facilities which handle certain responsibility. You can automate your inventory in the system and it reduces your operating cost of the online store.