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  • Wish List
    market It would be hard to shout loud enough to be heard It s also smart to target your own local media Such outlets are usually seeking a local connection and likely reach many of your local customers On the flip side pitching locally focused media can be risky if there s not an association with the area Just ask Ashley Primis food and lifestyle editor at Philadelphia Magazine She worked on her publication s 2009 guide I would say 90 percent of the pitches that I got had nothing to do with Philadelphia Primis says It s like businesses had never picked up the magazine and read it at all so automatically they were discredited Pitch The Right Product Wherever you pitch rather than sending a broad e mail blast tailor your message and product selection You have to know the magazine and the sections says Jennifer Cattaui who owns Babesta a baby boutique that sells online and has two New York locations You have to be very familiar with who the audience of the magazine is so you re not pitching a Run DMC onesie to Family Circle because it won t run no matter how cute it is Also research the theme of each guide Don t assume last year s feature will look like this year s Philadelphia Magazine for instance focused on Our 40 favorite gifts from our 40 favorite stores in 2009 but has spotlighted locally made gifts in the past In addition to focusing on media outlets that match your products pitch items that are new and colorful You may think some white earrings are really beautiful but they re not going to show up on a page or on TV says Margie Zable Fisher president of Zable Fisher Public Relations in Boca Raton Fla Also unless a guide focuses on wares within a specific price range don t be afraid to pitch high priced items Many reviewers also like to spotlight goods that do good Anything that has a charitable connection or something that s environmentally or socially responsible those always get my attention first and foremost says Erika Pitera editor in chief of MyShoppingConnection com which offers holiday gift ideas and is based in Orlando Fla How To Pitch Use e mail to reach out to print editors or to producers at radio and television stations Briefly describe your product and its gift potential Be sure to include the price your contact information and a link to an online press kit if you have one If you re a manufacturer who doesn t sell directly to customers share names of retailers that can be included in the story Send a picture of the product with the pitch too It s nice to link to an online photo or electronic catalog Alternatively you can attach low resolution images but sending too many might clog a recipient s e mail system Don t discount the value of quality product shots First priority always

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/marketing/marketing-news/2010/03/05/Wish_List (2016-02-14)
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  • Lasting Impressions
    is more mundane than special The most common mistaken wow factor I hear is We have excellent customer service Every other company in their sector says the same thing whether it s true or not Kaye explains Companies need to look for features that are not claimed by everyone else because part of being wow is being different Another marketing expert Betty Otte is a volunteer business counselor with the nonprofit group SCORE She gives Nordstrom department stores as an example of a retailer that has managed to brand itself for excellent service The sales associates at Nordstrom s are taught to perform many little extra service tactics and those extras convey to customers that they re special Nordstrom initiated walking around the counter to hand the package to the customers and now all the department stores do it Otte says To counter that imitation Nordstrom clerks have a special thank you close that goes with the hand over of the merchandise following the sale This has not been picked up yet by the competition But it probably will be So like Nordstrom your micro business should continually polish refine and refresh your wow factor to keep customers surprised and impressed How NASE Members Wow Their Customers NASE Member Galanti says her consignment store s wow is the way she sets out merchandise and creates window displays I strive to make them Saks 5th Avenue worthy she explains Every day people stop in to comment on how great they look From my displays no one would guess I m a second time around shop I change the window displays often I incorporate seasons and holidays I arrange and display my shop like it s an upscale boutique coordinated wall displays color coordinated racks every item pressed comfy rockers for impatient husbands well lit dressing rooms flower bouquets by the register great music paper rather than plastic bags and my shop smells good she adds Most of these cost little but leave a big impression when comparing my shop to other local second hand shops Samson of crowdSPRING says that his Web site s wow factor is the vast choice provided to customers compared to the traditional way of hiring graphic designers services Let s say you want a logo You do your best to pick a good designer who gives you three to five concepts from which to choose In our model you re not picking a designer you re picking an actual design You post your request at crowdSPRING and typically receive 100 bids CrowdSPRING works with customers to write a creative description of the work they want and a catchy title so they attract more attention from the designers On the other side the site works with the more than 44 000 graphic designers who have signed up to participate with crowdSPRING The company works with them so they learn how to improve their businesses and their bidding to get more jobs We tell the businesses that are

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/marketing/marketing-news/2010/03/05/Lasting_Impressions (2016-02-14)
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  • Community Spirit
    helps local coalitions AMIBA estimates its 75 affiliates have a total membership of 15 000 to 20 000 businesses BALLE estimates its 70 networks represent roughly 20 000 businesses This might be an optimal time for micro businesses to join buy local initiatives One benefit after all is having others help with your marketing which is important to maintain even in tough economic times The majority of businesses getting involved with Buy Local Reno for example have fewer than 10 employees These are the businesses that are hurting the most because they have a hard time coming up with money for marketing to combat the slowing business Jolly says Also with so many people already thinking green it s easier to push the idea of buy fresh buy local for produce that doesn t need to travel far on carbon emitting trucks In addition advocates of the movement say many consumers are fed up with big chains crowding their cities We hear a lot of people lamenting the fact their community is losing its sense of character and looks like any other place with the same strip malls and same big box development AMIBA co founder Jeff Milchen says People are really wanting to either try to sustain or recreate the sense of community that tends to disappear when you see these changes taking place Indeed one reason Cassie Green owner of Green Grocer Chicago joined the Local First Chicago network was to help preserve the character of her West Town neighborhood She describes it as being an up and coming gem in the city that houses some of the best restaurants and little shops around Green says Anything to remind people how important it is to support small independents is a good thing unless you just want a world full of chain stores that don t really care about your neighborhood But the strongest message communicated through buy local campaigns is that patronizing local stores helps the community and many initiatives refer to a September 2008 study conducted by the research firm Civic Economics The survey found that if residents of Kent County Mich which includes Grand Rapids were to shift 10 percent of their total spending from national chains to locally owned businesses the county would see nearly 140 million in new economic activity 1 600 new jobs and 53 million in additional wages As for the impact of buy local campaigns there aren t many studies But one study did find that independent retailers in cities with active buy local campaigns reported an average drop in 2008 holiday sales of 3 2 percent Comparatively independent retailers in cities without active efforts saw an average drop of 5 6 percent The January 2009 survey was conducted by the Institute for Local Self Reliance a nonprofit research group with offices in Washington and Minneapolis in partnership with AMIBA BALLE and other independent business organizations Buy Local Skeptics Not surprisingly buy local initiatives have their skeptics including Joseph Turek dean

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/marketing/marketing-news/2009/10/30/Community_Spirit (2016-02-14)
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  • Should You Twitter?
    a box labeled What are you doing Your answer is essentially a micro message that s limited to just 140 characters and it s called a tweet You can also choose to follow or monitor other people s tweets After you ve been contributing for a while others may become your followers by monitoring your tweets too Social media experts encourage users not to tweet about trivial activities but instead to comment on what they re thinking or what has their attention By sharing compelling information you ll generate more interest spur discussion with other members and encourage others to forward your messages to their follower network The Power Of Twitter If you re not sure how to get started spending time monitoring other people s posts is a good first step and can be valuable for the business education alone says Glazer I ve gained more insight gotten more ideas and stretched my thinking more than I did in business school he says For example someone could point you to an article about how psychology can boost your business says Glazer You can read the article and fundamentally change the way you deal with your staff At most networking events you generally talk to one or two individuals at a time On Twitter you can hear what hundreds of people are saying at once Fortunately there are tools like TweetDeck that help you manage the flow of incoming communications so you can easily weed out information that isn t helpful Rodney Rumford is CEO of Gravitational Media and author of Twitter as a Business Tool an e book he published in January He equates Twitter to a large party At that party you can follow anyone you want or stand outside the circle and listen says Rumford Tools like Twitter search enable you to find specific individuals competitors and groups of people based on geographic location or interests like advertising finance or lead generation You can also find out if someone is talking about you your business or your products and services This is not a popularity contest however It s more important to focus on the quality of the relationships that you develop than the quantity of followers you amass says Rumford People don t want to be beat over the head with a marketing message Rumford says When you meet someone at a party would you first say this is what I do and ask how can I do business with you You have more social grace than that and you should maintain it on Twitter Heavy handed self promotion is often shunned Tweeting For Business Until two years ago Gini Dietrich founder and CEO of the Chicago based public relations firm Arment Dietrich was skeptical about the value of Twitter Nonetheless she gave it a test by commenting about her favorite football teams and their recent games When her business was hit by the economic downturn and Twitter volume was reaching a greater mass Dietrich established

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/marketing/marketing-news/2009/08/31/Should_You_Twitter (2016-02-14)
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  • NASE Learning Center - Business Topics - Marketing Videos
    At A Glance Optional Benefits Business Resources Experts Education Personal Home Member Badges Your Business Grants and Scholarships Growth Grant Recipients Dependents Scholarship Recipients Partners And Sponsors Affiliate Application Refer A Friend NASE in Action NASE Advocacy Efforts Legislative Priorities NASE In The News Washington Watch NASE Research Current NASE Survey NASE Member Survey NASE Issue Reports Self Employed Statistics Get Involved Tell your story Become a Media Contact Legislative Action Center Business Help Ask the Experts Taxes Business Strategy Business Law Marketing 101 Finance Accounting Health Care Reform Marketing Advertising Real Estate Information Technology NASE Minute Get Help Tax Healthcare Reform Health Marketing 101 Business Management Marketing Advertising Real Estate Calculators Business Breakeven Analysis Calculator Cash Flow Calculator Equipment Buy vs Lease Investment Annual Rate of Return Calculator Mortgage Mortgage Loan Calculator Retirement Savings and Planning 401 k Calculator How long will my retirement savings last Tax 1040 Tax Calculator Payroll Deductions Calculator Self Employment Tax Calculator Helpful Links ASBDC Member Directory Search My NASE About Me Account Benefits Optional Benefits Payment Details Expert Questions Email Subscriptions Membership Directory NASE Marketing Videos Get the advice and tips you need to grow your business Crowdfunding A Primer Jun 15 2012

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/marketing/marketing-videos (2016-02-14)
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  • Cash Flow: The Life Blood of Business
    of Business Tuesday May 29 2012 Posted by NASE Business Expert Gene Fairbrother A basic management tool to keep your finger on the pulse of cash flow is a cash position report While every business needs to be producing monthly profit and lost statements along with cash flow statements these reports are monthly pictures while the cash flow report can be created every week or even every day to give you a flash picture of your cash position Start by setting up a spreadsheet on your computer with the following headings Month to date Total Sales Cash On Hand of sales Accounts Receivable of sales Accounts Payable of sales Then every few days enter the respective amounts under the categories Next close your office door turn off the phone get rid of everything on your desk except the numbers and take an honest look at your cash position Are sales decreasing or stagnant Has cash on hand been on a decline Are accounts receivables increasing Are accounts payables increasing If you have any of the above symptoms you have a potential cash flow crunch on the horizon and need to do something now Don t make excuses like blaming the economy because no matter what the reason if you don t find the cure your business is in trouble Marketing Drives Sales If sales are on the decline you need to find ways to drive more money into your business Are you marketing to existing customers Do you know what marketing produces the most results Are you losing customers to the competition Are You Charging Enough Are your prices keeping pace with the costs of doing business Do a little detective work on your competition and find out if your prices are in line with the market demand Cut Out the Fat When times are good most businesses have a tendency to build fluff into their costs of doing business Do you have surplus equipment not being used Are you employee efficient or do you have too many people to serve customer needs Do you need all those telephone lines cell phones or office space Shop for Better Prices Every time you look at an invoice ask yourself When was the last time I checked to see if I could get this product or service at a lower cost Compare prices for general operating expenses every few months Get several quotes on any purchase over 500 Ask about price breaks for buying in quantity Are You Getting What You Paid For Physically check all purchases to be sure it is what you ordered Check invoices for correct prices what was actually received and math errors Never pay from a statement Only from original invoices Don t Let Inventory Get Out of Control If your business has inventories develop specific par quantity levels to keep inventory moving If your inventory exceeds par quantities or you have dead inventory on the shelves decrease upcoming orders or sell the surplus at a discount

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/business-management/business-management-blog/self-made/2012/05/29/Cash_Flow_The_Life_Blood_of_Business (2016-02-14)
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  • Reclassifying Independent Contract Workers As Employees?
    know your industry let us help you manage your small business Reclassifying Independent Contract Workers As Employees Friday January 27 2012 Posted by Keith Hall Are the workers in your business Independent Contractors or are they really Employees instead For most of us it is easier to simply call them independent contractors instead of employees because the presumption is that the paperwork is easier No withholding no payroll taxes less hassles The problem is that the classification of your workers is not a matter of choice You can t just choose for them to be independent contractors because it is easier Your worker s classification is determined by the underlying facts and circumstances of the working relationship with the key point being who controls the work product Who tells the worker when to be at work how to do the work who provides the tools to accomplish the work etc This has been a point of contention with the IRS for years and they seem to be increasing their efforts to find those of us who have not been making the appropriate classification If you have inappropriately classified employees as independent contractors and therefore failed to withhold and pay applicable taxes the IRS is most likely looking for you But there is good news The IRS has developed The Voluntary Classification Settlement Program VCSP in order to provide an opportunity for taxpayers to reclassify their workers as employees for employment tax purposes for future tax periods For those of us who weren t aware of the rules this is a great chance to get things right and most likely avoid penalties and interest that might otherwise be due The VCSP is available for taxpayers who want to voluntarily change the prospective classification of their workers The program applies to taxpayers who are currently treating their workers or a class or group of workers as independent contractors or other nonemployees and want to prospectively treat the workers as employees Advantages Taxpayers file an application Form 8952 to start the process With acceptance businesses pay just 10 of the tax computed on favorable rates There are no penalties or interest for misfiling for past years There is also audit protection for past years on workers being reclassified The most confusing part of this issue is exactly who is an independent contractor and how far back can the IRS go if you have made an error The VCSP according to the IRS removes the uncertainty for Federal Employment Tax purposes and potentially limits the exposure from previous years Easy Process Business owners should complete Form 8952 Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program and file 60 days prior to treating workers as employees At that point the IRS will review the application and if eligible a closing agreement will be prepared by the IRS Business owners should send payment after the closing agreement is received Eligible businesses Must be currently treating workers as nonemployers Must have filed 1099s for nonemployees Cannot be under audit

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/business-management/business-management-blog/self-made/2012/01/27/Reclassifying_Independent_Contract_Workers_As_Employees (2016-02-14)
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  • What To Do With Year-End Inventory [Ask The Experts Q & A]
    My NASE About Me Account Benefits Optional Benefits Payment Details Expert Questions Email Subscriptions Membership Directory NASE Business Management Blog You know your industry let us help you manage your small business What To Do With Year End Inventory Ask The Experts Q A Monday December 05 2011 Q We have a significant quantity of clothing left in our warehouse In prior years we have scrambled to get rid of it at closeout prices because our CPA says this has a tax advantage HOWEVER at what point can we determine we are actually LOSING money by doing this If we hold on to inventory and sell it at full price next year perhaps that s a greater advantage Is there a formula to help us ascertain what to do A I hate to take exception with your accountant but selling inventory at less than you otherwise could simply for tax reasons could never really make much sense If you sell inventory for even 1 less than you could have sold it later you will always be worse off unless the carrying cost of that inventory is greater than 1 That would mean you have debt against the inventory and selling it for 1 less now saves more than 1 in interest costs that would be incurred before you could sell it at its regular price But none of this has anything to do with tax reasons The key point is that giving up 1 in revenue does save money on taxes since obviously you have less in income But giving up the 1 will save you about 30 cents or so in taxes You save 30 cents but lost 1 so you are not better off So if you can sell the inventory at its regular price shortly after the

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/business-help/get-help/business-management/business-management-blog/self-made/2011/12/05/What_To_Do_With_Year-End_Inventory_Ask_The_Experts_Q_A (2016-02-14)
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