Tag: Should

7-Eleven, Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on – corporate ethics #sample

#business ethics articles

#

7-Eleven. Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on ‘corporate ethics’

Professor of Management and Organization Studies, Macquarie University

Disclosure statement

Carl Rhodes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

The Conversation’s partners

The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

Republish this article

We believe in the free flow of information. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.

Chairman and major shareholder of 7-Eleven Russ Withers sits in a Senate Committee hearing in Melbourne. Julian Smith/AAP

There is perhaps no phrase more hackneyed in the corporate world than: “good ethics is good business”. Against the image of the ruthless business baron who will stop at nothing in the pursuit of wealth and power, the slogan tells us there is no friction between being good and being successful.

As luck should have it (for corporations that is) it is argued organisations can stand up and be righteous about their do-gooding, and this will actually lead to the achievement of self-interested business results. The cake can be had and eaten.

But does this ethical catch phrase really hold sway in the corporate world? Events this September suggest not.

The month of the corporate scandal

September 2015 was mired in corporate scandal. German car manufacturer Volkswagen was raked over the coals for installing software in its cars that ensured it falsely passed emission tests. Eleven million cars were involved over a period of seven years. VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned over the affair and now faces possible criminal charges .

American corporation Turing Pharmaceuticals was publicly vilified for its predatory pricing when it raised the price of the drug Daraprim by 4000%. This is a drug used to treat infections associated with HIV and AIDS. Turing’s CEO Martin Shkreli was described by the Washington Post as “the most hated man in America”.

In Australia trouble arrived at convenience store chain 7-Eleven when the ABC’s documentary series Four Corners revealed its use of exploitative and illegal work practices to reduce its labour costs. Employees were being paid less than half the legal minimum wage. Young and foreign workers were especially targeted. The scandal saw the resignations of 7-Eleven’s chairman Russ Withers, and its CEO Warren Wilmot.

Bad ethics is good business

Each of these scandals has been scrutinised in terms of business ethics. We are not talking here about contentious and nuanced debates about the nature of morality. In these cases the ethical issues relate to cheating, lying, deception, law breaking, exploitation, and merciless profiteering. As far as any common understanding of ethics is concerned these things are on the far side of the thick and grey line that separates right from wrong.

What do these cases have in common? Each one suggests there was an ethos in place in these corporations that held that “bad ethics is good business”. Seven years of highly orchestrated cheating at VW meant increased sales. In 2009 VW became the world’s biggest car manufacturer .

Institutionalised wage fraud and labour exploitation at 7-Eleven kept store costs down, increasing profits both for franchisees and (especially) for the parent company. 7-Eleven has twice been names Australia’s “franchisor of the year”. Price gouging at Turing meant a drug listed on The World Health Organization’s essential medicines list could bolster the company’s profits by exploiting the sick and vulnerable.

Just don’t get caught

The “bad ethics is good business” approach was going well for these businesses until they got caught. These three cases have triggered debates still raging in all sectors of society. Heads have rolled and bottom lines are jeopardised.

Does this really confirm that “bad ethics is bad business”? Of course not. There is no doubt many other corporations are profiting handsomely from deceit, lies, fraud and exploitation. The scandals of September 2015 show that “bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught”.

It’s not just about not getting caught. It is also about the political, legal, social and economic implications of being found out. In the cases of VW, 7-Eleven and Turing there has been a massive public and media outcry about their reprehensible and selfish behaviour.

Bringing these corporations to justice was not the work of one heroic individual, nor the result of government action. It was a collective effort that involved NGOs, scientists, academics, politicians, the media and the general public. This was a victory of civil society and democratic dissent.

So, we can reformulate our proposal: “Bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught … and as long as you aren’t the subject of a public outcry”.

Democratic business ethics

When corporations speak of business ethics their idea is that they can keep it all in house. The ethics of business is largely seen as a matter of corporate self-regulation so that pesky outsiders won’t stick their noses into corporate affairs. The September scandals suggest an entirely different ethics.

If we want ethics in business, what we need is more corporations being caught and more public outcry. For business ethics to be effective they must be pushed onto corporations against their will. Business ethics is democratic, not corporate.

What we can learn from the business events of September is that ethics cannot be left to corporations themselves. Business ethics requires a vigilant democracy where the public and its institutions will hold corporations to account for their actions.

Business ethics, to borrow a phrase, is about keeping the bastards honest.





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Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Get Online Car Insurance Quotes #what #car #insurance #should #i

#

Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Get Online Auto Insurance Quotes

The Internet has made getting auto insurance quotes a lot easier. Rate-comparison websites let you see quotes from dozens of companies within minutes, or, with a bit more time, you can get rates directly from insurer websites.

But just because it’s easy to get an online auto insurance quote doesn’t mean you should skip an appointment with an agent. Online quotes have their place, but some shoppers may be better off working face to face with an insurance agent.

Have few assets? Online quoting is OK

The less complicated your insurance needs, the more likely it is that online quoting will be sufficient.

Who has less complicated insurance needs? “The single, young … or mortgageless,” says Chris Michaut of Jeff Williamson Insurance in Lebanon, Ohio.

If the most expensive thing you own is your vehicle, getting quotes and buying online will get you a reasonable policy, Michaut adds.

Buying online also is well suited to very price-sensitive insurance shoppers. “We have certain people call in … that are literally only looking for state minimum coverage. They are perfect candidates for online shopping,” says Scott Grimm of PPI West Insurance Services in Newport Beach, California.

Own a home? Talk to an agent

However, as you accumulate more assets, you may want to buy through an agent, says Scott Johnson of Marindependent Insurance Services in Mill Valley, California.

Buying your first home is a good time to consider using an insurance agent, and as you build up assets, an agent’s services become more crucial. “Ever try running a quote online with six autos, two of which are used for business, one primary home, one vacation home and a $4 million umbrella [policy]?” Johnson asks.

A quote that combines homeowners insurance, car insurance and umbrella coverage can be tough to manage correctly without an agent’s help. “As your net worth grows, the reasons multiply for you to be sued,” Johnson says.

“Once you have equity, savings, stocks, bonds and money in checking, an accident can wipe it all out! That’s when an agent can be of the most use to assess your need,” Michaut says.

Don’t have many assets? There are still reasons you might want to buy through an agent. Maybe you’re a little fuzzy on insurance terms, or maybe your situation is complex. If you have multiple tickets or claims, or use your vehicle for work, an agent can help you choose the best car insurance. Johnson says.

Shop smart when buying insurance online

Rate-comparison sites and and direct-to-consumer insurers, like Geico, can still be useful, even for homeowners. “It’s a great idea for everyone to shop around to make sure they’re getting a good deal,” Grimm says.

But it’s important to keep that information in perspective. You can buy the right coverage online, Michaut says, but the key is knowing how much you need — and an agent can help with that.

If you decide to get car insurance quotes online, know that saving on car insurance isn’t always the most important goal. Buying sufficient coverage — which often means buying more than the state minimums — is important. Michaut recommends liability limits of at least “50/100/50” — that is, a policy that covers $50,000 worth of bodily injury per person in one accident, a total of $100,000 worth of bodily injury per accident, and $50,000 worth of property damage liability.

And know that the cheapest quote may be misleading. “People should have their existing coverages in front of them to compare every line item,” Grimm says. If your new quote is based on a much higher deductible or lower coverage amounts, you might be fooled into thinking it’s a better deal.

“Don’t believe lowball numbers until [they’re] written in a bindable quote,” Johnson suggests. Shoppers can also help themselves by asking about additional fees and charges — for example, whether it costs more to pay premiums monthly rather than annually or semiannually. And “don’t use your car until you receive documents that say you are … covered,” he adds.

Image via iStock.

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7 Local Business Listing Sites You Should Claim Now #easy #business #ideas

#local business listing

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7 Local Business Listing Sites You Should Claim Now

Finding time to update or create your online business listings can sometimes be a challenge. But, once you claim your listing, you can control what information and images are shown on these sites about your business, which is certainly worth the effort.

In most cases, you may already have a listing, so it s just a matter of claiming the page for your business. What s the difference between updating and claiming? Updating means you ve created an account and just need to add new information to the page. Claiming means that a page for your business exists, but you may not have created or set it up. In this case, you ll need to prove it s your business before you can change any information.

There are several sites your business could be listed on, so how do you choose the best? Easy! Here are our top 7 business listing sites you should claim and/or update:

1. Google My Business Google My Business says it connects you directly with customers, whether they re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Click the “Get on Google” anywhere on the page, sign in to your Google account, and follow the steps to add your business information to Google.

2. Facebook for Business According to Facebook. it can help you reach all the people who matter most to your business.

How to claim or edit your business listing: If you need to claim your Business Page click here and if you need sign up for a business page click here .

3. Yelp for Business According to Yelp. Millions of people visit Yelp every month to find great local businesses. Help them find your business free!

How to claim or edit your business listing: Click here to search for your business. If it exists, you ll see two options: A Claim button or an Already Claimed link. Click the option you see and either log in, or set up an account to edit it.

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4. Yellow Pages According to YellowPages. they will not only get you online, but can also help you get found, drive leads and expand your reach.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Click here to update your business details and then click Get your listing fee.

5. Yahoo Local According to Yahoo. they are a comprehensive business directory complete with ratings and reviews, maps, events, and more.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Scroll down this page to Try Local Basic Listing for free and click, Sign Up. Then, update your business contact information including address, phone number, and URL. You don t need to pay for this service.

6. Bing Places for Business According to Bing , Places for Business is a Bing portal that enables business owners add a listing for their business on Bing.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Chances are, Bing already has listings for your business. Click here to claim it.

7. Foursquare for Business According to Foursquare. Over 50 million people use Foursquare to discover great businesses and share what they love about them with others. Join the nearly 2 million businesses who are already taking advantage of Foursquare to join the conversation and grow their business.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Start by searching for your business, then select your listing. If you don t see your business just click the link at the bottom of the page to add it. Click here to manage your listing.

Vital information you should include on every listing:
Be prepared to fill out the following information, and keep it consistent on each site. Consistency helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts.

  • Business Name
  • Address (City, State, Zip)
  • Main Phone Number
  • Website
  • Business Hours
  • Description A description of your business, minimum 250 characters.
  • Business Categories
  • Logo and pictures

Keep a document of each listing so you can duplicate it exactly. Check on your listings and update your information (if applicable) every six months. Also, keep images of your business current and compelling to draw in prospects and customers.

*Bonus Tip* If you re a brick-and-mortar business, encourage people to check-in and write a review by displaying a sign in your business window that states the sites in which you re listed.

Have any sites to add to our list? We ve got more here in the Top 20 Places Your Business Needs to Be Listed Online .

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Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know #business #plan #outline

#how do business loans work

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Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know

Small Businesses are increasing their payrolls, but hours worked and wages earned are down slightly. Photo: Reuters

For small business startups, knowing how loans work and getting them are absolutely crucial.

Many entrepreneurs, however, wait until the last minute to think about loans and prefer to dwell on grandiose plans, never mind that they often need loans to fund those plans.

Asking for loans is “unpleasant; it’s like asking your dad for the car keys,” said Charles H. Green, Executive Director at the Small Business Finance Institute and author of The SBA Loan Book .

Small businesses should start this “unpleasant” process early, however, partly because it could prove to be long and difficult.

One entrepreneur Green encountered secured his loan at the 60th bank he approached.

While this might be an extreme example, small business owners often need to try at more than one bank to get a small business loan.

During the process of dealing with a bank, moreover, they may be asked to provide additional documents they previously did not anticipate needing.

Green stressed that small business owners need to be patient in this entire process.

Banks Want Their Money Back

In making any small business loans, the goal of the bank is to get its money back. Even if the loan is made through the Small Business Administration (SBA), it is still a bank that ultimately risks its capital.

Banks usually get their money back from the borrower’s revenues. If that is not possible, banks can also get their money back from selling assets pledged as collateral or from the small business owners personally.

Therefore, besides documents relating to the business projections, banks may often request documents relating to the personal finances of the small business owner and whatever assets that can be pledged as collateral.

Backing up Projection Numbers

Regarding business projection numbers – that is, assessing the probability of repayment from borrower revenues – it is all about justifying those numbers, preferably with facts, said Green. For existing businesses, that may mean financial statements.

Some of the hard questions a lender may ask include:

*How many customers do you need?

*How do you find them?

*Who are satisfying these customers already?

*Why would they feel compelled to buy from you?

*What is your capacity to deliver those products?

*What is the cost to deliver those products?

Learning from Mistakes

Sometimes, the best efforts of small businesses to secure a loan are not good enough.

When rejections happen, Green recommended turning them into learning lessons. Often times, if the small business owner manages to remain calm and polite, he can get candid responses as to why he was rejected.

These explanations often turn into keys to successfully securing a loan from another bank in the future.

Choosing the Right Banks

Other times, though, a rejection from a bank has nothing to do with the borrower at all. That is, a lender may not have any money to lend.

Therefore, Green recommended that small businesses avoid banks under consent agreement with or issued a cease and desist order by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Generally speaking, smaller banks have more flexibility in their lending standards while bigger banks usually offer cheaper rates, added Green.





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7-Eleven, Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on – corporate ethics #best

#business ethics articles

#

7-Eleven. Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on ‘corporate ethics’

Professor of Management and Organization Studies, Macquarie University

Disclosure statement

Carl Rhodes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

The Conversation’s partners

The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

Republish this article

We believe in the free flow of information. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.

Chairman and major shareholder of 7-Eleven Russ Withers sits in a Senate Committee hearing in Melbourne. Julian Smith/AAP

There is perhaps no phrase more hackneyed in the corporate world than: “good ethics is good business”. Against the image of the ruthless business baron who will stop at nothing in the pursuit of wealth and power, the slogan tells us there is no friction between being good and being successful.

As luck should have it (for corporations that is) it is argued organisations can stand up and be righteous about their do-gooding, and this will actually lead to the achievement of self-interested business results. The cake can be had and eaten.

But does this ethical catch phrase really hold sway in the corporate world? Events this September suggest not.

The month of the corporate scandal

September 2015 was mired in corporate scandal. German car manufacturer Volkswagen was raked over the coals for installing software in its cars that ensured it falsely passed emission tests. Eleven million cars were involved over a period of seven years. VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned over the affair and now faces possible criminal charges .

American corporation Turing Pharmaceuticals was publicly vilified for its predatory pricing when it raised the price of the drug Daraprim by 4000%. This is a drug used to treat infections associated with HIV and AIDS. Turing’s CEO Martin Shkreli was described by the Washington Post as “the most hated man in America”.

In Australia trouble arrived at convenience store chain 7-Eleven when the ABC’s documentary series Four Corners revealed its use of exploitative and illegal work practices to reduce its labour costs. Employees were being paid less than half the legal minimum wage. Young and foreign workers were especially targeted. The scandal saw the resignations of 7-Eleven’s chairman Russ Withers, and its CEO Warren Wilmot.

Bad ethics is good business

Each of these scandals has been scrutinised in terms of business ethics. We are not talking here about contentious and nuanced debates about the nature of morality. In these cases the ethical issues relate to cheating, lying, deception, law breaking, exploitation, and merciless profiteering. As far as any common understanding of ethics is concerned these things are on the far side of the thick and grey line that separates right from wrong.

What do these cases have in common? Each one suggests there was an ethos in place in these corporations that held that “bad ethics is good business”. Seven years of highly orchestrated cheating at VW meant increased sales. In 2009 VW became the world’s biggest car manufacturer .

Institutionalised wage fraud and labour exploitation at 7-Eleven kept store costs down, increasing profits both for franchisees and (especially) for the parent company. 7-Eleven has twice been names Australia’s “franchisor of the year”. Price gouging at Turing meant a drug listed on The World Health Organization’s essential medicines list could bolster the company’s profits by exploiting the sick and vulnerable.

Just don’t get caught

The “bad ethics is good business” approach was going well for these businesses until they got caught. These three cases have triggered debates still raging in all sectors of society. Heads have rolled and bottom lines are jeopardised.

Does this really confirm that “bad ethics is bad business”? Of course not. There is no doubt many other corporations are profiting handsomely from deceit, lies, fraud and exploitation. The scandals of September 2015 show that “bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught”.

It’s not just about not getting caught. It is also about the political, legal, social and economic implications of being found out. In the cases of VW, 7-Eleven and Turing there has been a massive public and media outcry about their reprehensible and selfish behaviour.

Bringing these corporations to justice was not the work of one heroic individual, nor the result of government action. It was a collective effort that involved NGOs, scientists, academics, politicians, the media and the general public. This was a victory of civil society and democratic dissent.

So, we can reformulate our proposal: “Bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught … and as long as you aren’t the subject of a public outcry”.

Democratic business ethics

When corporations speak of business ethics their idea is that they can keep it all in house. The ethics of business is largely seen as a matter of corporate self-regulation so that pesky outsiders won’t stick their noses into corporate affairs. The September scandals suggest an entirely different ethics.

If we want ethics in business, what we need is more corporations being caught and more public outcry. For business ethics to be effective they must be pushed onto corporations against their will. Business ethics is democratic, not corporate.

What we can learn from the business events of September is that ethics cannot be left to corporations themselves. Business ethics requires a vigilant democracy where the public and its institutions will hold corporations to account for their actions.

Business ethics, to borrow a phrase, is about keeping the bastards honest.





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15 Free Online Learning Sites Every Entrepreneur Should Visit #business #plan #writers

#online business classes

#

15 Free Online Learning Sites Every Entrepreneur Should Visit

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of ContentMarketer.io

November 3, 2014

Being a successful entrepreneur means you have to wear a lot of hats, especially when your company is just starting out and you don t have enough employees to cover all the areas you need.

Learning the new skills necessary to start a new business can be expensive, but fortunately the initiative for free, high-quality, educational resources online has only continued to grow in the past few years. Below are some of the resources available to learn more about marketing, entrepreneurship, business management and more.

1. CodeAcademy

This great resource offers free interactive programming sessions to help you learn programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP. You can save your progress as you go with a free account. Learning to code can help entrepreneurs fix bugs if they don t have a developer, or even go down the road of building their own website or products (such as apps).

2. HubSpot Academy

The free certification program offers courses on inbound marketing, including website optimization, landing pages and lead nurturing. These skills are a must for business owners as they try to grow their business and online presence.

3. Moz

If you want to learn search-engine optimization to make sure your website is as visible as possible, check out this treasure trove of resources from SEO leader, Moz. Besides having the free Moz Academy, there are also webinars (live and recorded), and beginner s guides to SEO, social media and link building.

4. LearnVest

The most successful entrepreneurs know how to manage their money both on a business and personal side. In addition to having extremely affordable finance classes, LearnVest also offers some of its classes for free, such as Building Better Money Habits and How to Budget.

5. Niche consultant courses

The Internet has made for a coaching boom, which is extremely helpful to entrepreneurs who want to learn how to start or better a business in a specific niche. Some great coaches and organizations that routinely have free courses and ebooks on building a business include Natalie MacNeil and MyOwnBusiness. Try searching niche keyword + business course to find one most applicable to you.

6. edX

This free site currently has over 300 courses on a variety of topics, including Financial Analysis and Decision Making and Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer? These courses not only cover business in general, but can also you help learn more skills that are applicable to your industry, such as big data or environmental conservation.

7. Khan Academy

This free learning resource was created to give everyone access to education in math, science, art, technology and more. There are over 100,000 interactive exercises to put your education to practical use. Even though many of the courses are geared toward high school students, there are several courses that would be good for anyone to have a refresher on, such as taxes and accounting.

8. MIT Open Courseware

These are actual courses taught at MIT and offered for free on the site for viewing and reading at your discretion. The school put together an entrepreneurship page that lists available courses that are beneficial to new business owners. Courses include Early State Capital and The Software Business.

9. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

This university has almost 100 free on-demand college courses that are extremely applicable to entrepreneurs, including ones that cover business planning, operations and management and small-business tax.

10. Coursera

Much like MIT s Open Courseware, this site has 114 educational partners that provide free courses to almost 10 million users. One benefit to Coursera is that there are very specific courses that fit perfectly into particular niches, such as Data Management for Clinical Research from Vanderbilt University and Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace from the University of Maryland. Its wide network of partners allows for a greater selection.

11. OpenCulture

This site isn t an educational platform on its own, but rather collects and shares free resources from around the web. Its list of 150 free online business courses is a great resource because it offers classes from iTunes U and other lessons on video and audio. The site also has lists of free audiobooks, certificate courses and other online courses.

12. YouTube

It s probably unsurprising to most users that YouTube is one of the world s largest search engines, as there are literally videos on just about anything you can imagine. From TED talks to recorded presentations on building a business, it s a great free resource on just about any topic.

13. Alison

This platform offers free online courses from some of the most well-known names on the internet today, including Google, Microsoft, and Macmillan. With over 4 million users and over 600 courses already, it covers topics such as economic literacy, personal development and business/enterprise skills.

14. Saylor

The Saylor Foundation offers tuition-free courses and also works with accredited colleges and universities to offer affordable credentials. Its course offerings are similar to what you d see when working toward a bachelor s degree.

15. Podcasts

Even though it s not an official course, podcasts are an amazing (and easily digestible) way to become a better entrepreneur. Podcasts can be listened to via streaming on your computer (if that certain podcast offers it) or via iTunes for iOS and apps such as Podcast Republic for Android. Podcasts such as Entrepreneur of Fire already garner thousands of listeners every episode and are a great way to learn the most up-to-date information and strategies possible. Another good list of entrepreneur podcasts include Think Entrepreneurship s .

Whether you learn best by audio, video or text, this list of 15 learning resources for entrepreneurs can help you learn more about building a business, accounting and getting customers.

Do you have a favorite resource not listed here? Let us know in the comments section below.





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Business – What Should I Use as My Business Address? #business #consultants

#business address

#

What Should I Use as My Business Address?

Q: I m in the process of creating a business plan for a homebased business that I would like to start. I will be selling products like T-shirts and novelty items. But I have come to a point in the business plan that has me stumped. The problem is, I live in an apartment. What if a customer wishes to return an item that they purchased from me? How unprofessional would it be to have a return address listing an apartment?

A: You re right–creating a professional image from the get-go is important, and it can be particularly challenging for homebased entrepreneurs. Nowadays, people are much more accepting of the idea of operating a business from home, but it s taken some time for everyone to get past the stereotypical image of the homebased entrepreneur waltzing around the house in bunny slippers and making frequent visits to the refrigerator. Still, it pays to give yourself every advantage in starting a business, so it pays to look as professional as possible.

Deciding whether to use your home address for business purposes is a matter of what that address is. Something like 1114 Grove Ave. sounds perfectly fine, but, as you indicate, something like 1114 Grove Ave. Apt. 4, probably doesn t. Luckily, there are solutions. Since you ll evidently be doing some heavy shipping and perhaps dealing with returns, consider using a mail-receiving service, such as Mail Boxes Etc. These services provide you with a street address and a suite number rather than a post office box number (which some people perceive as questionable in itself). They ll also generally just save you a lot of headaches, handling everything from packing and shipping to package tracking. Shop around in your area for a service that s conveniently located to your house and reasonably priced.

You should also think about how you re going to handle mail on a daily basis. Set up a system, and stick to it. Otherwise, before long you ll find yourself buried in paperwork, with a long list of angry customers to deal with. Designate an area in your home office just for mail-related tasks, whether it s incoming or outgoing mail. In your case, it might be best to set up a large table where you can sort and process mail and prepare items for shipping. Don t just use your desk–with all the other business-related paperwork that goes along with running a home office, you don t want to mix and mingle. And pick a time when you ll be able to deal with mail every day–whenever it s most convenient and won t interfere with any other pressing activities.

When sorting through incoming mail, try to handle each piece of mail only once rather than looking at it and setting it aside to deal with later. Separate things into piles based on their priority–for example, items to be filed, items that need immediate action and items to be trashed. Then take care of each pile–and move on to something else.

In addition, consider setting up an e-mail account where customers can send you their inquiries electronically. This will cut down on excess mail and phone calls. Just remember to be diligent about checking your e-mail and responding to inquiries in a timely manner.

In time, you ll have your system down to a science and you ll be able to do it in your sleep. And that can only mean satisfied customers who will provide you with repeat business.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.





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7 Local Business Listing Sites You Should Claim Now #business #game

#local business listing

#

7 Local Business Listing Sites You Should Claim Now

Finding time to update or create your online business listings can sometimes be a challenge. But, once you claim your listing, you can control what information and images are shown on these sites about your business, which is certainly worth the effort.

In most cases, you may already have a listing, so it s just a matter of claiming the page for your business. What s the difference between updating and claiming? Updating means you ve created an account and just need to add new information to the page. Claiming means that a page for your business exists, but you may not have created or set it up. In this case, you ll need to prove it s your business before you can change any information.

There are several sites your business could be listed on, so how do you choose the best? Easy! Here are our top 7 business listing sites you should claim and/or update:

1. Google My Business Google My Business says it connects you directly with customers, whether they re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Click the “Get on Google” anywhere on the page, sign in to your Google account, and follow the steps to add your business information to Google.

2. Facebook for Business According to Facebook. it can help you reach all the people who matter most to your business.

How to claim or edit your business listing: If you need to claim your Business Page click here and if you need sign up for a business page click here .

3. Yelp for Business According to Yelp. Millions of people visit Yelp every month to find great local businesses. Help them find your business free!

How to claim or edit your business listing: Click here to search for your business. If it exists, you ll see two options: A Claim button or an Already Claimed link. Click the option you see and either log in, or set up an account to edit it.

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4. Yellow Pages According to YellowPages. they will not only get you online, but can also help you get found, drive leads and expand your reach.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Click here to update your business details and then click Get your listing fee.

5. Yahoo Local According to Yahoo. they are a comprehensive business directory complete with ratings and reviews, maps, events, and more.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Scroll down this page to Try Local Basic Listing for free and click, Sign Up. Then, update your business contact information including address, phone number, and URL. You don t need to pay for this service.

6. Bing Places for Business According to Bing , Places for Business is a Bing portal that enables business owners add a listing for their business on Bing.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Chances are, Bing already has listings for your business. Click here to claim it.

7. Foursquare for Business According to Foursquare. Over 50 million people use Foursquare to discover great businesses and share what they love about them with others. Join the nearly 2 million businesses who are already taking advantage of Foursquare to join the conversation and grow their business.

How to claim or edit your business listing: Start by searching for your business, then select your listing. If you don t see your business just click the link at the bottom of the page to add it. Click here to manage your listing.

Vital information you should include on every listing:
Be prepared to fill out the following information, and keep it consistent on each site. Consistency helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts.

  • Business Name
  • Address (City, State, Zip)
  • Main Phone Number
  • Website
  • Business Hours
  • Description A description of your business, minimum 250 characters.
  • Business Categories
  • Logo and pictures

Keep a document of each listing so you can duplicate it exactly. Check on your listings and update your information (if applicable) every six months. Also, keep images of your business current and compelling to draw in prospects and customers.

*Bonus Tip* If you re a brick-and-mortar business, encourage people to check-in and write a review by displaying a sign in your business window that states the sites in which you re listed.

Have any sites to add to our list? We ve got more here in the Top 20 Places Your Business Needs to Be Listed Online .

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4 Lucrative Business Ideas That You Should Consider Starting if You Can Drive #business

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4 Lucrative Business Ideas That You Should Consider Starting if You Can Drive

Beyond the Ice cream trucks and the food trucks and cabby services, (which are good businesses by the way) there is a lot more you can do with a vehicle that can be lucrative and can serve either as a healthy side business or a major gig.

If you have a vehicle or are thinking of a mobile business to start, then the first question to ask is; what can I do?

There are varieties of businesses today and in a fast-lane-do-it-for me world, almost everything you can think of that a vehicle can do, can be done for profit. Interestingly, many other things you never thought a vehicle could do can also be done with a vehicle for money.

I will share a few ideas, but the key is to evaluate yourself to see if you can handle it. If you have been thinking of what to start up and perhaps you are considering a mobile business or you have a car sitting in the garage, then these few ideas will be helpful.

1. Offering Delivery Services

The business terrain is fast changing and the need to increase customer satisfaction as a prerequisite for increased patronage is largely responsible for the increased number of e-commerce websites.

Major e-commerce websites need dispatch services; they often work with smaller stores which often work with post offices. The truth is that there is enough business to go around whether you work directly with the stores or the post office.

In spite of the recent trend to take your business online. there are still many stores in your city that rely solely on e-mails and phone calls to communicate with their customers. Customers will gladly pay a little extra for you to save them the trip to the store.

2. Become an Approved Driving Instructor

Maybe you have a vehicle and it costs you money to fuel it and you either don’t have a job or you want to make extra money by the side, and to top it all off, you love to drive and are pretty good at it. Good, then you need to consider this route as one of those lucrative deals your personal vehicle can help you achieve.

All you will need is a vehicle, a valid driver’s license and good knowledge of driving and instructing other drivers (you will have to prove this through a compulsory qualifying test). Then proceed to get registered as an Approved Driving Instructor and you are in business.

3. Invest in a Mobile goods Store

Again, owing to the increasing reluctance of customers to get out of the house or to take a trip to the stores, someone has to do the job of bringing stuff to them. Online platforms have their place, but people will jump at the sight of mobile stores. Thankfully, there are various businesses that have proved this.

The innovations that can be brought to life with a moderate of large sized truck are almost inexhaustible. Mobile cloth stores, Mobile fruit Shops, Mobile Jewelry stores and even flower trucks. There is sufficient proof that these ideas can work and they tend to be quite lucrative.

All you need to do is to observe your environment and see what can be done with a truck. It doesn’t matter if it has been done before or not. Mobile stores can afford to sell at lower prices and yet bring the goods to the neighborhood because they avoid rents and all the maintenance costs of running a brick and mortar store.

What could be more enticing?

4. Invest in a Mobile Services Store

People are much more willing to start up mobile goods stores, but services are a little more tricky. I mean people can buy a T-shirt from a moving truck but will they have a haircut in a truck?

Actually, there are few mobile business ideas that have not been explored. Some have worked over time and some have been ludicrous. In the end the first thing you have to consider is what services you can offer and then if people will pay to bring it to their neighborhood.

Richard Caporizzo converted a van into a state-of-the-art doggie spa with its own power supply, water tanks and electronic grooming table. Caporizzo and his son Matthew Vernon make house calls to trim, bathe and blow dry dogs at their owner’s homes. So yes, almost anything can work if you are really good at your services.

There is a truckload of ideas that you can explore and see what suits you and or your city more. But if people will pay to have it brought to them, then you can take their money gladly.

Whether you hate office jobs and sitting at a place and love mobility or you need to add to your income
or perhaps you have a vehicle that is not being used enough you can borrow an idea here, and make some money from it. Better still, you don’t need to kill yourself over how to raise money for this. Apart from the fact that most of these businesses will not cost you millions of dollars, there are some unconventional ways you can still get the capital you need.

Don’t limit yourself, change with the changing terrain and let your imagination fly!

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Why Should I Incorporate My Business or file an LLC? #business #from #home

#incorporating a business

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Why Incorporate ?

Choosing how a business is organized may be one of the most important decisions a business makes. Incorporation may be the wisest decision, but for some, it may be an unnecessary decision, and so each business should carefully assess the benefits (and challenges) of incorporation before moving forward. With that said, the greatest benefits to incorporation can be summarized into the 3Ls: Life, Liquidity, and Liability. Let’s start with Life.

Life

The best way to understand a corporation is to imagine it as a separate artificial person (with limited rights and privileges). Incorporating a business is essentially creating that separate person thereby making the business separate from the owner (in a sense, the business has a life of its own). As a separate entity, the corporation exists independent from the shareholders/owners and its employees. Regardless of what happens to the shareholders, or the directors, or the employees, the corporation itself continues to exist in perpetuity until a time the directors and shareholders decide to dissolve a corporation. In a sole proprietorship or general partnership where the owner(s) is the business, what affects the owner may affect the business. Any personal debt or liability of an owner or partner allows the creditor(s) to pursue the assets of the business whether or not the debt or liability has any relation to the business itself. Furthermore, personal bankruptcy of an owner or partner will directly impact a business by opening up its assets to any creditors the owner or partner is liable to. By incorporating a business. the personal finances of an owner or partner remains separate from the finances of the corporation and allows the business to continue without disruption. In the event of an unfortunate death of an owner or partner, the business is generally dissolved regardless of the wishes of the owner or partner(s). All of this could easily be avoided by incorporating the business as a separate entity.

Liquidity

As much as we believe that all owners of a business should remain forever committed to the success of the business, there may be times when an owner or partner will need to leave the business. Regardless of the reasons for leaving the business, incorporation allows the free transferability of interest from one person to another. Generally in a partnership, a partner cannot transfer his/her interest in a business to another without the express consent of all other partners. If a partner still decides to leave the partnership against the will of the other partners, the partnership is automatically dissolved. Incorporating a business removes this limitation by allowing shareholders/owners to freely transfer his/her interest to another without the unanimous consent of all other shareholders. Small businesses may see the restrictions against transferring shares as a good thing and may want to control how a shareholder may transfer his/her interest and to whom. Incorporation allows this flexibility as well. The free transferability of shares is a default rule, but by no means is it mandatory for all incorporated businesses. Businesses have the option to place restrictions on the transferability of certain shares and so even if this benefit of liquidity may be seen as a detriment to a business, incorporation lets the business decide whether or not to take advantage of this option. More importantly, unlike a partnership, incorporation prevents the ability of a minority shareholder from dissolving a business without cause.

Liability

One of the greatest benefits for incorporation is its limited liability against the shareholders. As mentioned above, any debt or liability against a specific shareholder remains separate from the corporation. Likewise, the inverse is similarly true. Any debt or liability against a corporation does not open the doors of shareholders’ assets to the creditor(s). The shareholder’s liability in any corporate debt or liability is limited to what the shareholder invested (unless there is fraud). In a sole proprietorship or general partnership, the owner(s) and/or general partners remain completely liable to any debt or liability placed against the business. If a business is unable to pay a debt, the creditor can attack the assets of an owner or partner until the debt is satisfied. In a corporation, a creditor can only attack to the extent the shareholder invested into the corporation (unless there is fraud). This allows the corporation to make business decisions without the risk of endangering the personal assets of its shareholders beyond what was invested. Risk is a necessary element to a successful business. Anything that minimizes the risk to investors makes the business more attractive, and so the limited liability of an incorporated business is quite valuable.

Taxes

The major detriment to incorporation is the taxes involved. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, the taxable income of the business flows directly to the owner and/or partners and are taxed based upon the individual’s income tax bracket. However, because the corporation is considered a separate entity, the taxable income of a corporation is taxed first under a corporate tax. If the corporation decides to distribute the remaining income to the shareholders, that income is taxed once more based upon the individual’s income tax bracket (essentially, a double-taxation). The marginal tax rate for a corporation can be significantly higher than the marginal tax rate for a sole proprietorship. Although this characteristic of incorporation may deter a business from incorporating, small businesses can avoid this double-taxation by taking advantage of the options given to a corporation by the states. Some options include incorporating as an S-corporation (see below) or filing as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) (see below). These options allow the taxable income to flow directly to the shareholders/members without being taxed twice, while at the same time, maintaining the benefits of incorporation. The 3Ls are important benefits, but not the only benefits. There’s also something psychologically beneficial about incorporating that goes beyond the number crunching and legal issues involved. Incorporation may seem to be a daunting task, but it is also an exciting moment in the life of a business. First conceived through an idea, a business can be birthed at the point of incorporation. No longer will it simply be an idea or something intangible, but an actual and existing entity. Sometimes this psychological step of seeing the business as something real will further motivate and inspire you to bring greater success to your business.

Reduced Chance of Tax Audit

Sole proprietors tend to be more likely to file incorrect returns (many are self-prepared). and tend to under report revenue or over report deductions. For these reasons, the IRS has audited a much higher percentage of sole proprietor tax filings than corporate filings in recent years. In tax year 2006, a Schedule C filer stood a 1 in 32 chance of being audited. For non-business filers, the odds were around 1 in 124. This means that sole proprietors are significantly more likely to be audited.

Build Credibility

Distinguishing yourself from the competition by establishing a professional identity helps increase credibility with your customers. Most businesses choose to incorporate a business to prove their legitimacy to both customers and suppliers. Adding “INC.” or “LLC” after your business name gives you the credibility and professionalism that many customers are looking for.

You could file all the necessary incorporation documents yourself. However, when you consider the time involved for filing, administering, and maintaining all the documents necessary to keep your business running legitimately. why would you? Let us help you get it done, so you can get back to business!

  • Forming a business with MyCorporation is a cost-effective way to protect personal assets and gain potential tax savings.
  • Our incorporation services start at just $69 (plus required government fees).
  • Lawyers charge, on an average, over $200 per hour. With our document filing services. you’ll know exactly what you are getting, and how much it costs from the very beginning.

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