Finding the right franchise

There are over 2,500 different franchises for sale right now. Trying to choose the right one might seem like an impossible task. If you are a first time franchise purchaser, where should you begin? The answer is not easy; every franchise is unique and there are hundreds of characteristics to review. That said, certain characteristics keep popping up when we examine the best franchises.

Here are SmarterFranchises three keys to a great franchise:

1. Multi-unit Ownership

The proof is in the pudding. The best indication that a franchisee is happy with his business is if he spends more money to purchase another unit or an additional territory. The logic is the same as why Honda has such a strong reputation in the car market. If your uncle Jeff has bought three Accords in a row, Honda must be doing something right.

For the most part, multi-unit owners start with one store which becomes so successful that the want a second and so on. In order to finance a second store, a lender will examine the first store’s cash flow. If a franchise wasn’t financially viable, it would be nearly impossible to open additional units.

Multi-unit ownership is also an indication of operational efficiency in a concept. With some franchises, there is so much work that is impossible for the franchise owner to focus on anything but day to day operations. The book, “The E Myth” talks extensively about this trap of getting stuck “working in your business” vs. “working on your business.” Even if you never plan to open multiple units, this is an important characteristic, because more likely than not, you would eventually like to retire or at least take a vacation one day.

Be wary of franchise owners who explain low multi-unit ownership by suggesting franchisees make enough money with just one unit. If there is one thing history has shown, people rarely decide they have “enough” money.

2. Proven Franchisor Track Record

There are three items to think about when examining the franchisor’s track record. The first is an understanding of how much risk there is that the franchisor might go out of business. Unfortunately, many of the 2,500 franchise concepts available just won’t make it as sustainable businesses. If you purchase one of these concepts, you may lose much of your investment.

Second, the franchisor’s track record should give you an indication about the quality of the concept. Did the franchisor own several successful stores for many years before deciding to franchise his concept or did he just decide one day that there was good money in franchising so he better come up with a concept.

Third, franchisors with longer track records have more established training and support programs. While you might save a few thousand dollars buy getting into a franchise early, chances are you won’t get much for your investment. New franchisees haven’t had the time to put together development support or training programs or marketing campaigns. Also, if you are one of the first buyers, you are the guinea pig which often means more risk. Maybe a new food concept works great in a mall food court or maybe it doesn’t? Wouldn’t be nice if you weren’t the one who had to run the experiment?

3. Strong, independent franchisee association

Unfortunately, the unspoken reality is that the franchisor’s and franchisee’s interests aren’t always aligned. Eventually, there will be disagreements over finances, marketing programs or development issues. Knowing that issues are sure to arise, it is helpful to know that you will have an organized group of franchisees who can relate to your situation. Independent associations have many benefits. In addition to creating leverage for the purpose of negotiating with the franchisor, an association also can improve communication among franchisees. Independent associations also allow members to pool resources to hire competent professionals such as lawyers or financial advisors or marketing consultants. Finally, like with any organization, a collective, institutional memory is created. The AFA has an excellent article on associations on its site

It is also a negative sign if the franchisor goes out of its way to discourage an association. It usually means that the franchisor does not have the franchisees best interests in mind and is afraid of having to deal fairly with franchisees.

In addition to independent associations, franchisees may also develop a co-op to purchase goods at a discount or control a portion of the system’s advertising budget or develop a lobby group for a specific issue. All of these our good signs.

Self-serving letters and emails

Much of business involves inducing people to do what we want them to do. Whether it is to sign a proposal, return a call, set up an appointment, provide information or pay a bill, we are constantly nudging.

In business, to exist you must persist. But what happens if your nudgee is flat-out unresponsive? Can you still advance your agenda?

In many cases you can. Execute a classical Poingo inversion, top it off with a half-gainer and a solid plant at the end, and you've got your deal.

In English that means to look for opportunities to invert the situation wherein the inaction, rather than the action of your nugdee prompts the furtherance of your cause.

Your answer may be a self-serving letter or email. Example:

Your customer ordered a load of snipe bracelets, but now that you have them and are ready to deliver, you can't get a returned phone call. After a few attempts, move into self-serving mode.

Leave a phone message, followed by a letter and an email which essentially says this:

Self Serving Message (paraphrased)

"Hello my esteemed customer, bringer of light and feeder of my children. I have spent a few seconds of my unworthy life calling to bring you excellent news about the arrival of your magnificent snipe bracelets."

"Alas, all which has occurred to date is that I have has the distinct pleasure of hearing the music of your voice on your voicemail machine."

"But now I must plan on your behalf, to ensure that your valuable merchandise arrives in time for the upcoming "Accoutrement' de Snipe" convention. I will take it upon myself to defend your interests, my friend, and deliver your valuables this Friday at 3PM."

"If for any reason you need to modify this plan, please call me before end of day Thursday so I can best meet your expectations."

Sucking Up

You may have noticed a certain Alladin-like obsequiousness to this message. Good catch! You are basically ramrodding your customer. At least be nice about it. Remember what Mary Poppins said about the spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Frame your actions within a context of the customer's best interest.

Multi Media Approach

Remember, I suggested a call, a letter and an email. Each additional medium of communication reduces the ability of your customer to ignore you. Where appropriate, you may also use smoke signals and carrier pidgeons. Tatoos on prominent body parts can also be effective.

Don't Hurt Yourself

Use self-serving communications sparingly. Even more important, don't overreach:

"Hello my most wonderful customer whose radiance shares the skies with the great deities while his feet bless the Earth with their touch. I surmise that in your greatness you may have overlooked signing the contract I have humbly offered".(so far, so good)

"Knowing that you will soon be wanting the 7 shipping containers filled with the finest New Zealand Kiwi fruits we discussed, I am ordering their placement on the next barge coming your way. They will be nicely ripe when they arrive. I am confident that when you inhale the fragrance of these delicacies, you will immediately sign the contract and accept delivery."

Small business computer consulting freeloaders... and how to avoid them

If you've been in the small business computer consulting industry for more than 10 minutes, you've probably already encountered a fair amount of freeloaders.

Regardless of whether you call these folks moochers, tightwads, cheapskates, tire-kickers, cherry-pickers, or time vampires, left unchecked these vultures can wreak financial and emotional havoc on virtually any small business computer consulting firm.

In this article, we'll look at what your small business computer consulting company can do to protect itself against freeloaders and other time and financial leaches.

The Root of the Problem

So where does the problem with freeloaders really originate? And how can you handle prospects that have unrealistic expectations of what professional computer consulting services should cost?

What it boils down to is this: You need to be able to convince prospects that hiring your small business computer consulting firm is an investment (not an expense) in their business.

In other words, the tangible, concrete, measurable and irrefutable benefits of what your computer consulting firm delivers must far outweigh their out-of-pocket costs.

Think about it… Would you make an investment in your computer consulting company if you didn't see how the benefits were greater than the costs?

Back-of-the-Napkin Prediction Tool for Small Business Computer Consulting

Now because you're selling a highly specialized computer consulting service, your sales message and value proposition will be different than your competitor down the street.

However, you can dramatically tip the scales in your firm's favor by paying attention to one really universal way to avoid the computer consulting moochers.

Simply, look for small business decision makers that are used to paying for other professional B2B (business-to-business) services, such as accounting services, legal services, public relations (PR) services, or marketing consulting.

That means this kind of small business is already used to investing in highly skilled $100+/hour professional services. The notion of having a professional services provider on a retainer arrangement, say $1,000/month or more, is not a foreign concept.

Work Hard or Work Smart?

Remember, it's much, much easier and much more time-effective for you or your sales staff to go after qualified leads and prospects than it is to try to talk an unqualified lead or prospect into needing something that the lead or prospect doesn't perceive to need.

And don't forget, that right in your local area, there are probably already be tons (at least hundreds, if not thousands) of leads and prospects for you that have real computer consulting needs, are used to paying for professional computer consulting-related services, and have at least semi-realistic expectations about the price-tag on professional computer consulting services.

So don't waste your time on those suffering from small business computer consulting sticker shock. Don't waste your time on professional computer consulting moochers and tightwads.

Focus on those small businesses that are accustomed to paying for other professional B2B services and your sales cycle and sales process will go much, much smoother.

Copyright MMI-MMVI, SmallBusinessComputerConsulting. com. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Short on help hire a professional virtual assistant

Is your business short on help? Good help, that is? Did the best administrative assistant you ever had leave because her husband was relocated to Timbuktu? Now what? You’ve been through countless resumes and none of the candidates seem to measure up. Maybe you need extra help once in a while, just to keep your regular assistant’s head above water. Are you a small business owner who can’t afford, or don’t have enough work, for a full-time secretary?

Why not hire a virtual assistant or VA? Gaining in popularity among large and small businesses alike, VA’s can help bail you out of a rough spot on a temporary basis or even work long-term just like a regular employee.

In today’s soft economy and world of corporate scandals, failures, and layoffs, many a good employee has been ousted from his or her job. The ambitious ones are out there daily trying to find a new position. Trouble for them is the help wanted section of most newspapers has become extremely thin. Most people can’t go very long without some sort of income. So, the most ambitious and resourceful are making their way back into the working world any way they can. For many, this means starting a business of their own.

What does a person do when what they know is secretarial? What do they do when they need to feed their family and pay the mortgage? Many create their own business and several are opting to become virtual assistants.

What does a virtual assistant do?

In short, a VA can do just about anything a regular employee can do. You just won’t see his or her face every day. Many virtual assistants are Jack’s or Jill’s of all trades, some are more specialized, but here’s a list of some of the things a virtual can do:

• Bookkeeping

• Human resources

• Concierge services

• Collections

• Sales

• Marketing

• Travel arrangements

• Research

• Word processing

• Appointment setting

• Meeting arrangements

• Event planning

• Letter preparation

• Transcription

• Reports

• Proof reading

• Manuals

• Newsletters

• Flyers

• Mailings

• Data entry

• Data processing

• Document scanning

• E-mail processing

• Answering phone calls

• Procedure documentation

• Customer support

Virtual assistants are typically a very intelligent bunch as well. Many are college educated and even more have countless years of excellent business experience to draw upon. This comes in very handy when you’re looking for ideas.

How does a virtual assistant work?

Virtual assistants come in all shapes and sizes, just as any business does. Typically, however, VA’s work from home-based offices. They’re the savviest of the savvy when it comes to operating on a low budget and using technology to their advantage. Most are equipped with the latest software (and lots of it), multiple phone lines, Internet, e-mail, fax machine, cellular phone, copy machines, scanners, and a great attitude. Many even come with a cat or dog! He or she will use all of the latest technology to communicate with the client and get the work done as quickly as possible. And, possibly best of all, they only “clock in” when they’re on your project, not while they’re sitting at your desk, using your electricity, playing solitaire!

What’s all this going to cost?

All well and good, right? But aren’t virtual assistants more expensive than regular employees? Absolutely not! Actually, a virtual assistant is far more cost effective than a regular employee. You may pay more per hour than a regular employee, but leave out the FICA, state unemployment taxes, Social Security, health insurance, vacation time, sick time, 401(k), profit sharing, Christmas bonus, holiday pay, and other benefits you need to offer a regular employee, and a virtual assistant’s wage comes out far lower than that of a regular employee.

A virtual assistant can save money in other areas as well. How much does it cost you to maintain office footage, a computer, a phone line or two, a refrigerator, a microwave, a desk, electricity, heat, air conditioning, and parking for your regular employees? With a virtual, you don’t need any of those things either - he or she supplies his or her own.

The fee for a virtual assistant usually depends upon the area of the country where he or she is located and their area(s) of expertise. Virtual assistants charge between $15 and $75 per hour. But, you only pay for the time he or she actually spends working on your tasks. Some will ask that you pay for a “minimum guaranteed usage” each week or month. Many will also agree to work for varying hourly rates depending on the task. For example, if they’re to perform basic word processing, the fee might be $18 per hour, but if they’re expected to research the legalities of transforming your LLC into a Corporation, they may charge $45 per hour. Yet, others may agree to a flat fee based upon individual project requirements. Either way, you come out ahead.

Why should I trust someone I’ve never met?

VA’s are as concerned with your business success as they are with their own. In fact, their success depends on your success. So, a virtual assistant can become one of the best assistants and business partners you’ve ever had. Just like you, they are business owners and very interested in helping their clients.

Virtual versus temp or temp agency

Virtual assistants tend to work harder than the average person issued to you by a temporary agency. Keep in mind that the temp agency is charging you as much as 20% more than the worker is actually getting paid. This practice often leads to the use of unskilled or unacceptable laborers. Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to choose who works with you. You’ll also need to provide all of the temp’s supplies like paper, toner, pens, computer, electricity, etc, whereas, the VA comes with his or her own supplies.

How many times have you hired a temp who you spent time training, only to have her stick around for three weeks, then you had to train yet another temp? A virtual assistant, as we mentioned, is in this to succeed and help you succeed. You’ll have to train him or her too, but only once!

Oh, yes, and you still need to pay the temp while she sits there and waits for another assignment from you. Not with a virtual assistant. While she’s waiting for the next assignment from you, you can bet she’ll be working on something for another client.

Choosing a virtual assistant

Now that you’ve decided to hire a virtual assistant, how do you go about choosing one? There are several things you need to know before you start looking:

• What exactly do I need help with?

• What expertise does the VA need?

• How much do I have to spend?

• How quickly do I need this project done?

• How long will I need virtual assistance?

• How often will I need my VA to work?

• What hours should he or she be available?

• What days of the week?

• Is there any specific software he or she needs to have?

• Is what I need accomplished so specific that I’ll need to incorporate some training time?

• How will I pay him or her? Visa, MasterCard, Check, Paypal?

• How do I want to communicate with my VA? Phone, e-mail, snail mail, or a combination?

• Does my VA really need to be located in a particular time zone, country, part of the country, city?

• Any other particular qualities you’d like your virtual assistant to have?

Just as you would screen someone who would apply to work in your office, you’ll still need to spend a little time screening your virtual assistant. You’ll need to tell him or her what you need and want, and what is and isn’t acceptable. You’ll also need to negotiate pricing and terms with the virtual.

The best thing you can do to ensure you receive the help you need, is behave as though you’re choosing a new car. Push the buttons, turn on the stereo, kick the tires, and ask, ask, ask. Listen to what the potential VA has to offer you as well. He or she may even be able to do several other tasks, which you hadn’t counted on, or even offer some very sound business advice.

Who benefits by using a virtual assistant?

• Large corporations

• Small businesses

• Home based businesses

• Busy executives or managers

• Entrepreneurs

• Students

• Even individuals who just need a little extra help

What happens if I don’t like the VA I’ve hired, or s/he doesn’t work out?

Unless you’ve signed a contract guaranteeing a particular amount of time or pay, the answer is rather simple: you just don’t offer any more assignments.

If you do happen to have a bad experience with one virtual assistant, however, don’t let is sour you from finding another. Treat it as though you simply had a bad date. Bad dates do happen and some people just aren’t compatible. Get back out there and look for another VA that better suits your needs or personality.

A win-win for everyone

The use of virtual assistants truly is a win-win for everyone involved. For the employee-challenged business, VA’s dramatically increase your labor pool. And, for the cash-strapped entrepreneur, virtual assistants save money - lots of money. What’s more, it’s better for the environment to hire a virtual assistant. Just think of all the vehicle emissions you’ll be saving by having one or two workers telecommute. As for the VA, they typically enjoy a better quality of life, as they are also able to be home and raise their children in between working on your projects.

Business financing guide simple

: This business financing guide shows the items that you will need to prepare if you are planning to get loan from financial institution when you buy business for sale. Getting financing can be easier with knowledge about the financing and with complete preparation of documents and statements in process of buying business for sale. Step 1. Find a Business for sale at BusiMarket. com site for businesses for sale and commercial property for sale on the market. As soon as a property is found, make any necessary contacts to sellers. Step 2. Get Purchase and Sale AgreementGet the sale agreement from Brokers, attorneys, or Escrow companies. Step 3. Find a LenderFind a Loan Officer that will take care of your financing needs. Step 4. Prepare Required Documents - Purchase and Sale Agreement for the Business or Commercial Property, - Personal Financial Statement provided by the lender, - Income tax returns from both buyer and seller from the last three years - an up-to-date income statement, - Resume from the buyer, - Lease Agreement(if applies), - Assignment for Lease (if applies), Step 5. Finally, wait for the loan approval (usually takes 2-4 weeks) Since the financing process can be different on type of business, location, and buyer's situation. The information above is for information only and BusiMarket. com does not guarantee accuracy of information.

Finance your restaurant business with someone else s credit card

If you are in the restaurant business, you certainly won't need me to tell you how tough it can be financially.

While you are building up the reputation of your establishment, money is often tight and one bad night can mean an unprofitable week. As for cash flow - well, the cash certainly flows, doesn't it? You just wish that more of it was flowing in than out. And what about those slow periods? What do you do if they last longer than you anticipated? How do you get the funds you need to get your restaurant business over that hump.

OK, I'm painting a negative picture here, but funding can be a problem for even the most successful restaurant, especially if you wish to expand quickly. The question remains: what is the best way to get financing for your restaurant?

LOANS

A loan may be an obvious way to raise finance for your restaurant business, but look at it from the point of view of the lender.

The 2004 Restaurant Industry Operations Report published by Deloitte & Touche LLP indicates that average pre-tax profit margins range from 4-7%. This means that, from the lender's point of view, even a profitable restaurant is a big risk. The bigger the risk, the bigger the interest payments - that is, if you even get approved for a loan at all. High interest rates, of course, can bring their own problems, particularly for a very low margin business such as the restaurant trade.

Lenders will, admittedly, look more favorably on you if you also own your premises. However, you need to be aware that funding your business using real estate as collateral means that it is the potential resale value of the property that lenders are looking at. The purpose of the property itself may actually reduce its resale value as there would be a smaller pool of potential purchasers. Thus, many lenders set very high minimum loan amounts, which may not be suitable for your particular circumstances.

If you do decide to go the loan route, then speaking to a specialist lender with expertise in the restaurant industry is essential.

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE FACTORING

Factoring is a form of commercial finance where a business can accelerate its cashflow by selling its accounts receivable at a discount. This means that the business doesn't have to wait for outstanding invoices to be paid in order to receive the cash necessary to finance the business moving forward.

For many service based businesses, accounts receivable factoring is an extremely good way of quickly accessing cash. However, restaurants rarely have much business of this kind.

What they do have, however, is a high volume of credit card transactions. By leveraging these, budding restauranters can - literally - fund their restaurants with other people's credit cards.

CREDIT CARD CARD FACTORING

Essentially, restaurants can sell their future credit card transactions and receive an advance on that money - usually up to around $120,000. The money can be used for any purpose - from expanding premises to buying new equipment or whatever you want. This isn't a loan, so there is no personal guarantee needed. It's simply an advance against future credit card settlements.

The company purchasing takes a small, fixed percentage of future credit card transactions until the advance is repaid.

The advance cash can often be made available within 14 days, so - for the restaurant business that is in need of a quick injection of funds - this is a good option. Of course, there are restrictions on who can apply. Generally speaking, a restaurant would have to be running for over 1 year, take over $5,000 per month in Visa/Mastercard transactions and have more than 1 year left on their lease to qualify.

For the restaurant that has been in existence more than one year, this represents the best method of further growing your business at minimum professional or personal risk.

COMPANIES PROVIDING RESTAURANT FINANCING

There are a number of companies out there offering financing of this kind to restaurants. The main points to watch out for when selecting such a company are as follows :

i) Application Fee - Companies charging an application fee should be avoided. To be honest, there isn't much paperwork involved in this process, so an application fee is unnecessary.

ii) Closing Costs - Again, companies charging 'closing costs' are best avoided. There are enough companies out there competing for your business.

For the young or established restaurant business, credit card factoring is the most effective way of getting the funds you need to expand your business. So, fund your restaurant using someone else's credit card !

Best small business idea -- it s all about you

Getting More Focused -- It’s All About You

Jeanna Pool from Catalyst Creative writes a great ezine on marketing each month. In January she shared 5 Great Marketing Tips for 2006. Number 1 was “Stop Focusing on You”. She declares 2006 the year of the client and exhorts you to focus totally on your clients and their needs. I think she’s right on. And I think she’s completely wrong. Why right and wrong?

Because if you’ve been in business for awhile and have great products and great services and aren’t getting the results you want, you may be too focused on your clients and not focused enough on yourself. Last week, I encouraged your to revisit your vision of your business and ask yourself why you started your business in the first place. Now I want you to focus even more on what you want. What exactly do you want out of your business? Do you want more money? If so, how much? Write down a number. Do you want more flexible hours? If so, write out exactly the schedule you’d like. Do you want to change the world? If so, write out specifically how that would look.

Why all this focus on you? Because if you aren’t absolutely clear on what you want, how are you going to know if you are successful? How are you going help your clients if you aren’t taking care of yourself as well. Maybe you need to be making $150,000 a year to provide your family with the life that you wanted. You want to send your kids to college. You want to retire while you are still in active and in good health. Or maybe you want to just make an extra $20,000 a year working part-time while you take care of your children until they are in school. Or perhaps your goal is to make a million dollars a year and live a really incredible life. Defining this is very important. Why?

Because what you want will shape your business. It will determine who your customers are and how you will help them. If you want $5,000,000 in sales, your products and methods are going to be a whole lot different than if you want $50,000 in sales. If you want to work only afternoons, that is going to shape your business as well. If you want to sell your business and retire in five years, that’s going to affect your decisions as well. So right now, get out a paper and pen and get ready to write.

Did you get your pen and paper out? Answer the question, “What do I want out of my business?” Write in as much detail exactly what you want your business to give you. Be as specific as possible. Write as much as you can. Think income, lifestyle, schedule, partners, travel, location, employees. What exactly do you want? Throughout the week, add to this and revise it. Compare where you are right now to what you really want. How large is the gap? Next week, I’ll help you create a plan to narrow the gap with: Why Business Plans Don’t Work -- How to Create an Effective Action Plan

Selection of personal protective equipment is important

It is important to ensure the correct selection of personal protective equipment is made as not all safety equipment will meet the same performance requirements or provide the same protection. For example, not one type of glove provides adequate protection against all chemicals or a respirator designed to be effective against medium air levels of a chemical may not be effective against high levels of the same chemical.

When selecting the appropriate personal protective equipment, consideration should be given to elements such as: durability, permeability, abrasion resistance, burn resistance, insulation, cut resistance, size, comfort, and the ability to be cleaned.

Personal protective equipment is designed for a specific duty and the most common forms come in these categories:

Head protection in the form of a safety helmet shall be worn where, there is a possibility that a person may be struck on the head by a falling object, a person may strike their head against a fixed object, and there may also be inadvertent head contact with electrical hazards.

Eye protection shall be provided where a risk of eye injury exists. Typical hazards might include flying particles, dust, splashing substances, harmful gases, vapors, aerosols, and high intensity radiation from welding operations.

Hearing protection shall be provided where a risk of noise induced hearing loss exists. The need for hearing protection shall be assessed from the conduct of noise surveys in potential noise hazard areas. If one cannot hear a normal conversation from two feet away, hearing protection is most likely needed.

Respiratory protection shall be provided, after all other practicable measures have been taken to provide control measures, to ensure that no staff member is exposed to an atmosphere that is or may be injurious to health.

Protective clothing and sunscreen shall be provided for staff that are required to work outdoors and are exposed to the sun's rays for continuous periods in a day. Direct exposure of the skin to UV radiation from outdoor work shall be minimized by providing hats, long sleeves/trousers and an adequate supply of sunscreen.

Hand protection shall be provided where there is an identified hazard associated with a potential for hand injury.

Protective footwear or safety shoes shall be provided where the nature of the work exposes the employee to a medium to high risk of injury to feet.

High visibility safety vests shall be provided and worn where there is a risk of injury associated with working on or near roadways or near moving traffic or moving plant.

Fall protection harness should be provided when personnel need to work at heights.

Any protective equipment provided for use should be appropriate for the wearer and that it controls the risk. For the protective equipment to be fully effective, the wearer needs to be trained on its use. Protective equipment should be in a clean and hygienic condition for the wearer. This equipment should not be shared between wearers unless the equipment is deemed to be clean. Any protective equipment used should be stored and located in an appropriate place so that it remains clean and not exposed to the elements. Any storage areas for protective equipment should be clearly defined. Look for the manufacturer’s label for instruction on care and any special requirements.

Your profits will increase through these techniques by adsenselover

How do you maximize your site?

By earning some few dollars per click from displaying Adsense ads on it. Many are now realizing that good money is made from this source of revenue. Try the simple mathematical computation of multiplying those clicks for every page on your website and you get a summation of earnings equivalent to a monthly residual income with that little effort you have made.

Google Adsense is a fast and easy way for website publishers of all sizes to display relevant and text-based Google ads on their website’s content pages and earn money in the process. The ads displayed are related to what your users are looking for on your site. This is the main reason why you both can monetize and enhance your content pages using Adsense.

How much you will be earning will depend on how much the advertisers are willing to pay. It will depend also on the keywords required. If the keywords the advertiser have chosen are in high demand, you could receive more dollars per click. On the other hand, low demand keywords will earn you just a few cents per click.

How can you start making profits out of your website using Adsense?

1. Sign up for an Adsense account. It will only take a few minutes of your time.

2. When the site is accepted, you will be receiving a clip code to include in your web pages. You can insert this code on as many pages or web sites that you want. The AdWords will start appearing immediately after.

3. You will be earning a few cents or some dollars per click when someone starts clicking on the AdWords displayed on any of your web pages. Trying to earn false revenues by repetitively clicking on your own ads is a no-no. This will result in a penalty or the possibility of your site being eliminated. The money you have already earned may be lost because of this.

4. View your statistics. Adsense earnings can be checked anytime by logging into your web site account.

Once you got your account working, you may still want to pattern them to the many sites that are earning more money than you are. It is important to note that there are factors affecting how your website will perform and the amount of money it will give you.

It is a common practice that when a site earning money, the tendency is for the owner to want to make more out of what they are getting already. It usually takes some time combined with trial and error to attain what you want for your Adsense contents.

Time and some important factors that you can practice and use.

How do you increase your Adsense earnings?

1. Choose one topic per page. It is best to write a content for your page with just a few targeted phrases. The search engine will then serve ads that are more relevant which will then result in higher clickthoughs.

2. Using white space around your ad. This can make your ad stand out from the rest of your page so visitors can spot them easily. There are also other choices of colors you can use, provided by search engines, which can harmonize the color of your ad with the web page color.

3. Test your ad placement. It is recommended to use the vertical format that runs down the side of the web page to get more positive results. You can also try both horizontal and vertical formats for a certain period of time to see which one will give you better results.

4. More content-based pages. Widen the theme of your website by creating pages that focus more on your keyword phrases. This will optimize the pages for the search engines. It can not only attract traffic but also make them more relevant for the AdWords to be displayed.

5. Site Build It. This is the perfect tool to be used for creating lots of Adsense revenues. Site Build It has all the tools necessary to quickly achieve a keyword-rich site that can rank high in the search engines. This will also produce a flow of traffic to your site of highly targeted visitors.

Five steps to create a budget for your small business

How I hate budgets!

Every time an accountant told me to put together a budget for my company, my response was - “When I get the time I will!” I just never seem to get the time.

For several years when I first started my company I never paid attention to a budget. I knew if I made money by looking at my financial statements and that was good enough for me. Also, every time I tried to put something together I never compared my actual financials to the budget numbers I created.

Two years ago, I decided to take a different approach. I developed a forecast for a quarter of what I expected income and expenses to be. I came up with the figures based on the previous year's actual numbers. It was easy to look at last year and just add a percentage increase to the numbers. Then I took the time to review once a month the forecast with where we were at that point.

By using this system of creating a forecast and comparing that to actual financials on a monthly basis I was able to focus on income areas that were falling behind and stop expenses that I didn't need to make.

I am an avid fan of informational products. I buy thousands of dollars every month. With the forecast in place I caught myself spending more then I allocated and was able to just cut back the next month. The great thing about this system is that you are not locked into a specific figure each month but yet you stay within guidelines of where you want to be before the year or quarter finishes.

The best way to set this up is to use a financial program such as Quickbooks or Peachtree. Track all income and expenses using the software. The next step is to print financial statements that track what you have done. Then take the numbers of your financial statements and increase your income by the percentage you want to raise revenue by. Then look at expenses and determine what categories will increase based on the sales increase. This will become your financial projections.

The last step is to review your actual financial statement (Income Statement or Profit and Loss) to your projections. Have systems in place to increase revenue and decrease expenses as necessary.

Vat flat rate scheme

: The Flat Rate Scheme was introduced as an easy way for small businesses to calculate their VAT liability. The Flat Rate VAT scheme is available to businesses with a taxable turnover below Ј150,000 excluding VAT (also exempt and non-taxable sales should be below Ј37,500). Under the flat rate scheme, you simply keep a percentage of the VAT charged to your customers. The percentage you keep varies depending upon which industry you are in. You ignore VAT on your purchases, the VAT you pay simply becomes a cost. Eg If you spend Ј10 + VAT on stationery, the cost of that stationery becomes Ј11.75. The flat rate scheme does allow you to reclaim the VAT on 'large' capital items - where you spend more than Ј2,000 you can reclaim the VAT on that item. Should I be on the flat rate scheme? As you claim a percentage of sales, those with higher sales stand to benefit more. Those with low purchases (therefore paying little in reclaimable input tax) also stand to gain from the scheme. For example A business with sales of Ј149,000 (excluding VAT) and in the category of "any other activity not listed elsewhere" - 10% flat rate and with negligible input VAT say Ј500 will save Ј8,068 per annum by switching to the Flat Rate VAT scheme. To see how much you might save, try the Flat Rate VAT scheme calculator How do I join the Flat Rate VAT Scheme? The easiest way is to call the VAT advice line on 0845 010 9000, who will be able to take your VAT registration number and relevant details on the telephone, following which you will be registered after approximately 21 days. Alternatively, you can download the scheme application form from HMRC . How do I decide which sector my business falls into? If your business has sales in two or more sectors, you should apply the percentage appropriate to the main business activity, as measured by your sales. Some sectors are clearer than others. The difference between "other business services" and "services not elsewhere specified" is far from clear. If you phone HM Revenue & Customs for guidance, make sure you keep a note of the name of the person you speak to and the date of the call.

Small business networks are your clients using the right tools

Since the vast majority of small business prospects and clients that you encounter will likely be running some version of Microsoft Windows, it is a good idea to educate small business managers on the differences between the "current" versions of Microsoft Windows.

Versions of Microsoft Windows

Are your clients using the "right" version of Microsoft Windows? Below is some lists of different versions of Microsoft Windows your clients may be using in their small business network.

Consumer products (Home User)

(home user)

Microsoft Windows 95

Microsoft Windows 98

Microsoft Windows 98, Second Edition

Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me)

Microsoft Windows XP Home

Business Products: Desktop:

Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4

Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Business Products: Server:

Microsoft Windows NT Server 4

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

Microsoft Server 2003

Eight 32-bit Microsoft Windows products have been used by small businesses since the mid-’90s -- and that’s just on the desktop side of the typical small business network.

Managing Expectations

It can be very helpful to understand some of the main differences between peer-to-peer and client/server small business networks. If you want to close the sale and gain a profitable, long-term client, it’s very important to educate your prospects and clients on key terminology while you work to manage their expectations from the very first conversation.

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A call to action

Because of a recent boom in business, my company needed to update our office phone system. We had a very nice system in place already, but our business had tripled within a matter of months. Since we rely on phone orders for the vast majority of our sales, we needed to upgrade in order to handle the increase in call volume. We were lucky to have a great relationship with our telephone equipment provider, as within days we were able to have a new system ready to put in place. It's not often that businesses find themselves in situations like this, but when they do come up, it's important to know that the companies you have chosen to do business with are capable of meeting your needs in a timely manner.

Prior to this happening, we had a trunk study performed, after which we were told that we were losing business as a result of not having a new phone system in place. Anyone who has ever run a business knows that losing money because you are ill equipped to handle your customer's needs is the worst way to lose money. Being able to make a phone call and knowing it would be taken care of quickly and efficiently was a great relief to me. I knew that with every passing day, thousands of dollars were being lost and that's something I couldn't afford to let happen. The whole situation made me think about the importance of knowing qualified vendors who can get you the products you need, when you need them.

I soon began looking into other areas where we were dependent upon other companies for goods and services to see if we were utilizing vendors who could facilitate the changes our growing business was experiencing. After a long, hard look, we decided to switch shipping companies and to switch to a new overnight call center operator. It's not that our needs weren't being met at the time, but that if things continued to grow, we would likely outpace our current vendor's ability to provide service. Being proactive in your business relationships is just as important as being proactive about your business. After all, most companies depend on other companies to make their operations run smoothly. I encourage all business owners to seek out the service providers and vendors that can handle your needs both now and in the future. When your business grows, you'll be happy you did.

Three reasons why your business needs a web site

When I call on businesses offering my web design and hosting services, the first question I ask, naturally, is “Does your business have a web site?” If not, then I ask for the person in charge of these things (for my niche, usually the owner) and give my pitch.

It's 2006, so you would think that they would jump, but it's not that easy. The small independent businesses that don't have web sites (and there are a bunch!) would have had one already, if they thought they needed one.

It's my belief that businesses offering any product or service needs to have some sort of presence online. Newspaper and magazine readership is down. There are 500 television channels in some markets, and commercial-free satellite radio also. The conventional ways to advertise are not reaching as many people. Your new customers are online, shopping, looking for something to do, or a new place to go. They get addresses, phone numbers, coupons, menus, and can even make purchases without walking through the door of your business. Although I could list several reasons why your business needs a web site, I'll stick with the big three.

Affordable advertising that's available 24/7/365

This is the biggest reason, by far. A web site is a billboard available to everyone all of the time, at a cost that is considerably less that TV, radio, or newspaper ads. After the initial design cost, you pay hosting fees, which will run most businesses between $40-$70 dollars a year, and you pay for your domain name, which runs between $10-$30 a year. That's it. If you find the design cost prohibitive, you can design a great looking site yourself with several available software or online programs. The best thing on the advertising side is email. Imagine all of the emails you send having your name and your business name in the address! Not only is it more professional, it's viral advertising if your emails are forwarded beyond the person you sent it to.

Control your expenses

On sites I create, I always suggest an online coupon for two reasons: it provides incentive to visit your site often, and it gives you a great way to gauge the traffic on your site. When you control the coupon like this, you save money. No printer, no artist, no postage, no newspaper or magazine ad. If they want the coupon, they will print it themselves on their own printer. People also forward links like this to friends and family, creating a mass mailing, word of mouth effect that costs you nothing. You can also control expenses with an online store. Sell your products 24 hours a day with a fully automated store that accepts credit cards and doesn't take breaks!

Google

The way we retrieve information has changed drastically in the past few years, thanks to Google. The Google search engine is the third most visited web site, with millons of web page searches each month. The reason I mention this is because they have reached number three, and will soon be number one, without any conventional advertising! Google is all you need to say when describing the power and potential of the Internet. There are 16 billion web sites out there, and number 3 got to number 3 by word of mouth. That still amazes me.

Now, I can't promise you the traffic that Google has, but I can tell you this: If your business is not online, you can reach customers that are for just a fraction of what you have paid in the past for advertising and promotions. A great web site for your business can save you money AND make you money, which is the bottom line for small business owners like us.

Advantages of inventory reconciliation management

: Inventory management refers to the procedure of organization the stocks of finished products and supplies by a compact. Inventory management, if done accurately, can transport down expenses and increase the profits of a compact. Not a substance what the business size it must administer many fixed assets, types of assets, quickly changing asset bases, many locations, and ever-changing tax laws and requirements. Fixed asset inventory software can also reduce encumber of fixed asset reduction calculations for financial and tax exposure, asset inventory tracking and reconciliation services, and private property tax filings. Inventory management software has an amplified business on the web, following the importunate increase and achievement of e-commerce. Inventory management software helps administer inventory from any location in the world. Inventory management software is perfect for business. Inventory management software correspondences are designed for inventory control. The software makes easy the making of an account, and inventory control, stock balance management, goods item direction. Our Accounting Services, a company leader in this area of specialty, can provide to the demanding supplies of global customers in Inventory management. Inventory management software solution packages:
  • QuickBooks
  • Peachtree
  • Sage Line 50
  • Quicken
  • MYOB
  • IRIS
  • La Certe
  • Pro Tax
Inventory software can create the assignment of fixed asset managing easier from achievement through removal. Software such as this eliminates superfluous data entry, enhances accurateness, and reduces costs over handbook tracking of fixed assets. There is inventory software accessible from the essential system of normal barcodes to the more complicated long range asset management. Some business offer inventory software on the internet. As well there are businesses for appoint that will approach. Using complicated devices for gathering of data, our inventory management team captures asset attributes professionally at the point of entry. This ensures benefit information in detail, and accurateness.

Accounts receivable factoring - a viable cash-flow solution for small and medium-sized enterprises

The pace of change in today’s business environment is inarguably staggering. Growth of e-commerce; changes to business structures; evolving relationships; changes to funding arrangements; access to capital and its sources. All occurring at increasingly exponential rates. Fast. The fact that there is more computing power in the average notebook computer today than it took to put a man on the moon should illustrate how fast things change, and whether in senior management or a business owner you need to keep pace.

In particular, you must stay abreast of changes in your competitive environment, and remain fully apprised of mechanisms that will enable a response fast enough to keep you in the game. This article will look at one of those mechanisms, access to capital and through that, free cash flow. In doing so we’ll use an intuitive framework, peppered with some economics. Why? Intuitive analysis is ideal for answering specific questions; in this case ‘What will best enable my firm to manage rapid changes to competitive economic conditions and stay in the game?’ And I’ll use economics because of Steven Levitt, America’s most outstanding economist under-40, who along with Stephen Dubner considers that ‘if morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work.’

By speaking to specific anchor points, strategic issues affecting the access to capital problem can be explored and initiatives developed to allow a timely solution. In short, it’s the fastest and most accurate way to answer the question you face, because it’s easier to understand and doesn’t get bogged down in extraneous, unnecessary analysis.

One of the anchor points in contemporary business is access to capital, especially when it helps maintain free cash-flow. In many respects they are one and the same thing, the difference merely being access to capital is a necessary precursor to free cash flow (you can’t use it until you have it). And everyone needs it. Payroll, materials, overhead, and debtors taking anywhere from 45 to 120 days to settle their accounts, using your firm as a surrogate line of credit.

Access to capital becomes an even larger issue in the business environment described earlier, where speed to market and the ability to ‘tool-up’ (increase production) are crucial to meeting ever shrinking delivery timelines. Many of us have experienced the elation of being awarded a large tender, something that will fill the order book for the next six months, immediately followed by the hangover that comes with the realization that the firm will struggle to fund the project based on existing and forecast cash flow.

Small-to-medium enterprises encounter particular problems when it comes to cash flow and capital access to fund growing operations, to the point where lack of access is an issue that can threaten continuing operations, even in a rising market. Balance sheets take time to build, and it is against this security that banks will lend.

Developing initiatives to tackle this problem involves looking at some existing options and making a comparison, arriving at a decision that best enables a solution to the problem at hand. In this instance, a comparison of bank funding against invoice factoring provides insight into possible solutions for the capital access / cash flow problem.

Everyday economics can inform this comparison, particularly the study of incentives - how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. Let’s start with banks.

Bank lending requirements are invasive and restrictive. They often engender a feeling that you have to ‘bare all’ to borrow a nickel. They would naturally dispute this claim, but let’s return to the incentives – what is their incentive for lending you money? To earn a return off your efforts. Certainly nothing short of this, and these days they also use lending as a lever to win the biggest ‘share of your wallet’ from their rivals, trying to have you as a customer for life, ‘growing with you and your business.’ When you add the fact that a surplus of people requiring credit exist in the market, they can afford to be choosy and do the economically rational thing – be risk averse. Risk aversion drives the mortgage a bank puts on your house to ensure they get paid, and is what drives them to lend against strong balance sheets. They look at balance sheets in an accounting fashion, weighing up tangible, realizable, liquid assets like cash and real property, apply a formula and lend in accordance with how the result stack up against their risk matrix. Your continuing success is of interest to them only to the extent that it enables you to service (and ultimately repay) your debt, generating an ongoing margin on their investment.

An overly simplistic description, the point being to illustrate that all of this takes time, and is structured around heavy regulation and evaluation constraints. Lots of time, and lots of influential rules. First, for you to build your balance sheet, and second, to get it appraised to a point where your banker might open or extend your credit facility. During that time, the window of opportunity to fund that large project, manufacturing expansion, or operations in a rising market quickly passes, leaving you out of pocket your application fee and if successful, servicing an even larger debt you might not need.

Turning to invoice factors, the incentives might seem the same, but how they view obtaining their return is slightly different. While banks rely on their acumen in accurately predicting your ability to repay a debt, invoice factors rely on their skills in accurately assessing the ability of your customer base to pay you. A lower perceived risk aversion with invoice factors plays a small part, but it is how the factor views the overall situation that is different from traditional lending. To begin with, factors recognize your accounts receivables as assets, just like the bank. The difference is that an invoice factor considers your receivables a quickly realizable asset, and is prepared to purchase the rights (and risks) of collecting your outstanding invoices.

Put another way, in economic terms the invoice factor recognizes your receivables as assets with a future value in cash flow terms, and provided their assessment of your customers is favorable, they are prepared to effectively ‘provide a market’ for those assets. This ‘market’ closes with your transaction selling them the invoice however; there is no secondary market like junk bonds or other derivatives.

Access to capital through factors is more expensive than traditional lending, and this is due to the risk premium attached not to you, but your customer base. This is not surprising, and you and I would probably do the same. Returning again to economics and our study of incentives, a rational person requires a premium for every extra unit of risk they take on. A bigger incentive for a perceived higher risk. In the case of factoring, the premium is higher than equivalent bank lending rates, as the risks are considered slightly higher when the security is not real property, rather a first position claim over all of your receivables. Your risk exposure is lower than collecting the receivables yourself (invoice factors are very good at mercantile operations) – the higher fee charged by the factor compared to the bank is simply the premium you must pay to lower that exposure.

The difference that factors provide is speed of access to capital, and what happens when you default. Default on the bank loan, you can lose your business, even the family home. Factoring is not quite as drastic, although the sums of money involved are invariably smaller. There are two types of factoring products available, recourse and non-recourse, and again, the difference comes down to assumption of risk, and the premium asked to assume the risk of non-payment on an invoice. With recourse factoring, you remain liable for non-payment by your customer, and with non-recourse, the factor assumes the risk up to a point, and at a higher premium.

In summary, there are merits and pitfalls in both traditional lending and factoring. These are volatile economic times, and having been burnt a number of times during boom times of the previous two decades, banks are far more risk averse, holding tight reign on their credit standards. So in light of this information, we return to our problem, looking to answer the question: ‘Which of these approaches best delivers the flexibility I require to allow me the opportunity to prosper in a fast-changing business environment?’

For many businesses, the answer lies with invoice factoring, which delivers in excess of $1 trillion in credit across the continental United States. As with all business situations there are caveats, or described another way, arrangements that if not continually monitored can become a comfortable security blanket that might actually be slowly suffocating you.

It is easy to become accustomed to continuing access to cash flow through factoring. It is also easy to feel at ease knowing you are backed by a massive publicly traded institution like your bank. Management and owners of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises should continually remind themselves that the study of incentives works for them too. Constant review of your capital funding and cash flow arrangements is essential to ensure that the deal you end up with is the best for your firm, and not others. It’s all about getting what you want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

Upgrading your business phone system

Upgrading a business phone system is, whenever possible, a much more cost effective alternative to replacing a business phone system. Replacing a business phone system can be an expensive and time consuming endeavor, to say the least. The biggest obstacle most businesses face when upgrading is that many business phone systems are expandable to a limited degree. Some systems have limitations that will force a business to completely replace their existing equipment. For this reason alone, it is essential that businesses consider both their current and future needs before making a phone system purchase.

If you or whoever originally purchased your equipment planned properly, upgrading your phone system could be as simple as adding a few new phones to your line structure. Some business phone systems, such as key systems, are limited in their expansion capabilities. They are lower in price than private branch exchange systems and are suitable for smaller businesses that don't expect to expand beyond the maximum number of lines and handsets. Private branch exchange systems, however, are extremely expandable and often offer more options, although the difference between the overall functionality of the two systems is disappearing.

In either case, it is imperative that you consider your present and future needs for terminals. Outgrowing a business phone system because you have reached its maximum expansion capability can be very costly. You should always contact your phone equipment provider for information on which systems are likely to be a good choice for your organization prior to purchasing. Most wholesalers and retailers of business phone equipment have worked in the field long enough to be able to give you solid advice that can keep you from making a mistake.

You should also consult your local or long distance phone service carriers for information on installation costs and upkeep. With a little research and planning, your business phone system should be an investment that saves you money.

Vending machine supplier find the best one for your business

You can find a vending machine supplier for just about any product under the sun that you want to sell through your vending machines. When you are getting started in this business it is best to try to find a unique product that you know customers want to buy. Cold food is one of the hottest items on the market today because people like to get something quick from a vending machine when they don’t have time for a sit down lunch. Cookies are another option that you can keep in mind when looking for a vending machine supplier.

A vending machine supplier usually has a vending machine program from which you can learn the basics of getting started in the vending machine business. In such a program you can learn about the pros and cons of the cold food vending machine or whether or not you should start off with something small, such as a candy vending machine. You can opt for full service when you buy a vending machine. Cold food vending machine suppliers will assume the costs of the machine and servicing for a monthly commission.

You can also buy or rent your cold food vending machine from a distributor and then look for a vending machine supplier for the products that you want to sell. You can even do this yourself if you sell cold sandwiches, for example. It will require more work on your part, but you can make the sandwiches yourself for the vending machine. Cold food sells well where there are places where people often pick up a sandwich from the vending machine as a snack to tide them over until mealtime.

A cold food vending machine has a glass front so that the customers can see the full range of products inside. It is about the size of a refrigerator and needs electricity, so you do need to have a large area available when you want to place this type of vending machine. Cold food that you can look at including in this type of machine includes sandwiches, but there are many other types of cold food that you can buy from a vending machine supplier. These include such things as cookies, donuts, fruit juice, small containers of fruit and even yogurt.

A vending machine supplier sells in bulk. In general, you need to buy cases of the products, so this means you need to have a cooled area in which you store them. When you visit each of the cold food vending machines on your route, you should have a sample of all the products with you so that you can restock the ones that have sold out. It is important to check these vending machines on a regular basis so that the cold food is always fresh and not out of date. This is why it is important to buy your products from a reputable vending machine supplier that has a best before date well in advance of when you make your purchase.

Save big money on your business cards

: Less than one generation ago, if you needed a box of full color business cards you would have contacted your local graphic arts printing company, paid for expensive design and set up costs, and received your ordered cards one or two weeks later. If you wanted your order completed quicker, you paid extra for that service too. Thanks to the internet, ordering business cards has gotten a lot easier…a lot cheaper too! You can save money on your next order of business cards; please read on for some tips to help bring big savings to you! Shop Online. Why go to your local print shop when several of the big online sellers of business cards can do the same job for less and faster too? There are four or five companies who are literally mopping up the business card industry by selling high quality cards right online and at rock bottom prices. Order Big. The larger your order, the more you save. Customarily, many people only order 250-500 business cards when placing an order. When you order 1000, 2000, or more business cards your cost per card will drop dramatically. An especially smart decision on your part if you regularly attend conventions and are distributing your business cards to everyone. Use In House Styles. If you aren’t particular on the graphics, the big business card suppliers have a wide and varying selection of ready made styles for your choosing. Save a bundle on graphic artist charges by incorporating their styles into your new cards. Shop the Specials. In addition to business cards, many online retailers also sell matching business card magnets, envelopes, letterhead, note paper, and more. Place all of your printing orders with a trusted online retailer to receive the best deals and maximum savings. Yes, your local printing company now has some stiff competition in the form of several top notch online retailers. Your choices for high quality business cards have never been better, resulting in great savings and a terrific product for you!

Ghost hunting should be professional

Ghost Hunting can be very fun and yet at times it can be one of the most terrifying things you will probably ever do in your life.

The following are just a few of the things folks have encountered during ghost hunting or paranormal investigations:

1. Smells: These smells can seem to come from no where, and develop instantly and disappear just as fast. The smells are often putrid like rotted meat, or like fresh bowel movements, and are very overpowering at times.

2. Apparitions: Some spirits appear as barely visible forms, while some become as solid and normal looking as a living person.

3. Clouds - Mists - Masses: Often fleeting shadows, things seen out of the corners of the eyes are encountered. Or a rolling black mass may appear, sometimes a whispy form like smoke is seen.

4. Disembodied voices: These are often heard and at times they can be very scary. Imagine being in a darkened room, and having something invisible whisper or even shout in your ear. These are not EVP's, but normal sounding speech.

5. Physical Sensations - Some ghost hunters have been touched, pinched, slapped, had their hair pulled, been scratched or even bitten by invisible entities.

6. Rappings - Scratching - and Knockings: In walls, ceilings and floors. Strange sounds and noises are often heard in haunted locations, as well as hearing what sounds like objects being dropped, or moved in nearby rooms.

7. Cold spots: Sometimes just before a spirit manifests they draw energy from the surroundings. Often a spot in one area of a room will suddenly become very cold. For example the temperature thoughout a room may average 75 degrees but in one corner or area, the temperature will suddenly plummet to 50 degrees or even colder. This is a sure sign of a spirits presence or a soon manifestation.

8. Power drains and equipment malfunctions: Like cold spots, when a spirit is drawing energy needed to become solid or more visible, they will often draw-in nearby energy, this energy can also come from batteries in video camers, and other devices. Often cameras, tape recorders, even lights will suddenly go haywire or stop working all together when a spirit is present.

Almost everyone that does ghost hunting believes that there are two types of spirits, human and in-human, the latter are also called demons. I am a born again christian and believe the bible 100%. From my beliefs in the bible as factual. I believe there is only one type of spirit involved in any haunting, and these are in-human or demons.

According to the bible, when we are dead our spirits or souls are present with God, from there we are either granted a life of love and peace in heaven with the creator and the other believers, or we are cast into hell forever, with no chance of escape. The bible also says there is a huge chasm or void that separates the living from the dead, they cannot cross over or communicate with each other. There are other statements in the bible that clearly says that ghosts can not be the spirits or souls of people who have died.

Whether the creatures involved in a haunting are spirits of dead humans or whether they are demons, if one is trying to prove that they truly exist or if you are trying to disprove a haunting, then you must do paranormal investigations as a professional.

A professional Ghost Hunter or paranormal investigator needs to have the right tools. Here I will explain devices that every ghost hunter or paranormal investigator MUST have, if he or she is truly taking the phenomenon as real or as a business, and not as a joke.

1. Voice Recorder: It doesn't matter if you use a standard tape recorder or one of the new digital recorders, what does matter is the quality and the ability to use an external microphone. Try to get one that is of good quality, but make sure you get one that has a plug in microphone with a cable or cord so the end of the microphone is away from the recorder. The small all-in-one recorders that have the built in microphones, pick up a lot of the hiss and gear noise from the recorder when they are in record mode. A recorder is a necessity for recording EVP's. EVP's also called (electronic voice phenomenom) are a very unique and sometimes frightening thing that is often encountered in a haunted area. What an EVP is, is a voice or other communication that is heard on a tape or digital recorder during playback, that was not heard when the recorder was recording.

2. Film Camera: Do NOT use a digital camera because the photo will always be questioned as being fake, no matter how good it is, where if you use a film camera, you at least have the negatives as some proof. And unless you buy a high mega-pixel digital camera, the photo quality will be less than a nice cheap 35mm film camera.

3. Camcorder: A camera is good, but a camcorder is even better. Get one that uses a tape, either the small cassettes or one of the older models that use the full sized VHS tapes. I bought two of these older camcorders for under $75 each recently.

4. Thermal Imaging scopes or goggles: These capture the upper portion of the infrared light spectrum, which is emitted as heat by objects instead of simply reflected as light. Hotter objects, such as warm bodies, emit more of this light than cooler objects like trees or buildings. Often spirits that manifest have a temperature in their form that stands out in this spectrum, especially if a spirit is present in a cold location.

5. Night Vision scopes or goggles: These little devices have become very cheap, a nice night vision scope can now be purchased easily for under $200. They work by collecting the tiny amounts of light, including the lower portion of the infrared light spectrum, that are present but may be imperceptible to our eyes, and amplifying it to the point that we can easily observe the image.

6. Flashlight: Take along two small pocket ones for each team member. What can be worse then exploring a dark cellar or underground area, and having the lights or another flashlight fail.

7. Walkie Talkies: If you have a group of team members, and you are investigating a large location, walkie talkies are not just a good thing to have, but they can be a life saver at times.

8. Notebook and pencils: Often any electronic, electrical or other devices may fail in a haunted location, so it's very wise to carry along a small notebook and some pencils in case you need to keep some valuable notes.

9. Thermal Scanner: A hand held thermal scanner (thermometer) uses infrared technology to measure the surface temperature of material without touching it. You simply point at your target, pull the trigger and read the temperature on the lit LCD display.

One of the best tools I recommend, is also the cheapest, under $10 U. S. It is a computer software program that is made just for Ghost Hunting and Paranormal

Investigations. It's called 'Ghost Hunter'. The software is for anyone who explores haunted houses or locations where any type of paranormal activity is occurring. Whether you are trying to gather evidence of the haunting or other proof, this software can help make the job more organized and easier.

Ghost Hunter software was made as a scientific tool, for paranormal researchers that believe in spirits, demons, or ghosts. Researchers can easily keep track of vital data gathered at the haunted locations. With this software you can know at a glance such vital information as; the date and times of the activity, location info, GPS data, telephone numbers, notes, sounds heard, odors detected, temperature anomalies, and more.

You can use the software on location during the investigation with any WINDOWS based notebook Computer or back at home or in the office after the investigation.

For more information and the ability to download and try a free demo version of the 'Ghost Hunter' software, please visit the website:

http://www. rb59.com/ghosth

By Robert W. Benjamin

Copyright © 2007

You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.

The christmas place announces the opening of its inn spring 2007

The Incredible Christmas Place at Bell Tower Square in Pigeon Forge,

Tennessee is one of the country’s largest and most beautiful Christmas Villages!

This family owned and daily-operated business is celebrating its 20th year and wants to thank its guests for the privilege of having served them. To celebrate this special occasion, the Christmas Place has announced the opening of a new property in Pigeon Forge in 2007, "The Inn at Christmas Place", offering the same old world charm, elegance and customer service you have grown to love from the shops at Christmas Place.

As always, the Christmas Place will have many new displays and attractions that make your visit to Christmas Place a memorable experience. For those that missed our little train that ran around the mezzanine – it is back all spruced up and good as new! There will also be new train displays at the Toy and Train store for the enjoyment of our guests.

Our two custom service areas – Personalizing and Floral will be bigger to serve you better in 2006! The Floral Department has been expanded and we are currently creating a Personalizing Emporium that will have the ability to embroider stockings, handbags, etc.

For further information visit us online at www. christmasplace. com or call 865-453-0415/800-445-3396. For updates on the progress of our Inn go to www. christmasplace. com/inn.

How do i sell my restaurant franchise

Question: I am tired of running my restaurant franchise. How do I sell it?

Answer: Many franchisors face this same predicament. Not only are restaurant franchises resold every day, but it is very common to see all types of franchises for sale on the resale market.

The absolute first thing that you must do is to contact your franchisor. Do not be embarrassed! Franchisors expect that a certain percentage of their franchisees will someday want to sell their franchise. It is normal. There are many reasons for a franchisee to want to sell a franchise. Your reason for wanting to sell is probably a legitimate reason, something that the franchisor has probably heard many times before.

But probably the biggest reason that you need to contact your franchisor is that many franchisors will impose restrictions on franchise re-sales. For the most part these restrictions will follow closely with their existing guidelines used for recruiting a new franchisee. They just want the ability to approve any new franchisee.

Are you prepared to sell your franchise? Do you know what your franchise is worth? Will you need to carry financing? Is your financial information up to date? Have you talked with your attorney about the correct from of structure for a sale (asset based vs. stock based)? Are there property lease considerations? Will your landlord allow an assumption of your lease?

You have got to know the answers to these questions. Make sure that you are properly prepared to sell your franchise. You will need to research the marketplace in order to establish a price point. You may wish to talk to a Business Broker or other informed expert for guidance. Check with your accountant. He or she has probably seen a business or two that has been sold over the years. Lean on those around you for good quality advice.

Looking at many franchisor web sites over the last few months, many sites include a section on their web site for franchise re-sales. Consequently, your franchisor may be able to help you market your franchise for sale to others. There are other ways to sell an existing franchise. A good old fashioned newspaper ad can work. A more progressive way is to advertise your franchise for sale online with a web site that is designed to market your franchise. An example would be The Business Market which has a number of existing franchises for sale.

So don’t be embarrassed... be proactive! You can do it!

Every thing you must know to have a successful home business and maximize your profits

Don’t Get Tricked: Thinking You Have a Home Business if you do all your work in some one else’s house is foolish. Stop running around all over town plastering up flyers. Having parties in your friend’s houses or yours is not why you do this. It does not work.

Choose a Home Business that Makes Sense: You must have products that sell even if there was no business opportunity. Products every body uses every where. Staple products needed and used everyday forever. Promote patented products with advantages.

Don’t Choose a Home Business that: Limits you to only luxury items or targeted items, only half the population use once and that’s it. To truly be free you will want to get paid over and over on work you do just once. Repeat sales and retention is gold, got to have it.

Consider Networking: You only have 2 hands, how much more can you do with 400 or 4000? The best way is to multiply your income is to teach others. Earn more than you ever dreamed with your Home Business. Start multiplying your income while helping others.

Don’t Limit your Income: Recruiting or selling friends and family does not work for your Business. It helps your up-line they have 100’s doing this. So you get 5-10 from your center of influence make a couple sales. Your up-line makes a 100 times that, you get stuck.

Take Advantage of Internet Marketing: The internet is a Home Business miracle. How else could you reach people all over the country, the world for that matter? Be affiliated with a company that has a presence in several countries and is expanding world wide.

Don’t Pay for Leads and Advertising: There is no need to pay a fortune promoting your Home Business. Losers buy questionable leads that never pay off. Calling Strangers is a waste of time and money. Your better than that, funded sponsoring can do this and advertise for you too.

Make money online: Learn from successful Home Business builders making millions. The internet is an unlimited resource. Do not over look the most powerful tool in your arsenal. It’s easy once you know how. Fortunes are being made every day online. It’s your turn.

Don’t spend a fortune: It’s not necessary to break the bank advertising your Home Business online. There are a ton of free online methods to generate streams of cash flow. Develop never ending residual income. The internet works for you 24/7, put it to work and cash in.

Use a website: The right site is a virtual sales force that never sleeps. It sells and/or recruits for you. There are many great sites viewed by millions that can be yours Free. People will pay you with out you ever speaking to them. No salesman can do that for your Home Business.

Don’t spend money driving traffic: Learn all the tips, tricks and secrets to drive the right people to your sites for free. Discover 100’s of fast easy ways to over load your site with your target market. If you are spending boat loads trying to do build your Home Business STOP!

If your Home Business is not a Cash Flow Generating Monster Growing Out Control every day then do something Now! Find how to do what is discussed in this article. If you want to reach your goals live the life you dream then learn to Do the Do’s and avoid the Don’ts.

Small business networks getting past small business networking myopia

Many small businesses mistakenly think that they’re too small to cost-justify a "real" client/server small business network. However, because small businesses want, and in most cases, need, the same technology tools as their larger competitors, deploying a peer-to-peer network doesn’t usually make small business sense (except for the tiniest small offices).

Don’t Let Clients Underestimate Technology Requirements

When purchase decisions are based solely on the initial price, small businesses tend to underestimate their technology requirements. If your client or prospect requires a secure, reliable, scalable and flexible technology backbone, the client or prospect needs a "real", dedicated server for their small business network.

As virtual CIO, part of your responsibility is to see that "sound" decisions are made. So don’t let your small business clients invest in "dead end" peer-to-peer small business networking solutions that are difficult to support and expensive to upgrade.

If your clients value their data, productivity, uptime and technology investment, a "real" server should be a "no brainer".

The Bottom Line about Small Business Networks

In much the same way that every home begins with a solid foundation, your clients’ small business networks need a secure, scalable, rock-solid file and printer-sharing infrastructure before you can start adding value-added "bells and whistles".

Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consulting Blog. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Starting small business promotional campaigns

: So you’re starting a small business. You figured out what you wanted to sell or do and went out and got it all set up, had your DBA framed and on the wall and now all you need is for someone to buy your product or use your service. Right? How are you going to go about getting your public to know you even exist? Promote! Promote! Promote! Well that all sounds simple, but say you’re a financial specialist, a boat builder or llama farmer. They probably didn’t teach the basic principles of starting small business promotional campaigns in boat-builders’ school. So what do you need to know, and how do you go about it? Let’s start with the “Basic Principles” of promotion: What is Promotion? Promotion (pro•mō′•shun) n. Anything, as advertising, public appearances, etc., done to publicize (get the attention or interest of the public) a person, product, event, etc. The New Webster’s Concise Dictionary2003 Encyclopedic Edition Why do you promote? The purpose of promotion is to make sure people know you are in business. You promote because if you don’t, you won’t make it in business. You promote because it is communication that you need to engage in in order to survive. You promote in order to expand and get the attention or interest of the public for your products or services. You promote because if you don’t, no one will know you exist and no one will buy from you and…well, you get the point. How do you promote? There are more ways than you would ever think. Have you ever heard someone say, “I never promote and I am always busy” OR “I don’t have to promote, all my business comes from word-of-mouth”? They may not be aware of how they’re doing it, but I promise you they are promoting somewhere. Maybe they just go around telling everyone they talk to, that they don’t promote. (Sound funny? It’s still promoting.) Maybe their larger-than-life running water faucet in front of their store attracts so much attention that they don’t need to do anything else. Well here are some ideas you can do “knowingly” to drive in the business. • Greeting your customers with a smile is a great place to start. • Calling your customers after they have had a chance to use your product is a good way to promote that you care about their experience with your organization. It can also create an opportunity to make more sales. • A neatly packaged product, the shipping label on straight, promotes that you take pride in what you do. • Always keep up-to-date brochures or catalogs about your business in your reception area for people to see and take with them. • If you have customers coming into your business, make sure they are greeted pleasantly, professionally, and immediately. Anything that gets the attention or interest of the public for the company, its employees, its products or services (in a positive way) is promotion. But how do you go about promoting to the masses? Here is a story that could save you thousands of marketing and promotional dollars, as well as months or years of experience. “I was working as the Communications & Promotional Director in a medium size business. We were fortunate enough to have our own commercial printing press, that put out lots of very fancy letters, catalogs, brochures and other promotional items, and oh yes, envelopes to put them in. My full time pressman and his helpers, spent several days each week getting everything printed, cut, folded and sent over to the mailing house.” “There, they had machines that automated all the stuffing, sorting, addressing and stamping. All in all everything was going very well. We were sending out about 40,000 pieces per week at a cost of about $10,800.00, and getting around 120 to 140 good leads per week. This generated an average of 2 new sales per week for a product that cost around $12,000, and re-sign income of around $45,000 more. We weren’t growing very fast, but we were making money.” “THEN…911 hit. " “Suddenly, nobody wanted to open envelopes. Our leads were dropping to nothing. We were heading toward our own disaster like so many other companies did. I knew I needed to promote, but what good did it do if nobody read it!” “I was talking to the owner of the mailing house and he suggested the use of POSTCARDS instead of letters. So we decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, I had much less money to allocate towards promotion, so I started by sending about 20,000 postcards weekly. The total cost-per-piece, needing only one day on the presses, half the labor at the mail house and a substantial decrease in postage, was reduced by about 60%.” What was the result? Try 120 to 140 leads per week! Why? • You don't have to open a post card! • You see it right away, the bright picture is not hidden from view by an envelope. • The message leaps right out and you can't ignore it or throw it in the trash unopened (the fate of many bulk mail pieces). Postcards are the best medium to reach new customers when starting a small business promotional campaign.

Buy a small business in the united states

If you are looking for a business opportunity, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has an excellent website, including a search option for small businesses for sale in the United States. They also have financial options for those who are looking for a business opportunity to consider.

Small businesses consistently employ fifty percent of the workforce in the United States. Fifty-three percent of all small businesses are home-based, while three percent are franchises. You can always find a business opportunity that has to do with franchises. Franchises are a worthwhile consideration, simply because in most cases, the name and products are well known. If you take advantage of this type of business opportunity and buy a successful franchise, you usually don’t have to worry about it folding in the first year. Franchise. com has a list of franchises offered for sale in the United States, as well as in other countries. You can look at a list of franchises and decide on the one you are interested in, and then learn more about it. The website also lists the franchise fees and investment required.

According to the SBA, there were 24.7 million small businesses in the United States in 2004, the last year for which figures are available. 580,000 new small businesses opened in 2004 and 576,000 closed in the same year. The competition for any small business to succeed is ferocious, but with more than 24 million in existence, it’s clear that they do succeed.

If you are going to be working in the business yourself, it’s important that you buy a business that you truly care about. If however, this business opportunity is purely an investment for you, then certainly the best business deal financially would make sense. Some people who open new businesses work 14, 16 or even more hours per day until the business really gets off the ground. This would be almost impossible to do if you didn’t like what you were doing.

Home business opportunities are as far and wide as your imagination. You can start your own business or buy an existing one. You could have an online business, or a more conventional store or office. If you select a business opportunity that will have you doing something that you love, the money will likely follow.

It’s not difficult to find a business for sale. There are listings all over the Internet, as well as in almost every newspaper in the country. What matters, obviously, is finding the right business - one that will meet all of your needs, not just your financial ones. How much time do you have to devote to this business? Will this be your only business or one of many? Will you run it yourself or will you hire people to do that for you?

You can do, or you can hire others to do, some sophisticated market research to ensure that your product or service will sell in certain areas. Of course, if it’s an online business opportunity, you can do plenty of your own research quite easily. You can look at what other websites are selling, whether it is a product or a service, and to a degree, you can see how popular they are.

If you need to get a loan for your business opportunity, you have several options. The SBA can direct you to several loan options, although they don’t lend money themselves. The SBA is a great place to start anyway, simply because they do have so many resources. They have a lot of statistical information that you might find helpful in your market research, and they have several free publications to help you along in your small business journey.

Probably the most important thing you can do before buying a small business is your homework. Investigate more than one business before settling on a specific business opportunity, and above all, make sure it is something that you enjoy!

http://www. bizseller4u. com

Choosing a company name

When forming a limited company the name of the company can be an important decision. Some people may choose the first name that they think of and others may select a ready made company for speed or because they like a particular name. However, many businesses may prefer to select a company name that either clearly distinguishes itself from its competitors or contains something unique or personal. Company names can be chosen for different reasons.

One of the most common ways of selecting a company name is to use something personal. A quick look through your local newspaper will probably introduce you to many personalised business names. Johnson Consulting Limited, T Smith & Son Limited, Stephens & Barley Limited are some fictional examples of what may be found. This may instantly make a company recognisable locally, it can be deemed as more personal by its customers, and often works well within geographical areas. However, it does little to tell new customers what your company does.

A popular choice for a small business is to choose a name that is ‘descriptive’. This tells prospective clients exactly what your company does. Examples of this may be to call your business The Window Company Limited, City IT Consultants Limited or The Advertising Agency Limited. Whilst this does serve to reinforce your primary business it offers little differentiation and may easily be adapted by competitors.

A less personal option is to use a company name that is ‘associative’. This type of company name helps to create an image or connection to your business activity. It is less direct than using a descriptive name but helps to position your company’s name within the market through peoples understanding of what words mean. For example a flick through the Yellow Pages will offer plenty of examples of this. A hairdresser called Classic Cuts or a printer called Selectaprint Limited are examples of what may be found. These names offer some differentiation but may not ultimately set your company aside from its competitors.

An alternative is to choose a company name that is ‘freestanding’. These names are completely abstract and not related to the companies business activities. A fictional example may be to call your catering company Zedoc Limited. There are many popular brand names that illustrate this point. Consider, Kodak, Gillette, or Mars, these names will probably be instantly recognisable to you and conjure up a particular product or business. This is a good way of setting your company aside from the competition but it is important to consider the market that you operate in. Will your prospective clients know what your business is offering?

Choosing a company name may be a simple process, but it is not uncommon for people to deliberate over names for quite some time. Whilst company names can, and often are, changed during the life of the company most people like to choose a name that they like from the outset. Therefore consider your market, how much you want to differentiate from your competitors and what your company name should say about your organisation. Once the decision is made focus on the important business of making your company a success.

The most overlooked safety event - driving

Driving a vehicle is probably the most overlooked safety event in one’s life. Personal vehicles are driven to have employees arrive at work, to take kids to soccer practice, and even to deliver goods to customers. Basic precautions take a few moments to check. Millions of people are killed each year. People ages 15-44 account for over half of all deaths due to road traffic injuries. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death by injury worldwide. In North America alone, the equivalent of the passengers on ten 747 jets die in traffic incidents each day.

The basics of vehicle operation are to know how to operate the vehicle and use any related equipment or attachments safely. Be familiar with the location and function of all the controls. A good place to start is the owner’s manual. Many of the functions of the vehicle are not covered at the point of purchase.

Inspect the vehicle daily. Develop a routine method of inspecting vehicle by doing a quick walk around. Start at the front and do a complete walk around; check the tires, windshield wipers, lights, and for any objects that might be laying in the vehicle’s path.

Once inside, adjust seat and controls. Fasten seat belt. Pump the foot brake; the brakes should hold the vehicle and while stopping they should stop the vehicle smoothly. If there is a clutch and gearshift, the shifter shifts smoothly without jumping or jerking. The steering wheel moves smoothly with no play. Make sure all dash controls are functioning properly.

For fleet and commercial vehicles, check the hydraulic systems for operation. If installed check the back-up alarm; if not installed, equip the vehicle with one. Check for the emergency equipment and make sure all required equipment is on board. Check the load and make sure it is secure and complying with regulations. Check the wheels and fasteners and make sure there are no defects in rim or loose or even missing fasteners.

While driving listen for strange noises and even smell for unusual odors that may be coming from the vehicle. Wear the seat belt; more people have been injured by not wearing the belt than those who do.

Now that the vehicle has checked and is safe, simple procedures can be learned and practiced to ensure safe driving. Wear the seat belt every time and insist all passengers wear theirs as well. The airbag is a safety device that can inflict injury if precautions are not used; be sure there is at least 10 inches between the air bag and the middle of the chest; never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.

Children 12 and under are safest buckled up in the back seat. Use the appropriate child and infant restraints. For child seats, follow the manufacturers’ guidelines on installation; over half the checked seats checked by police are being used incorrectly.

Assuming everyone drives like an idiot will improve defensive driving skills. Keep all vehicle windows and mirrors clear so you can see potential hazards. Adjust your speed to the legal limit, the road conditions and your own driving abilities at the time. Slow down if you’re tired, distracted, emotional or ill. Drowsy driving, just as drunk driving, can cause a crash within seconds. Get enough sleep before you take the wheel. Also know what medications may cause drowsiness or dizziness.

Expect the unexpected. Know what is around the vehicle at all times by checking all mirrors every five to eight seconds. Always keep the eyes moving and use every vantage point to gain information about the road ahead such as a hill top. By observing all areas around the vehicle, an escape movement can be used to avoid an incident.

By checking the vehicle each time before it is started and driving defensively, less traffic incidents will occur. The result will be better insurance rates and less injury in one’s life.

Does your small business need a web site part 1

You are a small business owner. You use the internet both in your business and personally. Obviously you know there are many, many web sites out there. More then likely, you've even made purchases through someone else's web site. Perhaps it is apparent that you could be doing the same thing with your own business. Certainly, extra e-commerce sales could only help your bottom line. But does your business really need a web site?

In deciding that, consider what a web site really is to a business. A well designed site can give your business exposure to a much larger group of potential customers. That makes it a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

In today's hyper-competitive business environment, marketing experts tell us that having a successful marketing strategy is essential to the growth of your business. Effective use of a web site can draw in new leads and turn leads into conversions. Now these new customers (your best market) can be further wooed through follow up online newsletters, automatic appreciation e-mails (auto-responders), special offers or any number of tactics. All the while building a mailing list which is like gold to anyone's marketing efforts. With this almost limitless and relatively inexpensive marketing tool in the form of your web site, your profits have an even greater ability to soar.

A web site does need to be well designed. Also, in addition to targeted, effective content, your site needs to be regularly maintained and updated. Using its full potential requires someone in your company continually coming up with new online marketing strategies. But these efforts, if thought of as marketing investments, can mean big rewards in the form of increased profits for your business.

In this information age, the internet is key to making innovative marketing decisions that build a successful business. Your competition knows this and he/she probably has a web site. If they are savvy enough to realize its marketing potential, then they have a competitive edge. But you can make up ground and pass them up with a well designed web site of your own.

(For Part 2 of this article "What is a well designed web site?" Please visit my web site.)

Health and safety-it makes good cents

Health and Safety-It Makes Good Cents

Data shows that small businesses that have health and safety procedures in place reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 percent and even up to 40 percent. Nearly 95 percent of business owners report that health and safety programs have a positive impact on the company's bottom-line according to a recent survey. Of this group, 61 percent say their return-on-investment is 3 dollars for every 1 dollar they invest in improving workplace safety. In addition, companies that have working health and safety programs in place have seen employee absenteeism drop in half.

A well planned health and safety program is obtainable even for small businesses. For example in this worst to first situation, a small manufacturing company was forced into putting a health and safety program in place or be shut down. They started by doing an audit, identified and controlled hazards, showed working procedures, and had to keep their injury rates below the national average for their sector. After they had implemented their health and safety program, they had many years with not one injury and saved more than $45,000 on insurance premiums. The company was even recognized with an award for their safety record. The owner, Rick, said "Our health and safety program has helped us protect our employees, maintain compliance, keep our vital employees working for us, and has saved us real money to put back into our company."

Health and safety is no longer just viewed as a good idea, but a crucial investment in the business' long term success. Mounting costs of unhealthy employees and the expense and disruption of staff turnover is turning many small business owners to health and safety. The payback in health and safety programs comes in the form of: improved productivity, fewer insurance and worker’s comp claims, less absenteeism, decrease in accidents, reduced staff turnover, higher employee morale, and leads to a better business reputation and customer loyalty.

Unhealthy and absent employees are costly. Businesses incur direct costs such as worker's comp payments, disability costs, replacement employees, equipment damage, and even lost productivity.

By having a health and safety program in place, employers also protect themselves from liability in employee's injury in being exposed to unidentified hazards in the workplace. Employers can be charged in injuries caused to untrained employees. An unhealthy may also threaten the safety of others such as fellow employees, the business owner, and even the customer of the business.

In starting a program, there needs to be commitment. Employers must get a feeling of the seriousness of this new procedure. The planning should be a partnership between the business owner and employees. To be able to actively engage all aspects of the on-going process in the business, the program should consider all of the major health risks in all of the areas of the workplace to meet the needs of all employees.

Deciding on whether to have a health and safety program should be clear. Health and safety issues in the workplace cost the business owner directly and even in lost opportunity. A change to making the business safer will lead to a more positive bottom-line.

For any questions or even help in getting started, drop us an e-mail at [email protected] com.

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