I have been proudly nominated again for this award and want to make sure that other successful women, entrepreneurs are aware of it as well.
Last Chance to Nominate Outstanding WomenEncouraging and Cultivating Women EntrepreneursRecognizing Canadian women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses and achievements contribute so much to the Canadian and global economies as well as to their communities. Nominate an extraordinary woman today!
Do you know a woman...
• with a profitable business?
• who owns or operates a business that positively impacts her community?
• whose business succeeds in challenging markets with innovative ideas?
• whose business leads the way for others to follow?
• whose business generates an uncommon amount of economic growth and social change?
• who deserves to be recognized among the best and brightest?
All of these are outstanding women who should be recognized for their contribution to entrepreneurship. Nominate today!
Awards are presented in
•The Deloitte Start-up Award
•The HKMB Hub Impact Award
•The RBC Momentum Award
•The TPH Sustainability Award
•The Bell Trailblazer Award
•The PROFIT Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship To Nominate
Download a Nomination Form
Call 416-923-1688 or
Toll Free 1-800-354-3303
Deadline for Nominations: June 16, 2011, TODAY!
Article written for www.everythingmom.ca
Everybody has something they are passionate about whether it's collecting vintage wines, hiding at Chapters in the Philippa Gregory section or sewing baby blankets. Sometimes, every so often, that passion starts to become something else. An idea becomes a possibility; the possibility becomes a day dream and slowly, it evolves into that magical statement, "what if?". What if I could turn this hobby of mine into a viable business? What if I could actually earn an income, avoid daycare and NOT return to my day job after mat leave is over? Where do I go next?
Many start-up entrepreneurs are over confident ( I know I was!) and under aware of what is involved. But in all fairness, it is a tough plunge to take! How do you know whether to dive in or not?
- do you eat, sleep and breathe your business concept?
-have you made yourself an expert in your field?
-have you researched all your competitors, to see what they are doing right (and wrong?)
-are you prepared to work harder than you ever have in your entire life?
-do you have the financial backing to take the hit of losing your income for awhile or would that put your family at risk?
-are you passionate, resourceful and energetic?
If you have created a product, service or business that makes your heart race with excitement and you have covered the start-up questions. It's time to take yourself to the next step. Aside from qualifying your idea from friends and family, my advice would be to find a consultant in your field who can cut your learning curve time in half. Putting your business plan together with the aid of somebody who has also ate-slept and absorbed your concept will produce faster results and give you objective clarity. Those fabrics, toys or ideas you had, might have already been tried. Don't reinvent a broken wheel. Ask tons of questions and surround yourself with knowledge and industry expertise.
The growth process takes time. If you can take baby steps into your industry, I highly recommend it. Especially in the recession and the volatile economy we are still experiencing. Nowadays with the internet and online everything, you can run many businesses right from your home office. I know on top of my 5 bo bebe stores, I run an entire, 40 page glossy magazine from my office computer. Heck, I could be living in Tahiti and still be running a Calgary based, printed magazine! Research the tools available for online data storage, web hosting, virtual assistants, research the research tools too! There are literally thousands onf online tools that will help you take your business to the next "virtual level" before plunging into signing a longterm commercial lease etc.. I have at least 30 different informational Google Alerts set up for various topics to automatically feed into my email. This keeps me on top of competitors, recalls, industry releases, trade shows, manufacturing issues, European announcements, new trends and more. All served up to my inbox by 8am, every morning, while I sip my morning coffee in my pyjamas.
If you market yourself creatively, use social media and word-of-mouth, you can test the waters of your field without enormous expense. I am a huge believer in creative and "gorilla marketing". When I was still a home-based business doing home-parties, I would hit the zoo on a sunny day and leave flyers on all the windshields of the cars that had a car seat inside them. Labour and time intensive? Not really; 30 minutes by the river on a warm sunny day wasn't exactly difficult. Guess what? It paid off enormously! Be creative, think outside of the proverbial car seat box and most of all, be different. I am a firm believer in being an original. Learn from what everybody else in your field is doing well, then just do it better!
How many retailers have heard this old stand-by phrase in their stores and on show room floors? How is it that we allow our sales staff to ask such generic questions that will ultimately lead us to this flat, lifeless and profitless response?
5 Worst Openers:
1. May I help you? Can I help you?
2. Are you looking for anything in particular?
3. Do you know we have a sale on right now?
4. Do you have any questions?
5. These just came in, aren't they great?
Why are these lame questions so unproductive? Because they are closed endings, they leave little to no wiggle room to engage the customer in an educational or probing dialogue. Every customer that walks through the door is a potential sale for your business, regardless of how they ended up there. They may be killing time while hubby is next door looking at golf clubs, or ducking in to get out of the rain. Either way, They are in YOUR store. They already have a subconscious desire to own what you are selling!
Where to start?
Brainstorm a list of at least 50 questions and phrases that you can imagine asking or stating to a customer to break the ice. Step out on a limb and have some fun. Make a point of noticing details about your customer. Is she carrying a purse that you sell in your store, or perhaps you have been drooling over at the local Coach store? Comment on it. Are they pushing a stroller you have never seen before? Ask her how she likes it? What's it's best feature?
Think beyond the sale and work on starting small talk. Imagine yourself at a dinner party and you are trying to engage a stranger in conversation; it's no different!
10 Sample Opening Sentences:
1. Those grocery bags look heavy, would you like me to put them behind the counter while you walk our store? (Offer to carry them out to the car afterwards of course)
2. I noticed your toddler has her ears pierced. Where did you have them done? My daughter really wants hers done but we are a little nervous.
3. Did you get a chance to enjoy the long weekend? Did you do anything exciting?
4. Lottery is at $50 million this week, did you buy your ticket? We have a group pool going!
5. Are you shopping for yourself today or for somebody else?
6. You've got your arms full, would you like to use our complimentary stroller while you visit our store?
7. Your son looks like he may need to use our bathroom, can I show you where it is?
8. I see you have a Chapters bag, do they have any good sales on right now?
9. We are doing some instore category changes; can I ask your opinion on what your favorite body wash/baby carrier/toy brand etc.. is? (Only ask for one product reference)
10. We just stocked our kid's play area with new coloring books and crayons; would your kids like to break them in?
These are just some ideas on how to get sales staff to break out of the robot routine of asking the same generic questions. Any top sales person will tell you that they succeed best when they can get a customer engaged and talking, even if at first,it is not even about the products or services you sell!
So now you have broken the ice, now how do you move into the sales portion of your conversation? The first rule is try and develop a person-to-person relationship as opposed to a customer-to-salesperson one. This is done by being genuine in probing the customer to determine their needs and responding accordingly. If they have clarified they are shopping for a budget conscious toaster oven, don't show them your top of the line, most expensive model.
Asking the right questions such as:
By taking the time to pay attention to the details, you can win your customer's confidence and ultimately increase your chances of a win-win situation for both of you. The best suggestion in a sales environment is to spend more time listening and less time talking. When your customer is talking; they are interested in buying.
By Michael Koploy
ERP Analyst, Software Advice
May 24, 2011
What are your options if you're a small retailer looking for affordable POS software?
We often speak to small retailers that don’t have any experience using business software. They’re used to QuickBooks, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Office. That’s it. But many are looking to upgrade their out-of-date cash registers and upgrade to use new retail software applications that include point-of-sale (POS), inventory management, customer management (CRM), accounting, and Internet commerce functionality.
We decided to put together a guide to the best point-of-sale systems for small retailers on a budget—these systems offer advanced functionality and accessible user-interfaces and will only cost retailers $2000 or less for retail software.
Comcash POS - Comcash POS includes POS, inventory management, CRM, and eCommerce functionality. This software can integrate with touchscreen systems, making it a great fit for grocery, convenience, and liquor stores. The software can either be installed on servers in the store or hosted by Comcash and accessed via the Internet. It also integrates with Quickbooks to help retailers as they transition their inventories.
GoldTech Retail Manager - Retail Manager includes POS, inventory management, CRM, merchandise planning, and warehouse management functionality. Retailers can input their inventory by size and color using the SKU-database, making it a great choice for apparel retailers. The system can be installed on-premise or accessed via the Internet, and can be paid for either in installments or up-front.
Microsoft Dynamics RMS - Dynamics RMS from Microsoft includes POS, inventory management, CRM, merchandise planning, and eCommerce functionality. The software can be used by many retailers, including book stores, electronics stores, gun shops, and industrial supply depots. This is a great system for both small and medium-sized retailers because it offers an individual store version and a main office version for larger retailers. The system must be installed on-location.
POS Prophet Systems - POS Prophet Systems includes POS, inventory management, CRM, retail accounting, and eCommerce functionality. Its affordable and works well with small start ups and medium-sized businesses, from a wide variety of specialties such as hardware stores, gift shops, and food service establishments. The system can be integrated with QuickBooks or Peachtree, must be installed on-location on Windows servers and operating systems, and can be paid for either with monthly installments or up-front.
Retail STAR - CAM Commerce’s Retail STAR includes POS, inventory management, CRM. merchandise planning, retail accounting, warehouse management, and eCommerce functionality. Sales and inventory processing is easy to do with the touchscreen and single-key inputs, making it a good choice for pawn shops, furniture stores, and auto parts dealers. CAM Commerce offers data conversion and business consulting, as well as up-front pricing and subscription program options. The system must be installed on-site using Windows servers and operating systems.
For more information on these five retail software applications, check out Software Advice’s guide: Point of Sale (POS) Systems for Small Business | 5 Affordable Solutions.
Leah Chevallier, serial entrepreneur in the Juvenile Industry sharing insight, success and 18 years of award winning retail experience! Took $2000 Micro-credit loan and turned it into $30 million!