September 28, 2008

Limit Your Exposure to Bad Credit

If you are having difficult financial problems, the last thing that you want to experience is bad credit. Bad credit on only one credit card or loan can have effects on all your loans and credit cards. You can even pay higher rates on your insurance and lose a valuable job due to your bad credit rating. If you think you may suffer from bad credit, here are some tips on limiting your exposure to bad credit.

If you find yourself not able to pay certain bills, contact your creditor immediately. You will want to talk to someone that can help put you on a payment plan or help you with your temporary financial difficulty by lowering the interest rates or stopping the accruing interest on your loans or credit cards.

You should also check your credit report each year to make sure that there are no mistakes or inaccuracies. Mistakes on your credit report can cost you dearly and the sooner you find out about these mistakes, the sooner you can fix your credit rating.

If your wallet or identity has been stolen, contact your creditors and credit reporting services immediately. You can stop any bad reporting or other institutions giving out loans or credit cards to an illegal entity. So follow these tips to limit your exposure to bad credit.

September 18, 2008

Interviewing Future Employees

Many small business collect a lot of information. It is unfortunate that with so much information that small businesses collect it is very difficult for them to use the information optimally. While collecting information is easy, analyzing information can be very difficult if you do not have a database. Here are some tips on using a database to analyze and organize your small business information.

There are many different types of databases applications that you can use, one of the easiest is MS Access. If you already own MS office, then there is a good chance that you also have MS Access. MS Access has received great grades from many people for organizing and analyzing information. For instance, wouldn't it be great to keep track of all your sales, so you can see when the best business time of year is for you or at what hours of each day you sell the most. You can do this very easily.

You can even pinpoint the customers that buy your products by age, location and gender. This would be great information to have when starting an advertising campaign. Many people are blown away at how powerful a database can be for their business. The best part about databases is that they are very easy to use and incredibly easy to sort information. For instance, MS Access offers premade databases for many common small databases use such as product inventory, customer forms and shipping details. So if you have a small business, look into small business databases.
If you have been in business for any amount of time, you have learned that hiring new employees is an art form. You have to be extremely careful, especially considering that potential employees will put their best front forward when interviewing. You have to be able to see through the fronts they put up, and really find out whether or not they are right for you business. Unless you master this, you will have some bad situations on your hands.

So what can you do to ensure, or at least improve your chances of getting good employees? The key is to be prepared before hand, and to answer the right questions.

Your preparation should begin long before the employee arrives. You should have a substantial amount of information about the person from their application. Review this information thoroughly.

Most applications ask for job history. I recommend that you call these places, not only to verify that the potential employee actually worked there, but also as a character reference.

Most applications also ask for personal references. Call these references and ask specific questions. Pay attention to their answers, especially if they seem to be the exact same, as this may be a sign that they were couched beforehand.

The Interview

Once you have reviewed the employee's application and decide that they may be right for your company, the next step is get them to your business for the interview.

Have a notepad handy so that you can take notes. You may even want to consider using a recording device as well. A voice recorder will come into handy if you forget parts of the interview.

Talents and Skills

You must remember that talents and skills are not only developed in the workplace. A childhood interest may have bloomed a passion for something that no workplace could create. Because of this, you will want to examine what was gained from every aspect of their life.

Character and Personality

One important thing that you have to remember when interviewing a potential employee is the fact that each person has their own character traits and personality. It is up to you to learn as much as you can about this person's personality, and how it will relate to your business. You will want to find out if a character trait will conflict with your business before hiring the person, as it could cause problems later on.

Questions to ask

What have you learned from previously successful times in your life?
What have to learned from a time in your life when you were down?
Did you learn from mistakes?
What interested you the most as a child?
Can you name one specific hobby or interest that carried over into your adult life?
What skill or talent would you consider to be your best?
What have you learned from others?
What work experience taught you the most?

You should never hire someone on the spot, but instead you should take time to reflect on the interview and your notes. This will give you a chance to analyze exactly how you think this person would perform in your business. You may come across something that you did not notice beforehand.

Once you have decided that you will hire the person, call them with the good news and hope for the best!

September 15, 2008

Selling on Auction Sites

Did you know that your business cannot afford to not have a website? It's true, in the 21st century, even the smallest businesses have websites, and the reasons are clear. Over 90% of all households in America now have some form of internet connection, whether it be high speed broadband, or dialup. Out of these 90%, about 65% start their search for new products or services online. Numbers like that tell you that you cannot afford to NOT have a website.

So you have decided that you need a website, now what? Depending on your computer skills, there are two options: Make your own website or get it made by a professional. We will dive into both.

Making Your Own Website

Making a website may sound easy, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, much like running your business. You will not only need to research about your industry, you will have to dive into a whole new industry, the website industry, as well.

First and foremost, you will need a name and a place to keep your website.

Your name, known as a domain name in the internet world, will be the way that people access your website. You will need to pick something that is easy to spell and to remember. There are literally billions of domain names currently, so you may have to get a little creative. Domain names are a yearly fee, typically around $10.00.

A host company hosts your website on their servers. Hosting is a monthly fee, ranging from $3.00 all the way up to $15.00+ depending on the type and size of the hosting. There are 3 main things to look at when you are deciding on hosting.

1) Space size- How much room with you have to host your website? Hosting size is measured in megabytes (mb). Take into account that a typical, status page is about one tenth of a megabyte, and go from there.

2) Bandwidth size- each time a visitor visits your right it takes bandwidth to display the website for him. Bandwidth is typically measured in Megabyte (mb) or Gigabyte (gb). The higher amount of bandwidth available, the more visitors you will be able to show your website too.

3) Special features- Since you are new at making websites, you will want to look for a hosting company that offers specials features for new designers. These features may include a website builder, forums, guest books, counters, Invite pages, and so on. This is especially useful as installing these types of features yourself can get somewhat complicated.
After you find a hosting company and a domain name, you will then need to build your website. Websites are coded in a language known as HTML. Unless you are extremely experienced in HTML, you will not be able to code a website by hand. Instead, you will need to use a website builder to complete the job.

There are several free website builders available online. Just use your chosen search engine and see what you come up with.

If you want to get a little more fancy and have more options available to you, then you may want to consider paid software programs such as Frontpage or Dreamweaver, both of which are available for about $100.

While making your own website seems better from a financial aspect, you also have to consider the quality and effort a professional teams of website designers can offer you.

Hiring A Professional

Hiring a professional may be your best option if you do not the time to build a website for yourself or if you want special features within your website.

Remember, the professional does this for a living and will provide you with the highest quality. They will also typically handle everything from buying and setting up the domain name to updating the website on a weekly basis.

A professional will sit down with you and discuss your ideas and aspirations. Once they believe that they have a good idea of what you are looking for, then they will create your website.

Hiring a design professional can vary, depending on your region, and what you want on your website. Typical prices are anywhere from a couple of hundred, well in the thousands.
If you are looking for extra income or even a full time job in which you can work from home at your own schedule, there is nothing easier than selling on auction sites. Selling on auction sites has never been easier or more popular. Millions of people each day visit auction sites to either sell their items or buy items on the web. If you are looking to sell on auction sites here are some great tips.

It is very easy to sell on auction sites. Many people think that they have to know technical information or be well versed in computers; the truth of the matter is that within a few minutes you can be selling your items on Ebay or other auction sites and making a healthy profit.

Auction sites such as Ebay make it extremely easy for average people with no computer experience to sell their items. With easy to use interfaces that literally walk you step by step through the entire listing and selling process, you can be up and running in no time.

If you are interested in selling on auction sites for more than just a part time job, there are many software programs that can easily automate your auction site business. Whether it is listing software, shipping software or selling managers, you can easily sell your items and keep track of your auction site business with ease. So if you are looking for either a supplemental or full time income, look to sell on auction sites.

September 8, 2008

Making Money On Your Website

You probably started your business website to increase your profits. That is why you added a shopping cart, and information about your company, right? While this is a great way to increase your profits, did you know that they are many other opportunities online to make money? You will be able to make additional money on your website, provided that you know about the programs that are available to you.

Affiliate Programs

Perhaps on of the most popular affiliate program online today is Google Adsense. Google Adsense is a program provided by the popular Google search engine. It is a pay per click program, which means that each time a visitor clicks on the links that you have placed on your website, you will earn a specific amount of money. The typical amount of money earn per click is 10 cents. Google provides you with all the codes you will need to add the ads to your website. The links are customizable so that the colors and fonts will match your existing website. Once you place the code on your website, the links will then generate to match your content, which means that the visitors visiting your website will be more likely to click on the links, since they were relevant to what they were searching for in the first place.

Another popular affiliate program online is Amazon. Amazon allows you to sell specific products on your website for profit. The amount you make is typically a percentage of the amount the person pays for the item. Amazon allows you to display as many items as you would like, and does not require any amount of content to do so.

If you are having trouble finding affiliate programs, then you may consider joining an affiliate network. An affiliate network is a website that offers a wide variety of products and services to sell on your website. This allows you to easily search for affiliate program in which you want to market. It also will monitor all of your commissions from the various programs, add it to one account, and then send you one check once the amount in your account exceeded your specified amount. If you have ever tried to manage several affiliate programs at once, you will greatly appreciate this feature.

It is important to look for affiliate programs that offer high commissions. If a affiliate program is only going to give you a penny per sale, then why bother?

You may also want to consider joining affiliate programs that offer tier programs. A "tier" program allows you to not only sell their product or service for profit, but it also allows you to recruit others to do the same. Once you recruit others, you then gain profits for each of their sales as well. A 3 tier program allows you to collect profits for the people your recruit AND the people they recruit. Essentially, you make money off of their efforts.

Setting Your Website Up With These Programs

Placement is one of the most important things when it comes to affiliate advertising. You do not want to clutter your pages with ads, since it will take away from your original content. Instead, you will want to use the ads sparely, and in appropriate places. If a visitor searches for electronics and you post Amazon codes for children's book on the same page, then chances are the visitor will not click on your link.

Like I mentioned before, the Google Adsense ads will self tailor themselves to the content in which the links are found on. If you place a Google ad code on a page talking about Phone cards, then all of the ads will be related to phones. I would only use one Google Ad code per page, to make sure you do not clutter up the page. Plus, a visitor is more likely to click on an ad if they do not feel that they are being bombarded by them.
As we discussed in part one, having a great work history and ethic does not guarantee that you will retain your job. There are many culprits to blame, such as changing economic times, technology replacing humans works, and outsourcing work to foreign companies. The only real way that you ca retain your job is not put yourself in the position to be fired. This may seem impossible, but is really quite simple. You have to become your own boss.

Perhaps you are not worried about loosing your job, but you realize that you will never have the chance to advance any further in the company you are working for. Your monetary resources are capped out, and you will not be able to provide any better of a lifestyle for you and your family unless your pay increases. Again, the only way you will be in total control of your finances is to become your own boss.

The only way to be the boss is to start your own business. "But I do not have very much money, if any at all." you say. Well in today's culture there are quite a few businesses that can be started for little or no money at all. This is not a get rich quick scheme, I am not saying that you will be making five grand a month from the very beginning, but I am telling you, that no matter the amount of money that you have, you should still be able to start a business without much fuss.

Here are some more examples of businesses that require little or no money up front:


Are you good with numbers and organization? If you are, you may want to think about starting a book keeping business. This business is pretty easy to market since every type of person, and business may need someone to update their business books.

The only thing you may need for this type of job is a program(if you are using a computer) and the necessary paperwork. If you have to supply the paperwork, you can charge additionally for this.

You will want to advertise residually at local tax places or office stores. If you want to target businesses you may want to look into local business directories. If nothing else, you can put an ad in your local newspaper and go from there.

Home Organization

If you good are at organization, then you may want to consider starting a business organization business.

You may want to consider supplying the materials needed for organization such as boxes, labels, shelves, etc. If you provide the materials, then you will be able to charge for it. You may also require your clients to buy the materials themselves. Whatever you decide will work.

Home organization is best advertised at home stores and in your local paper.

Language Translation

You will help break through barriers caused by language difference and improved communication. Businesses will call you when they know they will be dealing with clientele that speak a different language, typically in advance. Every once and awhile, you may be called in an emergency situation. The pay depends on the amount of people you will have to translate for, and if you are notified ahead of time or not.

If English is your second language, or you just have a liking for foreign languages, you services will come in handy for local businesses that deal with multi-cultures.

If you do not know a foreign language, but you are still interested in language translation as a career or business, then translation books and programs number in the thousands, even for the newest user. It just takes a little time and energy to learn a new language.

Contact local business, doctor's offices, and government agencies and ask if they are in need of translation services.

September 6, 2008

Using Myspace to Promote Your Business

One of the newest phenomena's hitting the business world on the internet is using interactive community sites, such as Myspace to promote your business.

The reasons are clear as to why business owners have chosen to promote their businesses on Myspace. With an average of over half a million long ins a day, Myspace is easily one of the most popular website on the internet today. With this kind of traffic, every business is sure to find a target group that is interested in their products, or services.

Perhaps one of the best reasons for using Myspace to promote your business is the fact that it is free. The only investment you will need is some time to build your profile, and time to find and add people to your "friends list," which in this case is actually your targeted group.

Setting Up Your Profile

Once you sign up, you will be asked to create a profile. Your profile is the single most important thing when you decide to advertise using Myspace. Your potential targets and clientele will look at this profile first. It will literally give them their first impression of you.

You will want to set up your profile with as much information as you can, however do not overdo it and make it seem as if you are just trying to get them to read about your business. A good balance is key.

Do not over use images or other media within your page, so it will load fast for even the slowest of internet connections.

Gaining Targets

One have everything setup on your profile, you will want to begin looking for targets. You will want to look for the type of people that may be interested in your business.

Myspace provides a search feature that allows you to search by age, gender, status, and location. Use this feature to search and find people in your area. Click on their profile, and if they fit your criteria, the use the "add to friends" button. A message will be sent to them, and then they will be able to add or deny your profile. Once you see that they have accepted you, then post a "thank you" message on their profile.

Proper Myspace Etiquette

When using Myspace to promote your business, you will want to practice some etiquette. It is easy to overdo it, which can greatly hurt your image, especially with potential local consumers. After all, the idea is to promote your business, not to hurt it's image.

Spaming, or sending unsolicited messages to random users and addresses, is strictly prohibited, and will get your account deleted. Never send unsolicited or unwanted messages to anyone. However, if the person contacts you first (whether it be by comment, or message) feel free to communicate with them about your business.

Another type of spamming, which is potentially dangerous for your business, is over-posting comments. The comment system on Myspace allows you to post comments on other's profiles, that is usually viewable by everyone that views that person profile. This can be a great way to reach additional contacts, provided that you follow some rules. First, never post a comment solely about your business. Instead, you can post a message thanking that person for accepting your friend request, or thanking them for sending you a friend request, whatever the case may be. The only acceptable way you should post a comment about your business is if the user posted a comment on your profile first.
Never post pictures on other users profile.
Looking for a way to make your auction site business more efficient? There are many tools available that can help you automate your auction site business, fast easily and affordably. Here are some tips on automating your auction site business.

There are three main ways to automate your auction site business, listing software, payment processors and shipping software. Listing software can help you list your items no matter what day or time it is, even in the middle of the night. Listing software is mainly for power sellers that sell more than a few items each day. There are a few great listing programs, one of them is from Ebay and is available for free.

Payment processors are software that helps you check out your customers quick and easy and makes sure that payment has been sent. Payment processors contact your buyers once an item is sold and walks them through the payment process as well as the feedback process. If a payment is made, it can also integrate with your shipping software.

Shipping software is necessary to print labels, calculate shipping and keep track of tracking numbers for customer's shipments. Shipping software can save you valuable time and energy. So if you want to grow as an auction site seller, look into automating your auction site business.