Sunday, August 26, 2012

Take Care of Yourself

Business owners have to take care of themselves before they can really take care of everyone else.
I met with my mentor Rob Slee at a restaurant in the Marriott Hotel in Charlotte, N.C., around 10 a.m, purely to accommodate my next two meetings at the same location. Rob and I were discussing the importance of having the right vision when starting a business. Oftentimes, we're so busy working in the business that we forgot to look at our business from the "what's in it for you" perspective.
In Slee's book, Midas Marketing, he defines "what's in it for me" as a value proposition, or solution, for customers, vendors, advisors, employees, shareholders and the local community. WIFU is the value proposition for you, the owner.
Rob and I were discussing a client of mine--let's call her Rachel--who is quite a successful woman business owner. But we were having a hard time finding the right woman mentor for her. Ideally, the right mentor has owned many businesses, has successfully sold them for intended profit and is a good match for the client. Rob and I concluded the same thing at the same time and said it simultaneously: "Women take care of everyone else in the world but themselves!" There is lots of WIFM ("what's in it for me") from the women's perspective, but very little WIFU ("what's in it for you"), the owner.
Our ValuePositioning method defines a business as having four stages--survival, growth, positioning and significance. Each stage has a different focus and behavior. Some businesses will go through the growth stage and come back to the survival stage. In today's economy, some businesses are in the survival stage regardless of how well they did before the economic downturn.
Business scenario
Rachel has been in business for 25 years and was named one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. in 2007. She's been featured in many magazines for her outstanding achievements. Today her biggest issue is cash flow, both for her business and personally. Because of the business cash flow, she plows more cash from her personal savings into the business. My partner David completed a personal financial plan for her, and one of his recommendations was to sell her empty retail building because it was such a cash drain for her personally. A lack of resources derailed her plans to develop a retail store there.
I have a totally different view of the empty building. We discussed her options at length. One, she can keep doing the same thing--that is, keep plowing cash into the building. Two, she can keep doing the same thing with strategic changes in her overall business vision. Three, she can sell the building as David suggested. It's obvious that the numbers do not work in her favor.
Rachel chose to go with option number two--keep doing the same thing with strategic changes. Instead of selling or shutting down the empty building, she has the potential to convert the empty building into office suites and earn extra income for herself. Her current office can move into that building upon completion. The office rent she currently pays can pay the mortgage on the building while she earns extra office rental income.
Why did she choose this option? She finally realized that she needs to start using "what's in it for you." She has to do what's right for her and take care of herself before anyone else. The good news is that, by solving her cash-flow problems, she also is able to continue taking care of her employees--the WIFM equation--at the same time.
We as women business owners nurture our businesses like our own children. We want the best for them. But before your gut gets you into WIFM, try the WIFU first. Ultimately, you'll get WIFU&M--"what's in for you and me!"

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Basic Information About Plastic Caps

One of the most common products manufactured through the process of dip moulding are the end cap. These end cap are known for their flexibility since they can be used in so many ways. They are most often used to protect or enhance the design or durability of various components and products.
One of the best advantages of using plastic caps is that they are very flexible. They can be used in different applications with variations in size. It does not have to be an exact fit on its application but it is still capable of providing an airtight seal. The production of caps and plugs through dip moulding is also cheaper which is one of the reasons why most industries prefer to use end cap. Whether the production of the end cap is high volume or low volume, the cost is still lower. The entire process of manufacturing the end cap is very economical regardless of the volume of products being manufactured. This is very advantageous for both the manufacturers of caps and plugs s as well as the industries that purchase them for various applications and purposes.
Plastic is a very general term because there are actually different types of plastic. All of these plastic materials that are used to make the caps have properties that make them resistant to various damages such as splitting and shredding. The different types of plastic materials also provide highly adequate electric insulation. Plastic caps also come in various colours. They can be made in many different colours depending on the specifications provided by the clients. The surfaces of the plastic caps also have different finishes such as glossy or seam free.
Plastic caps can be made in different dimensions and measurements. There are caps and plugs with varying diameters for its different applications. They also come in varying lengths so there is always a plastic cap that you can use for whatever purpose you may have. Plastic caps also have different measurements when it comes to their thread protection. Manufacturers produce large caps and plugs and not just small ones. The large plastic caps are commonly used in the oil industry as well as in the construction industry. They can be fitted into the ends of the pipes to protect them while they are being transported to their destination.
Dip moulding is an excellent way of manufacturing end cap. This is because the process of dip moulding is very economical and it is also able to produce large volumes of end cap in a very short time compared to the other manufacturing processes used to make the caps and plugs.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Proper Layout For Your New Restaurant Menu

The design of a menu speaks volumes to customers. It's the first step in placing orders. So the menu should make the right impression to diners. Some of the most enticing menus are designed with deliberate simplicity. This doesn't mean ignoring understated elegance. Coordinate the menu design with the menu selections and ambiance of the dining facility. The size of the menu should be manageable for customers and the typography should be easy to read. Choose contrasting type colors and font styles that afford easy reading. The layout of the menu should follow a specific ordering pattern: Beverages, appetizers, salads, soups, sides and entrees. Allow additional space for daily specials that can be inserted or clipped to the menu.
Keep It Simple
The design of a menu should enhance selections of dishes the restaurant prepares for its clientele. It's important not to overload a menu with too many selections. Customers appreciate fewer menu items than too many choices. However, offering fewer menu selections should also include the highest quality in foods served. A simple menu may be varied based upon the types of ingredients used to create signature dishes. Many salad ingredients can be used in side dishes or entrees. This is also true of fish, meat and poultry ingredients that can be combined as salad ingredients. This is one way to reduce food costs. Another way is to gauge the size of portions. Too often restaurant portion sizes are larger than necessary. When portions are too large, this increases food costs.
Have a Concept
Too often restaurant owners feel the need to throw everything they can possibly stuff into their coolers onto the menu. By trying to please everybody that walks through the door, you end up pushing your customers even further away. Why? Two reasons:
1. As I have said before, the more items on your menu the harder it is to keep the ingredients fresh and this also makes the line much more inefficient.
2. Your customers lose track of what your concept is. You wouldn't enter an Italian restaurant and expect to see fish and chips on the menu. When it does happen customers tend to forget about you when they're in the mood for a nice risotto.
Pick your cuisine and your concept and make sure they work hand-in-hand. You may only have 15-25 items on your menu but your customers will keep returning if they know your restaurant has the best recipe and freshest ingredients in town for that particular cuisine.
A Well-Rounded Menu For A Filling Meal
If there's one key issue to consider, it's insuring customers leave a restaurant with the feeling of value and satisfaction. Use only the freshest ingredients prepared freshly every day to insure value. Meals should be colorful and tasty from drinks to desserts. Review menu selections regularly and make simple changes when needed. Every restaurant offers a specialty dish which is a major attraction. Create a menu based upon this signature specialty dish and build the rest of the menu around it for customer satisfaction.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Value of Virtual Offices

Virtual offices are becoming a popular trend in the business world, especially for small and mid-sized businesses. By having a virtual office, these smaller companies have the ability to project the image of a large company to their clients, which can greatly increase their reputation and sales. Virtual offices provide these companies a chance to thrive in a recessionary economy.
A virtual office is the combination of an off-site address and live communication services, which allows smaller businesses to purchase services and time as their business needs. This allows a small or starting business to eliminate almost all overhead costs which can make or break a company. Virtual offices allow a company to hand select the services they desire, which makes it easy for any company to select services that will allow them to thrive without breaking their budget. Companies are also able to rent conference rooms or office space by the hour or by the day, so if a face-to-face meeting is necessary, the business has the ability to rent what they need and impress their client with an upscale office building.
The services that are offered by virtual offices include call forwarding, receptionist services, auto-attendant services, and voicemail services. Call forwarding allows an incoming call to be forwarded directly to the employee's phone or even to multiple employees' phones, without the client ever knowing the call has been forwarded outside of the office building. The live receptionist is provided with database software so that they are able to respond to any incoming call with specific information about the company in a professional manner. The receptionist will also schedule appointments, and occasionally handle small tasks such as data entry, bookkeeping, and maintenance. Auto-attendant services are recorded, client focused greetings. These automatic recordings are able to provide the client with information such as directions to the company, or with the ability to push the call through to an employee. Lastly, voicemail services are provided so that the employee does not have to worry about multiple voicemail boxes, all of the voicemails are stored in one location, at the virtual office. This makes it easier for the company to receive messages and they will not have to worry about missing a message due to a voicemail box being overlooked. These services are all designed to give the company the opportunity to run a highly efficient and effective business, even if they are small.
The virtual office also gives a small or starting business the ability to appear as a large company to potential clients. This professional appearance can entice clients to want to hire the business because their appearance makes them seem trustworthy and important. These offices also make it easier for a business to start a new location. The ability to start a location in a city where you are not actually located can make the transition easy for any business.
The low cost of a California virtual office allows small businesses to put a prestigious address on their business cards and provides them with an elegant office and professional receptionist. In addition to the basic services, the virtual office provides the company with software and the IT infrastructure of larger businesses, which can work to help the company prosper. Overall, a virtual office is an excellent option for any business looking to expand or to get a start in the professional world.
Peter Murphy is a successful entrepreneurial business writer who specializes in online marketing and business coaching. Peter has expertise in a variety of fields allowing him to share well informed observations and facts regarding a plethora of business sectors.