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How should I approach companies once I have a product sample/proposal?

I came up a product idea and made a sample/prototype but I have no idea how to go next. I know my target store customers but how to I get in touch with them. Is it appropriate to call them (customer service) up and ask who I should talk to? If I do get buyer's contact info, should I contact multiple buyers that are in the same company? Please let me know what you think, thanks!
posted by lanhan on Aug 26, 2014 - 5 answers

Lease or buy a car for business use?

I'm trying to decide between leasing or buying a car. It would be anywhere from 50-100% business use. Does this make a difference? [more inside]
posted by CommonSense on Aug 25, 2014 - 8 answers

So I'm pretty much not looking for a suit on craigslist anymore, right?

I have a very very niche job. I've been doing it for over ten years now and have made about $28,000 per year. Because of my experience, I was called in for a meet and greet. It was going to lead nowhere. So, I pretty much blew it off, and blew the next one off, and showed up to the third because it was on my way home. They hired me and gave me a job that pays about $786,000 per year. I was told that they had reservations about me and told me they were bothered by the fact that I wore "denim with unpatched holes" at the interview. I didn't even think I was being considered. This is very unreal. And now I will have a job that pays me more in my bimonthly check than my last year's entire gross. I will be working with a different clientele, and my position will have more prestige than previously. So how do I dress? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 20, 2014 - 57 answers

Can you buy small quantities of 11x17 paper in South Korea?

People in my (US-based) office are going nuts today trying to overnight a ream of blank 11x17 paper to Korea. Is this really necessary? [more inside]
posted by Naberius on Aug 13, 2014 - 12 answers

Resources needed

I need all the resources I can find for starting a new business. [more inside]
posted by jellyjam on Aug 10, 2014 - 2 answers

How do you make money in a one-off business?

My friend has a fledgling business writing business plans in a smaller city. She wants to know how to make it grow. [more inside]
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats on Aug 7, 2014 - 8 answers

Help me run this contentious meeting!

Tomorrow morning I will serve as the facilitator for a meeting I called, which is a four-year review of the program I run. The meeting will be among several old white men, and I am a reasonably young white female. There are bound to be emotions, as people have personal investment in various aspects of the topics to be discussed, and there are territorial issues that will likely rear their heads. What tips do you have for keeping such meetings productive, rational and finishing on time? [more inside]
posted by Liesl on Aug 6, 2014 - 14 answers

recruitment business startup... first challenging step?

I have worked in recruitment for all of five months. Having previously run a less than successful but still operating and now growing charity, I missed the security of a regular paycheck. They like my sales experience but are not as experienced in teaching one how to recruit for their sector. I have had a few offers but have not closed a sale in two months for a flat fee recruitment advertising (no headhunting) product they are halfheartedly experimenting with. Out of 22 staff, I am only the only salesperson for it. I do earn a small monthly salary and could earn a commission. Out of left field, a family friend has come forward with a big recruitment opportunity with a software company. I am currently working on a split commission deal with a work colleague on a software role but do no recruiting, only manage the business communication. I feel ashamed about it and feel I could be of better service as an independent recruiter. However, I need some advice about starting up and feel I can't really get an objective account from senior leaders in the field. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 3, 2014 - 2 answers

Bookshop For Sale; Foreigners Welcomed

How realistic and/or easy is it to buy and run a physical bookshop in a foreign country? [more inside]
posted by applesurf on Jul 24, 2014 - 9 answers

How do I sell a business with no assets but a good revenue stream?

The problem in a nutshell: I am the sole owner of a S-corp consulting practice with one very large, very happy client. My company has grown a lot and, to handle the workload better, I've brought on some subcontractors who essentially do the same thing I do. Now I'd like to "sell" the book of business to one of my subcontractors, but I have no idea what sort of financial arrangement makes sense. [more inside]
posted by DrGail on Jul 23, 2014 - 14 answers

Should I Go For Full AT & T Business Bundle

I am in the midst of establishing an office in Downtown LA for a small and growing business. I purchased a package that in which I have business phone that I can use fax on, unlimited national calls etc. U-Verse Wi-Fi package is separate. [more inside]
posted by goalyeehah on Jul 22, 2014 - 0 answers

Help me take over the world

I want to pursue my dream of starting a business but have 2 problems. I'm not an extrovert, and all of my skills are in an industry that is not startup-friendly. What are good businesses for me to start? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 19, 2014 - 16 answers

Business checking account for a sole proprietorship DBA?

Are there any no-fee business checking accounts for a sole proprietorship? Pretty much no services are needed other than an account that is separate from personal finances.
posted by jsturgill on Jul 8, 2014 - 9 answers

Should I have a rate card?

I'm doing the ground work in setting up a small side business. This business would target a specific demographic with a defined subset of residential design services. I feel compelled to do a 'rate card' but I wonder if anyone here has experience with using a rate card as a service provider. Trying to figure out pros and cons and whether I've missed something. As a consumer, I think I'd love to see some up-front rates but I know that, realistically, it would keep me from hiring someone if I felt like I couldn't afford them (even if I could). [more inside]
posted by amanda on Jul 5, 2014 - 4 answers

Changing careers a bit

How to be a Business Analyst (this is most likely my question) [more inside]
posted by jellyjam on Jul 2, 2014 - 4 answers

Businesses in New York that have been around for over 100 years

I'd like to compile a list of businesses in New York City—starting with Manhattan—that have been around for 100 years or more. I'd also like to include places the public can visit that aren't "businesses" per se. I'm guessing this information is publicly available, but I don't know where to start. Any guidance would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
posted by context adventure on Jun 29, 2014 - 20 answers

Help some buddies form a biz together. No buddy bands.

I pretty much only have 2 non-family friends but i am really close with those two friends. We are all low to mid 30s living in different cities in the southeast. Two of us are lawyers, the third is in sales. None of us are breaking the bank but we live comfortably. The problem is (1) we dont work together and (2) none of are particularly in love with our jobs. We have been talking about forming a business together for years but we have thought of any idea as sad as that sounds. We just need some practical but that we could do together. It would be a side gig for us all unless it got big enough to replace our current jobs (the ultimate goal). Looking for suggestions on business ideas or just importantly suggestions on where to find some business ideas. They do not have to be sexy biz ideas but i should say we would probably not be interested in paid blogging, or similar 'work from home' business ideas. I would appreciate any thoughts! Best
posted by frednorton on Jun 27, 2014 - 17 answers

Business correspondence via SMS

The management software my company uses recently added the ability to send messages via SMS to our clientele. We've signed up and it's tested well, but we're not clear on the legality of sending business correspondence messages (no marketing, simply "Your rent is due, please call # or pay online @ oursite.com/pay") without the client expressly opting in for SMS messaging. Do we need to have everyone opt-in or are non-marketing messages for the purpose of communicating legitimate business notices exempt? [more inside]
posted by dozo on Jun 27, 2014 - 21 answers

Need advice for setting up a crowdfunded music festival

A group of friends and I have been considering setting up a small music festival around May next year and are trying to get our heads around what we will need to think about, so that we can work out the cost of it all. Extended explanation inside. [more inside]
posted by heartofglass on Jun 27, 2014 - 3 answers

How are the cast and crew of Orange is the New Black making any money?

How does an on-demand streaming site pay a cast and crew? [more inside]
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper on Jun 19, 2014 - 26 answers

Help me do something nice for my coworker, whose beloved pet is dying

One of my favorite colleagues has a cat, and it is dying. She is just waiting on tests to come back from the vet so they can decide if palliative care is an option or not. I'd like to do something nice to let her know that I'm thinking of her, but need ideas that won't memorialize me as "That girl who did that crazy thing in a misguided attempt to nice." Also looking for a sanity check - if this is a bad idea, please say so (and why). [more inside]
posted by schroedingersgirl on Jun 17, 2014 - 29 answers

Explain business to an innumerate child.

I'm working on a novel (yeah, yeah) in which the bad guys are, among other things, a couple of rival business-criminal assholes. I know nearly zero about business, finance, and politics, and I don't want to talk about these folks in ways that show me to be the faffy prancing buffoon I really am. [more inside]
posted by Mister Moofoo on Jun 11, 2014 - 11 answers

do I need to relocate my business and register in a new state?

Currently I live with family in Hew Hampshire and have registered an LLC this year here in NH at my parents' address. I'm moving just south of the border in MA, only 20 minutes away. Do I need to relocate my business? Seems like it costs more to register a business in MA. Tax-wise I believe it will be the same because NH based software businesses operating in MA will be taxed a sales tax starting this year.
posted by spacefire on Jun 10, 2014 - 4 answers

Why can't I rent out high-value goods to people in the UK?

So this may sound dumb, and obvious.... I'm just thrashing out a question that I've been discussing with a couple of friends recently. Let's say I legally purchase a batch of high-value, trendy goods. It doesn't really matter what they are -- let's say the latest iPhone, for the sake of argument. Can I set up a store (online or in the high-street) renting them out to anyone who wants to agree to a contract with me? So let's pretend an iPhone 6 will retail at £500. If I purchase a batch of 100 at £400 each, and rent them out at £25/month for a 2 year contract, I make a good profit. Assume the iPhones are genuine, and that purchasers/renters are happy to arrange their own SIM cards, telecomms contracts, etc. These are working items. What are the reasons I couldn't do this? Is there any legal reason, or trading standards reason, that would prevent me from setting up a business doing this? [more inside]
posted by ajp on Jun 7, 2014 - 21 answers

The horror of "casual", the heat of "summer"

I am a tall (5'11), fat (22/24), lady, soon-to-be attorney working in a downtown law office that just declared the next few months to be "Casual Summer". Help me look professional and casual and feel comfortable at the same time. Difficulty: pants. [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion on Jun 4, 2014 - 32 answers

New job, new wardrobe

- About 1/3 of my job will involve meeting with clients in their home environment, which is mostly going to be a shelter, SRO, transitional housing unit, or the street.
- Another 1/3 or so will be located at a hospital and in local clinics, meeting with physicians and social workers, and accompanying clients to appointments.
-The final 3rd or so of my job I will be sitting at a desk in a large, shared office, in a department that expects a business casual dress (although tolerates a diverse range of expression of business casual).
- Also, I'm a butch (masculine) woman.
What should I wear? [more inside]
posted by latkes on Jun 3, 2014 - 9 answers

Inexpensive CRM replacement, please?

Hello, We are currently using Business Contact Manger as our CRM software. We are having problems when having to re-install (computer crashes, etc) at this point and are looking to either upgrade to Office 2013 (which will allow us to use Business Contact Manager 2013) or to find a new CRM. The preferred option (long-term) would be to get a new CRM, as BCM (Business Contact Manager) does not meet all our needs, and is essentially defunct, but it would need to be less than the price of buying Office 2013 for the 4 users who use it (around $2100). [more inside]
posted by Laura in Canada on Jun 2, 2014 - 4 answers

I can't buy a net big enough...

A restaurant in my town is closing down for 2 months. Our facility (1 lunch outlet, 3 dinner outlets) desperately wants to pick up the bulk of their business. But how? More below the fold... [more inside]
posted by kpetrich on May 28, 2014 - 5 answers

Renting time in a commercial kitchen, issues, gotchas, etc.

I'd like to explore leasing time in a "co-op" or shared commercial kitchen to start a small food business, making seasonal preserves and similar items in Washington State. Are there recommended blogs or books that discuss this from the business and planning ends, as far as what to look for, and well as how to deal with legal issues with bringing equipment and ingredients to and from such a facility (like fresh fruit, sugar, etc.). Do people store ingredients off-site, that sort of thing. (I'm mainly looking for non-state-official guides and written materials that deal with this subject from the producer end, just to focus questions away from the business itself or to Google search results to WA guidelines. Thanks!)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 26, 2014 - 2 answers

My friends paid me for a gift and it hurt my feelings. now what?

At a picnic with some friends, I gave everyone ten-ish minute massages (I am a massage therapist). It was a spontaneous gesture and I really enjoyed doing it. As I was leaving, a friend slipped an envelope in my bag. When I got home and opened it, there was a card with money inside, thanking me for their "first session". I feel like this turned a spontaneous act of goodwill and friendship into a business transaction. I'm hurt, saddened, and a little offended. I didn't want money or ask for it, and I don't think that I said or did anything implying otherwise. Now I feel like I'm not their friend, I'm hired help. How do I address this?
posted by windykites on May 24, 2014 - 22 answers

Beijing-Bound Exec Needs "Activity" for Business Group

I'm attempting to plan a trip for an executive I'm supporting in a temp role, and if all goes well, I may get to keep the job. The guy is going to Beijing in the fall and will spend one night entertaining a group of Chinese executives. I need to plan the entertainment. Where do I send them? [more inside]
posted by pineappleheart on May 23, 2014 - 11 answers

How to make up for lack of content in an annual publication?

I am looking for some inspiration to write/create an annual document for a year when not much happened, especially compared to other years. [more inside]
posted by alice ayres on May 20, 2014 - 7 answers

Bring Your Own Device to Play-Work

How nice is too nice of an electronic use policy? [more inside]
posted by alice_curiouse on May 6, 2014 - 12 answers

How to enter business world with an Industrial Engineering Degree?

Graduated (almost) with an Industrial Engineering degree but realized it's not the industry I want to work in. What are my available options and how should I pursue them as far as entering business world goes? [more inside]
posted by Parh6512 on May 3, 2014 - 8 answers

Alternative to resignation? Want to move but not harm career.

I live in a smallish (Canadian) city an hour outside of a large city. I moved for work four years ago, and for a variety of reasons am feeling an increasing urgency to move back to the Big City. I am trying to figure out ways to do this, weighing my options, and am curious if anyone has any suggestions, or can point out repercussions of each option I hadn't considered? [more inside]
posted by offrecord on May 2, 2014 - 20 answers

Next career step?

I have a few options for my next career step. Deciding between a few options or business school. [more inside]
posted by pando11 on May 1, 2014 - 4 answers

How do you set a targets for user growth for a new website?

My friend's startup company is developing a new technology platform and they are trying to set 5 year targets for the number of potential users it could have. How do tech companies traditionally project user growth for a new web service? Obviously they would establish a potential target market, but then how do you determine the rate of growth from zero into that market? Are they any resources or websites online that help with this? More details- the website is an edtech platform providing online education and resources. The potential market is 18+ lower- middle class Americans, and college students. Thanks for your help!
posted by tessalations999 on Apr 30, 2014 - 4 answers

Not techy enough and I'm frustrated

I’m looking for advice on how to get techy oriented business idea going. I’m knowledgeable enough about tech and programming to know that what I likely need is beyond my current or near enough future capabilities. Details below. [more inside]
posted by Jalliah on Apr 28, 2014 - 4 answers

Can I FOIA bank records of banks that were bailed out with Federal money

I am working on a project where I am trying to find contributions made between businesses and political parties. Besides the obvious places (Sunlight Foundation, etc.) I want to know if, for the time banks received federal money, would those records be FOIAble? I have a pretty good idea which federal agencies to contact. But would it work?
posted by CollectiveMind on Apr 25, 2014 - 10 answers

How do I source products from in and around Europe?

Hello all I'm thinking about starting an import business specialising in very high quality and hard to find products, particularly tools and machinery. I'm having trouble finding good quality online directories that list manufacturers like Alibaba that target Europe. Does anybody have any advice on finding products in Europe? Thank you kindly
posted by Jimmeh on Apr 12, 2014 - 7 answers

Small business guru, may I sit at your feet?

You've started a small business, things have been tough, you've been staring down the barrel of failure, but you've turned it around, you made it work. How did you do it? What changes in practice and attitude really made a difference to your success? What resources did you draw upon? I'd really like to hear how you made it through the tough times. If your business is arts/craft related, even better. [more inside]
posted by M.Onniker on Apr 7, 2014 - 4 answers

To patent or not to patent, and if so when?

I am a research student who may have inadvertently invented something commercializable. What do I do now? [more inside]
posted by cestlavie on Apr 7, 2014 - 13 answers

Help me choose a MBA research paper topic - due in two weeks...

What is the best topic with lots of reference material that deals in International Business Ethics? Something like a review on international bribery or the sale of vaccines or baby formula for profit. I'm looking for the topic that will be the easiest to write because there is so much reference material available. [more inside]
posted by bbqturtle on Apr 6, 2014 - 13 answers

Writing off expenses: LLC -vs- C-Corp -vs- Non-Profit edition

I'm planning on starting both a nonprofit and a business (LLC or C-Corp) before the end of summer, and I'm uncertain as to my ability to write off expenses. Each would be run with a small (<5) group of investors/friends. [more inside]
posted by NYC-BB on Apr 5, 2014 - 4 answers

Please help me get dressed for my interview!

I am going in for an interview at the place I am currently temping. What should I wear? [more inside]
posted by anthropophagous on Mar 28, 2014 - 12 answers

How are The Thunderbird School of Global Management online courses?

I’m looking at several certificate programs they offer. I am considering the certificates in Global Marketing, Global Leadership, Global Management, or Global Negotiations. Each one consists of 3 courses to be completes one at a time with 2-3 hours of content per week. I’m not sure if this means just total time spent or time going over content not including assignments. 2-3 hours total seems a bit low for an executive course, plus it’s expensive, $1980 per course for only 1.5 credit each. I also know that they have been having some financial issues and academic controversy for trying to sell their campus to a for profit education company Laureate Education Company. The deal was rejected by their accreditors, The Higher Learning Commission. I have been contacted by a recruiter several times by phone and email. She seems a little aggressive, much like I’ve heard for profit online school recruiters can be. Do you guys think these courses seem like they have value or not? I appreciate the input in advance.
posted by Che boludo! on Mar 25, 2014 - 8 answers

congratulations gift for a new business owner

My sister and brother-in-law just opened up a wonderful pediatric practice. Yay! I'm looking for a "congratulations" gift to send them, besides the usual baked goods and flowers. [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Mar 23, 2014 - 10 answers

Financial recourse options regarding a deceitful mechanic?

A mechanic who replaced my bus's radiator removed parts of the transmission's cooling system, said he replaced the parts, and got paid for the parts and the labor. After several months, I took the bus out for a trip, and the transmission overheated repeatedly and finally lost all but first gear. It turns out that the parts the mechanic said he installed are not there -- the pipe that should connect to them just connects back to itself. What steps can I take to get my money back? [more inside]
posted by Pwoink on Mar 23, 2014 - 3 answers

Normal division of labour between a programmer and business analyst?

My organization avoids drawing a line between the responsibilities of the system analyst and those of the business analyst in completing a change request. Can you tell me what's typical? [more inside]
posted by kitcat on Mar 20, 2014 - 11 answers

Resources for executives learning about IT industry?

My boss has asked me to help him find some introduction-level resources to understand modern IT industry fundamentals (cloud computing, modern storage technologies, security, system architecture, etc.) from a management standpoint. I have a good handle on the technical side, but I'm not sure where to look for the basics. What resources would be a good introduction? Web sites are most helpful, free or paywalled okay.
posted by pocams on Mar 19, 2014 - 3 answers

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