How to Start a Gift Wrapping Business

If someone leaves a gift with you for wrapping, give them a receipt of the contents, and both of you sign on it. The last thing you would want is someone to falsely accuse you of stealing some expensive items like jewelry, gadgets, mobile phone, watches, etc.
Most people want gifts to be wrapped for various occasions like birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, weddings, farewells, baby showers, etc. They are ready to pay a good amount if they get quality service at their convenience and within their time limit. Not only this, but it is also a very creatively satisfying business. Hence, if you are planning to start a gift wrapping business, it can prove to be a highly profitable venture.

Business Plan
Have a business plan in place before starting any kind of business. Start with a trendy name for the business which you will have to register as ‘doing business as.’ You will have to determine if you will start the business at home or get a proper business place. Also, you will have to decide about the budget of investment and where you will be sourcing it from. You will also need a marketing strategy in place that will help you get maximum customers. Also, conduct a market research and try to study the rates of competitors before you decide on yours.

Get Training
It is highly advisable that you get training for understanding various kinds of gift wrappings. You can do this by attending classes or watching online videos and DVDs. Remember that no one will shell out a good amount of money for an unprofessional wrapping that resembles something that their 5-year-old child could have done. Also, wrapping asymmetrical shapes requires special practice. To add a sophisticated and professional touch to your business, it is advisable to get trained. You can even work with a person who is into a similar venture to gain knowledge about the different types of gift wrappings.

Source Supplies
You will have to source supplies like different types of wrapping papers with prints for various occasions and target customers. For example, you will have to get cartoon wrapping papers for children or cosmetic-imprinted ones for teenage girls. You can also have Christmas specials. Have sophisticated ones for weddings, baby showers, etc. For corporate gifts, get neutral shades. You can also get plain wrapping papers, organza, and tissue. You will also have to add ribbons and trims of various colors, sizes, prints, and shapes. Getting ribbons and trims in colors which will go with all neutral ones can help save on costs. Don’t buy gaudy paper colors and designs. You will also need scissors, tissues, cellophane, clear tape, etc. If you are planning to attach small figures like Christmas trees, stars, Santa Claus, etc., you can buy those as well. One of the most important things to order is boxes in various shapes and sizes for fitting all the gifts comfortably, especially the asymmetrical ones.

Vendors
In the initial days, try not to spend too much on expensive material. Tap in wholesalers for all the raw materials mentioned above. You can also visit dollar stores, discount outlets, and clearance sales to stock your inventory. Whatever you do, please do not buy more than what is required, as the trend may change within a few months and you may end up wasting money. Also, storage of raw materials can become a concern.

Location
In all probability, leasing or buying a store in a high-end area may be difficult for you. This business gives you an option of working from the confines of your home. However, you will make better business if you work from a store which will have a better customer visibility. For example, you can have a store in a commercial mall. If a long-term store is expensive, you can set a small kiosk, stall, or pop-up store. You can even have temporary stores during peak business seasons. As people will buy gifts, they will come to your store for wrapping. This way, you will earn a lot. Have a striking display to invite customer attention.

Hire and Train Employees
If you have many visitors coming in, you will need to hire at least one more person who can help customers. However, ensure that the employee has received good training and is creative at wrapping gifts. He/she should also be willing to work till late during the holiday season as that is the time when you will get maximum clients.

Know the Trends
It is essential that you keep abreast with the different types of gift wrapping trends. One of the best ways to find this is visiting websites of famous gift wrapping services. You may find that a certain kind of wrapping is trending during a holiday season. Personalize the business, and start something new which will make people flock to your store. See how you can bring about variations, and make your gift wrapping business stand out. If you have the budget and liking, you can even source some material from other countries to give them a unique look and feel. It can be anything like small figurines, bells, sparkle, bows, ribbons, etc., and ensure that the final package will be very impressive.

Pricing Policy
In the beginning, try to keep your prices slightly lower than your competitors as you would like to establish your business. Fix the prices of wrapping gifts based on the size of the gift, material used, and complexity of the wrapping. If the cost of gift wrapping a small package is turning out to be $2, add $2 as your profit and charge them $4. If you are working on holiday evenings or if it is a gift wrapping emergency, you can go ahead and charge a little extra. Also, if you are delivering the gift as well, don’t forget to add your traveling cost to it. If someone needs to put the wrapped gift in a trendy carrier bag, don’t give it for free; rather charge for it. However, if you receive bulk gift wrapping orders, you will have to reduce the cost. You can also implement a pricing strategy where they will have to make a purchase for some minimum dollars. However, you may run the risk of losing out on customers due to this. So, take your call carefully.

Business Expansion Strategy
Meet up and promote your business with corporate gift vendors, wedding planners, event managers, mall managers, etc. These are the people who have a lot of bulk gift wrapping orders. Forge strategic alliances and partnerships with these people so that you will have work throughout the year and not just during the regular gift-giving season.Apart from wrapping gifts, also offer other items like festoons, balloons, candles, small gifts, etc. All this will help in raising your profit. Have a toll-free number in place so that people can call you up for placing orders.

Go the Internet Way
First of all, have a customer-friendly website which will give wonderful photos of your gift wrappings with costs based on the size. Ensure that people will be able to place an order through this website. If you have customer testimonials about your creativity and on-time delivery, mention them on your website. Create social media pages for your business, and have regular interaction with your customers. Add various designs and tutorials to make the pages popular, engaging, and informative.

Advertise
Advertising is crucial for making people aware of your business. If you are a part of a home-based business, it becomes all the more important that you advertise to get the prospective customer’s attention. Put up signages and posters, hand out flyers, have web banners, etc., to let people know about your venture. You can also promote your business by giving free gift wrappings for a certain number. Most of the promotion for this business happens through word-of-mouth. So, ensure you have satisfied customers.

Always keep a big smile on your face, and greet your customers happily. Keep a feedback register; this way, you can know how the customers are finding your service, and you will also get hold of their contact details. You can then set a contact program before holiday season, Valentine’s Day, etc., and inform them about your new services again. Whatever you do, ensure that it is convenient for your customers and they are satisfied.

Business Administration Tips

Management is defined as the skill of coordinating all the organizational resources, be it human, financial or material, in order to achieve organizational goals. A degree in business administration equips a person to perform this management function in the best possible way. So, for all those who are contemplating a career in business management and administration, given below are some useful tips, with regards to management education, as well as the job profile that you can expect in future.

Tips on Management Education

To make a career in this field, you will need a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from a recognized college or university. The degree provides education in all the major business administration and management fields. Here’s a list of subjects that you will study in a business school:

  • Marketing
  • Financial Management
  • Accounting
  • Human Resources Management
  • Statistics
  • Economics

You will learn about basic theories and principles of management as well. If you get into a good business school, there will be guest lectures by some high-profile professionals from the corporate world, which in itself is a great learning experience.

Solving case studies, giving presentations, participating in group assignments, working part-time in a company and doing internships, are some other things you can look forward to doing at a business school. Once you pass out of the school, you will have a complete knowledge of management process in business administration. A management school will also equip you in all the required management skills, the list of which is given below:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Hiring
  • Controlling
  • Customer Relationship Management Skills
  • Leadership
  • Team Building
  • Negotiation Skills

Tips on a Manager’s Job Profile

The role of a manager in business administration, depends on the kind of organization he is in. Initially, his job may be limited to his chosen field of specialization, i.e. he might be a manager in the marketing department or in the finance department. However, as he moves from junior management to mid-career level, he will be heading one of the departments in a company and performing functions of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling, in his department.

Planning
Planning involves setting both short-term as well as long-term goals and arranging them in a logical sequence as to which one needs to be achieved first and so on. A manager needs to plan for what to do, how to do, when to do and by whom it should be done.

Organizing
This function mainly involves setting up a structure in the department or the organization. Setting responsibilities for each and every person or department, how they will correspond and work together, who will supervise whom, all fall under this management function.

Staffing
A manager needs to hire right people for any given job. So, he invites applications, interviews people and then hires them to work in the organization.

Directing
A manager motivates and leads his team so that they give their best to meet the organizational goals. A manager has to find the right balance between being sensitive to his staff needs, as well as getting the job done in time

Controlling
The manager assesses and keeps a check on the performance of his employees, so that the desired results can be achieved. There is a set “rewards and punishments” formula in every organization, which a manager follows to ensure maximum work output from his employees.

To perform the above functions, a manager needs to be creative, fair, sensitive to the needs of others, a good leader, motivator, problem-solver and a sound decision maker. When he reaches senior management, he will be required to overlook all the departments in the company. A person with a degree in business management and the required managerial skills, can become the CEO of a company.

Things You Shouldn’t Forget to Pack for a Business Trip

Who doesn’t love to pack for a vacation? Admittedly, we all do. But to portray the same enthusiasm for a business trip? Nope. Not unless someone pays us (a hefty sum) to do it.

So, we’ve got formal attire. Shoes that are black or tan. Rest assured, there’s no scope for sunscreen or flip flops. Before you get all warped up in misery, here’s what you need to pack, on a printable list, if you please.

Business Trip Packing for Women

Let’s face it―most women, being on the cautious side, don’t make it any easier when it comes to any kind of packing. Even loading a makeup bag takes a lot of thinking and truckloads of restraint from going overboard. Nevertheless, here are a few tips to keep in mind before we go on to the checklist.

  • A business trip calls for conservative dressing, even if there is an after-hours event scheduled for later. Therefore, if you value your professional image, under no circumstances should you pack anything saucy “just in case”. It just amounts to a waste of space.
  • Ensure that you carry your most comfortable and sensible pair of shoes along, especially if you suspect you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet.
  • Mix and match has to be your mantra for business trips―carry trouser suits or skirt suits in neutral shades, which can be paired with several blouses.
  • Refrain from carrying your hair salon along, as most hotels provide you with a standard hair dryer. If you absolutely must, invest in a good portable piece instead.
  • The same rule applies for cosmetics and hygiene products. You have to carry travel sets of cosmetics and perfumes so as to avoid increasing your baggage weight.
  • If traveling abroad, check the cultural norms of the country you’ll be visiting. To be on the safe side, stick to conservative dressing and pack clothes that are sleeved, with hemlines extending below the knees.

    ITEMS Qty.
    □ Formal trousers
    □ Formal skirts
    □ Blazers/Jackets
    □ Blouses
    □ Scarves
    □ Shoes
    □ Formal dresses
    □ Semi-formal dresses
    □ Tights/Stockings
    □ Innerwear
    □ Sleepwear
    □ Trench/Overcoat
    □ Toiletries and perfume

    Business Trip Packing for Men

As much as women take the rap for overpacking, their male counterparts undergo the same for underpacking. Yes, carrying that extra pair of trousers or socks will not make your baggage weight exceed the permissible limit. And yes, you can make use of them. The tips that follow are not about what you should carry, but rather about what you absolutely shouldn’t forget to pack.

  • Follow the thumb rule of carrying shirts and trousers that can be mixed and matched.
  • If traveling abroad, check the kind of acceptable attire in that region. Suits may not be necessary in some countries, owing to climatic and cultural norms. In such cases, formal shirts and trousers are acceptable.
  • Don’t forget to pack a pair of dress shoes and a classic timepiece.
  • Depending upon your schedule, you may need to carry semi-formal clothing as well.
  • Travel-sized toiletries are a must-have item in your baggage.

    ITEMS Qty.
    □ Suits
    □ Formal trousers
    □ Formal shirts
    □ Blazers/Jackets
    □ Socks
    □ Dress shoes
    □ Semi-formal shoes
    □ Innerwear
    □ Gym wear/swimming trunks
    □ Belts
    □ Ties
    □ Winter coat
    □ Sleepwear
    □ Toiletries and perfume

    Business Trip Essentials

    Irrespective of your gender, as well as the duration of your trip, there are certain essential things to bring on a business trip. Here’s a list of those. Plus, we’ve also left you some space at the bottom to add in everything else you need.

    ITEMS Qty.
    □ Business cards
    □ Notepad and pens
    □ Pen drive
    □ Camera
    □ Gadget chargers
    □ Adapter/converter
    □ Breath mints

    So you see, packing for a business trip may not exactly be a charm, but it isn’t rocket science either. Take a print, and get packing!

Things to Know Before Starting a Travel Agency Business

There are a number of travel agencies in the world today. Unlike a few years back, you can now directly book tickets at discounted rates from dedicated booking websites. The Internet has further improved the way people want to travel. Due to all these changes, today, people expect different things from a travel agency. You don’t only have to stand out among other agencies, but also serve people with a difference. Through these tips, we’ll tell you what you can do to survive without many financial blows in the first few months, how you can get noticed among all the other players, and on what idea you can sustain your reputation for a longer period of time.

Before you Begin: The Prerequisites

Decide the services you want to provide.
A travel agency provides a lot of services such as consultation, ticketing, bookings, insurances, visa procurement, etc. However, it’s perfectly alright to provide just a few at the very beginning. If you have experience of working in this industry, and have a good team to back you up, you can consider providing as many services as you want. Also, know that customers prefer getting all their work done from a single stop; it is thus better to cater to as many requirements as possible.

Make a list of things you need for all the legal procedures.
The first thing you need to do is think of a name for your agency and patent it. The next step is to register your company. Every state has its own laws; you will get a list of required documents, along with details of the procedure, through the Internet. Once your company is registered, you can open bank accounts in its name. If you are going to rent a place, get in touch with a broker. If you don’t want to pay the commission, you need to look for places yourself. Then comes the list of services you need to offer. Each of these is going to need some sort of streamlining; do it before you open up for business.

Look for competitors and conduct a study on them.
Competition can benefit you if you research it, while it can scar you if you take it for granted. Look for competitors and try to understand their business module. Make a list of services each competitor is providing and his USP. This will help you in finding your USP. It might also help you in choosing your location; preferably an area that doesn’t have a travel agency. Once you know what is being offered by other agencies, you can offer something that is different.

Spend a good deal of time and money on marketing and advertising.
Don’t hold back on advertising―it is the only way you’re going to reach out to potential customers, who are going to get you the money. Device a good marketing strategy and back it up with creative advertising. Use social media to your advantage. Don’t just share things that come to your mind, but draft campaigns that people will tend to follow. Engaging your customers through advertising should be your main aim.

Tie-up with multiple partners for more discounts.
A lot of your work is going to be done with the help of other people. Contacts in airlines, for visa formalities, and for discounted rates in hotels are very important. Start building these as soon as possible. These tie-ups will help you offer multiple discounts, which in turn will help you provide better rates. Always file everyone’s contact information. In case your usual agent for visas is sick or on a long leave, you can immediately get in touch with someone else.

Do whatever it takes to offer a cheaper, better travel experience to your customers; it’ll keep them coming. Best of Luck!

How to Start a Karaoke Business

imagesTry to buy an existing karaoke business or become a part of a franchise, instead of opting for a start-up. This will not only give you an established customer base but will also be far less riskier than a start-up.
If you can sing, are an extrovert, and can entertain others, you will surely make a good karaoke business owner. However, this business will prove to be a disaster for introverted and shy individuals as they will have to deal with many people every day. It is recommended that you work for a karaoke business before plunging in it yourself. This will give you hands-on experience, and you will be able to network and market your business in a better way. If you do not have the funds for investing in a rental or permanent space, karaoke business is ideal for you. You can conduct this business by hosting shows at bars, cafés, restaurants, private parties, etc. However, remember that you will need to source some investment capital for buying all the equipment and paying your employees, if any. It is advisable to buy a digital karaoke system as it will save you a lot of money, effort, and storage space. If you want to know about a few more essential tips to start a karaoke business, read further.

Equipment
You will require a good karaoke digital system for your business where the files will be played from a laptop and the words will be displayed on the screen. If you think that you do not have the amount to invest in one, you can get CD+G discs which can be connected to a CD+G player, television, monitor, or screen for playing music and displaying words. You can buy karaoke CDs or download music from online websites. You can also buy karaoke music books or make them on your own. However, you need to make copies of these books so that people will select their songs and write them on the slips provided by you. Whatever you do, ensure that you will be able to play your customer’s choice of song in absolutely no time. You will also need good quality speakers, mixers, cables, extension cords, microphone stands, RF converter, and amplifiers. You will also need three wireless microphones. It is advisable that you get one extra as backup. Getting a wireless microphone is recommended because people tend to step on the cables and spoil them. It’s essential that you also carry spare cables, duct tapes, and a tool kit for a quick fix.

Conduct Research
Before jumping in this business, there are certain things which you should know. For example, you will need to know how many competitors you have, how much to charge your clients, which songs to play, dealing with difficult clients, etc. It is advisable that you speak to someone from the same business who operates from a different area. You need to keep abreast with the latest chartbuster songs as well as the classic ‘must-haves’ of a karaoke. Ensure that you have music which caters to all genres as people will like to sing different songs. You will need to have a business plan in place to organize the overheads and income of this venture. Ensure that you find a business mentor who will be able to guide you to go about setting this business.

Charges
Before you start this business, know about the prevalent rates for karaoke gigs in your area. If you are a new player, you may have to charge lesser to survive the competition. Many bar owners may not pay you well even if your show is a crowd-puller. Hence, decide and mention your payment terms in the contract itself. Also, ensure that it is mentioned in the contract about show cancellation or refund policies. Also, predetermine the amount of payment, time of the show, etc., during a private party. If you are to play a special dedication to a bride or a song while a person is proposing to his girlfriend, you can definitely go ahead and charge more fees. Ensure you include your travel and logistics charges in your final figure.

Business Expansion
If you do not want to own a karaoke bar of your own, you can always request hotels, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, etc., to allow you to host a karaoke night every week. You can also ask them to host open Mic sessions that will rake in business for both the parties. Other than this, you should also network with wedding and event planners who can recommend you for karaoke nights. This is one business that will prosper through word-of-mouth publicity. Host theme nights which will play a particular type of music; this will give you a lot of customers. Ensure that you have many satisfied customers who will recommend your business to their family and friends. Slowly, your schedule will be packed with offers for karaoke gigs.

Hosting the Karaoke Night
If you have to travel to some other venue, like a bar, café, bachelor or hen parties, birthday parties, etc., make sure you interact with the audience keeping in mind what they anticipate from this show. Wear clean and striking clothes; however, remember that you are only there to host the show. So, do not keep speaking, and encourage the other people to take over the Mic. Avoid passing negative comments about the singers as not all of them will sing with the finesse of the professionals. Have a professional attitude, and ensure that people are enjoying their karaoke time. If there is a ‘once more’ for a song, go ahead and play it again. If they request you for having a recording of their song, burn the CD of their performance and hand it to them. You can charge separately for this. If there is a time limitation for the show, ensure that you stop on time.

Wrapping Up
Always ensure that you are personally present for the wrapping up of equipment. Don’t put this duty on your employees as they may not check if everything is in place, before leaving for home late in the night. It is best to make a checklist of all the smallest to largest equipment and load them properly in their boxes before carrying it to your vehicle. Making a checklist will tell you immediately if a certain equipment is missing.

Promote Your Business
It is important that you take promotion of your business very seriously. Apart from meeting people who can get you more business, you must have a website or blog giving details about your business. This will allow customers to get in touch with you. Don’t forget to add pictures of the karaoke gigs you have hosted where people are enjoying themselves. You will have to get a written permission from your customers to display their images. You will also have to keep updating the latest schedule of your shows on your website so that people who want to visit can join you at the decided venue. Most of the younger crowd will get in touch with you through Internet, so ensure that you have posted ads on the Internet and websites that give information about the gigs, concerts, plays, etc. Get your website keyword optimized for reflecting in the top searches. Do not forget to connect with customers through social networking websites.

Slowly and steadily, you can recruit and train a good employee to become the host of your karaoke gigs, while you can look after the management of these gigs, collection of money, marketing, networking, and getting new business. Also, keep extra song books as people tend to steal some of them away. Make sure you have a professional approach all the time, and do not give a chance for people to complain. Remember that people may constantly force you to play their favorite songs and keep hogging the limelight. You will also have to learn to say ‘no’. Whatever you do, make sure that the people enjoy their karaoke time thoroughly, if you want to survive in this business.

How To Saving Money on Business Travel

Be ‘Money-wise’!
Instead of exchanging currency at the hotel desk or at airport exchange counters, use foreign ATM machines for better exchange rates. This way, you can safely withdraw smaller amounts. Credit cards are also a great option, but inquire about transaction fees before you use them.
Business travel is very different from traveling for pleasure. Traveling for work has its limitations with respect to duration and expense. Since economic viability is of importance when it comes to any business undertaking, one has no choice but to consider ways in which unnecessary outflow of cash can be harnessed without much ado. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make your business travel easy, affordable, and smooth. We have mentioned these things in the form of simple, easy-to-understand tips. Once you’re equipped with these tips for saving money on business travel, you can effortlessly save hundreds to thousands every year. Shall we start noting them down?

Evaluate phone charges.
Thanks to the perpetually skyrocketing roaming call and data charges, one of the most exorbitant bills you pay after a business trip is your phone bill. An intelligent way to tackle this problem is to buy a local SIM card every time you visit a new place where you are likely to spend a substantial amount of time. By cutting down on roaming charges, you’ll save a LOT of money by paying for only local outgoing call charges. As far as internet data charges are concerned, the best advice I can give you is to use Wi-Fi. Mostly all airports and hotels now offer free Wi-Fi services, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Finish as much work as possible using the Wi-Fi connections at these places; it’ll drastically reduce your costs later on.

Carry enough reading material.
This may look like a weird, quite unconventional a tip that may not really be of any help, but before you jump the gun, hold your horses. Think about it, don’t we usually end up buying a magazine or a book at the airport in order to keep ourselves entertained throughout the journey? While working on the flight is a good option to finish pending work, sometimes you only want to unwind. Instead of spending a few dollars here on reading material at the airport, load a few articles, books, and even movies on your cell phone. This way, you won’t add to your luggage and your expenses.

Say yes to public transport.
By using the public transport in any city, you can further reduce your business travel expense exponentially. How does this work? Seek details of the area of your travel for the day from the hotel reception. Ask them to provide commutation details, such as modes, alternative routes, and approximate charges. This way, you can cut back on almost 80% of your commutation costs when compared to the amount you would have to shell out for a cab. If the hotel doesn’t have these details, use Google Maps. It’s one of the best apps for such kind of information. You might pay for Internet data charges, but they’ll still be lesser than the cab fare you would be required to pay.

Lookout for deals.
There are a million travel deals you can tap and cash in on if you keep an eye out for them. The best and most profitable of the lot is the frequent-flyer program (FFP). Almost every airline, old and new, offers this loyalty program. Under this, you become entitled to several discounts, privileges, and offers, especially if you fly quite often. The best places to find these deals are airline magazines. Always go through these magazines, usually kept in the seat pocket in front of you, and you’ll be surprised to find some of the best deals you’ve ever come across. Apart from this, you can also apply for a debit/credit card that has a tie-up with an airline.

Never fall prey to luggage fees.
The most unforgivable mistake you can make is to create situations to pay luggage fees. It’s not always possible to weigh your luggage at the last minute, but it’s always possible to save a lot of money in this area by being a smart packer. Business trips don’t need much luggage and there are a few tips you can follow to reduce your luggage just in case you’re combining meetings or planning on a long trip. You already know how you need to replace magazines and books with eMagazines and eBooks. In a similar way, cut down on multiple gadgets and instead carry one that functions as an all-in-one cell phone, music player, tablet, camera, and laptop. Apart from these, don’t carry too many clothes, food items, and/or stationery. Calculate the number of days you are going to spend at a place and pack the exact number of clothes in keeping with your itinerary. Fill the empty spaces inside your shoes with jewelry, socks, handkerchiefs to save on space. Keep things as minimal and compact as possible.

Go for rooms with kitchens, not minibars.
Though a business trip may not give you time to cook, it’s advised that you pick hotels that have rooms with kitchens. This way, you can cook your own meals even if you choose to make just an omelet. Minibars seem tempting; all you have to do is open the door and serve yourself. However, bills that come with the usage of minibars are usually far from attractive and highly inflated. Items available at a minibar are always charged at a higher price, sometimes as much as 30% more. A room with a kitchen will also enable you to save the money you would otherwise spend on eating out. By choosing this option, you can work, eat, and rest in just one place.

Befriend locals.
The best people to help you when visiting another city are not guides or agencies, but locals. They know the city the best and have no hidden motives; they don’t gain or lose anything by cheating you. They’re the best people to approach when you need help with directions, prices, or suggestions. Just by asking a local for something as simple as directions, you save on Internet charges by not using apps, on money you may end up spending while commuting via wrong or longer routes, and in the end, time – the most crucial element while on a business trip. They also come to your aid when you’re looking for inexpensive places to eat, relax, or work.

Club trips to save thousands.
Most of the time, an executive travels to a specific place to work with a specific set of clients. In such cases, it is always advised to combine trips. For example, if you’re meeting a client in Italy, you might as well make arrangements to meet another one in Spain right after your schedule in Italy. Imagine the amount of money you will be shelling out if you go to Italy, come back to your original country of work, and then fly out to Spain again! You can actually save yourself a lot of money by avoiding at least two extra to-and-fro trips by planning your travel smartly. This not only applies to places that are located in the same geographical area but also to places that are halfway around one potential business area. For example, if you have to travel from India to France, you might as well also plan meetings in New York and finish it off at one go. This way, you can save thousands. By planning multiple meetings in the same city, you save on both traveling and staying costs. The basic tip is to get maximum work done in one single trip in order to economically use financial resources in the best possible manner. Of course, it is not always possible to club your trips because the schedule of different clients may not always match. The point is to try to schedule trips in such a manner as frequently as practicable.

Understand taxes and use them to your benefit.
Taxes levied on income from any source are waived off to a specified extent when certain stipulated types of investments/expenditure made can be shown. Travel expenses are one of them. Though only a portion is eligible to be waived off, the sum still amounts to quite a lot. So, educating yourself about how these benefits can be reaped optimally can result in saving money in the long run. Similarly, a lot of things come with additional taxes while an individual is traveling. These include food at the airport (sometimes), items at the minibar, services like laundry in a hotel, etc. Though a person learns more about these from experience, it’s good to at least know the basics in theory.

Look out for opportunities to make multiple bookings together.
Always remember that there are certain advantages and incentives of booking more than one ticket, especially in flights. It is always better to book tickets together in order to avail group discounts. This way, your company poses as a potential customer to the airline – a reason why they’ll always offer you certain privileges that they won’t offer other passengers. A company is a more respected entity with a higher brand value and credibility score than an individual in the eyes of airlines, hotels, and other business houses. A company is always more trustworthy than an individual. Also, in many ways, having your company as a client works in the favor of these houses when it comes to building their own brand value.

It’s very easy to save money while traveling for business. Think twice before you spend. It is a common observation that we tend to shell out a lot of extra cash when traveling primarily because there is no time to evaluate and understand how little things can contribute to unnecessary expenditure. Sometimes, we also opt for convenience by throwing money at a problem instead of racking our brains over tiny little details due to lack of time. These tips for saving money on business travel and a little prior planning will not only reduce your overall expenses but also help you to travel smarter in future. Believe it or not, a few smart choices in the beginning will lead to your paying fewer bills later on.

How To Business Travel

Do you remember the times, when you got a call from your boss at 5 a.m., and had to pack your bags and leave for the airport to take the 7 a.m. flight? That’s how hectic and random, business travel can be, that too when you are least prepared for it. Business trips are not similar to informal trips, as in the latter case, you have ample time to pack, re-pack, and make arrangements. No matter how easy it sounds, to just pick up the necessary things and dump them in a bag so that you can rush out of the house, there’s always something you miss out at the last minute! To make such travel easy, here are a few simple tips.

Make a Checklist
The first and foremost rule is to make a checklist of all the things you would need to carry. This is important, so you don’t end up missing something essential, and your last-minute travel arrangements are made in time. You can include clothes and toiletries, travel documents, first aid, emergency cash, cell phone, laptop, business documents, and travel tickets in the list. Prepare a common checklist which can be used for any business trip, and stick it in a convenient corner.

Pre-Pack
Now, that you have a well thought checklist, you need to make sure you pack all these items well in advance. It makes sense to purchase a travel bag and use it exclusively for business trips. You can pack all the essentials in organized compartments to avoid confusion. This way, you will save packing time, won’t have to run around for missed items, and will definitely not get delayed in catching your flight.

Carry Extras
During a trip, you never know, what you might run out of! Well, in case of emergencies, always carry an extra toothbrush, towel, pair of socks, business suit, shoes, photocopy of filed documents, cash (don’t depend on debit and credit cards), and pair of clothes.

Be Attentive
It is possible that you may be visiting a new place, therefore, you need to make sure you have the right resources for your destination. In case you have to book your own tickets, make sure you look for the best fares available. Make stay and local travel arrangements in advance, so you won’t have to face unexpected problems. Also, carry addresses, a GPS device, and a language translation book, to avoid getting lost. This is especially important for international travel.

So, if you are packed and ready, have a great trip!

Business Travel Etiquette

This is an age of globalization and nations all round the world have come very close as it is imperative for all of them to work together for fast progress. Multinational corporations have their offices in almost all countries and to carry on operations smoothly, they need some employees to move for some time and work at their foreign offices. Those jobs, which involve traveling for company work abroad, are considered to be quite prestigious in society. Top-notch companies pay for air tickets, luxury accommodation and all needs of their employees when they are in a foreign land. At the same time, it is the duty of employees to maintain the business travel etiquette so that they create a good impression about themselves and their company when they are meeting with their clients.

Etiquette for Business Travel

Pack Your Essentials Properly
Make sure that you take along all essential items which you will be needing there. It should not happen that you leave important documents and fall into trouble later on. Along with the documents and office related things, packing the best clothes you have – both formal as well casual is also important. Other essentials such as your laptop, cell phones, etc., should also be apart from your packing list for travel. Packing for a trip will be easy if you can prepare a list of the essential things.

Follow Airport Guidelines
So, you are going abroad on a business trip with some of your colleagues and are quite excited about the same. Reach the airport on time and co-operate with the airport authorities by completing all the formalities properly. When you meet your colleagues at the airport, greet them with a warm hello followed by a handshake. Getting help from travel agents while traveling by air is a good idea. You should possess important travel documents such as passport, visa, identity and age proof, nationality proof, etc. Once you enter your plane, follow all instructions and air travel tips given by the cabin crew and staff and do not argue with them. Air travel restrictions are common for all and so abide by them to avoid falling into difficulties. Be polite and humble as this can alone get you a gentleman’s tag.

Look Good and Presentable
Among the various business travel tips, being presentable and looking decent is an important one. So, when you are on a business trip, look into the mirror and make sure that you are wearing ironed, clean and good clothes. Wear the necktie and suit properly to look like a sincere professional. Have good posture while walking and sitting and a smile on your face. Maintain eye contact with people while talking and talk sensibly as these are the signs of a person having good body language. This is also one of the most commonly suggested international travel tips.

Conduct
Throughout your travel, your conduct should be extremely good. Do not make gestures and actions which can be irritating for other people or your own colleagues. If you are traveling with your boss, do not get too casual, give him the respect which he receives in the office. There would not be any ban on cracking jokes, laughing or having fun, but you should know exactly when to indulge in some good fun. Carefully listen to what the other person is speaking and then give your own opinion. You cannot just start entertaining everyone in an ongoing meeting or serious discussion!

Party Behavior
Party behavior is also an important section in business travel etiquette. Often these days, parties are arranged in hotels or restaurants for employees for some recreation. However, since it is an office party, you need to follow some behavioral norms. Avoid over drinking and making any kind of obscene gestures which can annoy the people around. Always be in your senses and be extra polite when it comes to interacting with female colleagues.

Dining Etiquette
In the course of your business travel, you are always under observation. So, even while dining with your colleagues, you must follow important etiquette. Never go late for the dinner and keep others waiting for you. If this happens, apologize immediately for your late arrival. Start your dinner along with all others and not before them. Avoid talking over the phone while eating or talking too loudly which can be disturbing for others. If you have to attend an urgent call from someone, then excuse yourself and come back immediately after attending the call.

Creative Marketing Ideas

You may have the ingenious product in the world, but what’s the point if you can’t find the market for it? Without a market, a product is as good as dead. Every small business has to engage in aggressive marketing, if it aims to reach its best potential. Most naive entrepreneurs believe that marketing takes a lot of money and it is only meant of giant business organizations. NO! Do you really think Facebook and YouTube used any great marketing techniques, to make a niche in the virtual market?

It is difficult to come up with creative ideas, which is why we are here to help you. These ideas will work the best for small business firms, if they are used with a hint of intelligence. So, let’s see what you can do, to make your business grow faster.

Creative Ideas for Marketing

Small Business Marketing Ideas
Small business marketing ideas focus on tapping the local market, before we take a long leap. Small businesses like catering firms, wedding planning firm, a designer boutique, restaurants and basically the ones that operate at small levels, find hard to bring on some attention.

First to hook on to social networking site, it’s free and it works wonders. Make a page for yourself on the most popular social networking site, send out invites, add all your friends and keep updating your status messages in tandem with the events at your firm. This attracts a lot of attention. Next idea is, to get press releases published in the local newspaper. This will probably cost you a free lunch or dinner for the journalist, a little goodwill and the best foot forward. It’s all worth the effort! Give away awards such as, customer of the month, and advertise this in various places. Make a blog and update it every week, join the clubs in the city.

Real Estate Marketing Ideas
Once again Internet marketing comes to the rescue of your abandoned real estate business. Real estate marketing ideas have to look reliable and trustworthy. Classified advertisements, catalogs, flyers, special reports, E-newsletters, E-books, Internet marketing, radio ads, yellow pages, press releases, sponsor an advertisement, podcasts, business cards and public relations are some of the real estate marketing ideas. Creating t-shirts, pens, calendars, organizers and other stationery items for your employees and valuable customers works very well too. Sending seasonal greeting cards and sending wishes on birthdays and anniversaries are also some PR ideas, which can win you markets. Creative marketing ideas for real estate, should be implemented with tenacity, since it takes a while for people to notice such a business.

Apartment Marketing Ideas
As a novice builder you may be looking for apartment marketing ideas to get some lucrative business, this season. Thus, gaining an insight into real estate marketing, is the need of the hour.

You can promote your projects through the print media, radio advertisements, banners and huge balloons. If you are looking out for tenants for your apartment, then getting in touch with the local coffee shops, shopping centers, colleges, recreation centers, parks and putting up your advertisement there can get you some great offers. Creating an interactive website, making unique offers, highlighting the USPs, giving the prospective customers a look around the place and promoting your apartment through reputed real estate agents are some more creative ideas for marketing your apartments.

If these ideas are used intelligently and timed well, they can reap remunerative results. These were some of the creative ideas for marketing, which I hope, brings you the fortune and fame, that you’ve dreamed of. Good luck!

Mortgage Marketing Tips

Any kind of marketing job can be tricky to handle until you hit potential customer-rich regions. When it comes to mortgage marketing, your job is even more challenging, in times of economic recession. With the property market slowly easing back into gear, there are new opportunities for mortgage brokers to make inroads, through some smart marketing ideas.

Ideas That Work

Any marketing project is a lot of hard work and you need to invest a large amount of your own time and money to reach out to people. There is a lot of homework involved in researching your product. It forms the basis of your marketing strategy. Through research, you need to determine your target customer base.

You should direct your strategy towards market niches that have demand for your product. In your case, it is the real estate market. Mortgage loan is a financial product which requires you to penetrate a wide potential customer base, which are people planning to become new home owners. Your strategy should be all about building relationships and advertising your services widely.

Mailing Brochures
One of the simplest ways of reaching out to people is sending out brochures, detailing the mortgage loan services, offered by you. Let there be a personal touch in the entire wording of the prose. You will have to spend a lot on creation of the advertising brochures and mailing costs, but even if you can net 10% of the people into your network, the money spent will be completely worth it.

Email Marketing
You can get email addresses of potential customers, from real estate agencies. One of the low-cost ideas is mailing these people, via the Internet. The best part of using email services is that you can reach a wider user base, with practically no mailing costs, as electronic mail is free. You can also use online classifieds like Craigslist to market your services.

Local Business Networking
Your past customers can provide you access, to their own business contacts. Contact local business owners who have been your customers and procure contacts of people who may be looking out for a mortgage loan. You can mail them brochures and advertise your services. This can get you copious leads.

Loan Fairs
Every year, home or mortgage loan fairs are organized by real estate developers, where you can showcase your mortgage loan services. This is one of the most lucrative ideas, as these fairs attract a fair number of first-time buyers. Loan fairs are also good avenues for presenting mortgage services.

It is going to be hard work, reaching out to people, but if you put in your efforts and build a contact network, things will ease out eventually. Have faith and persevere. Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.