Saturday, November 17, 2012

Building the Right Team for Your Furniture Installation Service

Building a competent and efficient furniture installation team is what will help any installation service to not only prosper, but maintain their existence and relevance in their community. It takes more to run a successful business than television and newspaper ads. However, the workers and the employees are really the backbone of any business. So, if you are thinking about starting a furniture installation service, the best thing you can do is build a team that will help your business become prosperous in the long run.
The first thing you need to do is decide what the different aspects of your team will be. In other words, you need to decide the different jobs that need to be done. When it comes to this type of business the main duties will be planning, delivery and receiving and the actual installing of the office equipment.
One thing you can do as far as your planning crew is find some people who are good at planning, mapping out and being strategic. You also need to make sure everyone is good in math. That's because they will be using numbers and measurements. If things don't fit correctly, the entire project can be messed up.
After that, you need to find a group of people who would be good for delivery and receiving. Some people might not think that it takes much to find people to do this specific job. However, this is just as important as any other aspect of the business. That's because if an amateur takes this job, they could end up damaging one of your clients' items and this could reflect on your business. So, you need to find a group of people who are careful and thoughtful when it comes to moving people's items.
Lastly, you need to find a group of people who can actually install the items. Now, in this case, you want to find people who are good at following directions and don't like to go off and do their own thing. Because there were plans already made, it's important for the people installing the equipment to follow these plans to a t. If they deviate in any way, especially in a major way, they could botch the entire plan.
It's extremely important to build a team that will help make your furniture installation business a success. Being thoughtful and cautious when dealing with this part of your business is the best way to go.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

QuickBooks 2013 - Simplified, Optimized, Efficient

If I had to summarize the changes I see in QuickBooks Pro and Premier, I would say the changes are designed to make it easier and faster to get your work done. They gave QuickBooks a new look, but don't panic. It won't take you long to see that the Home page is easier to read and you'll find many more tasks a simple click away instead of having to use a few clicks to get there. So let's take a look:
The fonts are larger (nice for those of us in reading glasses!), the sections better defined and fewer icons. The other big change is the left Icon bar designed to get you to your desired locations faster. While I like the concept, I don't like it eating up my screen space, so I've turned it off, put my old toolbar back in place and turned on my Open Windows again. But nice to have the choice.
With the new transaction ribbon toolbars, your related tasks are now an easy click away - no more hunting or having to click through a few menu items. I think once you get used to this look, you'll love the easier functionality of it and find that you get your tasks done faster.
I think my favorite new feature is all the improvements they made to the Customer, Vendor and Employee Centers. The tabs make more sense, it's easier to get to the section you want, AND you can have so much more information - to keep up with our changing communication options. Notice all your choices for phone, social media, etc. in the Customer Center.
And my other favorite improvement in the Customer Center is the ability to add multiple contacts (I believe an unlimited number - at least in Enterprise) and more notes. BUT, for those of you upgrading, you may find that you'll have to clean up your contact list after you upgrade - your contact name may appear in the First Name field instead of being split between first and last. The Add/Edit Multiple List Entries will help you clean up fast.
If you use part numbers for Items, a long-standing request has been to see the Description with the part number - especially if you have lots of part numbers and/or numbers similar. It's now a feature you turn on in the Company Preferences (Reports ) and shows up in parentheses. Note that it's the cost description, not the sales.
INCREASED ITEMS LIMIT FOR GROUPS - I love to use Group Items - it's a fast way to get many Items onto an estimate, invoice, bill, etc. Until now, the limit was 20, which worked for many. But I do have clients where 20 was insufficient. Now you can have up to 50 Items. If you're unfamiliar with what they are or how they can save time, check out my article on Group Items,
DEFAULT BILLABLE STATUS - Finally - you get to choose whether time and expenses are normally billable or not. QuickBooks has always assumed that if you entered a Customer:Job, that it was billable. I've had clients complain about having to uncheck the box - now you get to pick. However, be forewarned, if your default setting is unbillable, that you will then need to be more diligent about being sure you pick up ALL billable expenses for projects/jobs.
PRINT BILL CREDIT DETAIL ON CHECK STUBS - Now when you pay a bill and apply a credit, the detail can show on the check stub.
BATCH ENTER TRANSACTION S- Many of my accountant and bookkeeper friends may like this new feature, but I suspect some of my non-accountant clients might like this as well. You can copy and paste from Excel - checks, deposits, credit card charges and credits. This is available in the Accountant's Editions only, but I frequently recommend that edition for non-accountant clients for a variety of reasons.
There are several great new features for the Enterprise version of QuickBooks, but I will leave that for another article.
2013 is currently in its first release and it's a little buggy, so I'm recommending that most of my clients wait until the R3 or R4 patch comes out (R3 should be out soon) - ESPECIALLY if you use 3rd party software. But I'll be happy to demo the software for you how it really looks/feels and if this upgrade is one you should do. I will be creating a demo video in a few weeks, so will keep you posted.
Muir & Associates helps businesses use their Intuit products more efficiently and more effectively so businesses can focus on their business and make more informed decisions. We provide sales and support services. Monica Mitchell Muir has been helping businesses with their QuickBooks products since 1996.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Office Relocation Does Not Need to Be Difficult

Office relocation can be a daunting and stressful process, especially if you are a company owner or manager. First of all, you have to make sure all of your employees and staff members are properly briefed about the situation. They need to know where the new location will be, as well as if there will be any huge changes. This in and of itself can be difficult, especially if you employ a lot of people.
Once you are done briefing your employees, you will then have to notify your customers. This can actually be one of the hardest tasks that will have to be completed during your office relocation. Now, if you only deal with about 20 or 30 customers, it won't be that difficult. However, if you have hundreds of customers, then the job may be a little bit more daunting. It's not just the number of people that complicates the task. What can add to the difficulty is the fact that it's not always easy to get in touch with some people. This could potentially cause some issues. In order to help alleviate the situation, you can have a large sign placed outside of the old location to alert people about the move. You may also want to invest in things like radio announcements and newspaper advertisements to inform your customers. Not only can this help to inform your current consumers, but it can also help you attract others.
Now, just think about having to deal with the aforementioned tasks plus more on top of having to physically move furniture. This would add to the aggravation and stress that you and your employees probably already feel. In fact, you or your staff probably won't even have time to move everything out in a timely manner. So, in this instance, it's best if you hire a professional moving company that can assist you during your office relocation process.
Not only would professionals help to alleviate some stress, they would also help to ensure that all of your furniture and supplies are moved and installed correctly. This is extremely important. If the furniture has to constantly be changed and fixed, this would take away from you and your staff completing your regular workload, which could actually jeopardize the integrity of your business.
Although the office relocation process can be somewhat of a headache, there is a bright spot. You can always solicit the help of professionals who can help to relieve some of your stress and get the job done correctly and in a timely manner.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Is It What Your Business Needs?

Sometimes it seems there are as many theories about how to make a business succeed as there are businesses themselves. The basic tenets that make a business successful will always be the same, however. You provide a good product or service, meet a demand (or create one), and you get the word out. If you do those things, you'll never need to worry about putting customers or guests into your establishment. It's the "getting the word out" part of the formula that many businesses struggle with, however. One solution that works across the spectrum is the electronic message board. If you think those are only for a certain type of place, you might be surprised.
Retail Store
Retail stores can really benefit by putting an electronic message board out front. First of all, the sign itself will attract eyeballs, which is something that should always be one of your primary goals when looking at advertising. Second, it gives you a forum to put information out to the public. Running a special this week? Type it into your sign and let people know. These signs can be especially effective when you have direct competitors nearby. You need something to draw customers into your store and away from your competition. This might be the factor that makes the difference.
Perhaps more than any other form of business, banks have made liberal use of the electronic message board. Why is that? It's hard to say. Most banks just use the space to advertise the time and temperature, neither of which is doing anything to draw customers in to open an account. Or are they? That's one of the most overlooked advantages of having one of these signs out front. You don't need to use all of your messaging space to relentlessly advertise. The sign itself is your advertisement. Draw attention by providing a public service. Most businesses in this day and age seem to go for the hard sell every time, but there is a place for passive advertising as well.
It's rather uncommon to see a restaurant with an electronic message board out front, but it's not difficult to imagine how helpful it could be. Instead of posting your specials on a plain back-lit sign like all the fast food franchises down the street, set yourself apart. Post your most enticing meals on the electronic message board and draw people in. Use descriptive language and tempt onlookers with your excellent food. The possibilities are limitless and could very well be what you need to turn your business into a success.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Getting Your Questions Answered

It's one thing to hear that delinquent tax sales represent an excellent opportunity for the burgeoning investor, but it's quite another to actually take the leap of faith it requires to believe it. Sure, you can read up on the subject, but how do you know if you're reading something true or propaganda from someone who is trying to sell you a strategy? You can confer with seasoned investors, but do you really know anyone like that? In order to consider this sort of investment for yourself, you're going to need some questions answered. Here are some of the most frequently asked.
How do you make money at delinquent tax sales?
The primary avenue for investors to make money at these auctions is through interest. When you purchase a lien, the property owner is then responsible to pay his back taxes to you, rather than the government. The amount of interest you can attach to those back payments are set by the state, but it can sometimes add up to a substantial amount. In bid-down states, the actual bidding on the lien or deed up for sale will be on the lowest amount of interest the bidder is willing to accept. This favors the investor working on a volume basis, but that doesn't mean first time investors are left out. Even five to ten percent interest is a positive ROI and can help fund your next purchase.
Are these investments safe?
It's only natural to wonder if you stand to lose your shirt on any investment. The good thing about delinquent tax sales is that they represent one of the safest investments you can put your money in. There are a few reasons for that. One, you have a fixed interest rate, which means you don't have to guess at how much the homeowner owes you. Two, the investment is actually secured by the property itself. If the owner fails to pay, you could become the owner of the home. This may not be exactly what you wanted, but it represents more collateral then you'll get on the stock market, certainly.
Can I buy more than one lien?
Most delinquent tax sales are run by governments that want to get these properties off the books as soon as possible. If one guy wants to come in and buy them all, the officials aren't going to care. Bidders are allowed to get as many as they want as long as they have the money to pay for them. Of course, if you make a bid in bad faith and win (i.e., you don't have the funds to cover your purchase), you won't be allowed back.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sell Gold for Cash and Make a Bundle

"Sell Gold for Cash." You have likely heard this, and seen signs advertising for it. Some people have jewelry sitting around that they do not wear. Maybe it is heirloom jewelry, or perhaps an item that was found at a yard sale. Whatever the case, it is never used, and does not go to any profit. Choosing to sell gold jewelry like this is a great opportunity to make extra cash. You would be surprised at how much you can actually make with a few necklaces or rings.
Some people think they are a waste of time, but actually garage sales are a great place to make money. Many times, the people selling their items have no idea what they actually have. Sometimes you can find wedding sets and other expensive jewelry at minimal cost. You can then trade in the jewelry that you find at the garage sales and potentially make a large profit.
If you decide to buy in order to sell gold, you should consider your knowledge before you start spending money. You must know what the real thing looks like. It's important for you to know jewelry markings, so that you do not accidentally buy products that are plated and of no real value. Studying up on jewelry in general should help you to know what is worth buying and selling.
Once you have a fairly good knowledge, you can set out to garage sales and see what you can find. Even without a great deal of knowledge, you can make some money. Those who really know what they are doing, however, will probably make more.
If you choose to sell gold, you will need to have a good buyer. You should check to see what the value is on the day that you are ready to sell, so that you know whether you are getting taken advantage of. You might find some value in watching the gas prices, and when they rise, go to your buyer to trade in your jewelry.
Although this is a popular practice right now, it might not be a trend that lasts forever. If you have jewelry that you no longer need, or if you find the thought of treasure hunting exciting, take advantage of this trend and sell gold. Clearly, you will make more money by doing that then by storing old jewelry that no one will ever wear again.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Exactly Does Hotel Mystery Shopping Involve

If you own a hotel then you may have heard about hotel mystery shopping in the past. However, if it still remains something of a mystery to you then you may want to find out a bit more about it because it can be a very useful way to find out about areas of your hotel where you can improve your service.
Here is a quick guide to what is involved in hotel mystery shopping.
Quick Overview
Hotel mystery shopping is when a company provides you with a service whereby someone stays in your hotel as a normal guest and reports upon their experience afterwards. They may provide details about a whole range of areas of your establishment, depending upon the service that you require.
Mystery Visits or Phone Calls
Hotel mystery shopping can take a number of different forms depending on the service that you require. Although the standard experience involves someone staying in your hotel for a night or two, you may also want to hire someone to call your establishment by phone, either instead of or in addition to the guest staying the night.
A mystery phone service can highlight other important areas where you can improve, and is especially important because this is often the first point of contact for customers who are thinking about staying in your hotel.
Whichever type of check you want to be made, they are generally followed up with evaluations and reports that clarify all of the areas where you are doing well and where you could be making improvements.
Areas that Can Be Examined
There is a range of areas that you may want to be examined, and the amount of areas that you choose will often affect the price of the service. For example, you may want to test out all or just a few of the following areas:
• Reception service
• Hotel bookings
• Bar and restaurant
• Public areas
• Guest rooms
• Room service
You can normally choose from a basic service or a more comprehensive service, depending upon your requirements and how many of the areas of your hotel there are in which you feel you could improve. However, it is worth remembering that even if you think that one area of your hotel does not need improvement, sometimes a mystery shopper can highlight issues that you were not aware of, allowing you to improve that area even more.
Benefits of the Service
There are numerous benefits of inviting a mystery shopper to your hotel, and some of the main ones include:
• Find out which areas of your hotel need improving
• Identify staff weaknesses as well as positives that can be rewarded
• Allows you to seek appropriate solutions
• Receive coaching and training following your evaluation
• Improve the customer experience
• Boost sales and improve over your competition
As you can see, hotel mystery shopping incorporates a wide range of techniques. All of these have one goal in mind: to enable you to find out where you can make improvements and to act upon them.