Friday, July 13, 2018

FRIDAY THE 13th

Today is Friday the 13th, which is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: triskaidekaphobia; and the fear of the specific fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia. Obviously, both of those words are a mouth full and would be worth a ton of points in Scrabble®.

The superstition has many possible origins; one such is from early Christianity. However, there are no specific references of Friday the 13th until the Middle Ages. This superstition impacts our society in many ways.

Socially: It is estimated that over 20 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Many of these people will then avoid their daily routines, which may include doing business, social events, traveling or possibly not even getting out of bed.

Business: This is an “unlucky” day for business; 100’s of millions of dollars are lost worldwide because people fear doing their normal or any business.

So, what is the point of all this? We feel that you cannot fear or feel unlucky about operating your Carpet Cleaning business. Sure you don’t want to take unnecessary or foolish risks, but you cannot be afraid to go about your business. Your Carpet Cleaning customers depend on you, your cleaning technicians as do all our employees depend on you and you should depend on yourself.

So, instead of hiding in your office or worse yet under the covers. Cold call on a new Cleaning prospect or contact an existing customer who has not had your services for sometime. Discuss with them the advantages of your Truck Mounted Equipment and the applications you have for Carpet Protectors, Deodorizers, Spot and Stain removal, etc.

Heck, you could even offer a 13% discount.

Thank you for reading Bane’s Blog®

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The Bane-Clene® Team.




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Friday, July 06, 2018

PROFITS

There are those that say the purpose of a business is to produce goods or services and provide jobs. Certainly so. But the reason any business is started in the first place is to make a profit. Thus, if it does not make a profit, it will ultimately go out of business.

One of the important keys to good ownership is to keep everyone connected with your organization focused on this fact. Profits go to the profit-minded.

Some people have trouble seeing how their jobs are related to profits. They may feel their job is not all that important, so it does not really matter. That is further from the truth.

The fact is that everyone who works for a Company affect profits, through good work or bad, being careful or wasteful with time and material, being present or absent, late or early, thinking of better ways to do their work or just coasting. Everyone’s performance is the sum total of their actions and ultimately contributes to a business’ potential profit or possible loss.

How do you convey to your employees that their overall performance is essential to the success of your business and its profits?

First, by being constantly profit-minded yourself.

Second, by constantly explaining the relationship of everything you or they do to profits.

Third, by recognizing and praising their cooperation in this endeavor.

The message is clear and can be conveyed. When it is, the results will be obvious. It will improve the operation and therefore the profits of a company.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

MORE EFFICIENT

The unfortunate fact is that most business operations could be handled better and more efficiently than they are. Your company may be one of them.

Why do we feel this way? Because we don’t know of any business including our own that operates at maximum efficiency day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Realistically, it is not possible. People relax, get complacent, even lackadaisical. As long as a company is making money and things are going well we tend not to worry. We may stop looking for better and more efficient ways to do things. If little inefficiencies start working their way in and they are not major, no one may notice or become worried.

If these inefficiencies do become major, then the Company stops making as much money. In the interim, people may lose their job, the Company may lose a large contract or worse yet, if these inefficiencies go completely unchecked, then the Company may fail. Companies need to wake up and reorganize and prioritize their efforts before this happens.

A successful owner soon learns that they can not sit back and take it easy no matter how well things seem to be going. If you don’t think of better ways of doing things, your competition will. You have to constantly keep selling yourself and your people on the concept of being more efficient.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

THOUGHTS

It is said that thousands of thoughts pass through our minds every day. Most unfortunately are soon forgotten. A few of those we wish we could retain. When those too slip away, we berate ourselves for not being able to remember.

Improving one’s memory is not all that difficult. Most of us simply don’t take the time or effort required. Try these simple self help exercises:

  1. Remember to Remember. Tell yourself that you want to remember this or that fact and concentrating on it will improve your memory immediately. We remember what we want to remember.
  2. Sharpen Your Observation. Pay close attention to what you see and hear. Use images. Listen closely. Shut your eyes and try to see it. Pay attention to details; really look and observe. Few people do.
  3. Practice Recall. Unfortunately, forgetting is most rapid after learning. It helps to make a deliberate effort to repeat and review immediately. Repetition will help fix the fact or image in our minds.
  4. Concentrate. Eliminate distractions and focus. The mind is at its best when it is centered on one thing at a time. Avoid such things as fatigue, noise and other visual images during the time you are trying to learn.

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The Bane-Clene® Team.




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Friday, June 15, 2018

GROWTH

In a fast growing business, it’s relatively simple to keep competent people engaged. New situations and responsibilities keep cropping up, sometimes faster than people can be developed to handle them. This keeps their interest peaked.

In a slower growing or relatively stable company, it isn’t always that easy. As an owner or manager you may need to switch an employee’s duties to keep them interested. Also, you will need ways to challenge them; unchallenged people are bored and unproductive.

Seeing that employees have every opportunity to grow and develop is critical to a company. It produces better morale, better work and better results which makes for a better company.

In most successful companies, developing people heads the list. The best way to develop them is to encourage them to “stretch” a bit. Ask them to work outside their comfort zone. The more capable your employees become, the more your Company will achieve growth.

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Friday, June 08, 2018

GOOD DECISIONS

Good decisions are normally achieved after giving proper thought to all of the choices and possibilities involved.

Here is a simple checklist that can be applied to the process of arriving at your decision. If asked and answered by you, they should stir your imagination and spark creativity.

  1. Is there a different way to do it?
  2. Can you borrow or adapt from a previous decision?
  3. Can you apply a new approach?
  4. Do you merely need to add to a previous decision?
  5. Do you merely need to subtract from a previous decision?
  6. Is there a substitute idea?
  7. Can a previous decision be rearranged?
  8. What happens if you do just the opposite?
  9. Can more than one previous idea be combined?
  10. What happens if you make no decision and let the situation ride?

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Friday, June 01, 2018

PRAISED AND APPRECIATED

Everyone likes to be praised and to feel appreciated. Often only the owners or managers receive such adulation. But what about the technicians, office personnel, etc.? Those who get the least praise often enjoy and deserve it the most.

Companies are like a bicycle wheel with the center or hub representing the owner and or managers. But everyone else represent the spokes. If there is a broken or missing spoke, the wheel does not run smoothly; it wobbles. Just like our businesses, if everyone is not part of the company, the company will not run smoothly.

That is why owners and or managers need to be praise givers not grabbers. Whenever they observe one of their employees do something noteworthy, they need to acknowledge it.

You might say “they are suppose to be doing that, it’s part of their job”, while true if you recognize it, they not only appreciate it but will continue to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

The reverse of praise is criticism. Take the time to offer praise and appreciation to your employees. Then if you need to criticize them when they have not done well or neglected their job, then that criticism should be accepted more easily. Praise helps negate the pain and resentment out of criticism that you may have to administer, especially if you do it carefully and in a friendly manner.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

TRAITS OF A GOOD MANAGER

In a follow up to our May 18th, 2018 blog, we talk further about being a good boss or leader by managing your employees in the best possible way.

A good manager has the ability to give instructions and have them followed in a correct manner. This is not as easy as it seems. Sometimes the simplest instructions may go awry. Why did this happen? Is it the employee’s fault or the manager’s (boss’)?

Leaders who discover that some of their instructions are not being carried out efficiently should ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Were the instructions clear? It may be clear in the mind of the manager; however, did the employee understand it the same way?
  2. Ask your employee to repeat the instructions. Do not accept just a yes response or a nod of their head.
  3. Always encourage your employees to ask questions to help clarify your instructions. Some employees are reluctant to ask questions or ask for a further explanation. This can only lead to problems.
  4. Give your instructions in a pleasant tone of voice. Instructions given as a request instead of a command are usually more effective in being followed correctly.
  5. Follow up your instructions by observing their implementation. Your employee may feel that they are following your instructions correctly. If necessary, repeat or redefine your instructions.
  6. When your instructions are carried out correctly and efficiently, do not hesitate to acknowledge the fact. Praise and appreciation are rightfully accepted for a job well done by your employee. This acknowledgment is a powerful incentive to do this job and others equally well.

The better the manager (boss) in these traits, the more often instructions will be carried out correctly.

Thank you for reading Bane’s Blog®.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

LEADING AND MANAGING EMPLOYEES

All of us who own a business strive to be a good boss. We may take courses or read books. Also, we may peruse articles about human relations as they relate to personnel matters.

All of these are valuable tools as long as we don’t forget the most important fact. Being a leader is more than having the right techniques to manage, it is having the right qualities.

What do employees respect most in a leader? They want someone who is honest and sincere. Someone they can trust.

These qualities may be faked for a short time but over the long run employees will know if you truly possess them. If you have the best interests of your employees, it will show in your interaction with them. No leader can create a feeling of trust quickly. It will take time and effort. Nor can you project sincerity like a light switch that be can turned off and on. Owners who are sincere don’t have to talk about it because it becomes apparent to all in their everyday actions. The only way to keep the trust of your employees is to be honest.

Thank you for reading Bane’s Blog®.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

AGE IS A STATE OF MIND

Owning and operating a small business has its trials and tribulations. There are days we might say “we are too old for this”. However our business also has its rewards. We must never lose sight of those positives that come our way each day and make us feel young.

Age is a state of mind,
If you have left your dreams behind,
If hope is cold,
If you no longer look ahead,
If your ambition's fires are dead,
Then you are old,

But if from life you take the best,
And if in life you use a jest,
If love you hold;
No matter how the years go by,
No matter how the birthdays fly,
You are not old.

Author: Unknown

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Friday, May 04, 2018

ACHIEVEMENT

Achievement is the result of making continuous efforts.

The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it; so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.

In business, we may sometimes feel that circumstances appear to be insurmountable. Many people throw up their hands in defeat, when with a little more effort, persistence and patience they would achieve success.

There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really unconquerable barrier except our own lack of purpose.

Thank you for reading Bane’s Blog®.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Say What You Mean

Some people take forever to get to the point and “say what they mean”.

When making a presentation and giving an estimate to a prospective client, truer words were never spoken.

It’s important to avoid that mistake. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Prepare what you are going to say beforehand.
  2. Be specific by saying exactly what you want to say.
  3. Be brief and speak to the point (the clients’ needs). Trying to cover points that are not relative dilutes the message you are trying to convey.
  4. Be clear with your message and keep it simple.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Lack of Communication, Not Competitors Hurt a Company

Much has been written about communication and its importance to the success of a company. Small businesses with 2 or more employees or larger operations “must” let employees know why they are asked to do things a certain way. Even the simplest task has importance and therefore plays an integral role in the financial results of a company.

Usually when a Company suffers financial setbacks, it is due to internal strife not their competition. Failure to plan, lack of training and internal bickering among family, management and employees are the major reasons for failure.

This failure is usually precipitated by the aforementioned “lack of communication”.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Hazards in Using Subcontractors/Vendors

Many cleaning firms are using independent contractors or vendors to do their work. The avoidance of payroll taxes, supervision and record keeping are the main reasons for doing business in this way.

There are several downsides to such an operation, all of which are overwhelmingly negative. When you use a legitimate sub, you lose personal control of how your customer is treated. Customer retention is more difficult, as it becomes a distinct possibility that “your” customer will become “their”" customer.

Finally, the IRS is probably the best argument against using a sub. The IRS has always given attention to carpet cleaning, floor cleanings, janitorial services, etc. If after an audit a subcontractor is deemed to be an employee, penalties and interest will be applied and an audit may be extended to previous years. Ultimately, if the penalties and interest can not be paid within a certain time frame, some companies have been forced to liquidate.

Some of the criteria the IRS applies to determine if a subcontractor/vendor relationship is legitimate are as follows:

  1. Do the subs set their own hours?
  2. Provide their own trucks, equipment and supplies?
  3. Provide their own insurance?
  4. Hire their own help and pay payroll taxes?
  5. Have the freedom to do similar work for others?
  6. Work without your supervision?

Related Information and Articles:

These are just a sampling of the factors the IRS will apply in determining if a firm is employing legitimate subcontractors/vendors.

If you use an outside company to do your work, be sure they meet the requirements for subcontractor status. Once again if you fail, it will could be financially painful, even to the point of putting you out of business.

Please read the latest issue of the Clene-Times® at www.baneclene.com/publications/.

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Friday, April 06, 2018

How Do I Successfully Sell The Job?

There are many facets of B.Y.O.B. (Building Your Own Business) and being able to the sell the job is but one of them. Here are some basic ideas and principles.

  1. Sell the benefits of clean carpets with the emphasis on good health and indoor air quality.
  2. Sell the fact that your cleaning method is recommended by the nation’s carpet mills and fiber manufacturers. Mention the warranty requirements by mills and have a sample of one of their brochures.
  3. Sell your assurance of high quality service and the prolonged life of properly maintained carpets.
  4. Emphasize special training, education and certifications you have completed to properly maintain the investment they have in their carpeting.
  5. Be able to knowledgeably and properly answer any questions or ease any qualms they may have about you or cleaning in general.
  6. Finally, Ask for the job. So many do a great job in selling
    but they don’t ask for the order.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

FORGET IT!!

Looking for “new”, catchy ways to attract customers? Forget It!!

Certainly we need an informative and thorough advertising program. Beyond that, instead of looking for gimmicks, etc,. consider what works every time. Devote your time to making sure you and your staff provide good, old-fashioned hard work. Provide this and your customers will become your best emissaries.

Referrals and repeat business from satisfied customers will bring you success and greater profits. Offer high quality service to a select market and your reputation will become the biggest part of your advertising program. Always be appreciative of your customers, offer good value and be courteous to them.

These are the tried and true “old” catchy ways that make your Company more successful.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Tax Breaks For The Middle Class

Lawmakers have enacted many tax incentives that will benefit middle class families and small businesses. It will be important to consult with your CPA and or tax advisor. These are but a few of the highlights.

  1. Savings Tax credits or IRA deductions continue to be an important tax advantage. Also, there is the obvious benefit of providing for your eventual retirement. Depending on how your business is structured you may have little or no social security benefits at retirement. So some type of retirement plan is paramount.
  2. The child credit of $1000 obviously benefits business owners with children. This credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar.
  3. Speaking of children, you may also qualify for a tax credit that will reduce the cost of child care. Eligible expenses may include the cost of preschool, before or after school care and summer day camps.
  4. Charitable contributions are easy to keep track of if you write a check. However, do not overlook driving your car for charity events, plus parking and tolls. Postage you pay or supplies you provide for a charitable or fund raising event may also be deducted.
  5. Many small business owners are members of National Guard or Reserve Units. For 2017 travel, the rate is 53.5 cents a mile plus what you may have paid for parking or toll fees. You may claim this deduction even if you use the standard deduction rather than itemizing.
  6. Deductions for Medicare Premiums for the Self-Employed are available to those that continue to run their own business after qualifying for Medicare. They can deduct the premiums they pay for Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D, plus the cost of supplemental Medicare (Medigap) policies or the the Medicare Advantage plan.
  7. Airline baggage fees are deductible if you are self-employed and travel for business. Keep track of those and other expenses when you attend seminars, schools (such as The Bane-Clene® Institute) or other business related events.
  8. Bonus depreciation and beefed up expensing may allow you to write off the full cost of qualifying carpet cleaning equipment, trucks and other assets. For 2017, businesses can expense up to $500,000.00 worth of qualifying assets.
  9. Those that are self employed and pay the full 15.3% Social Security and Medicare Tax can write off half of what you pay. This deduction is on the first page of Form 1040; so, it is not necessary to itemize to take advantage of it.
  10. If you use part of your home exclusively for your business, there are office credits for the self employed. There are some stipulations; so, check with your tax consultant to see if you qualify. If you do, then part of your utility bills, (rent or mortgage, insurance costs, etc. may be deductible.
  11. Health insurance premiums for you and your family if you are self employed. This deduction is disallowed if your spouse is eligible for Health insurance at their job

This information is for enlightenment purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice from a CPA or other tax adviser. Please consult with them for clarification and whether you qualify.

Related Information and Articles:

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The Bane-Clene® Team.


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