The Secrets Of Starting A Profitable Flower Vending Business

I have sold in the retail market, millions of fresh roses and fresh flower bouquets successfully for 32 years. I bought a retail nursery and florist across the street for one of Connecticut’s largest cemeteries, on a busy route that had several thousand vehicles pass every day. I made deals with all the flower wholesalers at first and then I proceeded to undercut the price of all the flower shops in the state. My main objective was to create a customer base that would frequently buy flowers “just because”. My customer service was created with an over friendly staff of a great combination of super personalities and knowledge of the business, which was simply liking people and helping them to satisfy a feeling. My motto to my staff was to let them know that we not only sell roses and flowers but mostly, We sell Love, we sell feelings! My obsession with quality and consumer service was so successful that it spread through out the community and the state.

Wow, I can remember Valentines week with a staff of over 50 wonderful employees wrapping and boxing roses through out the day and nights, get ready the rush of the year. I was so careful with every dozen to prepare each like it was for my mom or wife. We dethroned all the roses, cut them under water, to hydrate them according to the “Chain of Life” procedure. They re-hydrated them in solutions to further guarantee and extend their vase life. Our 4,800 Dozen roses that we sold that week were our best advertising for the rest of the year. Heck, they lasted over 10 days which pleased amazed our dedicated customer’s recipients. What a great feeling to know how many people we made happy.

Selling flowers at strategic locations has become a highly profitable retail business for many enterprising individuals. These entrepreneurs are taking advantage of a market that is, for the most part, impulsive in nature. Many people buy flowers on the spur of the moment, and the presence of a flower vendor is usually their inspiration.

Very often, men on their way to a date will see a roadside flower vendor, and suddenly find the idea of taking flowers with him quite appealing. The same holds true for many men heading home from work. If they’re married, these men will often purchase flowers from roadside vendors for their wives. The flowers are fresh, attractive, and package to sell, not as nearly as expensive as an arrangement from a florist, and the buyer doesn’t even have to get out of his car. Women are also potential customers for flower vendors. A woman will buy flowers to add color and decoration to her house or apartment, or sometimes, just to cheer up a friend. In any case, the purchase is usually made on impulse, brought about by the availability of a flower vendor.

Starting a flower vending business is not difficult. No previous experience is necessary. There’s only a minimal initial investment required, and you won’t need a lot of equipment. What you will need is an adequate supply of fresh, attractive flowers, a good location for selling, and a cheerful disposition. After all, you will be dealing directly with people, so a good disposition is a necessity. You can begin as a home-based operation with an investment of as little as $300. If you live close enough to the market you want to reach, your own garage can serve as storage space as well as your preparation area. Your operating expenses will be minimal, and you’ll have the opportunity to realize a high margin of profits.

Depending on the size of your investment (both time and money) and the size of your trade area, a flower vending business could net anywhere from $20,000 to $175,000 per year. It can be an extremely high profit business, if you choose your selling locations wisely, and offer only fresh, attractive flowers.

BUSINESS OVERVIEW

Successful operation of any small business depends on several key factors. Perhaps the most important is the ability to be a good business manager. Although no experience is necessary to start-up a flower vending business, some small business management training could give you the edge needed to insure success. Most community colleges offer night school courses in small business management and, if you are unsure about your business knowledge and or management skills, enrollment in such a course would be a good idea.

Here are other basic steps involved in the successful operation of a flower vending business:

(1) Know your market. Proper knowledge of your market will enable you to set-up at the best locations. You’ll need to know the high-traffic areas as well as the time of day traffic is at its peak in order to take advantage of a roadside operation. You’ll also need to investigate other potential locations such as restaurants, malls, local festivals and flea markets.

(2) Obtain a dependable source for fresh flowers. Your business depends on the quality of your merchandise. And since you are selling flowers, they must be fresh and attractive. You should locate a quality wholesaler and establish a sound working relationship. You should also have some knowledge of the types of flowers people are most likely to purchase from a vendor.

(3) Establish a workable preparation area. Ideally, your preparation area should be centrally located within your sales territory. The space needed should be adequate for storing flowers and materials used for the preparation of bouquets, as well as for the preparation itself.

(4) Hire the right help. Unless you plan a one person operation you’ll need to hire some dependable helpers. The people you hire should be outgoing and trustworthy with the ability to deal with customers in a professional and courteous manner. If your flower vending business is to be successful and highly profitable, you’ll probably need to have other people helping you. One example is a successful flower vendor in Washington State who employs young people, pays them minimum wages, and enjoys a brisk business at several key locations.

(5) Advertise and promote your business. Effective advertising and promotion can help generate sales and profits. Knowing how to advertise and promote your business, especially in the beginning, is a key step in the success of any business operation.

All of these steps can be taken with a relatively small initial investment, and your flower vending business can be in operation, and realizing a profit, in just a few weeks. However, prospective entrepreneurs should also be aware of, and comply with, any rules and regulations that apply to this particular business in their area.

Depending on the location(s) of your flower vending business, you may need a license to operate. If you plan to set- up a flower vending stand on a city street, or any roadside operation within city limits, you’ll most likely need to get a permit. The best thing to do is consult a trusted attorney, or contact the business-license department in the city your market covers to find out what licensing requirements you must meet.

If you plan to sell flowers in restaurants and nightclubs, it is usually not necessary to have a license. Also, if your roadside operations fall outside the city limits, you probably won’t need a license because most counties don’t issue them. Again, you should check with your attorney, or the proper licensing authorities in your area before you start selling flowers.

Another consideration for a new business owner and employer is taxes. As an operator of a business you will be responsible for collecting and sending in various state and federal taxes, as well as certain taxes you will have to pay yourself. If you are not familiar with your tax responsibilities as a business owner, consult a qualified accountant or contact your local IRS office to get the information you need.

You should also consult with an accountant as to the type and arrangement of bookkeeping and record keeping best suited for your flower vending business. Records of your business operations are, of course, helpful in the successful management of the business. These records need to be as accurate and permanent as possible in order to ascertain any tax liabilities. They should include business income, deductions, credits, and any employee information. As well as any other information required by federal, state and local regulations.

EQUIPMENT AND INVENTORY

Since a flower vending business does not require an abundance of sophisticated equipment, start-up costs can be kept to a minimum. The basic equipment necessary should not cost more than $200 and can usually be found at a wholesale florist supply house. You can also get your supplies and equipment from several firms that cater to florists. You should be able to find a complete directory of such firms at your local library. You can also contact several florists (not necessarily in your market) and obtain this information.

For the preparation of your flowers and floral arrangements, you’ll need stem cutters and a supply of cellophane or florist’s tissue. You will also need several plastic buckets to keep the flowers in water and fresh while being transported as well as on your selling sites. To prepare the flowers for selling, you will need a preparation area. This area should be cool and shady to help keep your flowers as fresh as possible. As mentioned earlier, a location central to your area of sales is most desirable. If your own garage fits that description, you won’t have the added expense of renting space.

Your preparation area will require several storage containers and a table. Some refrigerated coolers may be necessary, but since most flower vending businesses pick up their flowers on a daily basis, and sell them as quickly as possible, that sort of storage requirement should not be excessive. However, during the summer and winter months, you may need an air-conditioner and portable heater to keep your flowers in salable condition. If you don’t already have these items, you can count them as a business expense and they are tax deductible.

Your inventory will consist of flowers. You can purchase these from wholesalers found in most major cities. You can find these suppliers by looking in the Yellow Pages of your area’s metropolitan phone directory. Look under ‘Florists, Wholesale.’

Since you will probably have some flowers left over after each day’s sales, it is essential that your inventory be fresh when purchased from the wholesaler. You can check the freshness of your flowers by examining the heads of roses to see if they are tight to your touch. Also, if the blossom appears purple around the edges, the flower is probably too old. When buying carnations, look to see if they are firm and heavy-stemmed. If carnations are somewhat discolored, don’t buy them, because they probably aren’t fresh.

The largest part of your inventory will most likely be roses. Roses are the most desired flower, and they are expensive. Prices will vary with the season and area of purchase. Carnations will also make up a substantial portion of your inventory. These flowers, while very attractive and popular, are much less expensive than roses.

Other flowers you may want to add to your inventory are gardenias, tulips, daffodils, and orchids. Some of these flowers are expensive and usually appeal to an older set of customers, so don’t go overboard when dealing with your supplier. Roses and carnations will be your best sellers. Your best sales months will be during the holidays so you will have to make sure you have an adequate supply of flowers. You’ll also want to have a supply of appropriate flowers to match the specific holiday, lilies for Easter, poinsettias for Christmas and so on.

CHOOSING A LOCATION

Once you have a marketable inventory, you will need to set- up in a good location. If you choose the wrong location your business will not be successful. For flower vending, the two best selling locations are restaurants and roadsides/street corners.

Restaurants are good selling locations if they attract large lunch and dinner crowds. Especially good restaurant locations are those with specific themes. French, Italian and Mexican restaurants are usually profitable locations for flower vendors. You’ll also find successful flower vendors in upscale lounges and taverns.

In general, restaurants and lounges with a quiet and romantic ambiance, are usually conducive to flower vending. Many restaurants are attracted to the idea of flower vending at their places of business because it offers an extra ‘romantic’ touch to their service. Usually, the management of a restaurant will charge the flower vendor only a nominal fee. In some cases, the fee may simply be a few flowers to arrange and display throughout the restaurant.

For street-selling locations, freeway exits and stoplights on main streets are preferred. These areas represent the highest amount of traffic therefore, the largest number of potential customers. Ideally, your locations should be along streets, highways and exits that feature a great deal of late afternoon and/or early evening rush hour traffic. These conditions are ideal if you can find an area where the traffic must come to a stop, or at least has to slow down. Your location must be plainly visible so that oncoming drivers will be able to see you in enough time to get out of traffic and pull off the road.

It is important that you stay away from roadside locations that could limit the ability, or desire, of your customers to reach you. Never set-up at dangerous intersections, along steep hills and other areas that could be hazardous. You could lose a lot of business if potential customers don’t stop because they fear getting struck by other traffic.

When selling on city streets the most desirable locations are those that take advantage of both automobile traffic and pedestrians. You should try to find a spot in an area of heavy pedestrian traffic as well as vehicle traffic. Business will usually be better when people are on their way home. If you know which side of the street is the ‘going-home’ side, that’s where you should set-up.

Operating a flower vending business allows you more flexibility than many other businesses have. You won’t have to stay in one location, if it proves unprofitable. You can move around as often as it takes to find the locations that afford you the most success.

You may have to experiment in the beginning. Simply keep a record of the number of flowers sold at each location and the number of hours at each spot. From these records you’ll be able to determine the most satisfactory locations for your business. You will also have a better idea as to the actual inventory you need so you can cut down on the amount of excess that results in spoilage.

HIRING PERSONNEL

In order to be successful in the flower vending business, it may be necessary to hire help. If that’s the case, not just anybody will do. As the owner/manager of the business you will have to hire people who are right for the job of selling flowers. Although this may seem difficult, there are some guidelines that many flower vending businesses follow quite successfully.

Students and people seeking part-time jobs are the most likely candidates for employment in the flower vending business. Your interviews with such prospective help should be designed to ascertain if they are trustworthy and dependable. You also need salespeople who are outgoing, enjoy interacting with other people, and who are well-motivated.

In most cases, if you are selling flowers in restaurants, attractive young women are the best salespeople. Usually these women are dressed in a costume that serves to identify your business. The most basic sort of identifying costume, or dress, would be a white blouse and dark skirt. As the business ‘blossoms’ you may want to invest in more elaborate costumes depending on the image you want for your business as well as the particular restaurant theme.

Usually, an employer can find adequate part-time help simply by placing a catchy ad in the help-wanted section of the classifieds of the local newspaper. The ad should allude to making ‘good money’ for ‘enjoyable’ part-time work. Response to the ad should be such that you can be selective in hiring the help you need. You should also get excellent response with an ad in college newspapers. And you can try placing the ads on school bulletin boards to elicit even more response.

Once you begin interviewing prospective employees, it is imperative that you have them fill out an application form and supply you with at least three references. And don’t just read the references — check them out. You should know as much as you can about your help before you hire them.

Once hired, make sure all employees know exactly what their duties and responsibilities are, as well as their salaries. You should also plan to review each employee’s performance on a regular basis. These reviews, or evaluations, should be shared with your employees so they will know how they are doing and how they can improve, if warranted.

DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS

Operating a flower vending business does not require hours of strenuous physical labor. However, that does not mean flower vendors lead a life of leisure. With any business there are demands that require time and effort. The flower vending business is no exception. You and/or your employees will need to be well organized from the time of preparation until the day’s selling is done.

Preparing flowers for sale is an essential part of a flower vendor’s work day. In order to be salable, your flowers must appear fresh and colorful. Also, every bouquet you plan to sell must be arranged in an appealing fashion. Therefore, you should allow enough time for preparation so that the job is done right. But, don’t overdo it. If you spend too much time on flower preparation, you could be cutting into valuable selling time.

The actual preparation phase should take as little time as possible without sacrificing quality of work. To be as efficient as possible with your preparation time you should organize the process. You can do this in a step-by-step manner.

First of all, you should plan to remove many of the thorns from each rose stem. About half of the thorns, beginning at the bottom of each stem, should be removed. Then, you will need to clip a small portion from the bottom of each stem. This will allow the flowers to absorb water and retain their freshness and color. You can do the clipping with a sharpened knife.

Once you have dethroned and clipped your roses, you will need to place them in relatively warm water. The water temperature should be about 105 degrees. You can leave them in the water for up to two hours and they will be refreshed and colorful when you are ready for the day’s vending. All your other flowers must also be properly cared for and prepared so that your entire inventory is appealing to your customers.

Your preparation process should not involve much ‘decoration.’ People buying single flowers usually won’t expect frills such as ribbons or bows. However, you should have such adornments on hand at your selling location in case some customers request them. It’s also a good idea to supply your sales team with pins, if corsages and/or short-stemmed flowers are part of your inventory.

Any bouquets you sell should be wrapped in tissue or green cellophane. Not only do the flowers keep better wrapped, they also appear more attractive and are more appealing as gifts. Unwrapped bouquets do not have a particularly neat appearance, and they probably won’t stay fresh and colorful as long as they would if wrapped.

How much time should all this preparation take? Well, most successful flower vending businesses spend no more than two to three hours a day buying and preparing flowers. It will probably take a new business a couple of months to become organized and experienced enough to cut buying and preparation time down to two hours per day. That will happen once you learn how to utilize the early morning hours, after the flowers have been purchased from the wholesaler, for preparation of the flowers and organizing your salespeople.

The best times to sell cut flowers, really depends on location. Street corner and roadside vending hours are most successful during the late afternoon and early evening hours when most workers are heading home. Most people are more apt to take the time to make such a purchase as flowers on their way from work than they are on their way to work. Weekends have also proven very successful for many flower vending businesses that operate all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you are selling in restaurants, the most profitable time will be during dinner hours. In some cases, lunch crowds will buy flowers, but usually the evening diners will be your best customers in a restaurant. Your salespeople should plan on up to three seating’s of diners each evening in a popular restaurant.

Between seating’s, your salespeople can canvass the immediate neighborhood for other potential customers, and then return for the next seating at the restaurant. This type of selling will take some practice and experience, but a good salesperson will soon learn how to make the most of his time and inventory.

It is important that you and your sales team be as poised and as professional as possible when selling at any location, especially in restaurants. In restaurants, a low-key approach is much better than an extremely aggressive sales pitch. Be polite and friendly, and utilize flattery as an effective tool. Approach the man in a couple and in a casual and friendly manner ask if he would like to compliment his lady companion with a beautiful flower. Most men will then buy a rose for their dining companions.

ADVERTISING

A flower vending business is unlike many small and part-time businesses in that the usual forms of advertising — newspaper, radio, TV, and so on — are not really effective. Since your selling locations may change from time to time, and since buying flowers from a flower vendor is usually done on impulse, you’ll need a more immediate form of advertising. It should be something that draws attention to your business as your customers approach your selling location.

For street corner and roadside vending, signs are the best form of advertising. All that’s needed is something to let potential customers know you are there, and that you are selling flowers. Seeing your sign, many people will act on impulse and stop to see what you have to offer.

The sign(s) should be hand-made rather than professionally painted. You don’t want to appear like a big business. And a hand-made sign will give the impression of a small, family-type operation which usually means more reasonable prices.

In some cases, a new business can get publicity from a local newspaper. If you are selling flowers at a restaurant, you can try getting such publicity by alerting the local newspaper. Most local newspapers use information of this sort as fill, and it could prove valuable to your business.

If, as part of a special promotion — a grand opening, or a special day such as Valentine’s Day — you will be selling flowers at a business location, send the information to the editor of your local newspaper. You may also want to include a picture of you and/or your sales people. The paper may not decide to run the story, but there’s a good chance they will. Either way, you have nothing to lose, and a bit of publicity to gain.

SUCCESS ANALYSIS

Eight contributing factors are measured on a 1 to 10 basis (with 10 being excellent) based on analysis of this opportunity.

1. Time Investment 7 2. Start-up Costs 9 3. Gross Income Potential 8 4. Net Income Potential 8 5. Income in Relation to Investment 10 6. Stability 8 7. Overall Risk 9 8. Potential for Growth 10 Overall Potential for Success 8.63

POTENTIAL EARNINGS

The profit you can realize from a flower vending business depends on several factors:

(1) The size of your market. Obviously larger metropolitan areas supply the greatest source of potential customers, therefore profits. However, your expenses in these larger markets will probably be greater, because of larger inventory needed and a bigger sales team to cover the market adequately.

(2) Good selling locations. Even if your market has a large selection of potential customers your profits will be, at best, minimal if you are not selling in the best locations to take advantage of impulse buying. You have something that practically everyone likes, flowers. But most everyone who buys flowers from a vendor does so on impulse. To be successful, a flower vending business must locate in areas of high-traffic, increasing the possibility of impulse buying.

(3) Consistently marketable inventory. If you try to sell flowers that are too old, wilted and faded, don’t expect to do much business. Make sure your entire inventory is always flower- garden fresh and attractive. Also, price your flowers at reasonable rates. That way, both you and your customers will be happy.

(4) A professional sales approach. Whether you are running a one-person flower business, with yourself as the only salesperson or have several salespeople, a friendly, low-key sales approach is essential. After all, you are selling flowers, not used cars. Most people who buy flowers from a vendor are buying them for a special person, and a friendly, non-aggressive salesperson has a good chance of making a sale.

(5) The size of your investment. This does not just apply to the amount of money you invest in the business. Your investment also includes the time and effort you expend on making it a success. As a weekend business, or operating on a daily basis, a flower vending business will require a certain amount of your time and effort above and beyond your monetary investment. The amount of success and profits you can realize depends, in large part, on how much you are willing to put into the business. Some flower vending businesses have reported netting as much as $175,000 a year. That kind of income usually requires a sales team of half-a-dozen or more people working in a large metropolitan area.

Smaller markets should expect a net profit of $10,000 to $20,000 per year. The thing to keep in mind is that there is always a large market for a flower vending business because flowers make personal gifts year-round. Obviously, some months featuring special days such as Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas will be better than others, but this is not a seasonal business. You should be able to realize a healthy profit every month.

Your initial investment can be as low as $300, or as much as $1,500, depending on what you can afford and the size of your operation. It will most likely take several months until you get adequately organized, and until you discover all the best selling locations. But within a year you should be realizing a nice profit with an efficiently operated flower vending business.

SUMMARY

A flower vending business is one of the best small businesses you can get into, if you are short on investment capital. Very little equipment is needed. You can use your own garage or utility room as a preparation area and for storage. And you can sell your inventory on location, from the back of your own car, van or pickup. You may want to invest in a business management course, if you are uncertain about your management knowledge. But no practical experience is necessary to get into this business.

The biggest expenses will be in inventory, which a good month’s sales will recover, any extra personnel you decide to hire, and in any licensing fees you encounter. Advertising costs for a flower vending business are extremely low.

Since flowers have universal appeal, there will always be a sizable market for a flower vending business. If you operate professionally, offering fresh, appealing flowers, establish a good business relationship with dependable wholesalers, find the best selling locations, and hire dependable, competent help, there’s every reason to be confident that a flower vending business can be highly profitable. Remember. You must “do what you love and love what you do!” I will let in to my other secret, my profitable “Rose-Express” drive up flower shops.

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Is Website A Product Or Service?

It might not be a threat to the never ending debate of whether egg cam first or the hen, but mystery surrounding a website’s definition is an intriguing one in itself.

Experts say website is ‘A collection of HTML and subordinate documents on the World Wide Web that are typically accessible from the same URL and residing on the same server, and form a coherent, usually interlinked whole’. Understood! Thanks for the jargons! But Dear Wikipedia is this ‘collection’ a product or a service?

One school of thought says that it is a product that a web designer manufactures and sells to the end user. Various graphic designing and coding tools are used to create this New Product.

Others argue that a website is a facility that is provided to the customer just like a salesman’s. A salesman is not a product, he provides services to the company, and so does a website. A website is simply the online representation of someone or something; there is no product involved.

Service Supporters look to win the case by presenting a witness by the name of ‘Government’. They argue that the government sees web designing as a service job, thus, service tax is applicable on it and not sales tax (which is applicable on product sales). Strong Point!

The counter punch from ‘It’s a product’ group is that developing a video game is a surely a service but the game is a product, so website designing is a service but website a product. Well played I say!

I hope you are not expecting me to conclude by giving you a definitive answer. Has anybody asking the ‘egg or hen’ question given you an answer? Then why me? I have shown you the two sides of the coin; it’s up to you to flip it and see how it lands.

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Where Does Advertising Fit Into the Marketing Mix?

Many people get confused about the role of advertising in the marketing mix so here’s a simple view of where it fits in.

In the traditional marketing model, we talk about the 4 P’s

o Product

o Pricing

o Place

o Promotion

The last section – Promotion is what we mean when we say you are “doing your marketing”. It’s your communications or your actual marketing activities.

But first, let’s get clear about the PURPOSE of marketing and why you want to get good at it.

“The PURPOSE of marketing or it’s biggest task is to

persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you

can present your offer. Done well they come waving their

credit card and ready to buy so there’s no need for hard sell.”

Whenever and wherever you get in front of your potential market is your marketing opportunity – you are communicating or getting your message across.

You could say this started as far back as Babylon when the Town Crier was the only delivery method! They went around town shouting out to people to go to the marketplace and you went to the marketplace with your goods to “present your offer”.

With the invention of print and other technologies you now have a smorgasbord of delivery methods or media to reach people such as

o Print – newspapers, magazines, catalogues, newsletters

o Phone, mail, fax

o Radio & TV,

o Internet – through websites, blogs, social networking sites, email, video & Audio podcasts

o Teleseminars & webinars

o Mobile media – Blackberrys and mobile or cell phones

o And lets not forget in person public speaking and networking

Now that range adds a level of complexity. But choice is good and you don’t have to use all of these but they are available to you.

In any event you’ll either be speaking or writing. Simply narrow down what makes sense for you and your business and use your strengths to work out a plan.

JUST remember the marketing principles remain the same no matter the medium – so the PURPOSE of your marketing is still the same. To persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you can present your offer.

So where does advertising fit into this?

Advertising is simply a subset of your marketing activities it’s the SALES function when you make the sales pitch or “present your offer”. This could be verbal or written in all the same media you use for your marketing communications. What adds to the confusion is sometimes big companies use image based ads for awareness so the “sales pitch” isn’t obvious.

But the primary purpose of advertising is to SELL.

So you create ads in one form or another and get them in front of your audience.

Small businesses can’t afford to waste money on image advertising that is designed for the masses to promote a well known brand. It simply isn’t designed to sell, NOW.

What I do and recommend is Direct Marketing which is based on one-on-one relationships and uses proven direct response advertising techniques instead of mass advertising.

The purpose of a direct response advertisement is to get a response, NOW! Which means these ads actually ask the prospect to DO something.

Whether you’re building a list, selling a product or service, an appointment or even something you are giving away – you still need to “sell” it to your prospect. And ask them to take the action you want them to take to move them through the sales process.

In a nutshell, advertising is a subset of marketing and direct response marketing and advertising is the champion for small business.

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What is Product Sourcing and How Do You Take the Most Advantage of It?

In this article I will try to define what exactly is product sourcing and what are the implications of committing yourself to do a proper product sourcing research for your retail business.

Retail sellers need a constant supply of products that meet the quality standards expected by their clients and simultaneously with right prices (high-margin products) in order to reach their profit goals.

With that said, product sourcing research is the task that allows retail sellers find reliable wholesale sources that help them to accomplish above objectives; or in another words, product sourcing It’s nothing more than doing the proper and extensive research in order you may be able to locate genuine wholesale suppliers for you retail business (online or brick and mortar).

If you have been wondering why your competition outsells you with better prices, then maybe this happens just because your lack of correct product sourcing research, if there is any, or simply, your store is been fed by NOT real wholesale suppliers.

Well, the only way for your task of doing a good product sourcing research become fruitful is when you come up with a real wholesale distributors database. these wholesale distributors must be the ONLY link between you (as retail seller) and the manufacturer.

Each additional link in the from manufacturer to your retail store chain represents less profit (lower margin) and increased chances of you being more tempted to raise your prices, at the end, this means potentially less consumers.

How do I know that the source I just found is a true wholesaler distributor?

Well, there is not a definitive response for above question, but yes, there are a few points that would help you to separate the good ones from the scams.

  • The real wholesaler distributor should have a physical address.They must have some nice storage capabilities (after all, where you expect your wholesale products come from, specially with large volumes?), not just a well-designed web site. So, a reachable physical address with some people in staff is a very good sign of reliable wholesale distributors.
  • Contact local chamber of commerce.A good idea could be to contact their local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau, they must be on good standing with them.

  • Search for complaints.Why not search Google for more info about this wholesaler prospect, maybe you find complaints or testimonials about them; not only search engines are good in this purpose, sites like scam.com might let you draw conclusions.
  • Ask for references to the manufacturer of the product that you expect to sell.One the most effective ways of knowing if a wholesale distributor is who he claims to be is: contact the manufacturer of the products! After all, the manufacturer is the first link in the chain of product sourcing; sales departments of the manufacturers know who their legitimate Wholesale Suppliers are.

    It’s just question of looking at the packaging of the product or plastic cover, etc. to find the manufacturer, call them and ask who are their authorized wholesale distributors, they will help you, after all, they are interested in sell more of their manufactured products.

Well this is a reliable wholesale distributor, now what?

After you found that this particular wholesaler has passed the previous test all that’s left is call them and ask that you want to do business with them, that you what to buy from them directly. and if they are for REAL they should ask a few questions about your business, I mean you must be a legal business in order to be able to work with genuine wholesale suppliers, they will ask you for legal business paperwork and tax ID numbers, and this sort of legal issues.

By the way, you could add the following item to the above section — How Do I know that the source I just found is a true wholesaler distributor?–NO REAL wholesale supplier will allow you to do business with them if you are NOT a legally constituted business.

So, if you are a legal business and meet one or two of their specific requirements you will soon be doing business with a legitimate wholesale distributor, and you will in your way of a more profitable business.

Remember the ONLY three members of a true chain of wholesale product sourcing are:

Manufactures (sales departments) ==> Real Wholesale Suppliers ==> your store (Retailers)

Please always make sure that there is nobody else in this chain; if there is anybody else that is a parasite who will suck your profits.

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Differences Between Products And Services

What are some of the main differences between products and services? And when are these relevant?

Tangibility versus Intangibility

Products are tangible. You can buy pork as a tangible product. You buy it, you ship it and sell it. In the same way as you buy stamps, cigarettes and cars.

Financial service companies however, make it possible to exchange pork bellies Futures, on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). A future is (not the most simple example of) a service with which you can hedge your risk. In this last case, most of the people trading on the CME will never see or smell the pork bellies.

The ownership between products and services is different. A stock could be called a financial product that you own. You can place a stock order which might result in a transaction later on. Your bank services a depot fee for saving you a lot of work. You cannot own a service.

Where the product is much more standardized, the service is tailor-made. Companies differentiate in offering products and services, but the variations between similar products of different producers are less prominent than the variations between services.

You can count products in the same way as you can count your money (or have your bank service you this information). A service is not countable, but is “leveled;” better than the best service is not possible. There is a limit in what a service can offer.

A product is produced by a manufacturing process. A service is offered by the utility element of companies; you subscribe to a service in the same way as you subscribe to your gas and electricity supplier.

And this brings us to the essential of these differences; changing from one (product approach) to the other (service offering) is very complex, because of the last mentioned differences. Not only the process is different but the style change you need to support this change… Good Luck.

© 2006 Hans Bool

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Product Liability vs Professional Indemnity Which is Better for You?

One of the areas of greatest confusion is the difference between Professional Indemnity, General Liability and Product Liability Insurance. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides coverage for professionals (corporate or individual) for any negligent act, error or omission alleged to have occurred while in the performance of their professional activities and duties. It differs from General Liability and Product Liability Coverage in that the acts covered are those acts performed by an engineer, architect, doctor or attorney in rendering professional services to their clients. To better understand this coverage we will have a brief discussion below of Product Liability, Professional Indemnity and the application of the latter and how it functions.

A. Product Liability

Product Liability is the legal responsibility of a manufacturer to a consumer of its’ product. Liability arises out of the negligent manufacture of a product including defective or faulty workmanship, materials or components. It is a liability that arises from the failure of a manufacturer to properly manufacture, test or warn about its product and occurs when the product departs in a negligent manner from its intended function.

Product Hazards includes bodily injury or property damage arising out of the named insured’s products, but only if the bodily injury or property damage occurs away from the premises owned or leased by the named insured and after physical possession of the products have been relinquished to others and is in the stream of commerce.

Completed Operations includes bodily injury and property damage arising out of operations or reliance upon a representation or warranty made at any time with respect thereto, but only if the bodily injury or property damage occurs after such operations have been completed or abandoned and occurs away from premises owned by or rented to the Named Assured.

Excluded from General Liability and Product Liability Coverage is that negligence attributable to Professional Liability, which includes the services or consultations rendered negligently by architects, engineers, or other professionals.

B. Professional Indemnity

The Professional Indemnity Policy is designed to answer the professional services exclusion in the CGL/ Product Liability Policy. The Professional Indemnity Policy covers the negligent services of a professional to its client and covers an act of negligence, error or omission on the part of an assured in the execution of his professional activities. These professional activities usually include design, the drafting of specification, feasibility studies, calculations, maps and supervision of same by the insured professional.

Professional Indemnity, or Errors & Omissions, Insurance protects an insured, its employees and directors against liability arising from their professional negligence. It covers the Legal Liability to compensate a third party who has sustained injury, loss or damage created by the existence of a duty of care owed to third parties as a result of a negligent act, error or omission in the rendering of professional services by the assured.

In light of today’s increasingly litigious society, Professional Indemnity Insurance provides important protection for the professional assured.

Coverage attaches under the Professional Indemnity Policy as soon as the design for the products begins and provides protection for any professional negligent act, error or omission which would result in a claim by third parties.

C. Applicability of Professional Indemnity Coverage

In discussing the applicability of Professional Indemnity coverage, certain basics should be kept in mind.

Firstly, Professional Indemnity is a third-party coverage that is a liability cover, not a property cover, which is provided to the assured for the claims against the insured from third party claimants.

Secondly, while coverage attaches from the beginning of the design phase of the project, a claim will not be until after delivery of the product and the product has left the premises of the assured.

Coverage for liability which occurs in the assureds’ workplace must be found elsewhere, such as the General Liability, Builder’s or Contractor’s All Risk or Protection and Indemnity policies.

Thirdly, of course the claim must arise out of a failure in the professional services provided. There is some limited coverage afforded under the Professional Liability for faulty workmanship, materials and/or components. Also, included in the Product Liability cover would be any claim for defective materials or components, defect in manufacturing, or workmanship.

Fourthly, any inadvertent, non-intentional breach of a patent or copyright infringement is also covered under this policy.

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Four Types of Marketing For Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you most likely spend quite a large amount of time trying to discern new ways to gain customers. Marketing can be a fun or stressful business. They key is to understand the types of marketing.

Instead of sending your marketing budget in many different directions, you can choose a specific type and be consistent with it. You will quickly see that your marketing budget pays off much more quickly.

Here, you will find information on four of the main types of marketing. This way, you will be able to choose the marketing actions that will work best for your business. You will then be able to point your marketing budget in the right direction.

1. Blanket marketing is a type that is often used by larger business. Blanket marketing means that you spend money advertising to everyone. Many people choose to do blanket marketing by advertising in magazines or newspapers. You will not really have control of who sees your advertising, but you will have the potential to reach many people.

The downside to blanket marketing is that it can be quite expensive, and you could be wasting money marketing to people who may never become your customers at all. Blanket marketing is best for those who have plenty of funds available and who feel that they will be able to gain many customers from the plan.

2. Targeted marketing is a method in which you choose a certain demographic and only market to them. This could mean that you advertise to everyone in a certain area. Alternatively, you could advertise to everyone in a certain age range.

The great thing about targeted marketing is that you will have a much better chance at getting customers since you will be advertising to the types of people who would most likely become customers. The downside is that it will take a little legwork to determine who your target is and then find the right way to advertise to them.

3. Social media marketing could be called the new kid in town since it is relatively a young concept. With this marketing, you use any one of the many popular social media sites to advertise your company. You can also use a daily blog to garner business.

The downside to this type of marketing is that you will be sending your information out to many people who may not be interested at all. With blogs, you will have to take the time to keep the blog up to date. Otherwise, people may stop reading it.

4. The last type of marketing is not marketing at all. There are not upsides to this. It may seem like a way to save money, but when your business fails, you will actually lose a great deal of money. It is extremely important to find marketing funds within your budget.

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Sticker Printing – Different Stickers For Different Purposes

The charm for stylish and glamorous looking printing materials is very common nowadays. In this regard the promotional and decorative printings are very much in use for several purposes like stickers, calendars, brochures, postcards, invitation cards, letterheads, etc. After the technological advancement like digital printing, we are able to access a variety of looks in these printing materials. The digital printing can be applied to find a variety in colors that give a vibrant appearance to suit different purposes and occasions.

The digital printing has enabled many business and private firms to access adequate promotion mean like sticker. With the help of stickers they can promote their brands and get more attention of the customers. So a lot depends upon how and where these stickers to be used. Different people used them differently, such as vehicle stickers give a nice look to the gloss and catch our attention. The bumper stickers situated on the roadside provide a momentary distraction and make a light mood in the traffic. The nice looking caricatures can be depicted with catchy colors. Use of sticker as business cards is very popular to promote brand. This method is proving to make more impact as well as cost effective tool to enhance business identity.

Inside the home printed stickers are being used for different purposes, for example one can use them as refrigerator stickers, door stickers, computer stickers, bookmarks and many others. Children naturally get attracted to the stickers and find them innovative and amusing. Many studies have also revealed that the impact of printing stickers is higher than other advertising means and their impression is naturally long-lasting.

At the time there are many online and offline sources where an appropriate form of sticker can be accessed from. Many printing companies are offering a huge variety in the sizes to fit according to the needs. There are different shapes of stickers, such as square and rectangular cut, round and custom cut etc. Stickers probably carry the adhesive effect, but you need not to worry because it can be wiped up easily and your gloss screen will not show any spot. So, you can easily use this multi-purpose tool to make more impact.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi Level Marketing

Multi Level Marketing has been a popular way to make money for years. People get involved in MLM as it brings amazing income potential. However becoming successful in MLM is not easy and requires some effort and finding right people to work with as it's pretty much about building relationships.

MLM is any business where payouts are made at two or more levels deep. The concept of MLM is quite traditional and it's about building your downline in genealogy form where usually you benefit from all levels and branches of your genealogy tree.

MLM is attractive, however it requires from marketer to take different approach than in any other form of marketing and selling.

The reason is that unlike in traditional marketing where it comes to sell products, the main point of MLM marketing is rather selling hope and encouragement to become successful marketer to other people.

That's why Multi Level Marketing is considered relationships business, not sales business. What it means is that in order to become successful, you need to find the right people who will join your downline and duplicate the steps you have taken to make money. While in many MLM companies you are limited to benefit from referring new members and building your genealogy tree, the other ones also involve product sales as an additional option to make money from your team building efforts.

When the sales are involved usually your job will be to recruit distributors who recruit more and more distributors infinite levels deep. The sales generated by all of them count toward your commission. So the rule is simple the larger the network of distributors built the more sales can be generated and more contracts can be earned.

The final question is: Is MLM marketing good business model for everyone?

Well it depends on the level of one's experience and motivation.

The advantage of MLM is that it's very effective and profitable form of marketing where success is result of consistent work and effort put by more than one person.

Where many people put their efforts and take action together to build their MLM business the income potential increments amazingly and can grow to the really high level over the years or even months.

Another benefit is that when you manage to build a team of motivated and good marketers you may get to the point where they will be doing all the job for you so that you'll be able to benefit from your teamwork at minimum effort on your part .

However to get desired results in MLM marketing it takes some time, effort, proper knowledge and skills.

Building relationships and profitable team is a long process and requires a lot of patience, time and money investment.

The main problem here is to get the right marketers into your genealogy. The skepticism is lurking around nowdays and many people do not believe in success on the Internet.

The job that has to be done is to show them that it is possible, encourage them to join your business and finally make them take action and duplicate the required steps.

That's why mastering great communication skills is essential. Another thing that might be difficult is mentoring people.

When you finally manage to build your organization, you need to become a mentor who has the knowledge that will help your team members become successful as well. That's why learning everything about the MLM business you are in is important as you will need to pass this knowledge forward to your organization members.

MLM business is really effective marketing model and may become your source of steady and solid income as long as you take it seriously and do consistently what is necessary to build your team.

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Popular Advertising Medium – Sandwich Boards

When it comes to promoting the products and services of a business, especially small and new, sandwich boards prove out to be one of the best advertising mediums, under any business environment. This is not just because these promotional boards are economical but also because they have a unique potential of attracting interested customers and creating brand awareness.

Also known as sidewalk signs or display boards, these promotional boards can be easily termed as an economical option for mass scale advertising primarily for attracting local customers. Since these boards can be easily customized and the message to be conveyed can be changed in a few minutes, they prove to be an excellent choice to enhance the visibility of a business with low advertising budget.

One of the other good things about sandwich boards is that no special permits for placement are required, unless the laws of a country specify otherwise (which is surely an extremely rare sight). The other good thing about a sandwich board is that it can be very effective for a small business or store based in the depths of a shopping complex or mall. Moreover, a business may opt for displaying the same or a different message on the two sides of the board that surely means additional promotion for the business without incurring any additional cost.

The list of advantages linked with sandwich boards does not end here. Usually, these boards are made from high quality polyethylene that is resistant to water, dirt, and extreme weather conditions. If that is not all, a sandwich board has the potential of attracting attention of passersby from multiple directions at the same time and is therefore one of the best mediums to promote a business organizing sales, promotions, and open houses. In addition to this, sandwich boards can also be used to offer directions to reach the business premises or store along with contact information such as phone numbers.

If you want to buy sandwich boards for your business or store, you can simply go online to save valuable time, money, and other resources. This will not only help you buy sandwich boards with just a few clicks but you will also be making the payment using safe and secured payment options. However, it is very important for you to purchase these promotional boards only from a reputed board seller so that you can always be assured of the quality aspect.

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