Your Business 3.4

We often think of our small businesses as growing and developing gradually and consistently. We look at typical business indicators, such as revenue and profit curves, customer metrics or website hits and what we see resembles a car journey. Sometimes it’s a motorway, and progress it fast. Sometimes its a windy country lane and progress it erratic, at times rapidly accelerating, at times braking hard. Sometimes you’re stuck in a dead end and just have to reverse. And sometimes you’re just parked. But it always looks like the same journey in the same car.

In the software industry, development traditionally takes the form of major and minor releases of applications. Version 1 comes out – it’s not perfect, but it’s usable. Bit by bit, the developers nail down the bugs and the functionality glitches, gradually releasing updates and patches – Version 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 etc. By 1.6, it’s a perfect app – it does exactly what it’s supposed to do with no bugs.

But any good software company doesn’t stop there. In fact, the minute Version 1 came out, they were probably already thinking “Hey, this app does x, but wouldn’t it be good if it did y and z too”. So a year or two after Version 1 came out, they release Version 2. It does more, it does it slicker, it does it bigger and it does it better. It’s not compatible with Version 1. You might even have to buy it again if you bought Version 1. It’s not an upgrade, it’s fundamentally different.

Look at how we’ve come to think of and call the current phase of the internet ‘Web 2.0’. It’s not just a geek thing either. In our hearts and minds we know something has changed in Web 2.0. Perhaps, if you’re not a techie, it’s hard to put your finger on. But back in 1999, in Web 1.0, your grandma wasn’t keeping up with your shenanigans on social networks was she? Most of the software you used was on your operating system, not through your web browser, wasn’t it? Web 2.0 is different from Web 1.0 in many, many ways. But the key is that they add up to a step change. A fundamental shift in the way we use and perceive the internet and the way it shapes society.

Now what if we were to think of our businesses this way? What if we went from major version to major version rather than just notching up an endless string of minor versions? What if your business was ‘Your Business 3.4’, rather than ‘Your Business 1.87’?

In fact, such a conceptualisation is incredibly empowering. Thinking of your business as a serious of ‘major version releases’, each of which is fundamentally separated from the previous version by a step change, can only motivate you to push forward to the next iteration. And in my eyes, step changes are not (or at least they don’t have to be) sharp jumps in metrics like sales or profits. New major versions are triggered by changes that are fundamental to what your business really is, what it represents, what it offers, how it operates and what it brings to or takes from your life and that of others that are involved in it.

I’m not going to go into details here of of my own business (that’s for another post), but just as an example, we went to ‘Our Company 2.0’ to ‘Our Company 3.0’ the day we first stopped doing the physical warehouse work ourselves and moved to a contracted-out logistics solution. This was a fundamental change for us – it changed the way the company operated, it changed what we could offer, it changed what we did on a day-to-day basis and it changed how we thought about our company and its prospects.

Major versioning is not all about the past though. Of course, with the help of hindsight, you might look back and easily determine where your major versions were, and if they were positive, or even planned. But really, major versions are all about the future, about where you’re going. Don’t ask yourself where you see your business in 5 years – who knows what shape the world will be in in 5 years. Better to visualise the next major version of your business – what it will look like, what will be fundamentally different about it, how it will change your life and the lives of others. Does it excite you? If it doesn’t, you’re jaded.

So why not get started ‘major versioning’ your businesses. Look back to the past and then look towards the future. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Starting back from My Business 1.0, how many major versions have there been?
  • What major version am I at now?
  • What were the characteristics of each major version?
  • What will the next major version look like? How will it be characterised? How will it be fundamentally different?
  • When will the next major version be?
  • How many more major versions will there be? Does the project have a ‘final version’?

As an illustration, I’ll post about the history and major versions of my little company (currently The Tapas Lunch Company 4.0) soon. Until then, I’d love to hear which version you’re on and where you’re going.

3 Tips For Making A Success Of A Catering Business Dream

Many people dream of starting their own wedding catering business for example, especially those who have already done some small catering work for friends. There are some problems that inexperienced business owners run into though and the first one is that they just don’t know where to start. To turn a love of cooking into a wedding catering business the following tips will be very helpful.

Making a love of cooking into a profitable catering business is no easy endeavor, but it most definitely is not impossible. I don’t know if you realize it, but there are three very important components to creating a successful business that every aspiring entrepreneur should understand.

1. Have Solid Determination

There is a lot of work that goes into creating a business of any type and you need to have the determination to stick with it. It is the willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream that makes an entrepreneur a success. Owning a business means that there will be highs and lows almost all the time, so it is determination that will get a business owner through those lows, times when you think you are just not going to make it for one reason or another.

Many people with positive outlooks on life believe that someday soon they will be able to turn their hobby into a dream job, but then five, ten, or fifteen years later they are still busing tables at the local restaurant.

Wow, is that what you want?

This is only because they do not actually plan, commit and take the difficult first steps to turn their hobby into a business. They keep thinking that any time now the conditions will be “just right” for them to start their dream job.

Unfortunately time just does not get to be perfect so that you can turn something you love to do into your dream business, because there will always be things that will come up if you let them.

It could be that you:

  • want to take your next dream holiday
  • want to wait until your first child leaves school,
  • learn a few more techniques with your hobby, or whatever it is

But once you have decided that is what you want to do, you just have to get out there and make happen!

You need to have a fierce determination to succeed in spite of imperfect conditions and obstacles. There is no guarantee you will succeed, of course, but the ability to push on when things get hard will bring you far.

2. Maintain A Positive Attitude.

Attitude is by far the most important component when making your dreams come true. If you are going to make your hobby into a business, you need to think positively.

Often times, people are too quickly discouraged when starting their own business. Starting up alone, will mean that you will face a lot of problems, but most of them will not be insurmountable. It may mean you have to rethink one or two of your ideas, and maybe even delay some components of your business, but that does not mean that you have to kill your dream.

Then as you run your business you will come across obstacles, but don’t you do that anyway if you worked for someone else?

A positive attitude will give you the determination to push through those tough times – tough emotionally, or tough business wise.

3. Plan Your Business And Your Marketing

Another very important component of creating your dream job is finding a system for marketing your products and services that has already proven to be successful for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

All businesses, large or small, need to market their business and keep on marketing. It is not enough just to a little then stop. This needs to be planned into your finance when you are setting up your business plan. It is working out a good marketing plan and sticking to it that could mean that you will make it or break it.

Understand that building a business takes time. This may, at first, seem to be a bit of a problem, but in actual fact it is a bonus because if you started out full on then you most likely would not have the experience to handle everything all at once. Start slowly and build with confidence.

Plan each day and complete your plan for the day. If for some reason you cannot finish your plan of the day, make it a priority for tomorrow.

Catering is a business that must be planned to perfection. You must know how long it takes to prepare for the numbers you are catering for and how much you need to make, so planning is essential to its success. Controlling bookings is also another very important part of managing a catering business, and in fact any business where bookings are an important part of the operation.

Business management is a huge part of being successful in any catering business so if you lack these skills, brush up on them or employ someone who can help you out.

Internet Business Consulting Tips

If your goal is to make money online, start a home-based Internet business or just improve your existing Internet marketing or e-marketing business, Internet business consulting should be a major element included in your game plan. The guru tips with Internet marketing strategies, how to start an Internet business, online e-marketing, e-marketing strategies, search engine optimization, keyword research and back linking are just some of the special instructions you are going to need to know in order to succeed online. Look for a FREE online resource video library created by reputable genuine Internet gurus who also offered reasonably priced tools with Free support and a FREE income generating website.

Internet marketing strategy is not child’s play, but it isn’t rocket science, either. You don’t have to spend a fortune on hiring Internet business consulting, even if you have no previous experience and want to start internet business. A lot of the helpful advice you can find online is actually available for free or at very nominal cost.

Below are a couple of tips you can use as guidelines for working towards your online success:

You don’t have to do all of the work yourself

Trying to do all the work yourself will keep you small because you can only stretch yourself so far. After you have created a budget to work from, you can employ experts or expert teams to do the work for you at inexpensive rates. One of the specialties that an Internet business consulting strategist can do is guide you toward the best choices.

You really do not need a lot of technical know-how to start

Any online business consultant will tell you that being a technical expert is not a requirement to grow a successful online business. It is more important to be able to spot opportunities as a marketer and a project manager rather than trying to learn every aspect of the business and trying to do it all yourself. Helping you to map out where you want to go with your business and then guide you towards the resources related to the tools and services you need to make it happen is another function of an internet business consulting specialist.

The right tools, techniques and direction make all the difference

Internet rules and the ways of online communication are changing all of the time with search engines change their algorithms regularly. The right tools and techniques are essential and this will require some focused research and a business owner mentality. Be prepared to learn how to leverage your efforts with automated tools so that you do the work just once and then reap the fruit of your labor over and over again. Also, be prepared to stretch as you meet the ongoing challenges that come with progressive internet growth. This is another area where a seasoned internet business consulting specialist can be very helpful.

Many guru posers continuing to peddle their over priced and out-of-date internet packages. Be careful not to fall victim to buying their hyped up products and services, as they constantly bombard your email box with the latest targeted offers. This is where the services of an expert online business consultant can help. Look for a genuine internet business consulting specialist who has a proven track record and up to date strategic internet formulas.

Top 8 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

When starting a small business most entrepreneurs are full of enthusiasm and high expectations, but, according to the US Small Business Administration, around 50 % of them fail within the first five years. Reasons for the failure are diverse and numerous, just like the risks involved in starting and running a small business. Here are some tips how to be within those 50 % of small businesses which manage to sustain and succeed.

1) Jump straight into a new business, dive in headfirst: Realistic and objective relationship with your own business starts when you start your company. Sometimes there is no time to analyze and think too much, unplanned opportunity shows, it is the right moment etc. But mostly you do have enough space to take a critical look at your venture before investing too much time or money. Think about things such as the weakest part of your plan, competition, chances on market, what would you do if this plan wouldn’t work. These critical analysis will help you avoid some of the basic and very common mistakes. Believe it or not many of them could be skipped at the very beginning.

2) Underestimating how long it will take until the business starts to support itself and you: This simply means two things. First-you must be aware that each new business needs a lot of time to spread and start functioning-earning money, and you must count with that-being prepare to see no income for a first few months. Second-you must calculate how much exactly it is going to cost and what time period is necessary for your business to attract regular customers/clients. This is the most serious mistake and problem which make people bankrupt and give up.

3) Not knowing your customers: When you get an original idea of your business, your next thought should be the market and the customers. No matter what kind of products or services you provide, you must know in the first place what is your target group of people, who are your potential customers, what do they need, how can you help them, how can you reach them. And even when you already have a solid customer base, you must be careful about changes in fashion, finances, approach and everything that come with the times which are changing.

4) Spending or borrowing too much: Initial high expectations can work against small business owners when they lead to borrowing too much. When you take a credit or a loan from the bank, don’t forget that you are the one who is going to return that money and your business won’t start generating profit immediately. The larger the loan, the larger the monthly payment. When you do get the money for your new company, be careful what you are going to spend it on. Don’t spend too much on equipment, furniture, hiring too many employees and renting a huge space. Go step by step.

5) Not being prepared for taxes: If this is your first small business to run, you must remember the taxes, as the regular monthly cost. People often make this serious mistake thinking only about invested money and profit it will bring. But you have to fulfill a couple of obligations to the state, you can’t avoid them and these amounts are not low, especially if you let them accumulate. It’s a good idea to have a separate bank account only for this purpose, put money into it from each payment you receive.

6) Lack of marketing and advertising plan: A marketing plan is a part of your initial small business plan. It creates the kind of attention you want to get in front of your customers. It is what attracts people to you and it is a story which stands behind your products or services. That story is what people like to buy. Especially if your business is fresh new, the marketing is the only way to let people now you are there. Having a website, a good website is a good way to promote your business and make it visible.

7) Ignoring the employees is a mistake many entrepreneurs make. You might be the key to everything but you cannot do everything. That is why you hire the people to work for you. And with you. Right staff is very, very important. By “right” I mean people who knows their job, and do it well. And for that you have to make them feel useful, important and respected. If you share your ideas, success and money with them, you will get the positive feedback, and that will have a positive impact on your company.

8) Giving Up: As we have already said building a business isn’t an instant product. It is a very reason many companies shut down so soon. But, if you have a control over your finances and realistic business plan you should never give up when you come across the first obstacles. All the good and important things require certain period of time, and having in mind all the challenges of running a business brings, it’s normal that the beginning is hard and not each period of the year is equally successful. If you’re not starting than keep in mind all the bad moments you used to face with and how did you face with them. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs failed a few times before doing extremely well.

Drop Shipment Business

Drop shipping is when a company purchases products directly from a shipper and then sells the products to a customer without the customer knowing where the product originated from. Basically the customer never knows that they were dealing with a middleman. In the age of the internet, businesses built around drop shipments have become wildly popular.

Long a popular business model with flower sales – FTD and 1-800-FLOWERS make use of local companies to make some of their deliveries, the ability to start a business where you don’t have to invest in a store front or in the up-front costs of inventory is appealing to those looking to get away form working for others or to just supplement their income. The first step in starting a business built around drop shipments is picking your niche. When choosing your niche it’s smart to actually think small, not in your final ambition, bu in how you start out.

Say you’re passionate about shoes and want to sell those online. Instead of trying to sell every type, start off with a single type – men’s boots or ladies sandles for example. As the business grows you can add more and more product to your store, but this allows you to grow with your customers instead of trying to appeal to every customer at once. It also means that you’ll avoid competing against the bigger stores selling your products until much later after you’ve established a loyal customer base.

After you’ve decided on your niche, make sure to secure a website with an easy to use shopping cart and decide where you’ll get your products from. Sites like Google and eBay are both good places to research potential products. Also, don’t forget to decide on a shipping method. The products that you sell will influence this as shoes, jewelry, and other small products can make use of shipping options like FedEx and UPS while larger products like exercise equipment will require a more commercial shipping option for your drop shipments to customers.

No matter what product and shipping methods you choose, the important part is to make sure it’s something that you care about as that will help in the beginning when the going is slow. Grow your business slowly and know what your goal is – income supplement or new career path. Either way, do your best to enjoy it and good luck as you set out on a new path.

Sickly Business Owners – Running Your Business Like A Business

If you own a home  business  and have an illness or disease do you have an obligation to tell your clients?

Lest I look like a total insensitive boob, let me start off by saying that I am very sympathetic when someone or someone’s child gets sick or if there is a death in the family or other crisis. I get that life happens. It would be unreasonable to expect any  business  owner to truly be available 24/7 365.

One of the many benefits to owning a home  business  is that it affords you flexibility. Entrepreneurs generally choose to work at home either because they simply want to or often because of health concerns or caring for a loved one make it difficult to work outside the home.

Within my own team we have members who are dealing with Lupus, Cancer, Crohns, COPD, Narcolepsy, RA, Chronic Fatigue, depression, Bi-Polar, a brain tumor and Heart Disease. We have parents with special needs children and consultants taking care of aging parents. We have single parents and military spouses whose husbands are deployed overseas and we have pregnant and new moms. And those are just the challenges of which I am aware. I am certain there are plenty others that have remained private.

That said – if you own a home  business  and have an illness or disease do you have an obligation to tell your customers? My take on it is that no, you do not need to reveal this information providing your problems do not become your customers’ problem. If you can carry on your  business  in spite of challenges, and no team members will feel ignored or unanswered and if customers receive their product in a timely manner, then your health issues is no one’s concern.

If however, you’re going to be out of pocket or if the possibility exists that you could disappear for a while due to hospitalization or treatments, then yes, I do think you have an obligation to, at the very least, mention it to those you work with. The specifics can and should remain private, but it’s the responsible thing to say something such as, “I have some health challenges. I’ve been feeling very well lately and I do not anticipate it being any problem at all. However I wanted to let you know that sometimes I have off days or sometimes I need to be admitted to the hospital for a day or so. If that happens I will call, email or text you. Or I will have someone contact you to let you know what is going on.”

Me complaining about someone with health challenges would be the ultimate example of the kettle calling the pot black. It’s not the health issue that is the issue. It’s the lack of communication. The moment you decide to sell to one customer or take on one downline member, you’re in  business . Whether you consider yourself a  business  owner or not, you are. Can you even imagine going to the orthodontist to pick up a retainer that you already paid for, need and are expecting – only to find the doors locked? No notice on the door, no one answering the phone, and no message left for you? No of course not.

Yet consultants and other freelance service providers see nothing wrong with accepting money for a product or service, providing a deadline when to expect delivery, and then not meeting the deadline, not communicating that life got in the way and inquiring if it would pose any imposition if the product or service were to be delivered a week later. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. And I’m not talking about a few days of no communication but weeks and sometimes months. Sometimes they even leave footprints on Twitter or Facebook, verifying that they are alive and appear to be well. Then eventually, after you repeatedly attempt to get a status update, they report that they had a death in the family or they weren’t feeling well. And what… there was no phone, smart phone or computer anywhere around in 5 weeks? I highly doubt they were on a deserted island. Communication is key.

Veteran Entrepreneur, Tara Burner has also experienced more than her fair share of consultants and freelancers who don’t deliver on promises made and who don’t communicate:

“As the popular saying goes, “Life happens”…but should it affect your  business ? No! Though sadly it seems to – especially in the WAHM community. We all have ‘things’ happen-kids get sick, we get sick or have health issues, people die, babies are born-but that doesn’t mean we don’t conduct  business  in a timely manner for months on end. When you’re in  business , it takes work to build a client base and maintain a reputation of reliability and professionalism yet it only takes a missed deadline, unanswered emails & phone calls to destroy your reputation and your  business .

There is an appropriate time for you to be ‘closed for  business ‘ while going through things, but that doesn’t mean months should pass without conducting  business  and communicating with your clients. If it’s going to take that long, sell your  business  or close shop because people will move on and find someone else who is reliable, trustworthy and able to do the work at hand! Benjamin Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Keep that in mind when you’re making excuses when you don’t deliver to clientele.”

Tara was dead on when she said “If it’s going to take that long, sell your  business  or close shop because people will move on and find someone else who is reliable, trustworthy and able to do the work at hand!” Take your website down, request a leave of absence, put your emails on auto-respond that you are away but if there is an immediate need contact ____.”

If you have an active  business  website or if your signature line includes various ways people can contact you – email, phone, Skype, Facebook etc. then it is expected that you will respond to any or all of those platforms in a reasonable amount of time – ideally within 24 hours.

Do you have a back-up plan should you become incapacitated or are unable to fulfill your  business  obligations? If not, perhaps today is the day to line up a friend or co-worker to step in or at least make notifications if you are out of pocket for more than a day.

RYBLAB – Run Your  Business  Like a  Business .

Life After Business Link

In the last few months as the Coalition Government in the UK has struggled to deal with huge deficits and other financial matters left behind by the previous government, one of their lesser known decisions is very rapidly about to have a significant impact on the small business world. This decision is to remove the Business Link service as from the 25th November, a decision which for a long list of reasons, is going to prove a very detrimental step indeed.

Prior to the arrival of the Business Link service across the UK in the mid 1990’s one could rightly argue that the level and standard of advice being given to start-ups was pretty much of a post code lottery. Many so called Enterprise Agencies that were operating at the time were no more than one man businesses, literally in many cases as the number of women working in this sector was very small. Even worse was the fact that many of these Agencies were staffed by people who had little or no self employment experience.

The introduction of Business Links changed all this significantly and for the last 15 years or so the range and general quality of services available across the country have improved out of sight. Unfortunately one of the real weaknesses of the Business Link system is that it is a national body, albeit with regional influences and differences, and one of their problems has been their relatively poor promotional performance and their inability to reach much more than 15% of total start-ups each year. Despite this Business Links have, across the country, provided advice, information and training workshops for many hundreds of thousands of new business start-ups.

The recent general election in the UK and the forced requirement to concentrate on cutting the huge financial deficits, has caused the new government to decide that the Business Link system has failed and that it should be closed down. In making this decision I believe that the government has listened to all the wrong people, individuals who because of their public profile have had a very disproportionate effect on the decision process. Civil Servants and Dragons Den type entrepreneurs are not the people the Government should have been listening to. They should have been talking, and listening, to people like me, a provider of services on behalf of Business Link, and lots of others like me, and they should have talked to the many thousands of people who have benefitted from the fantastic range of advice, information and support, much of it for free, that has helped many hundreds of thousands of new business start-ups succeed. They would have given the Government a very different view of the value of Business Link. My own Business Link East has surely been one of the most successful of all of them and the thought that all this expertise is now going to be lost very soon is very worrying. Unfortunately there is now nothing that can be done to stop or reverse this bad decision and my worry is actually that we could easily revert to the type of post code lottery that existed before.

Nothing that I have read about the new Local Enterprise Partnerships leads me to think that they will be able to plug the huge gap in small business support services across the UK.

The simple fact is that most start-ups want practical advice, guidance and information from people who are experienced start-up practitioners and a lot of this valuable expertise will now be lost to them.

In our own way my business partner and I want to help to plug this gap which is why we are setting up a new online business to deal with the many simple questions that most start-ups want answers to whilst also offering a business support package to existing small business owners who want to stay in business but find it difficult to find the time to deal with all the mundane stuff that comes across our desks all so often. However this article is about much more than an obvious plug for our new service. I am a small business owner and I know the fantastic job that Business Links have done and will continue to do till they disappear in November. Such a waste of both knowledge and talent and once gone it will be very difficult to replace it!!

I would welcome opinions and comments about this important subject, especially from people who have experienced what Business Links can and have offered.

Small Business Ideas and Products

A good small business idea or product has to stand on it’s own two feet.

Where do you start finding the right product for you?

There’s a number of different ways here:

Either you want to make your own product and you are good with your hands in this respect, say, sewing, candle making or carpentry, or, you have seen a product and you want to source or import the same or something similar.

Perhaps you haven’t any idea of a product to sell but just want to create your own business.

A remember talking this through with a friend of mine who was high up in advertising and asking this same question: Where do you start in sourcing a product to sell that will have demand? He answered I thought very succinctly by saying start with what people need. They need soap, clothes and shelter. Then they need the additions to all of these. They need hand towels, clothes racks and furniture and so on.

So, you can either make any of these things if you are capable of this, or, more likely if you are living in the Western World you will find all of these things are already been made and sold all around you after been manufactured in Asia as the price of labor in these countries is around a quarter or less than in your Western world country.

How to Source Products from Asia:

Well, these days of course the best way to source products is directly where you are now, on the internet.

There’s two great sources I use to head for first – look up alibaba – these guys are great. They have thousands of manufacturers showcasing thousands of different products. Everything from coat hangers to cars.

The other is globalsources. This was the first of these sourcing sites and is still great but I think alibaba is better with more products.

Before registering on these sites, you are best to have a proper email address, so if you’ve just got a Hotmail or Gmail address go to an internet provider to get a more official company type extension. The guys selling on Alibaba and Global Sources get a lot of emails requesting product samples and you are more likely to get a reply when you have a proper email address.

Once you start drilling down through the huge category listings on Alibaba or Global Sources you may not only find what you are looking for but you may source other small business ideas and products that you hasn’t even thought of.

There’s many ideas and products that may cross your mind that may make a lot of money but like an invention, a product idea may just leap out in front of you.

A guy I know operated a large furniture retailer here locally, but he hit hard times in a recession – yes – recessions aren’t just confined to modern times – there’s been many. Anyway, he lost his business and his shirt in these times and went to work for a scrap merchant who was a friend of his.

After he’d learnt all aspects of his business and all contacts of where the scrap went to in Asia, he set off to South America travelling from north to south buying up every disused old locomotive on the side of the tracks he could find. He hasn’t had to work again for the last twenty years.

Running a Business Without Using an Office

Modern technology has gone above and beyond the call of duty for those running a  business  without using an office at all.

With the advent of the various smart phones and the plethora of applications that one can load on their smart phone, it is almost no longer required to have a receptionist to answer your phone. You could be driving to meet a client a their office, have another client call you and be able to handle the entire process of setting up an appointment right on your smart phone while on the phone with the customer. At the end of the day, you can download all the information you loaded onto your smart phone into your computer for easy access or even handle the download while on the road into a laptop that you carry. The downloads are generally a two minute operation and you do not need to have internet access to complete the process.

Need internet access while you are on the road to do some research or to check up on an order? Nothing to it. Hit your local McDonalds as they offer free wifi in over 11,000 of their restaurants. Not a Micky D kind of person? No worries, go to almost any coffee shop anywhere and there is free Wifi or swing into almost any other restaurant out there as free wifi is increasingly popular and is great if you are running a  business  and on the road all the time. You do not want to go to a restaurant to access the internet each and every time? Just call your cell provider and get an air card or even get an adapter that hooks up your smart phone to your laptop. It is absolutely amazing what the technicians of the world are coming up with these days. There is even an adapter that you can plug into your cigarette lighter that would charge your laptop battery available for under 50.00!

You can use a portable printer as well if you are not near your office that will print out very nice invoices or estimates for those running a  business  on the road. The quality is outstanding and the pricing is not out of line in the least bit so it will not put you in the poorhouse. Modern technology has made it easy for you to run your  business  without the benefit of an office and not miss a step in terms of quality service or quality of products and the real benefactor of this entire level of technical quality is the client as you are able to cut down on  business  expenses and pass the savings to them. Saving on the expense end makes you a hero in their eyes and will most certainly get you repeat  business  and new customers.

Running a  business  using modern technology is good for all parties involved!

Why Sound Business Travel Reporting Matters

For any company that has their employees engage in regular travel, it is important to have a good corporate travel strategy. Part of developing and improving on a corporate travel strategy is solid  business  travel reporting.  Business  travel reporting provides the company with details about the cost of travel and how the money is being used. This data not only helps to keep track of expenses but it also can be used to identify areas of waste and inefficiency. When this information is tracked and analyzed it can be used to improve upon your company’s  business  travel strategy. Using the service of a corporate travel agency is an effective means toward achieving all of these goals.

Due to their experience and their connections in the travel and finance industry, a corporate travel firm will be especially suited to provide these services with the highest degree of detail. A corporate travel agency uses a variety of methods to analyze and track a clients  business  travel expenses. They can use data from banking and credit card records along with the travel records to identify the most and least efficient travelers in your company. They can help to manage airline data to find which carrier is providing the most  business  friendly service for the most affordable price and they can help to identify waste and abuse of funds.

A corporate booking agency can also help employers to analyze information in a way that can determine how effectively the employees travel and how well they stick to the itinerary and how closely the individual employees stick to the travel strategy. This can be achieved by referencing the data accumulated from credit cards, expense accounts, airline data, hotel bills and rental information. Once all of the data is collected and analyzed, the corporate travel firm can prepare a complete report. The reports will cover a variety of different areas and will often be accompanied by a written summary of the overall information. Clients can also request specialized reporting from a corporate travel agency. These may be to address an area of concern or to see how a new aspect of the travel strategy is working.

Most  business  travel agencies recommend that their clients schedule regular meetings with their travel manger to go over the  business  travel reporting and to find ways to improve the corporate travel strategy. The management of a  business  should meet with their corporate travel manager at least once a year. In these meetings the travel manager can help the client go over the  business  travel reporting and understand what all of the data means. The manager will help to identify areas of waste and point out parts of the travel plan that are working well. At this time the client can address their concerns about the travel strategy and work to adjust the  business  travel strategy. A corporate travel agency can also help their client with a plan for implementing the new strategy and addressing the changes with their staff.

Having the services of a  business  travel agency is a necessity for any company that engages in regular travel. Having a well thought out strategy will not only save the company money, but it will also make sure that the staff is getting the most out of their trip.