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Business tips and tricks help save precious time and money. Learn about working with Generations X and Y, equipment leasing, women-owned businesses, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), and more!

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Another busy season is in the rearview mirror. All of us made the deadlines, maintained great customer service, and worked until we were totally exhausted. The long hours, the weekends spent at work, and the many last-minute orders helped to ensure the 2015 busy season would be one of the best ever. We were all prepared, our staffs were well trained and at the top of their game, and everyone committed to going the extra mile. So, let’s take a moment and give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done!
I had a weird dream the other night. I was sitting in a courtroom, in the defendant’s chair. The judge walked in and the bailiff said, “All rise,” and then the judge pointed at me and said, “You stand here accused of violent prioritization. How do you plead?”
The level of frustration some business owners feel when trying to raise capital through traditional commercial banking can lead one to wonder if it’s all worth the effort. Unless there is alternate financing available, a businessperson has to reinvent the process and try, try again. In his book When The Bank Says No!, author Lawrence W. Tuller writes, “As you delve into the world of financing, remember the cardinal rule: money is always available if you look in the right places.”
Most any business management book or website will offer the to-do list as one of the necessary tools for good time management. The to-do list is such a vital tool that you can find customized lists for performing necessary tasks as well as apps for keeping up with your list electronically. The to-do list is so important that Google has more than 2 billion listings for the tool.
Have you ever questioned whether symbolic awards such as trophies, plaques, and framed commemoratives must meet the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)? This is a question many suppliers and distributors of symbolic awards are asking these days; for this and many other product categories associated with the CPSIA, there are no clear answers. That being said, understanding the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s interpretation of CPSIA rules can help provide a sound basis for making informed decisions when determining whether CPSIA regulations may or may not apply to a symbolic award based on a given situation.
If you’ve never sold to a team or league, doing so presents some unique challenges that can make you never want to see another team or league. Knowing about them in advance will help mitigate problems. Selling to teams and leagues can result in lower margins and unique headaches, but it can be worth the trouble to grow your business by putting your name in front of many families at a time.
Should awards and personalization retailers enter the stamp market? Certainly, says Mike Fruciano of LaserBits, but an even wiser question is, why not enter the market with so much ready potential? He contends that making and selling stamps is a natural fit for industry retailers, particularly if they have lasers standing idle that could be used to make stamps—and build a new revenue stream and customer base.
According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, in McLean, VA, there are more than 10,000 companies owned by women in the U.S. Fox reports that never before in history have women been so successful in launching and growing their own companies. The Guardian Small Business Research Institute says women-owned businesses employ more than 13 million people and will generate 5 million new jobs by 2018. Together, women-owned businesses are successfully generating trillions of dollars in sales each year.
My basic premise for today is that most managers don’t manage very well—because they manage from the top, rather than the front and the beginning. I think this stems from a commonly-accepted definition of management, which most managers seem to think is about being in charge. Personally, I think management is more about being an enabler than being a boss. It starts with a clear understanding of goals and objectives. And it works best when managers don’t manage people, but instead create teams.
A couple of months ago, the last Blockbuster store in Louisiana closed its doors. The local owner said that over the years his business had gone from lines of customers waiting to rent movies to just a few loyal customers. The store used to be one of the 9,000 Blockbuster stores that employed more than 60,000 people. It used to be a part of a $4.8 billion a year industry. And now, the brick-and-mortar movie rental store has become obsolete.
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