Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

Business credit card

Is business credit card helpful?

‘Yes’ –is the answer that’s comes out almost immediately. That is true at least for most businesses (especially small businesses). Before we delve deeper into how business credit cards are helpful, let’s try and understand what a business credit card is.

Put simply, a business credit card is a credit card that is owned by a business and not an individual. To understand this better, you can simply draw an analogy between the business credit cards and business bank accounts, which are in the name of the business as well. Other than that, business credit cards work in pretty much the same fashion as the personal credit cards; with a few exceptions. These exceptions are in the form of flexibility in credit limit, low APRs and some other additional benefits that are available to business credit cards only.

Even from just that, business credit cards seem a good proposition. However, business credit cards would be attractive even without those benefits because the main benefit lies elsewhere.  The big-big benefit from a business credit card is realised in terms of business expense accounting. For most small businesses, business expense accounting is a big overhead. With business credit cards, this is handled very easily – you just have to ensure that you make all your business expenses on your business credit card and let the personal expenses be on the personal credit card i.e. segregation of business and personal expenses is all you need to do. So the bill for your business credit card will have all the business expenses on it and you wouldn’t need to collate all the various bills or sort out the items from your personal credit card bill. The key here is to make sure that you use your business credit card for all your business expenses (or as much as you can).  Moreover, a lot of business credit card suppliers realise this need of small business and even organise the business credit card bills in a way that meets the accounting requirements of these businesses. So mostly, they will appropriately group the expenses on the business credit card bill so as to facilitate business expense accounting. In fact, some of the business credit card suppliers go to an extent of providing the bills in a format that can be downloaded and exported to an accounting system i.e. you don’t need to enter the data manually in your accounting system. In case the format is not suitable for your accounting system, you can hire a software professional to write a small quick program to convert it into a suitable format.

Thus just one reason - ‘facilitation of business expense accounting’, is enough to support the case of small business credit cards.

When Prospects Give You The "Silent Treatment"

If you’ve been selling for a while, you’ve probably had at least one experience in which your prospect suddenly started giving you the "silent treatment."

Anthony described this dilemma very poignantly when he called me a few weeks ago:

"Ari, I don’t know what to do when I get hit with the ‘silent treatment’ -- you know, when I’ve worked with a prospect for quite a while, and we’ve had great conversations, and they've expressed interest in our solution -- and then all of a sudden everything stops.

I try calling them back once or twice. I even send a follow-up e-mail, but nothing. They just disappear. And I figure I’ve lost the sale, and I don’t know what I did wrong, or what to do next. It makes selling feel like such a painful and arduous process."

If this has happened to you, you may have felt anxious and confused. You may have told yourself, "It’s not as if I’m the one who did anything wrong. I put everything into the relationship. How can I rescue the sale if I can’t even get them to talk to me?"

The "Hopeium" Trap

There is a pressure-free way to reestablish communication when your prospect starts giving you the "silent treatment." But first, it’s important to understand why the situation has happened in the first place.

Most of us who sell get caught up in "hopeium," a comical term that means we focus our hopes and desires on making the sale. But hopeium can be a trap, because it's impossible for you to keep in mind your most important goal: to learn your prospect’s truth.

When we fix our minds on the outcome -- making the sale -- we automatically begin anticipating how the process will go, and we also begin expecting that things will happen as we hope they will.

But if we’re in that mindset and our prospect suddenly breaks off communication, we feel lost, anxious, frustrated, discouraged, and confused. We become preoccupied with what went wrong.

We may even feel betrayed.

Is there any way to clear up the mystery?

Yes, by giving up your agenda and learning the truth about where you stand with your prospect --and being ok with whatever the truth may be. "But how can I learn the truth when they’re avoiding me?" you may ask. "And why do I need to let go of the sale?"

Let’s take the second question first.

If you approach your prospect while you still hope the sale will happen, you’ll introduce sales pressure into the relationship. This will push your prospect away from you and destroy any trust you have developed with them. Instead, you can eliminate sales pressure by telling them that you’re okay with their decision if they’ve decided not to move forward.

In other words, you take a step back instead of trying to chase and follow up with calls because you’re focused on getting a "yes."

The bottom line is:

When a prospect gives you the "silent treatment," it doesn’t mean you’ve lost the sale. It just means you don’t know the truth yet.

What you need to do is call and learn the truth.

Why is learning the truth so important?

Here are 4 important reasons:

1. You stop losing confidence in your selling ability. The "silent treatment" threatens our "hopeium." We start blaming ourselves. We don’t know where we stand -- a painful state of limbo. Our self-talk is negative and full of self-blame, and we’re on pins and needles wondering whether the sale will still come through somehow.

2. You increase your selling efficiency and decrease your stress level. Once you learn the truth about your prospect’s situation, you can either stay involved with the prospect or move on. I often say, "A ‘no’ is almost as valuable as a ‘yes.’" Why? Because it frees up your time to find prospects who are a better fit with your solution. This lets you work much more efficiently because you can quickly weed out prospects who aren’t going to buy. Knowing the prospect’s truth lets you walk away without that guilt-laden voice whispering, "If you give up, you don't have what it takes."

Learning your prospect’s truth translates into tangible results that equal real dollars. You’ll also put an end to the self-sabotaging stress that comes from living in "silent treatment" limbo.

3. Sales pressure pushes prospects away. When you respond to the "silent treatment" with calls and e-mails, you’re really telling them that you’re determined to move the sales process forward -- which means you’re looking out for your needs, not theirs. This makes them mistrust you and run the other way.

4. The "silent treatment" -- totally breaking off communication -- is how prospects protect themselves from sales pressure when they don’t feel comfortable telling us their truth. The more we press, the more they run.

But the opposite is true, too. The more we relax and invite the truth, the more straightforward they’ll be with us. Prospects feel okay sharing what’s going on with them when they know we’re okay with hearing it.

How to Reopen Communication

After Anthony and I had talked about some of these issues, he said, "This all makes a lot of sense, Ari, but I’m still not sure what to say when I make that call."

It’s simpler than you might think.

* First, simply give your prospect a call. (E-mail and voicemail are very impersonal, so use them only as last resorts if you can't reach your prospect after several phone calls.)

* Second, take responsibility and apologize for having caused the "silent treatment".

Here’s some language I suggested to Anthony that will make prospects feel safe enough to open up and tell you the truth about their situation:

"Hi, Jim, it’s Anthony. I just wanted, first of all, to call and apologize that we ended up not being able to connect. I feel like somewhere along the way maybe I dropped the ball, or I didn’t give you the information you needed. I’m not calling to move things forward because I’m assuming you’ve probably gone ahead with someone else, and that’s perfectly okay. I’m just checking to see if you may have some feedback as to where I can improve for next time."

When you respond to the "silent treatment" this way, the results will probably surprise you. You may even learn that the prospect has legitimate reasons for not having gotten back to you.

You’ll also find yourself more productive and less frustrated. It’ll make a world of difference in your productivity level, your stress level, your income, and how much you enjoy what you’re doing.

Remember…

You haven’t lost the sale. You just don’t know the truth yet.

Rebates – Reward or Rip Off?

Rebates have become increasingly popular in the last few years on a lot of items and certainly on electronic items and computers. Rebates of $20, $50 or $100 are not uncommon.

I’ve even seen items advertised as “free after rebate”. Do these rebates come under the heading of “too good to be true”? Some of them do and there are “catches” to watch out for but if you are careful, rebates can help you get some really good deals.

The way a rebate works is that you pay the listed price for an item then mail in a form and the bar code to the manufacturer and they send you a refund thus reducing the price of what you paid for the item except with a time delay of several weeks.

Rule #1. Rebates from reputable companies are usually just fine.

You can be pretty sure you will get the promised rebate from Best Buy, Amazon or Dell but you should probably not count on getting one from a company you’ve never heard of. If you really want the product and are OK with paying the price listed then buy it but don’t count on actually getting the refund.

Rule #2. Check rebate expiration dates.

Many times products will stay on the shelf of a retailer after the date for sending in the rebate offer has expired so check that date carefully.

Rule #3. Be sure you have all the forms required to file for the rebate before you leave the store.

Rebates will almost always require a form to be filled out, a receipt for the purchase and a bar code.

Rule #4. Back up your rebate claim.

Make copies of everything you send in to get your rebate including the bar code. Stuff gets lost in the mail all the time and if the rebate is for $50 it’s worth the trouble to back up your claim.

What Is Your Investment Style?

Knowing what your risk tolerance and investment style are will help you choose investments more wisely. While there are many different types of investments that one can make, there are really only three specific investment styles – and those three styles tie in with your risk tolerance. The three investment styles are conservative, moderate, and aggressive.

Naturally, if you find that you have a low tolerance for risk, your investment style will most likely be conservative or moderate at best. If you have a high tolerance for risk, you will most likely be a moderate or aggressive investor. At the same time, your financial goals will also determine what style of investing you use.

If you are saving for retirement in your early twenties, you should use a conservative or moderate style of investing – but if you are trying to get together the funds to buy a home in the next year or two, you would want to use an aggressive style.

Conservative investors want to maintain their initial investment. In other words, if they invest $5000 they want to be sure that they will get their initial $5000 back. This type of investor usually invests in common stocks and bonds and short term money market accounts.

An interest earning savings account is very common for conservative investors.
A moderate investor usually invests much like a conservative investor, but will use a portion of their investment funds for higher risk investments. Many moderate investors invest 50% of their investment funds in safe or conservative investments, and invest the remainder in riskier investments.

An aggressive investor is willing to take risks that other investors won’t take. They invest higher amounts of money in riskier ventures in the hopes of achieving larger returns – either over time or in a short amount of time. Aggressive investors often have all or most of their investment funds tied up in the stock market.

Again, determining what style of investing you will use will be determined by your financial goals and your risk tolerance. No matter what type of investing you do, however, you should carefully research that investment. Never invest without having all of the facts!

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