Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Minimum Wage Increase Doesn't Help Minimum Wage Workers

Raising minimum wage to $15 an hour is bad for the economy,  business AND minimum wage workers. 

Most employers pay what they can afford while they struggle to keep the lights on. The higher minimum will require either schedule cutbacks, layoffs or higher prices IF the business doesn't close.  This will have the $15 an hour worker NOT making ends meet at a higher salary...AND...they and their employer WILL be paying additional income and assorted payroll taxes on the higher wage.
Also, the reduced staff will reduce customer service while increasing the burden for the remaining workers. 
The business owner will also lose good workers who were already paid $15 an hour because they will want the same un-affordable % increase.
The simple answer is that NJ should LOWER TAXES & TRAIN lower wage workers to earn more because they will then be worth more.  This helps with a 'hand up' to all New Jersey residents not a 'hand out' that won't help.
So, we've created a petition to tell Governor Murphy to get it right for NJ workers: Sign this petition if you agree that to earn more,  an employee needs to be worth more. Tell NJ to lower property, sales, gas & income taxes AND provide training grants that require minimum wage workers improve their skills before they earn a raise to $15 per hour. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Don't Blame The Internet

At a local shop, I asked for a price of an item. There were two on the shelf with no price.
FOUR sales personnel were chatting with each other at the desk. They looked at each other and finally decided the item should go into storage because they had no price, no one to ask, no customerservice system.
I left the store and found the item in 20 seconds online.
Do not blame the internet for the empty stores you see in your neighborhood.
TRAIN YOUR STAFF!  ....and why did this store need more staff then registers or customers anyway?
SECRET SHOP YOUR STORE: If you can't afford a service, ask a friend.
Give a friend a gift from your store or a local restaurant and ask them to check a list of what's important. Here's a list to get you started:
1. Was the sales area neat?
2. What were the staff doing?
3. Did anyone greet you?
4. Did anyone offer to help you?
5. Did you feel welcome?
6. Did the staff talk to you during your visit?
7. Did anyone make suggestions during your visit?
Use the results to train your staff and reward them for increased sales that result from their efforts.
The fact that someone enters your store is huge! Your staff needs to understand that it is a privilege to serve your customers. 
They need to be reminded, often, how return customers make a difference to the success of the store and their job.
If someone shops local,  they enjoy building a relationship with you and like to know they matter. Make them feel that way and you won't need to fear the internet.
Need customer service training in Northern NJ? We'll shop your store and tailor a class just for you. CALL-ISG www.callisg.com

Thursday, May 24, 2018

20 Point Annual Business Review - take a few minutes to keep your business on track

20 Point Annual Business, Bookkeeping, Marketing, Event Planning Review

Here are some items to consider each year.  This doesn’t replace advice from your attorney / tax preparer.
__1. Are there any business deposits that are NOT income? ______________________________
__2. Are there any expenses that should be booked as personal? __________________________
__3. Do you owe any estimated taxes we should remind you of during the year? _____________
__4. Are there any additional accounts, credit cards, savings, check books, etc. that we should include? ____________________________________________________________________
__5. Are there any leases, payment plans, loans we should be tracking?  Did you purchase or sell any large equipment this year This doesn’t replace advice from your attorney / tax preparer for bookkeeping guidelines.
__6. Did you file your NJ Annual Report? _________
__7. Do you have an Alternate/DBA that needs to be renewed? ________
__8. Do you have any business licenses that need to be renewed?____________
__9. Have you added any products / services that are taxable? If you’re not sure-we can check.
__10. Do you have any plans to sell or dissolve your business in the next 2 years?  Are you prepared for the related taxes, fees?  If so, let’s set up a meeting with your attorney/tax preparer.
__11. Do you have any insurance or pension plans to monitor? Let’s set an appointment with your representative.
__12. Have you reviewed/updated your company manual? What’s new in your industry?
__13. Have you had the chance to review your vendor costs, banking and credit card providers?
__14. Customer satisfaction: Have you surveyed your clients for an idea of what products/services are most popular, need revising or replacement?
__15. What are your plans for team training this year? We can help with Customer Service and Software Training or help bring in presenters from industry vendors.
__16. Is your website up to date (SEO, SEM, products/services/blog, mobile ready)?
__17. What marketing did you do last year? Expect to repeat this year?  What worked/what didn't? It’s important to set a budget for marketing/advertising that reflects a portion of sales or a set amount based on anticipated sales.  We can help get you to the right plan and budget.
__18. Are you planning any direct mail or event marketing? We can help with preparation and followup.
__19. Have you considered a 'customer appreciation' day/event/mailer/gift/handout? No budget? We can help you get creative!
__20. Are you making the most of your local Chamber of Commerce and trade/networking organizations? These are a great place to pick up new ideas, connect with business owners, find new vendors and promote your products and services.

Need help with this list? CALL-ISG! 973-334-3110 www.callisg.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

7 reasons postcards are a great tool.

Direct mail continues to be a great marketing tool. Here are 7 reasons we like to keep post cards in your toolbox:

Post Cards Are:

1. Cost effective
Cheaper than a letter to print and mail.

2. Easy to measure success
Add a coupon or bounce back message and collect the responses.  Better yet,  return it to your customer to reuse next time!

3. Creative top of mind
Statistics show that many clients return to a business after receiving a reminder.

4. Easy call to action
It's a quick easy way to see your message.

5. Readership extends beyond the recipient.
Nothing to open.  Everyone it passes get to see the message.

6. Compact reminder
Whether it contains a coupon or appointment reminder,  it fits anywhere from purse to pocket or bulletin board.

7. Post cards don't land in spam!
Humans still filter their mail personally.  Your message has a 90% chance of being read. Add attractive color and text to catch the viewer's eye and your message is sure to stay on top of the pile!

Need help making post cards a part of your marketing mix? Call ISG today: 973-334-3110 www.callisg.com.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Your Email Address Tells a Story

Do you email any of the companies you do business with such as your utility company, phone company, your favorite snack manufacturer?

Do any of them have an email that ends in yahoo.com, gmail.com, hotmail.com, etc?

Of course not! Those are personal email carriers and very useful to keep your personal email separate from work.

You can even forward your business mail to your personal.

But if you expect to be treated professionally or taken seriously in your business....Get a domain email!

Some small biz owners make the investment in a great domain name for their website and then email me from their 'companyname@gmail.com'

What?! What would you think if you  received an email from pseg@aol.com?
You better delete it. It surely is NOT a business email.

A simple task of creating a business email will immediately upgrade how your prospects view your business BEFORE they meet you and as your relationship with them develops.

Don't we small business owners need all the help we can get? Small changes can make a big difference.

Need help creating a business email or forwarding to simplify? Call-ISG. Or better yet email us at: office@ callisg.com.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

When You Measure You Win!

Knowledge is power.  It really is.

  • How many widgets do you need to keep on hand for sale; for use?  Once you measure what you have in inventory vs sales you'll have the basics of what you need to make a profit.
  • Know how many steps it takes to get around your office? Find a way to reduce your steps and you are on your way to being more productive.
  • How many people do you interact with before one person hires you?  If it's 10 or 100; once you measure your introductions vs your new client rate you'll know how many people you need to contact to grow your business.
  • Time for a change?  How will you know unless you can measure how long it takes to complete a project vs what you are paid.  Do you make a fair hourly or annual rate?  Measure and see!
Some creative professionals and business owners have such a passion for their work that they would almost work without pay-except for a little issue called 'cost of living.'

Love your work AND make a living by using your measuring stick.
Today, there are many online tools, apps and software to help you get this right.  If you aren't a techie-pencil and paper will do just fine.

Remember to track 'hidden' time and profit thieves.  Add up EVERY expense that you incur when performing your service or producing your product.  That means-extra consultation time, extra trips to the post office and even any added materials that you might be able to split among other products/services--but--they must be included to truly determine if your passion is producing a living.

Need help tracking expenses in New Jersey? Call ISG! 973-334-3110 OR www.callisg.com
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Friday, August 18, 2017

Ask More, Earn More

Small business owners have big challenges when it comes to landing a new client.
When asked to provide a proposal for a project don't stop at answering the questions asked. 
Take a little time,  reflect on the project and consider what else you need to know. 
Ask more questions to find out where the niche might be for your business to stand out among your competitor's proposals.
Need help connecting with contacts?
Call ISG! 973-334-3110 OR www.callisg.com For more Small Business Quick Tips be sure to Subscribe.