Monthly Archives: October 2010

Ideas for successful small business marketing

Ideas for Successful Small Business Marketing

I have been running a small business for nearly ten years and have used various forms of marketing ideas to help promote my services and to attract new customers. In this article, I write about these marketing strategies which I hope will benefit the people who read it.

When I was twenty-three, I had what I believed was a good business idea. I was going to offer a speech coaching service as I had managed to overcome a speech impediment and believed that the techniques which had helped me could help other people as well.

It is all well and good having an idea but if no one knows about the service you are offering, it is basically worthless. I had no real business experience and was unsure on how to proceed. By reading a number of books on marketing for small businesses, I managed to find some potential routes which could help me to get started.

Direct marketing

This was one of the first areas I tried. I had a small leaflet produced which explained the speech coaching service that I was offering and then with the help of some friends and family, went around my local area delivering them. This was not as successful as I hoped it would be, however I am sure that this area of marketing could work well for other types of business.

Newspapers

I then decided to speculate to accumulate. I contacted a number of the local newspapers in my area and paid for an advertisment which would appear on a weekly basis. This advert would reach quite a large number of people and even though this was quite an expensive form of marketing, it did work for me in the early days.

Open days

I wanted to expand the area that I was going to offer my services. I decided to hold an open day or presentation in various parts of the country which would help to promote my business.

This was successful as newspapers were happy to report this open day free of charge, as it was a local event which would be of interest to their readers.

Yellow pages

I advertised in the yellow pages for a number of years but their prices just seemed to increase to an unrealistic level. More and more people now have access to the internet and I believe this is where they are more likely to search for the services they require. Yellow pages or as it is now called Yell, has become more expensive when in reality probably less people are using it.

Advertising in the yellow pages did prove successful for me for a number of years however, and is certainly an area of marketing which could work for other small businesses.

Websites

I paid a company to design and build me a website around seven years ago and this has by far been the best marketing investment I have made thus far. I have worked hard to promote this site and it is now doing well in the major search engines.

Radio and television marketing

This is an area of marketing which I have not tried as yet as it is very expensive. I have heard from other sources that advertising on the radio or television can be very beneficial for certain businesses, if they can afford the initial outlay.

I am sure there are many other ways of marketing a small business and I will seek them out in the future for my own business.

The above ideas are what I have learnt about and as you may have read, I have tried some of them myself with mixed success. Every business is obviously different and it is basically a form of trial and error to find which ones will work.

How to choose good hotel software

How To Choose Good Hotel Software?

To run a profitable hotel management business, one needs good administration functionality, besides an excellent team of seasoned hotel-industry professionals. Hotel management software can help you in managing the complete business efficiently. Besides administration of the hotel, software can help you in managing sales, reservation, inventory, and many other functionalities of the hotel.

Besides going for any custom-designed motel software, one can also opt for any good package software too. However, any pre-built package software should conform to the following features/ norms/ requisites:

Compatibility with the existing systems
The hotel software should be compatible to the existing system in the hotel. Also, it should have the “data import” option, so that the existing digital data can be fed in the new system without difficulty.  

Multiple Language support option
The Hotel management software should support multiple languages. At least, there should be options to generate reports, invoices, labels etc. in more than one regional language. This is an important feature as hotels are frequently visited by people speaking different languages.

Overall functionality of the software
The overall functionality of the software should be pre-planned. The software may be chosen to perform one or two specific tasks or multiple functions. More importantly, the software should be web compatible, i.e. should have options like emailing etc. so that data can be exported easily. Also, it should be able to import or export data from any existing website for reservation or other purposes.

Adaptability
The hotel software should be easily operable and installable. Since most of the hotel front-desk staff may not have adequate technical knowledge, the overall navigation in the software should be lucid and supported by detailed manual and help options. There should also be proper guidelines for normal troubleshooting for the administrator.

Vendor’s authenticity
Authenticity and reputation of the vendor should be checked before finally going for the software. The vendor should be asked for testimonials from existing clients and should be randomly cross-checked. Also, the terms and conditions of the service, after-sell support, and scope of customer care should also be properly evaluated before finally opting for the software.To run a profitable hotel management business, one needs good administration functionality, besides an excellent team of seasoned hotel-industry professionals. Hotel management software can help you in managing the complete business efficiently. Besides administration of the hotel, software can help you in managing sales, reservation, inventory, and many other functionalities of the hotel.

Besides going for any custom-designed motel software, one can also opt for any good package software too. However, any pre-built package software should conform to the following features/ norms/ requisites:

Compatibility with the existing systems
The hotel software should be compatible to the existing system in the hotel. Also, it should have the “data import” option, so that the existing digital data can be fed in the new system without difficulty.  

Multiple Language support option
The Hotel management software should support multiple languages. At least, there should be options to generate reports, invoices, labels etc. in more than one regional language. This is an important feature as hotels are frequently visited by people speaking different languages.

Overall functionality of the software
The overall functionality of the software should be pre-planned. The software may be chosen to perform one or two specific tasks or multiple functions. More importantly, the software should be web compatible, i.e. should have options like emailing etc. so that data can be exported easily. Also, it should be able to import or export data from any existing website for reservation or other purposes.

Adaptability
The hotel software should be easily operable and installable. Since most of the hotel front-desk staff may not have adequate technical knowledge, the overall navigation in the software should be lucid and supported by detailed manual and help options. There should also be proper guidelines for normal troubleshooting for the administrator.

Vendor’s authenticity
Authenticity and reputation of the vendor should be checked before finally going for the software. The vendor should be asked for testimonials from existing clients and should be randomly cross-checked. Also, the terms and conditions of the service, after-sell support, and scope of customer care should also be properly evaluated before finally opting for the software.

If you’ve got a good idea for a product, do you need a patent

If You’ve Got A Good Idea For A Product, Do You Need A Patent?

Once you have your product developed it’s time to decide if a patent is worth the trouble. Although in theory, all good ideas should be protected by a patent. Consider the protection however as only the right to allow you to claim the technology, product or ideas as your own. YOU get to do all the protecting. So if you develop a product then someone steals the idea and goes into competition with you, you have the right to sue and defend your patent rights.

In patent cases, there typically are claims and counter-claims, especially if it’s a popular product. These cases can quickly become more complicated because of the dynamics of product development. As the complexity increase, so do the costs.

Understand that it’s YOU that gets to pay the patent attorney fees and court costs that can rapidly add up into the tens of thousands of dollars very quickly. So you need to ask yourself if your product or idea is such that it will generate large dollars. Put bluntly, what’s the product going to be worth and are you confident that the product of idea has a good shot at being worth the trouble. Of course, the higher the value of the product-idea- or technology, the more likely people will want to compete and it may be to your advantage to apply for the patent rights with the government.

Another thing to consider is that even if you have the patent rights in the U.S., others may be free to use your ideas throughout the rest of the world. Although many countries support common patent rights, the reality is that if it’s a good idea and is used outside the United States, it’s becomes even more expensive and difficult to protect your patent rights. It’s important at this point in your product development to understand that the costs of a patent are not in the application but in the defense when it becomes necessary.

If you’re product becomes popular, it’s not unknown for large corporations to take your patented ideas and compete directly with you in the market. Because of their size, they have a great advantage and can literally destroy your business built around your product, idea, technology or patent. Large corporations have been known to simply have an attitude of “sue me.” They then tie up the little guy in litigation for years and sometimes decades all the while benefiting from his idea. Understand that this doesn’t always happen but if it does, you could be left without a market for your patented idea and the prospect of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to attorneys to establish your patent rights.

Finally, the last major issue to consider is that some countries and international companies simply will not care about your patent even if you have one. These countries, specifically China comes to mind, do not care about intellectual property rights or patents. Even if fully protected with your patent, some countries have no problem simply taking what interests them. Although China isn’t the only country to have this attitude, they have been considered one of the biggest offenders for years.

So you need to ask yourself if the value of your idea is such that it warrants a patent. That you are willing and able to defend those rights in court, and have developed a plan to protect your idea in the international markets.

How far in advance do you need to book marquee hire companies in the uk

How Far in Advance Do You Need to Book Marquee Hire Companies in the Uk?

How far in advance do you need to book marquee hire companies in the UK?

Marquee hire is popular all over the UK in South Yorkshire, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Doncaster, North Yorkshire, and Manchester, and all throughout the year. So how far in advance should you book the marquee for hire? Summer is still the busiest time for marquee hire due to the weather being so nice and warm (usually), and so if you are planning an event for this time of year it is advisable to place your booking as early as possible.

Easter through to October are the busiest times of year for marquee hire companies. Throughout the rest of the year marquee hire is still quite busy all over the UK, and so it is still advised to book the marquee as soon as you know the date of the event, generally speaking if you can book the marquee 4 to 6 months in advance then you’ll be in a better position of securing your location and marquee.

Is it more expensive if I leave it to the last minute to hire the marquee?

Leaving your marquee hire and booking to the last minute usually entails flustered decisions. It doesn’t add on to the price leaving a booking till late for the marquee hire although there will be fewer marquees available and these may be more expensive than you were willing to pay but due to lack of options you may end up having to pay more.

How long can you hire the marquee for?

This completely depends on you and the event you are throwing. When calling marquee hire companies inform them of how long you’ll require the marquee for, for example if it is just a day / night event or if you are throwing a few different parties and need the marquee for a few days this will be calculated in to the price of hiring out the marquee. If you are requiring the marquee for a longer period of time such as a week or two then the earlier you can book the marquee the better off you’ll be.

How to get new pallet racking without paying outrageous prices

How To Get New Pallet Racking Without Paying Outrageous Prices

Are you on the market for new pallet racking for your small or large sized business?  Is your company stationed in Melbourne?  Is so pallet racking Melbourne providers are few and far between.  However, there is one trusted name that you can turn to who is a reputable and affordable provider of new pallet racking in Melbourne.  This is ISS Pro Rack.   They are the number one provider and manufacturer or new pallet racking in all of Australia.  They have years of proven experience and are also considered to be one of the most affordable new pallet racking manufacturers in the world.   This is because they design and manufacture their own pallets in order to offer them nearly at cost to their customers.

The number one pallet racking Melbourne provider is no doubt ISS Pro Rack.  Not only do they manufacturer new pallet racking, but they can also customize new pallet racking based on your companies needs and specifications.  The majority of new pallet racking manufacturers do not offer customization.  Therefore, you are stuck purchasing the pallets that they have on hand.  This is not effective for many businesses based on their current warehouse space.  However, with ISS Pro Rack you can be sure that every pallet that you order meets the specifications that you request.

Another reason why the number one pallet racking Melbourne provider is ISS Pro Rack is due to their overall cost.   ISS Pro Rack is one of the most affordable providers of new pallet racking not only in Australia, but also throughout the world.  They build their pallets using affordable but strong and durable materials.  They then manufacture these pallets “in house” in order to assure that they can sell their pallets at rock bottom prices to their clients.   The affordability of this pallet racking Melbourne provider, is one of the main reasons that ISS Pro Rack is growing in popularity and in reputation.

With the pallet racking Melbourne provider of ISS Pro Rack, you can also find new pallet racking in a variety of types.  They offer selective pallet racking, double-deep racking, very narrow aisle racking, drive-in drive-through racking, cantilever racking systems, modular shelving systems, archival storage, spare parts shelving, and long-span parts shelving. There are not many other pallet companies that offer such a wide selection of pallet types in Australia.

Each of these pallets can be designed according to the specifics of your warehouse.  They can provide tall shelves with large spacing, that also feature movable shelves for easy size changes.  They can also create deeper backed pallets for larger and bulky shape boxes and bins that you may need to store.  Each of these pallets are also guaranteed by ISS Pro Rack. There are not many other pallet manufacturers that actually back their pallets with a guarantee.

You can save yourself money and the hassle of dealing with an inexperienced company when it comes to obtaining new pallet racking, by turning to ISS Pro Rack.  There is no other more affordable or effective manner in which you can obtain the pallets that you need at a price you can afford.

October 2010
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