I wanted to get a feel for what it is like to study entrepreneurship as opposed to working at an entrepreneurial company, therefore I decided to interview one of our interns, Brandon Frazin from Syracuse University: Q: What is your educational background? (A): At Syracuse […]
At the start of 2009 I was roughly 215 pounds, although some people may not see this as very high, I was shocked at how fast I had been able to gain the weight. One month I was 185 lbs, the next I was at […]
Small businesses range in size from one single entrepreneur to a company with 250 employees. Regardless of the size of a small company, most everyone relies on computers and software to help manage.
Recently PCWorld magazine listed the 20 best business software and web tools to help with running a business. Six of the must-haves are detailed below.
Top Three Business Software Tools
One piece of software that every small business needs to implement is an office suite. Microsoft Office has been the best seller for years. While it can be purchased in different configurations, every small business needs to have a word processor, spreadsheet, email software, calendaring and a database.
Next in order of importance is accounting software. QuickBooks Pro has been helping small businesses manage finance recordkeeping for well over a decade. It is an accounting program that puts the whole process in a flowchart or diagram format or allows the user to work through the menu system. The program also lets the user work from common sense terms or with accounting terminology.
Database software is also necessary to run a business effectively. Database programs provide the ability to build mailing lists, inventory, and other lists. Microsoft Office does have Microsoft Access as the database but an alternative is FileMaker Pro which is widely used.
Three Additional Business Softwares
Client or customer relationship management (CRM) software is widely used by sales forces from every type of business. CRM programs help even the one-man or woman shop manage every aspect of the sales process from cold calling to closing.
Remote access for those times when traveling and finding the need to have access to the computer back at the office is becoming more vital. There are several varieties these days. SoonR is a program that enables remote access via a mobile telephone. GoToMyPC is one product that allows a user work on their office PC from home or when traveling.
Blogging is almost a must-do for most businesses. While there are many blog sites on the net that allows members to pick a layout or style and start blogging immediately, there are those companies that have made a long-term commitment to blogging that want to design their own blog layout. WordPress is free and installs easily and quickly and does offer a free hosting service.
Other Software Products that Can Help Run a Business
There a literally hundreds of software products available including simulation programs, gaming programs and many others. The need-to-haves are detailed above. Nice-to-haves include collaboration software, ecommerce products, instant messaging, and email marketing programs.
A general rule of thumb to guide software purchases is to try before you buy. Make sure the product fits the need and that the interface is comfortable to work with. And make sure your machine will work for the software used. If your computer is dated and old, it might be a good plan to pick up a new laptop. You don’t have to break the bank, either. Check out the best laptops under 500 dollars at Digi Arch.
I had the privilege of interviewing a young yet successful entrepreneur. He was gracious enough to tell me about his background and business and to share some insights into the ever-changing profession of being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneur’s Background He graduated from Brigham Young University with […]
Pre-Paid Legal is a network marketing company that specializes in the sale of legal services, which its representatives sell as legal insurance as clients can have attorneys on call by paying monthly premiums at varying rates.
There are two ways that people interested in this company can become involved. The first is to purchase the services as noted above, and the second is to become a sales representative, which allows one to purchase any of the insurance policies, as well as sell them, while having the opportunity to build a network of other people doing the same, potentially earning them a substantial income.
Is Prepaid Legal a Pyramid Scheme?
Network marketing companies can sometimes become confused with a pyramid scheme, and pyramid schemes are sometimes promoted as networking opportunities.
A network marketing company is an entity that allows people to become salespeople for a product or service while allowing them to bring others in to do the same, bringing them a percentage of their profits. It is like franchising in that when the McDonald’s corporation sells a franchise to someone they will pay a percentage of what they take in to the corporation.
A pyramid scheme gives off the appearance of a networking (or franchise) opportunity, but its differences come in two areas:
A networking opportunity that has a high registration cost is usually a pyramid. “High” is a relative term, so here is an example. If a person pays $500 to get involved with a company and a small percentage of that $500 goes to administrative costs while most of it goes back to the new representative by way of product information and goods or services, then the opportunity is legitimate. But if $200 goes to the company for administrative fees and $200 goes to the sponsoring representative as a referral bonus, the opportunity is a pyramid scheme.
Additionally, products have to be competitive in the marketplace. If they are not, then this could be considered a deceptive trade practice because even the lowest person in the network is supposed to receive value for being involved with the opportunity. Overpaying for products and receiving little value for registration would be contrary to this.
Pre-Paid Legal costs $249 to get involved with. $69 goes toward registration fees. Its services are said to be of good price for the value one receives, making it a legitimate networking opportunity.
How Many People Make a Good Living off of Prepaid Legal?
The numbers of who and how many people make a “good living” off of Pre-Paid Legal is unknown partially because some people can live on less than others.
But if one was to speculate off of other networking statistics, an Amway Global Platinum IBO earns about $48,000 in commissions before business expenses, which cost the average networker $8,500 a year. To build this kind of group, one might need as many as 100 people in his network. Given the attrition rate between people not being serious, or falling out for other reasons, one might reason that about 1/250 people reach this level.
If one was to think of networking opportunities as being universal, then about 0.4% are either making good incomes, or good supplemental incomes, in Pre-Paid Legal, proving that making a good living is possible, but, like many things, improbable.
Barack Obama will extol his economic policies to small business during the recession in the final week of the 2010 Mid Term Election campaign. He plans to visit American Cord & Webbing Co, a manufacturer of cords and buckles, in Rhode Island according to Kevin […]
Many small business owners who manage to eke out just enough money to keep the business running are constantly stressed and worried. Sometimes, it wouldn’t take much for them to begin to do better financially, but they are so overwhelmed that they can’t see what […]
Good Staff Recruitment for Small Business Owners: Shortcuts in Recruitment and Selection Lead to Staff Problems Later.
Big business and government bodies have a personnel management section, middle-sized companies often rely on recruitment agencies, but small business owners, corner shopkeepers, sole operators and tradesmen usually go it alone when the time comes to find good staff.
Small Business Owners’ Reluctance to Interview Job Applicants
For many sole operators and small businesses, hiring is a chore; some even feel they can’t waste time, taking time out from the business operation. Consequently, the hassled employer may have to resort to asking the departing key employee if they have a friend who could do the job. Otherwise, in busy operations where the need is urgent, the first person who applies sometimes gets the job.
Why Small Business Owners Should Advertise for Staff
Advertising is often limited to a scrawled note in the window of the premises saying: “Help Wanted. Apply within.” Too often, however, necessity leads to the snap decisions and an annoying high turnover of staff. It makes good business sense for the employer to have a clear picture of the ideal applicant in his or her mind and spell this out in the advertisement, even if the ad simply goes in the front window.
Failure to Interview for New Staff is False Economy for Small Business Owners
While someone might go shopping for a friend’s birthday present with the attitude: I’ll know what I want when I see it, this is not a smart way for a business person to select staff, who, after all, greet the customer, represent the business name in contacts and work skills, and are entrusted to make a business prosper.
A wrong choice can cost the business money both in obvious mistakes and not so obvious mediocre performance. Wrong choices, in some circumstances, are notoriously difficult to get rid of. It is good business sense to get the right person in the first place. Finding good staff in the first place is one of the best employee retention strategies. A sound interview will reduce the chance of a bad choice.
How to Write Simple Selection Criteria for Staff Recruitment
The process of writing a list helps clarify thoughts. The employer needs to brainstorm a list of the basic skills and attitudes they must have in a new worker, then the qualities they would like to see in a new worker and, lastly, to be contrary, a private list of the things they hate most in a worker.
Some practical people find it hard to think in abstraction. In such cases, it is useful to think about past workers who would be welcomed back in a flash- think in terms of: “Joe was great because…” Every business is different. Some require a gift of the gab, others manual dexterity. Some need speed and quick thinking; others patience and accuracy.
How to Write a Simple Position Vacant Ad
Having pinned down precisely the most valued skills and attitudes he or she requires, the employer is now able to draft a suitable advertisement. To get precisely what you want, it is necessary to start by asking for what you want.
Of course, the employer’s requirements must be appropriate and meet anti-discrimination guidelines. Spell out at the very start of the ad those qualities that are absolutely essential and make it clear that they are essential. Use words like “must”, and “essential.” Remember that words and phrases such as “should,” “would prefer,” “some knowledge of,” “desirable” leave the door open for applicants who don’t possess the named requirements. This may be appropriate, if it is precisely the employer’s intention, because the skills required are in short supply.
Nevertheless, “some knowledge of the food industry” means that someone who worked in a fast food chain for 1 week 20 years ago when they were 15 can legitimately apply. Being precise and exacting about requirements should deter most unsuitable applicants, but, bear in mind, people who desperately want work are likely to apply for any job, even if they don’t meet the criteria.
The Importance of Interviewing for the Vacant Position in Small Business
It is possible that the very wording of the advertisement will yield a better group of applicants, but interviewing will help sort the best from the rest. Yes, it is a time-consuming process, but well worth the effort.
Interview questions need to address the job criteria closely. If a person with at least five years’ experience in hand-painting plaster gnomes is absolutely the requirement, why ask “What sort of sports do you play?” (unless it’s a question to relax the applicant) or even “Have you ever painted a gnome?”
The interview is important for another reason. Gut feeling. Getting to talk to applicants and watch them will reveal much. Most people can trust that inner sense that tells them someone is appropriate or that sounds warning bells inexplicably when someone appears to say all the right things. An employer who knows what he or she wants, asks for it precisely in clearly worded ad, then tests for it at an interview, is more likely to get an employee with the desired qualities who will form a lasting relationship with the company.
Internet commerce needs infrastructure like an Internet backbone and Internet Service Providers (ISPS); applications like shopping cart software and payment gateways; online stores that sell over the Web; and intermediaries who facilitate Internet businesses. Major Components of the Internet Economy A University of Minnesota online […]