Local Business Information – Maintaining Contact

Once you have made contact with a new prospect, or acquired a new customer, how do you help them remember your local business information? This is smart planning for long-term success for your small business.

Your small business needs a break from the grind of attracting new customers. Repeat business and generating new business from a contact list can increase your bottom line dramatically.

So how do you keep in touch with people?

1. Build an email list with Get Response or another brand of autoresponder. All you need is a name and email address and you can follow up right into their in box.

This is an easy way to create a mailing list and follow up with it. You can start one list for your current customers and one for your prospects.

Publishing an ezine, or electronic newsletter as it is known, is a good way to keep in touch with both lists. The more subscribers to your list the more income they can bring to your business. Plus this is a good way to keep your local business name in front of them.

2. Create a blog and add articles a few times a week. Invite people to keep up to date using your RSS Feed. Google owns Feedburner and this is an easy way for you to get new subscribers and maintain contact.

3. Have your secretary type than you notes and you sign them an mail them out. This is a powerful way to show appreciation to your customers. This is not very time consuming to do. Just get in the habit of doing it.

4. Brand your business with an attractive logo in every advertising you do. Include it on pens, magnets, flyers, note pads, key chains, and so on.

5. Email or snail mail discount coupons regularly. You see pizza companies do it over and over so you know it works. No matter how small the amount people like to save money.

6. Add a contest to your blog or website. Advertise them and asked people to get involved. To maintain a person’s interest give away really good prizes.

7. Encourage people to promote you by giving them cash for referrals. Satisfied customers will refer you on their own, but it doesn’t hurt to offer an incentive. Anytime you can get someone talking about your local business it is a good thing.

8. Use Internet marketing with off line tactics together to reach a greater number of people on a regular basis. Do as many of the things we have written about here plus add some you come up with.

Use the 8 things we have written about in this article to keep your local business information in front of existing customers and prospects. Maintaining contact is a smart thing to do and it is easy to do once you get in the habit!

Poor Business Information Management – What Is It Costing Your Business?

Is your business drowning in information?

Are you buried under tons of paperwork and just don’t know where to start? Are you spending more time doing the paperwork than running the business?

Does you current business data management system provide ready access to your business data and perform the analysis necessary to make informed business decisions?

These may seem like simple, basic questions but in many small and medium-sized businesses they go unasked. What does this mean to the bottom line of your business?

Business data management is paramount to making your business profitable and successful. Making your information and data work as hard as you do, and turning it in to an asset rather than a liability, will give you the edge over your competitors. Effective business data management could be the key to the business success that you have been looking for.

The HOW TO of Business Data Management

All businesses today generate and need access to significant amounts of information and data, much of which is critical to the efficient and profitable operation of the business. Information like customer contact details and sales data, appointment scheduling, stock control or managing production flow and financial records is the life-blood of any business. It needs to be managed effectively to get the most out of it.

Just the process of collecting and recording business information can take a great deal of your staff’s time, and therefore your money. Just as important as collecting business data is HOW it is managed and used. Many hours can go into recording business data, and just as many of those hours can be wasted if the information is not stored in a way that provides ready access or analysis of the information it contains. Obviously, recording business information on random notes or even in structured text documents such as Word is better than nothing. But information stored this way is difficult to track and even more difficult to search. Performing any meaningful analysis on large amounts of data stored in this fashion is virtually impossible.

Using spreadsheets, such as Microsoft’s Excel program, will provide access to structured information as well as the ability to perform some effective business analysis over small subsets of data. However filling out spreadsheets and keeping them up-to-date can be a time consuming task. And what do you do when you have voluminous amounts of data that you want to analyse for trends, or business opportunities. Unlike databases, spreadsheets are limited in the number of records they can manipulate and rarely provided the correlation between disparate data holdings that is required to perform meaningful analysis.

Making the Most of your Business Information

I think we all can agree that proper business information management is an important aspect of effective business management and should be a core consideration in ensuring the success of your business.

As you have probably realised by now, using hand written notes, document files and even spreadsheets may not be the most efficient way for you to manage and make the most of your business information. In fact, when you take in to account the time and effort necessary to collect and store the information, collate it, and then try to make sense of what it all means, you have likely come to the conclusion that unstructured business data is costing your business not only tens of thousands of dollars in time and resources handling the information, but also many thousands of dollars in missed opportunities that proper analysis of that data could have identified.

For the efficient and effective management of business information you really need a database. Databases provide significant advantages over other forms of information capture, storage, retrieval and analysis. More importantly a database enables rapid access to any data held within the database through sophisticated, and yet in most cases easy to use, search functionality. Most database systems today handle virtually any size data-set, be it large or small, and have the ability to perform tasks as simple as ‘Customer Relationship’, ‘Inventory Management’ or ‘Asset Management’, right through to the more complex sales and/or trend analysis, across ten or even hundreds of thousands of individual records.

Perhaps equally as important is the ability of relational databases, such as the Microsoft Access database, to vastly decrease the time and effort required to collect the data. With functionality such as data import, default field values, lookup tables, drop-down lists and the ability to enter common data (which may be used often across 1000s of records) only once, they can significantly reduce the time and effort required to collect and store information.

Over time there have been many database applications available. Whilst all these database systems have provided the basic data storage and retrieve capability, more modern-day database applications such as Microsoft Access Database provide a graphical user interface, simplified querying and comprehensive internal reporting functionality which is capable of analysing and charting vast amounts of data in very short periods of time, often only seconds. Microsoft has gone to great lengths to incorporate all the modern features required by any business to effectively handle their information management and analysis needs. Microsoft Access Database comes packaged with the ‘Office’ (professional) suite of software tools, and its integration with those tools makes passing information and data between documents, spreadsheets and databases a simply process which greatly enhances and simplifies its data collection, analysis and reporting capabilities. Existing users of MS Access Database will also be aware that several of the sample databases that ship with the Access Database, whilst basic in design, already provide some good business information management tools.

Whilst Microsoft’s Access database is easy to use, allowing basic databases to be easily built by the novice, it also contains advanced functionality and features that can be used to build more powerful, integrated business information management systems. Consequently, a number of ‘business to business’ companies specialising in the development of custom, business specific, Access Database applications have emerged. Where you have a need to build a database to meet a specific requirement within your business, but just don’t have the time or someone with the advanced training and knowledge required to build the database in-house, then using a specialist Access Database developer may be the answer. As there are many such companies offering this service the development rates are usually very affordable, and you will find that the time required to have a functioning, customized database, up and running will be significantly reduced.

Effective, efficient business information management is a must for anyone wanting to grow their business and their profitability.

Simple Ways to Start Your Home Based Business Information Centre

Don’t let that hard earned degree go to waste. Put up your own home based business information centre and provide quality information to those who need it the most. The operations of a business centre aren’t that difficult to handle. All you need is a working phone, an Internet connection and information. All these three basic necessities of a home based business information centre aren’t that difficult to put together. Use the knowledge that you know to the fullest. You might even be able to help people along the way.

Use your technical knowhow to answer people s questions. It really doesn’t matter what field you want to work in. All areas of expertise in the world are in need of advice. Also, all of these areas are bound to have beginers who are still in the process of learning. This assures you of a constantly existing market that you can provide service to. Even if you create a home based business information centre for popular hobbies like photography, needlework, cooking, or running, you are sure to find individuals in need of information on simple how-to’s. If you are knowledgeable in technical things like that of engineering, mathematics, home repair or electronics, why not use it extensively with a home based business information centre. Provide quality information to those that need it the most. You can even be an online tutor for graduate students when it comes to subjects. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons.

You can market your home based business information centre by posting it online. Simple social networking site ads do so much when it comes to promotion. In fact you can even have your friends promote it for you so that you cover a larger ground.

Your big break is just waiting to happen. Get started and grab that opportunity today.

Catering Business Information – 3 Important Tips

Are you planning to start a business but you do not know where to begin? The first thing that you should do is to choose a business that is always in demand. One of the most in demand businesses all year round is the catering business. Many people need catering services for their parties, corporate meetings, and other casual or formal occasions. But before you go ahead and start your own catering business, it is important to know some important information first about this industry. Listed below are some important catering business information ad tips that can help you get started.

  1. You should know by now that the catering business involves food. You should be a good cook yourself or at least have some knowledge about cooking and food preparation. If you are not good at cooking, you can hire your own chef or professional cook. However, this means that you will need to spend more money, which is really not advisable if you are just starting your own business. It would be better if you cook the food yourself or if you are hands-on when it comes to food preparation.
  2. Aside from the food, it is also important to have access to catering supplies and furniture like tables, chairs, table cloths or covers, chair covers, centerpieces, utensils, dinnerware, and so on. These are necessary supplies if you want to start your own catering service. You should also consider hiring or buying a small truck or van that you can use to transport your supplies to the venue of the party or meeting.
  3. Another piece of advice is that you should not forget about hiring the right staff. Catering is not just about serving delicious dishes. It is also about great customer service. Your waiters and waitresses should be professionals. It is important to please your customers in terms of service. Your customers will keep coming back if you have delicious dishes and great customer service.

These are some basic catering business information tips that you should consider if you are planning to start your own catering business. Make sure that you remember these things in order to have a successful business.