Benefits of Product Development

Product development is a strategy, which, in simple terms, can be referred to as the strategy for the successful development of a new product. It, in fact, is the first step in the development of a product. Sometimes, an existing product is backed by such strategies to attain more success, or to increase its reach.

In the business definition, the product development strategy can provide a well-researched framework that helps the manufacturers to improve the performance as well as the quality of their products. These strategies allow the business to achieve its goal, enter new markets, sell more products and achieve a wider following. In short, these strategies translate into more revenue and amplified margins; however, for this very objective, the strategies need to be well focused.

Product development strategies can bring up scores of benefits to help you score well in a consumer-centric and competitive market. For example:

Control and be sure of your success: Development of a product, without even a single strategy, is quite a risky assignment. According to an article published on SmallBusiness dot com, “About 80 percent businesses fail to meet their expectations, due to lack of strategies.” To control and be sure of success, planned development is what a business needs. This planning could better help them in reaching their set goals, apart from allowing them to stick to their core objectives. To ensure success, it is important to focus on the development of acceptable product, rather than concentrating on success. A dedicated approach toward product development enables you to decode the mantra of success.

Improved performance of your product: At a number of times, even after spending thousands of dollars on marketing and promotions, a business owner faces disappointment, owing to the poor quality of their product. By employing a team for product development, you can improve the quality, hence, the performance of your products.

But, how does it work? The product developers perform a series of assessments to find out flaws in your product. They also give a look at your production and other processes to spot any wrongdoings. They make every possible effort to remove errors from your products and its development processes, and make sure the product come out free from errors.

Reduce costs: There is no denying the fact that creating and implementing new product development strategies could cost a company thousands of bucks. But, after the implementation, when you start receiving the results, this investment would convert into more sales and improved revenue. After the execution, you will notice a straight decrease in your product development costs. It is because, the team of developers has already eliminated unnecessary routines from your process.

Product development assessments include interviewing consumers, both, existing and targeted; reviewing the supply chain; evaluating the operations; checking the condition of process machines; adjudging the design and style of packaging; and testing out the efficiency of transport mediums. All these, and a number of others tests, help you observe and rectify the flaws in your product development cycle.

Loans and Lines of Credit As a Way to Fund Start-Ups and Existing Small Businesses

Starting and growing a small business can be very difficult.

However, with proper planning and preparation, it can be done successfully. As a future or existing business owner, one of the keys to success is to use all of the resources available to you. This includes loans and investments from family, friends and angel investors. It also includes loans and lines of credit from a bank, which are resources that many entrepreneurs fail to consider as a viable option for starting or helping to grow their business.

If you listen to any news outlet with a business segment or financial focus, you will definitely get the message that the amount of capital available for entrepreneurs starting small businesses has shrunk. It is true that as a result of the most recent recession, lending institutions have tightened up the qualifications for lending money to business owners. However, there are still funds available to help entrepreneurs achieve their financial goals. “In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 27.5 million small businesses. And nearly 80 percent of them get their money through bank loans, credit cards and lines of credit.” (Julian Hills) The key is that as a business owner, you cannot be afraid to pursue the financing required for your business.

There are several options available to business owners for financing their business. However, we will focus on loans, lines of credit and SBA guaranties. A term loan is often used as a way to pay for a major investment in the business or acquisition. Term loans often have fixed interest rates, with monthly or quarterly repayment schedules, a set maturity date and usually require collateral to secure the loan. A term loan is best used to finance the acquisition of a business, equipment or real estate purchase.

“A Line of credit is a simple financing product that allows you to withdraw funds up to a predetermined amount.” (Marco Terry) With a line of credit, you are only required to pay interest on the outstanding balance, usually on a monthly basis. However, principal reductions should be made regularly, if not monthly. Lines of credit are very flexible and unlike term debt, can be used for more than one purpose, such as paying suppliers and covering operating expenses. Lines of credit can also be used to cover gaps in cash flow from operations, which can be very beneficial for business owners, especially those in the start-up or growth stage of their business.

The challenge is that lines of credit are very risky to banks. If the line is not used properly, it may have to be termed out and repaid by principal and interest payments for a fixed period of time. Therefore, most lines of credit, especially those for businesses still in the start-up stage require hard collateral. This consists of liquid collateral, such as CD’s and brokerage accounts, equipment, or a lien on real estate. Banks prefer that lines of credit are fully secured by collateral. However, in the event that there is a shortfall in hard collateral, there are ways in which the bank can still provide financing to start-up businesses while protecting its investment. One of those ways includes obtaining a SBA guarantee.

SBA (Small Business Administration) is a government agency that provides a variety of services to small business owners. One of the services they are known the most for is providing guaranties on small business loans. This is done in partnership with financial institutions that provide financing to small businesses. Although SBA doesn’t loan money directly, it does set guidelines for loans made by financial institutions. It is important to note that business owners must be able to qualify for loans with commercial banks contingent upon obtaining the SBA guaranty in order to qualify for an SBA loan. The major benefits of obtaining a SBA loan are loans structured with longer terms, lower down payments, lower interest rates, and less collateral than conventional loans. Some of the challenges of SBA guaranteed loans is that they require more paperwork and time than conventional loans.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: Important Tips to Consider

The food safety refers to a scientific discipline that describes the handling, storing and preparing the food in a preservative way. It enhances the way to prevent the food borne illness. It involves the number of routines that would be following to avoid the potentially serious health hazards. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service guarantees that nation meat, processed egg supply, poultry is wholesome, secure, and labeling is proper.

10 Quick Tips Regarding USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service:
There are several tips that would help the individuals to cook the food in a proper and eat the scrumptious food prepared with utmost consideration.

• While serving the food, make sure to use the clean utensils and container. Do not use the plate that previously held the raw meat, poultry or any seafood unless the washing is properly implementing in the hot water. When the dish is empty, there should be the replacement with a fresh container of food, and discards the previous container.

• While going for a drive, there must be proper handling of food to prevent it from spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. There is a division of cooked food into a shallow container and further cooling in the refrigerator prior to driving.

• The insulated lunch bag or boxes serve the perfect way of keeping the perishable food cold, although metal or plastic lunch boxes is also used. The proper packaging helps to keep the food insulated thus maintain the freshness and quality of food. An ice source, such as a small frozen gel pack or frozen juice box packaging is to be with perishable food in any type of lunch bag or box. Of course, if there is the availability of refrigerator store the perishable items there upon arrival.

• Storing the perishable food in the cooler except for brief times when serving. It is advisable to cook only the required quantity in order to avoid the leftover at the same temperature.

• Place the cold food in a container on ice. There is a need to hold the cold food at or below 40 °F.

• Cover foods during cooking. Remember to mix or rearrange food and swivel the dish to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive and to endorse more even cooking.

• While using the frozen meats, remember to be placing it in the refrigerator but not on the counter. Never allows the raw meat or poultry to drip on other foods.

• Cook all raw ground pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160°F as measuring with the help of food thermometer.

• There is a need to place the cold food in a container on ice. The container placing inside a deep pan filled partially with ice to keep the food cool. Some food like, chicken salads and desert individually either placing directly on ice or in a shallow container that has been filled with ice from inside.

• Keep the hot food with the use of heat source. When the food is thoroughly heathen over an oven place the dish into chafing dishes, preheated steam tables or slow cookers.

Summary:

Therefore, these are top quick regarding USDA Food Safety and Inspection that would help to understand the safety measuring before or in middle of preparing food.

5 Tips for Small Business Success

As a small business, we face certain challenges that can add stress and anxiety to our daily lives. It is not always easy meeting payroll, hiring, figuring out what platform to market on and managing the finances. But, millions of small business owners do these things every day and their businesses thrive.

Here are 5 Tips for Small Business Success

Write Down Why You Started

As a small business owner, you may find yourself living on a rollercoaster. Some days you feel like you are going to take over the entire universe while other days you fire yourself and walk off the job. And, early on in the small business process, you have more firing and walking off the job kind of days. It is in these days that you must remember your “why.” Why are you doing this? Why are you so passionate?

During the days that you are “taking over the universe” and are more clear minded, write down the answers to those question so when you get discouraged you will remember why you started and you will be less likely to give up. List out support systems and create vision boards so that when times feel dark, you know who you can reach out to and have a physical vision of the direction you want to go.

Step Away

As a small business owner, you probably take your work home, talk to your partner about it, and answer calls on the weekends. But never taking a step away can lead to burnout. The last thing a business owner should do is make decisions based on feelings like stress, frustration and impulsivity. Working on you and/or your family independently of your business is a great way to refresh and gain clarity so you can be even stronger in your business. Successful people take breaks.

Give yourself at least one day a week where you step away completely. Set boundaries with clients or customers and they will respect your time even more. If you really feel that you cannot take one day, start small with time away. Take 30-60 minutes at least one time per day to do something that clears your mind. Do not answer business calls during this time, instead, try something like getting in touch with nature, taking a bath, or working-out. The better you are to your mind and body, the clearer decisions you will make for your business, clients and customers.

Hurdle the Tough Times Quickly & Learn From Them

As a small business owner, you are learning something new every day. Business owners switch hats all the time; from finances to legal to day to day operations to HR. And, it is no secret that mistakes will be made.

If you want to be successful in business, don’t ruminate, internalize and dwell on those mistakes. Instead, chop it up to a learning lesson and press forward being cautious not to make that mistake a second time. Hurdling barriers and setbacks quickly will help you to minimize your stress and preserve energy in order to continue growing your business.

Get a Mentor

So many people have been in your shoes before you. They know the puddles you should not even try to step in and they can also give insight into decisions you are facing.

Reach out to these people and ask them for their mentorship. If you do not have a mentor, try networking to meet likeminded people that can share ideas with you. However, as your business grows, if you do not have a mentor, keep your eyes open for someone that you can call on for support. Most successful people want to help you grow and develop and will be glad to guide you. Just make sure that you are open-minded when your mentor talks with you and that you come with questions or a direction to the meeting as to not waste their time.

Make Sure You Have Financial Options

While you switch hats, ride the rollercoaster, take calls from customers on days off, and try to somehow maintain life balance, the one thing a business owner must have peace of mind and security with is finances (personally and professionally).

As a small business, make sure you work with a banker or company that is transparent and that you can trust. As your business grows, there will be growing pains, and that is a good thing, especially if you have a banker or lender who supports small businesses and simplifies things. Be sure to speak up to your lender about various types of resources, loans, business credit cards, and cash advances that best fit your niche.

The Right Provider for Your Business Communications

Everything about your business is a reflection of your commitment, quality, and professionalism. If you drop the ball anywhere along the way, it can make people question the value of what you offer. When it comes to business telecom, you need a provider willing to offer you the best technology has to offer.

Package Deal

You should be able to get a terrific package deal for voice, data, video, and other forms of business telecom methods for one price. This is going to give you savings over getting those services from several different providers. However, you need to make sure your provider has what it takes to continue keep up with the industry demands and available technology.

While there isn’t a one size fits all package when it comes to business telecom, this can give you some base options to start with. You may need to make changes as you go depending on how your business branches out. If it is thriving, you may need to add more features than you ever imagined. With that in mind, find a provider who is flexible and allows changes.

You don’t want to get locked into a long term commitment with no way to make changes. You can plan for the future of the business but you aren’t going to know what the next six months or year holds until it happens. A provider that you can end a contract with at any time is also going to work harder to keep you happy. They don’t want to lose you to a competitor.

Upgrades and New Services

Will you get to decide about upgrades and new services or will they automatically be added to your package? It is a good idea to be in control, but there at times when across the board changes will be implement to make the services offered faster and more efficient. When that occurs, you should be given ample notice. You should be provided with training on how to use new features.

When there are new services offered, you should get the option of including them or not. If you would like to add them, you should get help every step of the way because it can be hard to bring something new into your company and use it correctly when you have limited knowledge about it. The business telecom provider needs to get you up to speed.

Sometimes, you will be offered new services for free for a set period of time. After that period of time, you can cancel the services or you can choose to continue them and pay the price for them. Since you already have a package, the add on cost of the new feature should be less what it is offered for individually.

Reliable Services

You can’t afford for phones or other methods of communication not to work like they should. You can’t have audio and video being poor quality as that reflects on your business and distracts from what you have to offer. Look for business telecom providers that have a great track record for being reliable and an uptime of 99% or higher.

Support Team

Make sure you are going to be treated well when it comes to support. You need business telecom services that make you a priority. If you have a question, problem, or you need repairs they should be getting on it immediately. You should be able to reach the support team 24/7 as you can’t put your business on hold while you wait for them to open up for business.

The Most Important Aspect Of A Unique Business Card

We all have business cards in our wallet or purse. It’s part of our business culture to introduce yourself and hand over a card with your contact information in the hopes that this particular contact will remember you. It’s a staple of how business has been done for the last few centuries or so. Did you know that in fifteenth century China, they used business cards called ‘visiting cards’ that were designed for the purpose of setting up meetings between clients and businesses?

After that the handout card culture really soared during seventeenth century Europe, when people climbed the social ladder through personal promotion in the form of calling cards. This was due to a new form of highly mannered set of Kings, that made someone’s promotion or demotion among the social ranks almost completely dependent on personal promotion.

With such a storied history behind it, custom cards have a wealth of examples of creative thinkers to draw from. Think about how often you get a business card these days, stick in your pocket or bag, and forget about it. Do you want your potential clients and customers to do that with your card?

Modern business card printers allow for options that come in all shapes and sizes and can provide you with the unique business card that gets you remembered. A fairly popular option, as an example, is a custom business card with a detachable microfiber screen cleaner that they can peel off and stick to their phones or tablets.

Unique business cards will hit the tenants of a good first impression, the principles of which have been forming for hundreds of years…

  • Get noticed.
  • Make yourself memorable.
  • Stand out among the crowd.
  • Give your contacts a useful gift for free.
  • Ensure that your contact information is always available by maximizing brand awareness.
  • Amplify the reach of your marketing message.

Instead of handing your business contacts a plain card just like everyone else, you can stand out with unique business cards. Custom cards with your logo and message, that also act as bottle openers, coupons, promotion card punches, screen cleaners, or at least something creative, will ensure you stand out.

Rather than tossing your card into a pile, or worse – the trash, your contacts can actually put your card to use. Multi purpose cards are great for extending the reach of your marketing while solidifying your brand in the minds of your clients or partners.

3 Easy Ways To Increase Business Cash Flow By Reducing Business Expenses

For some small business owners it is important that they try to keep expenses down. Large overhead and lack of cash flow is the single biggest reason for business failure. In times like this it is essential we do all way can to save money. Here are 3 easy ways to save money in your business:

Outsource what you can

This has got to be this biggest money saving tip I ever received. This can include everything from sending work overseas to outsourcing local jobs and eliminating or reducing payroll. There are many jobs that can be outsourced locally that several small business owners bring in house. One example of this is printing. It may appear that you save money on printing by doing it in house but you better look close. Printing is much more than the cost of ink and paper. How many copies can your printer produce before it needs some routine maintenance or worse, replaced? Printing companies and office supply stores have big machines and spit out copies (even color) at extremely low prices. Sometimes they can add a margin and still do it cheaper than you or I could.

Another example is sending select jobs overseas. Our website developer was in the Philippines and we communicated with email and Skype. He was great; he did all the design work and got it up and running. Then we had a short call where he showed us how to use and update the site. He was a little more expensive than some of the people I interviewed but was still less than $8.00 per hour. I used another assistant in the Philippines that did some writing for me as well as some research and email marketing. The risk here is that if you pay by the hour you have to keep a close eye on them as the hours can start to add up before you get the results you want.

Save money on utilities

Internet and phones can really start to add up. I have found ways to save money on these a couple of ways. The first is simply to negotiate with the sales rep. Did you know you can do that? Never pay the price they have, if you push hard enough you can get some really great deals. If you get a great deal over the phone tell the rep that you need to discuss it with your partner and call back. Use this opportunity to call another provider and tell them what you were offered. Maybe they can beat it.

Internet phone is another option. We used it for years paying $15 per month for two lines. We had to move away from it because the box continued to go out and needed to be reset putting us without phones. Also if you lose power or the internet you also lose phones. We have used Vonage and Phone Power but there are several providers out there. I recommend doing a Google search for internet phone providers and see what you come up with and please read the reviews as there is a lot of variance in quality.

Save on office space

I know many of you have no office so you don’t need to worry about this. Our office is really cheap for what we get so it is a no brainer for us. Office space makes you appear more professional and is a great place to meet with clients. It is also good to get out of the house in an effort to keep your personal and work lives separate, not to mention being able to have gifts for your wife delivered to the office. J If an office makes sense for you, now might be the time to sign a long term lease. The general feel is that office vacancies will start to go down which would mean rates will go up and landlords will be less likely to want to sign long term leases. It is also a great time to negotiate deals on the lease space. Take your time, look at a lot of office space and drive a hard bargain. If you already have a signed lease it is always worth a phone call to the landlord to see if you can get a little better deal for extending the lease now.

I don’t mean to downgrade a home office. In fact it is quite the opposite. I had a home office for years and it worked very well for me. I was able to save on office lease payments and internet. Not to mention the money I saved on gas. (Although maybe I spent more money on Starbucks since that is where I always went to meet clients.) The point is you can save a lot of money by bringing your office into your home and you will actually get some great tax breaks for doing it. I am sure this goes without saying but if you do office at home it is essential that you have a separate room with a door.

6 Business Invoicing Tips

Do you run a business? If so, you need to write invoices. Even if you are a professional, you still need to write invoices in order to get paid. This is an important process and requires that you invest in an invoice creation app. With this type of software, you can turn this time consuming task into a professional and efficient part of your job or business. Given below are some tips to put together a great invoice or choose good invoice software.

1. If You Are on a Budget

If you are short on budget, you can go for a free invoice software application. All you need to do is make sure the app has all the features you need to put together a professional invoice. Also, avoid buying an app that has unnecessary features. Dealing with too many features will only confuse you making your job harder.

2. Go for a Simple Invoice Software App

The invoice software should let you format your invoice the way you want. Apart from this, the app should have some great templates as well. Good apps allow you to save your progress so you don’t have to start over in case of a system or power failure.

3. Set Some Rules

When you have to deal with your clients, make sure you set some rules in the first place. For instance, you may want to let your clients know the payment form, due dates and the percentage of advance payments. Besides, the terms about delayed payment should also be informed to your clients. This will help you carry out your business affairs as smoothly as possible.

4. Contact Details

Your contact details should be given on the invoice. This will include your email, phone number and website, just to name a few. This way your clients can get in touch with you in case they have some questions or problems to resolve. This tip will help your clients build trust in your business. Aside from this, you can get feedback from your clients and improve your product or service based on what your clients like or dislike about what you offer.

5. Track Your Invoices

You can track your invoice in many ways. When doing so, you don’t need to depend solely on date. The format of your invoice should contain a number that you may use for tracking the history. This method is an ideal one especially if you have a large number of clients to deal with.

6. Create a Back-up of your invoices

While good invoice software apps are safe to use, they can’t prevent a computer failure or malfunction. Therefore, we recommend that you create a backup of your files based on a schedule. You can use a cloud system for creating a back-up of your invoice files.

So, with these 6 useful tips and some simple invoice software, you can write great invoices that will create a great impression on your clients and your business will keep growing at a fast pace.

10 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Change the Social & Economic Story

Men and women who create for-profit and nonprofit new ventures can and should do things of the kind that the President-Elect is likely to neglect, negate, or avoid. Entrepreneurs can quietly change the story, one organization at a time, whatever government may or may not do.

Here are ten ways venture founders can alter the course implied by what we know of Donald Trump’s intentions. They are all within our own authority, not those of government. We can:

  1. actively appreciate the economic and social needs of disadvantaged groups and consider how our own organization can make a difference-or start a new one that can; at least ensure that our own organization does not contribute to disadvantage;
  2. be inquisitive about rural and underserved populations adversely impacted by political, economic and tech change-and examine ways that our organization can make a positive contribution, including the offer of products, services or employment;
  3. create inclusive policies on gender, gender identity, race, national origin & religion; offer all employees dignity & respect, provide healthcare, parental leave, clear policies on sexual harassment, & the opportunity for participation in decision-making and sharing organizational success;
  4. take the opportunity to participate in the life of local communities to mutual advantage, through direct civic engagement, as well as supporting employee volunteering; become involved in community supported enterprises;
  5. evaluate all practices of the organization that may contribute directly or indirectly to climate change-and introduce ways that will reduce pollution; seek to be powered by clean energy and move to zero waste;
  6. ensure that the pay ratio between the highest and lowest paid members of the organization does not exceed 20:1 (as it was in 1965) to reduce financial inequity, given that the ratio between average American CEO pay and worker pay is now 303:1;
  7. re-examine the consequences of all purchasing decisions, in order to avoid pain and hardship, either in supplier organizations or the local and global community; research supplier behaviors on socio-economic parameters;
  8. commit to support the lifelong learning of all members of the organization, regardless of where they are starting or what position they hold-through internal development programs and external qualifications;
  9. employ socially responsible financial policies that do not disfavor any stakeholder, either close at hand or nationally, as well as avoiding immoral or self-serving practices, such as the avoidance of repatriating foreign profits;
  10. build a widely communicated progressive corporate story that is reflected through the behaviors of everyone in the organization and enshrined in all official organizational procedures; regularly monitor its reality.

Entrepreneurs Are The Real Difference Makers

“Be not simply good; be good for something.”
Henry David Thoreau

If you want to make a real difference in the world- – start a business; it is as simple as that. Have you ever heard people say how easy it is to make a difference in someone else’s life? You hear all kinds of things like: smile; buy a stranger a cup of coffee, or pay for their meal; pay a compliment, give a helping hand, do some volunteer work, make a care package, and of course- donate.

But really, what kind of difference is any of that really making when you get down to it? Those gestures, no matter how genuine you are do not necessarily impact your community, city, nation or the world in a monumental way.

The dictionary defines difference as: a point or way in which people or things are not the same. A synonym of difference is: distinction, which means: excellence that sets someone or something apart from others.

Smiling, complimenting, helping, volunteering, paying for someone’s meal and even donating are things not so distinct; but are things that most of us do regularly in our everyday lives’. Business is what sets others apart. Business is the way to make a difference in the lives of people.

Business raises society’s awareness of their rights through advertisements. Business produces products and services to meet people’s needs. Business provides employment opportunities. Businesses make cities, states and even the country money through the exporting of goods.

Businesses are concerned with profits; which is where more revenue is gathered than it costs in expenses. That in turn leaves a surplus that can be invested in making the world a better place. That is, business via the mechanism of profit can help increase available resources and help fulfill a greater number and a higher level of human needs by investing in housing, education and social matters which ultimately makes the world a better place.

And if you aren’t confident that you have what it takes, then let me reassure you that you do. If you have an idea, vision, burning desire and dream of ways to solve problems that people or the planet faces, then you do have what it takes. That is your purpose. You were born to solve that particular problem and it might not ever go away or get better until you take action. As you pursue your purpose, the right resources and opportunities become available to you. One resource to get you started is business credit cards.

Business credit cards are based on a personal guarantee. So, there are several criteria that must be met to be approved: 720 credit score, 30% debt-to-credit ratio, no bankruptcies, no foreclosures, no missing payments in the past 24 months of making application, one or more credit cards with a $5,000 maximum limit and a 10 year personal credit history. And if you are short on any of these criteria mentioned, you can receive mentorship from business credit card consultants on how to meet those must-haves.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
– Edward Everett Hale

Why sit back and watch the same problems continue because you don’t feel equipped to handle them. Everyone starts at the same place: the beginning.