Review: Ideal Reasons for Publishing with Barnes and Nobles

All of us writers and authors all want to publish a book or get published in a book! We have submitted and submitted–and sometimes still get those annoying “NO” letters… While some of us have had success getting published, there is something about SELF PUBLISHING that is more satisfying.

Maria Gudelis is an author, entrepreneur, Real Estate agent and an Internet Marketing Expert. She has begun advising other writers why they should get their books published on Barnes and Nobles…

Here are her 4 reasons for getting published on Barnes and Nobles:

  1. It gives you instant Credibility
  1. It separates YOU from the rest of your competition
  1. You use the book as your “Lead Generation Magnet” and each buyer of your book becomes a customer that can buy even MORE from you as you establish a relationship with them.
  1. You can use the book as a instant ‘conversation’ piece at networking events.

By using these four reasons and tools for getting published on Barnes and Nobles, this could actually be beneficial for the new and even advanced writer. Part of a whole writer’s journey is getting their word out there and being noticed. Without having readers, an author really has no reason to write-unless it is just for self satisfaction-which is why some of us may carry journals.

Maria Gudelis’s goal is to let you know how this can help you. If you agree with her or want to know more about how to publish on Barnes and Nobles, her website has some useful information that could help you develop your marketing skills to “getting your books out there” on the market.

Reward Programs. 1.8 Billion Memberships and Climbing. Will They Work for Your Business?

Have you noticed that just about every other television or radio commercial has something to do with rewards or discounts these days? The reward industry seems to be on fire. Does it really work for the businesses that offer rewards? Does it really save money in the long run for the consumer?Who started the Reward trend?

Reward programs have been around since the early seventies. Mostly offered by the airlines and later joined by the credit card and banking industry. Until 2001, more than 80% of individual reward memberships in the U.S. were registered by these two industries or a combination of both with the creation of credit card airline miles.

Sept 11th Changed Everything

What happened to the economy after 9-11 is another article altogether. The result was the American consumer was scared and holding on to their cash. The retail, service, restaurant and other industries were scrambling to figure out a way to get the consumer to break out of their caves and start spending money.

If it worked for the Airlines, Would it work for other industries?

Airline miles brought billions of dollars of revenue to their industry. Now faced with certain economic death, businesses other than airline and banking, were forced to take example and offer incentives in a last ditch effort to survive

Is it working?

You tell me. Here are some stats. Prior to 9-11 there were about 800 million individual reward memberships registered in the United States? Just 8 years later there are 1.8 Billion, which is approximately 14 registered reward memberships per U.S. household. The quantity of reward memberships has more than doubled in just 8 years. It is obvious that the consumer sees a great value in these types of programs. I cannot tell you what will be the stimulus 20 years from now but I can tell you that businesses that offer rewards today are seeing results.

If you are a business considering a Reward program consider the following

Rewards verses Coupons.

Coupons specifically in any type of food industry are a life source to get people to walk in the door for the first time. The intent of the coupon was to get them to your establishment and then woo them with your product. Unfortunately that’s just not enough anymore. Typically when this does not reveal the incoming crowd that the propietier was expecting he or she will offer more coupons, more often. This is a mistake. Coupons are great for getting someone to your establishment for the first time, however a poor choice of marketing for customer retention or repeat business. My advice is to get them there with the coupon and then sign them up to a solid rewards program. A customer that leaves after using a coupon left with much of your profit, a lesser value of your product (why should they come back and pay $50 for what they just got for $35) and without leaving any contact info for you to remind them later of a great offer. When a rewards card member leaves your establishment they walk out the door with points on their card (nearing them to a great reward) they still value your product for what it actually cost and feel smart for earning the points towards a discount. The reward member looks forward to your email specifically if it reminds them of how many points they are away from being able to redeem their reward. Don’t let your customer walk out your door without a reason and reminder to return? Coupons do neither.

Don’t let your program back fire

If you are a business considering a reward program, consider the unfortunate fact that some programs have already given Rewards a bad name. The consumer wants a simple, monetary and immediate reward. The programs that are fading are the ones that make your customer jump through hoops to get their reward. By the time they are redeemed they have wasted an hour of their time registering on-line, their spam folder is full of unwanted advertisements and they are probably so aggravated that it has actual detoured them from returning to your establishment altogether. The exact opposite of what you want.

The secret to offering a successful Reward program

If you want this to work, you must follow these simple steps

  1. Keep it simple
  1. The most sought after rewards are discounts
  1. The reward must be on the spot. If they have spent the required money to earn their discount, then give it to them. Although tempted, don’t make your customer return to get their reward later. A discount on the spot will get them to return.
  1. Establish email contact relationship with your reward member however don’t abuse them. No more than twice a week and that’s pushing it.
  1. Let them know you will not share their email address and then follow through with that promise.

The Entrepreneur Mistake

If you are an entrepanuer that owns a business don’t be fooled by your own personal perspective. Most entrepreneurs don’t carry a single rewards card in there wallet or purse. They don’t personally see the value in these types of programs. The reason is that most entrepreneurs have more money yet less time. Saving a buck here and there is not a big deal and spending the time digging for the card or tracking their rewards is just not worth it. They just don’t need the money that bad. The unfortunate result of this is that same entrepreneur will probably not offer a reward program in his or her establishment because of their not seeing a value personally. This is a mistake. Don’t base the need of a program by whether or not an entrepreneur sees value. Entrepreneurs only make up around 4% of the population. My advice would be to consider what the other 96% of the consumers want, and waive your personal view.

If you are a Consumer, consider the following

You can shrug off the rewards cards and pass them off as a gimmick if you want. The truth is that consumers are saving billions of dollars with these programs. To keep it simple and reduce the amount of cards in your wallet, first seek out programs of establishments that you frequent. Make sure the program is simple, the rewards are worthy and they won’t share your information. An important question to ask the establishment is “Will you automatically give me my rewards when they are due or will I need to track and pursue them myself?”I usually walk away from those. A great program is one that rewards you on the spot when you’re not expecting it, and more importantly didn’t have to ask for it. A good program will send you an update of how many points you have and how many you need to get your next reward. Figure out how to view your points on-line and then save it to your favorites. You will find that it’s not that difficult or time consuming after you are all dialed in.

In a Nutshell,

Like anything you need to weed through the not so good programs to find the one that fits you or your business. Overall if worked correctly, Rewards programs can be a benefit to consumers and establishments alike.

Training for Public Speaking as a Small Business Venture

One business venture that potential business owners often miss is public motivational speaking.

A dynamic motivational speaker for dementia seminars from Illinois, Dee Mayfield inspires family and professional caregivers the art of communicating and understanding persons with memory loss. Dee is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) and authorized trainer for the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. In addition, she is a certified trainer of the Techniques for Intervention Procedures program with Health Communications, Inc.

Dee motivates business audience with enthusiasm, stories, props, surprises and audience participation. She uses the skills, experience and training that she has acquired to:

  • teach business staff, teachers, caregivers, and students how to care for self and others,
  • deal with and handle difficult people and life situations,
  • communicate and have fun in business, in care giving, or in any venture.

Training as a public speaker or seminar trainer requires:

  • training in speech organizational skills,
  • abilities to write effective speech copy,
  • how to research the audience,
  • how to project voice,
  • how to present the material,
  • and knowledge of handling diverse situations.

Holding an Audience

Being effective in grabbing the audience attention and holding them in that mode for at least an hour takes special skills. Dee Mayfield’s seminars last for about seven hours with a few short breaks and lunch.

It is not enough to be a fluent speaker. Keeping an audience focused requires excitement and the ability to present with sharp and to the point messages.

Training as a Public Speaker or Seminar Trainer

While practicing professional delivery of a business message, an effective speaker should understand the tone of oral communication. Quality training is needed in improving the basic quality of the voice and developing methods for using the voice effectively.

Delivering the Care giving or Business Message

Speech training is important for learning how to project, when to speed up and slow down, what to emphasize and when and how to acquire feedback from the audience is important in delivering a dynamic training or business presentation.

Persuade the Audience

To gain trust from an audience, the public speaker must have and present accurate and extensive knowledge of the material. To be convincing and able to persuade others, the speaker must believe in the message and show sincerity in both verbal and non-verbal presentation.

Using Humor in Speech

Using levity helps an audience and the public speaker to be relaxed. It is fun and helps to keep the audience focused. However, the jokes and fun should not detract from the sincere meaning of the message.

Market Surveys for Small Business: How and Why to Carry out your own DIY Consumer Surveys

Marketing is widely seen as a complex science whose practitioners’ services – and fees – are beyond the reach of small business.

In practice many marketing techniques and practices are no more than applied common sense, and are essential tools in building and running a successful small business. One of the most useful marketing tools is the market survey, or consumer survey.

Why use a Market Survey?

A generalised market survey or customer survey of existing cutomers, can provide the answers to the four central questions which any business needs to ask:

  • Who are our core customers or clients?
  • What do they want?
  • How can we best provide it?
  • How can we tell them about it?

However, market surveys can also be used to answer more specific questions:

  1. How is a projected new product likely to be received?
  2. How do customers perceive the value of our product? Is our pricing right?
  3. Where should we place our advertising?
  4. Is our advertising cost effective?
  5. How do customers/clients perceive our business’s strengths and weaknesses?

Market or customer surveys can also be used to build up a customer database or mailing list, but this is likely to create legal obligations under Data Protection legislation, which should be checked.

Preparing a Market Survey Questionaire

Producing your own Market Survey Questionaire is quite easy if you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Decide at the outset the key questions which you seek to answer.
  • Keep it short. Ten or a dozen questions on one A4 sheet should produce a useful result without testing the responder’s patience.
  • Avoid questions requiring a narrative answer. Best is a simple “yes” or “no” reply. Where you ask for gradings of approval, “smiley faces” may provide a simple, light hearted option – JKL. Answers can then be given a numerical value, making computer analysis easy.
  • Beware questions drawing on the responder’s memory. Questions like “Where did you hear about us?” often produce very unreliable results.
  • Any request for the responder’s name and address, is best made optional; anonymous answers often include some uncomfortably truthful but helpful criticism!

Completing the Market Survey Questionaire

Many people regard a request to take part in a market survey as an imposition on their time and privacy. These are the customers whose answers are often most useful and it’s important to encourage them to participate.

Offering a small reward for their time and trouble – a free gift, a money off offer, or entry in a prize draw – often helps.

How the survey is carried out may also help; options include:

  1. By completing a written form.
  2. On line on the internet.
  3. In a telephone conversation.
  4. In a face to face conversation.

Options 1 and 2 are generally the most successful provided the questions are simple and well framed, as responders feel less pressure and can choose when and where to answer.

Obtaining a Balanced Market Survey Sample

For a simple business with a homogeneous customer base a hundred or so responses may be enough to achieve a useful result.

For businesses with a more diverse customer base, for example with geographical or seasonal variations, a larger number of responses may be necessary to give a reliable result, and care is needed to reflect these variations in the survey sample.

Analysing the Results of A Market Survey

Provide the questions are simple, allowing the answers to be given a numerical value, anyone with basic computer skills can enter the results in a simple DIY database and draw useful conclusions.

Where you use computer analysis always check the Data Protection legislation implications.

Small or Home-based Business Ownership Options: Choosing the Right Legal Entity for Your Small Business

When starting a business of any size, it is important to determine which legal business structure is best. For small businesses, especially a home-based business, this step may be considered unnecessary or simply may be overlooked. The type of entity chosen, however, has very specific tax consequences and legal ramifications. Do not leave this decision to chance. Research the options available and choose the entity that best fits the type of business and the parties involved.

Sole Proprietor – A Simple Form of Business Ownership

A sole proprietorship is a very common, very simple form of business. Although usually operated by an individual, a married couple may also conduct business as a sole proprietor. For tax and liability purposes, a sole proprietorship is legally inseparable from the owner. This form has many advantages in that it is easy and inexpensive to set up and federal income taxes are simple to report on a Schedule C form.

The disadvantages to operating as a sole proprietor stem from the primary advantages. Due to the simplicity of the structure, a sole proprietorship offers no protection to the owner from taxes or liability. All of a sole proprietor’s personal assets, not just the assets of the business, are potentially at risk should creditors come calling.

General Partnership – A Simple Business Structure for Multiple Owners

When two or more people elect to conduct business together, a general partnership is a relatively easy form of business to set up. Forming a partnership, especially when only two individuals are involved, is often done through a verbal agreement but it is important to create a valid, written partnership agreement as soon as possible.

A partnership agreement should include how ownership is shared, the time commitment and financial investment expected from each partner, how decisions will be made and disputes resolved, how profits will be divided, and how new partners may enter or existing partners may exit. It should also clearly state what action will be taken in the event of death or disability of a partner and provide for other contingencies, such as dissolution, as well.

As with a sole proprietorship, all personal assets of the partners involved in a general partnership are potentially at risk to satisfy taxes or other liabilities. When considering a partnership, bear in mind that each partner is liable for the actions of all the partners. For federal income tax reporting purposes, the partnership files an informational return and the income allocated to each partner is then included on each partner’s tax return.

Other forms of partnership that are not covered here include a Limited Partnership, where liability is limited to the extent of the partner’s investment, and a Joint Venture, where the partnership is formed for a specific time period or project only. Both of these business entities are more complex to form than a General Partnership and require adherence to certain formalities.

Corporation – A Separate Business Entity

Held by shareholders and run by a board of directors, a corporation is a separate legal entity chartered by a state. Set up as a nonprofit or for profit venture, a C Corporation is complex and expensive compared to other business forms but generally shields shareholders from liability. C Corporations are stringently regulated and taxes are paid on profits by the corporation and then again when distributed to shareholders.

An S Corporation provides the asset protection advantages of a C Corporation but is taxed in the same way as a partnership. Taxes on profits are paid by the shareholders only; the corporation itself pays no tax separately. As with a C Corporation, an S Corporation is owned by shareholders, run by a board of directors and subject to regulation.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) – A Flexible Business Structure

Combining the protection from liability advantages of a corporation with the tax advantages of a sole proprietorship or partnership, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) provides a flexibility that may be especially attractive to small business. Rather than stockholders, the owners of an LLC are members who manage the company or appoint others to do so. In addition, an LLC may choose to be taxed like a corporation but will still not be bound by corporate formalities.

Choose Your Business Structure Wisely

When starting a business, it is important to choose the structure carefully. Each type of entity comes with a specific set of restrictions, as well as legal and tax ramifications. While a sole proprietorship can often be set up without assistance, it is usually best to consult an attorney when creating a partnership agreement or contemplating a corporation or LLC. Thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of each possibility before choosing a structure for any business.

There are a variety of online resources to assist any budding entrepreneur. For more information on starting a small business, start with the Small Business Administration. For tax specific information, get answers straight from the IRS website.

Advantages of Having a Small Business Brochure

Every small business should have a brochure. The brochure helps your small business to become better known in the market place. It helps the customer get a detailed account of your company or service. Brochures are not just for large corporations, but for small businesses and consultants also.

Here are some advantages of having a brochure.

A Brochure Gives Credibility to a Small Business.

The brochure lets prospects know that your small business is reputable and that they can take you seriously. Your company is here and ready to compete. “Anyone can spend $50 on letterhead and business cards and call themselves a corporation. But a brochure proves you are in business and shows you’re more than a fly-by-night operation,” according to Mr. Bly’s book titled, The Copywriter’s Handbook.

 The Brochure Tells

This is the perfect way to tell the customer everything in detail about your small business. This may sound obvious but there are many small business brochures that I have read that are merely just a long list of items, giving no details about the company, the service, or how it works. According to Ms. Maas’s book, Better Brochures, Catalogs and Mailing Pieces, “Tell customers what is included, what are the costs, what are the hours. Graphic devices can help to spotlight important information.” Another example of this is the Lincoln 210 MP brochure that popular MIG welding website Tool Guides Hub put out.

A Brochure Can Help to Sell Your Business

A small business brochure can help to sell your business and make a big difference, when prospects ask for more information. Customers want to read about your business or product, especially if they are about to spend a lot of money. They want to make sure they are making the right decision.

The Brochure Can Support Your Advertisement

It can be used along with direct mail; after the sales letter the prospect wants more information. The brochure is another sales tool. The brochure is designed to fit into a standard envelope and can be mailed along with the sales letter. It provides information about your sales points, list features and contains photos about your product or service. They are used by salespeople to leave behind after a presentation. Brochures are great to take along when networking.

Keep in mind that people will read the brochure as long as it informs and positions your product or service as the solution. The brochure for your small business is a great way to give your customers enough information about your product or service.

Small Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Plan Templates

A small business disaster can take many forms. Natural events, such as a fire or flood, can wipe out all equipment, while a virus or theft can result in data loss or other problems. Planning ahead with a disaster recovery plan template helps small business owners maintain continuity in any emergency.

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

For business continuity, disaster recovery planning is critical. With this disaster recovery plan template from IBM, businesses can make sure that all of the most important aspects of a data recovery plan are implemented before disaster strikes.

  • Data Recovery Personnel Lists – For emergency data recovery, maintain a list of data processing personnel. The list should contain names, positions and contact information, to allow administrators to call in critical personnel in the event of a disaster.
  • Emergency Data Recovery from Critical Applications – Maintain a list of applications and software that run on company computers, and the level of importance of each type of software.
  • Computer Hardware Inventory – This list should contain a full list of of all computer hardware on-hand. This list allows business owners to quickly replace equipment after a total loss or determine the value of losses for insurance purposes.

Backup for Disaster Recovery

Backup all software programs regularly to ensure a timely disaster recovery process. It may seem tempting to backup files, then secure the backups in a filing cabinet or in a desk drawer, but this does not protect the files in the event of a natural disaster. All company files should be stored both locally and remotely, to facilitate a swift restoral of business.

Physical backup medium, such as a data CD or a thumb drive are adequate for small backups. Online backup services can also provide a safe and reliable place to store business data.

Small Business Disaster Recovery Plan

After filling out the small business disaster recovery plan template, a business owner will have a comprehensive list of software and hardware, lists of emergency contacts and action plans, and a clear idea of the best and fastest way to restore operations after a disaster. Perform tests of the disaster recovery plan at least quarterly, and update the plan information whenever there is a change in personnel, software or hardware. The use of a detailed and thoroughly researched plan for recovery after a disaster or emergency is essential to the swift restoral of business services.

Benefits of Opening a Small Business in the United States

Opening a small business provides several advantages for the owner. It gives an individual the opportunity to control how he makes his living and to spend his time doing so. Small businesses also provide a way for owners to help their communities grow by offering jobs and paying taxes. The income potential of running a small business is also a great advantage.

Control of Your Business

Becoming a ‘boss’ is one of the main reasons for opening a small business. An owner has the authority to set their own rules and hire and train employees and staff. He has the power to choose a business location, set prices for his services or products and pick the company’s name. One of the intangible factors that make an individual open a small business is that it gives him the opportunity to make money doing something he wants to do. Having total control over a business also allows the owner to work the hours he wants so he can spend more time with his family on his schedule.

Income Potential

A person goes into business for herself to increase her money-making potential. A small business owner reaps the profits of the successful business. The difference in salary between a small business owner and a worker in the United States is significant. According to PayScale, the average salary of a small business owner was $70,447 per year ($39,540-$101,354). In 2015, the average worker’s salary in the United States for all occupations was $43,460 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 The Ability to Put Americans To Work

Small businesses make the United States economy strong. According to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, 99.9 percent of all employers were considered small firms (companies with less than 500 employees) in 2017. Small businesses operate in all communities across the country, providing jobs to millions of Americans. Examples of small businesses include physician and dental offices, retail and grocery stores, restaurants, car repair shops and web design, online and other home-based businesses. The Department of Commerce also reported that small businesses employed over half (60.7 million) of all workers in the United States (120.6 million).

Time Management Software for Small Business: How to Choose the Best Time Management Software Package

Implementing and using a quality time management software package can reduce stress and increase productivity for a small business owner. With so many comprehensive time management software products available on the market, it is challenging for a small business owner to make an informed purchase decision without feeling overwhelmed. Here are some basic things to consider to simplify the shopping process:

Time Management Software Must be Easy to Use

A time management software system that is difficult to install, overly challenging to learn, or cumbersome to maintain will likely be abandoned before any real benefits are realized. When comparing time management software options, consider the learning curve. Look for products which include short video tutorials, quick-start materials, and a comprehensive “help” menu.

Time Management Software Should Integrate and Synchronize with Other Small Business Tools

The ideal time management software system will integrate and synchronize with other productivity and communication tools. Some time management software products integrate with popular time management systems, such as GTD (Getting Things Done) or FranklinCovey. Look for time management software that synchronizes with the Microsoft Outlook calendar and task folders. Since Outlook synchronizes to most PDAs, Blackberries, and Smartphones, this allows for portability of the time management system.

Look for Flexibility and Features That Best Serve the Small Business

There are no one-size-fits-all time management or productivity solutions for small businesses. Depending on the nature of the small business, some small business owners may be able to plan for a few months a time, while others work in a rapidly changing environment and must plan on the go. When shopping for time management software, make sure the system offers the flexibility and features needed for the specific small business. While functions such as pop-up reminders, importing of motivational images, search capability, color-coding prioritization, and time management training all have their place, there is no point in paying extra for features if they will not be used.

Find Out How the Time Management Software is Reviewed, Supported, and Guaranteed

Look for and study independent consumer reviews on the internet. How do customers review the functionality and support of the time management software product? Some products also offer user forums which are open to the public, so review these to monitor user satisfaction and product support. Ideally, the product will come with a 30-day or longer trial period and a money-back guarantee.

The optimal time management software system will offer the small business owner ease of use, integration and synchronization capabilities, flexibility, useful features, and reliable product support. By being a wise consumer, the small business owner can feel confident in the purchase decision and enjoy the rewards that come with using quality time management software.