Tips for Effectively Advertising Your Cleaning Business

January 8, 2018

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As the owner of a fledgling online directory, I am astounded at how many businesses don’t provide adequate information on their websites and business listings. A large number of cleaning businesses state their business name and their city location -leaving a great deal of uncertainty as to whether this business is positioned to handle a customer’s cleaning needs. This article will present the proper way for a cleaning business to list their information online, as well as, provide tips for protecting the private information of the business owners.

When starting a cleaning business, or any business for that matter, it’s important to consider the arena in which you are setting up shop. As a service provider, who travels into the homes and businesses of your customers, you have to be able to demonstrate two important things: 1) that you service the area where the job is needing to be done, and 2) that you are trustworthy, honest, and capable to do the job. Your business marketing materials (business cards, fliers, cleaning checklists, and website material) must observe both of these.

To demonstrate that you service the area where the job is, you must state where you are located. The address of your business may not seem that important if you have a service radius of 50 miles. However, a prospective customer may not be able to determine your radius if they don’t know where the center of that radius is. Saying, for instance, that your business is in New York City does not indicate which part of New York City you service -nor does it indicate to the customer that you service their home in Flushing, Manhattan, Queens, or anywhere else in the city and suburbs. It’s too vague.

How do you go about stating your address without compromising the safety of your home or family? The honest answer to this is hard to state for a number of reasons. No matter if you have a home office or a standard business front, safety is always a concern. That’s true for small business and large corporations. If you can’t get over this fact -and list your home office address- then your next best bet is to get a post office box smack dab in the center of where you plan to conduct your business: your service area. This will at least give you the benefit of utilizing the zip code itself -as a zip code is an ideal means to delineate service areas. P.O. Boxes aren’t that expensive and also serve as a way to separate your business mail from your private mail. It’s an investment that will reap bigger rewards.

Finally, listing your address also promotes a sense of trust and honesty to prospective customers. All to often, people are duped by businesses that purport to offer x service. Today’s consumers are smarter and now look for basic identifiers to vet prospective providers (look at the rise in importance of reviews, for instance). Listing your information separates you from scammers. It opens you up to your customers.

So when you go to create a listing on a directory or adding your contact information to your website, take a big step and add your address, email, and other identifiers. It builds trust with your customers, provides a focal point for your service radius, and aides in separating you from bogus companies out to dupe consumers. It’s what establishes you as a business.

Types of Business Signs

January 8, 2018

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These signs are ones that identify and/or advertise a business venture along with the name of the business, location, hours of operation, and more. It can also be one that is located inside the business listing the customer policies, a menu, prices of products, etc. There are many different kinds of business signs such as the monument, channel letters, the pylon, the billboard, and the Electronic Message Center (EMC).

Channel letters
These are consider business signs but each letter on the sign is separated, lighted, and three dimensional in shape. One common form of this type of business signs are the letters that you see on the top of the outside wall of a hotel spelling out their name. Usually as part of this business sign there will be a logo symbol that is separate. You may also see this type of sign over a business doorway like a club or restaurant. It can also be hanging down the side of the business building.

Pylon
These signs are generally tall and can be seen from the road so they are visible to drivers. It can have the name of just one business or list many businesses. One example of a multi-listing pylon business sign would be one that list businesses found in the same shopping center. There are some of these business signs that have a board where the owner can put letters advertising sales announcements or restaurants advertising specials.

Monument
These are signs that are low and near the ground. It is usually placed at the entrance of a company, business, or factory, or in the parking lot. The base of these signs can vary from synthetic materials, to stone, to concrete. You may even see lettering that has been placed straight on a big stone to create unique monument business signs. Around the stone sign you may see a landscape design of plants and flowers.

Billboards
These signs are very big and often have graphics that are eye-catching. Many areas now have requirements, including height requirements, for billboards on major interstates because of their potential to cause a distraction from drivers trying to read them. One requirement in addition to how high they can be is how far they have to be from the highway or road.

Electron Message Center
These business signs are a new technology that offers businesses the capacity to change messages easily and a wide range of colors. Some of these signs may just display the time and temperature or it could have a moving scroll of messages such as things on sale at the business, along with colorful images.

3 Types of Financial Fraud In Business

January 8, 2018

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Business fraud can have a monumental impact on an organization. There are many types of fraud that go by different names, such as financial statement fraud, bribery and corruption and asset misappropriation. It is often the case that fraud instigated by an employee will involve more than one type of fraud. Also, business fraud is not always easy to detect because it does not always show up in a company’s official accounts system. In general, the most typical way to detect this type of fraud is by receiving a tip from an employee, a customer, or an outside vendor.

Here is an overview of the different financial fraud in business:

Asset misappropriation

Asset misappropriation is the type of fraud that involves a member of staff who uses their position to take from their employers. This fraud is often committed by those trusted to manage the interests and assets of a company, which can include board members, employees or directors.

This type of fraud activity can include theft of company formulas, patents, or sensitive data, theft of credit notes or vouchers, inventory theft, theft of money or check forgery.

Any company that suffers from asset misappropriation will experience cash flow issues in some form. Plus, it can also have a negative impact on staff morale and the company’s reputation. It is believed that over 90% of business fraud is related to asset misappropriation which makes it by far the most common issue. On average, the lost from this type of fraud is in the region of $150,000 per case.

Bribery and corruption

Bribery and corruption is the next most common issue related to fraud in a business environment. Even though this type of fraud is less common than asset misappropriation, the average cost of a bribery scheme is significantly higher, and likely to exceed over half a million dollars per case.

The type of schemes involved in this area are quite broad and can include substitution of inferior goods, manipulation of contracts, bribes to influence decision-making, shell company schemes and kickbacks.

Financial statement fraud

Financial statement fraud takes place less frequently, but is almost certainly to be the most experience per case. On average, this type of fraud can lead to a company losing up to $2 million per case. This fraud involves an entity or individual falsifying earnings or income statements in an attempt to make a financial gain for them.

Passion and Business

January 8, 2018

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Every business person will experience challenges. This is a default setting in life – Challenges will always come. But, what separates the businesses that rise and rise, from those that experience failure after failure?

(Caveat: This is not to say that there are businesses that never fail. ALL businesses fail at some point. Some, however, rise from ashes and shine through.)

Passion, then, is the key ingredient between throwing in the towel, or getting up to fight the next round. There is a refining moment where every business owner goes through intense heat. This heat can either polish you or finish you completely but it all depends on the level of passion in the business.

To always keep your goals ahead of you is tough when everything is bursting at the seams. This is why asking questions is a survival skill.

“Why am I doing this? What works? What doesn’t? What can I do better?”

These questions tackle the level of passion you are carrying for the business. Sometimes, answering these questions may make you revisit exactly how you ended up in that business. This in turn focuses on your motivators. They are the little coals that keep your passion alive. They make going through the grime seem worthwhile even though the outlook seems bleak. As long as you keep asking these questions, you automatically take your mind to your motivators. That’s why challenges really should never worry you, but dwindling passion should ring alarm bells!

So, when passion starts to dwindle, simply repeat the questions, “Why am I doing this? What works? What doesn’t work? What can I do better?”

Once you have your mind on your motivators, the dying passion will be revived once again.

Why am I doing this? It’s the path towards achieving goal X, Y, Z…

What works? So far, what have I achieved? Am I still on my way there?

What doesn’t work? What has derailed me on this course? Is what I’m doing still viable? If I change course, what will still take me to goal X, Y, Z…?

What can I do better? What hasn’t stalled but isn’t performing well either? How can I affect the rate of growth? Do I really need more money? Can I do it differently? Can I borrow a strategy? Who has done this and it’s working for them?

When stalling, don’t resign. Ask. What you fear will always paralyze you. Once you question its power, you have a fighting chance left. Always ask.

Evaluating Booth Designers

January 8, 2018

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The results you will get for your booth design depends on who you hire. You need someone who is creative, a great listener, and has a great reputation for the work they do. They should be able to demonstrate the have the skills and the desire to get the job done for you successfully and on time. You need to go into such a product knowing you are in very good hands.

The last thing you want are hassles or problems to develop. You may have limited knowledge about trade show booth designers right now, but with some diving into it online, you can start to identify who has a great reputation and who has a long list of unhappy customers behind them. Get started so you can have all the time you need to narrow it down.

What are you Looking for?

Before you reach out to trade show booth designers, think about what you are looking for. Do you need an elaborate concept or something simple? Do you know what you want, or do you need someone to come on board to create the idea for you? How much time do you have for the project to be completed? How much can you spend on it?

Such information will give you the framework of what you need to look for with trade show booth designers. Once you find some experts that fit your needs, set up a time to talk to them. If they aren’t willing to consult with you, mark them off your list. Most professionals are happy to give you a no obligation consult.

Consult with Experts

Be ready for the consulting sessions as they are for a limited window of time. You need to get a good feel of the trade show booth designers and what they could contribute for your business. Ask to see samples, ask about their experience, and the methods they use. Share your objectives with them and see what they offer. You need to feel comfortable talking to them.

The communication should flow with ease. You will be working closely with them, and you don’t want to feel uneasy around them. If you feel they are pressuring you, rushing you, or not listening to you, they aren’t the right trade show booth designers for you to work with. They need to guide you through the process and treat you like you are a priority.

Talk about Concepts and Pricing

Thank them for their time, and get back to them. If you feel they are the right provider for you, ask to schedule another appointment. This is where you will discuss the concepts and the pricing. You may be able to finalize the plan of action with the trade show booth designers at this time. You may need to give them some time to create some options for you and schedule another.

When you come back in to look at the concepts they offer, be honest about them. If you love one of them, you can finalize those details, and they can proceed with the idea. If you like certain things but not others, tell them so they can make changes. This can continue until you are very content with what you see. They should never start to make the exhibition materials until then.

You want time to review the final work too before you need it for display. Don’t cut your deadlines too close or you may be stuck with something you don’t want. A great provider is going to strive to get it right the first time. They want you to be a happy customer, but if it is wrong, they will take steps to make it right.

The Importance of Energy Use Intensity in Improving Energy Efficiency

January 8, 2018

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Do you think your business is spending too much on electricity? If so, you need to find a way to reduce your energy consumption and make the most of your energy costs. There are a lot of options that can help you. However, you must first understand energy use intensity and its role in improving your energy efficiency.

You go through your fixed overhead costs and get stumped by how much it is. What do you do? You find ways to cut them down, of course. Energy expenses take up one of the largest percentages of your company’s monthly budget. Which is a good thing because unlike other aspects such as employee payments and business operations, energy expenses can be reduced.

Commercial buildings contribute more than twenty percent of the total energy consumption of the country, an average thirty percent of which goes to waste. Just knowing your building’s total energy consumption cannot help you optimize energy efficiency. President of WeCompete Energy CEO Mr. Resides states, “With knowledge of your energy use intensity, you can determine whether your building is using too much energy for its size and help you decide how much of your consumption you need to reduce.”

What is Energy Use Intensity?

Energy use intensity (EUI) measures a building’s energy efficiency. It is expressed as a function of the building size by identifying annual energy usage per square foot of your building. Simply put, it can be computed by dividing your total energy consumption for the year by the total floor area of your building.

There are two types of EUIs: the site type and the source type. The site type EUI is used to measure the amount of energy utilized in a building while the source type EUI represents the total amount of energy used to run a company and its operations; this includes energy used for delivery and transportation processes.

How to compute for EUI?

Now that we have established that EUI is energy use per square foot per year, it is time to learn how to compute for it. Compute for the EUI by dividing gross energy utilized in a year, expressed in kilowatt-hour or kilo-British Thermal Units (kBTUs), over total square footage of the building.

For example:

You own a two-story building with the main floor measuring around 20,000 square feet and the second-floor measure 15,000 square feet. Your building consumed a total of 2,250,000 kilowatts for the year.

Convert your consumption in kilowatts to kBTUs. You can obtain the kBTUs if you multiply your total energy consumption by 3.412 (1 kilowatt is equivalent to 3.412 kBTUs). Multiplying 1,550,000 kilowatts by 3.412 gives us an annual energy use of 5,288,600 kBTUs.

Now, compute for the total area of your building. In this case, it is 20,000 square feet + 15,000 square feet. That gives us 35,000 square feet.

Finally, get your EUI by dividing your annual energy use in kBTUs by your total area in square feet. That would be 5,288,600 kBTUs per year over 35,000 square feet. The EUI of your building is 151.1 kBTU/ sq. ft.

What causes variations in EUI?

A low EUI signifies good energy performance. Currently, no standard determines whether an EUI is good or not because EUIs vary for several reasons.

Building type, weather conditions, working hours and number of occupants, are the reasons behind the variations of EUI.

  • Building type – Supermarkets have the highest EUIs. Hospitals have EUI values that are three times higher than that of educational institutions. It may be because more equipment is being used in hospitals and lighting is turned on for almost 24 hours a day.
  • Weather conditions – variations in temperature results to different heating or cooling requirements. There are differences in heating and cooling costs per area. Those differences must be taken into consideration when computing for the EUI value.
  • Working hours – longer working hours means more lighting and equipment usage resulting to higher energy consumption and EUI value.
  • Number of occupants – EUIs are measured using the total annual energy consumption and the floor area of a building. Between two similar buildings with the same floor area but a different number of occupants, the building with the higher number of occupants would have a higher EUI Value.

How does EUI Improve Energy Efficiency?

EUI determines whether your actual annual energy consumption exceeds the energy consumption required for the size of your building and its occupants. It can be used as a baseline when quantifying the amount of energy you should reduce.

EUI leads you to understand your energy performance better. Even with just basic knowledge of EUI, you can use it to compare the energy efficiency of buildings similar to yours and determine areas where you can still make improvements.