The History of Business Communication

The history of business communication is, of course, closely linked with the histories of communication itself and that of business operations. When the two merge, they become a vital part of successful commerce.

Communication is the process where a concept is shared between two living things. It can occur as a gesture, sound or visually in the form of pictures or print. Some of the first forms of visual communication came in the form of pictographs. People conveyed stories, histories or instructions through a series of illustrations usually drawn on the walls of caves. The second stage of written communication appeared as crude alphabets used to create a written language. Mobility of communication also occurred at this time, with the writing being found on clay, wax and tree bark. The next leap was that of the printing press during the 15th century. Next came the tremendous technological advancement using air waves and electronic signals: radio and telephone.

At every stage of communication development, so did business practices. The advent of common alphabets and a written language meant that craftsmen could order raw materials from previously unattainable sources. Consumers living outside of town could order products from tradespeople in town without having to make the trip. Invoices could be written and paid, and purchase orders sent. One could even surmise that international business practices began around this time. Since exploration was taking place, and wonderful new things like spices and fabrics were being brought back home, perhaps now written business communication made it possible for vendors to offer their high-end customers the latest discoveries.

The printing press brought with it books, newspapers and catalogs bearing advertisements for local businesses. Businesses now had an entirely new way to draw in potential new customers. The latest advancements in products could be advertised, as well as sales and new services offered. Catalogs were generally only printed by companies who could afford such a large expense, but for many families who lived in rural areas it was their only means of shopping.

Printed communication served both consumers and business owners well, but when the radio came into use at the end of the 19th century it revolutionized business communication once again. Now the products and services of every business could be marketed on the basis of mass communication. Once a household had a radio, broadcasts could reach far further than any newspaper or catalog. And it was instant. As soon as the message was spoken on the air, the word was out. When print ads were published it could sometimes take weeks or months for a response. Many entrepreneurs who saw the potential in radio became hugely successful. Their market share grew, and with it their profits.

Once radio took off, the telephone and television were not far behind. Of course, at first the telephone was not used for advertising in business, but more of a practical tool. Manufacturers could communicate with raw materials representatives, business owners could communicate with consumers and investors could communicate with their beneficiaries. It was not until the latter part of the 20th century that the telephone was used to advertise for a business, through telemarketing and the facsimile. From its onset, the television was used for marketing purposes. Media broadcasters would recruit local business owners to sponsor their show, in exchange for a few minutes of airtime to advertise their products. The exchange worked well.

When technology brought forth the computer and the internet, business communication radically changed once again. In fact the change was probably as important as when the printing press was invented. Not only could marketing spread further than ever before, but the speed in which it could occur was revolutionary. Business operations could now become much more efficient, further increasing profits. Consumers had more of a say in what they wanted and how they wanted to receive it. In many ways, the middleman was taken out of the equation. There was no longer the need for traveling salespeople. Customers could be reached in a much more cost effective manner through the use of computers and the internet.

Our business practices have become so reliant on these forms of media that it is hard to imagine life with out them. But now that technology has evolved so far, customers are looking for businesses that strive to communicate with their clients in more personal ways. Consumers want personal service in a convenient way, so now business communication must evolve once again.

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Types of Business Signs

These signs are ones that identify and/or advertise a business venture along with the name of the business, location, hours of operation, and more. It can also be one that is located inside the business listing the customer policies, a menu, prices of products, etc. There are many different kinds of business signs such as the monument, channel letters, the pylon, the billboard, and the Electronic Message Center (EMC).

Channel letters

These are consider business signs but each letter on the sign is separated, lighted, and three dimensional in shape. One common form of this type of business signs are the letters that you see on the top of the outside wall of a hotel spelling out their name. Usually as part of this business sign there will be a logo symbol that is separate. You may also see this type of sign over a business doorway like a club or restaurant. It can also be hanging down the side of the business building.

Pylon

These signs are generally tall and can be seen from the road so they are visible to drivers. It can have the name of just one business or list many businesses. One example of a multi-listing pylon business sign would be one that list businesses found in the same shopping center. There are some of these business signs that have a board where the owner can put letters advertising sales announcements or restaurants advertising specials.

Monument

These are signs that are low and near the ground. It is usually placed at the entrance of a company, business, or factory, or in the parking lot. The base of these signs can vary from synthetic materials, to stone, to concrete. You may even see lettering that has been placed straight on a big stone to create unique monument business signs. Around the stone sign you may see a landscape design of plants and flowers.

Billboards

These signs are very big and often have graphics that are eye-catching. Many areas now have requirements, including height requirements, for billboards on major interstates because of their potential to cause a distraction from drivers trying to read them. One requirement in addition to how high they can be is how far they have to be from the highway or road.

Electron Message Center

These business signs are a new technology that offers businesses the capacity to change messages easily and a wide range of colors. Some of these signs may just display the time and temperature or it could have a moving scroll of messages such as things on sale at the business, along with colorful images.

These are just some of the many types of business signs that can be used to promote their business.

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A New Business Guide to Going Green

Many businesses just getting started are finding that the competition for attention on the web is fierce. And these businesses are finding that by going green, they are displaying their corporate responsibility, but they are also finding that there are financial benefits to going green. So how does a new business go green in a responsible way? Start by doing some research on the web and list the ways of which a company can go green. If a company is going to claim to be green, then it must have the consistency in every aspect of the business model. If your business is going to claim to be green, then you must practice what you preach.

Top Ten Ways a New Business Can Go Green:

  1. Comply with all environmental regulations that are relevant to your industry. Compliance not only reduces your company’s environmental footprint, but it also protects the business from any legal actions or fines from the government.
  2. Develop a company-wide environmental plan. Developing a strong environmental plan will help define the corporate culture and boost the energy efficiency of your company to minimize its footprint. The plan should clearly detail the company’s green strategy and encourage divisions throughout the company to follow more green business practices that help to shape the company’s overall environmentally-friendly objectives.
  3. Build green. If your company is opening a new office or expanding locations, now is a good time to include as many energy-efficient features as possible. You can look to install energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems, as well as appliances, equipment and lighting.
  4. Buy green products and services. When buying necessary supplies or producing service providers for the company, it is important to think green. Businesses owners should consider filling the supply closets with products that are made from recycled materials or can be recycled, bio-based and non-toxic. Look for office equipment that has an energy-efficient rating, such as Energy Star.
  5. Choose green web hosting. Many business owners have decided to go green with their web site in order be more consistent with their green plan-of-action. Choose a web host that is carbon neutral and offers environmentally friendly wind-powered or solar-powered web hosting. Moving a web site to another web hosting provider is not a difficult task, and many web hosts even offer a free site migration service.
  6. Adopt energy efficient practices. Using more energy-efficient office equipment and implementing energy-reducing practices in the office will help save the environment and your bottom line. Employers should stress to employees that they be prudent and conservative with their energy use and provide energy-saving tips.
  7. Reduce, reuse, recycle waste generated. Streamlining the company’s operations can reduce waste and lead to substantial savings and increased productivity. To save money and reduce waste, small businesses should use post-consumer recycled products and cut back on excessive packaging of products.
  8. Conserve water. A water-efficiency program not only reduces your company’s strain on our nation’s water supply, but it also reduces your company’s costs from buying, heating, treating and disposing of water. Small businesses can reduce water waste by implementing water-saving equipment utilities and should always try to minimize discharges to sewers.
  9. Adopt a company-wide pollution reduction plan. Every business creates waste, but it’s how you deal with it that separates you from the herd. Take steps to minimize waste, whether paper, dirty water or hazardous or toxic waste that requires special handling or disposal.
  10. Create a green marketing strategy. Spread the word about your environmentally-friendly business by incorporating “green” claims in your marketing strategy to boost your brand image. Refer back to tip #5. Many green web hosts offer an emblem or a certification program for webmasters who want to use their web site to display the company’s “green” environmentally friendly status.

One final tip. Join industry partnership and stewardship programs to help you keep abreast of the latest developments in green processes and equipment, but it also helps build relationships with other green business owners in the industry.

As demonstrated, there are numerous shades of green, so going green can equal many different things. If choosing a company-wide green plan is important to you or your organization, then take a closer look at your business plan to find out what green practices are in place in the plan and what changes need to be made. Take into consideration, for example, the everyday practices you plan on implementing and the company’s policy on green practices such as “reduce, reuse and recycle”.

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New Small Business Loans Starter Guide: What Are Your Options for Financing As a New Business Owner?

It’s not easy at all for new businesses to get all of the funding they need. Even if you have excellent personal credit, you still might have trouble obtaining all of the business money you need. The good news is that there are a variety of options available these days, including online banks and crowdfunding. Just take the time to research all of the new small business loans and determine which ones you should try going for.

Microloans might be worth looking into as well. There are SBA microloans, which are typically available up to $50,000, as well as non-profit organizations that offer micro-lending options for up to $35,000.

Before applying to any kind of loan, there are a few factors you must consider about your own finances. In addition to your own credit report, you need proof that you will be able to repay the loan. Make sure you communicate any experience and expertise you have that will be directly applied to the business you are trying to establish.

You’ve probably come to the realization that new small business loans don’t come with the lowest interest rates. If you’ve been in business for less than two years, you will have a more difficult time qualifying for a big loan with a low interest rate. If your credit isn’t the best, you might have to put up some collateral and get a secured loan.

New Small Business Loans for Equipment

If it’s primarily equipment you need, then go for an equipment financial loan. This type of loan is specifically designed to help organizations pay for the equipment and machinery they need for getting started. They are similar in structure to a traditional loan, although the repayment terms can be for a longer period of time. Keep in mind that the proceeds can ONLY be used to purchase the machinery / equipment you need. The downside to an equipment loan, obviously, is that if you default, the lender has the right seize that equipment.

While some entrepreneurs actually take out a personal loan to fund their startup, this might not be the best idea considering that if the business should fail, you and you alone will be responsible for it. Not only will the business fail, but your own personal credit will be destroyed.

Your best bet is to look for new small business loans with online lenders, such as US Business Funding. There are many options available, such as vendor programs, equipment leasing and financing, working capital, and so forth. The approval rate is very high, and you can get started right away.

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When Business Reciprocity Is Appropriate and When It Isn’t

Certain types of reciprocity are appropriate; others aren’t in business dealings. This article discusses three types of reciprocity -gifts, bribes, or kickbacks – and how to distinguish between them.

One type of business reciprocity that would be ethical and appropriate would be a gift, which is something that is given without someone expecting that you or the company will do something for that person in return. Such a gift would generally be something of small value, designed to create warm, positive feelings and show one’s appreciation, or it might be given in a spirit of friendship and continuing to have a good relationship. For instance, some common gifts that would be ethical and appropriate are giving a bottle of wine, flowers, framed photo, small memento of some activity, calendar, poster, or any number of small embossed gifts available through advertising specialty houses that can personalize the gift with the recipient’s name. As an example of this general acceptance of such small gifts, a number of these premium services are accepted in the business community. Some owners are even on the board of the local Chamber of Commerce, showing that there is widespread support for such premium gift giving as an accepted, ethical form of practice. Some members of the Chamber also offer prizes for raffles, which are designed to get recognition for the company, but there are no strings attached for whoever wins the prize. So as a manager of a company, you might ethically offer such a prize.

However, it would not be ethical to offer a bribe or kickback. A bribe is a gift or monetary payment of value to influence someone to do something, while a kickback is a gift or monetary payment of value paid after an exchange. The difference between giving a gift and a bribe is that a bribe is large enough to influence someone to do something or not do something, while a kickback is paid after the fact, whereas there is no such expectation with the gift. For example, a bribe might take the form of an expensive free trip to a travel destination by a hotel or resort in return for promoting the hotel or resort, while a kickback might be providing that free trip after the deal is concluded. Often hotels or resorts offer a free trip to reporters, meeting planners, and travel agents to introduce their hotel or resort, but that is ethical if there is no expectation that the reporters have to write a favorable article, that the meeting planners have to book a meeting there, or that travel agents have to favor their hotel or resort rather than another hotel or resort which would be a better deal. However, it is ethical if the reporters, meeting planners, or travel agents make a voluntary decision after the trip about what they want to do based on what’s best for their readers or clients.

The key difference marking the line between what is ethical and not ethical is the size of the item offered as a gift and the expectation that someone will act in response to having received it or receiving it in the future to benefit the giver of the item in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise act but for getting gift. This influence would be an even greater ethical breach if it leads the recipient to act in a way that is detrimental to others, such as offering an inferior service or a more costly one because of receiving the gift. An even worse breach would be offering a product or service that is harmful, such as sending tourists on a trip by a wholesaler who has inexperienced guides resulting in the death or injury of some participants.

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Is Writing A Business Or A Hobby?

Most writers start young, secretly writing journals or poetry, and reveling in the pure joy of stringing words together. As they age, many of them will shelve their talents to make a living in a less-creative field, the majority will spend a lifetime writing occasionally, just for the joy of it, and a small percentage will come out into the world as professional writers.

So how does a writer know whether they are engaged in a hobby or working as a professional writer? The answer is found within a couple of lines of IRS tax law; it’s not creative writing, but for any writer who hopes to make money with their creative talent it should be required reading.

To the IRS there is only one reason to be in business – profit. If your primary motive is to become a famous writer, to put your words on paper because you need to get them out of your head, or to push a particular viewpoint, you could be a hobby writer. Or, you could be in business… it all depends on you.

Any freelance writer who treats their writing as a business can file their taxes as a business, once they understand what the IRS expects of self-employed writers. And, the benefits are big – a hobby writer must report all writing income but can only take expenses up to the amount of that income. Those in the business of writing are allowed to write off all expenses, even if they exceed the writing income. For part-time writers this can mean big tax refunds from W-2 earnings.

To the IRS, the distinction between hobby income and business income is clear; a business is always profit motivated. And, a business that has profit as its main motive is always looking for ways to increase their income, even if they are engaged in a part-time activity.

Even though the freelance writer may need a paycheck today, in order to be successful in the business of writing a writer needs a long-term business plan. Spending money on advertising, promotion, business classes, networking expenses, and the equipment necessary to do your job are all part of growing a business. Trip expenses that outweigh any potential for profit, the lack of record keeping on article submissions, running your writing finances out of your personal bank account, and not having a set working schedule are all signs that your goal may not be profit minded.

Being a hobby writer is not a bad thing; you just need to understand the rules about hobby income and expenses, and make sure they are reported in the proper place on your personal tax return.

For the serious freelance writer, because writing is considered to be a hobby by the IRS, the tax return of a professional writer with repeated losses could be pulled for an audit. If that happens, the IRS will ask you to prove that you are operating as a business. For the writer with a written business plan, a dedicated writing schedule, and good financial records, that’s generally an easy audit to win.

So, if you want to be a professional writer, let those creative energies flow when you write, but when it comes to taxes and the bottom line, remember what the IRS says… only those acting in a profit-minded manner get to file their taxes as a business, for everyone else, it’s a hobby.

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The Advantages Of Leasing Programs For Business Equipment Needs

Many businesses find that they need to set aside funds for purchasing equipment as they grow. However, it can be difficult to make such allowances, especially in these economic times. Why put the operating budget in the red by taking on extra financing, when it is much more advantageous to secure one of the many leasing programs offered by equipment brokers to get the equipment you need today?

Financing vs. Leasing

For established businesses, those that have been operating successfully for at least two years, getting financing to make equipment purchases can be a difficult prospect to face. With rising interest rates, banks and loan companies can require additional collateral to be signed over in order to secure the loan, or even enforce such loans on a short-term note that will have to be paid off with fees in less time than the business may be able to afford.

Leasing programs, on the other hand, are much more flexible and can be customized to the business’ exact needs. Not all equipment purchases are meant to be for the long term, and may only be needed for a limited amount of time. Financing through loan agencies under these circumstances would be less than efficient, because once the loan is paid, you are still the owner of the equipment, and reselling it once it is no longer needed will not pay back the initial investment. With equipment leasing, you can easily add in clauses that cover the return of unneeded equipment, sometimes at a financial bonus to your business.

Types of Equipment Leasing Available

For those seeking to only gain the use of needed equipment in the short term, there are two programs that can be used to their advantage. The first, known as an operating lease, allows a business to lease needed equipment for the exact length of time that they need it, at an affordable rate. Once it is no longer needed, it can be easily returned back to the leasing agent for a small fee. The second, known as a master lease, allows the business to try out equipment they were thinking of purchasing for a specified period of time, without any transference of ownership. At the end of the initial lease, they have the option to extend that lease, without having to renegotiate.

For those interested in actually purchasing the equipment but do not want to tie up operating capital in commercial financing, the capital lease is probably the best leasing option available. The equipment is purchased through a leasing agreement with affordable monthly payments and at the end of the agreement, one final payment secures the property and transfers ownership rights. However, for the purposes of taxes, the equipment is considered to have already been purchased during that fiscal year and any tax breaks for making such a purchase can be applied, even though the final payment on the equipment may be a year or more away.

A Lease That Actually Pays You Money

For business owners looking to the future, they may have already earmarked equipment that they would like to sell but cannot do so until operations surrounding them have been concluded. This would normally mean taking out a loan in order to finance the startup of the future operation, including purchasing new equipment. With a sale and lease back type of leasing programs, business owners can sell future unwanted equipment to a broker, for a negotiated full purchase price, and then temporarily lease it back at an affordable rate. This gives them the use of the equipment while they need it, plus the cash flow they need to start the new operation. At the end of the term, the broker takes possession of the sold equipment.

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Best Small Business Insurance Info: How to Find and Choose the Best Insurance Solution for You

Are you a small business owner? No matter what kind of company you run, you’ll need general liability insurance and maybe some additional coverage depending on the industry you’re involved in. How do you know how and where to apply for the best small business insurance policy?

Read reviews on various insurance companies by other businesses in your industry to learn which ones offer quality solutions. Consider whether or not you want an insurance representative or broker to help you find the right coverages. If you decide to work with a specialist, ask what kind of information he or she will need in order to determine your specific needs. Have all of the documents and information prepared. Small business owners typically need to provide details such as physical location, number of employees (if any), total payroll size, business assets, gross annual sales (if there are any to report), and so forth.

Even if you decide to apply for insurance on your own without the help of a broker, you’ll still need to have this information ready.

Best Small Business Insurance as an Investment

Think of commercial insurance as an investment. It will cost money, but it will protect your business from unexpected expenses such as lawsuits and worker’s compensation. The best small business insurance will also protect you from industry-specific problems. For instance, if you are involved in web design, you don’t want to risk financial losses associated with technological glitches, miscommunication, etc. If you are a small beauty salon owner or barber, you don’t want to risk equipment malfunctioning, allergic reactions to certain chemicals, or someone tripping and falling on your property.

No business, no matter how small, is 100% immune to possible lawsuits. People will sue over literally everything these days, and only the best small business insurance will protect your assets. If you want to stay in business for a long time, and hope for the ability to expand it someday, then you should be prepared to handle any kind of accident. It will be very difficult to survive if you suddenly owe a lot of money in compensation, or find yourself dealing with damage caused to your place of business due to extreme weather. The only real solution is to have good insurance from a reliable company that has a lot of positive reviews.

So, where can you get the best small business insurance online? Check with Hiscox Inc. to see what they have to offer for business owners in your industry. You can either get a quote through the website or call and speak to a licensed agent.

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Starting an Aircraft Washing Business

So you love airplanes and you want to start an aircraft washing service? I cannot blame you, as I did the same thing. After cleaning Thousands of aircraft over the years, I have paid for my flight school, first aircraft and then started an aircraft washing franchise as a module of another franchising company I had founded. Named the Aircraft Wash Guys we learned early on what it takes to satisfy aircraft owners, FBOs Fixed Based Operators and Chief Pilots. We always specialized in washing and polishing aircraft. We’ve cleaned thousands of private planes, corporate jets, flying clubs, flight schools and helicopters. My Car Wash Guys company was originally founded over twenty years ago and started as an aircraft washing service.

As you know, aviation people are serious about flying and a clean plane makes flying more fun and enjoyable. Corporate Aviators need you to maintain their positive image. When in the aircraft washing business you will not only wash exteriors of planes, you must also have carpet-cleaning capabilities. Many of our crewmembers are also private pilots and it pays to have pilots as part of your employee team. To learn more about aircraft washing, I have put some additional ideas online to assist you.

http://www.Aircraftwashguys.com/aircraftbbs

We have always kept our prices low and gone for volume, you may wish to do this or charge the going rate. Our rates are at the lower end of the spectrum and this will give you a good starting point on pricing.

Single Engines $20.00-45.00 wash, waxing $60.00-140.00, weekly wash $20.00;

Twin Engines $45.00-90.00 wash, waxing $90.00-240.00, weekly wash $40.00; Corporate Jets $90.00-140.00 wash, waxing $180.00-400.00, weekly wash $80.00;

Helicopters $30.00-100.00 wash, waxing $45.00-180.00, weekly wash $30.00. Carpet Shampooing, Bright Work and Aluminum Polishing, etc. generally we will give the customers free estimates.

You will need to perform these services the customer’s schedule and usually accommodate, immediate services, day or night, evenings and weekends. Customizing your services with the customer’s requirements must become your specialty. You will also need the following things:

Two Million in Liability Insurance

Quiet Machines and Professional Crews in Uniform

Monthly Invoice by “N”-Number

Water Reclamation Device Onboard, EPA Compliant

Truck or Trailer Mounted Unit, Fully Self Contained, Painted Safety Yellow

Owning an Aircraft Washing Service small business can be quite rewarding and although hard work, it can be an extension of your flying hobby. Just think getting paid to wash some of the latest and greatest aircraft and hanging out at the airport all day? And yes, they will even pay you very well for doing just that. Think on this.

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How Divorce Will Have an Impact on Your Business

When you decide to divorce your partner, you not only divide yourself emotionally, but you also divide financially. Financial separation can mean dividing all your assets or by paying money as a settlement. The biggest impact that a divorce has is on the business of a person, because if the divorce is not mutual, you might mess up the business due to your emotional troubles and even if it is mutual, the business might be divided as alimony.

Going through the divorce and the separation is tedious enough, but for business owners it gets worse as they need to protect their business and the assets attached to the business. Unless a divorce is filed, your business is safe and is considered as a job, but once a divorce is filed, it becomes an asset, an asset that is looked upon for division among the two. People start questioning about it more than normal, they start finding out to see if there are any hidden income, they start turning rocks to see and hidden facts about the business.

Points kept in mind

There are various facts that are considered about your business when taking a divorce. Your business will be divided amongst your life partner and you only if your wife had played any role is setting up or developing of your business. Besides helping in developing your business, if your business has your life partner’s name as a business partner even though they haven’t done anything for it, the business will be divided.

Supposedly there is a co owner who is nowhere related to your divorce who is a business partner, things get complicated as he/she would not want to be on a loss because of misunderstanding between you and your life partner. Another point that is considered is if your will includes any mention of your business, this means if you are planning to pass on the business to your children after your death, then the court might consider this business as a partial asset and not as a whole.

When making a financial record of your business, you should ensure that you’re not showing any private expenses in the records as it might be used against you to prove that you mix your professional and personal life. Suppose the business was set up before your marriage, it will be considered as a non matrimonial asset unless and until your spouse has contributed to it, in such a case you should clearly have a record of their contribution so as to prove that their demands are not over exaggerated. Supposedly, if your husband/wife has contributed in your business, then the assets of the business will be divided in a ratio which will be proportionate to the contribution towards the business.

Emotional impact

If the divorce is happening mutually then both the parties will be fine with it, but if you are not willing for the divorce, but are still being made to go through it, it will have a toll on your mind and your feelings. This messed up state of mind might also result in losing your focus towards your business making your profits vanish away soon and incurring losses. The frustration of the divorce might lead to emotional outbursts in the business, making your staff uncomfortable working.

Social impact

A divorce is not something to be discussed socially, but people do get to know about it and even they do some of them don’t leave a chance to bury your reputation. A divorce might bring down the well established business you have in the market by defaming it.

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