Category Archives: Buying Supplies for Your Small Business

Tips for buying office supplies and other needs for your new small business.

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800 Business Numbers Give Small Business Owners Relief

800 business numbers can help make a small business owner happier and more efficient — find out why.

1438236_63812032800 business numbers, also called toll free numbers, are ideal for busy small business people who work from home or an office. You can get an 800 number (includes 888, 877, and 866 numbers as well) online literally in a matter of minutes. Using 800 business numbers in the course of business is more efficient than passing out your cell phone or landline number for many reasons:

Business Voicemail

With 800 business numbers you can route your customers to a voicemail system that specifically mentions your business name. For instance, instead of a casual “Hey leave a message” you can say “Thank you for calling Smith & Co. We’re available from 9-5pm Monday through Friday” or a similar professional message.

Free for Customers



If you deal with customers who live in other states, having 800 business numbers is a convenience for them. They don’t have to worry about the cost of making a long distance call. The number is also easier for the customer to remember (7 digits instead of 10).

800 Business Numbers Are Surprisingly Inexpensive

If you think having an 800 number is expensive, think again. Some toll free services charge as little as $2 per month ($2 to reserve the number) plus a low per minute charge when someone calls your business. You can create a number for each division of your business if you want and still pay just a couple bucks a month.

Track Who Calls You on Your 800 Business Numbers

Toll-free providers allow you to keep a call log of everyone who calls your 800 business numbers. Just log onto your account management screen and click the call history option. You can use this information to determine how many people are calling you from a specific state or area and make pertinent business decisions. For example, if you placed a radio ad in a small town in Missouri and suddenly you start to get a slew of calls from your 800 business numbers from that specific town’s area code, then you know that ad is working. So you can funnel more money into that market.

Call Blocking

Have you ever had a client or customer who just doesn’t want to leave you alone, even after you’ve ended your relationship with him? What about when you contact another company to inquire about services, decide on another option, but a salesman from that first company decides to call you every week to try to see if you’ve changed your mind. With 800 business numbers you can block all of those annoying types from calling your company.

Just click the calling block feature in your online 800 business number account, type in the person’s phone number, and save it. Everytime they try to call you they’ll hear a busy signal and you’ll hear… nothing. What a relief. This allows you to focus on the important calls-everytime your business line rings you know it is someone you want to hear from.

These are only a few benefits of 800 business numbers for small companies-there are plenty more. It’s a cheap and effective way to route business-related calls to your landline or cell phone.





Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Running a Consignment Business

This is a discussion regarding consignment businesses–types of consignment businesses, advantages, disadvantages, and opportunities.

There is a good chance that you have patronized at least one consignment business in your life. Consignment businesses are stores that sell items that they have not yet paid for. The store owners contract with suppliers (usually small business people in the area) to display products in the store for sale to the public. The supplier is only paid if and when the store sells an item to a customer.

Advantages of a Consignment Arrangement

The advantages of consignment arrangements are mostly one sided in favor of the consignment shop. Consignment businesses can display and sell items without ever having to make an upfront investment related to stock; they only pay rent and overhead. Consignment business owners are basically go-betweens, connecting artists and small manufacturers with the public. The most popular consignment shops you will find usually sell artwork, clothing, and other small trinkets.

The plus for consignment shop suppliers is that they finally have a venue to distribute their products. This is an ideal situation for business people who do not have a storefront, such as a furniture maker who manufactures products from home or an individual looking to unload used items of value.

Challenges and Payment Concerns

The process of setting up a consignment arrangement seems pretty basic, but there are some downsides and challenges. The biggest issue that consignment businesses have to manage is how to pay their suppliers once the products are sold.

The shop and supplier will agree upon a fair split, usually about 60/40 in favor of the supplier/artist. A meticulous consignment shop owner will call a supplier immediately after an item is sold to tell him to come pick up his check. This makes for better accounting and is a common practice for consignment businesses who work with more expensive items, such as artwork.

On the other hand, many consignment shop owners are not as consistent with their bookkeeping and won’t call their suppliers regarding payment. Instead, the supplier will have to call constantly to check on her products. This process can create potential problems for both sides.

For one, there is an increased possibility that there will be discrepancies and disagreements between the shop owner and the supplier as time goes along. Suppliers can become increasingly mistrustful of the shop owner when they go months and even years without receiving proper payment. It is also sometimes difficult to end a consignment arrangement.

For a consignment business, the customers are number one, but the suppliers are a very close second, so the best practice when operating a consignment shop is to maintain very regular communications with suppliers and pay them promptly.

Online Consignment Businesses

With the growth of the wildly popular web auction site Ebay, there has been an explosion in online consignment businesses, sometimes called drop off stores. Many brick and mortar consignment shops are set up with the sole intention of selling the products people bring in on Ebay and other online sites. The overhead costs are minimal and online consignment shop owners can sell the consigned items from the comfort of their home offices.

Are Consignment Businesses Viable?

It seems that nowadays, due to increasing costs across the board, setting up a consignment business is only practical when the sales are being made online. More and more customers are choosing to forgo the physical shopping experience and buy their items online to find the best deals possible. In addition, rents in popular shopping districts are sometimes prohibitive for new business owners.

If you are thinking about starting your own consignment business and want to learn more about the advantages and challenges, the best thing you can do is gather as much information as possible from existing business owners.

Ask your local shop owners about their business model and browse online forums to read what other online and brick and mortar consignment business owners are experiencing. Setting up a consignment shop may seem easy, but just as with any other business idea, you need to be 100% positive that you’re fit for the task.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Aaahh, Post Office Lines

There are so many joys to be experienced while waiting on line at your local post office…

There’s the guy who comes in with a shopping cart full of boxes that he wants to ship one by one (oh, and he’s not quite sure how he wants to ship them yet — media mail, parcel, first class, priority, with or without signature confirmation, who knows for sure?)

Then you have the sweet little old lady who’s counting pennies and nickels to buy Express postage to mail her granddaughter a birthday gift…

And you can’t forget the friendly, cheerful neighborhood clerk who makes it a point to have a conversation about the weather, stories popular in the news and who’s kid is graduating that May. Bless his heart!

Yes, this is a fun time to be had if you don’t have much to do in the middle of your day, but when you’re a small business owner every moment is precious. If you run a business that sends a lot of correspondence via mail or ships products, it’s important that you have the right tools at your disposal — right in your office.

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The USPS allows certain approved vendors to supply business owners with machines and labels to stamp envelopes and packages. The vendor supplies you with a U.S. Postal service approved machine that you use to weigh the mailpiece at your desk and then print the exact postage needed to ship it to your destination.

So instead of waiting on lines at the post office listening to banter and watching the time tick by as your business emails and phone calls go unanswered, you can just drop your stamped mail into the mailbox or hand them off to your mail carrier each day. It’s all ready to go.

Click here to learn more about getting a USPS stamps machine for your small business office.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Office Depot & Staples Locations

OD

Office Depot was created in 1986 as a provider of office supplies for small business owners, students and the general public. It was formed by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, Office Depot, Inc. Today it’s a global supplier of the essential items that you’ll need to run your small business.

Click here for a direct link to find Office Depot locations near you.

staples

Staples started doing business on May 1, 1986 providing customers with office and desk supplies. Tom Stemberg, the company founder’s mission was to create a “supermarket for office products.” It is now one of the world’s most recognized names in office supplies for businesses small and large.

Click here for a direct link to find Staples locations near you.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Post Office Shipping Supplies

Stay updated on the topic of post office shipping supplies in this section of StartUpaSmallBiz.com .



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Get the Tools You Need

If you have the right tools and supplies from the start, starting your small business will be a breeze.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.