Customer Service Adage Correction – For Wholesale Business Entrepreneurs!

The customer is always right! Well if uch adage is true everyone in labor could get fired easily thanks to some customers, dont you think? If by the books you are self-employed, a certain customer may just not be right for you. When you become your own boss, there is a good amount of stress that you already need to cope with on top of the other challenging responsibilities that go with the CEO title.

Decreasing as much stress as possible should make your business way better in overall terms. When deciding to eliminate the time waster, who indeed takes up a lot of your support time issues – you are likely doing both you and him a favor.

If you deal with wholesale merchandise business and customers on a daily basis, it does not mean you are being rude to them by rejecting their business. You are just setting up your standards, your ideals and the respect for your self-employment status.

If you think it would be bad business to turn up front cash or customer lifetime value, the fact of the matter is- aggravation is just one of the many top of the line negative issues you have to decrease to a heavy extent with troublesome customers.

But you may believe in entrepreneurial options. Be it e-commerce in the wholesale merchandise business, the 80/20 rule of the wildly known Pareto’s Principle, it all applies! Yes, the one that states that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers.

Well if the Einstein’s are correct, 80% of your stress shall also come from 20% of your beloved customers. Likely case today if structuring online business correctly, that ratio may be more like 95% of the stress arrives from 5% of your customers. My entrepreneurial tip if you really want to stay with the majority of your new customer’s, whether they are high-maintenance or low-maintenance, outsource your business and developing projects.

By now you may be asking, how in this world can I hire them? Go creative – it’s the 21st century. I personally love how Subway has structured part of their marketing system and expansion mythology with royalty fees and monthly attachment with the franchisee. By 2010, you can expect more Subway’s in our city then gas station country wide here at Puerto Rico! Their methods works, why not do the same with our own budget?

You could hire a professional for your wholesale merchandise business and pay an agent monthly fees, what is the equivalent of royalty fees in the Internet marketing world. Many of us started doing it heavily in some of our businesses a while back, you might as well find creative ways to get a talent in your team for more productive time and more profits!

2008 surely sounds more exciting! You either will retain your customer thanks to a hired professional on your end and pay small monthly fees, $100-$200.00 per month are reasonable these days, or you will end the potential lifetime value from your ready to buy prospects.

It’s all about deciding. Decide in reasonable terms whether you are in the wholesale merchandise fulfillment relations business or you are on your own. Play the game smart and adjust your way to niche stardom, as one of the best bets as you may know is making right decisions!

The SOHO as an Online Business Model for the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Future

Sometimes to understand the future we have to have some historical perspective.

We often forgot that before the 19th century, and prior to the industrial revolution, nearly all offices were small offices and/or home offices, with very few exceptions. Now that small business and the self-employed represent the backbone of the current economy, it seems that history does indeed repeat itself.

The US economy no longer is dominated by giant corporations. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that fully 99% of all independent enterprises employ fewer than 500 people. This accounts for 52% of the US workforce according to the SBA.

Additionally by the end of 1999, the service sector had grown to 104.3 million jobs, representing 81% of non-farm employment, and the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing, construction, and mining represented 25.2 million jobs, or only 19% of non-farm employment.

I do not know how many farm related jobs there are, but I do know that 81% and 19% add up to 100%.

This tells me that since at least the year 2000 probably over 80% of jobs are now service related and less than 20% of us are now employed in manufacturing. That means as a nation we do not really manufacture much any more. Can you say trade deficit?

We no longer have an industrial economy, just like we will never again have an economy based on agriculture.

The advent of the personal computer in the mid 1990s, along with breakthroughs in voice and data communication, created opportunities for businesses to decentralize and allowed for a return to the trend of the small office concept.

Since the end of the 20th century the term “SOHO”, an acronym for “Small Office/Home Office” has come to be used to define this important business niche.

New technologies will continue to create a demand for individuals who work from home or in a virtual office. Many people are now employed as consultants, independent contractors, or organized as small business entities with very specialized services designed for the project outsourcing of larger companies, often not even industry or country specific.

The SOHO or online virtual office is not just for consultants and independent contractors any longer. The members of many other occupational ranks, and especially online business owners now help comprise this diverse sector.

A large array of products and services also are designed specifically for the “SOHO” market. Many books are published specifically targeted to this business model, everything from general business advice to guides on setting up fairly sophisticated computer systems, telecom systems, and Internet and Intranet systems.

The small business entrepreneur generally has demanded and usually has always benefited from high technology, allowing small business to be competitive.

So, if you do not own a farm, chances are that in the future you will be working in the service sector and quite possibly from your home office. This probably holds true in most other developed countries as well, due to an increasingly underemployed labor force and shrinking job markets.

The online virtual office is here to stay and is for anyone that seldom needs an office. If you own a laptop with wireless connectivity you may be lucky enough to work pretty much anywhere, if you have access to the Internet.

But let’s take it one step further for those who would dream of living where they wish, and working online from wherever they are. Work is no longer necessarily site specific.

Is it really just a dream? Not any more.

More and more people are finding that with increasingly more affordable technology, VoIP services, videoconferencing, and reliable worldwide courier services, they at one time or another may find themselves working from a beach, or a mountain top…and in some cases may rarely have to make an appearance at the traditional office again.

Business Plan Development – Free Government Resources to Aid in Business Planning

In your quest to develop your business plan you will want to obtain information regarding industry analysis, legal and regulatory statutes, manufacturing, training and counseling, and maybe corporate financials and international information and data. This is just a few of the areas you can research through our government’s online resources. Though they are free and free is often synonymous with undervalued they are indeed not free. Your tax dollars pay for them and the information is rich and vast. These government resources are put there to help you succeed so there is no better place to start your research than with the resources you pay for. The U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, The State Department, FedStats, Export.gov, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission all have information that you will find helpful. I will talk a little about each one, what they do, and how you can use them.

The first place you may want to start with your investigation on industry analysis is through The Department of Commerce. The DoC is comprised of twelve separate agencies responsible for many things regarding business from weather forecasts to patent protection. Their mission statement states exactly what they do and there is no better way to sum it up, “The DoC touches the daily lives of the American people in many ways, with a wide range of responsibilities in the areas of trade, economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and business development, environmental stewardship, and statistical research and analysis.” There is much to the DoC and they also are a portal to several other government agencies and partners that you may find useful.

The U.S. Census Bureau, a derivative of the DoC, is a great resource for industry analysis and they are arguably the most important branch of the DoC for demographic information ranging from population breakdown, income, education levels, and housing to name just a few which you can find in the Peoples and Households section of their website. The Census Bureau also collects massive amounts of data on economic activity. You may need to search the industry code for the particular type of business you’re in or looking for, by searching its NAICS code. You can break information down from a national level and/or by zip code for information on total number of businesses as well as types and average sales in their business and industry section. They also have information on foreign trade and so much more. The fact of the matter is that there is so much data that the U.S. Census Bureau has accumulated it may seem daunting. It is in fact a huge database with so many useful links that I have to write three paragraphs about all the different links worth noting. You should spend some time navigating around, taking notes, and leaving yourself a trail of breadcrumbs one way or another so that you can remember just how you got from place to place.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s website is vast, as I previously stated, and there are a number of portals you should know a little about and even bookmark. Censtats is a database that includes county and zip business pattern information, international trade data, demographic and economic data for states and counties, Census Tract Street Locator, and some other databases on top of those. American FactFinder has information regarding demographic information about people that can be broken down in many ways to suit your needs. QuickFacts provides information on people, business, and geography which can be targeted on a national, state, and/or county level. If you need information on industry and manufacturing you can skim through the Current Industrial Report section. There contains vast amounts of information which may satisfy your needs for market analysis, forecasting, and decision-making.

The next noteworthy online resource at your disposal is the SBA or Small Business Administration. If you need information on federal and/or state legal and regulatory information the SBA has important and detailed information on these two important issues. The SBA also funds and supports business’s and you can find and apply for government grants, contracts, as well as sign up to receive training and counseling from SCORE. Score are a group of retired executives that volunteer their time to help business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with development of their business plans and give advice to current businesses management dilemmas and questions and other assistance. If you have never spoken with a SCORE representative you should. They have a plethora of experience and expertise on a variety of subjects and industries. The SBA’s website also offers you a place to register your business, find business licenses, and permits. Ultimately the SBA is another great government resource that is a must-add to your toolbox.

If you’re interested or need to get your hands on international data and statistics our government provides information through U.S. Census Bureau, The State Department, and Export.gov. The Census Bureau’s contains an international database (IDB) that provides rankings by population size as well as global trends and demographic data. The State Department’s website has background information that includes information on each country’s economy and a great deal more all in alphabetical order by country. You can find out information on that country’s history, people, government, relations, travel, and more. Export.gov’s slogan is helping U.S. companies succeed globally by combining and providing the resources from across the U.S. government to assist American businesses in planning their international sale’s strategy. They have in-depth data about markets and industries on a global scale.

If you need information on corporations The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Edgar Database provides information regarding corporation’s financial information as well as their operations. There is a lot more to the Edgar Database. They also have a user guide that will provide you a more detailed analysis of who they are and what all they can do for you.

The last government resource that is worth mentioning is Fedstats. FedStats is a government sponsored website that has vast quantities of data collected by over 100 different agencies. You can search by topic compiled in a nice, user-friendly A-Z format or you can search the agencies in which they receive their data from, also in an alphabetical format. If you’re interested in state-by-state statistical data you might try clicking through FedStat’s MapStats section which profiles states, counties, cities, congressional districts, and even federal judicial districts. Besides the particular places I have pointed out there is also information on international comparisons, statistics from the individual agencies, press releases, and more.

I have written a similar article on my blog that has the full list of links to many of the areas that I have spoken of in this article if you would like to check it out. I hope that I have provided you valuable resources that will aid you in your pursuit to complete your business plan. Good luck and best wishes for your success!

Entrepreneur Business Idea – Develop a Small Business Customer Support Company

This article is about creating a business opportunity for a small business customer support center. Many small businesses have a product that occasionally requires customer support, yet their is not enough money in the business to run a full time call center on its own. This is where your business will come in. Read on to find out how you can create a customer support business to support many local and national small businesses.

By developing a customer support center, you will have the 800-numbers of multiple businesses routed through your call center. Using special software, the number of the client shows up with the business information, so that the person answering the phone knows which business they are representing for that call.

The companies that hire you will provide FAQ information about their products and services. Many of these questions will be able to be solves by the call center employees and the contractual agreement between the groups will decide how much leeway the operator will have for allowing returns or changing orders on the spot.

These people can also take phone messages as if you were out of the office, even though you don’t work in the same building or even the same state. Many of these call centers have been located overseas, but customers are getting fed up with language barriers and the general lack of understanding about the problems. Due to these current issues, this would be a great time to establish yourself as a domestic call center, and come up with more capabilities that you can handle for the clients.