Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Problem of Inventory For Small Businesses

Small businesses always face the challenges of cash flow. This is a constant battle between monthly expenses and the sales you generate. Those that operate retail outlets or sell merchandise via the internet are also faced with the complicated question of inventory levels. Maintaining the right balance is extremely important to insuring a successful enterprise. 

The problem with inventory is quite simple. How much should you keep on hand? This is largely determined by several factors. For example, are there multiple sources for your product or products? If so this can be a big help in the challenges faced by your company. 

Single sources for items can pose very complicated scenarios for retailers. The reason lies in the dependability of the supply chain and the number of competing stores also vying for merchandise.                                       

A failure at the factory, an internal issue with wholesaler, or other unforeseen factors can cause fulfillment issues for your customers. If you are dealing with a sole supplier, the adding to your inventory levels is probably a good strategy. 

The quantity should be sufficient to cover one or two of your normal ordering amounts at the minimum. That is if you normally order a certain quantity every two weeks, it may be smart to stock enough merchandise to cover an additional two to four weeks to cover any possible interruptions. 

If you're lucky to work with more than one supplier, this can be a great advantage. If one supplier every has any problems, you can easily shift you purchases to your second source. In this scenario its often recommended to purchase from your alternate source from time to time. 

This keeps your account fresh in the minds of the wholesaler and perhaps creates a greater willingness on their part to work with you on hard to get orders. Two sources can reduce your inventory needs substantially as long as you keep track of available inventory at either of your sources.  

One last thing to remember regarding inventory is that having too much at the end of the year can have tax consequences. The last things you want to do is overstock and then have to pay higher than needed taxes on your goods. 

Maintaining the right balance of inventory is difficult but should be reviewed every few months to insure your stock is sufficient, but not excessive. This will help insure that your cash isn't locked inventory during critical cash flow periods.

Jacob Lumbroso is a world traveler and an enthusiast for foreign languages, history, and foreign cultures. He also has a website where he provides information on Electronic Air Purifier [] and Honywell Air Purifiers [].

Source: EzineArticles

Warehouse Management Software - Making Sense of It

For those of us who have worked in a warehouse, we know there has to be a way of categorizing everything. For those of us who own a warehouse, we know that implementing a system that can do that is definitely easier said than done. 

Unfortunately, you can't just make a chart of where everything is and be done with it unless you have a warehouse that's so small it doesn't matter. If your warehouse is large, however, it warrants a much more sophisticated system than a piece of construction paper on the wall.

There are at least two different types of warehouse management software that have emerged so far. There is one variant that plugs into the database software you already have, meaning it would become an extension of Microsoft access. 

The next type of database software is a little more meaningful. It comes in a package of standalone software that will fully integrate with your systems, and of course two things that will make it a lot more meaningful.

Scanners and bar codes are a very important part of any Warehouse Management System. Why is that you ask? Using bar codes, we can slap a label on a box and then using the scanner, we will be able to scan it into the system. 

Suddenly, without going to an actual computer terminal the contents and location of that box is in the system and if one needs to find it all they have to do is look up its location in the computer.

Warehouse systems range in power and capability, but some of the more powerful ones can handle a warehouse of either 10,000 feet, or ones with millions of square feet and multiple buildings. 

Since you won't have to pay a group of workers to keep track of it you'll save quite a bit of money. Just remember that because you have such a system in place there, will be some added expenses that you never thought of.

Your computer system will be slightly more sophisticated so you won't be able to maintain it with the standard wrench and bucket of grease. You will need to hire a technician that can keep tabs on everything that is going on and perform maintenance on the system as needed. 

It may cost, but it'll be a lot cheaper than having a huge group of workers writing down where everything in the warehouse is and what it is doing there.

Warehouse management software will help your business to thrive, and it will definitely take a huge burden off your workers. If you are going to invest in anything this year then you should definitely get yourself a warehouse management system.

If you want to improve your companies efficiency, then find out more how a warehouse management software could bring these improvements to your workplace by visiting Chess Logistics knows every business is different, that's why there systems are flexible and adaptable to meet a businesses most demanding requirements.

Source: EzineArticles

Choosing the Best CRM System

Your ability to communicate with your customers is one of the most important factors in having a successful business. Choosing the best CRM system can play a large role in your customer relations. A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system allows you to store information about your customers, interact with them efficiently and gives them a user-friendly experience when they deal with your company.

Research Your Alternatives

In searching for the right CRM system for you, make sure you research your alternatives. Consider that the system you get must work well with your particular type of business. You can read reviews for various kinds of CRM software or web-based services. These can help you to see the benefits and drawbacks of different systems.

If possible, try to talk to someone who has used one of the systems you are considering. They can give you feedback on how it has worked for them. However, keep in mind that each business is different. Also remember that as important as a CRM system is, it is not the only factor in determining the success of a business. So, for example, if someone is using a particular CRM software and their business is not doing well, it is not necessarily because of that. The same, of course, is true for someone whose business is doing well.

Web Based vs. Installed CRM Systems

When choosing a CRM system, you can either have software installed on your computer or you can subscribe to a web-based service. One is not necessarily better than the other --it depends on your needs and preferences.

Some people like to be able to control the entire process in-house and not have to rely on an external service. On the other hand, web-based services have many advantages. They can be accessed from anywhere you have internet service. Things like technical support also tend to be simpler with a web-based service, as all you have to do is call for help.

Customer Service is the Key

When choosing a CRM system, keep in mind that the real purpose is to provide the best possible customer service. When considering features of a CRM system, you naturally want something that is simple for you and your employees to learn and use. However, it's even more important to have something in place that your customers will be comfortable with. Tasks like contacting your company for information, placing orders and requesting assistance or refunds should be as painless as possible. This will keep your customers happy and make them more likely to return to you and recommend you to others.

Choosing the best CRM system for your company is an important decision. You should not rush into buying software from the first salesperson you talk to or from an advertisement you read. Do a little research and find the system that will contribute the most to your needs.

David Mulford is a certified CRM Professional, with a specialty of helping businesses multiply their revenue using a combination of marketing Strategy and tactics, CRM strategy, and CRM software. He is a CRM advisor and consultant for Your-CRM in UK - Specialized in providing you the Best CRM System [].

Your-CRM supports businesses and organisations using these software solutions by providing business training, consultancy, software implementation training, end-user training and end-user support. Your-CRM also enables small businesses and medium-sized businesses to create value for their customers through the use of Customer relationship Management (CRM). For more information feel free to get in touch with us at []

Source: EzineArticles

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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Online Accounting Software for Small Business

Every company, big or small, needs to keep track of where their money went, and where it's going. While spreadsheets may do the job for keeping tabs on a few transactions in your basic accounts, your small business is eventually going to need a proper solution. This means that one program can keep tabs on inventory management, invoicing, payroll and customer relations management. The end result saves you time and money since you won't have to purchase and task through different programs.

Luckily, there are ranges of accounting software solutions available for small business that provide flexibility for your company. Small business owner and IT expert Susan Ward offers a few suggestions on the best of the bunch.

Intuit Quickbooks

Quickbooks is one of the most well-known accounting programs, and fits nicely into the accounting needs of small businesses. The program comes in a variety of configurations, depending on how big your business is. Intuit Quickbooks' basic, online, pro and premier editions can be matched with your company's specific need.

The 2013 professional version of Quickbooks offers features such as the company snapshot, customizable vendor, customer and employee centres as well as the capability to quickly find any report, account or invoice with a just a few taps of the keyboard in its Quickbooks search box.

Sage 50 Accounting

Formerly called Simply Accounting, Sage 50 Accounting is a tried-and-tested accounting option for small businesses. For Canadian firms, Sage Accounting has all the options you need: calculating and paying GST or HST and PST or QST, and also preparing government tax return T-4s, ROEs or RL-1 through physical filing or efile. The software comes in English or French, letting you swap languages on the fly.

Though there is a First Step version available, the Pro edition is preferred as it allows you access to features such as creating sales orders and quotes and is usable with multiple currencies.

AccountEdge Accounting Software

This software used to be named MYOB Accounting Plus, and can be thought of as the Swiss army knife of accounting solutions for small businesses. That means AccountEdge offers a high level of flexibility. Its inventory command centre grants you control over inventory using multiple pricing levels, negative inventory and also kit building. And when it comes to time billing, AccountEdge offers multiple billing rates for easily tracked chargeable and non-chargeable time.

What's more, AccountEdge has more than 200 financial reports that can be tailor to your needs, and is compatible with online store application Enstore. It even has a mobile app for iPhones and iPad devices.

Connected Core Accounting Software

One of the big features of this small business accounting solution is that it works across platforms. That means employees using either Mac or PC computers can simultaneously work on a data file. What's more, that data file can be hosted on either one of the computers.

Connected Core also hooks into Microsoft Office, and can be easily customized. And for tax purposes, it offers proper GST/HST accounting. If you need advanced features such as inventory management or job costing then Connected Core may not be the right option, but it's a nice fit for firms that are quickly outgrowing entry level accounting programs.

Sage BusinessVision Accounting

Sage BusinessVision Accounting lets you keep track of both your inventory and sales. It comes in five different editions, which are all easily customizable and scalable through its modular design. With its small business edition, Sage BusinessVision makes it easy to meeting accounting and management needs for your business.

In addition, it has an e-BusinessVision add-on that lets you fuse an online selling system into your accounting software. This makes it perfect for wholesale, light manufacturing and retail companies. Though it has a higher price than other accounting solutions, remember that it meets more needs than a basic accounting suite.

Microsoft Dynamics GP

Microsoft Dynamics GP is, like Sage BusinessVision, more than just a mere accounting program but rather a robust business management solution. It offers financial management features, supply chain management, business reporting and intelligence, payroll management and human resources as well as sales, service and project management. It also is tightly integrated with other Microsoft software, including Office, and lets you store data on site or in the cloud. Though prices depend on what package you choose, this software can be costly if you include many of its high-level features.

Use accounting software for your small business incorporation. The programs give you immediate entries that can be recorded when each transaction is finished. This keeps your accounting data up to date, offering a window on the financial health of your business incorporation [].


Article Source:

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Business Software Alliance accused of Pirating the Photo They Used in Their Snitch-on-pirates Ad


The Business Software Alliance — a proprietary software industry group — has pulled a controversial ad that promised cash to people who snitched on friends and employers who used pirated software, after they were credibly accused of pirating the image used in the campaign.

The ad used a photo of a pot of gold, captioned with "Your pot of gold is right here baby. Report unlicensed software and GET PAID." The photo used in the ad was of a cake baked by Cakecentral user Bethasd (the cake itself is pretty amazing! "St. Patrick's Day Pot O' Gold – Chocolate Guinness cake with Bailey's Irish Buttercream").

The BSA has refused to comment on its use of the photo, or to confirm that it was licensed prior to use, but they immediately pulled the ad after being asked about it. Meanwhile, Torrentfreak "encourage[s] 'bethasd' to get in contact with the software industry group, and demand both licensing fees and damages for the unauthorized use of her photo. Surely, the BSA will be happy to hand over a pot of gold to her."

Representing major software companies, the BSA is using Facebook ads which encourage people to report businesses that use unlicensed software. If one of these reports results in a successful court case, the pirate snitch can look forward to a cash reward.

Below is one of the promoted Facebook posts that appeared in the timeline of thousands of people on Saint Patrick's Day. It features a homemade cake in the shape of a pot of gold and sends a clear message to the readers.

"Your pot of gold is right here baby. Report unlicensed software and GET PAID," the post reads.

source: BoingBoing

4 Essential SEO Strategy Elements for Service-Based Businesses

By Susan Friesen 

Unique Elements Required for a Service-based Business to Rank Properly in the Search Engines.

While big multinational companies employ SEO strategies to gain clients and customers from all over the world, a small business who deals only with customers in its geographic region only wants local leads.

This article looks at what you must have in your SEO strategy if you're one of those smaller businesses and you're trying to gain visibility with clients local to you.

1. Your website

Look at your website and see if you can tell where your business is located and who it services.

Your target area should be prevalently noted in the Home page copy, your contact page, as well as in the footer. You can even incorporate it into your business name or URL.

The idea is of course to make sure that when someone gets to your website looking for what you provide, they are also affirmed you service their area.

Put these terms in your META data too. It makes a difference in reaching local customers doing specific searches for your city or business service area. Additionally, when you create individual pages for each service you provide, work the locations serviced into the headlines and copy.

2. Google My Business

If you haven't already done so you should create a Gmail account for yourself, so you can easily log into all of Google's apps and products.

Google My Business is one such tool available for free that gets your business pinned on Google Maps and if Google sees the right signals you'll show up high in the local rank results too. The local rank results are those results you'll see when Google has understood your search query to be location specific.

Try typing 'plumbers near me' into Google and you'll likely see a few ads and some localized listings before you see the organic search results. This could be 1 - 3 ads or 3 or 4 local listings depending on how competitive the market is.

Those local listings are valuable to your business and by creating and verifying your business with Google you'll have at least initiated the steps it takes to get listed in those local listings.

Once you have the account, fill in everything you can. Provide photos and use your service and locality keywords in the description and anywhere else you see a sincere opportunity.

3. Local Citations

Local citations are when your business is listed in local directories. You'll likely only ever need to do this once and it's very easy.

Just look up your location with the word 'directories' after. There are some obvious ones like Yelp but you may find some niche directories for your locality as well as your service too.

Don't ever pay for these as those paid directories will have already been flagged by Google when it reviews their site. Paying for links or citations will always harm your ranking efforts.

4. Reviews

When it comes to local customers, reviews are golden. They're testimonials that other potential clients can trust. Requesting these from previous customers is totally fine; however, falsifying them is not.

Don't have them log into their Gmail account from your computer to leave a review or Google will see that your reviews all come from the same IP address and the reviews then won't help your rank.

There are plenty of other things you can do as well but those 4 points are staples in any local SEO strategy and if you're a service-based business you'll need them in order to get the right traffic.

Of course, if you're looking to really dominate the rank results and ensure you've got a solid strategy you're going to want to hire someone providing professional search engine optimization. They can take things further as well as actively maintain the efforts needed to let Google know you provide what you do, where you do it, while you spend your time actually providing your service!

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

If you are new to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing, my monthly group coaching program, AMPLIFY! Business Academy is a perfect way for you to incrementally learn the best strategies and tactics to help you grow your business online.

Source: EzineArticles

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Report: Soy, cattle industries trail palm oil, timber on deforestation risk


  • The report says the soybean and cattle industries lack certification bodies like the RSPO that were created after consumer pressure.
  • Among soybean and cattle producers, Glencore Agriculture, JBS and Minerva scored worst on indicators for forest risk.
  • The two industries have a significant role in the deforestation of the Amazon and Brazil’s Cerrado biome.

Corporations that trade in four forest-risk commodities are failing to do enough to prevent deforestation in their supply chains, according to new analysis by the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP), an NGO that works with businesses and governments to track their environmental impacts. The paper points an accusing finger at the cattle and soy industries in particular, saying that their practices lag far behind those of companies that trade in other commodities.

“The focus on deforestation today has been on timber and palm oil despite the fact that cattle has been one of its major drivers between 2005 and 2015,” said Ling Sin Fai Lam, lead analyst at CDP and one of the authors of the report.

According to the report, companies operating in the agriculture and logging industries drive more than 80% of global deforestation, with soy, palm oil, cattle, and timber being largely to blame. Lam says that a combination of consumer pressure and certification schemes have forced changes in the timber and palm oil sectors, while soy and cattle companies continue to operate with few checks and balances despite their heavy footprint in the Amazon and other forest regions.

“A lot of these companies have no visibility on where the cow might have been reared or if at some point in its life cycle it may have grazed on deforested land,” Lam told Mongabay. “And our analysis shows that all the cattle and soy companies in our sample continue to operate in the Amazon, which has the highest rate of tree loss.”

The boom in global demand for beef and soybeans has pushed the Amazon into crisis, with one recent analysis of NASA satellite data concluding that forest fires were likelier to occur near industrial meatpacking pants and soybean silos than in other areas.

Part of the reason why has to do with their supply chains. Major traders like JBS and Cargill typically purchase cattle and soybeans directly from smaller companies and independent farmers. Cows often pass through multiple hands before reaching a slaughterhouse, and Lam says the big industry players that operate them aren’t doing nearly enough to make sure their suppliers aren’t contributing to deforestation.

“Companies like Minerva and JBS don’t actually provide any evidence of traceability beyond the fattening farms where cattle goes before it gets slaughtered, but throughout the life cycle of the cattle it could actually move through quite a few farms before it gets there,” Lam said.

Of the 10 major soy and cattle producers analyzed in the report, Glencore Agriculture, JBS, and Minerva Foods ranked at the bottom of a list of indicators developed by CDP to evaluate deforestation risks. All three companies have made commitments to fight deforestation, but CDP’s report says their efforts are falling far short of what’s needed to protect tropical forests.

JBS, for example, claims to prevent deforestation in its direct supply chain, but says it isn’t able to monitor all of its indirect suppliers. This summer, an investigationrevealed evidence that it continued to work with some of those suppliers that had been sanctioned for illegal deforestation.

And Cargill has dismissed the idea of a moratorium on the production of soy inside the Cerrado, a forested savanna region of Brazil that boasts some of the highest biodiversity in South America. Like in the cattle industry, most large soybean traders purchase the commodity from smaller local operations.

Demand for the legumes has skyrocketed in recent years, largely as a result of China’s appetite for the pigs that feed on them.

“Just four out of the seven soy companies that we covered provided any clarity on soy certification,” Lam said.

In contrast, the report says the palm oil and timber industries have made progress in recent years, largely via participation in certification platforms that bring civil society, governments, and producers together to monitor plantation operations. The 10 palm oil producers covered in the report are together responsible for managing nearly half of the total land certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); and 68% of the timber produced by companies included in CDP’s analysis was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

But even those certification bodies have been critiqued by environmental campaigners, and some say it would be misleading to point to them as a standard that the beef and soy industries should mimic.

“Industrial agricultural commodities responsible for the majority of deforestation worldwide are not regulated and therefore continue to drive the climate crisis through unfettered environmental destruction and human rights violations,” said Gaurav Madan, senior forests and lands campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “This blind spot in regulation comes in part due to an overreliance on voluntary corporate commitments and sustainability certification schemes, like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.”

Lam says the better track record of the palm oil and timber industries in recent years doesn’t mean they are entirely off the hook.

“It’s all relative, and at the end of the day we know that deforestation is still happening for all these commodities,” she said. “But we’d really like to see cattle and soy get up to where palm oil and timber is.”

In the long run, she adds, the main takeaway of the analysis is that the world isn’t doing nearly enough to tackle the impact that forest-risk industries are having on climate-critical forests.

“The world needs to make systemic changes to the global food system,” she said.

Source: Mongabay