Category Archives for Voices

Housewarming Gifts for Your Friends Moving to Their New Home

  • July 17, 2020

Housewarming Gifts for Your Friends

Moving into your very first home is a milestone for any young adult. Naturally, you'd want to help your friend celebrate, so coming empty-handed to your friend's housewarming party is not an option. But what do you get your friend who has just moved in?

Household essentials like mops and cleaning supplies might be predictable. You might have different tastes in furniture. Your friend might be too busy to take care of a plant. And buying things like shampoos with expiration dates may be a waste of money if they don't use them. So what are some of the best housewarming gifts that won't go to waste? Here are five of our picks.

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4 Organizational Tools to Put in Your Home Office

  • July 15, 2020

4 Organizational Tools to Put in Your Home Office

The key to an efficient and productive workday is to give yourself an organized office environment. This isn’t always easy, however, when you’re working from home. Even if you can manage distractions from kids, pets, or other factors, you still have to deal with making an office space out of a section of your home. Fortunately, there are a few tools and tricks that can help you organize any space to create a productive environment. There’s always room to improve your work-from-home game. Check out these organizational tools to put in your home office.

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Ways Small Businesses Can Survive COVID-19

  • April 23, 2020

Ways Small Businesses Can Survive COVID-19

Foot traffic has evaporated overnight under necessary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Small businesses watch in dismay as cash reserves to pay rent, pay utilities, and most importantly, take care of staff, dwindle. Small businesses that pivot nimbly and focus on the essentials have a shot at coming through the pandemic intact. Here are some ways small businesses can survive COVID-19.

Set a Good Example and Take Care of Employees

Staff will look to the business owner for reassurance. Business owners must take good care of themselves in order to take good care of staff. Loyal, skilled, and experienced staff will help businesses get through the crisis and rebuild when restrictions ease. Remain calm and demonstrate all the social distancing and good hygiene behaviors that public health experts recommend. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Disinfect surfaces several times a day.

Allow as many workers as possible to work from home. Communicate clearly that no one should come to work if they feel sick. Mark workspace floors with tape or decals that indicate appropriate distancing. Most of all, communicate clearly with staff about what you are doing to keep the business afloat and ensure they will have jobs and paychecks for as long as possible.

Communicate with Customers

Update your website and signage to explain what you are doing to ensure safety for employees and customers. Describe your sanitation practices and tell customers what you’re doing to try to keep going. Tell your patrons how they can help—by purchasing a gift card for future use, or by supporting community causes important to your business during the time you may not be able to contribute as much.

Apply for Available Loans and Grants and Ask Landlords and Vendors for Time

The relief package Congress has passed provides for low-interest loans for small businesses, and some of these turn into grants that need not be repaid if the business continues to pay employees. The US Chamber of Commerce has aggregated all of its advice about ways small businesses can survive COVID-19 on its website, including information about financial assistance.

The ripples from this crisis affect everyone. Lenders and vendors understand that small businesses are on the brink of disaster. Many will work with businesses to spread out payments or forgo fees for a month or two, maybe even longer.

Shift to Online Service

Do anything you can do online. If you don’t already have an online shop or service request form set up, now is the time to supercharge your efforts to update your web presence and your ability to do business online. This may require beefing up your network, adding capacity, or upgrading cabling to add devices or workstations. Restaurants and grocery stores have pivoted to provide delivery and curbside pick-up. Retailers can beef up their online ordering capacity and provide deals on shipping. Consumers will understand that all businesses are under stress, and if you might suffer shipping delays, just say so. Keep your customers informed, and they will stick with you through this crisis.

Finally, accept that this pandemic will permanently change how businesses operate. Patrons will never look at a doorknob or hear a cough as anything other than potential sources of contagion from now on. Businesses that adapt nimbly to contactless delivery, remote video consultation, and prolonged social distancing will be the businesses that thrive beyond the coronavirus crisis.

How to Start a Wedding Planning Business

  • March 12, 2020

How to Start a Wedding Planning Business

Starting a new business and building it from the ground up can seem like an impossible task. Even with no direct experience, you can successfully start a brand-new business. You’ll need patience, investments or other funding, and talent to start a wedding planning business. The best wedding planners are well-organized, pay attention to details, and keep their client’s best interests at heart. If you’ve got a passion for the industry and the determination to make it happen, check out this guide on how to start a wedding planning business.

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How to Hone Your Business Accounting, Budgeting, and Taxation for Small Business Success

  • February 11, 2020

Moving from working for someone else to being in charge of your own business is a huge adjustment. You don't have to know just about what you're selling or what you're providing as an owner or manager. You have to understand all of the other details that come with the commercial industry, particularly when it comes to accounting, budgeting, and taxation. Budgeting can be especially difficult if you're running a startup with little to no experience. 

So not only you have to start your business from a product sales perspective, but you also have to do your research on many other professional topics. It's a good idea to learn basic accounting. You need to understand the role of taxation in a business model. You have to put together a business budget to maintain financial fluidity. And, you have to accept that the business world can shift under your feet, and you may have to adapt to it.

Learning Basic Accounting

Before you do too much with your business model, it's important to learn basic accounting. There are plenty of places that you can find the fundamental methods of proper accounting techniques online. Alternatively, you can also buy books that will take you through all of the primary elements. Accounting is a peculiar kind of math, and not everyone can understand it naturally. Typically, the reason that companies have a separate accountant is that it takes a specialized skill to do an excellent job with this style of record keeping.

Understanding the Role of Taxation

When you run your own business, the taxation process is different. There are a few different ways that you can learn about how and why taxes work the way they do. For example, you can take an enrolled agent review course. Even if you're not a tax professional yourself, working your way through this material will give you a good summary of why taxation systems are set the way they are.

Putting Together a Business Budget

Creating a business budget may be one of the hardest things that you have to do as a new business owner. You thought working with a personal budget was hard? Now, there are a million other details that you have to work with, the smallest of which is not going to be the fact that if you have employees, you have to figure out a budget for paychecks, insurance, and a whole slew of new expenses.

Working With Changing Times

One of the things that you have to pay attention to in today's business world regarding financial accounting, business budgeting, and local and federal taxation is the fact that the rules are changing. Laws are coming and going, loopholes are appearing and then closing, and the way that money moves around is adjusting to modern cultural norms. Don't get too stuck in one way of doing business so that you can figure out how to adapt to these changing circumstances.

Jobs Where You Can Be Your Own Boss

  • January 29, 2020

Jobs Where You Can Be Your Own Boss

Self-employment doesn’t have to be an unrealistic or unattainable dream. With careful planning and preparation, you can make the leap to becoming your own boss. Take an honest inventory of your skills, experience, and especially your passions, and consider these jobs where you can be your own boss.

Personal Trainer

If you’re a fitness nut, why not share your enthusiasm with others, for a fee? Before you quit your 9 to 5, use your fitness time to earn certification as a yoga or Pilates instructor or a personal fitness trainer.

Caterer

Kitchens are your natural habitat, so put your culinary talent to work as a caterer. Check state and local licensing requirements for food services and start planning some sample menus.

Real Estate Investor

Sure, you could earn your real estate agent license, but did you ever consider investing in rental property and becoming a landlord? Real estate investing is a full-time and potentially lucrative career, if you put the effort into growing your real estate business.

Blogger

You’re reading proof right now that bloggers can make money, by offering knowledge, selling products, using affiliate links, and running ads. Never underestimate the power of the written word when coupled with some fascinating topics.

Tutor

From English as a second language to test preparation to help with math, tutors make money by helping students with subjects that challenge them. Adults need tutors too, from learning languages to using computer programs and apps. If you have specialized skills and experience, charge by the hour for it.

Social Media Manager

Small business owners are up to their eyebrows running their businesses. They know they need a social media presence but don’t have time to run it. If you know your way around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn then make yourself useful and make some money. Bonus points if you have the videography skills for YouTube.

Freelance Writer

Writers actually do make money—if they put the work into marketing themselves. Technical writers who turn engineering or coder lingo into plain English make the most, but everyone needs content. If you can provide writing, writing can provide for you.

Event Planner

When your guests depart, they’re buzzing about what a great party host you are. Help others arrange events for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, corporate meetings, and even conventions. Earn a Certified Meeting Professional credential and you’ll have a step up.

Starting any new venture and turning it into a job where you can be your own boss takes planning, saving, budgeting, marketing, guts, passion, and time. Decide what you’d love to do and figure out how to get from dreaming to doing.

9 Fun Hobbies That Can Make You Money

  • January 28, 2020

9 Fun Hobbies That Can Make You Money

Everyone seems to have a side gig these days, and you should too because it’s one of the best ways to increase your income. One of the best parts about these fun hobbies that can make you money is that you get to make your own schedule for most of these!

Creative Hobbies

If you need to flex your creative muscle, then consider one of these hobbies.

  1. Photography is one of the most profitable hobbies if you’re good at it. If you want to get started or sharpen your photography skills, it’s best to specialize in one or two popular types of photography.
  2. If you’re a crafty person, consider starting an Etsy shop with your creations. Just make sure you have a unique idea that won’t blend in with the rest.
  3. Anyone who has a passion for playing music dreams of being a rock star that sells out Madison Square Garden, but unfortunately, reality says differently. Playing shows on the weekend can make you some money on the side, but don’t expect anything major.

Educational Hobbies

Maybe you’re an incredible teacher; plenty of hobbies can make you some side money.

  1. Again, if you’re a musician, a better way to make money is by teaching. There’s always a big demand for piano teachers because it’s so popular.
  2. If you have a mind for math, you should be a tutor because they’re always needed for students of all ages. They also make good money, and the more challenging the math, the more you can charge, so reward yourself for that noggin you have.
  3. If you’re in good shape and love to workout, consider becoming a personal trainer. There’s a demand for fitness instructors all the time for different experience levels, and sometimes people just need a little guidance to reach their goals.

General Hobbies

If you’re not interested in a creative or educational hobby, one of these hobbies should apply to you.

  1. If sports are your thing, you could be a local coach, umpire, or referee for recreational leagues. These positions tend to have flexibility in scheduling since it’s for a recreational league. They allow you to be near the game you enjoy and get paid!
  2. There’s nothing better than pets unless you’re allergic, then ignore this suggestion. But you can make some great money by pet sitting for people that have to go to work or out of town. Not to mention you get paid to play with animals.
  3. If you have a green thumb, then you could start your own garden and sell your crops. If you have space, you could welcome people to your property to sell, or you can get a booth at your local farmers’ market.

Whatever your skills and interests may be, there’s a hobby out there for you! Plus, making money from something you love is great. You can monetize tons of hobbies, so if we skipped something here, that doesn’t mean you can’t make money from it.

How to Maximize Revenue in Your Retail Store

  • January 27, 2020

How to Maximize Revenue in Your Retail Store

Owning a retail outlet is one way to quit your day job for something your passionate about. This could be for clothes, shoes, toys, books, games, or other goods. Still, sometimes business stalls. For those experiencing this, you should know how to maximize revenue in your retail store to increase your sales and net profits.

Establish Sales Targets

Your sales target is your goal for the units sold over a given time. Keep in mind that this is different for everyone, and it depends on your store. Naturally, some stores will have a higher sales target than others, but keep yours appropriate to your market. The best way to do that is to have a reasonable expectation of the sales your store will see and the sales target you want to see. Compare these and adjust accordingly. From there, research your target audience and discover the best ways to attract them to your store.

Diversify Your Products

Another tip to keep in mind is that you should offer a diverse range of products centered on a theme. For example, if you operate a women’s clothing boutique, you should offer tops, bottoms, accessories, and possibly shoes or perfumes. All these products resemble the target audience—in this case, adult women—with items to upsell. Ultimately, offering more products related to your original market plan will greatly increase your revenue.

Use the Best Technology

Unsurprisingly, all retail stores must implement the best technology for success. The most important piece of technology for your retail store is your point-of-sale (POS) system. You should update your POS system if yours is slow and outdated. POS systems make transactions fast and efficient. Additionally, they offer better functionality than older models, with features such as tracking inventory and accounting.

Advertise

It goes without saying, but you need to advertise your business to attract more customers. This can occur in different ways. The primary advertising techniques for small businesses today are social media and email. This is because most customers spend their time online. Therefore, these marketing platforms are optimal, since you can target customers directly. For example, social media platforms allow you to post messages about your operating hours, sales, discounts, or other important information for your customers to see.

Be Personable

Always be personable in and outside your store. While you should always act kindly toward customers, take this time to engage with them. Find out more about them, talk to them, and connect with them. All these factors will build a strong customer-business relationship which is essential to retaining customer loyalty. This will also increase your word-of-mouth status, which will increase your foot traffic. Another way to increase your reputation is through your community presence. Build this through charitable donations or sponsorships to local sports teams or youth organizations. These will increase your brand recognition, sales, and revenue.

Reasons that a Business Should Have a Target Audience

  • January 21, 2020

Reasons that a Business Should Have a Target Audience

The more we understand effective marketing advances, the more we begin to realize the importance of catering to a specific audience. Targeting your ideal customer is a practice that can be traced back to newspapers and the radio, but the extent to which we can accomplish this continuously refines as technology progresses. Failure to locate the appropriate audience can slow down your progress. Today we can narrow down our targeted audience in several ways, which can include the following:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Income
  • General interests

Once you discover why you need this audience, you can begin to actually find them. Before you actually get to this step, however, read our outline on a few different reasons why you should have a target market in advertising.

It Helps Better Utilize Your Budget

If you throw your ads into the world without any idea who will see them, you effectively waste a large amount of money. The budget you set determines just how many people will see your ad, and you want it to appear in front of individuals that will actually convert. Tools such as Facebook Pixel can help you build your ideal customer so that Facebook’s algorithm will make sure the right people see your ad.

You Can Use the Appropriate Language

Knowing who you will talk to helps you decide how to speak. Instead of a generic, one-size-fits-all tone, you can communicate to your audience in a way that appeals to them. Using the tone that best fits your brand will more likely align with what your potential customers will want to see, but the ability to truly relate to them helps them feel connected to your brand.

You Can Choose the Appropriate Marketing Channel

You have various marketing channels at your disposal. Many of the most popular ones are online, though other mediums can prove just as successful, and which one you chose depends on who will likely buy your product. You could communicate through social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram, SEO, email marketing, or even print magazines. It’s important that you carefully consider your ideal customer before choosing your marketing channel(s).

You Challenge Competitors

If you researched your competitors and found that they perform well, there’s a chance that they landed on an audience and know how to cater to them accordingly. When you methodically select your audience and know how to speak to them, you can begin to push more against your competitors.

It Creates Conversions

The ultimate goal of a business is to create valuable conversions. When you have a marketing strategy that shows your ads to anyone and everyone, you may get a lot of clicks, but you won’t get actual conversions. Narrowing down your audience means that the clicks to buy ratio may dramatically increase, which increases your profits.

6 Tips for Becoming A Successful Realtor

  • January 15, 2020

6 Tips for Becoming A Successful Realtor

There are plenty of ways to bring in more money for yourself and your family. If you’re in search of a side gig, real estate can be a lucrative opportunity. If you’re interested, here are some tips for becoming a successful realtor.

Stay on Top of Trends

In any industry, there are constant changes, and you must stay well-informed. Being informed with the latest trends allows you to adapt in the real estate industry so you can continue to survive and find success. For instance, some real estate trends to look out for in 2020 include concierge services and non-traditional living situations.

Promote Yourself

Part of evolving in the real estate industry is finding new ways to promote yourself. Social media has changed this aspect in a big way, so make sure you have a quality online presence on various social media platforms. Besides social media, consider hiring a publicist, reach out to local papers, and networking with other realtors.

Practice Fast Communication

Real estate is a very competitive industry, and it comes with a lot of skills that you need to constantly improve. One of these skills is being available. A missed call from a client can be a missed sale. This is why you need to make it a habit to get back to people as soon as possible, whether it’s via social media, text, email, or a phone call. Never have your phone silent, and if you see a missed message, get back to them immediately.

Find Guidance

Another tip for becoming a successful realtor is to find yourself a Yoda. There’s plenty to learn, and having a mentor can set you up for success. To find a mentor, got to local events, reach out to established real estate agents on social media, hire a coach, or go to training sessions. You want to ensure you get plenty of education and the proper licenses before you jump into the real estate profession.

Host Open Houses

A huge aspect of real estate is hosting open houses. This is when people who are interested in a home you’re selling can tour it. To gain experience, host as many open houses as possible to get used to different buyers and clients.

Establish a Budget

When you enter a new profession, you should also be financially conscious. Create a budget so you can take care of the various real estate expenses you’ll have. Find out how much money you must put aside each month so you can remain afloat and benefit from the extra income.

Becoming a real estate agent on the side can be incredibly beneficial for you and your family. However, it’s important to come into the industry with some knowledge beforehand—heed these tips to really start off on the right foot.

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