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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Marketing Strategy



Market strategies result from a market analysis that enables the target market to be defined and the business positioned in order to gain its share of sales.

Marketing strategies differ depending on the situation of the business. Sometimes more than one marketing strategy may be used simultaneously. Here are a number of ways of categorizing some generic strategies.

Strategies based on market dominance are based on market share or dominance such as Leader, Challenger, Follower or Niche Player.

Strategies based on market penetration and sustainable competitive advantage such as Pioneers, Early or Late followers and include a growth factor for sustainability.

Strategies based on warfare analogies: Offensive (secure competitive advantages), Defensive (defend competitive advantages), Flanking (operate in areas around the competition) or Guerilla (attack, retreat, hide, repeat).

As with everything in business, time changes it all. So it is important to reexamine your market strategies every so often.

How have you defined your marketing strategy lately?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Ultimate Entrepreneur


In 1988 the book “The Ultimate Entrepreneur” was a biography of a man I had the good fortune to work for and with. Engineer Ken Olsen founded Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) with a loan of $70,000 and built the second largest computer company in the world, challenging IBM for first place. His company thrived and grew in the face of competition from no less than five other competitors in the same state of Massachusetts. He has been described as the most successful entrepreneur in the history of American business.

He had an idea, move computing out of the glass house (such as the clean rooms of IBM), and put it in the hands of engineers and scientists. That was the start of the minicomputer era, and boom it did! It led to DEC moving computing into the hands of small and medium businesses. Ken is often credited with much of the innovation that created the personal computer. The next step…mobile computing is here today largely due to the initial idea Ken had.

So what are some of the attributes that drove this entrepreneur?    

Dependable and trustworthy. Even in tough times, while Ken was in control, the company had a no layoff policy. This created an environment where new ideas were brought forward freely. There was no shortage of projects seeking funding.

Supporter of innovation. Most good ideas were funded to the extent that some funded projects competed with each other under the concept that only the best would survive. In the extreme the company introduced three different personal computers.

Charitable. Community service and higher education were actively supported. Computers were donated to schools. Employees were not only encouraged to obtain higher education but also to teach others. College building funds were supported. I was able to get funding for a program to support children of employees attending advanced education programs. All employees received a bonus at the end of the year and a turkey at thanksgiving, which could be donated to needed families.

Humble. Ken did not like publicity, often donating anonymously. He did not make future promises but let the products speak for themselves. He received many awards for his successes. I had the opportunity to witness Ken getting an award from the King of Sweden. He seemed uncomfortable. 

How do you and your company compare?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shipping Methods in Exporting


Marketing strategy frequently overlooks the question of logistics. Utilization of the "THROUGH BILL OF LADING" (TBL) couplers with a LANDBRIDGE (MULTI-MODAL TRANSPORT) can make it possible to effectively use shipping charges towards closing a sale. Multi-modality combining several cargo moves into a single THROUGH B/L is a mixture for lowest & fastest movement to your customer overseas.

LANDBRIDGE - THE MULTI-MODAL SHIPMENT

This method combines speed of delivery. Speed is expensive in exporting. Since customer satisfaction results in more sales,
this combination of overland shipment coupled with ocean cargo containers will provide you with a competitive sales price. You MUST have a Int'l. Freight Forwarder handling this type of logistic to obtain the TBL

For example, if you client is in the Far East and the FOB point is in the mid-west, you would opt for a rail transfer to the West Coast, load oboard the Ocean liner for shipment to the foreign port. The carrier will issue a TBL for this combination. Why rail?
Ocean container cargo is the least cost method, but the slowest. Thus rail/ocean will get your stuff there fast than if you ship via ocean from the the East Coast to the Far East.

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT IS VITAL

The TBL will have the final destination which the carrier will handle irrespective of that several cargo methods may be used. Air Freight does NOT have this type of service. However, you should investigate trucking to the airport closest to the fins destination.
For example: if your FOB point is in Colorado and the customer is in Cologne Germany, you would check out trucking to JFK-NYC as opposed direct air from DIA (Denver Int'l) to Frankfurt.

Int'l. Traffic & logistics are so vital in exporting that ALL exporters MUST seek experienced support thru an In'tl. Frt. Fwdr.
The effect of reducing landed cost overseas, invariably results in new business opportunities. Ocean container cargo is the least expensive shipping method. Air is the fastest but costs the most. How you handle this issue when considering speed of arrival will help grow your sales volume.

Ya wanna know more?…..contact:
Henry Samuel; Certified SCORE Counselor.
SCORE Chapter 412 www.scoresouthflorida.net
e-mail: hank.samuel2@gmail.com

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pricing Services for Profit


 
Here are some things to take into consideration when setting the price of your service:

 
  1. What is the competition charging? Check trade publications and competitive quotations. Others offering a similar service perhaps in a nearby location may be helpful, but take this with information a grain of salt. If you have worked for others in the industry, you may have an idea.
  2. Set a start point that is attractive to your customers and leaves room for negotiation.
  3. Remember to include all of the items that contribute to your cost such as benefits, insurance, Social Security, taxes, supplies, space, transportation, marketing, etc. Don’t forget the profit element and the cost of money if payout is extended. Consider payment terms and progress payments as well.
  4. Communicate your charges to your customer clearly in advance. Use a written quotation and get the customer to sign off before and after the work is done.
  5. Don’t let your pricing get stale. Keep it current and keep your customers up to date. They may need more work or refer a friend, in which case you may want to consider paying a referral fee.

How do you set your prices?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Franchising Story



When I was younger I decided I could own a franchise and run it as a part time business. I had a full time job and a family. The business was a service that was used after work and weekends, so part time made sense. I was sure many people started out that way. Here are a few guides along with my experience owning and running a franchise.

Understand if you have a strong motivation and drive. I did.

Be confident about the product or service. I was.

Be enthusiastic about the product or service. I was.

Be able to train and motivate others. I could.

Have experience in the industry. I did not have it but I convinced a friend who did to join me as a partner in the business.

Be able to promote the business and brand. While the industry was well known the franchisor was not. I knew more than the franchisor and made a decision to promote my business name in my dedicated geography. Why would I want to spend time and money promoting the franchisor?

We used the material and techniques provided by the franchisor.

I ran the business. My partner provided credibility and assisted with delivery of the program. For this I shared the profits 50/50. As a business owner, you probably understand what I mean when I say I ran the business. 50/50 probably was not a good idea, but I hoped I would get more for it.

The business succeeded for a few years until the energy ran out. What we lacked was a viable exit strategy, a way to capitalize on our efforts.

Do you have a better plan?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Even Success Comes With A Price



Every entrepreneur dreams of growing his/her business, of reaching that "place" they dreamed about as they feverishly worked to get their venture up and running. It may be an enterprise of just one person, you, toiling night and day to bring your dream to reality. Or perhaps it is 2 or 3 people, bonded in their collective vision, driving the business with passion and purpose.

 
And then, lo and behold, IT HAPPENS! Something clicks and suddenly you're racing around looking for more space, interviewing several people to join the team, and it's exhilarating, and exciting, and yes, even exhausting. The spirit of the beginning days is suddenly replaced by a fleshed-out, real organization, with important roles to play. And it needs to be done right.

 
So, YES, we welcome success and everything that comes with it. But let's also always remember we need a Plan, so we don't REACT to events, but PROACTIVELY move forward in a manner that insures that growth will be managed, that clients and customers will be served with the same, if not improved dedication, and the whole team functions like a symphony orchestra, in harmony, and in tune.


SCORE is a great place to get that Plan reviewed, evaluated, tweaked, whatever, so that when success does come, you are ready for it. Have you considered meeting with a SCORE Counseling Team? We're ready if you are.
 
Marty Kahn - SCORE Counselor
 
 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Starting a Business? Three Things You Must Know



Starting a new business is a very exciting and busy time. There is so much to be done and so little time to do it in. If you expect to have employees, there are a variety of federal and state forms and applications that will need to be completed to get your business up and running. That's where we can help.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Securing an Employer Identification Number (also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number) is the first thing that needs to be done, since many other forms require it. EINs are issued by the IRS to employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, nonprofit associations, trusts, estates, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities for tax filing and reporting purposes.

The fastest way to apply for an EIN is online through the IRS website or by telephone. Applying by fax and mail generally takes one to two weeks. Note that as of May 21, 2012, you can only apply for one EIN per day. The previous limit was 5.

State Withholding, Unemployment, and Sales Tax
Once you have your EIN, you need to fill out forms to establish an account with the State for payroll tax withholding, Unemployment Insurance Registration, and sales tax collections (if applicable).

Payroll Record Keeping
Payroll reporting and record keeping can be very time consuming and costly, especially if it isn't handled correctly. Also keep in mind, that almost all employers are required to transmit federal payroll tax deposits electronically. Personnel files should be kept for each employee and include an employee's employment application as well as the following:

Form W-4 is completed by the employee and used to calculate their federal income tax withholding. This form also includes necessary information such as address and social security number.

Form I-9 must be completed by you, the employer, to verify that employees are legally permitted to work in the U.S.

If you need help setting up the paperwork for your business, give us a call. Letting our experts handle this part of your business will allow you to concentrate on running your business.

 
 
Barry Eisenberg SCORE Counselor email: barrye003@aol.com
 
 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Special Counselor of the Month

SCORE South Palm Beach Chapter
We are delighted to shine the spotlight on a distinguished member of our staff who by his or her efforts brings great credit to our organization. This month we are honored to salute:
HANK SAMUEL

Hank Samuel
Hank is a very hardworking, dedicated member of our Chapter, always looking for ways to make us better and better serve our clients. We kind of knew when he applied for membership and brought with him a great resume, whether as a Professor of International Sales and Marketing at the University of California, Davis, or as a renowned and respected writer in distinguished trade journals dealing with international commerce, or as a major executive in corporate America, that we were getting someone very special.
Wherever you look around, there is Hank, pitching in, helping others, subbing for another Counselor, volunteering to cover the desk when Dawn is out, urging his fellow Counselors to “do more”. Which is what he does, every day. “More”. Whether it is volunteering to help with virtually any issue or project, or taking on added duties as a Saturday counselor, or preparing and delivering our first-ever Seminar on the ABC’s of Export, Hank has made his mark. And quite a mark it has been.
Hank’s original Export Seminar at Lynn University was a complete sellout, with many more individuals looking to attend who could not be accommodated. And the Seminar evaluations clearly reflected that attendees wanted MORE. So since then Hank diligently prepared and presented our first-ever “Complete Export Workshop”, which required him to prepare a 4 session, complex workshop, which he did, with great expertise.
Our Chapter has been blessed in recent years in attracting very high caliber business leaders. Our Counselor Profiles clearly reflect a roster brimming with outstanding individuals who collectively have helped this Chapter achieve numerous awards, including #1 Chapter in the Nation in 2012 and very high standing among fellow Counselors in Chapters all over the country. From this distinguished roster we proudly salute colleague Hank Samuel.

Any organization would be proud to claim Hank as a member. South Palm Beach SCORE is honored and privileged to have him aboard, serving the business community and aspiring entrepreneurs with passion, skill, and dedication.
Thank you Hank, for all you do for the Chapter and our clients.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Saturday Hours at SCORE



SOUTH PALM BEACH SCORE
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Monday, July 1, 2013

No Guesswork in Sending Products Abroad


Rapid changes in marketing practices creat new opty's. all over the world for today's small business. But…it's important not to forget significant factors that influence decisions on where & when to export.

REGULATIONS - Import regs. will be the 1st category of info you need when approaching a decision to export; Including import quotas of the target market, licenses, permits, dollar exchange availability and other non-tariff barriers. Just call the Embassy in DC of the target market ask for the "trade" officer for full details. In many markets there are rigid standards for prod. approval under the guise of consumer protection. EX: how customs puts on import duties all have to be considered as part of your pricing.

MARKET CONTROLS - What restrictions exist on price controls, territorial limits - EX: in Puerto Rico an exclusive terr. granted to a local is a "marriage made in heaven". You can NEVER break it.

SALES ENHANCEMENTS - All sales mat'l. to be in the language of the country - labels, catalogs AND... use metrics instead inches & lbs. Advertising is not the same as in the U.S. You will have to educate your buyer on the perceived benefits of your product. More importantly still is extension of credit. EX: in many areas 60 days is considered cash. That will affect your ability to be aggressive in using price & payment terms as a sales tool.

LOGISTICS - Air and/or cargo reflect differing methods of transport. You need to consider packing, packaging, (they are different), insurance coverage AND hire an Export Freight Forwarder here in the U.S. to handle the movement of your shipment, prepare all the documentation and make sure you can collect (See an earlier blog on the subject of payment).

BRAND PROTECTION - Apply for copyright and patent registration. Logos and the right to your name can be ripped of instantly Piracy is rampant. Intelectual property has to be protected. GET LEGAL ADVICE! NEVER get involved in foreign local courts - you will lose.

AFTER SALES SERVICE - Warranties need to considered in determining how you will take care of your customers. EX: your products may have an entirely different application overseas. It is difficult to bring things back here for warranty so the best thing is to set aside some type of allowance, in advance, to handle claims. EX: a percentage of the the purchase price of the item.

You wanna know more? GET IN TOUCH WITH www.SCORESOUTHFLORIDA.NET
or contact: Henry Samuel, Certified SCORE counselor at hank.samuel2@gmail.com


Doing International Business


 

International Business -  there are many considerations when doing business internationally; financial, regulations, trade barriers, etc.  But to me, the singular most important factor is CULTURE.  You must understand the importance of culture to an international market – it affects all other factors.

Culture includes areas such as language, beliefs, thought processes, religion and many other areas.  Be sure to thoroughly explore the differences and adapt your “social style” before you attempt to enter a foreign market.

Just to give a few examples (and there are many):  In Japan – they like to give gifts (not bribes) to business counterparts. But do not open a gift in front of your Japanese counterpart unless asked.  Avoid ribbons and bows.  In Europe – avoid red roses and white flowers, even numbers and the number 13. 

Remember – cultures are not right or wrong, better or worse, they are just different.


John Ahearn - SCORE Counselor

visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net