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The holiday season is a busy one for most businesses as this the time of year when people tend to buy gifts for others or businesses are trying to drain their yearly expense budget. As sales volumes increase, the volume of foot traffic, number phone calls and number of shipments that need to be made will also increase. What are some ways to increase productivity to meet the demand this year?

Make Use of Available Technology

There are a large array of tools that you can use to make sure that you are meeting demand without burning out your workers. The use of electronic POS systems can enable you to take sales wherever they occur in your store. This means that you can help a customer complete a sale while he or she is standing in line or even in the aisle where the product is located. You may also want to use a digital checkweigher to ensure that gift bags and packages contain the exact amount of product as advertised on the package. It can also be used to determine how much an item costs to ship without making an error.

Make Sure You Have Plenty of People On-Call

The holiday season is not the time to be short staffed. You will need to have a certain number of workers on call as necessary or attempt to recruit workers who will be willing to come in for extra shifts on a moment’s notice. To determine how many workers you will need at any given time, you should study last year’s sales numbers or use workflow software to help create the ideal schedule.

Keep Extra Inventory On Hand

You should aim to keep about 10 percent more inventory in your store than you think you will need on any given day. In addition to the holiday season being busier than normal, you never know when a snowstorm or some other event will increase traffic to your store even further. The last thing that you want to do is run out of inventory or fail to keep your shelves stocked in a neat and visibly appealing manner. How busy does it get during the holiday season? On Black Friday in 2014, retailers reported sales totaling $1 billion.

Make Use of Social Media and Your CRM to Communicate With Customers

Communication is critical during the holiday season, which means that you need to use as many tools as possible to automate or make communication easier. The use of social media allows you to update customers about the availability of products, shipping prices and other discounts that may be available. A CRM may make it easier to send coupons to your best shoppers or mine data to determine what types of products you should feature the most prominently in your stores. This information can be shared with executives and managers throughout the company quickly and easily during the busy sales days.

Only Use Experienced Workers During This Time of Year

To increase your productivity, it may be best to only use experienced workers during the busy holiday season. Experienced workers understand the pressures of the season while also being able to do the job quickly, promptly and correct the first time. Furthermore, workers who have been with the company for many years may have relationships with customers, which may make it easier to serve them during what can be a stressful time.

It is important that your company is able to keep up with demand during the holidays. This is a time when your company may see its most revenue and actually turn a profit for the entire calendar or fiscal year. Therefore, make sure that your people can handle the pressure and that there are tools available to them when doing their job.


Five Important Costs to Consider When Starting Your Own Business

Every entrepreneur dreams of creating a profitable business. Global domination may come to few of us, but it remains the ultimate goal for the talented and ambitious.

Unfortunately, before you can run a successful business, you have to set one up. You must come up with the concept, the product, the vision, and the end goal, and this in itself is incredibly challenging, not to mention expensive.

One of the best ways of safeguarding your venture is by looking to the future, and it’s a very good idea to tally up all of the potential costs before you give it a go. To help you out, here are five of the outlays that you’ll need to consider…

#1: The Cost of Premises

One of the greatest investments for any business will be its premises, and for start-ups especially this represents a significant initial outlay. The perfect location will need to provide you with all of the space you require, along with the right set-up, and access to your suppliers and customer base.

For those who can’t afford it, working from home through an online enterprise may prove a viable alternative, reducing your costs and representing a lifeline for your endeavour.

#2: The Cost of Utilities

If you do find that a bricks and mortar office block or factory is necessary for your purposes, then don’t forget to add in the cost of your utilities. The best way to establish how high this will be is by approaching various companies for quotes. To keep your outgoings to a minimum, try shopping around to find a cost-effective option like United Gas and Power.

#3: The Cost of Furnishings

Some office blocks and factories will come already furnished, but a lot of them will not. This means that you may have to sink a significant sum of money into securing not only the equipment and machinery that you need, but also basics like desks, swivel chairs, and even a microwave and dishwasher.

#4: The Cost of Insurance

Another expenditure to add to your tally will be the cost of insurance. Your financial future will be dependent upon the success of your business, so leaving it open to legal or natural disaster makes no sense at all. To protect the project that you’ve given your all to you’ll need to find a reliable and reputable provider, and choose a policy that covers your needs.

#5: The Cost of a Website

Finally, try to factor in the cost of constructing a suitable website. So much business is now conducted over the internet that a strong online presence can make all the difference to the success of your endeavour. Although some entrepreneurs will possess the skill to craft this themselves, amateurs are best turning to the professionals in order to achieve a suitably polished finish.

Do you have the budget to launch your business?

Do You Make These 5 Dumb Mistakes

As an entrepreneur, you’re cut from a different cloth from people who like the predictability of working for a corporation. You’re attuned to your passion. You’re optimistic about how everything will work out; and you may even be a reverse paranoid, believing that misfortune shows up as a life lesson for your preordained success.

When running your own business here are 5 common mistakes entrepreneurs make when it comes to earning, spending and handling expenses:

Dumb Mistake #1: You have no interest in accounting.

You’re an entrepreneur because you like to make money, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re automatically interested in managing it wisely, too. In fact, making and managing money call for different skillsets.

If you’re good at making money it’s because you’ve found your vision and are pursuing your passion. You are then converting this idealism into making money by up a business, and growing it through marketing and sales.

While making money is exciting, managing money, by comparison, is dull. Despite this disinterest, you still have to be able to understand accounting basics and spend time interpreting balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. You also have to keep track of inflows and outflows and distinguish between investing in assets and squandering money on liabilities.

If you don’t take an interest in accounting, it will be difficult for you to get a loan when you’re ready to grow your business. A banker will not be able to make sense of your figures. After sorting out expenses and liabilities, their recalculations might show your business has a negative cash flow.

This obstacle to your success can be resolved by either learning how to using accounting software or hiring an accountant.

Dumb Mistake #2: You lose business travel receipts.

As an entrepreneur you will have to spend money on food, transportation, and lodging, as well as many incidental expenses when going on business trips. If you don’t keep track of your expenses, you won’t be able to keep a sensible paper trail. You will lose money because you won’t include your expenses when you bill clients for the work you’ve done for them that involved travel expenses. If your business trip was not done on behalf of your client, you will still lose money that could be used as a tax write-off.

This obstacle to your success can be resolved by using expense management software. You can upload photographs of your receipts from your cell phone as they occur while entering credit card expenses and travel information automatically into your corporate expense management software, you can quickly stop this unnecessary financial loss.

Dumb Mistake #3: You have no system for account receivables.

As an entrepreneur you will need to have an accounts receivable process to collect money.

This obstacle to your success can be resolved by following this simple process outlined by Barry J. Moltz in an article in

“Before you do the work, ask your customer if there is anything you need to do, like providing your tax ID number, to get set up in their system. When the first bill is sent, call the company to check if the bill was received, and ask when it is scheduled to be paid. Right before it is scheduled to be paid, call again to see if the check was sent. If you find it did not make this “check run,” then ask when it will be sent.”

Dumb Mistake # 4: You commingle personal and business finances.

It’s easy to get credit cards mixed up when running your business, but salary and distributions should only be on a business account. This avoidable mistake can make your accounting much harder than necessary.

This obstacle to your success can be resolved by keeping personal and business cards in different parts of the wallet.

Dumb Mistake # 5: You still live paycheck to paycheck.

If you’re paying all your business expenses as go but not building a reserve fund, you’re not really running a business. You have merely substituted getting a paycheck from an employer to getting multiple paychecks from clients.

Your business can only grow when you have cash reserves.

There are two reasons why you need a cash reserve:

First, a cash reserve will help you handle a financial emergency. You may experience a crisis if a few clients pay late or don’t pay at all. A sudden negative cash flow will throw your business venture off course. Instead of spending your time bringing in more business, you will spend it scrambling to pay off your debts.

Second, a cash reserve will help you take your business to the next level when you are ready. A time will come when you will need the funds to grow your business. Perhaps you will need to take a few courses to upgrade your skills. Perhaps, you will need to hire your first employee to handle the increased workload. A time will come when you will need money to grow your business.

This obstacle to your success can be resolved by aside a lump sum in a savings account and then contributing to it on a regular basis.

Above All, Take Action

If you’re making one or more of these mistakes, you should take corrective action. Ideas have no value unless you act on them. When you look back on your entrepreneurial journey, you’ll be able to see a direct relationship between your success breakouts and your willingness to take timely action.


Research contributed by DataLabel

Research carried out by a label website has revealed that 20% of people have stolen something from where they work. Additionally 36% would consider stealing from work if the need or opportunity arose. The most common items found to be stolen from work include; stationary, food and toilet rolls. The more popular reasoning given for the theft is that most employees think no one would notice.

To find out levels of theft in work places, labelling website surveyed 1,986 UK adults aged over 18, asking: “Have you ever stolen something from your place of work?” 80% said they had never stolen anything from work, however 20% had. Those who had stolen from their place of work were then asked: “What did you steal?” The most popular responses are broken down below:

  1. Stationary
  2. Food – Company and other staff members
  3. Toilet roll

They then asked: “Why did you steal from work? The majority of respondents (85%) said because; they didn’t think anyone would notice, however 8% said that they stole because they believed that they deserved more from the company. Whilst the remainder said that they didn’t care.

The respondents who had said they had not stolen from their place of work, were also asked: “Would you ever consider stealing from work?”  The majority (83%) said no, the 17% who said they would consider stealing were then asked what they would steal and why. As with those that had previous stolen the most popular choice was stationary, and the reason given was also the same  they believed stealing something small like stationary would go unnoticed.

Those surveyed who had not stolen anything from their place of work and would not either in future said they wouldn’t because; “stealing is wrong, no matter where from” and “it is also a crime and should not be taken lightly”.

Philip Carlyn, Managing Director of Data-Label said “It is probably not as uncommon as people think; stealing from work, even if it’s something as small as toilet roll or tea bags in an emergency. As we can see from our results there are varying reasons why some people think stealing from work is acceptable. Although the news stories of fraud or embezzlement are not the norm for many employees, rather theft of goods or products seem to be the most common.”

He added:

“For many people there is a sense of entitlement, especially if employees feel undervalued or do not believe that they are being paid a fair wage. They also feel like they are not hurting anyone either, especially with some of the smaller thefts admitted. However over time those stealing costs can add up for companies, I wonder if people would re-consider if they knew that company theft of small items and stationary was responsible for a delayed wage increase. “


About the Contributor

DataLabel are specialists in label manufacturing and distribution with over 25 years’ experience within the label printing industry. They pride themselves on being the UK’s leading label manufacturer of custom printed labels.  Their customer friendly and experienced staff provide a fast, efficient service ensuring a smooth transition from enquiry to end product.

Smart Ways To Keep Employees Happy

Many people have demanding jobs. Your job may require you to work long hours and juggle many responsibilities. However, you may find your demanding job very rewarding. For others, job demands can create too much stress. It’s in the best interests of both the company and the worker to address issues that cause an unreasonable level of stress. If your company won’t address these issues, you can find another job and a better work situation.

Technology now makes it much easier for job candidates to look for employment. points out that candidates can search online for job postings using keywords, job titles or by zip code.  Before you decide to look elsewhere, consider whether or not management will consider any changes to your job situation.

How great companies manage people

Some companies are able to keep employees satisfied, in spite of the demanding work. A key indicator of good company management is the level of employee turnover. Turnover refers to the percentage of employees that voluntarily leave your firm each year.

Every industry has a rate of employee turnover. Great companies keep their turnover levels below the industry average. Here are some things these companies do to reduce turnover:

  • These firms communicate clearly with their workers. Good companies communicate well with their workforce, even if they need to report bad news.
  • Good companies follow up on employee questions and concerns. A great example is each employee’s annual review. An effective manager will give each employee a review on a timely basis.
  • Effective managers help workers advance in their careers. If a manager has your best interests at heart, that person should help you get promoted. Helping people advance in their careers is a key trait of a good employer.

Asking for change

You may face a situation in which your job is simply too stressful. If you experience too much stress, it can take a physical and mental toll on you. If you’re in this situation, try to work with your employer to make the job manageable.

Your employer’s response to your concern is critical. An effective manager should respond to your concerns right away. That person should attempt to change things and report back to you.

People leave jobs for two basic reasons. In some cases, they ask the employer for a change and the company can’t fix the problem. Individuals also leave companies if they ask for change and the firm doesn’t respond within a reasonable period of time.

Finding a new position

If you need to find a new position, assess whether or not the job you’re unhappy about fits your personality and preferences. Take a personality assessment to determine your traits. If you’re an introvert, for example, you will not be happy in a sales position that requires you to meet new people constantly.

Talk with people who work in your field. Find out what makes them happy in their jobs. Why do they enjoy the company they work for? You can talk to people in your network and ask them for referrals.

If you’re considering a high level position, think about using a recruiting or placement firm. These people are paid to find out exactly what an employer is looking for in a specific job candidate. You may find that working with recruiter is more effective than looking for a high-level position on your own.

Perform a Google search for positions, based on some key words. For example, you could search for “mechanical engineering manager midwest” to find a particular type of job listing.

Working in a stressful job can be exhausting. If you’re in a stressful job, ask your employer if they’re willing to make some changes in your work. If not, take some time to assess your preferences. Use these tools to find a job that is a good fit with less stress. You’ll be happier in the long run.

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