Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Creating A Referral Network To Grow Your Business

As a business owner one strategy to consider in growing your business is to create a business referral network with other companies that service your local markets. This network can be built with local business leaders in your area. Most referral networks will include a handful of companies that do not directly compete, but complement one another. If you create the right referral network then you won't have to pay out referral fees to companies that send you a lead because the payment you'll provide will be the next new lead you send them. This type of customer sharing can be very valuable as long as everyone involved participants and helps feed the network by sending new leads to one another. When one company only accepts leads and doesn't add new customers to the pool, it will fall apart.
Example of Business Referral Networks
An example of a typical business referral network that most small business owners have seen in action is the relationships that are often developed between business lawyers and CPAs. While both service the same set of customers they don't provide the same type of service and they don't make referral revenue from making introductions. Another form of a business referral network that is very successful is in the home construction and repair industry such as plumbers, electricians, general contractors etc. When on the job they often see problems that need attention but are outside the scope of the service they provide, therefore they can refer the business to their network of home construction professionals who can service the needs of the customer.
Build a Business Ecosystem
It is important as a small business owner that you attend business functions that are both focused on your industry as well as business practices in general. These types of networking opportunities will allow you to meet other professionals that may have customers in need of your product or service. While it can take some time to develop the types of relationships needed to receive referrals from a business network, the value of the leads over the course of several years will be well worth the time and energy you'll invest. One of the best strategies for getting referrals from a business network is to make connections and start feeding it with new leads.
While you may not get any new business immediately, if you represent yourself as someone who can deliver quality leads, eventually you'll be on the receiving end. If no business comes through from a specific contact then move on and start sharing leads elsewhere. Over time you'll develop a referral network that is reliable and committed to helping everyone grow their business.
Put in the time to build a business referral network with the right types of businesses and you will reap the rewards for a long time to come. Every business will have to evaluate the right types of connections that make sense for their company, therefore all business referral networks will not look the same, but the core idea is the same. A group of business owners committed to supporting each other and sharing quality leads.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Be Particular In Your Vendor Choice

One important thing that you have to have if you're in construction is reliable suppliers. You'd like to know that you will get things you need when it's needed at a bargain price. This is not always a simple thing to locate and you'll get into a few sticky situations before you discover suppliers that you are able to depend on. Here are some things that you can think about before you contract a supplier of any kind to deliver supplies to your construction site.
The first thing that you need to take a look at will be the size of the actual supplier you are looking at. A bigger supplier might be more able to maintain the quantity of stock that you need. They have more resources and thus could possibly get things much more effortlessly. A little supplier might still be new to the game and not have the contacts accumulated up to now. Don't write off a small supplier though. Small timber suppliers, for instance, may be small because they concentrate on a specific kind of wood and there might not be a sizable demand for that sort of wood so they have not needed to grow big.
You need to take a look at the reputation of the companies that you are considering making use of. You don't want to use timber suppliers, again just as an example, which have reputation for supplying their customers with substandard wood or taking a long time to deliver a promised load. You want to be sure that you are using suppliers who can be relied on to deliver materials which are of the quality you requested and when you requested them. You cannot always put your construction project on hold while you wait for them to get their act together as well as provide what you need. You will still need to pay your workers and this can make your project run over budget or truly annoy the people who gave you the contract in the first place.
You do have to think about the prices that the suppliers are going to be charging you. You do need to have great service however, you should not be forced to pay twice the standard cost for the service. Ensure that you get estimates from a range of different suppliers even if you do not intend on ordering from them because of their reputation or some other problem that you have picked up. This will provide you with a point of comparison and a negotiating point.
There are a lot of things that you need to think about with regards to ordering supplies for your building project. You have to make sure that you keep things on the right track and that everything runs on time and this is not possible if your suppliers aren't dependable. Make sure that you do your research and only make use of suppliers that can be trusted to deliver on their promises so that you can deliver upon your own.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Timber Posts And Split-Pole Fence

Poles of all kinds are very much a part of contemporary existence that we tend not to give them a lot of thought. Poles are all around you. They carry phone lines and are an important component of fences that stops agricultural livestock from straying, for instance, and are most often created either from wood or metal.
Wooden poles are generally popular because, not only does wood lend a natural, traditional feel to a structure, it is also very attractive to look at. What's more, it's a great deal more eco-friendly than metal and plastic, so long as it has been cultivated in an environmentally friendly way, however. In the home environment, treated wood poles are typically used in the making of thatched roofing, lapas and climbing apparatus like 'jungle gyms' for children. Wooden garden fencing is usually constructed either from circular poles or from spilt poles and it's the latter that's going to be the primary focus of this short article.
'Split poles' is actually a phrase which refers to wooden poles which have been cut lengthways into individual planks. In many cases, these individual planks are referred to as being 'wet of saw' in that they haven't been smoothed using a wood planing instrument and are so named because they retain the rough surface produced by the saw that was employed to cut them. It is this lack of smoothness which gives split-pole fencing its characteristic 'rustic' look. That being said, split-pole fences should be treated just like any other type of exterior wooden construction to guard from undue weathering.
If the split poles used to make your wooden fence have come from a respected wooden pole manufacturer then it will in all probability be the case that they comply with the specifications of a regulating body like the SABS (South African Bureau of Standards). Before wood poles are cut longitudinally into planks they first need to be seasoned to achieve the correct moisture level and then cured with chemicals in a high pressure procedure. Chemical processing not only makes the timber more durable, it can also help to shield it from mold and wood-boring insects further down the road. In the interests of sustainability however, it is best to check to make certain that the lumber manufacturer you obtain the timber for your split-pole fence from employs environmentally friendly, and thus sustainable, methods of growing trees for timber. What is more, you'll need to maintain your split-pole fencing by coating it at regular intervals with a mixture like creosote, for example. Creosote is extracted distilled tar and is a cost-effective preservative make use of on wooden exterior structures such as fencing however it has a very strong odor when first applied that's offensive to some people.
Much like the tar it is derived from, creosote is a blackish compound that will naturally make the timber it is used on seem very dark. The benefit of utilizing creosote is that it's quick to work with and keeps fences in good shape for a long period. However, if you don't like the smell or appearance of creosote there are other sealants, varnishes and stains on the market that you could apply to achieve a lighter-colored fence. Do remember, though, that varnishes don't normally stay looking good outdoors for very long.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hiring a Moving Service and 3 More Business Relocation Issues

Whether you run a manufacturing plant with hundreds of employees or a small online startup, there may one day come a time when you need to move your operation elsewhere. Maybe you've outgrown your current workspace. Maybe you've realized that another state is more business-friendly. Whatever the reason, you now have to confront the reality of relocation. There's more to it than you probably thought. The first order of business is to hire a moving service. Once you've done that, however, greater challenges will be there for the conquering.
Hiring a Moving Service
Finding a company willing to move your family is a cinch. Look in the phone book and you'll have your pick of places ready to ship couches, boxes, and home furnishings anywhere you want to go. Relocating a business is another matter, or at least it can be. If you have only a small office, getting your stuff to your new location won't be any more difficult than it would be for your house. Larger businesses are going to have to search a bit harder to find the right company. It can be done, though. Talk to other business owners who have made a big move and ask for some recommendations.
Replacing Employees
It goes without saying that not all of your employees are going to make the move with you. This is inevitable. This is especially true if you aren't prepared to shell out bonuses to pay for their relocation. In that case, you will be lucky if any of your employees go along. You'll need to replace them, and you need to be ready for that turnover before you get to your destination.
Keeping Your Business Running
Unless you have the kind of savings that can allow you to shut down for a month or more, you're probably going to need to keep both your old location and your new location running simultaneously for some time. This can be stressful and difficult, but it is a necessity. You may even want to consider keeping both locations open indefinitely, if it is practical. An expanding and growing business is one that won't soon go under.
Sticker Shock
Even if you find a moving service willing to meet your demands for a reasonable price, you need to be ready for some degree of sticker shock. Remember how expensive it was to open your business originally? You're getting ready to face some of those costs again.