Before the Business Plan

Written by Ellen Zucker

Purveyors of conventional wisdom would have you believe thatrepparttar very first thing you ought to do when setting up a new business is to create a business plan.

It doesn't matter whether you are selling odds and ends on eBay from your living room or something larger and more complex,

Business plans are excellent and necessary. Far too few of us self-employed and freelance people use them.

They force us to spell out our objectives. We have to assign numbers to our expectations and assign a time-line to our goals. They become our roadmap keeping us on track.

But I suggest that you can't make a business plan that is worth anything until you've done your homework.

And that means knowing what you want to do and how you want to do it. And determining that there is sufficient demand for your product to generate enough income to cover your costs and allow a profit.

In other words, beforerepparttar 142508 business plan comes research.

If a body of knowledge already exists, it makes sense to tap into it and save yourself some work. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics and other such sources, for example, publish a great deal of demographic information. Some of it is very useful.

But it is also likely that as a creative sole-proprietor, meaningful statistics don't exist about your specialty.

Many micro-businesses target a very specialized niche. And many owned by creative types exist to sell a product or service that don't follow well-worn prototypes.

It is particularly difficult for such people to find meaningful published data.

If you fall into these categories, you'll have to generate your own information.

There is more to your research than justrepparttar 142509 purely business information. You are building a life as well as a business.

Arerepparttar 142510 demands and conditions of your proposed business compatible withrepparttar 142511 life you want to create?

For example, illustrators often work on short deadlines - meaning that sometimes they have to work far intorepparttar 142512 night to complete a project on deadline. Plus, some clients are demanding and not all pay on a timely basis. After all of that, can you still “love it” enough?


Written by Joseph Then

Mystery shopping and its importance for stores

Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping, isrepparttar method by which a store or a company evaluates its employees' performance. In this a person in disguise pretends to be a shopper, visitsrepparttar 142470 store, interacts withrepparttar 142471 employees and assesses their ability to build a rapport withrepparttar 142472 customer in order to sell their products. That person is actually hired byrepparttar 142473 store owner orrepparttar 142474 company proprietor to, assessrepparttar 142475 performance of employees and inrepparttar 142476 end submitrepparttar 142477 report torepparttar 142478 proprietor. The person hired is called mystery shopper.

Apart from evaluation of performances, mystery shoppers analyze other commercial aspects of retail stores. These aspects could be price, availability, and quality ofrepparttar 142479 product; customer service via websites, telephones and in person; and house keeping. The freelance professionals called secret shoppers then hand over their assessment torepparttar 142480 company head who actually hired them.

There are no essential requirements to be a secret shopper, as shoppers don't have specific appearance or qualification. Those who have a flair and passion to enhancerepparttar 142481 customer service andrepparttar 142482 quality ofrepparttar 142483 product can plunge into secret shopping. It would be interesting to learn thatrepparttar 142484 secret shoppers are paid for their job. It is a profession just like any other profession.

Althoughrepparttar 142485 job entails shopping which is fun, mystery shopping is a serious business and should be carefully dealt with. There must be certain innate traits within a person that would be helpful in being a secret shopper. These traits arerepparttar 142486 ability to act or pretend, being trustworthy, reliable and professional. Apart from all these, secret shoppers should have a better mode of transportation, good writing skills and a clear perspective of actual reporting and their personal opinion so thatrepparttar 142487 truth is not tampered.

The stores make use of mystery shopping to uplift their sales by improving customer satisfaction. Secret shoppers are hired wholely and solely to increase sales by improvingrepparttar 142488 performance ofrepparttar 142489 employees. Mystery shopping is useful not just for evaluatingrepparttar 142490 staff's performance but also for checkingrepparttar 142491 customer service offered byrepparttar 142492 rival business. It can be compared with one's own customer service to findrepparttar 142493 problem areas. The problems can then be rectified to increaserepparttar 142494 number of customers and hencerepparttar 142495 sales.

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