3 P’s Drive Small Business Success in 2010

What a year! For many, 2009 is a year they would like to forget. Between over-leveraged mortgages, banks that failed or were too big to fail, and a restructuring of the auto industry, many individuals and businesses alike are ready to ring in 2010 with a more hopeful outlook.In the coming months, the healthcare debate, business incentives and changes to the tax code will be at the forefront of local and national debates. Though important, these are issues in which the individual small business owner has minimal say. Instead of focusing on these larger issues, entrepreneurs should focus their efforts on enhancing small business productivity, prudence, and profit as we move into 2010.ProductivityIn the last few years, many companies learned to do more with less as cuts in spending and employment left many small businesses demanding more out of their employees. In 2010, small business productivity will remain vital as employees continue to carry a heavy workload. For companies to succeed, they need to arm their employees with the right small business productivity tools.By identifying and implementing the right small business solutions, entrepreneurs can get more out of their employees and save money. Increased productivity among full-time employees can result in more sales, the development of better products and services, faster completion of tasks, and improved customer service.Regardless of the industry, many companies will turn to small business communication solutions that can improve productivity. For example, a doctor’s office may select an Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) to more efficiently handle and direct calls during and after business hours. Companies with hourly employees, like field service repair companies, may use location-based services to track field technicians and redirect them based on cost drivers like fuel consumption. Or, many companies may look to deploy BlackBerrys to their staff to help them stay connected anytime, anywhere helping fuel better small business productivity. Finding small business solutions that improve productivity will greatly impact a bottom line.PrudenceWhile the economic freefall has halted and the economy even had some bright spots in 2009, most companies are not popping celebratory champagne. And as much as we’d all like to see 2010 herald a recovery of small business productivity, many economists and so-called “financial experts” are predicting only a slightly stronger economy in 2010. Next year, prudence will be the name of the game when it comes to small business solutions.With a sharp eye on spending, small businesses will need to be prudent in their decision making and ensure they are making the right investments. Finding employees that have the right skill set, investing in developing or marketing your best product, and selecting small business solutions that will help your company grow will all demand prudence.But this careful decision making will not only focus on spending, but on all aspects of small business productivity. Many companies may reexamine their niche market or how they “have always done things” to find new and better small business solutions. Just as Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “…a little rebellion now and then is a good thing,” a shake-up of how your small business operates may be in order.ProfitOne consequence of the downturn is that many companies unfortunately closed their doors. As a result, those who survived the recession now have fewer competitors vying for customers. As the economy stabilizes, banks begin to loan more money and businesses are more comfortable with spending money, the small businesses that positioned themselves correctly will have a stronger opportunity for market penetration than they’ve likely seen in recent years. By making prudent decisions and focusing on driving small business productivity, companies will be well-positioned to profit in 2010 and beyond.If the past 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that no amount of economic forecasting is completely precise. But, let’s all look forward to 2010 with a focus on productivity, prudence, and profit, as well as the promise of what a new year will bring to small businesses.

Home Based Business Opportunities Are A Dime A Dozen: Here Are 4 Points To Consider

I know at times it can be challenging looking between all sorts of home based business opportunities and finally deciding which one is for you. Trust me I’ve been there before. At times it can simply be overwhelming.Because I’ve been in the home based business industry for a while (5+ years) I decided to write this article to help guide you in the right direction. Ultimately the choice is yours.Now there are several types of businesses that fall under the “home based business opportunities” category.You have day cares, consulting firms, carpet cleaning, network marketing, direct sales, internet marketing, forex trading, and the list goes on and on. I want to bring to light in my expert opinion 4 critical keys that you want to consider while looking at home based business opportunities.1. Does It Offer True Freedom
Correct me if I am wrong. However I believe that you are like me. You are looking to be your own boss ultimately so that you can have freedom. Freedom to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want.A lot of home based business opportunities claim you will have freedom but in all honesty you won’t.
Too many businesses end up running the people or rather owning them. They are constantly filling orders, answering the phones, dealing with clients, driving all over town, dealing with vendors, answering email, trying to collect payment, and more.Who wants to deal with that? What if there were a way to have the benefits of being your own boss without having to deal with all the extra stuff that weighs you down?2. Systematic Process
This is a big one. I fully appreciate now knowing how powerful efficient systems are when you have them in place. It can be the difference between you being involved in every single thing that goes on in your business which will eventually wear you out vs you focusing only on what you are good at and allow the system to do the rest.It truly is a beautiful thing. Because of the systems that I have set up now, I’ve been able to eliminate myself from a lot of the heavy lifting if you will and get my work day down to 2 hours per day on activities that produce income. And it’s all because I have a system set up to do that which I’ll tell you about later.Imagine if you will having a system so powerful that handles your explaining, telling, selling, billing, payment processing, filtering, and outsourcing.3. Automatic Follow up Process
Answer this for me. If there were a way to follow up with your customers without you having to pick up the phone and feel cheesy making that phone call, would you want to know how to do it?If you are like most people you are nodding your head yes. Let’s face it. We live in a day and age where people really don’t answer the phone anymore unless your number is saved into their cell phone.Not only that but being tied to the phone to follow up with customers, prospect, make sales, collect payments, etc is a drag. That essentially makes your business your owner and you don’t have a life which goes back to point number one.Fortunately for you and me there are certain tools out there now that automate this process that we can leverage.4. Product Creation
I don’t want you to overestimate the importance of this last point. When researching home based business opportunities many people struggle with should they provide a service or a product. Then when they decide to provide a product the next question is what kind, how much will it cost, how do I get it patent, and there’s a lot of research that is involved if they are doing it right.What if you didn’t have to do all that extra intensive leg work and there were valuable products that you can stand behind that were already created? What if you didn’t have to handle the shipping, billing, or any of that with the products yet money still was deposited into your bank account like clock work.My friend that is the day and age that we live in now. If you don’t want to create a product much less provide a service then you don’t have too. There are product creators out there that are just looking for people to resell their products. Some are good and some are bad, you’d have to decide for yourself.Now that I’ve given you 4 serious points to consider when evaluating home based business opportunities I want to help you out even further. I want to show you the business that has all of these covered and then some.This business has allowed me to walk away from my job, earn a full time income, work anywhere I want because it is internet based, help develop me as a leader, and given me my life back since I only work about 2 hours per day.

The Finer Points of Internet Auctions

WHAT IS A PENNY AUCTION?

Penny auctions have exploded in popularity with the massive growth of the internet. However, few people know the true origins of penny auctions.Beginnings actually stretch back to the Great Depression. Those were hard times for everyone, but even harder for farmers. Farmers struggled to bring in steady income because of droughts and crops not selling as well as they had previously. As a result, the banks would foreclose on the farmers who couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments.

The banks weren’t satisfied with just repossessing the house, they wanted to raise as much capital as possible, so they resorted to selling off the possessions of the owners of the repossessed houses. There was not much the farmers could do about it so they began bidding ridiculously low prices, pennies, on the items while threatening others who dared to bid higher than a few pennies.

The auctions of today hardly resemble their tremulous beginnings. Being part of a penny auction today is exhilarating, fun, and addictive. It combines the selling format of auctioning with a little bit of chance factored in.Auctions are a game of strategy but also a game of luck.

The premise behind penny auctions is giving people the chance to win an item at a drastically reduced price.Auctions make that possible by spreading out the cost of the product among multiple bidders. In order for a person to take part in an auction, they must pay a set price for each bid. For example, if a person wanted to bid on a fifty dollar Amazon gift card then he would spend a dollar for each time a bid placed. If he ended up winning the gift card, then he would only have spent a few dollars for a fifty dollar gift card. Usually penny auctions sell bids in packages.

HOW PENNY AUCTIONS WORK!

The main foundation of penny auctions is the pay-per-bid format. It is the key that allows bidders to win items at the fraction of their retail value and allows the auction owners to keep their site profitable. Most y auction sites run on the same premise: people pay a set amount for each bid, whenever a person places a bid within the closing seconds of the auction time will be added, the last person left with a unique bid after the clocks runs out will win the item. There are a large variety of items that can be won, but they tend to be popular electronics or gift cards to popular stores.

There are two types of auctions: lowest unique bid auction and highest unique bid auction. Lowest unique auction sounds confusing but it is actually quite simple. A unique bid is when only one person has a bid at a certain price. Bids usually start at one penny, a bidder can then place a bid at two pennies. Until another bidder places a higher bid, the most recent bidder will be the lowest unique bid because that was the only bid at two cents and nobody bid higher. However, penny auctions generally don’t stop at one penny. It is not uncommon to find auctions that end up at a couple hundred dollars based on the popularity of the item being auctioned. However, the same principles apply for those auctions. Highest unique bid auctions follow the more traditional auction format such as eBay. The person with the highest bid at the end of the auction wins the item.

Auction site owners turn a profit by selling bids. Say twenty people are bidding on a ten dollar gift card at one dollar per bid, at the end of the auction if there were twenty bids placed in total then the site owner would have made twenty dollars with a ten dollar profit.Auctions do seem like a win-win situation:The site owner makes money while the bidder gets an item for dirt cheap. However, not everyone wins in penny auctions. The people who paid one dollar each bid but left with nothing to show for their investments will not be so happy.

HOW TO WIN!

Penny auction has a lot of chance mixed into it, but one can incorporate strategy that will help raise the chances of winning. Playing smart can make all the difference between gambling and auctioning.

The first crucial tip to winning penny auctions is to know how to manage your bids. Your goal should be to win as much as possible without spending a ton of money buying bids. Managing your bids means that you should already know how much you are willing to risk in order to win an item. The amount of capital you are willing to risk will determine how many bids you can use. Once you know how many bids you have to spend on an item, then you will be better able to manage how and when you place a bid. That will keep you from blowing away all of your bids in the first few seconds of the auction.

The next tip is to practice time management. When fighting in the trenches of penny auctions, you have two enemies: other bidders and time. Knowing when to bid is a must if you want to have success. Placing a bid when there is a lot of time left on the clock is never a good idea. You have to remember that the key to winning a penny auction is being the last one standing when the clock runs out and that each bid increases the amount of time left. It would be a good practice to wait until the last few minutes of the auction before you begin to bid.

The final tip for successful auctioning is to keep your emotions under control.Auctions have a lot of similarities to gambling, and just like gambling, your spending can get out of control. If you keep your emotions level, it will keep you from making rash decisions and blowing loads of cash. Keep your mind clear so that you can gage the behavior of the other bidders and outsmart them.

HOW TO AVOID SCAM SITES!

Penny auctions are a great addition to the web whether you want to win an item that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to afford or if you simply enjoy the thrill that comes with bidding in auctions. Unfortunately, scam sites have tarnished the reputation of the legitimate penny auction sites. However, there are ways that you can protect yourself from scamers and enjoy your auctioning without having to worry about losing your money due to dishonesty.

Checking the reputation of the auction site before you start spending your hard earned money is always a good idea. Chances are other people have tried the site before you and some of them have left reviews. The reviews are your way to gage whether a auction site is trustworthy or not. If a site is getting overwhelmingly negative reviews, then that is a clear indication that you should steer your business elsewhere.

Another tool you can use to protect yourself is checking the Alexia ranks of the auction sites. Alexia rank will give a solid view of how much traffic the auction is getting. If you see a huge difference in the amount of traffic Alexia is projecting and the amount of active bidders on the site, then warning signals should be ringing in your head. Some auction sites have been known to set up robots that automatically bid on projects in order to keep the auction going and inflate the price. That is known as shill bidding. You can sniff out those sites by comparing the traffic the site should be getting to the amount of users using this site.

CONCLUSION!

New legislation may come out later down the road that will officially make penny auctions gambling, but until then, it is a fun, exciting auction that allows one to win the item they’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford.Auctions are also quite lucrative for the site owners because of the pay-per-bid strategy they’ve incorporated. Penny auctions had humble beginnings with farmers who just wanted to get back at the banks who kicked them out of their house. More recently, auctions have enjoyed an explosion in popularity with the rise of the internet.

There are two main formats fora auctions, lowest and highest unique auction, however they both run on the same premise where the last unique bid wins the item. Winning a penny auction will require a certain amount of mental tactic and a bit of luck. However, you can increase your odds of winning by practicing certain techniques such as managing your bids wisely, learning how to work with the time, and keeping a level head and your emotions under control. When you combine those three strategies to your bidding plan, you will find that you win a lot more often.

It is important that you do your due diligence to protect yourself when participating in auctions. Not every auction is run by honest and trustworthy people. There are people out there who just want to take your money. You can protect yourself by ensuring that you only bid on sites that already have a very positive reputation from real users.