Are you an aspiring model or actress looking to break into the business?  It’s imperative to BE PREPARED at all times!  The most important factor is to make sure you have what you need the day of your session!  Actress/Model Holly Paige breaks down what you should have in your Model Bag to be prepared for your next shoot!

For More information about Holly Paige, check out  Www.HollyPaige.biz

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team

You hire employees in your business to help make your jobs run smoother.  Maybe you hire someone to run a crew, answer your phones, perform your accounting duties, or to execute labor tasks.  Every man or woman you hire becomes part of your team.  But what happens when your employee starts causing issues?  Why are they being problematic?  Who’s fault is it?  What can you do as a business owner to resolve the situation?

team

Each team member you have is like a piece of the puzzle in the big picture of your company.  As your business grows, you are dealing with more diversified personalities.  There can be numerous reasons why an employee may start causing issues.  First, you have to look at yourself as being a leader.  As a leader, are you keeping your employees motivated?  Do you give them goals to strive towards?  Do you provide financial incentives for performance?  Do you reward rehashing for your?  Many times employees become discouraged because they feel they are not being challenged nor are they motivated to perform at a higher level.   This is especially true in hourly wage jobs.  Their attitude most common from this type of employee is, “It doesn’t matter if I work faster or sell jobs, I am still getting paid the same amount of money.”  To be quite frank, they are right!  A good strategy is to have a goal structure set in place so your employees are motivated to work at a high level each and every day!  Daily goals, Weekly Goals, Monthly Goals, Quarterly Goals, & Annuals Goals are an excellent way to get the most out of your team.  This type of setup gives incentive to your employees which will make them, you, and your company more money in the long run.

Now you have that solid structure in your company.  But what if you are still having problems?  All of your employees are productive working at a high level but one.  What should you do?  When you have this type of experience, take that employee aside and let him or her know what problems they are causing.  Then explain what you expect to change.  Have guidelines written down about what you expect which you can give your employee at the end of the meeting.  Finally, start a probationary period of time when you will meet again.  (2 weeks is a good time frame).

If you still see no improvement and this one person is hindering your teams progress, it is time to let them go.  One bad apple in your company can be like a deadly disease which spreads to your other employees work performance.  No business owner ever likes to let someone go; however, its part of being in business.  Its best to do it on a Friday or the last day of the work week, (Thursdays if your working 4 ten hour days).  Don’t yell, don’t be sarcastic or let any of your frustrations as a business owner show.  Its best to act professional and thank that employee for their work.  (Even if it was sub par)…  Some professionals and employees just don’t mix well.  I’ve had people I hired in landscaping  be sincerely thankful to have a job at 7 AM.; yet,   by 11 AM, they were laying down under a shade tree because the heat was to much for them to take.  I don’t fault them for that.   They were just not cut out for this line of profession working in the heat.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, your leadership skills will dictate how far your business progresses.  Keep your team happy, motivated, and learning each and every day!

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Weakest LinkAs the old saying goes, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.”  This especially holds true in business.  When you first start up a company, you are handle numerous responsibilities if not all responsibilities.  Cash Flow is not yet coming in and money can be tight.   Your friends with jobs are working 40 hours a week bringing home that consistent paycheck while you are working an 80 hours week, earning no paycheck, &  putting money back into your business.  Welcome to the life of a start-up small business owner and entrepreneur.  Creating a business takes hard work, dedication, the ability to be creative, discipline, and patience.  If you try to do everything yourself, it will be difficult to grow and one false step can break the link of your chain severing your companies existence.  That’s where networking,  partners, and subcontracting comes into play.

Networking with other people and businesses is a terrific way to find help without having to hire employees.  You can join a business group in your county where like minded people meet up once a week.  These groups can meeting early morning for breakfast, afternoon, or night.  Bring business cards, meet new people, and gather business cards from individuals at the event!  This will allow you to engage in conversation with perspective individuals that can help progress your business forward.  For example, lets say you are starting a handyman company.  You have your truck, tools, licenses, and insurance; yet you don’t have a ton of work.  You meet for an early morning breakfast where you converse with an entrepreneur who has owned a property management company for three years.  The property management company rents out houses and constantly does repairs for tenants & rehab work upon move outs.  You talk, leave a good impression, and exchange business cards.  Now after the event is over, the property manager will call you for work which needs to be completed.  Conversely, if you come across one of your handyman customers who is a real estate investor looking to rent out a property, be sure to relay that information to the property management company you work with to close down a contract.  Over time, you will build a solid business relationship helping one another.  This is an excellent strategy to build your business in the long run.

Partners can also help your business become profitable quicker.  You can have a working partner or silent partner.  Usually, a partner will invest money or sweat equity into your company in return for an equity stake into your business.   A man by the name of Ronald Wayne was a 10% partner in the early days of Apple computers.  He decided to sell his partnership in the company for a whooping $800.00 1976!  If he would have held on to his equity share, it would be worth 35 billon dollars today!  Sweat equity is where you don’t but any money down to buy into a company, but you use your labor in return for an ownership stake in the company!  When people have a vested interest how a company performs, they excel in making sure the business is as profitable as possible.

Finally, we come to subcontracting.  This helps out when you have a job to do which either requires specialty licenses, is too big for your to handle, you don’t have the experience, or you don’t have the time.  I will give you an example with my landscape business.  I provided full service landscape for properties here in Southwest Florida.  Full service includes insecticides, fungicides, and selective herbicides.  A specialty certified pest control operators licenses is required to complete this work which my business does not possess.  Instead of missing out on this business, I subcontract this work out to a friend of mine who owns a reputable company.  I then add some money onto the job and invoice my customer.  Once I am paid, I pay my subcontractor the invoice he sends me.  I am his eyes and ears so when there is an issue, I let him know what needs to be done.  In turn, he handles the issue with his license, insurance, labor, time, and expertise.   We managed 100s of properties like this together where we are both profitable!

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bitcoin-logo-3d

Your business is open and ready to take on new customers.  An excellent strategy to use is to accept multiple forms of payment.  Today’s blog will focus on different forms of payments and devices which you can complete your companies financial transactions.

  1. Cash – Like the old saying goes, “Cash is King!”  It is the best way to get paid if possible.  It gives you instant value and has no hidden fees which you have to pay from it.  Surprisingly, less people are using cash  for transactions.  Many in generation Y are not even carrying around cash with them!  While this is the ideal face to face payment, it may limit you from good potential customers who are interested in your products or services if this is your only option.Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notes
  2. Check – A check it a popular way of conducting business.   As a company, its best to have a business checking account open.  You may need a Tax Id or EIN number to open a business account along with your State Business information, (LLC, Corp, Etc).  Customers have the flexibility to write a check to you in person, mail it, or even leave it under the front doormat.  (As crazy as that sounds, tt’s true, I’ve collected many checks under the “welcome home,” mat)   If you have your own business account open, you will not have to pay any fees to cash a check.  However, if you don’t have an account, most banks will charge you for this transaction.  A customer can also bounce a check on you if there are not sufficient funds available. (which there is usually a $25 fee which you have to pay until you are reimbursed by your customer).  Most in-state checks will cash overnight.  Some out of state checks can take longer. (Up to 5 business days)  This is something to keep in mind when asking for a deposit and showing up for your first day of work to be sure that the funds have cleared before you begin.  All & all a solid way to transfer funds. blank-check-open-space-your-text-19414606
  3. Online Payments –  Every year, online transaction increase! If you are not accepting credit cards and utilizing online payments, you are losing out on business!  Companies like PayPal have a cornucopia of online payment options like payments buttons, recurring payments, send money via email & secure invoices.  There are some fees associated with these types of transactions.  You can expect to pay around 2.99% & $.30 fee per transaction with a basic PayPal account.  This is a small price to pay to attract a customer who might not be willing to spend his/her cash, but is more then willing to put a few thousand dollars on a piece of plastic!  I’ve had customers interested in my service and tell me that, “money is a little tight.”  I then let them know, “I accept credit cards.”  One customer in particular paid $6,000.00 via PayPal invoice.  If I did not offer this option, I would have NOT been able to land the job.  My fee for using PayPal was $179.70, a small price to pay to land a profitable job.  paypal_logo _Pay_With
  4. Credit Card Dongles – Over the past few years, smart phone technology has been progressing rapidly.  Credit card companies took note and created Dongles which hook right up to your smart phone!  Most of these are FREE, portable, and have similar fees as companies like PayPal listed above.  What is nice about the dongle is that you can take it anywhere, (where there is cell service), and instantly complete a credit card transaction!  Utilizing this type of technology will give you the flexibility to close jobs on the spot and collect your payment.  I see this type of technology increasing greatly for business transactions in the future.Square-Accept-credit-card-payments-with-your-mobile-phone
  5. Bitcoin – The final payment option is fairly new.  It’s called Bitcoin and its a cryptocurrency.   Without getting into to much detail about this cutting edge payment structure, a Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of new units.  It’s private, charges very small fees, and fluctuates in value similar to a stock.  You have to open a Bit Wallet account in order to use Bitcoin as its a digital currency.  (there is no physical form of it, all transactions are done digitally on the internet).  Many entrepreneurs are excited about Bitcoin and  have large amounts of this cryptocurrency which he/she is looking to spend.  Once you are paid with Bitcoin, you can either keep it as a digital currency and buy other goods & items or exchange it for cash.  Some analysts predict that Bitcoin will be the #1 currency used in the world within 10 years.  Its popular if you are doing transactions internationally as there aren’t fees to move from one country to another.  While still young compared to other forms of payment, I see a HUGE upside to this technology.  Companies like Amazon, Target, CVS, Subway, Victoria’s Secret, Tesla, Sears, Kmart, Home Depot, and Dishnetwork, (to name a few), jumped on the Bitcoin wagon and are accepting Bitcoin as payment.  You have to ask yourself, if major players in the economy are excepting Bitcoin, why aren’t you on board yet?Bitcoin_accepted_here_printable

Contract

When operating a business, its imperative to keep your company growing and moving forward.  In order to achieve this, you need to market & advertise your product or service.  Over the years, I have come across different types of customers.  Some customers did not want to be committed to a contract.  While other customers wanted a contract.  I often get questions from start-up companies about this issue.  Which is the better way to go?  Will I lose out on business if I offer or don’t offer a contract?  Lets take a closer look about these questions.

A contract protects both parties in the transaction.  It should include a start date, estimated time of completion, materials, deposit amount, property address, your company contact info and lines for signatures and dates by both parties.  If you are a service industry, you will want to include a frequency schedule.  For example, this contract shall start April 25th 2015 and be effective for one year.   If the customer is hesitant to sign a contract, I often put in an “Out.” clause.  This clause will state something along the lines of, “Either party may terminate this agreement with a 30 day notice.”  Think about it from the customers standpoint.  They may have been scammed by the last three companies and were locked into a contract feeling helpless & used.  By adding this clause, it shows you are confident in your quality of work and will be earning the customers business with each and every visit.

If a customer is set on not signing a contract. WALK AWAY!!!  You have to ask yourself, WHY would a customer NOT want to protect themselves by signing a contract?  Do they intend on paying you?  Are they going to try and make you do extra work?  What is their motive?  What are they hiding?  Its best to not do business with these kind of people and let them find another company to prey upon.   You want honest, quality, long-term customers, not shady fly-by-nighters!

Here is one example of how a contract was key for me preventing escalation of an issue.  I was just finishing up doing a landscape design.  The last plant was installed and pine straw covered all of the planting beds.  Everything looks amazing.  When I did my final walk through with the customer, they became upset as they stated, “These nursery pots are 7 gallon, you were supposed to install 15 gallon plants, these are not the right size, you need to dig these out and install the 15 gallon hedge plants.”  The pricing changes drastically the larger the pot size goes up and I was looking at another $1,200. in material.  I explained to the customer, “We agreed on 7 gallon plants that were this size.”  They argued and said, “they were 100% right and were not going to pay me until I installed the right size.”  I replied, “Ok, lets do this, we signed a contract before I began working here.  Lets take a look at the contract and see what it says.  If it says 15 gallon plants, I will dig all of these out and install the 15 gallon plants at no extra cost to you.  If it says 7 gallon plants, then I have completed this project as per our agreement.  If you still want larger plants, I can install the 15 gallon hedge material and we can do a change order.”  They both agreed.  They both went out of the room 100% positive that it was 15 gallon plants that was written down in the contract.  A few minutes later they came back into the room looking down and said, “you were right, it said 7 gallon.”  I then asked, “if they wanted to keep the 7 gallon or if they wanted to upgrade to the 15 gallon?” They stated they were “Satisfied with the 7 gallons,” wrote me a check for the remaining amount, and I was on my way.  Now what is I DIDN’T have a contract written… It would have been their word against mine!  A contract protects BOTH parties involved and in this case, protected me.

If you are in business and looking to grow and stay around for the long run, I highly recommend using contracts with all customers.  It protects both you the company & the customer.  Honesty, Values, & Ethics means a lot when doing business.  By writing a contract, you are holding yourself, (or business), & customer legally obligated to follow the terms.

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