Jewelry Trends for 2013 – How Can You Sell More Jewelry?

Jewelry comes in all shapes and sizes. We’ve seen wild trends and trends that only last for a moment; designers held up as the next big thing and celebrities touting over-sized pieces on the red carpet. As consumers, we are inundated with fashion ideas from every which way we turn, but only two things really pique our attention and keep our loyalty: customer service and a comfortable retail experience.

I was always amazed when I went out to dinner that the food, for the most part, was usually all the same. What made the dinner memorable and what made me want to come back was how I was treated and what ‘vibe’ I got from the room. If I felt comfortable and had a good time, I would always remember that for next time. Jewelry stores are a lot like that too. I think we forget that after we’ve been in the business too long and end up focusing on the next big thing or the bottom line.

2013 will not be a very forgiving year for the lazy retailer. Coming out of the recession, consumers have tightened up their pocketbooks and will demand a more personal and unique experience. Not so much with jewelry designs, but the ease of shopping, attentive service, quality assurances, interesting display ideas, an online presence, a wide variety of color choices and a custom just-for-me style delivery. Whether you are just an artist or have a nice store, spend some time looking at your peers: how are they doing things? Then do something different.

Any kind of lighting and display ideas that stand out from your competition in the eyes of your customer. Greeting visitors to your store and finding out as much about them before they start browsing is key to a personal experience. Having the ability to put together pieces that are selected custom by your customer will always be a crowd pleaser. This means a variety of metals married with generous gemstone choices. Spend some time on your website. Most are in need of serious repair and updating. Consumers are spending more online than ever before and they often look there first even if the plan on visiting a local store. Education is also key to help customers make the right choices. There will be less product returns and more return visits if they make the wisest choice in the first place.

5 Inexpensive Ways to Manage Your Meetings

With the beginning of 2013 and the corporate enterprises already planning for their annual meetings, this would be the right time to share with you the 5 most inexpensive ways to manage corporate meetings.

Online Event Registration

Moving your meeting registration process online will help you save significant expenditures. For example, you will not need funds to hire a venue or even set up a booth to open up registrations to interested attendees. Online creation and publication of forms require no paper usage and you get instant access to soft-copy forms that can be made ready for public access almost immediately. Online event registration actually increases the chances of getting higher attendance in any event. It is because of the universal accessibility of online registration forms from any place that makes this mode a popular one amongst the modern youth today.

Online Acceptance of Tickets Price/Registration Fees

While managing the registration fees or tickets sales can be a daunting task for most event managers, using an online payment or ticketing platform seems to be a viable alternative. The software helps you accept funds from prospective attendees located in different cities and towns. You can ask them to pay you via using credit cards, through wire transferring service or through a payment gateway; PayPal being the most common and widely used option.

Communicating Online

Start chatting and sending out emails online. Create an online forum or message board where you can post news and updates covering your year-long meetings and such similar corporate events. Use an emailing application to send out multiple invitations, reminders or RSVPs to acquaintances and your target audience. Emailing application that comes embedded with an online event registration software lets you send out thousands of emails in a single day.

Surveying Pre and Post Meeting

If you are one of those who prefer conducting a pre event survey, then it’s a better idea to move your surveying experience online. You will get a number of surveying applications available in the market. However, there really isn’t any need to buy or install one a separate application, as a Cloud-based meeting registration software has an incorporated surveying application built-in; it lets you create survey sheets/forms anytime, 24 hours. You can conduct surveys before, during, and post a meeting. You can customize your survey sheets by adding your company logo and editing sections/fields depending on your business interests.

Generate Multiple Reports Anytime

Reports on sales, attendee check-ins, payments, and more can be generated quite easily using an online reporting platform. You can save on costs including buying piles of paper to create the reports. Multiple reports once produced can be sent to the concerned departments via email and may also be viewed by accessing the reporting dashboard where you can check out various reports within a consistent interface.

Higher Bank Capital Requirements – Less Small Business Lending

New bank regulations designed to strengthen bank capital requirements will be good for the economy in the long run because a strong economy cannot function without a healthy banking system. But as beneficial as this is for the economy in the long run, it is going to place even more pressure on small businesses. The regulations are going to fade in gradually, but knowing that it is coming is almost certain to make some banks start to curtail lending to more risky borrowers, and one of the most risky for banks is small business. So lack of credit (read lack of funding for growth, new hiring, etc.) is going to continue hinder small businesses well into the future.

The new rules mandate that by 2013, a bank’s strongest capital, known as Tier 1 capital, would increase from 4 to 4.5% of assets. Added to this would be an emergency reserve of 2.5%. So by 2013 – three years from now – a lot of smaller banks that may be short of this number now are probably going to be curtailing their lending somewhat as they build up their Tier 1 capital. Plenty of banks, including most of the large ones, meet these requirements already. But more smaller and community banks may not, and this is where the bulk of small business lending comes from.

A second consequence of these new regulations is that they are going to have a negative effect on bank profits, which will then make loans more expensive. Loans are the main income-producing assets for a bank. How much a bank can lend is based on their capital. So for example, if a bank can lend $5 for every $1 of capital, every dollar taken out of the loan pool is $5 that can’t be put out in income (and profit) producing assets. So the options for a bank are to either curtail lending because they don’t have sufficient capital, in which case their profits will suffer, or to charge more for what they can lend to maintain their profits. Either way, it is either going to mean less money available or more expensive money if it is available.

Because of the recession, most of the normal lending dynamics are already working against many small businesses. Sales and profits may have declined, and banks usually will not lend to companies with declining sales and profits. Yet this is becoming more and more the scenario that banks are going to be seeing even if the business owner has done a brilliant job of keeping the business going. So even aside from the new banking regulations, the economy has already made it more difficult for small businesses to find financing, and adding this new level of bank regulations will just make it harder

Top 4 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Internet Business Today!

Believe me, I understand your fears…

With all the current talk of failing banks, collapsing real estate markets, and imploding stocks, I wouldn’t blame you if, right about now, you feel like taking every spare penny you have, stuffing it in your mattress, and waiting for this entire mess to blow over!

But the truth is, starting an Internet business is something you should consider, no matter WHAT the economy looks like.

Here’s why…

First, online sales have never been STRONGER!

In fact, a recent report published by Forrester Research indicates that, despite the ailing economy, online retail sales are expected to INCREASE by 10% in 2009 To 2013, bringing the annual amount spent online to $229 BILLION in 2013.

Second, remember that, unlike local brick-and-mortar businesses, which are typically at the mercy of the local economy, you have access to an entire GLOBAL market. So even if U.S. shoppers are feeling pinched, you’ll still have plenty of other customers to turn to.

Next, consider the start-up costs of an Internet business. Unlike traditional businesses, you can get your website running for less than the cost of a couple of nights out on the town, so you don’t need to tie up your “emergency” cash — or go into debt — to get started.

And speaking of debt, with such low initial cost, you’ll have no concerns about trying to qualify for a start-up loan, something that’s likely going to get much tougher during the current credit crunch.

And finally, remember that you can start your business even while you’re working your “day” job, so you can continue to enjoy a regular source of income while you work to make your site successful. Try that with a regular brick-and-mortar business.

At the end of the day, starting your own Internet business during a recession — or whatever they’re calling the current economic situation — is an excellent form of job security!

Challenges Ahead For Small Business Starts With Buying Equipment

It is becoming readily apparent to me that this current administration just doesn’t understand what drives jobs in our economy. Hint: it isn’t government, it is small business. You see, if the Obama Administration, or even the US Congress for that matter understood this, and also cared, then they’d not be so hasty in adding new regulations, and removing the tax credits and deductions which have actually helped from the government side of things. Okay so let’s talk shall we?

There was a rather troubling article in the LA Times recently on December 27, 2011 titled; “New year will bring new laws and regulations for small business,” By Cyndia Zwahlen, which stated in the headline; “Nationwide, tax deductions for equipment purchases will be sharply reduced.” The article went on to advise the readers that;

“As of January, there will be a major decrease in how much of the total cost of new equipment – including items such as computers, machinery and vehicles – a business can deduct upfront on its tax return. That deduction, which had been boosted by federal stimulus bills, will drop to $125,000 from $500,000. And unless there is a change in the law, the deduction will drop further to $25,000 in 2013.”

Now then, taking away incentives to get businesses to expand their operations surely will not cause small businesses to grow and hire any more folks. It also means that new equipment will not be bought, therefore not be sold, made, and the company that makes it, well, they won’t be hiring anyone either now will they? Hint: Answer is NO.

Okay so, maybe you see the problem here, and it’s not my sole intention to bash the Obama Administration, as much as I truly believe they deserve it at this point for the mismanagement of our economy – but why they are shooting themselves in the foot in an election year is beyond me. Even if maybe that’s a good thing judging by their previous performance.

As a former franchisor, I can tell you that those sorts of deductions and tax credits greatly helped our new franchisees, just as they have always helped business start-ups and expanding businesses. Next, I’d say that the “occupy protests” are far too quick to throw anyone who has become wealthy in business under the bus, as the evil 1%. In doing so, it shows greed of the “occupy the parks” crowd in their demand for re-distribution, and a complete misunderstanding of where the majority of the jobs come from in this great nation; and yes it is a great nation.