Monday, April 28, 2008

Catch Your Customers Attention

It seems customers these days often have blinders on. How can you capture their attention?

Put yourself in your customer's place. They're bombarded with information overload on the Internet and in the physical world. You want your company and products to stand out and be remembered, but you don't want to offend your potential buyer by screaming in the face.

Point of sale displays at the check out are one way to get the customer's attention and perhaps increase your sales total. These displays can vary from cards, posters, and handouts, to light boxes. Light boxes are bright and intrigue customers into paying attention to what's on them. You might be familiar with light boxes as a way to display photos but they can also be used to display advertising.

Another way to get your customer to stand up and take notice is through the careful use of A frames. An "A frame" sign is placed outside your business and coaxes interested people into your store with an offer they can't refuse. The signage is called A frame because it's two flat pieces connected with a bar. If you look at the sign from the side it looks like the letter capital A. Rotating different A frame signs throughout the month is a good idea as people get used to the same signs if they pass by quite often and become blind to them.

Use effective signage both outside and inside your business to increase sales.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ways to raise cash for your business.


You can franchise your business to raise capital. You are selling the rights to use your business, name, practices, and methods. You basically are selling a clone of your business and the method to reproduce your success. In exchange, you receive a cash payment up front which can range from a few thousand dollars to substantial amounts of money. You may receive an on-going percentage of the franchisee's revenues.

Every kind and type of business has been franchised. If you want to see a wide variety of examples, Entrepreneur Magazine has an annual issue devoted to the top 1000 franchises.

You can retain control of how the franchisee operates, how and what they advertise, and their product quality. You can even mandate what suppliers the franchisees must purchase from.

Franchisees get a proven method of doing business.

Franchising must be done with the advice of an attorney experienced in franchise law.


Licensing is less complicated than franchising. It is primarily selling the rights of either a product or a business name. Fashion designers often license their name to a company that has a product that doesn’t compete but would benefit by the association with the designer. The company sells more product, the designer receives a percentage of those sales. The major sports leagues generate billions of dollars annually from sales of licensed products with their logos.

You can also license an individual product. You can sell exclusive rights to a geographic area or industry or the rights can be nonexclusive. You can demand a minimum level of sales to maintain the licensing agreement. Your payment can be in a lump sum, a sum of money now and a percentage of sales throughout the time period of the agreement, or just a percentage of sales.

There are attorneys and agents who provide licensing arrangements with companies for your product. You can also contact companies directly yourself. Be leery of scams that focus on inventors and promise that they will market your product for you if you pay them a hefty
upfront fee.

Asset Sales

Selling off company assets, even a division of your company, is a tried and true method of raising capital. You might have equipment that's not being used, or a building and land that has a higher value to someone else than it does to you. You can sell off an entire product line that doesn’t fit well with your company's focus. You can sell intellectual property such as patents, formulas, customer lists, or trade secrets.


If you have a retail shop and need inventory, you can approach potential vendors or suppliers to consign their products to you. You sign an agreement that you will sell the items at the price the vendor specifies. You do not own the items. You don't pay the vendor until the customer buys the item. The offset is instead of the normal keystone or 100% markup (you buy the item for $5.00 wholesale and sell it for $10.00 retail) you only receive a commission of between 10% to 25%. But you don't have to use precious cash to get merchandise for your store.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Students: Use your credit cards wisely

It's a thrill to get your first credit card. In some ways it signals your entry into becoming a responsible adult, but use those credit cards wisely.

Credit isn't the same as cash. Just because you have an available credit balance doesn't mean you should go out and spend it. It's easy to run up a pretty significant bill. Buy a few text books, go out to lunch a couple times, maybe take a friend to a night club and then there's that new pair of shoes you've had your eye on. Before you know it you've spent several hundred dollars.

Don't think that if you can make the monthly minimum payment you're doing just fine. With the hefty interest charges you can end up paying double what those pair of shoes cost you. Try to pay off every month what you've charged on the card. The exception would be to divide the tuition and text books by the length of the semester and pay that amount off each month in addition to what you've charged for the month. For example if books and tuition are $1200 a semester and the semester lasts 4 months, pay $300 per month on top of what you've charged that month.

Use your credit cards wisely and you'll earn an A+ in financial management.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Forex and the Stock Market: What are some differences?

Volatility is much less with Forex.

An individual stock can increase or decrease in value tremendously during a one day period. The stock market itself can climb 100 points and then spiral downward in a two day period. Currencies change much more slowly. On a day by day basis, volatility of the major currencies is less than 1%. Profits are made on fractions of a percentage point in change in value.

Buy in pairs: sell one currency and buy another one in the same transaction

Forex trading is done by selling one currency to buy another currency in the same transaction at the same time. Stocks are sold one stock at a time. Each transaction is independent and has no effect on the other if more than one stock is bought and sold at the same time.

Buying on margin

Trading on the margin or leveraged trading, as it is also called, means that you are not required to deposit, or put up, the full value of the trade or position. When trading stocks you can usually only buy 50% of the value of the stock on margin. The remainder has to be deposited in your brokerage account. The brokerage house charges interest on the balance. Trading through a Forex trading platform on the margin means only a small percentage of the lot has to be deposited and there is no interest charged. In fact up to 200 times the value of your account can be leveraged. In either case the buying and selling on margin can substantially increase profits and losses.

There is no centralized exchange system for forex trading. It's all OTC, over the counter. The transactions between the seller and buyer is conducted by telephone or via an electronic network. There are websites that provide the required network and

Online FX Trading can take place through accounts set up through the networks. Trading is not centralized on an exchange, as with the stock and futures markets.

24 hours a day from Sunday through Friday

Stock markets open in the morning and close every evening. Not so with forex. The trading begins on Sunday 5:00 PM ET and continues until Friday 5:00PM ET. FX begins in Sydney as the business day starts then continues around the world as each market opens. Tokyo is first, then London, and New York. Forex traders don't have to wait for a market to 'open' to respond to currency fluctuations. They can react to changes caused by economic, political or social events in real time as they happen.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It's easy not realize how much you've spent on vacation. It's difficult to hold back your credit card spending during the holidays and birthdays. If you've bought a house you probably have a hefty mortgage payment. And of course your car payment is a big chunk of your budget. Perhaps you've faced a few unexpected emergencies or had major medical or dental treatment.

If your debt is more than you can handle you might consider a debt consolidation service. It's nothing to be embarrassed about if you decide to seek counseling. Taking that first step might be a challenge. You have to admit to yourself that you are over budget and tighten your belt. Some of the little luxuries that you think you deserve and probably very well do, are going to have to go.

The sacrifices you make now to trim down your debt will pay off in the long term with a better credit rating. And in the short term you'll have a more positive attitude because you know you're doing something about your situation.

Worrying about money and how you're going to make even the minimum payment on your outstanding balances can sap your energy. Don't wait until it's too late. No matter what you decide to do start with one small step.