Monthly Archives: January 2012

10 Powerful Small Business How-To’s You Need to Follow

Important How-To Tutorials for Every Small Business Owner

By , Guide

Starting a small business typically involves a lot of moving parts. In fact, time management can quickly become a challenge for entrepreneurs who are digging into the business start-up process for the first time.

I compiled a list of 10 of the most important steps involved in starting a business, and broke them down into easy-to-follow tutorials. Use this guide to make sure you’re focusing your attention on the most important stages of starting a business, and find out what you need to know so you can streamline your work for each of those steps.

1. How to Start a Business1

map compass2Photo © forwardcom3

Let’s start at the very beginning. This guide walks you through all of the necessary steps involved in starting a business. Once you complete each step outlined in the article, you will be ready to announce your new small business to the world. Read the article4.

More on starting a business:

2. How to Set Small Business Goals8

target9Photo © marmit10

Your business may not be going anywhere if you don’t take time to set goals before you get started. This guide to small business goal setting has everything you need to make sure you know what you want to accomplish with your business. Read the article11.

More on small business goal setting:

3. How to Name a Business15

letters16Photo © L_Avi17

Choosing a business name is an important, and often underestimated, part of starting a business. These articles will walk you through the process of how to name a business, share a few important things to consider, and provide tools to help you overcome your business-naming challenges. Read the article18.

More on naming your business:

4. How to Write a Simple Business Plan22

laptop planning23Photo © spenaloza24

All business owners need a plan that will help them achieve their goals. The goods news is that creating a business plan for your small business may be much easier than you think. This simplified tutorial walks you through the process. Read the article25.

More on business planning:

5. How to Incorporate Your Business29

bond30Photo © Logan-531

There are several different business structures you can choose for your small business, and one of the hardest decisions to make is whether or not to incorporate. If you have determined that a corporation is the right structure for your business, follow these seven steps to become incorporated. Read the article32.

More on incorporating your small business:

6. How to Create a Marketing Plan35

blueprint36Photo © lusi37

This marketing plan tutorial is broken down into 10 key questions you need to answer. Once you have completed each step by answering each question, you will have a marketing plan that you are ready to use as a blueprint for your marketing activities in your small business. Read the article38.

More on small business marketing:

7. How to Write a Unique Selling Proposition42

unique shoes43Photo © hemo44

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement that succinctly outlines how your business is different from the competition. This four-step exercise will help you write a unique selling proposition for your new business. Read the article45.

More on small business sales:

8. How to Prepare an Elevator Pitch49

networking coffee50Photo © murielle51

An elevator pitch is a short overview of your business, products or services, and is typically used in business settings such as face-to-face networking. Here is a step-by-step process for creating an effective and powerful elevator pitch. Read the article52.

More on small business networking:

9. How to Create a Mobile Office56

laptop phone57Photo © rajsun2258

Most small business owners are no longer tethered to their desks in order to do their work. Many of us can work from anywhere, provided we have access to the right technology. If you are ready to take your business on the road, follow this guide to create an operational mobile office that allows you to work from anywhere. Read the article59.

More on small business offices and technology:

10. How to Delegate and Grow Your Small Business63

delegate64Photo © hoefi65

Delegation is one of the most important parts of growing a business; it can also be very difficult to learn. This article walks you through the process of learning how to delegate and let go so your small business can thrive. Read the article66.

More on small business delegation and growth:

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Categories: Small Business | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understand Bait-And-Switch Advertising

Learn What Bait-And-Switch Advertising Means to You and Your Customers 

3 Cups and BallsImage courtesy of Theodore Scott
You may have heard the phrase “bait-and-switch” many times in your career. It’s something consumers throw out there often, and most of the time they really don’t understand the true ramifications of bait-and-switch advertising. When advertisers use deceptive1 bait-and-switch advertising in its true form, they can be prosecuted. The practice is illegal and carries stiff penalties. But quite often, the consumer confuses this practice with something more akin to a printing error or misunderstanding of the term. (Read more about Consumer Behavior Consumer Behavior2).

Here then, to avoid any further confusion from either the consumer or the advertiser, is a guide to bait-and-switch advertising.

What is a Bait-And-Switch offer?

Technically, bait-and-switch schemes draw the customer in with an incredible offer (the bait3 ) and then swap it out for either an inferior product, a more expensive product, or a product that doesn’t come with all of the items one would usually expect (the switch).

The practice is most commonly used on electronic items like TVs, Blu-Ray players, audio equipment and computers, plus high-end digital cameras, lenses and accessories.

How Does the Bait-And-Switch Scam Work?

It’s quite simple, but very effective.

The advertiser will produce an ad that offers something for a price well below the current market value; for instance, a new 10″ Android4 tablet for $50, when the usual price is $350. It’s almost too good to be true, but this bait catches many people.

The customer will then go to the store to buy the $50 tablet5 and be confronted with several options:

1: The tablet in question is no longer available, but there is another one they can buy for $100. This is a smaller tablet, inferior in every way from the one advertised and is twice the price. Having made the trip to the store, many people will fall victim to the bait-and-switch scam6 and simply buy the inferior product rather than leave empty handed.

2: The tablet is available, but it’s actually much more expense than the ad stated. The consumer will then be told that it’s a slightly different model than the one advertised, or that the one advertised was available only to the first 2 customers. Either way, it’s now in the hands of the consumer to buy the same tablet for two or three times the price advertised. Some slick salesmanship can easily close the deal.

3: The tablet is available, but it is not actually the advertised tablet. Rather, it’s an inferior product, perhaps a cheap copy or fake, or one that is refurbished or stripped down to the very bare essentials. This happens a lot with digital cameras, when advertisers will offer a new camera for half the retail price, but will then sell something from the “grey” market.7 This is a camera that is not meant to be sold in the US, and will not come with anything other than the body. It will also not have a warranty. While it is not illegal to sell grey market cameras, it is against the law to advertise them as the real deal and sell them without informing the consumer.

What is NOT a Bait-And-Switch offer?

Now, we come to clearing the muddy waters of the term. The following are situations that consumers claim to be bait-and-switch, but are actually just cases of bad luck, errors, or slick (but legal) advertising practices.

1: A Pricing Error

This is by far the most common complaint, especially with the surge in online deal forums. The advertiser will list a product for a price unheard of – say $50 for a brand new 60-inch LCD TV. This is simply a pricing error,8 it’s clearly too good to be true and the retail store would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars honoring the offer. However, the online store will accept the price and let you check out with the insane price. Later, you will get an email stating that the order has been cancelled, and your money refunded. People cry “bait-and-switch!” but it’s not the case. It’s just an error.

2: Limited Quantities Available

Another one that catches consumers unawares is the limited quantity deals. The retail store will advertise something for 90% off, but make it applicable to the first 10 customers only. After that, everyone else pays the usual price. This is not bait-and-switch, unless the advertiser fails to disclose the offer details. This scenario is most often brought into question on Black Friday,9 but it’s not bait-and-switch. It’s more like a loss leader,10 which brings people to the store for incredible savings in the hope that they will buy more.

3: Slick Wording

This is borderline shady, but if done correctly it’s just a case of not truly understanding the way the ad was written. For instance, if an advertiser says ‘All Blu-Ray Players UP TO 90% OFF!!!” then you jump to the conclusion that all Blu-Ray players are going to be massively discounted. Not so. If one Blu-Ray player11 in the store is actually sold at 90% off, the advertiser has met the requirements of the ad. Every other player can be 5% off. And the one that was so drastically reduced could have been broken, a display model, old, repackaged or missing components. Another way to use tricky language is to say “offer not valid in all stores” or “online pricing only, individual store prices will vary.” Again, not nice, but not bait-and-switch.

Bait-And-Switch advertising is nasty, underhanded and the refuge of the trashy retail store. Please, don’t ever use it. And if you’re a consumer, don’t shout it out every time you miss a deal, the advertiser is not always trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Source: – By 

Categories: Business Ethics | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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