The Perils of Being an Out of State Landlord

2 abandoned homesPurchasing property for investment purposes can be challenging for a landlord with the tasks of collecting rent and upkeep. However, buying a dwelling out of state can significantly increase your worries and concerns. The following are a list of perils that come with your distant investments.

Potential Legalities

Handling evictions and arbitration can be time consuming and costly when you’re an out of state landlord. If you need to make additional trips to deal with the ousting of the current tenants and seeking legal help along the way, you may have to incur expensive fees. This can eat up a majority of your profits if you have to make court appearances and post legal documentation. It can run you 10% or more to enlist the help of a property management team, and it is highly doubtful they will keep as watchful an eye on your home as you would.

Vacancies

Homes without residents tend fall into disrepair, and are often the site of break ins and vandalism  – adding to the stigma of absentee ownership within a neighborhood. The longer the vacancy, the more maintenance is generally necessary, and with nobody there to report potential problems (such as leaks, pests, and squatters, the bigger your problems can become. There are companies who specialize in renovation and cash buys, which might be a welcome solution for your situation.

Maintenance & Upkeep

Property investors who own a dwelling close to them can do much of the work on their own. Chores can include lawn and snow upkeep, plumbing fixes, painting and general maintenance. This can allow you to save quite a bit of money in the long run and keep your costs and maintenance fees to a minimum. Hiring a management company to oversee the handling of your dwelling can prove much for expensive, and sometimes their attempt to save you money means low quality performance.

Neighborhood Changes

It can be hard to keep up with neighborhood changes when the property that you own is so far away. Whether the homes are becoming run down and dilapidated or the neighborhood properties are reducing in price, you may find it difficult to keep up with any changes when you’re long distant. A realtor or property management company can alert you to any abnormalities, but it can come at a price. Having something nearby is much easier to manage, and you’ll know when to sell before the changes become too apparent.

Tenant Accountability

Finding good tenants can be difficult for any landlord. Since the dwelling is not their own, some renters feel that it’s just not their obligation – and a tenant with a landlord out of state may be even less accountable. This can be especially difficult when you’re trying to get your tenants to follow rules, guidelines and regulations that pertain to their living arrangements. It can be even more trying when it comes to collecting rent in a timely manner. You may have to enlist the help of a management company just when it comes to collecting fees and follow through.

Owning investment property can be a cost-effective way to make additional income. According to http://pdxrenovations.com/, however, being an out of state landlord can place you at the forefront of many obstacles and perils, especially when it comes to collecting rents and maintaining the value of the investment. It might be time to consider selling your out of town rentals, so you can purchase something nearby that you can more easily manage yourself.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dottiemae/5575141678/

So You Want To Own A Coffee Shop?

For many of us, it is a long-time dream to own our own business. Working for yourself, enabling others by giving them employment, building something tangible and profitable – these are all good reasons for turing to your inner entrepreneur and drawing up a business plan. For those go-getters who love the buzz of people, the idea of owning a coffee shop might be very appealing. Café culture is more popular than ever and with our on-the-go lifestyle more people are drinking coffee than ever before. Although coffee giants like Starbucks owns most of the market share, there is a growing demand for unique, independent cafes. The market is continually growing. In 2012, there were over 5500 independent coffee shops  listed in the UK. If there was ever a good time to open your own coffee shop, now is that time.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Do your research

As with starting any business, it is paramount that you do proper research before hurtling head-fi
rst into the idea of opening your coffee shop. You can read many books on the topic, but nothing beats learning from other peoples’ experience. Set up meetings with coffee shop ownerswho have already gone through the process, and ask their advice and guidance. More often than not, people will appreciate your honesty and enthusiasm and will be glad to share their knowledge.

As a coffee shop owner, you will need to know every angle of running the business, from what it feels like to take customers’ order to making the coffee to controlling stock levels. It would be beneficial to you and your business if you spend some time working the floor in a coffee shop to get a feel of what it is like behind the scenes. Working in a coffee shop for at least two years before venturing into the owner side of it will not only give you a wide open perspective of what is involved in the day-to-day dealings, it will also help you to better manage your staff once you own your
own place.

Location, location, location

One of the very first things you should consider when planning your new business is where it will be located. For a coffee shop, you want a lot of feet passing through, so a busy street or a location close to a train or bus stop will be ideal. Naturally, this prime property will cost more than one in suburbia, so do careful financial comparisons before comitting to a location. Another good idea is to see where the most coffee shops are already. Rather than avoid the competition, realise that different customers want different things, and you will attract your own coffee tribe over time. On startups.co.uk they write that consumers prefer a convenient location over stand-out coffee, something that is evident if you look at Holloway Road in North London which has 24 different coffee shops just in one street.

The grand design

While you are deciding on a locaton, checking out
the legalities of your desired area and speaking to the landlord, you should also be drawing up the plans of what you imagine your dream coffee shop to look like inside. The space that you rent in the end will have a great impact on your coffee shop’s design. Perhaps you were dreaming of big leather sofas and open spaces, but the location that works best for you only allows a few straight-up chairs and a counter area. Speak to professionals who have designed coffee shops before, as they will have trade secrets like how angling your coffee grinder at a certain angle to the counter will maximize the flow of customers into and out of your shop. Also ask professional assistance when choosing equipment such as coffee grinders, display cases or even your funiture, or do extensive research online. Everything from overhead lighting to res
taurant tables
 can be bought online, often at cheaper than at the shops.

Reality check

The most important question you have to ask yourself when heading into this endeavour is: “Do I really want to do this?” If you have a love for the industry, for people, for business and an honest desire to own your own coffee shop, nothing will keep you away from success. And hard work plus persistence will bring you closer to it faster. You also should be willing to commit to the coffee shop for a while – think at least ten years. If this sounds like something for you, now is the time for you to join the providers of caffience shots for the masses!

About the Author: has had a long affair with caffiene. It has supported her through studies, through cold nights and reunions with old friends. As a writer, she still spends a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops and leaching wifi, with a coffee always closeby.

How To Make Your Meetings More Active

For most office workers, sitting is a way of life. You sit at your desk, in the breakroom, in the conference room and definitely throughout lunch. Then you sit in your car as you drive home, sit at the dinner table and sit on the couch while you watch TV. That’s alot of inactive time, and even exercising for as much as an hour a day won’t undo the damage. From standing desks to in-office yoga, there are countless ways to sneak a little bit more movement into your day. But perhaps one of the best techniques is one that’s commonly overlooked: walking meetings. Here are a few reasons why they’re a great idea and how you can incorporate them into your office life.

What’s So Great About Walking Meetings?

1. They get the blood pumping

Whether you’ve got a team of power walkers or you prefer a quiet stroll through the park, walking will pump oxygenated blood throughout your body. This decreases the health risks associated with sitting like Deep Vein Thrombosis and insulin resistance, and also delivers fresh nutrients to your brain so you can really pump out the good ideas.

2. New environments spark creativity

There’s nothing less conducive to innovation than staying huddled in a blank-walled cubicle. Walking through different environments will help your team think in new ways. Plus, it can be fun and motivating to toggle between different routes, helping team members feel like they’re exploring while they’re meeting.

3. Set routes keep meetings on
track

As most office workers know too well, scheduled meetings often run over their time slots, cutting into your “getting things done” time. Having a set route will help ensure that when a destination is reached, the meeting is done–no spillovers.

4. Cuts through hierarchical distinctions

When you’re really trying to brainstorm creative solutions, the last thing you want is for team members to hold back because the boss is in the room. The casual nature of walking meetings helps reduce anxiety, ensuring that all ideas are heard.

5. Encourages private and distraction-free interactions

One-on-one meetings in the office are often interrupted by phone calls or colleagues with urgent requests that aren’t actually all that urgent. Walking meetings help keep meetings private and productive, allowing for greater one-on-one interaction.

How to Have a Great Walking Meeting

1. Have an agenda

An agenda is even more important during a walking meeting, as the casual nature of the setting can lead topics off track. For that reason, it’s also important that you have 100% buy-in from your team members, so they’ll be sure to dress comfortably, take the meeting seriously and be focused and engaged. For the best results, designate a meeting leader to keep things on pace.

2. Work in smaller groups

Walking meetings do best when they’re limited to just 2 or 3 people who can walk abreast on a sidewalk or path. If your team is larger than that, plan on splitting up into groups.

3. Know your route ahead of time

Getting lost shouldn’t be on the agenda. Choose your route carefully, avoiding any that will be potentially too noisy or dis
tracting. For longer routes, pick a destination where you can pick up a reward, like a coffee shop with great biscotti. This can also be a great place for a break, where the notetaker can type up any notes using a tablet and a Goldtouch mobile keyboard. Alternatively, ask your team members’ permission to record the meeting so nothing is missed.

4. Ban smartphones

Except for mapping and recording, it’s best to enforce a strict no smartphones policy. Not only will this keep everyone focused on task, but it will also prevent anyone from falling off a curb while they text (how’s that for liability?).

5. Choose the best time of day

Some teams will prefer walking in the morning to really start the day off right. Others will prefer walking during the afternoon to overcome that 3PM slump.

6. End with an action plan

< p>When your walking meeting ends, don’t just drift off to various parts of the building. Stop at the door of your office to lay out concrete action steps for every team member and set a date for your next walking meeting.

The Takeaway

Today’s modern office life revolves around the chair, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Walking meetings are a great way to sneak in a little exercise while getting to know your teammates and brainstorming impressive ideas. So slip those walking shoes on beneath that suit and get going!

About the Author: Leah Kaminsky is a writer and blogs for Goldtouch, an ergonomic keyboard company located in Cedar Park, Texas. When not working on her fiction writing, you can find her jogging with a dorky pastel visor on (hey, a girl has to protect her face). You can follow her at @JustStartApps.

Small Business Tips For Using Twitter

Social media sites are a vital part of marketing for all businesses today no matter the size of the company.  This trend is not changing, in fact, it will become more necessary for businesses to use social media in the future so if your small business is not utilizing social media, now is the time to start.  One of the top social media sites today is Twitter and if your company does not have an account then you are missing out on a great marketing opportunity.  Your company’s website’s SEO ranking is dependent upon Twitter and other sites and if you are not sure how to get started, then you need to read the tips below.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

It’s Not Just About Business

You always want to maintain your professionalism but you also want people to see who you are and what your company is about without being too salesy.  One huge mistake that company’s make on Twitter is to only focus on the business aspect of the account without being personable in any way.  The main point of being on Twitter is to get more followers and unless you only want those that you can buy online then you have to engage people and make them want to follow you and your company.  So don’t be afraid to make your followers laugh with an anecdote from the workday or by posting photos of your employees doing their job well.  Just make sure that you are offering your followers something that is interesting and that they want to retweet.

Follow Friends and Family Members

You can start getting more followers by simply following friends and family members to help get your numbers boosted.  This can be a great strategy particularly if they are already settled into the site as they will have people they know that they can recommend for
and to you.  Once you start following these other people, they will follow you back.  The first rule of Twitter is if someone isn’t a spammer, they deserve a follow back if you are following them.  This can build up your list of followers very quickly and can make your company’s SEO efforts take off.  Just make sure that you don’t beg for followers, you can let your other followers ask for you but you should never make the request on your own or you come off as desperate.

Use Other Methods to Get Followers

Once you have become comfortable with the format of Twitter and have started following and being followed by others, it’s time use other methods to gain even more followers.  Make sure you have a Twitter widget on your website so your customers can click it to easily follow you and promote your Twitter account on Facebook and other social networking sites.  It may seem like the work is never ending and to be completely honest, it is never ending.  You have to always be working to make sure that your Twitter account stays active and positive for your followers.

It is vital for every business to have a great social media presence and this includes having a great Twitter account with many followers.

About the Author: Shannon Fouts has been helping small businesses to build up their social media presence for three years and is now writing about all social media sites.

Five Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Small Business

Considering the years of hard work and sacrifice building a successful business requires, entrepreneurs deserve to maximize their profits from selling their company when the time comes. Unfortunately, many small business owners trying sell their business make a number of mistakes that can cause them to receive significantly less than what their business is worth when completing the sale.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Selling your small business doesn’t have to become an uncertain affair filled with potentially perilous missteps. By understanding where problems usually arise, you can become better prepared to handle the hurdles of selling your business, and receive maximum value for what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. With that in mind, here are five common mistakes made by entrepreneurs when selling their small business.

Not Planning Ahead

Failing to plan in advance can cause many entrepreneurs to miss the perfect opportunity to sell their business. It takes between two and four years on average to sell a small business, making long-term planning a key to any successful sale. By keeping up to date records, a thorough business history, and current sales portfolio on hand at all times, you can better prepared yourself to seize any opportunity that may present itself.

When you’re ready to sell and when you should sell don’t always coincide, so stay prepared to escalate any potential conversations about selling your business should the perfect buyer walk through your door.

Finding the Wrong Person to Represent Your Business

The importance of finding the right consultant, broker, or company to help sell your business is a crucial component of success. Too often business owners settle for the first group or individual they meet with in an effort to get their business listed quickly and the sales process rolling. However, just as the right realtor can help you maximize the value of your home, choosing the right fit to help sell your business can save you time and money in the long run.

Take the time to select the right broker for you, even if it means interviewing more than a few potential choices. Start by asking the right questions, – such as are they familiar with your industry, how much experience do they possess selling comparably sized businesses, and how long have been working in your market – setting realistic goals, and reviewing what former clients had to say. A little diligence at the beginning of the process will save you many headaches at the end.

Failing to Promote or Market

Hiring a broker to handle the sale doesn’t mean you can stop promoting or marketing your business. No one knows your business better than you, which makes you the perfect promoter to market your company to potential buyers. Even as your broker diligently works to find the right buyer for your business, you can still help to generate leads by promoting the sale of your business to interested parties.

If you’re having trouble generating leads on your own, consider turning to your sales staff for suggestions. Whether front of the house staff or account managers, the people most likely to encounter interested parties in your business are those individuals who interact with the public. Staff have a vested interest in making sure the right fit takes over a business, so don’t underestimate the value of their input.

Asking for Too Much or Too Little

While asking for more than your business is worth can leave you without any prospects, selling too low can leave you at a disadvantage negotiating a final price.

Trying to get top dollar for a business that under generates revenue will only scare away potential leads that may otherwise seriously consider making you an offer. Before deciding on an initial asking price, you need to consider a number of factors, including your marketplace, the current economy, the price of similar businesses, and your industry.

Setting too low an asking price can send several messages to any potential buyers. Has the owner become burned out and just looking to unload; do they suffer from an illness and feel forced to sell; is there something wrong with the business that’s not being disclosed. Each of these reasons could lead to you receiving a low-ball bid for your business or potentially scare away a potential buyer.

Selling to the Wrong Person

While receiving a lump sum, cash payment would be the ideal way to sell your business, not every buyer has the capital on hand to make such a clean purchase. Even though you may feel tempted to take the first offer you receive, especially if it meets or exceeds your asking price, you need to consider whether this is actually your best offer.

Selling your business for top dollar is great, but not if it requires you to enter a long-term contract that provides very little money upfront. Most businesses see at least a temporary drop in sales following new ownership, and whether sales come back up can greatly depend on the business acumen and leadership of those now in charge. Any deal that depends on the business continuing to succeed once your gone in order for you to receive what’s owed requires serious consideration.

About the Author: John Nickelbottom is a freelance writer.

How To Protect Your Business With Video Surveillance And Additional Security Measures

You do everything you can to make sure your home is safe from trespassers and lawbreakers, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your business? Implementing effective practices to secure company property and information is vital to running a successful business. It’s an unfortunate reality that companies, both large and small, are vulnerable to theft, vandalism, employee dishonesty and breaches in security that can result in great turmoil and profit loss. From making a sound investment in a video surveillance system to enforcing network security, follow these tips to protect your business against potential crime and subsequent damages.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Invest in a Video Surveillance System

Video surveillance has many benefits in a workplace setting. Installed in all the right places, cameras monitoring the perimeter of a property as well as its interior workings can be a major deterrent to uninvited guests on the premises along with a discouragement to employee criminality. Video surveillance systems have made the ability to oversee all aspects of your business at any given time a simple matter with the use of high resolution cameras, the capability to record and playback, real-time alerts and several other handy features. While visible cameras will prove to provide an obstacle to many would-be offenders, installing hidden cameras as well can aid in catching those who have figured out a way to take advantage of blind spots in the detectable cameras and continue on with their unlawful activity.

Ensure the Property is Well-Lit

Sufficient lighting in and around a property is also crucial to the prevention of crime in a business. Trespassers tend to stay away from areas that will put them in the spotlight and make them readily identifiable. Dark areas and shadowy corners (especially in parking lots and garages) are inviting to lawbreakers, so taking precautions to maximize visibility can reduce possible wrongdoings.

Install Access Control

Another way to ensure 24/7 protection is with the installation of an access control system. These systems can be customized to be as basic or elaborate as a business requires. By keeping a record of who’s entering and exiting the company and/or each area of the building, access control systems allow business owners to decrease security threats and quickly trace any incidents back to the culprit. With access control, all entry points can be remotely regulated, and a business is able to go into lockdown mode in the event of an impending risky situation.

Don’t Neglect Network Security

Safeguarding company information, files and data is just as important as physical security. Cybercrime is becoming increasingly prevalent among businesses that haven’t prepared themselves properly to block hackers and malware. Have a regularly scheduled off-site backup solution for all company computers, reinforce security on file sharing programs, websites, etc. and educate all employees on security efforts and how to keep an eye out for any breaches.

Don’t wait until your business becomes a victim of criminal activity to install a video surveillance system or put these other security measures into action. Protect your company before it suffers a big hit.

About the Author: By Tiffany Olson

Tiffany Olson resides in California and loves to blog about anything related to helping businesses grow and stay protected. When she’s not writing you’ll usually find her traveling, reading, or cooking.

Building Better Business Meeting Etiquette

A business meeting can be held anywhere – in offices, hotels, coffee shops, conference centers, online, etc.  There are different types of business meetings and each type of meeting has its unique rules. The unwritten commandments of any meeting are:

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

a.    Politeness
b.    Respect
c.    Empathy
d.    Common sense
e.    Good behavior

If any of these commandments are violated, the meeting can fail. So, to ensure that your meeting is a success, here a basic primer on meeting etiquette:

Virtual Meetings

The meeting organizer must control the meeting. He must ensure that the meeting is brief and yet productive. He also must realize that many participants can slack off during virtual meetings, and therefore he must ensure that every item on the agenda holds the attention.

The organizer should communicate the meeting’s goals to all participants in a prior email. He should set expectations and communicate them to all participants. The attendees also should confirm if they are available on the meeting date and time.

The meeting should start as per schedule and its proceedings should be recorded by an assistant. Attention must be paid to action items and their allocation.

The organizer should send the minutes of the meeting to all the invitees, irrespective of the fact they couldn’t attend. He also should send the minutes to any person who is impacted by any decision made at the meeting.

Company Meetings

Such meetings are formal affairs that require advance preparation. All participants must double-check their data and presentations in advance and make suitable revisions/updates in the days leading up to the meeting.

Participants must arrive on time, follow the seating arrangement and the dress code. They must not carry their mobile devices. Carrying a notebook or diary and pen to such formal business gatherings is a must.

Protocol must be followed and senior colleagues should be allowed to have their say, participants must be brief and to the point while making their presentations. They must address the chair while making a point.

To Sum Up

There are certain unwritten common sense rules of every meeting. Participants should arrive before the meeting begins and be prepared with their items. They should interact with all the participants instead of forming silos and indulging
in small-group conversations.

They must listen attentively and speak only when they are given the floor. However, questions can be posed during the question time allotted after every topic – only relevant questions should be asked. Also, asking the right questions requires making relevant notes using paper and pen.

Participants should not bring any unannounced guests and control their urge to tap the pen on the table or their feet on the floor. Papers must not be rustled every now and then and participants must avoid doodling or unintentionally disturbing the speaker or their neighbors in any which way.

These are all commonsense tips that most office workers and business owners may know. What you have read is not the Bible of business meeting behavior – it is a plain and simple guide that will help you understand a business meeting’s basic expectations and plan accordingly.

About the Author: Evelyn A. Brown is an event planner who lives in Spartanburg, SC. She organizes meetings, conferences, product launch, weddings, and many more. She usually collaborates with EmpowerMint to find the proper venues for the events she handles.

Office Acquisition – The importance of having an agent on board

People tend to consider the role of an estate agent to be somewhat limited in its scope. Many would leave contacting an agent until quite late in the process of acquiring new business premises and wait until they had a clear idea and plan of what they wanted before getting one on board.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

What those people don’t realise is that estate agents have a much broader range of skills than just providing a list of properties on their books and arranging viewings. They have connections across the property market and can help from the moment of considering a move to new premises right the way through to taking possession of the keys.

Determining your requirements

With a great deal of experience of dealing with dozens or even hundreds of clients throughout the course of their work, business estate agents have an excellent grip on the kinds of premises that will work for a business and how those needs can be required. Getting in touch with an estate agent as soon as you’re thinking about acquiring an office means they can ask the right kinds of questions and get companies looking at the sorts of properties that would be suitable for your needs sooner than if left to one’s own devices.

Meeting with an agent can help a company seeking an office to think through a number of things. The needs of the business, the likely use of the premises and available finances will help to set the scene for the types of offices that could be within reach and those that can be ruled out from the outset. Considering things such as ownership or lease, tenure and future expansion plans for the company can also assist with future-proofing plans for office space.

Finding the right property

With the company’s requirements and parameters in hand, an estate agent such as Occupa can then go about finding properties that fit the bill. The search conducted by the agent will take into account a number of things such as required space, cost, location and terms of the purchase or lease. By sifting out the properties that don’t meet the company’s vital requirements, the remaining list is a viable set of possibilities that the time-pressed company decision makers can consider.

The estate agent’s role is to do the searching for the company

Choosing a specialist corporate estate agent can also allow businesses to access a range of other supporting services. From seeking finance to purchase properties outright through to office removal firms, agents working in the field will be able to put businesses in contact with the right people to make the process as easy as possible.

Sealing the deal

Once the property has been selected, estate agents can guide the company through making the offer for purchase or lease. Negotiations will be carried out through the agent, so the fuller idea they have of the company’s requirements, limitations and points of flexibility, the better job they can do on the business’s behalf.

The agent can get you to the point where the deal is sealed

When the company’s offer for the office has been accepted, the role of finalising arrangements and agreement can be passed to solicitors. However, everything before that point is something in which the estate agent can have a key role in securing and agreeing.

Conclusion

Rather than just acting as a list service for office properties, estate agents have a valuable role to play in the acquisition of offices right from the first thoughts about taking on new premises. Involve specialist business estate agents at the earliest opportunity to ensure that the best advantage is taken of their unique abilities and inside knowledge on the workings of the corporate property market.

Image Credits: mushon and SalFalko

The Importance Of A Business-To-Business Partnership

The marketplace is a wild place.  It’s no secret that the dog-eat-dog climate of working in a competitive industry with a determined company can be highly stressful and call for careful business planning and tactics.  This is because with such huge opportunities and outlets for growth many companies are struggling to stay ahead of the curve and be the best at turning a profit.  However, in such a financially and structurally diverse ‘jungle’ of a marketplace, sometimes it’s better to travel in a pack rather than be the lone wolf.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

For years the business climate and ways of industry practice have been head to head.  The cut throat decision making and make or break efforts of a business plan that were once reserved for only the largest multi-national conglomerate corporations has now trickled down into ever a serious competition between small local businesses.  No matter what the industry, a company is best to wi
sely pick their friends and enemies.  This is why many companies must know the importance of have a proper and productive business-to-business partnership.

What Is A Business To Business Partnership?

A Business To Business Partnership, otherwise referred to as B2B relations, is when two businesses work together to benefit from each other’s services.  Often times one or possibly both of the businesses are client based.  This means that they provide a good or service to particular individuals.  A partnership allows for both companies to be more productive and profitable by gaining what the other has to offer.  This can span from deals on each other’s services to joint promotional offers or campaigns.

Joining a business to business partnership is a very beneficial thing, but also a meticulous process that shouldn’t be rushed into.  One of the best examples to give in regard
s to what a B2B relationship can be and how it can be organized is the use of many local cities like Austin, Texas, using voucher-based promotions from various companies.  For instance one of the more famous programs used by companies all over the world is Groupon.  They approach local or national businesses, both service and good based, to buy into their program.  The program allows clients and consumers to get a business’ service or good at a discounted percentage, thus driving more traffic to that business while simultaneously promoting Groupon.

However, that is not the only discounted voucher-based program here in town.  There are several different ones; Bellie, GoodyBag, Go Local.  All of these offer their own rates and charges for setting up a discount voucher deal.  This is where an individual business has to make sure the plan they choose benefits them most.  Questions like “Is it cost-efficient?” and &ldquo
;What’s the prospected turn around of this investment” come into play because no business can profit in a partnership where they give more than they receive.  Shopping around for the right B2B relationship is a major part of the decision, because in such a fast paced ‘shark tank’ of a businesses climate there is little room and time for a mistake of a partnership to form.

Contracting Business To Business Partnerships

We’ve all seen the in various scenarios the importance of having a paper trail.  Contractual agreements are great legal evidence of an agreement made and hold up strongly if legal action should be taken.  Having a proper contractual agreement between businesses in a B2B relationship is vital because it ensure that both companies will uphold their end of the agreement.  This way there will be no question as to the duration of the partnership, the cost of the agreement on each end, and even the quality of service or good being received.  Since both parties set out to benefit in a partnership it is in their best interest to uphold their end of the deal so that ethically, as well as legally, the other will do the same.

Taking legal action on a failed or insufficient partnership is always a scenario that is frowned upon.  With all the effort that goes into orchestrating and designing a business to business partnership it is a shame to see it go to waste of a company’s failure to provide or uphold.  However, these instances do happen and having a properly outlined and clearly stated contract signed and acknowledged by both parties is the easiest way to terminate or amend the situation without a long drawn out process that can jeopardize business.

Business to Business partnerships can be great and beneficial to a company at any level.  If the proper steps are taken to make sure the agreement will be in a positive and efficient nature then both parties could definitely see their investment turn positive.  With so many overlapping services and necessities that are provided amongst business competitors, B2B relations almost make sense when you’re looking to keep your company’s head above water. It is important to understand the weight of a contractual agreement should you enter one.

About the Author: Zach C. writes for Colley and Colley, LLP, a personal injury law firm in Austin, Texas.

4 Online Business Ideas for the Artist

paint in blue4 Online Business Ideas for the Artist

There are several ways that you can utilize the Internet to help you sell your artwork. In fact, some of these options will enable you to take your designs and have them turned into a wide variety of different products, including temporary tattoos and iPhone cases. Because of this, it is important for all artists to embrace the Internet as a sales tool if they want to make enough money to quit their day job.

It is also a good idea to diversify your sales efforts by getting your artwork listed on a wide variety of websites. The following are some ways for an artist to increase their sales by use of the internet.

1. Temporary Tattoo Retailer

Getting custom pieces of art converted into a temporary tattoo has become a very popular option for people who want to change their look for a night out on the town. Creative and unique designs, such as a fake tattoo sleeve or a necklace, are great ways to get your art work noticed. Due to this, it is definitely a good idea to consider connecting with an online temporary tattoo retailer to have some of your art converted into this format.

Additionally, you could get some of these tattoos made for yourself, and they could become inexpensive giveaway pieces at art fairs to generate more interest in the rest of your work.

2. Print on Demand Sites

Consumers love having multiple options, and utilizing a print on demand site such as Zazzle or CafePress will give them the opportunity to put your artwork on a diverse selection of different items, including postcards, iPhone cases, t-shirts and calendars. Therefore, it is a good idea for artists to list their pieces on these sites in order to increase awareness and capture various demographic groups. As an added bonus, you do not need to take care of any of the customer interaction with these sites, so you can simply sit back and make some extra money.

3. Open an Online Store

Every artist should have a website that enables consumers and art lovers to peruse their latest offerings. However, it is also important to include a shopping cart feature so that people can make a purchase instantly from the site without having to take any additional steps. Keep in mind that encouraging impulse purchases in this manner is one of the best ways to increase your profit margin.

4. Etsy and eBay

Etsy is well-known to art lovers because all of the items available have been created by hand. Additionally, many consumers prefer to get artwork via eBay because they have the perception that they will get cheaper price via the popular online auction site. Because of this, it makes sense to open a store on both of these websites.

As you can see, there are many different ways to take advantage of the Internet in order to spread awareness of your work. Keep in mind that it is also worthwhile to operate a Facebook page or another social media page for your artwork to help keep all of your fans up to date about your latest projects.

Lisa Coleman shares some successful ways that an artist can utilize their talent online to help support their artistic career. From selling your paintings to designing a fake tattoo sleeve, artists are finding the Internet a great way to promote and support their creativity and work.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duhdenise/4995660536/