Commercial Machine Vending – What’s The Best Way To Get Started?

If commercial machine vending is a business that you are interested in, there is a wealth of information about vending machines and vending routes available online. It is one business that is easy to get into, but depending on the types of commercial vending machines you want to have, it could require a substantial investment. The distributors for commercial machine vending machines often have payment plans available and you can choose to lease the equipment you need.

Some people prefer to get into the vending machine business by purchasing an established vending route. Distributors can give you information about vending routes for sale where the machines are already placed in strategic locations. The locations for the vending machines determine how much money you will make in commercial machine vending because you do need areas where there are lots of people. The distributors will also have a used vending machine to purchase, which can save you money in getting started.

It is impossible to accurately predict how much money you can make with commercial machine vending. The success or failure of your business will depend on the location of the machines as well as the products that you sell and the reliability of the vending machines. If you want to purchase a vending route for sale, you should do your research beforehand and check out the machines. You might approach the seller about a vending machine to purchase so that you can start out small. This will also give you a chance to see if purchasing the full vending route might be beneficial to you.

Since the vending machine business is a commercial enterprise, you do need to abide by state/provincial rules regarding commercial machine vending. You will need to have a business licence and you need to keep accurate financial records for tax purposes. Another aspect that you have to consider with a vending route for sale is that the business owner gets a commission of the amount of money that you take out of each machine. This is usually 40% of the gross, before you deduct any expenses.

Look for a vending machine to purchase when you want to get into commercial machine vending. Most people start off with candy or gumball machines, but there is also a great profit into snack and soda vending machines. There are also vending routes for sale with machines that sell medical supplies, such as aspirin or even products associated with personal hygiene, such as toothpaste, soap and dental floss. The possibilities for products are almost endless when you consider the commercial machine vending business.

Designing Ads? Remember The Reader

When you are creating advertising design for the newspaper, magazine or direct mail, what do you think might be one of the most important considerations?

If you answered readability, congratulate yourself! Fancy graphics may get the ad noticed, but readers must be able physically to read the words. This elementary concept sounds simple enough, yet is often ignored. If they can’t read it, they can’t understand enough about your offer to respond.

With todays’ sophisticated and virtually unlimited graphic computer options, it is easy for the graphic design advertising person to get sidetracked into believing what is on the screen looks like a true work of art!

Here are some advertising design questions to ask:

1. Want your ad to look different? Examine a few past issues of the publication where your ad will be appearing. Often publications create ads themselves (“pub-set”) and they can tend to look similar. See if you can spot them. Then try to develop a graphic look different than the other ads. Set your ad apart by using a different type face family that is easily read.

2. Is the advertisement legible? In their desire to be different and stylish, some of todays’ magazines make reading difficult.

Here are some common problems. White type on a light pastel background. Or light pastel type on a slightly darker background of the same color. Or colors that don’t contrast well when viewed in black and white, such as dark forest green type printed on a background of fire engine red.

It is better to go for the headline in big, lighter type against a much darker background.

3. Trying to cram too much information into a small space? One of the big problems is trying to fit too many words and concepts into a small space.

Here is where small space is actually your friend. It forces you (or the writer) to break down your ideas into simple words and simple concepts. Bear in mind that the goal of many advertisements is to solicit an inquiry, not to tell the entire story.

Often readers look to the details to figure out if they want to act. The type showing those details should be large enough to see and comprehend, even for those who have trouble with their vision. Type in color really needs to be 10 point, if not 11 to be read by the entire population.

With black and white newspaper ads, it is possible to use typefaces as small as 8 point because their comprehension is made easier by black type on newsprint. In magazines, black type as small as 4 points (on a white background) has been used. The clarity is astounding, but many people need a magnifying glass!

In conclusion, ignoring these three considerations can spell disaster for the reader who is trying to understand the advertising message. Good advertising design creates graphic effects that enhance the writers’ words and contribute to the overall success of the ad.

© 2006 Jon Sinish

This article may be reprinted and distributed as long as the resource information remains intact.

Business Basics for Catalog Retailers

Catalog retail is a world all it’s own. Many considerations that other retailers don’t have to deal with are of utmost importance to a catalog retailer. To name a few, the ordering process, warehousing and shipping must be streamlined for maximum efficiency. Maintaining a top notch inventory control and receiving department is also very crucial to business success. Above all, however, a catalog retailer must have a quality business phone system.

Considering the fact that the majority of customers will reach you over the phone, it is paramount to be able to not only handle call volume during peak times, but also to provide your customers service representatives with the features they need to do their job well. Business phone systems should be capable of not only putting your customers in touch with you, but also offer routing flexibility, voicemail and forwarding options for the administrative side of your company. Often, the difference maker for catalog retailers is not the products they sell, but the service behind those products. People who want to buy will have questions regarding an item that a simple picture and brief description will not answer. Most companies have service reps who take orders and product specialists who are familiar with the inventory.

It is essential for the product specialists to have access to a phone system that will accurately and easily allow them to receive and transfer calls between departments. After the initial contact by the sales representatives, the most common transfer of waiting customers will be to product specialists and hopefully back to the sales reps. A customer who is dropped accidentally during this transfer is likely to not call back. Additionally, customers who are made to hold for extended periods of time without an automated message thanking them for their patience are a primary example of lost revenue that could be curtailed by the proper business phone system. All in all, a well thought out business phone system is an integral necessity for any company, but it is especially important for catalog retailers.

Buy a Small Business in the UK

Looking for a serious investment opportunity? You may want to consider buying a small business in the United Kingdom. There are several ways to turn a good profit in small business, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you are looking for an investment opportunity, especially if you are an investor from the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.

Any investment opportunity naturally comes with some risk. Foreign investors will need to calculate an additional variable when figuring up the possible amount of profit margin, loss ,and potential for both, as well as the exchange rate. How well is your currency doing against the British Pound? Be sure to include some “wiggle room” in your budgeting for fluctuations in the exchange rate.

For those already living in the UK, concerns such as taxation and local regulation are familiar topics. To those in overseas locations, it’s important to look up the laws of the land pertaining to your type of business, the taxes for which you will be liable, and how to properly account for them. This may seem elementary to those with experience in putting money into an overseas investment opportunity, but for the first-time investor in a UK small business, there are many laws and policies that might surprise you. The key is to do your homework, get the advice of a good UK legal expert, and be prepared for a new and different way of doing business.

If you want to buy a small business in the UK, it’s good to do a bit of research into the type of business you want to use as an investment opportunity. Are there ways that you can expand the business onto the Internet? Can the Internet be a help to you in increasing sales, market visibility, or media awareness? All of these factors are important to keep in mind. The most successful small businesses are the ones whose owners know how to take advantage of the Internet, while still meeting local needs and demands with speed and precision. It’s not so different than doing business anywhere else in the Western world. It’s important to understand how the buyers in your area of the UK respond to and utilize the Internet when it comes to commerce.

You’ll also want to give your competing businesses a good hard look to see how they are using the Internet. Are you thinking of investing in an already crowded market? If so, you’ll need some fresh ideas to give your version of the business a new approach so that you can set it apart from the competition.

A UK investment opportunity in small business may bring some unexpected surprises if you are considering investing in a “rising star” business. For example, twenty years ago, nobody had ever heard of a “cyber café”. Today, cities are full of places that offer Internet services, games, coffee, and more for a price. This concept has become a very important part of many communities. Those who took the initial risk a few years ago, putting money in what they saw as a good investment opportunity, are reaping their rewards today.

Those who buy a small business in the UK often find that the investment opportunity is well worth the risks. With some research, a bit of financial planning, and the expert advice of a UK legal advisor, you can turn a potential opportunity into a major success. If you are living in America, Canada, or elsewhere,

Civilization 4 and Why I Hate My Office Phone

If you’re familiar with the strategy PC gaming series “Civilization”, you probably know that it’s only slightly less addictive than crack. I’ve never tried crack, but the “word on the street”, so to speak, is that it’s a bit hard to let go of. I recently purchased Civilization 4, which is the latest in the Civilization series. That in itself isn’t so interesting, but what happened to me at my job as a result of it most certainly is. I work as a network administrator for a large insurance company in Illinois.

Part of my job is to repair PC’s as needed, which is quite often considering how many there are around this place. I informed my coworker, also a big civilization fan that I had the game and he suggested I bring it in for a little test run. Against my better judgment, we decided to play a hot seat game during work. “Hot seat” means that one player takes a turn, followed by the other, which is only possible with turn based games such as Civ. We both figured that there would always be one of us to answer the phone in our little repair-shop cubbyhole so we didn’t see how we could possibly get caught. Boy were we wrong! About four hours into a game things started getting interesting.

My civilization found his civilization and we started going to war against each other, as one might expect. I sat down for my turn and my coworker decided to head off to the bathroom. The phone rang, and I didn’t pick up so that whoever was on the other end wouldn’t hear the Civ theme music or the explosive sound of my Panzers running over his infantry. What I failed to remember is that our advanced phone system allows anyone to communicate with us on an open speaker phone provided we aren’t on the phone already. My boss utilized this function since no one answered while I was taking my turn…o.k., actually while I was taking my turn and bragging out loud to myself about how well I was doing in the game. I found myself in his office that afternoon, but luckily I was only reprimanded and not fired. Not only did I get into trouble, my coworker continues to make jokes about it at my expense.

I hate my office phone.

Find One That Supplies Bulk Products Too

When you contact a vending machine distributor, you have the option to choose from many different types of vending machines. Some distributors specialize in one type of vending machine, such as soda vending machines, whereas others have all kinds for you to choose from. Most of the distributors have a website where you can browse the list of used and new vending machines. When you do choose a vending machine distributor, you should choose one that can also supply you with the bulk products that you need.

Bulk vending distributors have a wide variety of supplies that you can purchase for stocking your vending machines. When you sit down to discuss the business with a vending machine distributor, you can get a good estimate of the costs involved in operating this type of business. You do have to factor in the costs of buying the machines and the bulk vending products that you need. You also have to deduct the commission that you pay the business owners of the locations where you place your machines.

Distributors of vending machines deal directly with the manufacturers and they also have great associations with other vending business owners. If you want to find a vending route for sale, you best source of information is a vending machine distributor. In dealing with the various operators, the distributor will be able to tell you why the person is selling the route and whether or not he/she thinks it would be profitable for you to buy it. There are also bulk vending distributors that sell products only and do not deal in the vending machines themselves.

Take at look at the types and condition of the machines that a vending machine distributor has to sell. Most of the time you will see very little difference in a new and used vending machine. The main difference will be in the price of each one, so after your inspection you will realize how much money you can save by buying used vending machines. Distributors of vending machines also offer payment plans so that you can finance the cost of the machine over a period of time, saving you money on the initial investment. If you are not sure whether or not you will remain in the vending machine business, you can also lease the vending machines from bulk vending distributors.

You won’t find it hard to contact a vending machine distributor when you search online. Distributors of vending machines will deliver the machines to you and will also arrange to pick them up if you decide you no longer want to use the machines of a specific distributor or you want to get out of the business. However, bulk vending distributors do not take back any supplies that you purchase, but you may be able to sell what you have left over to another person just getting started in the vending machine business. A vending machine distributor will be able to give you expert advice on how to operate your vending route and on the products that have the most profit.

Cash Flow Planning for Solo Professionals

You’ve heard it a million times – cash flow can make or break a business. Lack of cash flow planning is the reason why many businesses fail. In fact, many PROFITABLE businesses fail because of cash flow issues. Without adequate cash flow, you can’t pay your bills and you can’t make plans for your business.

So… what is cash flow planning? Cash flow planning is projecting your future cash inflows from sales, services, and loans, and comparing them to your future cash flow needs (suppliers, salaries/wages, loan payments, taxes, etc.). The difference between the two is your net cash flow.

Why is cash flow planning so important? Cash flow planning can help you identify problems down the road, and fix them before they occur. Cash flow planning can also help you make decisions such as should I attend that conference I’ve wanted to attend, should I buy the new computer I’ve been wanting, or do I need to work extra hard this month to avoid a cash flow deficiency next month?

The first step in planning your cash flow is knowing where you spend your money! Solo entrepreneurs need to have a good grip on both their personal and business spending, as most solo entrepreneurs rely on their business income to meet personal finance goals (i.e., pay the bills!). So, you should track both your personal and your business spending, although I recommend that you keep them separate (that’s a topic all by itself).

What’s the best way to track your spending? You can use pen & paper, spreadsheets or a software program. The best method for you is the method that you will actually use on a regular basis.

You should project your spending for at least the next 12 months so that you include annual and other periodic expenses. If you are experiencing a cash flow crisis, you should track & project your cash flow on a weekly basis, instead of monthly.

If you are an existing business, you can project your cash flow for the next year by reviewing your expenses for last year. If you are a new business, you will need to estimate your start up costs in addition to regular operating expenses.

Start up costs include inventory, legal expenses, advertising, licenses & permits, supplies, and many more costs that you may not have thought of. To research startup costs you should contact your local Small Business Development Center, contact a SCORE counselor, join groups of similar business owners, and read as many books or articles you can find on the subject.

To improve your cash flow, you should:

1. Complete the first 3 steps. You have to understand cash flow planning, track your cash flow, and project your future spending needs before you can improve your cash flow.

2. Create best and worst case scenarios and create appropriate responses to both scenarios. For example, if your best case scenario is to increase sales by 50%, how will you use the profits? Will you put the profits back into the company by investing in new equipment, training, etc.? If your worst case scenario is a drop in sales by 50%, how will you continue to cover your monthly expenses? By planning for the best and worst case scenarios, you’ll be ready for any situation.

3. When estimating your future income, realize that some people will pay late, and account for that fact in your projection.

4. Charge what you’re worth. Many businesses, especially service professionals, under-charge when they are first starting out. This is a great way to go out of business. Make sure you are charging what you’re worth, and remember you’re in business to make money, not to give your expertise away for free.

5. Watch your business spending. Focus on the value the item brings to your business, and avoid lavish spending (i.e., do you really need the fastest, newest computer available?).

6. Don’t hire until necessary. Consider using virtual assistants or temporary employees before hiring permanent employees.

7. Give incentives for early payment for products and services. On the flip side, chase down invoices the minute they’re late. Charge interest or late fees to encourage timely payments.

8. Update your cash flow regularly. Your cash flow plan will change frequently as your business grows. You may want to update your cash flow plan weekly when you first get started, then switch to monthly once you’ve got a good handle on your cash flow.

Remember – whether you are a new or growing business, your cash flow projection can make the difference between success and failure.

Competing With Color Levels The Playing Field

According to the United States Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers. There are an estimated 22 million small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. today. Such companies are constantly challenged with the need to create a huge impact in a noisy marketplace with a limited budget.

Today, affordable imaging and printing technology makes it possible to build an in-house marketing program. In fact, Revival Lighting, a vintage lighting fixtures company in Spokane, Wash., cut the cost of producing marketing materials 90 percent when they brought marketing in-house. In addition, because marketing materials can age quickly and frequently need updating, companies with the flexibility to respond on the fly will impress customers while reducing costs.

Color has become an effective, even necessary tool in marketing materials. According to a study by Loyola College in Maryland, using color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

Bold and multicolored designs can impact people’s moods. Environmental green is considered hip and has taken on new, positive associations, while the combination of blue and floral reds has been found to evoke vintage designs and heritage, according to a 2005 study by The Color Association of the U.S.

In addition to printing materials in-house, SMBs should take advantage of inexpensive and often free marketing services that are available on the Web. For example, HP hosts an in-house-marketing portal for entrepreneurs and SMBs. It contains case studies, how-to seminars and other free tools and information, including over 200 free marketing templates ranging from brochures to an image library.

Blogs-online journals or newsletters intended for general public consumption-are another great tool for learning more about how to use color and create marketing materials in-house. To save time and money, SMB marketing guru John Jantsch, who maintains the popular blog Duct Tape Marketing, recommends that businesses create a marketing kit describing you, your company, services provided and what sets your business apart from the rest.

To improve marketing effectiveness on a shoestring budget, bring it in-house, remember to use color, take advantage of free services and seek out expert advice.

Chemical etching – An innovative process for your all nameplate requirements

Chemical etching is a skilled practice of engraving your brand name on a nameplate. Texas Nameplate Company etches your emblem directly or indirectly on the metallic or non-metallic base and makes it more pliable to any lacerations. Chemical etching can be a substitute for embossing. The chemical etched nameplates are made by masking certain areas of metal by acid resistant material and then taking off desired amount of exposed material by acid. Widely custom name plates are etched on aluminum, stainless steel, brass, alloys etc and then baked after stuffing with varnishes for a perfect finish. The depth of industrial name plates etching varies from 0.0015 to 0.003 inches, depending on the height and stroke of letters and the type of metal or alloy. Along with chemicals gas and electric processes can also etch these wide ranges of metals.

Etching, also termed as ‘milling’ is of different types like laser etching, abrasive etching in which abrasives are used, photo chemical etching which is quite inexpensive and a high quality etching method. Photo chemically etched metals thus produced can be used as cost effective name tags, custom labels, panel boards, personalized name tags, industrial name plates for commercial uses and personalized name plate. Electro etching in which electric current is used instead of chemicals, dry etching does not use chemicals at all, Reactive ion etching which uses electric circuits and gas having chlorine or fluorine as iodized particles and vapor phase etching which also make use of reactive gases and many others to add to the list.

Chemical etching is preferred for practical applications and product identification tag. Name Tags made by chemical etching are durable items, which withstand even the harsh surroundings. Chemical etching makes your custom name tags withstand toughest
environments, high temperatures and extreme outdoor conditions. Thus solve your purpose year after year. Texas Nameplate Company compliments the etching with screen-printing to avoid splitting or other form of wear and tear. Various adhesives are also added to etched metal name tags according to your specifications for pasting or welding. You can use our chemical etching nameplates on truck, tankers and trailer, control panels, dials and gauges of aircrafts, asset and property plates; and operating and warning signs for numerous electronics, military vehicles, and machinery etc. Chemical etching is also used to create stencils for commercial art and woodworks.

You can always depend upon TNC for any queries regarding the etching of your nameplates and sort out material suiting your specific requirements.

Bylaws – The Guts of a Corporation

Most states make forming a corporation relatively painless by providing forms for practically everything. The bylaws of the corporation, however, are an area you don’t want to rely on a form.

What Are Bylaws?

Bylaws are the technical rules that govern how a corporation will be run. They are a private document for the corporation and are not filed with any government entity. The purpose of the bylaws is to set out how things such as meetings, voting and share transfer will occur with the business.

Provisions

Typically, the bylaws will be the biggest document in your corporate book. If you are a single shareholder entity, they tend to be fairly straightforward since there isn’t really any dispute possibility unless you have a split personality. If there are two or more shareholders, however, the document is going to be a key item because it is going to detail voting rights and so on.

Typically, the bylaws of a corporation will cover the following specific issues:

1. Board of Director Meetings – When, where and how meetings will be conducted.

2. Notice of Meetings – The form, time and how notice must be given to board members.

3. Quorums – Before a board can issue resolutions on corporate business, a certain percentage of board members must be present. This “Quorom” is set out in the bylaws.

4. Annual Meetings – The bylaws typically detail when and where the annual meeting of the entity will occur.

5. Special Meetings – The process by which special board meetings may be called when an issue arises that requires the immediate attention of the board.

6. Voting Rights – Language detailing the voting rights of shareholders and board members in relation to passing or defeating resolutions.

7. Share Transfer Rights – Language detailing share transfer issues such as right of first refusal and so on.

8. Directors – Language detailing how many board members there will be, the length of their term, compensation, etc.

9. Amendment – The process by which the bylaws can be amended to reflect the evolution of the business.

10. Removal – Language detailing when and how a board member can be involuntarily removed.

There are numerous other provisions that can and probably should go into the bylaws of a corporation. Make sure to discuss them with your attorney.