Procedures For Starting A Restaurant Business In Las Vegas

Las Vegas, home of the most addictive casinos and gambling houses, a hot bed of entertainment, is also known as “Sin City.” It is a great place to start a restaurant business, as it is a tourist haven with an amazing demand for restaurants.

How to Start a Restaurant in Las Vegas:

Las Vegas has so many different restaurants and dining facilities that it will require careful planning and innovation to open a restaurant in Las Vegas that has something different to offer.

It will be helpful if you could do extensive research and find out which kind of a restaurant has a greater demand and to verify if that demand exists in the area where you plan to open your restaurant. Decide on the kind of restaurant you want to operate, the foods you will serve, if you will specialize in perhaps some exotic foreign restaurant such as a Thai or Japanese restaurant or will it be an all-American restaurant or will you otherwise open a healthy food restaurant?

Select an appropriate name that is attractive and decide on getting a suitable logo for your business. Select an ideal location for your restaurant, making sure the seating capacity is. The restaurant has to be visible and is best located in a busy shopping area or in a commercial complex.

Calculate start-up expenses plus a few months operating expenses and get the required finances to fund the start-up. Have an accurate cash flow projection to manage finances better.

Be sure you get all required licenses and permits that are necessary such as food establishment permits from the department of health services, and get adequate insurance coverage, too.

You have to carefully select the menu and set appropriate prices by perhaps analyzing your competitors. Hire the suitably qualified staff by making a list and ensuring that their credentials are verified. Monitor them constantly and ensure that they are motivated.

Design the interior in an attractive manner; select the equipment, supplies, materials, and furniture with care. Buy after you have compared prices. It could be better to operate within a budget and prioritize expenses until the establishment is up and running.

Advertise and market your restaurant in an aggressive manner until you capture your target market. Offer a discount at certain times, or a free salad initially to get people to solicit your establishment. If you offer good, nutritious foods that are tastily cooked and well presented, a return clientele is guaranteed.

You could use the services as well as products available in the market to manage and run a better establishment. A restaurant business in Las Vegas can be a very profitable venture.

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Scott Alexander Book Review – Rhinoceros Success

The book Rhinoceros Success is an excellent read. The whole book is illustrated true, factual, eye opening stories.

The amazing Authors of this book is Scott Alexander. Mr Alexander authored a set of Rhino books when he was twenty-three years old:Rhino Success, Advanced Rhinocerology and Rhinocerotic Relativity. These three books have sold in an excess of two million copies.

Mr Alexander is now a world wide renowned speaker. He has traveled world wide presenting his unique and humorous philosophy of success and motivation. During his career he has been involved in such diverse business as African Arts, fossils and music.

I was introduced to Mr Alexander at a major function in the year 2000. This book is one hundred twenty two pages packed with great information to guide you to the attitude you will need to succeed in owning your own business. Mr Alexander mixes serious points with hilarious humor to lighten things up.

I read this book in a matter of a few minutes well under an hour or so. By the time I was done, it explained a lot to me about Attitude and how to help others with theirs. As soon as I was done reading it the only thing on my mind was to somehow get myself in front of Mr Alexander to pick his brain even more and of course to sign my book.

Well in the covers of this book Rhinoceros Success you will find out things like: Rhino Training, How to be a Rhino in all aspects of your life and Be prepared for Rhino problems.

In the section Rhino Training you will find that it is all in your MIND. The most important ingredient of being an effective Rhino is your ATTITUDE. By fixing your attitude you will be able to declare that you are a Rhino. There are two sayings you should say to yourself: I am a Rhino!I have a Damn the torpedoes spirit! I am full of energy and can not wait to wake up in the morning to start charging! The second saying goes like this: I am successful owner(your business name) which has earned me a full time income and has helped(the number in your group) to succeed in business and in life. By repeating both of these sayings every morning trains your mind and puts your attitude right for the rest of the day.

In the chapter of How to be a Rhino inn all aspects of your life you will find there are six major areas of your life that will extremely benefit if you take on the Rhino Attitude and they are: Family,Financial,Work or Business, physically, socially and most of all Spiritually. Mr Alexander told us a joke to remind us that your a Rhino all the time not just when you take on special projects. The joke went something like this: “Do you know how to make Rhinos float? Root beer, one scoop of vanilla ice cream and one scoop of Rhino!”

In the last chapter I picked out is Be prepared for Rhino problems. Regardless who you are or how much money you have or do not have you will run into problems. The difference is with the way people handle problems that have a Rhino Attitude. Most problems that would stop other people in there tracks do not even phase a person with a Rhino Attitude. Rhino people attach the problem and do what ever it takes to work threw the problem and solve it and charge forward. As for the aspect of an Internet Marketer or any other business owner problems are a good sign. Problems are a sign of progress and your business is growing and moving forward. So as a Rhino you will have to get really good at solving problems.

In summary: This book is a must for every one’s library of business books. If you are looking to achieve more and have a better balance in all areas of your life this is a must read book to achieve the Rhino Attitude.

Just remember: We are all on a journey to achieve our life goals and dreams. Make sure while you are on that journey you are living life to the fullest and most of all having fun while you are doing it!

written by: Mark Wezyk

Freedomteamleader

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Mortgage Sales Letter Tips

A good mortgage sales letter that produces leads from a cold list or generates new business from your old client list is worth 1000 times it’s weight in gold.

Lets say you have a list of 50 clients and 50 leads that you haven’t converted. If you send one letter at a cost of just .42, and $100 for printing. That’s just $142 in total costs for a basic mortgage sales letter.

One new loan can generate several thousand dollars in commission. If you get just one new loan from a mortgage sales letter, you are going to be profitable (assuming you aren’t mailing to an enormous list).

As a result, it’s important to create an effective mortgage sales letter to maximize your lead generation efforts.

The key is to write an effective mortgage sales letter that people read and respond to. Most mortgage brokers don’t know the power of effective writing and rely upon hype and trickery in their letters.

The good news is you don’t need to hype up your letter, and you don’t need to rely on tricks like the old ‘fake looking check in the window’ letter (by the way, this does work, but only if you do it without fooling the recipient).

If you want leads and referrals here are the three most important parts of a successful mortgage sales letter that will help you boost response rates and build your book of business:

1. A Compelling Headline. Almost every mortgage sales letter must have a headline. Why? I’ll let the late great David Ogilvy explain it to you:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” -David Ogilvy

The job of a headline is to get people interested and excited about what you have to say. For example, a poor headline might say, “Introducing Your Local Home Loan Specialist!”

A better headline would be, “Susan Johnson Saved $498.95 Per Month On Her Mortgage Payment — Here’ How You Can Save This Much or More!”

That headline needs a little work, but it’s light years ahead of the average mortgage brokers marketing letter.

2. Stories Sell. Nothing gets people more involved and motivated to take action than a good story. Instead of cramming a pitch about your products and services down your prospects throat (which puts them into the defensive mindset), tell them a story about a client who saved money instantly. And as a result of saving this money she could pay for child care or get a mini van, or go on a vacation that she has been putting off for a few years.

They key is to write a story that fits into the mindset of your audience. If you are targeting subprime mortgages, tell a story about how a down and out client with no hope. How he brought his family out of a rental in a bad part of town to owning a nice home in a wonderful school district.

3. Call To Action. The next important area of an effective mortgage sales letter is the call to action. You want your prospect to take action and call you or fill out a return reply card.

For example, a weak call to action would be, “Call me at 555-555-5555 between the hours of 8am and 4pm Monday through Friday.”

A stronger call to action would be, “For a free no obligation consultation to see how much you can save on your mortgage payment call me now: 555-555-5555. We can schedule a time to meet and discus your financial situation, or do it on the phone. You can reach me at 555-555-5555 anytime during normal business hours. Or, you can call my toll-free 24-hour voicemail at 1-800-555-5555 and leave your contact information and I’ll send you more information.”

In addition to a headline, a story, and a strong call to action, your mortgage sales letter should include a Post Script (PS), and testimonials. Studies show that up to 80% of your readers will read the PS first. This is where you restate your benefit in a conversational way. Testimonials are very effective in establish credibility, and they reinforce your claims.

If you follow these simple guidelines to a more effective mortgage sales letter, you will generate more qualified leads and referrals.

Sit down and write a mortgage sales letter tonight instead of watching Fringe or Dancing With The Stars. Send it to your current clients, and old leads. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Great Ideas for Marketing Your Tile Business on the Internet

If you want to be successful at marketing your tile business, you will need to turn to the internet as your marketing solution. Thanks to the fact that most people will search online before leaving their homes to make a purchase, you will find that your tile business can have a huge advantage over your competitors if you can turn to the internet for marketing.

There are many ways that the internet can help you market your tile business. The world of internet marketing is fast becoming one of the most competitive arenas in the world, and you will find that you will have to do a good deal of work in order to market your tile business online. However, if you are willing to do the work, you will find that marketing your tile business on the internet is the best thing that you can do for your company.

Step 1: Build a Website

The first step that you will need to take to begin marketing your tile business on the internet is to create a website for your company. You can have a simple website created, as it will just be the face of your company. If you want to truly succeed, you will find that a more advanced website will be advantageous and will help you to market your website more effectively.

The reason that a more advanced website will be more effective is that more people will be enticed to visit your website. The more people you can attract to your website, the more advertising you will be able to achieve. There are many aspects of your website that will lead to your success online, but nothing will be more important than having a website that is constantly being updated. The best way to have the ability to add new information to your website is to create a blog on your website. If you can post informational articles related to your tile business, you will be able to generate more traffic that will direct people to your site. The more people that visit your site, the more likely you are to receive customers.

Step 2: Internet Marketing

Once you have built your website, you will need to start trying the various techniques involved in the internet marketing game. There are hundreds of techniques that you can try, but here are some of the techniques that will be most effective in leading customers to your website:

Social media marketing is one of the most effective internet marketing techniques, and you can start driving traffic to your site through Facebook and YouTube. Facebook is the largest social network, and you can tell all of your friends about your website. Ask them to mention it to your friends, and you will start driving traffic towards your website. YouTube is a great place for you to post videos, and you can post some instructional videos on how to lay the different types of tiles effectively. Insert a link to your website at the end of your videos, and upload them all to YouTube. The more people search for your videos, the more people will see the link at the end that will lead them to your website.

Craigslist is the largest online classified ads website in the world, and you can harness it to help you advertise your business. All you need to do is write up an advertisement for your tile services, insert a link to your website, and create a unique title that will catch the attention of readers. Post the ad in the Craigslist section for your city, and ensure that it is in the right category. Millions of people use Facebook every day, and you will find that it is one of the best platforms for advertising.

If you want to succeed in the world of internet marketing, you will find the search engine optimization is the key. The higher your ranking is on the search engines, the more likely it will be that people will find your website. Learn as much as you can about SEO, or hire a company to optimize your web page to make it as search engine friendly as possible.

Exchange links with other companies in a parallel industry to yours. Find a website that promotes painting or other construction services, and offer to promote their link on your site in exchange for them promoting your link on their site. This link exchange can be one of the most effective methods of getting your website known, as many links directed to your page will usually increase your SEO ranking. You will also find that people browsing the other websites will be interested in clicking on yours, as you are providing a service similar to the one that they are looking for.

Use Pay per Click advertisements to promote your website. Pay Per Click ads are posted all over the internet, and they are usually displayed on websites that are similar to yours. You will pay for every time someone clicks on your advertisement to visit your web page, but you will find that these PPC ads will be some of the most effective methods of driving targeted traffic towards your site.

These are just a few ways that you can start marketing your website on the internet, and the sky is the limit. The world of internet marketing is growing every day, and hundreds of new ways to market your tile business online are being discovered every month. If you are serious about marketing your tile business on the internet, you will find that you can easily learn by investing a bit of time into studying internet marketing.

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Creating a Realistic Timeline For Your Book

If I plan to write a book, how much time will it take?

That question is one of the most frequent ones submitted on my website. Since new authors have never written a book, it is almost impossible for them to determine a good timeline.

Use these general guidelines to help you get started. Note: I based these suggested timelines on the assumption that you are busy with your family, your business, and having a life. While you can always go faster, most people have limited time available to devote to full time writing.

Planning stage: 30-90 days. Use this time to determine your vision for your book, a marketing plan, and the main points you will cover. The most time you spend planning, the more successful your book will be. Most authors find an outline essential in this phase.

Writing stage: 90-240 days. Many authors can write their book in six months, even with a busy schedule. The key to success: proper planning and a committed writing appointment in your schedule at least 5 days each week.

Editing stage: 30-60 days. After you have finished your manuscript, you will spend time editing it. Then, you will work with a professional editor to further polish and perfect your manuscript. You will go back and forth several times with your editor until you both agree that your manuscript represents you professionally.

Cover design: 30 days. I suggest you do work with your cover designer in the while you are writing. You will finalize the cover during the editing phase.

Production phase: 60-120 days. After editing and cover design, your publisher will complete the legalities, create the internal design, and send your book to the printer. However, if you go with a traditional publisher, the production phase can take up to 24 months. That is why I recommend self-publishing or working with an independent publisher who works under the contemporary publishing model.

Marketing phase: Actually, marketing starts in the planning phase. It continues for 3-5 years after your book is printed. Marketing is fun, sharing your passion and excitement with potential readers.

There you have it. In roughly 9 months, you can write and publish your book. Mentoring and education will help you streamline the process.

Once you have your book, you can use it for the rest of your life, to attract media attention, highlight your expertise, and attract new clients. In fact, you can use your book as the foundation of a very successful business, the ultimate goal of many authors.

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PR-Tips for Debut Novelists

2010 has been a great year for my sister and Dutch author Yolande Schyns. One and a half-year, night after night she worked on her debut novel and after searching for a publisher for months, on 25 September her big day had arrived. Yolande has realised her dream, her debut novel Opening Night has been published and her first book presentation has happened. In Amsterdam, C├ęcile Narinx, Editor-in-Chief of Dutch ELLE received the first copy and good interviews followed, such as in the regional Dutch paper Het Limburgs Dagblad/Dagblad de Limburger. Elle.nl organised an online book promotion and the author received many positive reviews, such as via Leestafel and via several well-known beauty blogs for young women in their twenties. Her fan-page, Opening Night on Facebook, continues to grow in the meantime. PR has played an important role following the publication of her debut novel. “A dream came true”, says Yolande in one of her interviews. I asked her a few more questions.

Publishing Process

“Un amazing moment was when the publisher (Uitgeverij Leonon Media) decided to publish my novel. I already had received a few hopeful reactions from publishers, but no commitment”. The novelist gave special attention to the cover photo, which was taken by her partner, Mathi Vijgen. The young model is Julia Reichert, an acquaintance of the writer. The novel is set amongst others in Maastricht, the capital of Zuid-Limburg, the most Southern province of the Netherlands. The writer was born in this part. “One day we went to Maastricht to take some 200 photos of Julia at several beautiful locations, such as the Kruisherenhotel. In the end we decided together with the publisher for the photograph where Julia was standing on the Hoge Brug, one of the famous city bridges, looking over the river Maas. When you then are at the printer to check the right colour red for the cover, you are absolutely sure that your book will be published soon and you feel really proud”.

Book Signing

The novelist talks with enthusiasm about another peak, the signing of Opening Night on 4 December at Selexyz Dominicanen, the well-known bookstore in the centre of Maastricht. “It has been a fantastic experience to be in the spotlight of the most beautiful bookstore of The Netherlands”. Following the signing, Selexyz decided to give Opening Night a prime position in the store.

PR Strategy

It’s not easy to get publicity for a debut novel, especially when a novel already has been published. The author still realises that it’s very important to have the right contacts and showing perseverance. She builds new relations on a daily basis and maintains them. From existing relations new contacts with regional print media have arisen who have published interviews, such as Gooi en Eemlander (the writer currently lives in the area where this newspaper is distributed) and online media such as Maastricht Aktueel. She now also has experienced an interview on the regional radio (L1). She says about the interviews: “the difference between a good and an average interview is largely about how much time one spends on preparation. What do you want to talk about? Off course it’s a benefit if you have any experience, but if you don’t have or hardly have any experience, you need any self-confidence. After a solid media training, your self-confidence has grown and this will benefit the dialogue with a journalist”.

Social media and bloggers are also included in the PR strategy. The idea to create a fan-page on Facebook arises mid October. The social network site is the ideal place for sharing experiences about the novel by readers. The author shares interviews on Facebook, but also reviews and photos of events such as book presentations. It’s stimulating to read the feedback about the novel from readers. People just tend to quicker purchase a book if others appreciate it. It’s also interesting for the author to learn about who purchases and where. Yolande updates the fan page herself and gives answers to questions and comments.

Since the principal character in Opening Night is in her mid twenties, the writer is very pleased that influential blogs for this age recommend her novel. Many young women visit blogs such as Beauty Lab where already positive reviews and reader comments have been published. The Beauty Bakery is an example of a web shop where Opening Night has been granted a prominent position between beauty products including the possibility to purchase the novel online.

It goes without saying that I will continue to help my sister with PR advice and experiment with social media such as using video on Facebook and intensifying the use of Twitter and LinkedIn.

I hope these tips help you with the PR for your debut novel. Should you have better ideas, I’d like to hear them.

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Tips For Success In Internet Marketing

The internet is very dynamic, and in order to succeed, you need to be well informed and up to date with the various techniques of marketing on the internet.

Indeed, marketing on the internet has changed considerably over the past few years. Nowadays, methods for promoting products or services on the internet require an increasing selection of multimedia features and capabilities, much different and advanced from days past.

So what are the techniques and you must consider incorporating into your internet marketing efforts in order to increase traffic to your website and boost your sales.

· Provide and share expert tips and ideas. Successful internet marketers share various tips and secrets their email lists, or online customers on a regular basis. Some internet marketers offer daily ‘tips’ which they send through an auto responder. These days, having a trusting and confident relationship with your clients and potential customers is very essential. This boosts your sales and increases your internet marketing business profits.

· Publishing e-Books – A very popular approach for generating profits and revenue to publish and promote e-book on the topic related to your business. You can give these out for free with links to your website. On the other hand, the internet is now the major source of information. So you can write and publish e-books on any topic. You can sell these online and earn a lot of money.

· Educational activities – One of the single most important ways to increase your personal knowledge and expertise with any given topic is to get involved somehow with teaching this topic to others. Once developed, separate the materials into small sections for delivery and distribution. There are a number of ways to distribute the materials out to your potential clients. Direct mailings over a period of time, or many successful marketers set the individual segments up into an email marketing auto responder program that sends the messages out to a predetermined list of clients and customers over a prearranged rate. Distributing this information gives you the perfect opportunity to include small “snippets” of promotion for yourself or various products or services which you sale or promote. You will be amazed at how effective this particular technique is.

· Link Exchange Directories – Although not everyone thinks of it, you must sponsor a directory website with open invitations for others to include links, banners and promotional advertisements back to their sites. Beyond including your banners, links, and advertisements sprinkled throughout the page; you gain the added benefit of having reciprocal links exchanged with others in the process.

Developing, marketing, and selling of materials utilizing internet marketing ideas and techniques can be fun and profitable. Finding new, creative, and innovative methods for growing your internet marketing business requires some effort. Because the internet is very dynamic, you must always be well informed about the tools for promoting your internet marketing business.

You must be flexible and keen to explore possibilities and new techniques for your internet marketing business. Have fun trying different promotional strategies for your internet marketing business to see what works best for you and your products.

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Book Summary: EntreLeadership – 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom – Written by Dave Ramsey

Dave is a bestselling author and financial consultant. His ideas are simple in thought and tough in reality but that is why they are so good. Some examples are pay down debt, if you don’t have the cash don’t buy it and the most famous “the borrower is slave to the Lender”. EntreLeadership is a combination of Entrepreneurial and Leadership in action.

Why is this important to me?

I always want to ask this question as if I am sitting in your shoes. Will this summary benefit you if you review it? I am a big fan of mash ups which means combining concepts to make a “bigger/better” outcome. Successful mash ups include: Ray Charles – combination of Gospel and R&B, Kid Rock – combination of Rock & Roll, Country and Rap. Mash ups are very successful and that is why millions of people carry a combination phone, computer, camera in a device called the iPhone.

Entrepreneur is a term applied to a person who is willing to help launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcome.

Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”

EntreLeadership is packed with great information about building a business. This is Dave’s scrapbook of experiences and lessons. We can learn a lot from this book. Remember, it is more important to leverage associations and learn from others to speed up success. I will profile four concepts and put a spin on it as it has helped in my business.

1. Passionate Action – Passion by far is the most important energy force in any business. Without passion, then the business will die. The easiest way to put this in perspective is marriage. If there is no passion in the marriage or relationship then over time, it will die. Action is required to get things done. Action and execution is what separates winners from losers. George S. Patton said – “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”

2. Decisions – Decision making is a skill that has to be mastered. Any decision is better than no decision. Many people become paralyzed when an important decision needs to be made. There are several skills in decision making but here are a couple of things that will help:

1. Weigh the worst case scenario – If you can handle the worst case and the benefit outweighs the cost then do it.

2. Trust your gut – The red flags are there for a reason. I can tell you from personal experience that I did not follow my gut when I purchased a particular business. I knew the previous owner was a nightmare and I did the deal anyway. It was a big mistake. My gut told me no and my head got caught up in the perceived numbers. Not following your “informed gut” equates to bad decisions.

3. Decision Tree – People tend to think that decisions exist in a vacuum. This is not the case because a decision will just lead to the next decision. When you frame it this way then it becomes more manageable.

4. Outs – If you play poker then you understand the power of leaving yourself outs. Having outs (or options) after the decision makes things much easier. In poker if you decide to go all in and need one card to win then that is a bad decision but if you have 12 card options to win then that is a good decision. That is the essence of having “outs”.

3. Selling – Generating profitable revenue is the most important task of any business. Thus when you make the decision to start your business then you need to do it part time without quitting your job. The fastest way to build up the business is to make sure a market exists and you can generate revenue. I have seen countless failures because people focus on setting up the business, the office and the equipment to get started but they forgot the customer part. This leads to bankruptcy. You can scale infrastructure after you start generating profitable revenue. Until then you need to sell and market to prove that the business is viable. One quick note, you can do market testing with Google without spending any money on product. This is a great way to prove that people will buy your stuff and you don’t have to fork over thousands of dollars on prototypes and production to do it. Do the market research first and then ramp up.

4. Money – “Borrow is slave to the lender” according to Dave and he is absolutely right. When the tides come, you know exactly who is naked because too much debt and expenses kill businesses. In 2008, Lehman Brothers went out of business, Merrill Lynch was sold in a weekend and Bear Stearns got a bail out. All of this happened because the management was incompetent and had no idea how to manage debt. Money hides mistakes. It should be a goal that each week you walk out of your business not owing any money. For the small business owner this gives you “outs” and flexibility to ride the market waves.

EntreLeadership is a good book that provides a functional road map for the small business owner. A portion of the book talks about adding people. This can be the scariest thing a business owner can do. Remember that if you hire people better qualified than yourself then your business can go to heights beyond what you thought. Good quality people with the right direction and leadership make for great businesses.

I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is ACTION. If you have an idea and need extra money then put the hours in and start a home based business. Small business accounts for 3 million new jobs a year. Start now but don’t give up your day job until your business can sustain your life style.

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Accounting Records the IRS Require for Network Marketing/MLM and Other Stay At Home Business Owners

Two questions frequently asked by Network Marketers are “What kind of business records do I have to keep for the IRS?”, and “What’s kind of record-keeping system should I use in my business?”

Operating a business without paying attention to record-keeping is a recipe for disaster. You may be thinking “who cares-I hate bookkeeping and tax details, and if my business takes in enough money, it won’t matter anyway… I’ll just pay someone else to clean up my record-keeping later!”

Not so fast, my friend! A good record-keeping system is crucial for preparing your tax returns. And if you don’t prepare your tax returns with care, you’ll not only pay too much in taxes, but also increase the risk of a dreaded IRS audit. If an auditor finds insufficient records or significant mistakes in your books, it can disallow deductions, plus impose hefty fines and penalties, possibly forcing you out of business and wiping out your life savings as well.

The good news is that the IRS doesn’t prescribe one particular system of keeping records that must be used. No two businesses are alike, so there’s not one uniform fashion when it comes to record-keeping. Any system is okay, just as long as it paints a true picture of your income and expenses.

You can keep your records either manually, or with a computer.

The manual system works fine for smaller home businesses and cost only $10 to $20 a year for a ledger book and some manila file folders. I recommend a Weekly Bookkeeping booklet, where you can record your income and expenses on a regular basis, and then update the year to date totals, by expense category, at the end of each week. This way you always have an up to date statement of Income and Expenses, or “Profit and Loss” report, at your fingertips. In addition to the weekly record book, keep a check register, an adding machine, a mileage log,and an accordion file close by for filing receipts. Organize your receipts by category; Advertising, Travel and Entertainment, Cell phone, and so on.

A computerized record-keeping system works on the same principles as the manual system, however, the computer automates the process. You can use spreadsheets to record your residual income and bonus checks, and use separate columns to categorize your expenses.

An even quicker way to categorize your expenses is to use a software program such as Quicken or QuickBooks. These programs work like a checkbook register, with each income and expense transaction typed in as you go. A Profit and Loss report can be printed in a snap-assuming you do have some basic accounting knowledge. But beware. A software program is no substitute for a basic understanding of debits and credits. Often the year-end reports that I see produced from accounting software programs is best summarized by the statement “Garbage in-Garbage Out”.

If you’re comfortable at the computer and have basic bookkeeping expertise, good for you! But you don’t need computer software to keep accurate records. At minimum, categorize your receipts (auto, office supplies, advertising, etc) in manila folders or an accordion file, and total them up by category at tax time. Staple the adding machine tape to each folder or stack of receipts. Either system is okay as long as it paints a true and accurate picture of your income and expenses.

Network Marketing business owners should get a copy of IRS Publication 583, “Starting a Business and Keeping Records”, for more details on IRS record-keeping requirements.

Jim Flauaus, President / CEO of Anchor Accounting & Tax, is a Network Marketing / MLM tax specialist. He connects with Home Business owners and Network Marketers across the country and around the world via phone, email, and fax to help them plan and prepare their income tax returns.

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Why Retail Businesses Fail Part 3: Do You Make This Mistake In Retail?

Lack of Understanding of Target Market

I visited Harrods for research for my books on store design and visual merchandise display. Harrods, for anyone reading this White Paper who might not know this, is the Mecca of retailing. Royalties, A-list celebrities and the ‘who-is-who’ from around the world fly into London just to shop at Harrods.

You can now imagine my anticipation when I visited Harrods. In my mind everything in Harrods was made of gold. I was disappointed, when I noticed a toy bus I had purchased for my son from ASDA, was also being sold in Harrods. It was exactly the same toy bus, in exactly the same packaging that it is sold in ASDA.

A question popped into my mind, why is it that exactly the same bus, probably manufactured in exactly the same factory in China, is sold in Harrods for twice the price that it is sold for in ASDA?

The answer is decisively simple – ASDA sells a ‘toy bus’, however, Harrods sells a ‘classy toy bus’. There is a difference. This is marketing 101: people buy emotionally but justify their decision logically.

Customers who shop at Harrods do not shop there to buy Harrods’ products; they shop at Harrods to buy ‘elegance and class’. Harrods sells them class even if it is ‘Made in China’.

How does Harrods pull this off? They achieve it with the combination of elegant store design and attractive visual merchandising displays. When you move from one department to the next in Harrods it is like moving from one store to another. Their ability to use their store design to create the illusion of differentiation is one of the keys to Harrods’ success. Harrods understand their customers; they know what their customers desire so they design their store and display their products to satisfy the desire of their customers.

Marcus Buckingham, in his book “The First Thing You Need to Know”, said when he interviewed Sir Terry Leahy, who transformed Tesco into a global brand, he asked him what was the key to Tesco’s successful transformation. Sir Terry Leahy replied that it was asking and answering the simple question: Whom do we serve?

When Tesco figured out whom they were going to serve, they changed their store layout and products to serve their target market. As a result of this change; Tesco increased the number of checkout counters which reduced the amount of time customers spent queuing at the checkouts ultimately resulting in a dramatic increase in Tesco’s footfall.

Wal-Mart serves the person who lives: pay check to pay check.

Body Shop serves the ethical consumer.

Waitrose and Holland & Barrett serve the consumer who wants to live longer.

Ann Summers took merchandise that were hidden in secret ‘adult’ shops; made them trendy and brought them to the High Street. They made a taboo subject acceptable to the mainstream.

If I was to take my significant other clothes shopping at John Lewis she would probably phone my mother to inform her that I was having a nervous breakdown. She would not want to be caught dead in John Lewis’ outfit. She describes John Lewis’ clothing department as a Bridget Jones museum where they store a collection of Bridget Jones costumes.

However, John Lewis continues to increase profit year after year because John Lewis understands their target market. Someone like my significant other might not want to be caught dead in John Lewis’ outfit, but there are people in the UK, who love Bridget Jones’ memorabilia, these people are John Lewis’ target market, so John Lewis cater for them.

The most successful retailers understand their target market and show their understanding of their target market through their store design and visual merchandising displays.

The retailers that go bust fail to understand this basic marketing concept.

Most book retailers are struggling because they are still using the 1960’s business model in the Amazon era. Borders failed because it did not develop its internet business properly and it invested heavily in compact discs when music was going digital. WH Smith only makes money from its airport and train station sales. The rest of its stores are struggling. Waterstone’s is also on a downward trend. Sales are down and customer footfall is in steep decline.

Why are bookshops under threat? Amazon! They will all shout. Of course Amazon is the cause because Amazon understands their market better than them. Since it seems Amazon is not going away anytime soon, are all book stores going to close down?

Will WH Smith and Waterstone’s close down? Or will they rise to the challenge and modernise their stores? Instead of complaining about Amazon, they need to redefine their target market and redesign their stores to attract their target customers.

On Christmas Eve, I had not done my grocery shopping and was dreading the prospect of entering a supermarket, knowing how packed they were going to be. But as I drove passed my local Lidl store, I noticed it was empty. I rushed in and completed my shopping. As I drove back home a question came to mind; why is it, that even on this day when most supermarkets are typically jam packed to capacity, was Lidl empty?

The answer, in my opinion, is that Lidl does not have a target market. One of their biggest sins was making the decision to force customers to pay for carrier bags. Marks & Spencer can afford to do that because they appeal to a different class of customer.

In Tesco and ASDA, customers who are environmentally conscious have the option of paying for shopping bags. However, those who do not want to pay for carrier bags also have the option of getting free ones.

This is because Tesco and ASDA understand their customers. Lidl’s senior management, on the other hand, believed that having implemented a similar strategy in Europe, can introduce the same in the UK. If the Brits do not like it, tough! Well, the Brits are showing their displeasure with their feet.

I have tried to demonstrate with the above examples, that success or failure in retail is the result of the strategies every retailer adopts. Those retailers who understand their target market and cater to them will continue to move from success to greater success, while those who roll the dice and hope that customers show up are the ones who will struggle or go into administration.

I hate to be the one breaking this type of news to the retail industry I guess someone will have to do it: the internet is not going away. This means that retailers are not only competing with one another, they are also competing with factory owners in China whose name they have never heard. Shoppers are now ordering directly from warehouses and distributors, for example an individual can log on to eBay and order a pallet load of goods.

Here is the good news: the majority of people still prefer to shop from physical retail outlets. The question is how does an individual retailer ensure that shoppers are attracted to their store? It can be done by adopting the concept of the “Blue Ocean” strategy.

Adopting the “Blue Ocean” strategy is the only salvation for book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. What is “Blue Ocean” strategy? “Blue Ocean” strategy “is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost” which results in the creation of a new market space making the competition irrelevant.

The concept of “Blue Ocean” is practiced by the most successful business organisations whilst struggling businesses pursue what is described as the “Red Ocean” strategy. “Red Ocean” strategy is fighting to compete in the existing market place.

The “Red Ocean” strategy is adopted by many of the book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. They are trying to compete against the internet and it is just not possible. A brick and mortar store can never go head to head with the internet and win. It can never be cheaper that the internet.

However what they need to do in order to drive customer traffic to their stores is become innovative and creative. For example a book store could arrange periodic book signings; of course authors want to sell their books so it is a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

In order for the book signings to be a successful marketing platform for the book stores it would be advisable for retailers to work in collaboration with the publishers from the onset in order for the book signings to be better promoted.

Promotion of the book signings could take various formats such as making effective use of social media sites, local press and captivating signage in and outside the store.

Another idea could be to arrange book clubs for various genres of books this would entice a variety of customers in to the store, these book clubs would also need promoting in a similar way as described for the book signings promotion.

The trick is to be innovative.

Richer Sounds is a classic case of a retailer that has adopted the “Blue Ocean” strategy. They understand that people still prefer to interact with other people. So whilst other electronic retailers focus on price, they focus on excellent customer service and staff product knowledge. Their “Blue Ocean” is excellent customer service and superior product knowledge.

For book, DVD or music retailers to compete in Amazon country, they need a “Blue Ocean” strategy that goes beyond price discount. They need soul. They need understanding of the perception of their target market.

• What do they want?

• What are their hopes and fears?

• What is their perception?

I can order a book or DVD from Amazon and receive it the following day. I can download music instantaneously from iTunes. There are millions of me in the world. What kind of “Blue Ocean” strategy can WH Smith or HMV devise to get me away from my laptop? It takes me half an hour to drive to the town centre, pay for parking, spend another half an hour in WH Smith or HMV and another half an hour to drive back home.

The 64 million dollar question is: What can WH Smith or HMV do to make it worth my while?

Let me give them a clue, I could order my groceries online, however, I choose to go to the supermarket. What is the difference? That is for book, DVD, electronic and furniture retailers to find out. They probably need to visit Starbucks it might just hold the keys to unlocking their creativity.

The only point of differentiation that most retailers know is price reduction. Price reduction is not a business strategy, it is a death wish.

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