Places To Advertise and Post Your Business Ads in Singapore

For many of us who are thinking of promoting your business or services, where would you think are the best place to place your ads?

There are many places in Singapore where you can post your flyers to advertise your services and businesses. Listed below are the locations where message boards are set up to post your ads.

The most common type of ads posted there are tuition ads, room rental ads, recruitment ads, garage sale ads & lost pets ads, etc.

1. Notice boards outside MRT Stations along the east-west line.

These are free to post by anyone. They are located outside Lakeside, Jurong East, Clementi, Redhill, Outram Park, Lavender, Bedok and Pasir Ris MRT stations. The ads are posted on a frst come first serve basis, and the maximum size of ad allowed is A4. The posted ads are removed by a cleaning contractor on the 1st and 15th of each month.

2. Notice boards at Hdb estates in Sembawang, Woodlands and Yishun.

These are free to post by anyone.They are located in the northern part of Singapore. Almost every blks in these estates have a white notice board installed near the letter box area. The surfce area of these notice boards are about the size of six A4 ads. The maximum size of each ad allowed is A5. The ad are also removed on the 1st and 15th of each month.

3. Cold Storage and NTUC Finest stores throughout Singapore.

These notice boards are located inside the supermarkets and your ads have to be submitted to the store manager for review. Once approved, the ads will be pin onto the message board on every Monday evening. The ads are allowed to stay on the message board for one week. The maximum size of each ad allowed is half of A5.

4. Commercial Buildings next to JCube, Jurong East Gateway Road Blks 130- 135.

These notice boards are free to post by anyone.They are located in the western part of Singapore. There is no control over the amount and size of ads posted there. The ads are removed by another advertiser who need to post their ads.

5. Bukit Batok Central, next to bus interchange & West Mall.

These notice boards are maintain by town council in Bukit Batok. They are located in the western part of Singapore. The size of ads to be submitted to the town council for review must be A4 and 10 copies are required. Once approved, the ads are allowed to be displayed for 30 days.

6. Bus stops display panels approved by LTA.

The bus stops are mainly located in west part of Singapore Boon Lay, Jurong West, Jurong East. Some are in east part of Singapore Tampines. The rest are in the north Yishun.

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Benefits of Ethnic Marketing: Growth, Untapped Market Segments and Amp – Increased Profitability

The face of Canada has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. So has ethnic marketing. Statistics Canada reports more than 200 ethnicities are now represented in this country. Immigration accounts for more than 50% of our population’s growth, and will more than likely double by 2025. Entrepreneurs should be pitching the product and service to ethnic markets, if not, your competitors will. On the whole, ethnic markets can represent growth, untapped market segments, and increased profitability.

It has been difficult for companies to find successful ways to target to the various ethnic groups found in Canada. The United Way of Greater Toronto fundraising initiatives city wide in 2000 proved dismal to the diverse multicultural groups within the city. Six years ago fundraising efforts raised anywhere from $20,000 – $25,000 from seven or eight communities. Three prominent groups were targeted instead and last year raised about $700,000 – a 300% increase within a six-year period.

Companies actually hire directors of ethnic markets now, and the message is about communicating to the changing Canadian market, the most effective ways to incorporate a more diverse approach to market your brand.

Today’s consumers are far more sophisticated, have better educations, and have increased spending power than the immigrants of years gone by. Marketers understand the ethnicity of their customers, embrace their customs, and tap into their sensitivities.

Ethnicity is a multidimensional expression of identity that includes race, origin or ancestry, language or religion. Influenced by variables: immigration, blending, and intermarriage, which very often create a strength of ethnic identification. Often associated with a culture are customs and beliefs and sometimes dress and eating habits. A survey conducted in 2002 by Statistics Canada regarding ethnic diversity reveals that three-quarters of Canadians say they are interested in learning more about their ancestry and are familiar with their heritage.

Solutions Research Group conducted a study that examined six major population groups in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The study included Canadians of Chinese, South Asian, West Asian, Hispanic, Black and Italian backgrounds. A total of 3,000 respondents (age 15+) were interviewed in 9 languages: English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish and Italian. The results were astonishing: among the most vital of media is the Internet with 88% usage. Chinese Canadians are active users spending 2.4 hours/day, followed by TV then radio. Although less time is spent watching TV, ethnic Canadians are more likely than the market benchmark to have digital cable or satellite TV (41% vs. 39%). Black and Chinese Canadians lead on this measure (47% and 44%, respectively).

More than half (52%) of the ethnic groups surveyed agree with the statement: “I rarely see advertising messages intended for me,” suggesting a significant lost opportunity. The trick is to go beyond the status quo, to dig deeper, and the solutions will be found.

Pay attention to the three C’s: caution, care and commitment.

Caution

An ethnic market is really comprised of dozens of smaller, distinct segments. What sells in the Southeast Asian community may not sell to the Chinese community. If referring to China, do you target Hong Kong or Taiwan? Marketers must learn to identify communities and focus directly on those. Ethnic identity has little to do with how people buy gas and car repairs. However, it has plenty to do with which groceries or books they buy.

Care

Decisions should be made to pursue different ethnic communities, and along side comes the care that should be taken to learn about them. The size of the market is considered and how you, the marketer, are going to capture it. Direct marketing techniques are the best means for personalizing your message. Companies may already own the information needed to determine the approach.

Example: Financial institutions know where their clients send money. Companies that capture this kind of data (through data mining) can use it to tailor their product and services to the consumer.

Purchase subscriber lists to ethnic newspapers or membership rolls of ethnic associations. Determining your target audience becomes easy, the next task… to craft the marketing materials in the language they understand.

Commitment

A recent survey of 150 marketers found that only 40% did back-end analysis of their direct marketing programs on a consistent basis. The costs associated to discovering this type of information is expensive. What will be your ROI? Companies more and more are jumping on the ethnic bandwagon. Just go to any Wal-Mart Super Centre and view how their food products are representative of the various ethnicities, and how their ways of “giving back” actually enhance the communities they serve. Last year, the Salvation Army received a $100,000 donation from them. After all, their motto “Wal-Mart Canada is committed to making a difference in the lives of Canadians,” once again, rings true.

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Importance of Interactive Advertising

If you are looking for something new to promote your business, then why not try for interactive advertising. Keep yourself in the customers shoe and think what will you like to have in this ad? Or what is something interesting that you would like to watch. Keeping these answers in mind formulate the plan.

Here are some of the pointers that will help you in understanding the importance of interactive advertising better:

* Interactive marketing attracts visitors of all age group.

* There are different interactive medium like audio visuals, multimedia tools used for displaying the thought. This keeps the viewers attentive and motivates them to visit the store and buy the product.

* Upon seeing the advertisement, one can get the response of the customer instantly. Therefore, if necessary immediately one can bring the required changes in the promotional campaign and improvise on it.

* With the help of interactive marketing one can easily know more about the desires and behavior the customers. Hence, if in the future if you are planning to launch a new product then easily you can promote it.

* Interactive advertising is considered as an economical way for promoting the business. Using promote your ideas firmly using the right medium and catchy punch lines. Hence you can make use of your budget for other promotional aspects.

A good interactive advertising campaign has been able to improve the sales and widely appreciated by the customers worldwide. It sometimes act as an interpersonal tool for communicating effectively to clients. To know how interactive advertising is important, then take the help of a SEO expert now.

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History of Print Advertising

Advertisements can be found in several forms and in several places. One of such form is print advertising. Ads in this encompass those which are in print on some kind of paper that is handled by potential audience. Offers that are sent via mail or posted in newsletters are well explained in history of print advertising. Let us go through this article to know more about the history of print advertising.

Print media indeed is the oldest kind of advertising which has a long-long history. This advertising strategy started way back in 1468 during the days of William Caxton when he promoted a book that had his 1st printed advertisement.

After which in 1704, Joseph Campbell moved on to include ads in Boston Newsletter. This in fact was a great idea since people started becoming well informed regarding certain people and products. In 1833 period, Benjamin Day got his ‘New York Sun’ book printed which was a combination of advertising vehicle and news. After this, the ‘Edward Book of Ladies Home Journal’ created a magazine ad code during 1910. Since this period, print advertising started evolving with more attention seeking designs and glamour’s. Advertising considered in general has had several significant events in the past but the history of print advertising has surpassed it.

Print ads stand effective only if people view them. When people look through several publications, they get a tendency to receive new details and become more observant about the things that interest them.

This form of advertising aims to attract more and more people towards their services and products, as and when they read or scan publications. Such ads are commonly seen in magazines, newsletters and newspapers. This type of advertising requires lots of planning which is done often by a group of individuals.

Some people get employed in this field to create best ideologies to drag the attention for inspiring more and more people to shell out money.

When we glance through the history of print media advertising, we get these concepts:

A group of individuals are required for creating ideas which further develops into a concept.

Several others are involved in placing these concepts appropriately, since this factor earns them more cash.

Finally, print media advertising becomes a major part of earning revenue for any publication. Mailers are also a kind of print-advertising which range from postcards to note sized white-paper. So, now you would have understood the history of print advertising.

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Factors Affecting Your Corporate Identity

The strong Corporate Identity is vital need for any organization irrespective of its size. Even a smaller company with strong corporate identity can beat its strong contenders. In other words, the brand image of any company, business or organization is vital to its success. An organization can generate fresh set of customers through strong corporate identity or industry presence.

There are various factors which can affect the brand image of any organization. Some most important factors are as follows:

  1. Website – A perfect portal is must for every small, medium or big organization, company or business. The world has become so small in this e-connected world, people are eager to know anything and everything about the details of products being offered by a particular company. They are also interested in knowing what your past customers are saying.
  2. Logo– A logo represents the goals, vision, and attitude of any organization or company towards his business and customers. They need to be specific in terms of a Logo. Companies give stress on a logo which design can match the services and targeted customer’s prospects.
  3. Stationary – Stationary is also one of the most important factor in deciding corporate identity and brand image of a company, business or organization. That includes, Company Letter Heads, Correspondence Business Envelopes, Services Brochures, Post Cards, Business Cards, and Employees Identity Cards (Magnetic Cards). A letter head makes an emphatic impact on readers or viewers mind. If your Letter Head looks professional as well as classy at the same with illustrating vital information regarding your organization, most of your business proposals will be readily accepted or at least you will get first hand queries enquiring more about your services. Business cards also make a great impact on your company’s identity and brand image. Those are not a thing to be included in wallets of your Top Business Executives and marketing personnel’s in fact they carry the most feasible means of contact for your organization. With every distributed business cards you executives are leaving information as well as future business prospects for your company, so it should be realistic and matching to your company’s identity and Brand.
  4. Print Advertisements – Print advertisements still carry the same level of importance in front of people as earlier. Every ad flyer or ad brochure is representing a sample of your organization. So it should reflect the pride and uniqueness of your organization.

There are several other branding options and ways of enhancing your corporate presence. But stationary is one of the most important among all of them. No doubt the business scenario has changed a lot during last few years from manual to automatic transfer of operations. But still your printed materials are very important and you should not avoid it at any case.

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Top Ten Biggest International Marketing Mistakes of All Time

1. When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” Instead, the company thought that the word “embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant

2. In Spain, when Coors Brewing Company put its slogan, “Turn it loose” into Spanish; it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea”.

3. When Braniff International Airways translated a slogan touting its upholstery, “Fly in leather”, it came out in Spanish as “Fly naked”.

4. When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.”

5. Chicken magnate Frank Perdue’s line, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” sounds much more interesting in Spanish: “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate.”

6. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”.

7. A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.

8. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, “Salem-Feeling Free”, was translated into the Japanese market as “When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty.”

9. PepsiCola lost it dominant market share to Coke in South East Asia when Pepsi changed the color of its vending machines and coolers from deep “Regal” blue to light “Ice” blue as Light blue is associated with death and mourning in SE Asia.

10. We can’t forget Chevrolet’s attempt to launch the Nova — Spanish translation, “Doesn’t Go” — in Mexico (turns out this one appears to be an urban legend and cannot be verified). Many sources on the internet allege this is untrue.

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Global Division Product

Global product divisions are part of a multinational’s organizational structure when the primary division of the firm’s activities is based on product (or service) categories. For example, an automobile manufacturing firm may be primarily divided into a truck division, a passenger car division, and an SUV division; or a large professional service firm may be divided into audit, business advising, information technology, and tax divisions. Then each of these “global product divisions” may be divided into several geographic (e.g., Americas, Africa-Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe) and/or market subdivisions (e.g., corporate, government, and private clients). The strategic logic underlying the global product division is the need to concentrate resources at the level of the product (or product group).

Thus, in the above automobile example, the firm may feel that these three markets are quite independent, and that appointing a separate management team for each division will allow each to focus on their markets and thus develop their businesses and compete more effectively. Further, C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel and other proponents of the resource-based view of the firm would insist that the firm should be structured around the key resources that give the firm sustainable competitive advantage. Thus, for example, a certain set of products could be based on certain technologies and competencies-and a global product division is a natural structure to house these products and resources. Traditionally a global product division had control over most of value chain relevant to its market.

For example, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has three global product divisions, namely Global Beauty, Global Household Care, and Global Health & Well-being (as well as a Global Operations division). Thus, the Global Beauty division would have its own manufacturing facilities, suppliers, brands, distribution network, and service department. However, contemporary managerial and organizational approaches have de-emphasized the advisability of this kind of control for two sets of reasons. First, as stated by Stephen Young and Ana Teresa Tavares, complete autonomy is not necessarily an optimal situation.

Along these lines, authors like Julian Birkinshaw have suggested that the overall global firm is better off with coordinating mechanisms across its global divisions that seek to find economies of scale, economies of scope, and other efficiencies and synergies. Thus the normative tendency would be to share information systems, production, facilities, and services across its product divisions; and P&G’s Global Operations division would have a mandate to facilitate many of these synergies.

Another popular contemporary approach is “outsourcing” (or off-shoring) of parts of the value chain-such as production of various components or a service call center-to an external service provider. For example, Stanley Holmes writes that Boeing is outsourcing more than 70 percent of the 787’s airframe, allowing Italian, Japanese, and Russian engineering concerns to design and build major parts of the fuselage and wings. The benefits of these programs include cutting costs and forging relationships with potential clients. For example, Kristien Coucke and Leo Sleuwaegen report on a recent study whereby off-shoring programs increase the likelihood that Belgian manufacturing firms will survive.

Nevertheless, there is a general acceptance and adoption of global product divisions by multinational firms. This is especially the case in corporations moving away from international division structures-over time, the domestic and international businesses are recombined and then split into either product, market, or geographic structures. However, along the same developmental process, these structures often continue to evolve into some form of matrix-whereby managerial authority descends to the business via two (or sometimes, three) dimensions. For example, one dimension may be like the global product structure responsible for various offerings and the other may be geographic.

A more advanced stage of development would be what Chris Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal call the “transnational” structure, whereby the firm develops dual capacity to deal with both local (national) as well as global contingencies.

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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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