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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: October 2006

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Seven fresh ideas to better your business

Avoid the cash crunch; let them vote; more.

[componentheading]LEGAL SMARTS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Do what Lawyers Do[/contentheading]

Like the sound (not to mention tax benefits) of those letters “Inc” or “LLC” behind the name of your business but not so crazy about the legal costs? Eva Rosenberg, author of Small Business Taxes Made Easy, suggests you do what lawyers do and outsource some of the work. When setting up a corporate entity, attorneys generally provide about an hour of advice before passing the job to an outside service to create the document kit. Your attorney will then hand the bundle of paperwork back to you for your tax pro to clean up — along with a bill for $2,000. A better idea, Rosenberg says, is to pay your attorney for the hour of consultation time and then use accountstreet.com or hubco to take care of the paperwork, just like your attorney would. Remember though that you do need your attorney’s guidance. Bring your tax advisor along for that meeting, too.

[componentheading]TIME MANAGEMENT[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Chunk It In[/contentheading]

Harried? Feeling like you’re always reacting to events and never controlling them? You sound like every other store owner we know. Here’s a tip to save you a few minutes a day and get back some feeling of control. It’s called “chunking,” which refers to completing similar types of work at the same time. For example, you’ve got a number of calls to return or accounts to chase up: Set aside a block of time dedicated to getting them all done in one focused hit. Accomplishing a number of similar tasks at the one time is a more effective and a better use of your energy than bouncing randomly from one management task to another.

[componentheading]REALITY CHECK[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Inventory Story[/contentheading]

Keen to emulate the success of reality shows like American Idol, restaurant chain Bennigan’s has started letting its customers vote online on new proposed menu items. How about giving customers the chance to accept your new inventory selections? For even more fun, encourage lots of comments on whose designs are great, and whose should be “voted off the island.”

[componentheading]IT’S GONNA GET NASTY[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Give It To ‘Em Straight[/contentheading]

With the holidays coming, don’t make the common management mistake of trying to bolster staff morale by downplaying the unpleasantness ahead — long hours, pushy customers, tough sales targets, etc. If anything, tell them the road ahead will be tougher than you actually think it will be. According to Marcus Buckingham, author of The One Thing You Need To Know, being told a task will be difficult helps us brace for it and get in the right mood to tackle it.

[componentheading]BLOG SPOTTING[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Get The Inside Story[/contentheading]

Finished interviewing a promising job candidate, but haven’t gotten a handle on his personality, his beliefs or how he’ll fit in your store? Check — especially if he’s young — to see if he has a blog. If he does, it is likely to indicate his tastes, opinions, and aspirations — things that will make your decision easier.

[componentheading]FLEX APPEAL[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Sign On The Line[/contentheading]

Get new employees to sign an agreement that says you can switch their hours. Otherwise, if you change an employee’s schedule and they quit as a result, they may be entitled to unemployment benefits, says Michael Jenkins in Starting and Operating a Business in Pennsylvania.

[componentheading]FROM THE GURU[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Get Cashed Up[/contentheading]

The late Peter Drucker is one of the all-time greats of business management. Reading the guru’s work recently, we learned what he considered the biggest mistake of small-business owners — getting caught in a cash crunch. Young, growing operations devour cash and no matter how smooth things appear to be going, trouble is nearly always around the corner, he told Inc.com in one of his last interviews. “I saved more new enterprises than I can remember by simply telling the founder who showed me how beautifully things were going that now is the time to provide for your next financing. If you have six months to a year to provide for your next financing, you can be reasonably sure you’ll get it and at favorable terms.” Could you want advice from a better source?

[span class=note]This story is from the October 2006 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Why This Fourth-Generation Jeweler Chose Wilkerson for a Very Special Sale

Parian & Sons of Franklin Lakes, NJ was founded in the early part of the 20th century. But even stores that have successfully made it through the Great Depression, a World War and the Woodstock Generation must come to an end. With no family wanting to continue the tradition, the time was right for Glenn Parian and his wife, Maria, to retire. And what better way to do so than by hiring Wilkerson to help with the store’s liquidation sale. As Glenn puts it, with his credit card machine humming to the tune of up to 200 transactions a day, he couldn’t have done it without Wilkerson. “This is what they do,” he says. “This is what they do for everybody.”

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