Connect with us

Finance

Do You Know The Common Human Resource Issues In The Hospitality Industry

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Many businesses in the hospitality industry, both small and large have difficulty in understanding their human resource and employment relations obligations whichever country or countries they operate in!

This is understandable given the raft of legislation and regulations governing (drowning) the employment environment in which governments seem to revel in.

The hospitality industry is certainly no exception and in many cases is more complex than the average business.

In this publication Biz Momentum will outline important employment matters that will assist in reducing the ‘stress’ factors you may be experiencing directly related to the hospitality industry which Biz Momentum is actively involved in a hands on capacity.

Did you know;

a It has been reliably estimated that 75% of businesses do not have an employee agreements and employment related policies & procedures. In the event of a dispute the law will decide for you and this almost always goes against you, the employer;

b Worldwide bullying and sexual harassment claims are escalating. The average cost of a claim is $36,500 – $250,000 and recently in one country an employee was awarded $1,000,000. This comes directly off your bottom line profit;

c Workplace rape and sodomy is on the increase in the hospitality industry and we have witnessed the resultant trauma, ill will and bad publicity for your hotel, restaurant or workplace where this occurred;

d Workplace stalking through employees following, sending emails, voice messages and gifts is becoming more prevalent and is resulting in increased absenteeism and resignations;

e Theft of your inventory such as quality wine, food and equipment is rampant!

f Misuse and unlawful use of your facilities for personal gain is increasing;

g It has been reliably proven that some employees use up to 2 hours per day of your email and internet facilities for personal gain and to access unlawful sites such as hate literature and pornography not to mention chat lines.

h Many hotel and restaurants deliberately flout occupational health and safety rules which is resulting in increased staff turn over, fines and costly pay-outs to employees;

i Many managers do not understand or have the experience in the know how of how to manage and lead employees. People skills a re paramount to your business success.

j Not having an adequate job description and controlling management behaviours can be a cause of psychological injury resulting in hefty fines not to mention the process of litigation which we have seen take up to 3 years to resolve

This is far from an exhaustive list but covers a number of growing issues in which Biz Momentum has noticed in recent years affecting the hospitality industry.

The ‘Basic Ingredients’ for managing employment risks:

There are certain steps you can take to minimise your employment risks. Biz Momentum have provided some general employment advice regarding managing employment risks however we need to advise you that each business has its own unique profile and therefore decisions must be made on that businesses individual merits.

1. Job Descriptions

A simple yet effectively written job description cannot be overlooked when hiring an employee or manager.

Employees and management need to understand what they are responsible and accountable for as well as what core skills they require to safely perform their duties.

Case 1 – The Restaurant who thought paperwork was a waste of time

Recently a restaurant was sued by an employee for $325,000 for psychological injury. The employee had worked in their position for two years and asserted that they had been injured because they didn’t receive a job description.

The matter is proceeding to court with attorneys appointed on both sides.

The claim is completely spurious and yet the legal system is set up so that the employee will be compensated. The business did not have a job description. Employees are more inclined now to take you on and engage contingency fee lawyers to sue you (no win – no fee lawyers)

It is not only the cost of litigation but preparation, meetings, affidavits, interviews and stress on the business owner.

2. Employment Agreements

An employment agreement sets out the boundaries and expectations of the employment relationship and is a critical document for the protection of your business.

Employment agreements must contain employee benefits and obligations. Failure in having a well written employment agreement leaves you open to the courts and tribunals interpreting your obligations for you.

The hospitality industry in diverse with many different types of employees in-house. Every employee from the cleaner to maid, front of house, head chef and apprentices, wait staff, maintenance workers, office workers and all others must have a job description otherwise you face stiff penalties when things such as accidents and incidents all goes wrong.

Common clause include hours, leave, goodwill, business records, restraints for management, confidentiality, intellectual property, remuneration and benefits, requirements of the position, privacy, ethical constraints, use of business assets, warranties, responsibilities and much more.

There are many types of agreements that your business can choose from but each business must be assessed on its own circumstances and merits.

CASE 2: The Hotel Partner that changed their mind

A hotel’s business was severely impacted when a Partner working in a boutique hotel for 5 years left and the other partners had not bothered arranging an agreement or restrictive covenant clause as the Partner after he made it clear that after a 3 year term he would be travelling overseas for some time.

However the person changed their mind when they began a personal relationship in the local city. Subsequently the partner left the hotel and started there own business around the corner.

The original hotel and restaurant lost a great deal of their previously loyal patronage. It is not uncommon for customers to quickly find out you have lost a key person in your business and follow them elsewhere.

This was a very costly error resulting in much goodwill and profit leaving the business. This could have easily been averted by ensuring that all parties signed a well written Partnership and Employment containing restraints, ownership of goodwill to name a few clauses.

Now may be a good time to ensure you have up to date employee agreements for all levels of employees including senior management. Senior Management is often overlooked and this is to your peril. The days of trust are disappearing where your best employee today can be your worst enemy tomorrow if things go wrong.

Imagine the consequences to your business if this happened to YOU.

4. Policies and Procedures

A human resources policy and procedures manual is an essential tool protecting your business only if the manual is implemented and used appropriately.

Failure to implement effective policies and procedures and to comply with them will result in the courts and tribunals interpreting your obligations for you in what will be an expensive exercise.

In addition not having the correct policies and procedures can constrain you from taking certain action that could have been taken in the event you have clearly stated policies and procedures.

Drug and Alcohol testing is one area that many in the hospitality industry have fallen foul of by making rash decisions and firing the employee only to find themselves being subjected to litigation.

Common policies and procedures Biz Momentum recommend for the hospitality industry include appointment policy, children at the workplace, customer/employee relationships, code of conduct, computer user policy, anti discrimination prevention, drugs and alcohol, employee dress and grooming, laptop computers and equipment, leave, use of mobile phones, motor vehicles, privacy and freedom of information, sexual harassment prevention, stress prevention, termination of employment and employee discipline, workplace harassment and workplace health and safety.

These policies must be tailored for each section of your business; eg restaurant, maintenance et al.

Case 3 – Unfair Dismissal & Sexual Harassment

In another unsatisfactory situation an employee was dismissed for consistent poor performance. Her Lawyer subsequently suggested that she sue the employer for unfair dismissal and sexual harassment.

Clearly this is extremely stressful for the business owner.

The situation could have easily been averted by a discipline and termination policy and procedure and a Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.

Sexual harassment and workplace bullying are rapidly immerging as one of the scourges of all businesses and in our experience it is particularly prevalent in some sectors of the hospitality industry.

Biz Momentum has assisted the hospitality industry in advising in situations of workplace rape and sodomy from an employment perspective. Naturally all such incidences should be referred to the authorities for investigation.

However you are required to have a workplace rehabilitation assistance program in place should the person be willing to return to work or not and that’s just a start of what you must do.

5. Induction Process

Inducting employees into your ‘Business’ should be structured process! Your employees are taken through your Business policies, procedures and work manuals in a formal manner.

Whether Management or line staff they must complete the process with a sign off procedure to say the have understood the requirement to comply with your policies and procedures.

The importance of this process cannot be overstated. Recently we assisted a business who was being sued for $300,000 for an employee asserting they had not been inducted and the employee lost because the business could produce and prove that induction had taken place.

Biz Momentum can takes you through an induction process that is streamlined and takes less than 1 – 4 hours for a new employee depending on the size and complexity of your business. Biz Momentum often conducts inductions on behalf of the business as we are considered experts in this area.

Case 4 – The Thief, the Wine, the Video Line

In yet another seemingly open and shut case a well known hotel business owner caught the head chef of his restaurant stealing a bottle of quality wine via video taping that was operating in this hotel.

Angry at the theft the hotel owner sought to instantly dismiss the employee and decided to take advice at the last moment with Biz Momentum.

This was a good decision on his part. Even though the owner had video proof of the employee’s theft the owner was still obliged to allow the person caught stealing the opportunity to ‘show cause’ or tell him why he should not have been dismissed. This is commonly referred to as natural justice: allowing the person to put their side of the matter to you.

Secondly the hotel did not induct its employees that they were subject to video surveillance which proved to be a problem for the hotel.

The hotel owner subsequently decided to issue the head chef a written warning and the head chef subsequently resigned. This was a good outcome for the hotel, a good lesson to its other employees as well as protecting the owner from potential litigation.

The moral of this case study is that you must be wise and take advice and consider all the facts (theft and surveillance were not the only issues) before you fire an employee.

6. Communication

Communication is the oil that makes a business work effectively and efficiently. Most grapevines and gossip thrive in a communications vacuum.

Be quick to correct your concerns on a day to day basis with your employees and avoid the cost of procrastination whereby time and emotion now interplays and the issue gets all blown out of all proportion.

We can show you how!

7. Reward and recognition

We all appreciate a ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ from our customers and other people who matter to us. Employees are no different and regular positive feedback at times reinforced by a tangible reward goes a long way towards establishing a culture of trust and high morale.

We all know that costs are increasing however develop a generous spirit with your employees and ensure they are remunerated fairly and well.

The reward to you will be diminished turnover and a good reputation. Studies have shown many of your employees will remain with you because of the work environment and morale even when they are headhunted with a better offer. Money is not always the key dominant factor in retaining valuable employees.

Many managers try the carrot and the stick approach to managing employees and it has been estimated that up to 60% of managers are ill equipped to manage people and are seriously lacking common skills such as courtesy, understanding, tack and listening skills.

It’s really like letting a bull run rampant through a china shop. The disaster becomes apparent and it is often too late to fix.

Biz Momentum has many years experience in advising businesses in employment issues. We regularly conduct seminars to educate business owners in their obligations and have assisted many businesses in the hospitality industry with practical solutions, training and mentoring in employment matters and have undertaken international work where requested and resources are available.

Advertisement

Finance

Accounting Solutions for Business by Choosing Payroll Apps

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

The application should be easy to setup. This entails having the instructions for initial installation as well as for any upgrades that are done for security purpose. Support that may be required during installation or during the operation of the application should be provided by the vendor. This may range from online support to telephone inquiries. Ease of use should be evinced from the interactive interface that has icons drawn to denote the work it does.

Integration is another feature that makes the payroll accounting solutions an essential for business. Contact information can be drawn from the employee record system, bank accounts can be integrated for depositing salary (or wage) to the account of the employee based on the total working hours and any impending vacancies can be known beforehand. The working hours, meanwhile is also calculated by assessing the entry and exit time as entered by employees themselves. Management has to input the provisions regarding the employees like holiday, leave and insurance provisions. Calculations from the raw data is done by the application itself. The effort that the management puts into payroll calculation can be seen to have been drastically reduced.

Year-end filing for tax purposes is also done by the application once the rates affecting the business is input by the management. Various contributions by the employer as well as the deductions from the account of the employees. Social security tax, federal unemployment tax, state unemployment insurance etc. The rates change annually and therefore the app should update the rates so that compliance to the law is made. Further, a business may have branches in different states with their own rates which should be accounted by the app.

Reminders are another features that prompts the management to make the payment. Moreover, the application can automatically transfer the funds to the state account on time relieving the management of the extra effort required for that end. Newly hired personnel should also be reported to government.

Payroll apps should also have provision for 1099 contract worker so that employees and consultant are differentiated. This avoids the business getting into payroll fraud. While internal control measures should be installed by the management, it should be complemented by the app.

The raw data as well as the processed data should be encrypted with the best possible means ensuring protection from unwanted intrusion. Online backup of the data ensures that natural calamities would not hamper the data.

Continue Reading

Finance

Become an Online MLM Business Expert – How to Select the Best MLM Company?

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Becoming an online multi-level marketing expert is not a big task. Especially online MLM business is very easy to achieve, but you need to implement the good and latest techniques to get success online. This online business will allow you to build a profitable business without bother your friends, family and relatives. You have tons of multi-level marketing online business opportunities available on internet, but you have to choose the right and the best company to work.

Online MLM business is much easier than offline direct MLM business because here in online you don’t need to meet anybody and no need to convince anybody. Just select the right company and product to promote who offers multi-level marketing opportunity. To get success you need to implement few easy and simple online techniques.

Strong Mindset

Set your mindset with empty work, especially with computer for online marketing. Never confuse yourself with others marketing strategies. Yes! Follow those strategies, but not with just blind. Try to build your own style of marketing, Work with the good vision and never try to quit the company and join another. Work for success and only for success.

Select the Best Online MLM Company

Firstly select the best online MLM business provider company who offers product or service. After selecting the company and product, get maximum information about the product and stay focused.

Digital products or online software services are best ever product to promote for online MLM business, just because it is very easy to download and safe to use it. Especially compared to physical products, digital products are much easier to promote and get success easily.

So, I strongly recommend you that select the digital product like domains sale or web hosting services which have good demand in online market to promote. No other product have this much demand in internet world. This is the ultimate product for your Online MLM business to get good success.

Continue Reading

Finance

The Effect of More Twitter Followers on Your Business

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Since its inception, Twitter has been a little mysterious to a lot of people online. Part of its mystique is the 140-character each tweet allows. Any more than that number and your tweet will be truncated. You need to learn to be brief.

Once you have researched Twitter and realize that it is something that you want to be involved with for your business, the next feature that you will want to pay attention to is acquiring followers on Twitter. Acquiring followers is important but it is also important to understand that it is more important to concentrate on quality versus quantity. The chances are great that if you follow people, they will follow you back. You will find that it isn’t going to be a big challenge to gather a number of followers on Twitter. However, it may be a little more challenging to gather the right followers on Twitter. Of course, you need to just keep at it and your list of followers will be what you want it to be.

What are the issues if your Twitter followers are too many?

If you have a large number of Twitter followers, it is important to understand the issues that may arise because of that. Twitter, just like all other social media channels, is about building relationships and interacting. If you have a Twitter community (or communities) that is too large in number, it will be a lot more difficult to interact. If you are not able to interact effectively, your relationships with your Twitter followers will not be as strong as they should be. It is critical that you have enough time and energy to interact with everyone with whom you wish to interact. Remember, you are using Twitter to strengthen your business relationships and the only way to effectively do that is to pay attention to your online Twitter connections. The last thing you want or need is for your Twitter followers to fade into the woodwork because, at that point, they will basically not exist for you. With that in mind, you should do everything in your power to protect the size of your Twitter groups so that they don’t grow beyond a certain size.

Managing your followers on Twitter

It is essential that you manage your Twitter followers effectively. That means that you need to have a good sense of who you are following and who is following you back. You will also want to pay attention to who is very active on Twitter and who is not active. The reason that this information is important to you and your business is that if a particular follower is not interacting with you at all (or very little), you should consider not following that person anymore. In any case, it is very important for you to look at your list of Twitter followers on a regular basis so that you can continually “purify” your list so that it is the best that it can be for your business at all times. Keep in mind that it will do you no good at all if you have 10,000 followers but you only actually know 1,500 of them and of those 1,500, you are only actively involved with 250. It just makes no sense for you to waste your time (and space) with followers who don’t add anything and who you don’t benefit either.

How to unfollow Twitter followers

If you wish to unfollow any of your followers, all you need to do it to select the follower’s name and click the “unfollow” button. If you have a bunch of people whom you wish to unfollow, you can do that as well. There is also a lot of additional information that you can glean if you hover your mouse over a particular follower’s name, such as the average number of tweets that they are sending per day.

Conclusion

Twitter is still a very effective social media tool that can really help your business when it comes to your online interactions. It is important that you understand why and how it can work for you and leverage it in the most effective way possible for your business. Twitter is here to stay and it is advisable that you take advantage of whatever you can and hone and perfect your list as much as possible.

Continue Reading

Finance

Top 10 Small Business Tips During a Recession

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Whether you believe we’re in a recession or not, the economy is on shaky ground right now. And if things continue to spiral downward, is your business ready to weather a recession?

Here are 10 tips on dealing with a recession for your business:

1) Cut costs cautiously. As soon as the economy starts slowing down, many business owners think they must cut costs. But this is a short-term solution. Only cut costs or decrease your prices if it won’t harm your business later. You can always lower your price – but you can’t always raise your price.

2) Think Sub- contractors – especially if health care costs are putting a strain on your budget. If you have employees, consider turning them into sub-contractors. There are very affordable, month-to-month video web conferencing services that allow you to still be in close daily contact.

3) Advertise, Advertise, & Advertise! During the last recession, McDonald’s almost tripled their advertising campaign at a time when their competitors, namely Burger King, were cutting back. So even though this may seem counter-intuitive, a recession may be the time to increase your marketing. Hard economic times weeds out your competition, leaving the field wide open for you.

4) Plan Long term: The Japanese are famous for planning out their strategy 15 to 20 years in advance. They follow the way of the turtle to win the race. And it works! Remember, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep marketing every month, month in and month out, not stopping and starting on a whim.

5)Choose your marketing techniques wisely. You should be keeping track of which marketing venues brings you the most business. Reduce or eliminate those marketing techniques that aren’t paying off for you, or fix them so that they do increase leads and sales. And consider a form of direct marketing where you can specifically test target markets without blowing your hard earned budget.

6) Revamp your marketing tools. For those marketing techniques that are working for you, this might be the time to revamp your marketing tools. Could your sales people use more training to close the deal? Online training cuts costs and time.

7) Automate wherever you can. Find ways to automate any tasks to reduce the workload on yourself and your staff. What have you been doing manually that a computer system can do for you? Take a look at all your daily tasks and see if there is a computer solution to these time-wasters.

8) Spend your time on what really matters. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s a proven fact that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. So treat your best customers like royalty. Spend 80% of your time focusing on marketing and delivering your product or service.

9) Make do and mend. Because raw materials were in short supply during World War II, people were encouraged to “make do and mend” an item instead of simply replacing it. Consider your own expenditures: do you really need a new computer, or could you somehow upgrade your existing one for less money? Do you need a new telephone or can you get by with the old one for a while longer?

10) Reduce inventories. If you sell a product, and you believe your sales are going to decrease, this might be a good idea to reduce inventories and not restock to the same level. This is a risky strategy (what if the recession only lasts 6 months?), so be sure you know exactly how long it will take to replenish inventories once the economy picks back up.

Now is the time to have a plan for dealing with a recession. It doesn’t matter if we are in a recession now or not. These 10 tips will prepare your business for both good times and not so good times.

Continue Reading

Finance

How to Prevent Your Headlight Bulbs From Blowing Too Frequently

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

If you find your headlight bulbs are blowing on a regular basis, then there could be several reasons why it is happening and by identifying what the cause of the problem is, you will save yourself the cost off continually buying replacement bulbs, and the hassle of needing to constantly change them.

Are You Using Your Headlight Bulbs For Long Periods?

The typical expected lifespan of a standard halogen headlight bulb is around 350 to 400 hours, so if you are driving a lot during the long winter nights or even if you keep your headlights on during the day it is possible that your bulbs could only last 2 to 3 months.

Its important to note that if you have fitted upgrade xenon bulbs they will normally last only around 200 hours, because they have been in effect tweaked to improve their light output. For drivers who do use their headlight bulbs for long periods you can reduce the amount of time between changes by fitting long life headlight bulbs.

These tougher car bulbs contain heavy duty reinforced components and so last normally three times longer than standard halogen bulbs, whilst still offering the same lighting performance as normal halogen bulbs.

Are You Touching The Glass Bulb When You Change Them?

If you touch the glass section of the headlight bulb with bare hands, the natural oils within your skin will leave a small residue of grease behind. Once the halogen bulb is illuminated this oil patch will create a hotspot within the bulb and lead to it failing early. Therefore it is a good idea to wear latex gloves when installing new halogen bulbs.

Are The Bulbs Getting Wet Or Suffering Excess Vibration?

Whilst most of the major bulb manufacturers used toughened glass in the construction of their headlight bulbs, they are still vulnerable to the effects of thermal shock. This means that if they come into contact with water that has leaked into the headlight unit, then it is very likely that the bulb will be damaged. It is also important to ensure the bulb is securely installed as otherwise the extra jolts and bumps it will be subjected to can damage the filament

Is The Car’s Electrical System Working Correctly?

When installing the bulbs make sure that the electrical connectors from the lights power lead are firmly joined to the metal connectors on the base of the headlight bulbs, otherwise it is easy to get a short circuit and blow the bulb.

It is also important to check that the alternator is not overcharging the battery and delivering more voltage than the bulb is designed for. Typically the maximum voltage of a bulb is around 13.2 volts.

Are You Buying Good Quality Headlight Bulbs?

Whilst cheaper car bulbs may seem like a good idea, they normally lack the high quality and precision components used by the leading manufactures like Osram and Philips, and will not last as long. High quality bulbs will be marked with the E1 mark, which indicates they have undergone the most rigorous testing and quality standards.

Continue Reading

Finance

Recession Proof Your Business – 10 Steps For Success!

Avatar Of Rajesh Khanna

Published

on

Two years prior to this recession our business took a turn for the worst and we almost closed our doors for good. My wife and I own a small custom made window treatment and bedding manufacturing business with 5 employees and work exclusively for Interior Decorators and Designers alike. Since the time we opened our doors in 1999 we have had no time to breathe! We were always back logged 6 to 8 weeks and with out warning the orders stopped!!! No faxes, no phone calls and no explanation! We visited all of our accounts to see if we were not servicing there needs or if they were sending work else where but this was not the case at all.

They were in the same boat we were in! We had to lay off all of our employees and slowly went through our savings. We were forced to take loans out just to pay the mortgage and have food on the table. After 6 very long months the orders started coming in just like some one turned a switch on! Our employees went back to work and it was business as usual, except now we are in a financial hole and cannot afford to take another blow! We received a huge wake up call and new that if we do not have a good back up plan we will lose everything we have worked for, our home, the business, everything! A very scary thought… So my wife and I implemented a back up plan just in case business showed signs of slowing down again. If we had not had this plan in place we would have closed our doors… We turned our business around in a recession! Here are 10 steps you need to take to recession proof your business.

Step 1) Make a brochure that explains what you do and the services you provide and target your customers! Hand deliver to local areas and talk to your potential customers. This is no different from how politicians get votes! I don’t care if you only sell a $10.00 pizza! Keep track of your sales and talk to your customers! Brochures with pictures are a visual description and need to be sent to all customers who have used your services in the past as well as potential customers.

Step 2) Keep track of who is ordering from you and make sure you log name, telephone and addresses. Why do most businesses fail today? It’s very simple! Because they never followed up on service or tracked who there customers are! If you think because they ordered from you once they will order again. Wrong. Thousands of small businesses open and needlessly close every year just because they did not follow up with there customers or listen to what they have to say about the product or service. If you do not get feedback from your customers you cannot correct potential problems. The worst mistake you can make is to think you satisfied your customer because they did not approach or call you with a problem. Most people never will! And you will never hear from them again. Repeat customers are your best customers!

Step 3) Advertise your product or service. This is a double edge sword! You may not be able to afford it but if you sit back and do nothing you will fail! You need to be smart on where to place your adds. Monthly small adds in your local news paper under “Dial a service” or small weekly news papers are a good start but stay away from radio until your cash flow has increased. Radio is referred to as “Passive advertising” and is effective, but if you can only afford one method choose print and always include a picture!. Time line your advertising and make sure you give customers a reason by offering a sale or discount.

Step 4) Sign up for home shows in your area. Home shows are mainly held in spring & fall seasons and are a very useful tool to connect to potential customers. This is where a professionally made brochure on good quality paper with several pictures and a well written description will make the difference! Have a date book ready and offer a free consultation, free product, free estimate, etc. You need to get names and phone numbers!

Step 5) Listen to customers needs! My wife and I had rented a booth at The Great North East Home Show in Albany N.Y. Several potential customers approached us inquiring about cellular shades and wood blinds. Since we manufactured draperies and fabric roman shades they naturally assumed we sold cellular and wood blinds as well. The fact is we did not! But we set up in home appointments and the very next day set up an account with Kirsch and had them ship demo books for us to show our potential customers. We sold 20 cellular shades, 4 wood blinds and 3 metal mini blinds, 3 roller shades and 2 vertical blinds. We had no idea how popular these items were! The point I’m trying to get across is not be so quick to turn down a sale because you cannot be bothered finding the product! There were plenty of competitors at this home show but we were the only ones who offered free in home consultation and free installation!

Step 6) Have a website! I have 3 websites and the total cost per month is $30.00! Making your own website is easy! Make sure you include your website in all advertisements.

Step 7) Diversify your business! The only reason why we are still in business today and thriving through a recession! Drastic time need drastic measures! We changed our company from a wholesale business that only worked for Interior Designers to a full retail store! Now instead of just manufacturing window treatments and bedding products we now sell everything related to window fashion like decorative wood poles and hardware, cellular shades, wood blinds, vertical blinds, mini blinds, and wood shutters. We also added several lines of fabric companies and display hundreds of fabric books for our customers to choose from as well as a complete line of decorative fabric trims. We put a divider wall up that separated our workroom from the showroom but customers can still look in and see the factory.

Step 8) Offer a service or product for free! Now I know what your thinking, how can I make money if I’m giving it away! Well your not going to make money if it sits on a shelf or no one is walking through your doors either! We offer free in home consultation and it’s on all our advertising and on our website. 80% of the time we make a sale! We do most quotes by email. This has been a powerful tool for us! Many times the fabrics or style the customer has picked out is to expensive and a deal breaker. Having the customers email address allows us to select alternative fabrics or styles that are less expensive and email them pictures and new pricing with in there budget with out wasting our, or the customers time. No one will tell you how much there willing to spend until the quote is to high! Your job is to find ways to cut corners and still make a profit and keep your customer satisfied at the same time, not an easy task but some money is better than no money!

Step 9) Don’t mind your own business! Find out every thing you can about your competitor. Who uses them, what products and services they provide, what they charge, pricing, sales, everything! Now find out what they do not offer or areas where you can beat certain price points or service and run with it!

Step 10) Times have changed, has your business changed with the times? The banks are not lending money, charge card companies are lowering credit limits, companies are laying off, and the news reminds us every day how bad thing are! As a business owner you need to change with the times or close your doors… We had to make a 360 degree turn around in order to survive. We researched products that our competitors do not offer, or are a better value, offer free services and work twice as hard! The good news is that people still have money and the majority of the country is working! But, everyone has tightened there belts and want the best deals for there money. Re-think! Change! Don’t down size, diversify!

Continue Reading

Trending