Taking Advantage of Business Opportunities in the Senior Service Industry

According to a recent United Nations Study, the older population is growing at a faster rate than the world’s total population. It is predicted that by 2050, older persons will make up more that 50% of the populations in western, developed nations, including The United States. As our beloved seniors leave the work force, there are not enough younger replacements. In addition, our need for elder care and senior services is rising faster than we can come up with solutions. Older women outnumber older men by a landslide.

This is not meant to be a doom and gloom report. On the contrary, what I am saying is that where there is a tremendous need, there is also tremendous opportunity for creating new services. Not only are the seniors themselves going to need help; their loved ones will need help and support too.

It’s only going to get bigger.

Right now, a senior and/or their concerned family members have to navigate through a myriad of agencies and referral services to find housing, medical care and ancillary services. Navigating Medicare, Part B can be a real trip down Alice’s Rabbit hole! The adult children of seniors often live far away and/or can’t help.

The opportunity lies in creating a one stop service that will address all the needs of seniors and their families. Companies that create a one stop shopping service where seniors and their families can get all their needs met will be tapping in to an ever growing client base.

What do Seniors need now and what will they need later?

1. Help deciding if they can remain safely in their own home.
2. Knowledge of home safety products available
3. Help finding senior services of all kinds
4. Protection from Elder Care Abuse
5. Help finding affordable housing
6. Someone to help navigate through the government bureaucracy of Medicare and Social Security.
7. Help disposing of unwanted property
8. Social Interaction
9. Protecting their legacy
10. Protecting their finances
11. Keeping in touch with family
12. Transportation
13. Good Health
14. Home Care

There are so many opportunities in the Senior Service industry. While answering the call to help Seniors, we can also create amazing business opportunities too. Ask anyone who works with seniors and they will tell you that it is a truly rewarding experience.

Anyone who works with seniors has realized that many of their needs are just now being acknowledged. Industry has not yet caught up with the market opportunities of this rapidly growing population.

Those already in the senior care industry need to look beyond what they currently offer and expand their services to meet the needs of their clients. Opportunities abound.

How to Promote Your Catering Business Services

The catering business, like any other is extremely competitive. To stand out from the crown and win new clients you need to be better than your competitors at promoting or marketing your catering business services. Here are a few tried and tested marketing tactics that you can consider to promote your catering business.

Advertising goes a long way towards spreading your message across the markets that you are targeting. Also consider dispatching press releases to local newspapers to grab attention. You can also tap into TV networks and radio shows when they, from time to time need people to interview for their food-related programs. Put time into understanding all the advertising options that are available, budget for some methods that you feel will work and then test methods against each other to find the winners that produce results to justify the expense.

Offering your customers extra services is always a welcome gesture as customers like to have a variety of choices. Up-selling is a common strategy for generating added revenue. Perk up your catering business by adding services such as flower arrangements or setting up fixtures for outdoor events. Try to up-sell clients on more expensive foods and beverages as well.

Ensure long-lasting relationships with customers by having unique products to sell. A competitive business such as the catering industry requires an innovative mind that can keep coming up with new ideas to impress customers while still offering quality and consistency. Sustaining their support through incentive programs like discounts and package deals are good tactics.

Having the largest range of unique products and services to offer can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to promoting your company.

Mingling with competition is always healthy! You may find that your products and services are not so similar after all and that you could benefit by referring each other to clients who are looking for specific services that one of you may provide better than the other.

Aside from having healthy competitor relations you should also develop a wider network of business associates. Introduce yourself to event-related companies like decorators, event coordinators and printers and cross promote each others services.

Study business models and other successful companies to find out how they promote their products or services. There is so much to learn from the great entrepreneurial spirit! Practice what they preach and see how you can extend their ideals towards your catering business.

Showing off your corporate social responsibility can also boost your catering business. Join charity cook-off events in the community to push for further free publicity for your company. Participating in worthwhile charitable programs could also create a positive attitude among your staff (as well as your clients) as they can see that you are running a business with care and gratitude.

Marketing and promotion tactics, no matter how unconventional they may seem, can propel your catering business to a more profitable level. Being marketing-savvy puts you one step closer to success in the catering business.

7 Best Bookkeeping Business Services

If you’re a small business owner considering outsourcing your bookkeeping, keep in mind that bookkeeping business services include much more than just keeping track of your finances. If you hook up with a true professional service they can become much more than an accounting service, they can become important partners helping you optimize not only your cash flow but planning your financial strategies. Here’s a short list of benefits and services you can expect from a full service bookkeeper.

1. Time

Actually this may be the most productive benefit of all the services an outsourced bookkeeper can provide. By taking over the responsibility of accounting, the bookkeeper service effectively gives you more time to do what you do best and that’s run the business. Accounting is an absolutely necessary part of a business but it is not a profit center and it plays no part in driving sales and revenue. Any time you devote to that function is time taken from engaging in an activity that can generate sales or profit.

2. Financial forecasting

Using your firm’s financial history an experienced bookkeeping service can develop financial models that will allow you to play “what if” games that can predict your financial performance in the future. For example a business owner can ask what if sales increase 8% in the next quarter or what if the marketing budget is increased by 10% what kind of sales can be expected. This is a complex model that requires the knowledge of experts and would not be readily available to the owner unless he outsourced the function.

3. Tax planning

Running your business to take advantage of opportunity to minimize tax liability can be the difference between taking a loss and making a profit. The same goes for licensing and other local fees. A knowledgeable service will not only prepare your returns but show you ways to reduce your tax bill.

4. Real time reporting

Gone are the days of receiving monthly reports from your accounting service. In today’s business environment you need to know where you are financially right now and that’s what a professional bookkeeping service can provide. Thanks to ASP technology you can log onto your account using an ultra secure server and access all of your reports at any time and from any where you have an internet connection.

5. Customized reports

Your bookkeeping service will work with you to build reports that make sense for your particular business. Profit and loss statements, sales reports, receivables reports, all can be designed so they present the information in a way that you can best evaluate your position.

6. Assistance with lenders

A sign of just how tough and competitive the economic times are is the expansion of bookkeeping business services into areas that they previously did not participate in. Assistance with loan applications or even introductions to lenders is an example of the “new” services being offered by many firms. Loan applications can be intimidating and confusing to many business owners and the accounting service can offer valuable assistance in insuring that the right, and best, financial information is included in the application.

7. QuickBooks Consulting

Even if you don’t hire a bookkeeping service and you use QuickBooks in house to do your bookkeeping, you may find that the service can help you do it better. QuickBooks has added so many features and has become so much more than an accounting platform that it has created an entirely new support industry. If a QuickBooks customer wants optimal performance from his system, it’s likely he or she will need the advice of a certified QuickBooks consultant and the bookkeeping service is a ready, qualified resource.

A combination of rapidly improving technology along with an increasingly competitive market has caused bookkeeping business services to evolve into something greater than the traditional accounting services. Smart businesses will take advantage of these services to remain competitive and optimize earnings.

Sustainability, Operations and Supply Chain Management in Manufacturing and Service Industries

Tourism is a huge and dynamic industry that is comprised of a wide variety of service businesses that reflect the same dynamics and priorities that a manufacturer would have for operations planning (OP) and supply chain management (SCM). One such service business is the cruise ship sector in which vacationers travel via these types of vessels to various destinations.

While manufacturers produce tangible products and wastes, service companies also produce waste, but their products are intangible. For example, the product that a personal trainer might produce is a healthier client. Operations Managers (OM) in both industries share similar interests in eliminating waste and delivering quality products.

The two main intangible products that the vacationer (end user) buys, and a cruise ship company “manufactures” and delivers, are pleasure and relaxation – the total experience that allows vacationers to “suspend” their everyday reality for a period of time and immerse themselves in pleasurable experiences. The mission of the cruise ship industry is to deliver this experience to them in a way that surpasses their customers’ expectations, and it depends a great deal on the manufacturing industry to make this possible.

Comparable Dynamics and Priorities in Manufacturing and Service

The movement and connection of goods and services from the point of origin, or the original source, to the end user is referred to as “the supply chain”. Supply Chain Management is a part of the Operations Management that involves the effective management of many inter-firm processes such as:

  • Supplier/Vendor relationship management
  • Order Processing
  • Information Systems management
  • Sourcing and Procurement
  • Production Scheduling
  • Inventory Management
  • Warehousing and Distribution
  • Customer Services
  • Environmentally sustainable practices

Just as in the manufacturing industry, in the cruise ship industry it takes the coordination of a variety of resources – financial, material and human – working together to manage these processes in order to achieve organizational goals.

Operations Management involves the management of all the activities that produce an output (a product). In operations management a multitude of processes must be managed in order to produce and distribute products and services. Policies must be formulated; daily operations must be managed, and so must the use of human and material resources. OM also demands the effective utilization of technology and communications systems to allow for timely ordering and delivery of materials and products, and the servicing of customers and stakeholders.

Policies in both the manufacturing and service industry sectors might include social and environmental impact considerations such as the use of resources and the disposal of wastes. Religious, cultural, political and legal issues such as human rights, use of child labor, wage and hours; human resource impact issues such as age, gender and other forms of discrimination must also be considered.

In a manufacturing situation these considerations would impact the goods and services that the cruise industry might use. Some of these goods include foods, linens, toiletries, furnishings, packaging, electronics, fuel, etc. All of these products are outputs of a manufacturing process that a cruise ship might use and all of these products impact the environment from the original source to the end-user.

Organizations in both industries need to develop a sustainability mind-set and identify where waste being generated in their companies and along their supply chains; the reason why and when, at what stage it is being produced.

So, for example, the OM of a cruise line that is socially and environmentally conscious, and who wants to improve their SCM and incorporate a closed-loop method of operation in her organization, might be considerate of the inputs that a manufacturing company utilizes in its production process and in the processes that it utilizes to convert the raw materials into products; the timely deliverance of those products; the quality of customer service after the product is delivered, and the impact that disposal of these products have on the environment.

Likewise, manufacturing companies (whose products the cruise lines use) also wishing to do the same might, in turn, be considerate of the inputs that their suppliers utilize in their operations. As mentioned before, these inputs include – but are not limited to – various impact considerations previously mentioned.

This backward view of the supply chain links the end user of the services of the cruise ship to the beginning of the supply chain – and that includes all the companies that, working backward, might make up the chain to the original source. An original source might be cotton growers and the policies they have in place that might affect the methods that they use to grow, harvest and supply the converters of the cotton.

Questions that an Operations Managers might ask, for example, are:

· Ate the cotton growers using harmful, earth polluting chemicals in growing the cotton?

· Is child labor being used in harvesting?

· Are working conditions safe, and are wage and hours legal and fair?

· Are materials being delivered on time – and if not, what are the reasons that are preventing this?

These questions impact the management of the supply chain and organizations can gain or lose competitive advantage if they do not consider such questions because, in the case of a cruise ship, for example, an enlightened vacationer might hardly be impressed that the soft cotton sheets that she uses on the cruise line were made from cotton picked by children who live in slums and who earn mere pennies a day for back-breaking labor – and are denied an education because of these poor labor practices.

These types of considerations and decisions faced by a cruise line Operations Manager will affect his or her own company’s financial bottom line and will also affect the operations management of their down-line suppliers, as it also would in manufacturing. One can easily see that the considerations and activities of Operations Managers in service industries easily affect supply chain management in their organizations.

Maintaining a Competitive Advantage

Today’s consumers are more sophisticated and keenly aware of the global impact that their actions have on the environment and many consumers already take actions to reduce their “carbon footprint”, that is the contribution to the environmental impact of human beings and their activities upon the planet.

For example, the more waste one leaves behind in one’s daily activities, the larger one’s carbon foot-print. This idea has been capsulized in the term “going green”. Consumers are not only modifying their own habits in order to minimize waste and thus reduce their carbon footprints, but they are also holding corporations accountable for their impacts on the environment. This has put pressure on many corporations to go green by embracing more environmentally friendly processes in their operations.

Cruise ships are like floating cities that can generate as much as “…30,000 gallons of sewage, 250,000 gallons of kitchen, bath and laundry waste water and 10 tons of garbage — each day”. Effectively managing the inputs that create this amount of waste begins with effective management of the supply chain. Effective management of the supply chain begins with effective operations management.

Socially and environmentally conscious organizations that develop a vision and a mission articulating a clear objective to take responsibility for ensuring the sustainability of all inputs that go into their products will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t. So a cruise line, for example, that establishes a culture of “world class supply chain management” into its operational processes can gain significant competitive advantage over its competitors because “supply management directly affects the two factors which control the bottom line: total costs and sales”[2] (Burt, Dobler, Starling. 2003, p. 10).

For example, a cruise ship line that is an early entrant into World Class Supply Management practices will most likely emerge as a leader in the practice and, as such, will stand to hold “40 -60 percent of the market after competition enters the picture” (p. 11). The quality of its offerings will also improve as it utilizes the sustainable goods produced by manufacturers. Since quality usually commands premium prices, this can help firms gain market share. Today, a more informed and enlightened public demand higher quality goods and thus supports organizations that deliver quality.

Additionally, consumers are demanding more and more that corporations go green as much as possible. Building sustainability into the supply chain will improve quality and increase customer satisfaction. Organizations that do not build sustainability into their operations will find that it will cost them more (in the loss of market share) to NOT do so. By building sustainability into their practices early, both manufacturing and service organizations can expect to gain and maintain a competitive advantage.