small business stories


How to Get the Most from Your Holiday Marketing Efforts

. Posted in small business stories

Retailers can expect 2.8 percent growth in holiday sales this year, down from 5.6 percent last year, according to a survey conducted by the global consultancy Kantar Retail. This sluggish sales forecast suggests that it’s more important than ever to get the most from your holiday marketing. Here are five tips for how to draw crowds.


4 Key Questions to Ask When Interviewing Potential Employees

. Posted in small business stories

You’re working to fill a high-level position and have narrowed the field of job applicants to three promising candidates. It’s time to bring them in for interviews. Your goal is to move beyond their glowing resumes and get a peek at their professional souls. But you’re unsure what types of questions will help you accomplish this. The Intuit Small Business Blog recently talked with a few hiring managers and small-business owners about the key questions they like to ask when interviewing potential employees. Here’s what they said.


Next Generation Browser: Mozilla Firefox

. Posted in small business stories

By Dana Greenlee, WebTalk Radio

Monday, October 04, 2004; 3:00am EST

Most of us used the Netscape browser during the early days of the Net. Netscape is still around, but it did birth an open source sibling browser named Mozilla. The original (Mosaic Browser) development project of the Netscape browser was created by Mark Andreessen in 1993.

Mozilla, the dragon that was Netscape's original mascot, could be seen everywhere on Netscape?s site in those days. It?s Netscape?s main logo before 1995, when Mozilla was replaced by the familiar Netscape stars. Mozilla is also the internal name of any Netscape browser to date.

Mitchell Baker, president of the Mozilla Foundation, took a few minutes to tell me about Mozilla and the new browser, FireFox, and its Thunderbird e-mail program, how it?s built in a true Open Source development process and why the development process for it?s non-profit foundation may be a significant and industry-changing way software gets written in the future.

Q: Tell us about the Mozilla Foundation.

Baker: The Mozilla Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization. We?re just over a year old but the Mozilla project has been around for a long time.

Q: What were the reasons to form the foundation?

Baker: There were several. The Mozilla project has always been a project trying to bring together open source developers with commercial software developers and distributors. Many of these commercial entities didn?t know how to approach Mozilla. org staff since they were a virtual organization. The organization is a way for people to find us and deal with us and know how we operate.

Q: With the open source development process, are you finding the development process a lot faster being open to a large group of developers? What kind of checks and balances you have with code quality?

Baker: The way our project works is pretty structured. The Mozilla project is big in terms of lines of code and complexity. We?ve broken the code base into logical chunks, called modules, and the foundation staff delegate authority for the modules to people with the most expertise. If you are the module owner for a piece of code, you have two responsibilities. You?re responsible for the day-to-day operation and improvement and development of that code, and representing whatever code goes into your module. You are also responsible for some long-term planning; what you want to happened with that module.

Beyond that, we have a highly structured review process for that code. Many people think that open source projects are sort of chaotic and and anarchistic. They think that developers randomly throw code at the code base and see what sticks. Everything is tracked through our bug tracking system called Bugzilla.

Q: Are your code developers working as volunteers?

Baker: People participate in the project for whole range of reasons. There has always been a course of developers that were paid to work full-time on the project. That came out of the Netscape heritage and it is true today. In addition to that, there has always been a very active volunteer community and an active set of people employed by other companies.

Q: Why would someone volunteer?

Baker: Some people are really drawn to technology and I liken them to artists. There are dancers and painters and writers who pursued that whether or not they are paid for it. There are a lot of technologists who are the same. There is another set of people who are honing their technical skills - either they are students or they want to retrain themselves. There?s a third set of people who are not fulfilled in their work life but they may be technologists or working in some other field that requires good technical skills and they participate because they do get a sense of fulfillment. We actually have a real community of people doing useful things. People notice it and they help you participate and see your work included in this project and when we ship our browser, you and millions of other people get to see the fruits of your efforts.

Q: Do you think this is the model for software development in the future?

Baker: It is an effective model - more effective and certainly more disciplined and structured than many people realize. We?ve always been the development project that lived in a time pressured setting and always where commercial entities were relying heavily on releases in a certain time frame. It?s a model for the future but not the only or best model.

Q: And Mozilla is particularly careful to test the code?

Baker: We have a very active testing community which people don?t often think about when you have open source. Over the history of the Mozilla project, it turns out that the product browsers exists on many different kinds of machines. We get hundreds of thousands of downloads off of any milestone and our last FireFox download was in the millions. Those allow a set of testing and responses that would be hard to get any other way. Our quality, when we do label something a 1.0 quality, is more than you could expect. And certainly if one tried to do that kind of testing, it would be phenomenally expensive. That?s an element that the Mozilla project pioneered that doesn?t get discussed as much as its value would suggest.

Q: Run down the list of products you have that people aren?t aware of?

Baker: What we have the longest is the Mozilla suite. We?re up to the 1.7 release now. That is the combined browser, e-mail, newsreader, chat. It?s a big application, does a lot of things, has a lot of functionality. What we have done in the last 12 - 18 months is rewrite the application layer. We have a new browser known as Mozilla FireFox and a new e-mail client called Mozilla Thunderbird. The application layer itself is totally new and great. The underlying layer, the infrastructure, is the same surge of the benefit of all the stability and maturity and performance that we spent years developing an infrastructure, plus the benefits of lightweight, next generation that new browsing male applications on top. Those are the really killer products.

Q: How can people interested in helping the project do so?

Baker: Go to Mozilla. org and click on an area for developers. You can look at the tools. A lot of people start in the testing and quality assurance area because it?s an easier way to get familiar with the project. There is an independent fanzine online at www. mozillazine. org and that has a lot of information about the new products and forums for helping and how to get involved.

About Source of Article Dana Greenlee is producer and co-host of the WebTalkGuys Radio Show.  WebTalkGuys, a Seattle-based talk show featuring technology news and interviews. It is broadcast on WebTalkGuys Radio, Sonic Box, via Pocket PC at Mazingo Networks and the telephone via the Mobile Broadcast Network.  It's on the radio in Seattle at KLAY 1180 AM.  Past show and interviews are also webcast via the Internet at http://www. webtalkguys. com/. Greenlee is also a member of the The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.



Affiliate Marketing and Mary Kay?

. Posted in small business stories

By Linda Woods

Friday, November 14, 2003; 4:00pm EST

One of the common misconceptions about the internet is that this new fangled technology makes doing business somehow mysterious, complex or even risky. While there are certainly lots of technical issues to grasp and implement effectively, I?m happy to report that the basic tenets of proven business tactics are still alive and well.

During the dot-com ?boom? years, there were many failures, primarily due to poor business models, not bad technology. Simple principles like ?but low, sell high? or ?the customer is always right? were ignored in a frenzy of wildly inflated valuations and pre-IPO ecstasy. This has scared some folks away from investing in internet businesses, and online companies have been more conservative over the past 2 years, resulting in a shake-out of the most idiotic ideas and businesses that were based solely on OPM (other peoples money).

But lo and behold, the good news is...the internet isn't going away. And, online spending is growing exponentially quarter after quarter. Long time brick and mortar companies with online sales channels are thriving and experiencing phenomenal growth. So, with all that in mind, what does that mean for affiliate marketing?

It means... it's here to stay. Why? Because affiliate marketing is basically a very old, very well established sales channel based on one of the best known and most successful business models there is: the outside sales force. Yes, affiliates are very much like the troops of cosmetic wielding Mary Kay consultants in pink or the ubiquitous suburbia nirvana called Tupperware parties.

You see, the affiliate marketing industry got off to a little bit of a wrong start in my humble opinion. We all thought that the technology was what made it cool. We were wrong. What makes it cool (and lucrative) is that if done right - it is a powerful sales force that the big direct marketers like Tupperware, MaryKay, Avon, Amway have known for a very long time. If you have a good product, an outstanding compensation plan, a well thought out award/incentive system, a community of personal relationships with customers and offer excellent sales materials, your business will explode with an army of individuals brimming with enthusiasm about your company.

What happened in the affiliate marketing niche is that companies looked at the technology providers that do the tracking of ads served, to somehow run our programs for us. That just isn't what they do. That'd be like asking the guys in the fulfillment center warehouse at MaryKay to knock on your neighbors doors with cleansing cream in hand. Nope - that's not how it works.

What works is every online merchant must emulate this tried-and-true traditional sales model to really grow their business, focusing on recruitment, compensation, incentives, loyality and service, not what tracking software to use. They?re all good, and have their pros and cons. (I?ll discuss this in a future article)

An offline company that wanted to expand it's sales reach by hiring an outside sales force wouldn't think of hiring people without interviewing them and assessing their capabilities. The company also wouldn't think of sending that person off to sell the product without great sales collateral and constant motivational support. Conversely, a good salesperson wouldn't even consider expending energy selling a product that didn't pay good commissions, on time and offered good customer support and a product they could believe in.

So, what's an online company to do? First of all, stop trying to attract every affiliate on the face of the planet. Be selective. Do your homework. Look for the good ones, look for the sites that have something complementary to your product offerings. Make your commission offer exciting, fair and extremely reliable. Think up great motivational offers. Mary Kay saleswomen work their fannies off for free pink or burgundy Buicks and Cadillacs. This also works wonders in the online gambling world as well, with top affiliates driving away with Ferraris!

And, it's not only money that motivates them in the direct sales model. There are weekly motivational meetings with simple recognition given for success. This can be done easily and inexpensively with tele-seminars, regular newsletters and bonuses handed out to top producers. Or, by giving your affiliates top notch custom made web pages with your products datafed onto their site, like an Amway catalog with the salesperson's name, phone number and affiliate ID dynamically generated on it.

Treat your affiliates like valued salespeople and they will be loyal and productive. But this can't be done with thousands of faceless ID numbers on a statistics report. You have entice them with generous commissions on relevant product offers, communicate regularly and personally with them, reward them for performance, and know what their business strategy is and enhance it with good marketing materials and support. This approach will develop over time a valuable, effective and loyal sales channel that costs less than any other means available to develop.

If you're thinking "Yeah, but I can' t do that, I have 5000 affiliates and not even one whole staff person focused on it." Then, you need to rethink your affiliate marketing strategy. If you don't assign human resources to this powerful force, you won't see the results. Period. If you expect to join a network, get 2000 affiliates overnight and then watch the sales explode, you are sadly mistaken. It takes constant and creative effort to nurture this kind of sales channel. Try focusing on less than 100 that are really devoted to your program and work with them personally to build their traffic and sales. If you can?t afford a full time, experienced and well paid Affiliate Manager, there are companies (like mine) who do Outsourced Program Management for a fee usually less than what full time employees cost.

So, technology is not the most important thing here, human resources and creativity are. Yes, there are compelling reasons to closely evaluate what your tracking software or network is capable of doing, and you must make sure you are using the best, most cutting-edge tracking interface you can afford. But, it is much more important to follow the traditional business principles taught to us by giant successful direct sales companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics, in order to create a truly successful, vital affiliate program sales channel.

Source of Article Linda Woods started her own consulting business in May 2000, after a 10 month stint with Commission Junction, in the Marketing Department in charge of Affiliate Acquisition and Educational Training. Prior to that she was the Marketing Director for WebStuf, a web design firm, where she specialized in helping smaller companies develop their marketing strategies, including affiliate marketing channels. She has taught E-Commerce classes at University of California at Santa Barbara and writes and speaks extensively on internet marketing strategies. Linda is also available for private consulting contracts of all sizes. You can visit her web site at http://www. partnercentric. com/.



The Expanding Small Business Web

. Posted in small business stories

Finding a well-regarded local restaurant, hair stylist, dry cleaner - you name it - takes little more than a simple web search and a quick scroll through reviews and ratings. With 97 percent of U. S. online consumers relying on the internet to shop locally and with customers offering their peers unsolicited business reviews all the time, it-s more important than ever for small businesses to engage with customers on social media and to create a website to shape and grow their online presences. In this infographic, we look at how small businesses are working with the web. Click the infographic for a larger view.


Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) vs. Traditional Health Insurance

. Posted in small business stories

Owners and HR managers in small businesses are realizing in greater numbers that cost-effective solutions for health insurance are increasingly becoming a must. Over 90 percent of the small businesses surveyed by the National Small Business Association say they believe that offering health insurance gives them a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent. But with shrinking profits, an unstable economy, and rising costs of traditional health care plans, it-s becoming more difficult for small business owners to achieve this objective. Concerned employers are searching for innovative ways to keep their employees happy while allowing them to control and manage their health care costs. They-ve found an effective solution in Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).

What is a Health Reimbursement Arrangement?


The Top 3 Challenges of Running a Web-Based Company

. Posted in small business stories

Whether you-re a full-time professional seeking a new career path or a part-time hobbyist looking to generate supplemental income, the allure of launching your own web-based company can be immense: The costs are low. The hours are flexible. And the office space — a. k.a. home — is convenient.


Profit in an Uncertain Economy

. Posted in small business stories

By Larry Dotson

Tuesday, July 6, 2004; 3:30pm EST

1. Sell more back end products to your existing customer base. You already created rapport, trust and proved your credibility to them.

2. Make it a practice to up sell to new and existing customers. After they decide to buy one product, offer them another product.

3. Cross promote your products and services with other businesses that aren't competition. You will reach a wider audience at less cost.

4. Create joint venture deals with other businesses. You can expand your product line and target other profitable markets at a lower cost.

5. Start an affiliate program for your business. You will be able to spend less profits on risk advertising and spend more money on guaranteed sales.

6. Trade advertising with other businesses to save revenue. You could trade e-zine ads, banners ads, links, print ads, etc.

7. Out source part of your workload. This can save on employee costs, equipment costs, taxation costs, expansion costs, etc.

8. Add low cost bonuses to your offer that have a high perceived value. It could be ebooks, members only sites, consulting, e-reports, etc.

9. Use viral marketing to promote your business on the internet. Give away free stuff with your ad copy include on it so others can give it away.

10. Follow up with all your prospects. You can use a free e-zine, a follow-up auto responder, an update or reminder list, etc.

About Source of Article

? 2002 by Larry Dotson *FREE* eBook! "Hypnotic Sales Letters: 92 Hypnotic Sales Letter Templates!" Just add your product info and...BAM! You've just written a hypnotic sales letter in a few minutes! Visit my site to download it: http://www. ldpublishing. com/.


Getting Your Marketing Materials Professionally Translated

. Posted in small business stories

Need to translate your marketing materials into a foreign language? If you plan to use Google’s translation software or hire someone on the cheap, you probably aren’t ready to do international business, the American Translators Association says. Choosing a translator or an interpreter requires an investment of time, money, and care.


R. U.B. BBQ Pub-s Randy Yono on Starting Up During a Downturn

. Posted in small business stories

Randy Yono had a hunch that, despite the recession, his family’s concept for a new barbecue restaurant and sports bar in downtown Detroit would work. He and his brothers set up shop just one block from Tiger Stadium and two blocks from Ford Field — and, within 18 months of opening, his instincts proved right. The R. U.B. (Real Urban Barbecue) BBQ Pub is now as hot as the city’s major-league teams, which help it attract sell-out crowds on game days. Even on non-game days, locals pack the joint.


How You Can Acquire Exclusive Product Rights

. Posted in small business stories

By Bob Dean Stanford (The Maverick Entrepreneur)

Thursday, June 09, 2005; 6:00pm EST


If you have a marketing business, chances are you get excited at the prospect of acquiring a new product to sell. One challenge to marketing, especially over the Internet, is the amount of competition. Affiliate programs often create an enormous amount of competitors offering identical products. Experienced marketers realize the benefit and excitement of being the first to make a new product offering of an affiliate product, or even better, their own exclusive product.

Suppose you've done your research and located a couple of products that you believe potential buyers are seeking, ones you feel are the next generation of hot, high demand items. You want to offer them and beat the competition to the niche market. You know you could really make a financial killing if you had exclusive rights to them, by marketing them yourself and through your own affiliate program. How do you acquire exclusivity of these products?

The prime benefit of having exclusive product rights is the level of control you have and potential for greater income. Personally, I will only represent products that I control through exclusive rights. The only exceptions are affiliate programs, but this is a different discussion entirely. I am excluding affiliate programs relative to this subject, since they are the exception. I have been marketing products in many categories for nearly forty years, both intangibles (services, financial etc.), and tangibles (physical products in many categories) and have made most of the mistakes possible, as well as my share of successes. Experience teaches you to not waste your time, money and effort. The following is an overview of the basics to acquiring product exclusivity.

I only represent products that I can gain exclusive rights for my market and I will get paid something for every product unit sold, even if sold by others. Exclusive rights means no one else can purchase that product without purchasing it through you, including wholesalers, distributors, affiliates, and etc.

The secret is to locate a product already selling, but is not available in your niche market yet. Its exposure is currently very limited. Many companies make great products but don't really know how to sell them, or how to locate and reach other markets. That's where you come in. Think outside of the box. You are suggesting to the manufacturer or company that controls the product that he should give you exclusive rights for a special market he isn't yet covering. Once you show him you can perform, he will likely give you additional exclusive rights for that product or service in other market niches.

For example, he's selling his product only through distributors that sell to retail stores, who in turn retail to the end user, the final customer. He would like to reach new markets if the opportunity arose. That's where you come in.

You desire to sell over the Internet, through your website, newsletter, and affiliates. You're opening up a new, potentially mass market for him. Perform well, and you may get international rights, direct mail exclusivity and etc. I negotiated total exclusive rights on a product, in all markets, even though the manufacturer was directly selling to over 200 clients nationwide. And, we secured international - worldwide exclusive rights. He realized we could outsell him even in the market he was already serving and he was satisfied with the bigger picture of my group handling all sales. He realized he would make more income with much less work on his part by having us make all sales.

The nice thing about a product that is already being sold in a very limited market is the manufacturer can already provide you with literature, product samples and his successful marketing programs. In the USA, I never had to pay for initial product samples, though I understand that climate is starting to change. I have paid for a few foreign samples over the years.

Did you realize that it's been reported that only about 4% of all manufactures export their products outside of America? Did you know some companies secure exclusive rights on a product or service, then sell those rights to a third party that is setup to market it? Sometimes you can just work as a Finder making an income through selling your services through the Finders Exchange. There is great value in securing exclusive product rights.

How To Request Exclusive Rights

? Since most manufacturers only sell their products through two or three methods, you may get exclusive rights for other markets like the Internet or mail order.

? Once the manufacturer sees you can perform in the market he's assigned to you, he will likely give you additional exclusive rights to other markets..

? Never pay for exclusive rights. You are opening up new markets and sales for him at your expense. Remember, time is money and that's what you will be providing. Your total upfront cost should be for postage, and maybe a sample if you can't talk him into a free review product.

? Don't buy a large upfront inventory. If possible, just get a few samples, and work with these and possibly some pictures or catalog sheets (glossy pictures with product description and specifications). If you need an inventory, be conservative, and start with as little as possible. Use all the existing selling aids you can get from the manufacturer, to start with.

? Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. If you calculate you realistically need to make a certain amount of money per unit, and you expect to conservatively sell a specific minimum of units per month, don't be pressured into higher prices or greater sales numbers. Only settle for what you believe to be fair and realistic. If they want more than you believe fair or realistic, pass up the product and find another one from someone else.

? When negotiating for new product exclusivity, expect to get your share of refusals and turndowns. Keep plugging along and you'll likely get that winner in time. The manufacturer wants to work with you, and especially wants you to succeed. But, he wants to be represented by a true professional that can perform, making sales according to his goals. It's your job to convince him you are that person. Give him reasons why you can perform by showing some past successes, and your ability to penetrate the

market you are requesting exclusivity for. Don't be too specific or you'll give away your trade secrets and he may feel he may not need you, because he now believes he can now do it himself, since you've given him the idea.

The steps to gaining exclusive rights are in Part Two.

About the Author

Bob Dean Stanford, aka Maverick, age 58, is host of the upcoming television show "The Maverick Entrepreneur," scheduled to air in September 2005, targeting aspiring entrepreneurs and home business individuals. His new Internet radio show of the same name is scheduled to air in July 2005. He specializes in creative and backdoor (creative) marketing techniques with emphasis in business consulting, marketing, new product development, and newsletter publishing. Subscribe to his FREE newsletter "The Maverick Entrepreneur"? at http://maverickentrepreneur. com (TV show support website) or http://stanfordtc. com (Stanford Trade Center, Inc.) email mavnewsletter@maverickentrepreneur. com


How to Make the Most of Small Business Saturday

. Posted in small business stories

Independent businesses often don-t have the big marketing budget that bigger companies have, and they miss out on the Black Friday shopping stampedes that are common at big-box stores. Last season, American Express set out to help smaller enterprises earn more of holiday dollars by creating a “buy local” event called Small Business Saturday. It worked: Participating merchants in 2010 reported a 28 percent increase in sales compared with the same day in 2009. This year’s event is set to take place on Nov. 26.


Using Goodwill to Source Employees

. Posted in small business stories

Need to hire new staff for your business? Consider calling the Goodwill Job Center in your community. Goodwill uses the funds raised from selling donated goods to finance job-training and support programs. The nonprofit organization provides regional programs throughout the United States and Canada for senior workers, people with disabilities, ex-convicts, and other disadvantaged applicants.


Dating Affiliate Programs

. Posted in small business stories

By Home Business Journal

Tuesday, August 23, 2005; 9:00pm EST

There are a number of dating affiliate programs to choose from on the Internet. However, one in particular has the distinct feature of having multiple revenue streams. This article goes in-depth to learn more about this incredibly

Visit and learn more about the ChatDollars dating affiliate program!

popular dating affiliate program and how it leaps ahead of other affiliate programs out there. ChatDollars is the affiliate program for www. TALK121 is a very popular dating chat line with local numbers for singles to call in over 45 American cities. Talk121 is an inexpensive and fantastic way for guys and gals to make new friends in their area, for both long term relationships or short term casual encounters. Meeting people on Talk121 is not only fun, but it is safe as well.

There are thousands of men and women that call Talk121 every day and Chat. These are real people just like you, who use our live one on one dating chat systems where they can talk Live to other singles in their local area. Gals are always FREE and first-time male callers get a FREE 60 minute Trial membership automatically when they call.

The traffic you send to TALK121 will convert better because with our Commission Based payout program you make money for the life of the customer, not just for the first sale. PLUS, once a customer buys his first package, the re-order rate is high.

With the CPA Based payout method, we make it extremely inviting for traffic to want to call our dating chatlines. Male callers get a FREE 60 minute trial membership without having to sign up to anything. They are not prompted to enter any credit card info or personal data. There is no operator to speak with. The only thing that they enter in order to get their FREE time is the 4-digit Coupon code, which is your affiliate number. Males call the chatline and get a 60 minute Trial Membership account and you get paid. It's just that easy!

Thousands of men and women call our chatlines in over 45 major American cities. These are local dating chatlines with local numbers in each one of these individual cities. Women call for free and first time male callers get a FREE 60 minute trial membership when they call the chat line in their area.

The phone numbers for each city are listed on our web site or you can call our toll free local phone number finder line, (509) 676-1000 and it will automatically give the caller the local chat line nearest them AND be tagged with YOUR unique ID code.

With ChatDollars you will earn money 4 different ways!

1. CPA (cost per action)

With this method, for every male visitor to our web site or who calls our toll-free number and gets their FREE 60 minute trial membership, you will receive 15 cents.

There is no operator to speak to. Once callers call any of our systems they will automatically be given out a FREE 60 minute trial membership number.

Callers don't have to give any credit card information.

There is nothing to sign up to. Simply call, and get a FREE code.

When they call our local system to get their FREE 60 minute membership number they will be prompted to enter a 4-digit coupon code (your affiliate

number) in order to get their 60 minutes. We can then determine which affiliate referred the caller based on the coupon code we receive, and their account is credited. This code is VERY obvious on the site when they click over from your site to ours.

Unlike other CPA programs this one is super easy to generate cash!

Chat is one of hottest markets on the web, with millions of people calling on chat lines yearly.

Because we offer a FREE 60 minute membership, thousands of coupon codes are given out daily. Giving something away for FREE is EASY!

Gimmick FREE! When referrals call our systems, they don?t have to speak with anyone, join anything, or provide any personal information. Our sophisticated phone switches automatically determine the phone number of the caller and then give out their FREE 60 minute trial membership. It?s just that Easy.

2. CPS (commission per sale)

Once your free trial users have exhausted their initial 60 minutes and they reorder any package of minutes, you will be paid 15% commission to start on all of those sales.

Top performers bringing in 50 or more new paid sign-ups per month will be paid 18% on all new signups.

For example, if 60 new members join with our second least expensive 100 minute package and make 100 re-orders of the same package in that month, you will quickly generate $1038.40USD PLUS $9USD in CPA revenue, for a single month! All of this potential revenue, for simply adding a link to our site. It just doesn't get any easier than this!

3. Reorders

With ChatDollars you also earn 10% on all re-orders from these referrals for life. People LOVE to talk on the phone, and our records show a large percentage of them continue to reorder over and over.

With many chat type programs you get paid only on the first sale and are given nothing on repeat orders. The bulk of the money in this business is on repeat orders with a huge number of signups (paid memberships) re-ordering weekly, monthly or even daily.

4. Two Tier Program

We value our affiliates as business partners and want to reward you for networking with your associates and bringing additional affiliates onboard. For every partner you refer to us you will receive a 5% commission on all of their sales. With a 15-18% commission base and 10% on top of that for re-orders, this additional commission potential will allow you to maximize your revenues through aggressively promoting our services. This can be a huge income stream if you can recruit sites with large dating, personals or singles sites!

To learn more about the ChatDollars dating affiliate program or to get started today, visit their web site at: http://www. chatdollars. com/.


Should You Use a Recruiter to Hire Employees?

. Posted in small business stories

You’re looking for that key staff member who can take your business to the next level. You’ve tried the mega job boards, but the candidates who’ve applied aren’t remotely qualified for the position — and you’re tired of weeding through your inbox. Should you turn to an employment agency? Maybe. Consider these factors before you do.


5 Tips for Selling Products to Schools

. Posted in small business stories

Want a long-term relationship with a client who buys in bulk? Try following your kids’ big yellow bus to school. Becoming a supplier of products, technology, or services for academic institutions can prove to be a lucrative move. Although many districts are dealing with budget cuts, U. S. public schools still spend an average of $12,250 per student each year.


Giving Thanks to Your Customers and Employees

. Posted in small business stories

It’s customary during the holidays to reflect on the past year of our lives and to acknowledge the people who’ve supported us. For small-business owners, this means taking a few minutes out of our busy schedules to give thanks to customers and employees. Here are some suggestions.


Benefits of Joint Venture Marketing

. Posted in small business stories

By Larry Dotson

Tuesday, July 6, 2004; 3:30pm EST

What Is A Joint Venture?

A joint venture is an agreement in which two or more businesses work on a project for a set period of time. Joint ventures can be long-term, like promoting a product together, or some can be short-term, like bartering (trading) products and services. Joint venture ideas are virtually endless.

The Benefits Of Joint Venture Marketing

1. You can build long lasting business relationships.

2. You can increase your credibility by teaming up with other reputable, branded businesses.

3. You can get free products and services.

4. You can construct most joint venture deals with little or no money.

5. You can gain new leads and customers.

6. You can get discounts on products and services.

7. You can save money on business operating costs.

8. You can beat your competition.

9. You can gain referrals from other businesses.

10. You can solve your business problems.

11. You can save valuable time.

12. You can get free and low cost advertising.

13. You can offer your customers new products and services.

14. You can survive a depression, recession or a slow economy.

15. You can save money by sharing advertising and marketing costs.

16. You can target other potential markets.

17. You can expand and grow your business quickly.

18. You can gain valuable information or skills.

19. You can increase and protect your cash flow.

20. You can find new profit outlets.

21. You can become rich and wealthy.

22. You can start almost any business at little or no costs.

23. You can get rid of your extra inventory.

24. You can reduce and eliminate your debts and avoid bankruptcy.

25. You can afford to sell your products at a lower price.

26. You can increase your opt in or ezine subscribers for free.

27. You can get your web hosting and design for free.

28. You can save money outsourcing your workload for free.

29. You can find hidden income streams.

30. You can exchange useless products for profitable ones.

31. You can create new business funding and credit lines.

32. You can reduce your taxes.

33. You can find and create new distribution channels for your products.

34. You can give your employees more raises, bonuses and benefits.

35. You can even trade non business stuff to improve your personal life.

36. You can increase your sales and profits.

37. You can send your ad to huge, targeted email lists at no cost.

38. You can eliminate employee hiring costs creating barter outsourcing deals.

39. You can build your customer or opt-in list for free.

40. You can build profitable alliances with other businesses.

41. You can learn insider information from other experts at no cost.

42. You can test your product for free.

43. You can out-sell other affiliates much easier.

44. You can increase the number of affiliates that sign up to your reseller program.

45. You can offer more bonus products and incentives to buy.

46. You can get highly credible endorsements and testimonials from other experts.

47. You can quickly increase your ezine subscribers.

48. You can offer your products at lower prices than your competition.

49. You can easily find new up sell and backend products to sell.

50. You can create products faster and with less effort.

These are only some of the benefits. They're endless!

About Source of Article

? 2002 by Larry Dotson *FREE* eBook! "Hypnotic Sales Letters: 92 Hypnotic Sales Letter Templates!" Just add your product info and...BAM! You've just written a hypnotic sales letter in a few minutes! Visit my site to download it: http://www. ldpublishing. com/.



Have That Elevator Pitch Ready When You Need It

. Posted in small business stories

Picture this: You-re attending a high-level trade show with industry leaders and potential customers. On the second day, you find yourself getting into an elevator with the head of the conference, a person whose knowledge of the industry and network contacts could spell big business for you if you make a good impression. As the elevator rises, you realize it-s now or never. You have to introduce yourself and your company in 30 seconds or less — or you will miss the opportunity.


Going Green for the Holiday Season with your Business

. Posted in small business stories

The holidays can be a busy time of year for many small businesses, but as you ramp up your operations, it also offers many opportunities to reduce waste and demonstrate your business- commitment to sustainability. Americans generally produce 25 percent more waste in the holiday months, but with just a few eco-conscious changes, you can keep your company’s environmental footprint low while still meeting holiday demands and celebrating the season with your employees. From using sustainable shipping practices to greening your office-s holiday parties, here are a few of the Green Business Bureau-s top tips to businesses looking for a green (and successful) season.


Search Engine Marketing

. Posted in small business stories

By Rob Greenlee, Host / Founder WebTalkGuys Radio

Thursday, September 4, 2003; 12:20pm EST

The Search Engine market is very hot with a growing renewed interest in search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization companies (SEO). The legitimacy of search engine marketing has arrived.

This weeks 2003 Search Engine Strategies conference and expo event in San Jose has proved the booming growth of this industry. This year's jam-packed event has generated an estimated 2,500 attendees with standing room only sessions on topics like sponsored links, linking strategies and buying keyword ads. Sponsors include Google, Yahoo, Lycos, Looksmart and Ask Jeeves. The hoopla reminded me of the wild and lavish events of the dotcom boom times.

Google hosted a big party called the Google Dance for all event participants in a grassy area under tents next to their new future corporate offices recently leased from the downsized Silicon Graphics (SGI) campus. The event offered loud rap music, a Google technology demonstration tent and offered a Segway Transporter giveaway. See more Google Dance 2003 Photos

The major trends that were highlighted at the event were industry consolidation with the Yahoo purchase of Overture, Microsoft's rapid coming entry of its own search technology, the fast growth of paid inclusion, sponsored links, paid placement, free organic listing optimization and now the hot contextual advertising trend - which many at the event debated if it should even be discussed as may not really be true search marketing.

This search event is hosted each year by Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch. com. Sullivan, an search industry spokesperson and beloved leader of the industry, moderated panels and keynoted the events opening day session.

Sullivan stated many times during the event that he does see free search results listings disappearing and that search engines need to keep looking at new ways to help searchers find more user-defined results by possibly offering categories of search areas right up front and offering assistance tools to more easily refine searches globally and locally.

Sullivan's ideas almost sound like a return of Yahoo's directory, but with the new twist of having those results based on crawling and indexing high quality pay-for-placement sites that compete with each other based on relevance and ad budget.

At this event it was clear that search engine marketing is evolving from its geeky computer nerd past into an industry full of offline advertising agency clients and online marketing agency hybrids. Madison Avenue is coming to search engine marketing. The days of the non-commercialized web is disappearing and a new web is being born.

Big companies were represented at the event with a large group of Microsoft MSN folks in attendance, as they are learning as much as they can about the search space. MSN is developing their own search technology solutions that could launch a new era in the search space.

The major debate at the event raged around the areas of free natural or, as the industry calls it, organic search results vs. paid inclusion and sponsored links. The issue centered on which will win and whether all results will wind up being paid.

The search engines seem to have a disincentive to continue pushing free unpaid organic search results. The reason is that it costs the search engines quite a bit of money to operate free listing search results without any revenue for the page real estate and bandwidth. They mainly see commercial websites getting free advertising in these free search results.

Another example is many companies are spending large budgets at the beginning of a search engine marketing campaign and then, after the site has attained strong organic or free search listings, they then lower their site search spending on paid listings.

Results relevance is one of the other justifications. It seems most of the search engines think that if they can offer the same type of results relevance with paid listings as organic search then they will feel it may be OK to drop free listings and convert to all paid inclusion results.

We must accept this new web and it's lost non-commercial purity. The web is reaching the promise the dotcom boom failed to produce. Web commerce has been figured out to a level that large companies and marketing experts are really able to monetize search on the web.

It is sad to see the Internet's age of innocents disappearing, but it is exiting as the web is reaching its full potential.

For more information about the Search Engine Strategies conference and expo, visit: http://www. searchenginestrategies. com/.

About Source of Article Rob Greenlee is Founder and co-host of the WebTalkGuys Radio Show.  WebTalkGuys, a Seattle-based talk show featuring technology news and interviews. It is broadcast on WebTalkGuys Radio, Sonic Box, via Pocket PC at Mazingo Networks and the telephone via the Mobile Broadcast Network.  It's on the radio in Seattle at KLAY 1180 AM and KVTI 90.9 FM. Past show and interviews are also webcast via the Internet at http://www. webtalkguys. com/. Greenlee is also a member of the The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.



5 Tips for Choosing a Graphic Designer

. Posted in small business stories

A first impression may be a potential customer’s last impression if your marketing materials are sub-par. Make sure that your business cards, brochures, and website look professional by hiring someone who knows what they’re doing (instead of, say, trying to do everything yourself).


Leave A Job And Start A Business

. Posted in small business stories

By Sam Crowley

Friday, December 08, 2006; 2:00pm EST

When the economy is slow or in recession, many people lose their jobs. Corporate downsizing and business mergers result in an abundance of executives and other corporate employees who become unemployed displaced workers. The state of the economy and the instability of having a job encourage many people to start a home based business.

The idea of lifetime employment is a distant dream in the corporate world. With mergers and acquisitions, there is no longer security in having a job. Some companies outsource their customer service departments to other countries. The low wages make setting up shop in other countries advantageous to the company but leave long-term employees without a means to support their families.

This seeming negative occurrence spurs them to start their own business working from home. These employees take stock of their situation and know that they must either buy a business or start their own home-based business to support themselves and their families.

Working from home has some distinct advantages for the business owner. A home-based business has fewer risks than working for someone else. You are in charge of your future. Working from homes provides a level of control that cannot be received from any company that cares less whether or not you are able to feed your family. Being your own boss is the ultimate job security.

Home based business entrepreneurs are continuing a tradition that began before the turn of the century. The economic center was based in the home. Agriculture was the major industry and could only be worked a few months per year. When the weather prevented these entrepreneurs from planting and sowing, they created cottage industries to supplement the family income.

Today this same spirit of creating a family centered economic base is the reason that home-based businesses are so powerful. Empowerment of the individual is the theme of home-based business ownership. The flexibility of working from home is certainly one of the advantages.

Responding to the sound of the alarm clock at 5 am to fight traffic for an hour is a task that home based business owners remembers only as a distant nightmare. Spending more time with children is another of the top five reasons home based business owner???s state as reasons.

Being self-sufficient is the cornerstone of a thriving society. Working for someone else is a less than optimum condition because the owner of a business or a supervisor holds your livelihood in his or her hands. When independent minded people work in organizations that require conformity, they run into serious problems.

Independence combined with a strong desire to succeed is admirable qualities that may not bode well in a corporate setting. But, these qualities will lead an employee to find a better way to create income in their own home based business.

When working for someone else proves to be less than an ideal situation, entrepreneurs find a way to work from home to provide for themselves and their families is to start a home based business.

About the Author

You can view Sam Crowley's Christian home business by visiting www. DefendYourDream. com.


Shoe Designer Sheena Garg Edwards on Maintaining Work-Life Balance

. Posted in small business stories

Sheena Garg Edwards seems to do it all. Lately, her daily routine includes designing shoes for the next season, planning for the holidays, and running three kids to and from after-school activities. Since 2008, the San Antonio-based entrepreneur has run Lizzie Lou Shoes, an international business that specializes in high-quality women’s footwear (made in India) that features hand-embroidered designs and genuine crystals.


In the Trenches: Standing in the Customers- Shoes

. Posted in small business stories

They always say that it-s a good idea to stand in your customers- shoes every so often in order to be able to empathize. That-s probably particularly useful for a concierge business like ours, because we-re always trouble-shooting when people are in distress. This week, I-ve had the chance to sit on the other side, and I-m grateful for it, even though it-s been a miserable experience.


5 Tips for Exporting Your Products

. Posted in small business stories

While it-s easy to equate the idea of exporting with higher revenue, an increase in sales may be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential growth for your company. -Exporting tends to have a domino effect,- says Elizabeth Helsley, founder of Global Luxe, a full-service international consulting firm that helps companies navigate the Mexican market. -Once you export to one country, surrounding countries will often be interested in carrying your products.-


5 Shopping Trends to Watch for This Holiday Season

. Posted in small business stories

Retailers may not get everything they wish for this holiday season. A recent Gallup poll predicts that consumer spending on Christmas gifts in 2011 will be about the same as it was in 2010, or about $712 per person. Although this may seem like relatively good news, given the shaky economy, nearly 30 percent of people polled anticipate spending less rather than more on gifts in 2011, up from 15 percent last year. What’s more, tough conditions are expected to persist through year’s end.


Communicating a Clear Vision

. Posted in small business stories

By Thomas Fox, MBA

Friday, September 12, 2003; 12:00pm EST

Everybody in a business is talking about the mission of the business, but what about the vision? A vision is the clear understanding of a mission result. It is the picture of where you want to be when you have your project completed or your product delivered. Your business very well can be a project. The end of a project won?t necessarily mean that your business is over. You might simply repeat the business mission on a regular basis.

Without the clear understanding of what you want and where you want to be, you can?t reach the mission. You can?t guide your employees, nor find the path yourself to get to the end-result within the parameters you have laid out for yourself if you:

1. Don?t have a clear understanding of your own vision

2. Can?t communicate the vision to your employees and your customers

3. Have an unclear understanding of the vision your customers have

It is very critical when your customers are laying out a project for you and you are trying to understand what they envision you doing for them. If the understanding and communication between your customers and you is clear and comprehensive then the project completion or the product delivery will result in customer satisfaction and repeat business. This will also include effective project performance on your end while certainly being profitable for you.

If the understanding of your customer?s vision was unclear then (a) the customers will be dissatisfied, (b) you will have to correct the product delivered, and (c) your profit will be reduced accordingly. In addition, perhaps the biggest impact on your business is that your customers were already dissatisfied once. They will remember the mishap even if you repaired the damage. A bad memory just sticks longer to someone?s mind than the fact that it had been corrected.

Learning to envision your goals and communicating them to your employees, and communicating the vision from and to your customers is a Visioning course by itself. I have attended training in visioning taught by a business process coaching company in Utah. The visioning techniques and communication tools taught are of holistic nature. Under holistic it is understood that a whole group of methodologies is applied to facilitate clear and perfect communication among all critical stakeholders of a project. These holistic methods applied will improve the teams? project-buy-in and will contribute to project productivity. Even if you are running your home business by yourself, there are still the customers and your suppliers and/or vendors who might all need a clearer picture and understanding of the project vision. I highly recommend learning the trade of visioning.

For More Information

If you are interested in learning more about visioning, please contact me by email tfoxcareer@msn. com or call (801) 687-2324. I will be happy to have the coaching company contact you without any obligations to you. I am not affiliated to the training facility at this time.


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