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What Your Small Business can Learn from Big Business in the New Year

The New Year offers the opportunity to analyze your current business practices and consider ways to improve the status quo. One strategy small business owners can utilize is looking at the latest big business trends, and evaluating which can help their companies succeed in 2017. To save you time in your search, we have found and included the most popular big business trends in this article.

Subject Matter Experts Replace Salespeople

While the goal of every business is to sell, business-to-business (B2B) companies can benefit from hiring subject matter experts (SMEs) to lead their salesforce. While a typical salesperson can be entry-level, providing price options, delivery times, and general product information, a subject matter expert is much more than that.

This is an experienced professional who is not only extremely knowledgeable in the product or service being sold, but the company’s goals, the competition and the overall industry. These professionals can provide a great value to consumers as they can make recommendations based on individual business needs and explain clearly the competitive advantage your offerings have over your competitors.

Videos Become Content Musts

It’s no longer enough to write product descriptions or compile written instructions, as the public is demanding video content. In fact, Cisco predicts that videos will make up 69 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2017.

Hubspot confirms this prediction; their Consumer Behavior Survey found that 55 percent of users report watching an entire video, versus just 29 percent who would read a blog or 33 percent who would finish an interactive article.

What does this mean for small business owners? Invest into creating videos that highlight your products, services and overall company. This effort will pay off with higher sales; Forbes found that 65 percent of individuals who saw an online video then visited the company that posted it.

Social Media Takes Over Direct Email Campaigns

Forbes reports that collaboration tools, like Google Docs, are replacing internal communication between employees. Instead of sending and receiving dozens of emails when working on a project, employees make changes and post comments online, which means that B2B companies will have a harder time getting potential customers to read their email campaigns, as they will not check their inboxes as often.

How do you reach new and existing clients if not through email? Through social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Updating relevant photos, posts and news about your company will resonate better with your target audience rather than just blasting emails out at them.

If you choose to implement a big business idea for your small enterprise, such as adding a subject matter expert to your team, or creating a video, you may find it difficult to fund these endeavors. IOU Financial makes it our mission to help small business owners succeed and grow their businesses with small business loans. Click here to find out how you can secure a loan in under 24 hours!

New Year Resolutions: Don’t Just Make Them Personal

The new year is quickly approaching, and many of us are making plans for how we will welcome 2017. Some individuals are purchasing champagne to ring in the new year, while others are coming up with new year resolutions. It is fairly common to come up with typical goals, such as losing weight, creating more family time, and dedicating more effort to hobbies and interests, but resolutions are not only beneficial to your personal life. In addition to personal resolutions, concentrate on professional objectives, as well. In fact, it is advantageous for managers to encourage their teams to brainstorm together to plan for the upcoming year with these steps.

Prepare General Company Goals

Prior to sitting down with your team and making resolutions for the following year, make sure you are prepared. You cannot ask your employees to provide solutions without being aware of the company’s plans. It is recommended to meet with your own manager, who is likely privy to more information, and will provide you with projected goals for 2017.

Encourage Employees to Participate

Alert your employees of upcoming meetings to discuss goals, and encourage their participation. It may be beneficial to share the organization’s goals prior to the meeting, and ask your team members to consider ways of accomplishing them. In fact, you may require each and every staff member to create a plan for next year, which involves actionable objectives that can be measured and accomplished.

Business meeting

A great leader will remember that their staff is not only invested in the company’s success, but also in their own. To show your employees that you are committed in empowering them, ask them to create individual professional goals as well as plans to benefit the company’s mission.

Host a Meeting 

In order to create new resolutions, you must dedicate a place and time to get your team together. Schedule a meeting, and alert your team about it in advance, so they have the time to prepare their suggestions. As the meeting commences, you can take the lead in reviewing the company’s and the department’s resolutions for next year, but don’t monopolize the conversation the entire time. Instead, allow each and every individual the time to share their thoughts on relevant steps that should be taken in 2017.

To prevent everyone from speaking at once, or interrupting each other, you may go around the room, giving everyone a chance to contribute, or use an object as a “talking stick,” only allowing the person holding it to speak.

Collaborate on creating a general to-do list for next year with measurable results that can be crossed off as they are accomplished. You can choose to meet with each employee individually at a later date to discuss their personal goals.

Follow Up

After the meeting has concluded, follow up with a written plan for 2017. Designate a team leader to oversee employees in the following year to make sure everyone is staying on track with their resolutions, and providing tools or advice to those that are falling behind.

Want to Be a Better Leader? Ignore Popular Advice

Any person in a position of power likely strives to be a better leader. After all, most of us have encountered unfair treatment as we climbed the ladder to success, and now that we secured a leadership role, being the best possible boss is an important goal.

What defines being a great leader? Is it being empathetic, empowering or motivational? Does it involve expecting only the best and pushing your staff to work at optimal levels? There are countless articles both online and in print that provide tips on improving your leadership skills. What do some of the most popular sources recommend leaders do to improve?

  • Inc.com recommends investing in training, taking risks, creating a vision and challenging employees to optimal performance.
  • Harvard Business Review states that successful leaders have richer personal lives, and to hone leadership skills, individuals must focus on all domains, including their personal and professional lives, their community and their self (body and spirit).
  • Forbes takes the focus off employees entirely, and advises bosses to meditate to be better at their jobs.

With so much conflicting advice, what should you focus on if your goal for next year is to be a better leader? Do you budget for training your staff, or do you invest in spending time in your local community? Will either really benefit the relationship you have with your staff members?

We have only one piece of advice when it comes to exceptional leadership – skip all the popular advice (just not ours) and practice active listening! This one simple goal involves a few steps:

Stop Speaking

Many managers hold the false belief that as the most experienced members of the team, they must do all the talking. Bosses typically monopolize business meetings, prepare weekly to-do tasks for employees, and encourage subordinates to come to them when seeking help.

The problem is that with all the talking is leaders rarely stop and simply listen to their staff. Those that do, quickly realize that their staff will let them know (either verbally or through their actions) what it is they require for a happy and productive workplace.

Instead of micromanaging your staff, involve them in the plans and goals for your department. Invite them to contribute their opinions, raise objectives and suggest improvements. Doing so will empower your team to be driven and responsible.

Be Aware

Once you stop feeling responsible to lead the conversation, you can concentrate on becoming more aware of others around you. Remember that as a boss, your job is not only centered on overseeing job performance, but also ensuring your staff’s well-being and satisfaction. If they feel unappreciated, overworked or mistreated, your employee turnover will increase.

Start everyday by asking your employees how they feel; but also focus on their non-verbals. If they look stressed out, tired or sad, inquire about what is going on. Whether they feel pressured at work or are dealing with personal issues at home, a good leader will create awareness of their staff’s emotions, feelings and thoughts, making the workers feel valued and cared for.


Be Selfless

Many managers mistakenly believe that since they hold senior titles, they no longer need to work as hard as their subordinates. However, when you require your staff to work nights and weekends, but you’re the last person to come in and the first to leave, your employees become disgruntled.

Strive to be selfless, and be the example of what a hard working and dedicated worker acts like. This way, your staff will respect you, and not resent their selfish boss.

While striving to become a leader leader is noble, you don’t need to spend company funds on management training; instead, just focus on listening, being aware, and being selfless to create the best company culture for your employees.

Let’s Talk Money: 5 Ways Businesses Can Maintain Financial Transparency with Employees

Talking about money with friends, colleagues, family, or any other relationship that exists is usually topic that is avoided. When running a business, this trend also seems to remain true. Businesses are often reserved when it comes to sharing the company financials with its employees for a variety of fear-based reasons. While every business has the choice of who they share what numbers with, the businesses that choose to share with employees can navigate this hard-to-discuss topic with clear direction. In this post we will review the 5 correct ways your business can maintain financial transparency with your employees. Let’s take a look!

Share the Information on a Consistent Basis: Good and Bad

While good news is much easier to share, if you are committing to sharing the financial status of your company’s transactions with your employees, you should embrace sharing the information on a consistent basis, whether the numbers are good or bad. Sharing on a set schedule demonstrates that the company will remain transparent, regardless of the color the company is heading into. Good, bad, or indifferent, remaining on a set quarterly, monthly, or even weekly sharing basis will help with the commitment to being transparent with your employees.

Explain the Numbers: Help Employees Understand the Breakdown

Graphs, projections, charts, oh my. Sharing the financial status with employees is more than just arrows up or down. Sharing takes explaining what it all means. When reviewing financials, help employees understand the numbers they are seeing. Are the projections on track for making the growth expected? Does the company see their value in those numbers? Do you even know what the numbers mean? Sharing and explaining what each dollar in and dollar out means for the company can demonstrate the value of your employees in every transaction.

Review Tough Questions Ahead of Time

Make sure you’re ready to answer the tough questions that your employees may ask. Consider what the employee may see when the numbers come through and be prepared to explain what the company is doing, thinking, or considering when they see the same numbers. Reviewing some potential questions in advance of the numbers will help navigate a potential onslaught of “what does this mean?” question session.

Share in Person

Timing is everything. Companies usually have the time they share news to the team down to a day and time of the week. That usually is paired with a nicely worded email, newsletter, or some form of typed-out document. When it comes to sharing the fiscal information, companies should consider doing this in person when possible. Sharing in person can help reduce office chatter about what the numbers “really mean”, or reduce the misunderstanding of one “0” in the fancy pie chart. Sharing in person allows allows real questions in real time. If a company can find a way to share and provide a follow-up meeting or offer in person reviews, it will ensure staff morale stays high around the company’s financial transparency and communication with its employees.

Demonstrate the Employee Connection in Financial Goals and Reviews

People work harder when they see their value in the end product. Highlight the employee’s contribution to the numbers they see. By demonstrating the connection each employee has to every dollar, they will be encouraged to take ownership of that dollar. By highlighting where an employee fits in the grand scheme, it will help define purpose, passion, and projections to shoot for. The employee paycheck should not be the only financial connection they see to a company.

By sharing and remaining transparent with your company’s financial statements, employees can find increased value and connection to the company that they work hard for. By following these five ways to maintain your business’s financial transparency, employers can reduce the fear that goes into sharing their finances with others. While these methods may not make dinner party discussion about how much or how little one makes easier, it can help the employee, company, and its operating managers feel better prepared to use the company numbers to their advantage.

Should You Allow Pets at the Workplace?

As a business owner, there are a lot of decisions you need to make about the best policies for your office. You may offer your employees unlimited vacation, the option to telecommute to work, or free lunch. Another benefit to consider offering your staff members is a pet-friendly office environment. Although this may seem counterproductive to running a successful operation, it’s becoming more common for business owners to allow staff members to bring their pets to work. Is a pet-friendly office right for your business? Consider the benefits that pets can offer to your team members, such as:

dog_blogLower Stress Levels

The workplace is a fast-paced, demanding environment, which creates stress for working professionals. Forty percent of workers stated that they were very or extremely stressed out on the job, and 25 percent said that their work was the number one cause of stress in their lives. The effects of stress on the body are well-known: high blood pressure, sleep problems, weight issues, diabetes and heart attacks.

One effective way to fight stress is to create a pet-friendly office where employees are allowed to bring in their cats and dogs. A 2012 study found that employees who brought their pets to work reported being less stressed out throughout the day.

Dogs have been proven to reduce levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that is responsible for stress, while raising the levels of oxytocin, the “love hormone,” which causes happiness. A 2001 study found that pets can lower blood pressure levels that are caused by mental stress.

Improved Communication

Employees must be able to effectively communicate with each other, ask each other for help, and create a support system in the office. However, most professionals are too busy with their responsibilities to get to know their colleagues.

Bringing pets to work has been shown to increase interaction between employees. “When I first took the job, I often learned the names of the pets before employees, and it helped me build a bond with everyone,” stated Lisa Conklin, public relations manager for Replacements, a dinnerware retailer.

When a team is able to communicate effectively, they are more efficient, productive and happier. This benefits business owners with a better corporate culture, higher employee retention rates and additional profits due to increase productivity.

Work/ Life Balance

Employees are increasingly demanding a better work/ life balance amidst the longer work  hours common in the US. A pet-friendly office helps to improve that balance by allowing staff members to bring their beloved pets to work. A long day at the office does not seem so bad when your employee’s canine best friend is next to them. Additionally, it takes away the burden of hiring dog walkers or worrying about pets being alone for extended periods of time.

Set Policies When Allowing Pets at Work

If you believe that allowing pets at work could benefit your business, it is advantageous to create rules that all employees must abide by. First, the office should be pet-proofed, which means all loose wires must be hidden, small objects must be removed from lower surfaces and all doors must be closed at all times.

Second, a pet policy should be adopted that allows only well-behaved and friendly pets to be brought to work. For example, a dog that is prone to barking will only distract your workers instead of increasing productivity.

Third, find out if any of your staff members have allergies to pets. If this is the case, they may agree to take allergy medications; however, that must be discussed before pets are allowed on the premises.

If you could benefit from more advice on managing a business, click here to find seven tips to small business success.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is a creative work, such as a design, invention or manuscript, whose rights are owned by your company. Those rights are established through a legal mechanism, such as a trademark, copyright or patent. IP is valuable – sometimes the most valuable asset a company can hold.

Here are the three major ways to protect your IP:ip-blog-image

  • Patents: You apply for a patent at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patents provide 20 years of protection from the filing date. You can apply for a:
    • Utility patent: Available to anyone who discovers or invents a new, useful process, mechanism, product, or composition of matter. You can also patent a significant improvement to any of these.
    • Design patent: Used for new designs of manufactured items
    • Plant patent: For use when you discover or breed a new, asexually reproducible variety of plant
  • Trademarks: Protect symbols, names, phrases, logos, artwork, colors and sounds used to distinguish your goods and services from others. Registration is not required, but is available. Trademarks remain in effect indefinitely.
  • Copyrights: Provide protection for original works of authorship, including musical, literary, dramatic, and artistic, whether published or unpublished. Copyrights automatically attach to original works, but you can also register them at the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyrights last from 70 to 120 years.

A startup company might, in its rush to get a product or service to market, not fully protect its IP. After all, it takes some time and money to register a patent. However, failure to protect IP can ultimately be very expensive and dangerous to a company. You have to worry about a partner, executive or employee stealing your IP, not to mention the threat of corporate spying. Here are some tips for protecting your IP:

  • Educate yourself and your team on the topic of IP. Learn the differences among trade secrets, patents, copyrights and trademarks. The time you spend up front understanding IP will pay big dividends later on.
  • If you have a novel idea, make sure it isn’t already patented. Do a Google search to see if it makes sense to spend your money on a protected idea.
  • Patent your valuable ideas, even if you don’t necessarily plan to develop them on your own. Someone else may want to buy a patent from you.
  • Use an expert attorney to file your patent. Always insist on a fixed fee.
  • Do not delay filing your patent application. It’s like taking a number at the deli counter – it holds your place in line. After initial submission, you have 12 months to augment your application and fill in any missing details. The approval process requires patience, since it takes up to five years. That’s why you often encounter the term “patent pending.”
  • Identify through an audit your non-patented IP, such as copyrights and trademarks, whether registered or unregistered.
  • You may need to file for international patents, because a U.S. patent won’t protect you from international competition.
  • Use non-disclosure agreements with all employees and consultants to prevent them from stealing your IP.

To research and file patents may cost you tens of thousands of dollars. A commercial loan from IOU Financial is an easy, fast and low-cost way to finance the protection of your IP. We can provide funds within 24 hours of approval, so contact us today.

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Small Business Finances 101: Understanding Income

Income is the life source of your business. All your planning and strategies aren’t going to mean much unless you generate enough income to eventually make a profit. There are two types of income your business needs to track. Gross income is the money you receive from selling your products or services minus the costs of goods or services sold. Net income is your profit after you subtract all your expenses and losses.

As a small business owner, you need to know the most reliable ways to collect the income you owed, and how to properly report the income you receive.

Collecting Payments

  • Extending credit: While it’s nice to extend credit to customers, it can also be a money-losing proposition. People who pay with cash or payment card (debit, credit or gift) are your best customers. The only risk they pose is counterfeited bills or cards, which is a pretty small risk. When you get into checks and merchant accounts, you have to be more careful.
  • Credit cards: Many small businesses (55 percent in 2013) do not accept credit cards because of the steep fees and the possibility of disputes. If you sell online, you have no choice but to accept credit cards and pay the fees. Remember that if you don’t accept chip-embedded (EMV) credit cards, you are liable for the costs of fraud, a source of friction between merchants and card issuers.
  • Merchant accounts are business-to-business (B2B) credit arrangements with clients and suppliers. A 2014 U.S. study of B2B invoices found that a troubling 42.5 percent were paid late and that 5.6 percent were still uncollected after 90 days, which is the usual definition of a default.
  • Checks are not desirable, as too many things can go wrong. This is especially true if you have customers living abroad. It can take forever for a mailed check to reach you. Then there are the problems of stolen or overdrawn checks. Unless you have a long relationship with a customer, it’s best to avoid being paid by check.
  • Direct deposits via automated clearing house, transfers and electronic transfers are quick and safe for domestic payments. International transfers take longer. The only problem is getting your client to agree to make direct deposits.
  • Collections: If you are owed money, you can try to collect it yourself, hand debt collection off to an agency, or write-off the debt. In any event, late payments have a negative effect on your income.

Accounting for Income

Accounting is essential knowledge for your business. Keep your books up to date because delays can cause mistakes that might end up hurting your business and getting you audited by the IRS. You can hire a bookkeeper if you have enough activity to make it worthwhile. Many small businesses use software such as QuickBooks to perform bookkeeping. It’s up to you to evaluate the time you need to spend on using software versus paying a professional to do the work for you.

If you operate on a cash basis, you acknowledge income when it is collected. However, if you use accrual accounting, you report income when it is earned, which is usually before it is collected. Whether you use cash or accrual accounting, you need to keep accurate and timely records. This is especially important for figuring net income, which is the amount you are taxed on. To calculate net income, you must account for all expenses, costs and losses. If you miss some deductions, you’ll pay more tax than necessary.

If you need to stabilize your cash flow, hire a bookkeeper, or expand your inventory to bring in more income, IOU Financial offers convenient, low-interest rate commercial loans to help your business grow. Visit our loan calculator to get started!

How Small Business Owners Can Learn From US Olympians

When you hear the words Olympics and Team USA, the pure dominance at the Rio games from athletes such as Michael Phelps, the women’s gymnastic team, and the women’s beach volleyball team come to mind. But when you hear the words Olympics and business owner, you may not see a connection. Competing in the Olympics and being a savvy small business owner may have more similarities than you think.

When you’re a business owner in today’s competitive market, it can be hard to stay on top each day, quarter, and year. However, by learning from how Team USA trained their way to an amazing showing at the Olympics, your business may be better prepared for market dominance.  Here are 5 ways that business owners can learn from the USA Olympians’ success in the Rio games.

 

  1. Teamwork

When you watch the communication between beach volleyball athletes Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, it is pure magic. Their understanding of their respective roles and how they fit together makes it easier to find the correct location when it’s their moment to strike, and their approach to teamwork has translated into domination of most matches by large margins. Follow their lead. Work as a team, communicate with each other, and be clear in your team’s objectives. Working as a team will only make your business more dominant.

 

  1. Know the talents of each person

Many small businesses fail because they force employees to do tasks they lack the skillset to execute well. The women’s gymnastic team is a clear demonstration of getting it right. Their coaches know the skillset of each gymnast, and they allow those athletes to execute their specific events.  Putting the brash employee at the helm of sales calls or putting your best communicator behind the scene helping new hires fill out their time card is not a good use of your talent pool. Sometimes making a change and switching the person you’re paying to do a task with the person who is the right fit is a smart logistical move. The women’s gymnastics team changed their rotations and identified the right talent for each event. Play to your strengths and let those talents rise!

 

  1. Preparation

Have you seen the preparation that goes into a single event at the Olympics? If you haven’t, you should watch any athlete’s story and see where they started in their event preparation. Winners are not built overnight; they put in work for years before they can aim for gold. Your business should follow the same path.

By bringing on the right talent for the future, your business can prepare for the road ahead. Sure, you have immediate needs, but you should also look to bring on and train a team for the future. Prepare for growth and hire visionaries. Anticipate rough times, so hire great problem solvers. Look for the talents you need to weather storms and when the rain comes you’ll be ready to find good use of the extra water.

 

  1. Know your focus and focus on what you know.

It’s not a question that Michael Phelps knows swimming. He knows the events he is good at and the ones he is not, and he uses this knowledge to direct his focus. Do you know your business model? What product does your business excel at providing consumers? Knowing what your business is and how to develop that product or service in a focused and exact way will only add success. Trying to do too much or expand too fast may give you excitement, but it could also leave you watching other competitors take home gold.

 

  1. Adaptability

Structure is good, but failure to adapt is business suicide. Times change, interests change, and your business should adjust. This is no different than when Olympians get to the games. They size up who is in the lane next to them and push a little harder down the stretch. Relay teams see if they are ahead or behind and adjust to the difference, and when setbacks happen, the U.S. has found ways to get back up, refocus, and go after it even harder. Your small business should focus on its niche but also be ready to re-focus and adapt to the changing environment around your company and its customers.

 

 

It is no question the United States Olympic teams have dominated in Rio. Domination has come with preparation, focus, and other skills needed to rise above the crowd and take these games by storm. Running a business is no different. Watching the ways of Team USA can be a lesson in how to not only make it to the top tier in your field, but also walk away with gold to show for your hard work.

Tips to Make Your Dental Office Remodel a Success

Being a dentist involves more than medical expertise – you also need to have business savvy when you’re faced with key decisions, such as when to invest in new equipment and remodel your office. A dental office remodel can be expensive and disruptive in the short term, but it can give your practice the technology and layout it needs to keep both your staff and customers happy. To make the most of your redesign, you’ll want to take into account the impacts of your timing and the overall design. dentist

Timing is Everything

An article in the professional journal Dental Economics gives some insights into which seasons make the most sense for major business changes like a remodel. The data suggests that May and September are the slowest months for dentistry, whereas business peaks in August, October, November and April. If you were planning to temporarily close your office in order to modernize and refurbish it, the early summer would impact the fewest patients.

Envisioning the Final Product

Wells Fargo bank published a thoughtful article about dental office trends that points out the importance of making the office look professional without appearing unapproachable. Two key design concepts stand out: using all of your office’s square footage to its fullest potential and sticking to classic design principles.

The article also suggests the following design guidelines:

  • Never let treatment zones be on public display.
  • Lay out your business area so the receptionist can easily swivel to greet patients and then swivel back away from them to take care of other tasks. This way, transactions and conversations with patients who are checking out can be kept private and separate from the waiting area.
  • Plan for a space where patients can discuss fees with your staff privately.
  • Break rooms and private offices should be isolated from the practice’s patient-activity areas.
  • All treatment rooms should have identical equipment and similar layouts to avoid staff having favorite rooms.
  • Make sure you budget for and lay out all the technology you need in the treatment areas for patient education, practice management, treatment co-diagnosis and even entertainment.
  • Leave some room for expansion over time.
  • Choose a classic, timeless color scheme. Reserve bold colors for walls and other paintable surfaces.
  • Use quality, durable finish materials for countertops and cabinetry. It might be a little more expensive up front but will last over the life of the current office design.
  • Work with your interior decorator to plan inexpensive seasonal updates so you can keep your décor fresh over the next 10 years.

Financing Your Project

A key component to project success is lining up the right kind of financing. A small business loan is from the right lender can mean the difference between staying on schedule or delays that impact your bottom line.  Online lenders like IOU Financial offer quick turnaround and flexibility that a traditional bank loan can’t match. Want to figure out your costs for financing your dental office remodel? Visit our loan calculator to learn about our financing and how to make sure you qualify for a loan.

 

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4 Ways to Get the Best Deals from Your Vendors

Your vendors are your partners. Without them, you would not be able to stock your shelves or get the supplies your staff needs. Having good vendor relationships means less stress and better deals so you can focus on managing your business.

When working with vendors, you want to make sure that you’re getting a good deal, especially if you are just starting out. Fortunately, getting the most for your money when working with a vendor can be as simple as asking the right questions and being courteous. Here are four vendor management tips that can help you keep costs down while growing your business and keeping your vendor happy, too.

Do Your Research

The first way to make sure you get a good deal is to shop around before you sign on the dotted line. Researching and comparing vendors will give you a good sense of current offerings and prices. If you already have an ongoing relationship with a vendor, dedicating some time annually to researching current prices and offers will keep you informed. If needed, you can use that research to negotiate a better deal than what you currently have.

Negotiate

Many business owners believe that the prices quoted by vendors are set in stone. While that may be the case sometimes, it is not always so. Use the research you have done to inform your discussion with your vendor if it’s time to negotiate a better deal. You may surprise yourself by the savings you can earn just by asking. Even if the price is non-negotiable, you may be able work out favorable payment terms and give yourself more time to pay off a balance by negotiating the terms of the deal.

Form Relationships

You make it a priority to wine and dine your clients, but don’t forget that forming strong relationships with your vendors can prove to be just as important. By making a personal connection with your vendors, they will be more willing to be your advocate. A good vendor relationship can benefit you in many ways, including discounted pricing, personalized service, expedited delivery, and faster and better support.
To maintain a good relationship, remember to be courteous if an issue or a mistake occurs and give your vendor a chance to make it right before escalating the issue. Show your gratitude for consistently good service so the vendor knows you appreciate their work.

Plan Ahead

Any vendor appreciates a consistent client, which requires you to plan ahead. While emergencies occur where you may suddenly need an influx of product overnight, generally, you should keep careful inventory and monitor your sales or usage history to create a schedule with your vendor. Once you develop a history and your vendor knows they can rely on you to be consistent, you may be able to negotiate a discount if you prepay for an entire order or order in bulk.

 

Need funds to pay off a big order or start expanding your inventory? Consider a small business loan so you can pay up front and get the most bang for your buck when negotiating with vendors. Contact IOU Financial for more information about how you can secure a small business loan in as little as 24 hours so you can have what you need on hand without stretching resources too thin.