5 P’s of a Successful Home Based Business

Achieving a successful home based business stands out as the goal of any home business entrepreneur. One can find numerous tips, ebooks, and websites that provide advice regarding how to do it. But I believe that all this information, as important and as required as it is, can be grouped into five broader categories. You need a purpose, passion, a plan, persistence in carrying out that plan, and patience to wait for the plan to work.Purpose- The first step is easy. It’s the reason you went looking for a successful home based business to start with. Write down the reasons you want or need to work from home as well as what you will do with the extra income you make. Read these reasons aloud first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. You may even put pictures on a poster board to remind you of what you will do with the extra income and place it somewhere in the house where you will see it regularly. Think of them during the day. Doing this will lead naturally to the next step, which is passion.Passion- Napoleon Hill said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” When you develop a strong purpose or desire to work at home, it will lead to a deep, burning passion to succeed. That desire will carry you through failures, by people who tell you can’t do it, and it will help overcome your own doubt. One thing that is hardly ever mentioned to those who are starting their home based business is the need for personal development. A person needs to grow just like their business grows.Plan- Everyone knows the saying, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” That holds true for a successful home based business. I don’t know how many people, including myself, have started a home business opportunity without having any idea, or attempting to get an idea, of what to do to be a success. The way to develop a plan is beyond what I will attempt to say here but I will make 4 points. First, the plan needs to written down. A written plan holds a person accountable and gives you a track to run on. Secondly, utilize a mentor, if possible, that will help you come up with a written business plan. A mentor can be someone involved your home based business, someone who already has a successful home based business, or it may be someone that will do it for a fee. Thirdly, the plan should be goal oriented. Goals need to be specific and have a definite date for completion. And finally, be fairly flexible with your plan. You may need to make some modifications to it especially if something just isn’t working. But the main thing is to keep a written plan in place at all times.Persistence- My favorite way to describe persistence is sustained effort. Once a plan is in place, it must be carried out, continually. Create a schedule to carry out your plan and do your absolute best to stick with it. Treat your own home based business like a full time job and eventually you’ll harvest the rewards of a full time occupation. Get the mindset that just as you have to go to your regular occupation on certain days at certain times, you need to work at your home based business on certain days at certain times.Patience- Finally, after the plan is created, and the schedule is laid out and you become persistent in carrying out your plan, you must be patient. This is a world of instant gratification. We want and can get most everything quick. But a successful home based business is not going to happen overnight. It has been said time and again that creating a successful home based business is really a marathon, not a sprint. Too many people quit just before they’re about to see results. Be prepared to stick it out for the long haul.I don’t know of a magic way to make money online. But I definitely believe that one can achieve a successful home based business by having a stated purpose, developing a burning passion to succeed, setting up a firm plan, being persistent in carrying out that plan, and by having the patience to wait for it to achieve its potential. And although there are hundreds of more detailed tips on creating a successful home based business, these are five easy ones to keep in mind.

What Is Involved in Operating a Christian Home Based Business?

In order to answer that question, it is important to determine what is unique about a Christian home based business. What would make this different from any ministry a person might become involved in? An obvious answer would be that a primary objective of any business is making money. A ministry, such as operating a food pantry, teaching adults to read, or any number of other activities might be developed purely to meet the needs of others, alleviate suffering, and glorify God.Asking a clarifying question, like the familiar, “What would Jesus do?” can be helpful in determining whether a business opportunity qualifies as Christian in your understanding or not. Obviously, you will not be considering anything immoral or unethical. You would also not be involved in something that takes advantage of or exploits someone else.Have you ever gone online to look for a Christian home based business? Discouraging, isn’t it? Maybe even scary! How do you navigate through all the offers out there and determine which ones are legitimate and which ones are just an attempt to separate you from your money? I think the phrase,”Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” Matthew 10:16, describes the narrow path we have to walk in establishing a Christian home based business.I imagine you have heard the statistics that 95-98% of people who start a home based business, let alone a Christian home based business, fail. Like most of us, you have more than likely either failed at a home based business or know someone who has. With all those things stacked against you, why would you even try? That gets back to the single most important question to ask yourself,”Why am I considering this?” What do I want badly enough that I am willing to do whatever work is necessary and assume whatever risks are required to reach my goal.In planning to start a Christian based home business the “why” should definitely be more significant than making money, paying off bills or even living a better lifestyle. As a Christian our motivation should be grounded in our faith. That gives us an extra level of stability since it moves our motivation and resolve from simply something in our own self interest to meeting the needs of someone else.It follows Jesus’ words when he was asked what the greatest commandment is, “And he said to them, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and the first commandment. And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39. Blending these two should be our ultimate goal in a Christian home based business.It sounds like a tall order, and it is, to combine total love of God, ourself and others, but the right Christian home based business can accomplish exactly that. If we do nothing that we would not want to share openly with God, then we know what we are doing will glorify Him. In a way our business becomes a standard by which others evaluate us. That becomes even more significant when we attach the standard of our faith to the performance of our business. We are actually inviting people to include this in their evaluation of us.If we endeavor to create only “win-win” scenarios in our relationships, we know that we are placing the best interest of others at least on a par with our own. With this foundation, your Christian home based business can really be a ministry that will bless you and others and glorify God. Combined with that, it can be the source of financial reward, allowing you to meet your own needs as well as the needs of others.

7 Things to Consider When Engaging Small Business Consultants

Many small businesses are experts in their field and know their own business inside and out. However lots of small business owners lack the time or expertise required to implement certain projects. That’s where a small business consultant can step in and help.In order to achieve a successful project it’s important to be clear about what you want your consultant to be able to do for you. Just as important is selecting a consultant with the right skills for the job, but how do you make sure you don’t get off on the wrong foot?Here are some things to consider:1. Are you looking for a research/diagnostic approach or do you need help with implementation?Firstly are you looking for someone to take a diagnostic approach to a business problem you are facing? For instance, which market segment should you enter? Or what product line should you sell? Or is your business need about implementation? For instance, you’ve identified that you need to be on Social Media and need a marketing consultant with the expertise to make this happen.The two needs are different and some consultants are better in one area than the other. To find out whether your prospective consultant prefers to work on implementation projects or research projects ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specific examples of projects they have worked on and how they have tackled projects similar to yours in the past.2. Ask prospective consultants how their clients are better off after they leave.What sort of outcomes were they able to achieve for their clients? Look out for wishy-washy answers. Look for specific examples and outcomes. Does this fit with the sorts of outcomes that you would like for your business? Where they able to increase website traffic by a certain percentage, reduce staff turnover by a certain amount or generate more business for the client?Picking the wrong person for the job might end up feeling like you are pushing water up a hill with a rake. Not only will the results be less than optimal but it may end up being a costly and stressful experience also.3. Be careful of wanting champagne on a beer budget.Do you want fast, cheap or talented? You must pick two out of the three. There is a triangle trade off here. You can get premium talent, faster results or a cheaper cost but Taylor Swift won’t teach your team how to sing tomorrow for free if you see what I mean.Often a small business owner will set a budget and then begin the search for the best talent and/or fastest result within that budget. From my experience a budget-driven approach can often compromise results. Your best approach is to establish your desired outcome, then judge each potential candidate by how likely they are to be able to achieve that outcome.4. Look for a solid “About Us” page.Ask consultants about their qualifications and their approach. With so many so-called ‘experts’ out there it’s really important to identify who is qualified and able to do the job for you. Ask prospective consultants questions about their skills and experience to determine whether they are fit for the job. Are they methodical in their approach? Do have a history of achieving quality results for clients? This will help you to avoid being mislead by organisations with few processes, a glossy website and no real qualifications or experience.5. Ask yourself whether you think you will be comfortable working with the consultant.Do you think they are going to be the right fit for your business? Can you see yourself and your team working well with them? Sometimes it’s less about the exact industry experience they have had and more about their ability to get results.6. Think about goals and outcomes first.Don’t pick a technical specialist to do a job when you really need someone who can deliver a sales outcome. Think about your goal first, what are you trying to achieve? For instance, if it’s conversions and leads from your website then perhaps what you really need is a marketing consultant to advise on the layout of the website rather than just a technical person to do the build. A technical person can definitely build the website for you, it will function beautifully, but will it achieve your goal of converting traffic to sales?7. Be wary of small business consultants who are all things to all people.A good consultant will be honest about what their speciality is and will not simply be a ‘yes’ man or woman. They will push back on projects, ideas and suggestions that they don’t think are right for your business or are beyond their area of expertise. Look for a consultant with backbone not someone who lets you steer the project without alerting you to the danger that lies ahead because they are too afraid to question your judgement or afraid they will upset you. I’d rather have an expert question me and make suggestions than sit back and watch me sink the ship!So whether it is a marketing consultant or a small business consultant you are looking for, many of the same rules apply. Identify what you need and look at it from an outcomes perspective, work out who has the expertise to help you achieve your goals and whether or not you are comfortable working with them. Look for someone who is genuinely interested in working with you and passionate about what they do.

How to Start a Home Based Business and Grow It to Profitability

In this discussion, we are going to focus on issues pertaining to how to start a home-based business. Many of the most successful businesses were actually started it in someone’s home. We’re all familiar with the many fables and legends of individual starting multi-billion dollar enterprises in their basements and garages and certainly you can develop a highly successful business that is based from home. Of course, only a small and almost infinitely small fraction of the use of home-based businesses will become as successful as the next Microsoft were Facebook, however, you can develop a secondary income for yourself to the development of a home based business. In fact, over time, your home-based business may become your full-time job. When you are starting a home-based business, the most important thing to do is to first determine what type of business at you ultimately seeking to start. Many people, with the advent of the Internet, have taken the starting small e-commerce businesses were small blogs are able to generate a modest amount of income on a monthly basis. As such, we fully recommend that you harness the power the Internet when you are starting your home-based business. However, not all home-based businesses need to be based on the Internet or have a nationwide presence. For instance, if you are very good with numbers and have a strong background in bookkeeping, then it is very common for you to open up a part-time bookkeeping practice that is based solely out of your home.

One of the downsides to opening a home-based business that operates with local clients if they can come off as unprofessional that you simply work out of your home as it pertains to the services that you render. As such, you may want to work directly with the client at their location or providing services such as bookkeeping or other personal services that do not necessarily need to be rendered within your home. Over time, you may want to be to able to afford a small office space that will allow you to give your business and more professional look as it pertains to working with local clients.

It should be noted, on a side discussion, as it pertains to financing a small business it is somewhat typical. The small business administration typically does not allow for loans made to home-based businesses. This is primarily due to the fact that one of the reasons why the small business administration was created was so that traditional businesses could be launched and individuals would hire other people within their small business facilities. As such, you may be an excellent candidate for a SBA loan however you are going to need to move into a traditional facility before you’re able to receive this type of financing. However, there are a number of other types of financing methodologies available to you. This may include using some of your own savings, using some income from your 401(k) or IRA accounts, taking out a personal loan, using credit cards, or working with a potential investor that can provide you with the financing that you need in order to launch a business. Of course, there is no proper way to ever play in the business, there are a million ways to skin a cat, and as such you may want to tap some unconventional means as it pertains to obtain financing for your home-based business. As it pertains to using credit cards or personal loans in order to finance your home-based business, this can be a very expensive endeavor. Most personal loans are unsecured by any type of tangible property more tangible asset typically has a substantially higher interest rates in the back associated with a secured loan. In most cases, your interest rate can vary anywhere from 9% to 20% per year depending on your overall credit score. As such, it is absolutely imperative for use loan financing in order to start your home-based business recommend that you very carefully to all potential financing options for using personal loans or credit cards. In time, there are other types of lending facilities that you can use as it pertains to receiving the financing that you may need on the ongoing basis.

After you determine which type of home-based business one a start, it is time to start the preparation of your business plan. Here, you’re going to want to create a blueprint of how you intend to provide your services or products the general public, how you will integrate certain procedures and protocols into your day-to-day activities relating your to your home-based business, developing a well focused financial model that has a profit and loss statement, cash flow analysis, balance sheet, pregame analysis, business reaches page, and general assumptions page that will be used in conjunction with your company, and a detailed overview of how you intend to market your business.

As we discussed before, you can use the power of the Internet to market your business, even on a local level areas many home-based businesses are now also turning to popular social networking websites such as Facebook, Flickr, tumbler, and other popular portals in order to get the word out among people they know. You have a number of contacts within your local area that have a specific need for a specific type of service then you may be able to reach out to them directly by being able to directly contact them via e-mail and through the affirmation social networks. In fact, we strongly recommend that you create a Facebook page and work-related social networking page that showcases your home-based business in exactly the services that you provide as it relates to your company. If you are engaging in e-commerce operations, then it is extremely important for you to invest heavily in promoting your business through social networking media, search engine optimization, and pay per click marketing. In time, you’ll find a number of people are able to find your e-commerce platform very quickly and that your infant every turn over rate will be extremely high. Although this is somewhat of a general article pertaining to how to start a home-based business, you are, again, engaged in the business of selling products on an e-commerce basis than we strongly recommend that you also use very popular third-party selling platforms such as eBay and Amazon so that you are able to, again, had a very brisk inventory turnover as it relates to your overall operations. In the following, that at the onset of your home-based business operations, you are typically able to sell more of your e-commerce-based merchandise through Amazon and eBay versus through a proprietary e-commerce site. Additionally, as it relates to e-commerce, these websites often charge minimal fees as it pertains to showcasing the products that you have for sale to the general public. As such, if you are selling products that you are either acquiring or producing on your own that you may want to check out this type of third-party sales platform in order to further your sales as time progresses. Of the utmost importance that you developed a very strong marketing plan especially to if you are engaged in e-commerce selling activities.

Relating to our discussion as it relates to financing ongoing business operations, once you have established your business then you may want to consider the possibility of taking credit cards. If you are heavily engaged in e-commerce, you can usually secure a line of credit based on your amount of money that is coming in through the credit card receivables that you receive. For instance, if you operate an e-commerce website that generates $10,000 a month in revenue then you can typically obtain a credit line equal to approximately $10,000-$20,000 depending on the specific lender. This is commonly known as merchant financing and it can be a very good way for you to manage your cash flow on a month-to-month basis as you plan on starting a home-based business. However, unlike in SBA loan that were conventional business loan, merchant financing based on credit card receivables is typically very expensive. As such, it is strongly recommended that you use this type of marketing sparingly as it does cost a significant amount of money. Typically, work in financing is approximately the same interest rate costs associated with a personal loan or credit card.

Also, you’re going to want to think about whether or not you shooting for your business or create a limited liability company to manage your business operations. If you do decide to incorporate create a limited liability company then you will have the ability to create a bank account in the company’s name, and don’t conduct business under the company’s name, and have that company almost act as a third-party as he progressed business operations. Additionally, there are many tax benefits associated with incorporating as you will be able to more effectively receive and deduct certain expenses for your home-based business. On a side note, and home-based business should ever be started for tax savings purposes. In fact, the IRS has cracked down substantially on individual entrepreneurs have created a home-based business solely with the intent to write off a substantial amount of their ongoing living expenses were ongoing business expenses. As such, you need to ensure that you are operating this as a legitimate part time business it is simply based out of your home. When you’re starting a home-based business, we strongly recommend that you have a certified public accountant or tax attorney work with you so that you can properly plan out how certain normal expenses within your home will be deducted if you were Corporation or your limited liability company. Of course, you do not necessarily need to start a corporation or limited liability company in order to larger business operations. At the onset of operations, you can decide to work as a sole proprietor which means that ultimately everything that you do as you conduct business is through you as an individual and not as appropriate. However, with this comes the risk of unlimited liability if something should happen or if you are sued. For instance, many business experts often recommend that a individual business does incorporate into the fact that it should something go wrong be litigating party can typically only go after the assets that are held by the corporation. However, if you were acting as the sole provider, any leading party can come after all of your personal assets including your home, vehicles, retirement accounts, and other issues and assets that you may have been held by your person. As such, you should make a determination as to whether or not you will be engaging in any type of activity or selling any product that ultimately could have some potential for you don’t wind up in court for one reason or another. Again, we always recommend these speakers with attorneys for all of the advice as it pertains to these matters.

This business can be a fun activity and certainly can provide you with a very good source of secondary income for the ability to eventually turn your home-based business into a full-time job. Again, in summation, you need to always ensure that you are starting a home-based business for the right reasons. The wrong reasons, as we discussed throughout this article, include simply starting a home-based business with the intent of paid tax deductions. The best reasons for starting a home-based business are typically because you want to have a business that provides you with ancillary income that this is your passion and that you want to create a full-time business out of it in the future.

Where To Find The Best Free Advertising Online

The other day I decided to clean out my garage, and was amazed at the amount of unwanted items I’d collected over the last couple of years. There was a couple of cell phones, ski boots, my old laptop, pieces of furniture and even the old salt water system from the pool. All were in excellent working order and far too good to throw away. Thinking that they would certainly be useful to someone somewhere, I decided to advertise them on the Internet. But where would I find the best free advertising online?

I decided to research the main websites.. like Craigslist, US Free Ads, and eBay before deciding which would be the best place to sell my unwanted items. Key criteria was going to be ease and speed at which the items were sold, and of course how much I would get from the total sales. A quick visit to each of the sites had me realizing there was no simple answer when it comes to selling your unwanted items. Finding the website offering the best free advertising online was to be no walk in the park.

I started by categorizing every aspect of the selling process, making a note of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the online advertising services I was to research. Here’s a few notes on my findings.

Craigslist – Free Advertising Online

The Craigslist web site works in much the same way as an old fashioned classified ads portal, with the main difference being that you are able to add images with your text, and buyers are able to browse advertisements in their own geographical area (city and state) by category or simply by the date, making contact with the seller either online or by phone number, assuming one is provided. Sellers choose a metropolitan area, and category, create an ad (with or without photos) adding their phone number if they wish. The seller’s email address is hidden from would be buyers. Contact with the seller is made through internal email. The seller thereby controls how they wish to be contacted by prospective buyers. The great thing about Craigslist is it’s free, with no charges for seller or buyer. Shipping costs are rarely an issue as the web site works locally giving potential buyers the opportunity to visit, inspect and collect merchandise.

A couple of disadvantages with Craigslist are firstly your advertisement is limited to one particular metropolitan area, and secondly, because of the open nature of the bulletin board, it has become a haven for spammers and scammers, so you need to be on your toes and never release any goods until you’ve been paid in cash.

US Free Ads – Free And Paid Online Advertising Services

US Free Ads has been offering free advertising online since 1999, and the web site offers both free and paid online advertising services to it’s 800,000 members.

Basic membership is free, but is limited to private non-commercial use. Once you’ve registered, you are entitled to free advertising online, and can choose to either go nationwide or stay in your own metropolitan area. You can place a new advert at any time and you are able to advertise most products, items and services, as you would expect to find in a regular newspaper classified section. As a seller you can place your advertisement with images, and. prospective buyers can contact you through internal email so although you might receive the odd spam mail, security is pretty good.

eBay Classifieds – Local Free Advertising Online

Most people automatically think of eBay as being a paid auctions web site, but eBay Classifieds was launched in the U.S. in June 2007, originally as Kijiji.com, and specializes in free advertising online with the emphasis on local ads. You will need to register to post a free ad, but once you log in you’ll find loads of categories to choose from and 272 local community areas across the US.

The only drawback I found with eBay Classifieds is that it is local only, so you are only able to place your ads in your own area. Security is good though and because eBay Classifieds is part of the eBay Group, you can expect your ads will have a great deal of exposure.

So, having had a closer look at these three quality, online advertising services, I found it difficult to make a choice between them. Then it dawned on me.. since there was no fees involved and they all offered free advertising online, I decided to advertise my ‘stuff’ on all three portals. It turned out to be a fun exercise and needless to say I sold everything within a week. I did notice that the bigger items sold through Craigslist, and the more expensive items sold through the contacts I made at US Free Ads, with the remainder of my sales took longer, but sold through eBay Classifieds.

At the end of the day, I guess I was unable to discover which was the best free online advertising portal. My advise to anyone interested in clearing out the garage, looking for a new job, buying a used car, selling your old bike, lining up a babysitter, or simply warming to your kids’ plea for a puppy, is to keep your options open. Use all three of these fine online advertising services to full advantage, and I’m sure, like me, you’ll be delighted with the results.

The Finer Points of Internet Auctions

WHAT IS A PENNY AUCTION?

Penny auctions have exploded in popularity with the massive growth of the internet. However, few people know the true origins of penny auctions.Beginnings actually stretch back to the Great Depression. Those were hard times for everyone, but even harder for farmers. Farmers struggled to bring in steady income because of droughts and crops not selling as well as they had previously. As a result, the banks would foreclose on the farmers who couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments.

The banks weren’t satisfied with just repossessing the house, they wanted to raise as much capital as possible, so they resorted to selling off the possessions of the owners of the repossessed houses. There was not much the farmers could do about it so they began bidding ridiculously low prices, pennies, on the items while threatening others who dared to bid higher than a few pennies.

The auctions of today hardly resemble their tremulous beginnings. Being part of a penny auction today is exhilarating, fun, and addictive. It combines the selling format of auctioning with a little bit of chance factored in.Auctions are a game of strategy but also a game of luck.

The premise behind penny auctions is giving people the chance to win an item at a drastically reduced price.Auctions make that possible by spreading out the cost of the product among multiple bidders. In order for a person to take part in an auction, they must pay a set price for each bid. For example, if a person wanted to bid on a fifty dollar Amazon gift card then he would spend a dollar for each time a bid placed. If he ended up winning the gift card, then he would only have spent a few dollars for a fifty dollar gift card. Usually penny auctions sell bids in packages.

HOW PENNY AUCTIONS WORK!

The main foundation of penny auctions is the pay-per-bid format. It is the key that allows bidders to win items at the fraction of their retail value and allows the auction owners to keep their site profitable. Most y auction sites run on the same premise: people pay a set amount for each bid, whenever a person places a bid within the closing seconds of the auction time will be added, the last person left with a unique bid after the clocks runs out will win the item. There are a large variety of items that can be won, but they tend to be popular electronics or gift cards to popular stores.

There are two types of auctions: lowest unique bid auction and highest unique bid auction. Lowest unique auction sounds confusing but it is actually quite simple. A unique bid is when only one person has a bid at a certain price. Bids usually start at one penny, a bidder can then place a bid at two pennies. Until another bidder places a higher bid, the most recent bidder will be the lowest unique bid because that was the only bid at two cents and nobody bid higher. However, penny auctions generally don’t stop at one penny. It is not uncommon to find auctions that end up at a couple hundred dollars based on the popularity of the item being auctioned. However, the same principles apply for those auctions. Highest unique bid auctions follow the more traditional auction format such as eBay. The person with the highest bid at the end of the auction wins the item.

Auction site owners turn a profit by selling bids. Say twenty people are bidding on a ten dollar gift card at one dollar per bid, at the end of the auction if there were twenty bids placed in total then the site owner would have made twenty dollars with a ten dollar profit.Auctions do seem like a win-win situation:The site owner makes money while the bidder gets an item for dirt cheap. However, not everyone wins in penny auctions. The people who paid one dollar each bid but left with nothing to show for their investments will not be so happy.

HOW TO WIN!

Penny auction has a lot of chance mixed into it, but one can incorporate strategy that will help raise the chances of winning. Playing smart can make all the difference between gambling and auctioning.

The first crucial tip to winning penny auctions is to know how to manage your bids. Your goal should be to win as much as possible without spending a ton of money buying bids. Managing your bids means that you should already know how much you are willing to risk in order to win an item. The amount of capital you are willing to risk will determine how many bids you can use. Once you know how many bids you have to spend on an item, then you will be better able to manage how and when you place a bid. That will keep you from blowing away all of your bids in the first few seconds of the auction.

The next tip is to practice time management. When fighting in the trenches of penny auctions, you have two enemies: other bidders and time. Knowing when to bid is a must if you want to have success. Placing a bid when there is a lot of time left on the clock is never a good idea. You have to remember that the key to winning a penny auction is being the last one standing when the clock runs out and that each bid increases the amount of time left. It would be a good practice to wait until the last few minutes of the auction before you begin to bid.

The final tip for successful auctioning is to keep your emotions under control.Auctions have a lot of similarities to gambling, and just like gambling, your spending can get out of control. If you keep your emotions level, it will keep you from making rash decisions and blowing loads of cash. Keep your mind clear so that you can gage the behavior of the other bidders and outsmart them.

HOW TO AVOID SCAM SITES!

Penny auctions are a great addition to the web whether you want to win an item that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to afford or if you simply enjoy the thrill that comes with bidding in auctions. Unfortunately, scam sites have tarnished the reputation of the legitimate penny auction sites. However, there are ways that you can protect yourself from scamers and enjoy your auctioning without having to worry about losing your money due to dishonesty.

Checking the reputation of the auction site before you start spending your hard earned money is always a good idea. Chances are other people have tried the site before you and some of them have left reviews. The reviews are your way to gage whether a auction site is trustworthy or not. If a site is getting overwhelmingly negative reviews, then that is a clear indication that you should steer your business elsewhere.

Another tool you can use to protect yourself is checking the Alexia ranks of the auction sites. Alexia rank will give a solid view of how much traffic the auction is getting. If you see a huge difference in the amount of traffic Alexia is projecting and the amount of active bidders on the site, then warning signals should be ringing in your head. Some auction sites have been known to set up robots that automatically bid on projects in order to keep the auction going and inflate the price. That is known as shill bidding. You can sniff out those sites by comparing the traffic the site should be getting to the amount of users using this site.

CONCLUSION!

New legislation may come out later down the road that will officially make penny auctions gambling, but until then, it is a fun, exciting auction that allows one to win the item they’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford.Auctions are also quite lucrative for the site owners because of the pay-per-bid strategy they’ve incorporated. Penny auctions had humble beginnings with farmers who just wanted to get back at the banks who kicked them out of their house. More recently, auctions have enjoyed an explosion in popularity with the rise of the internet.

There are two main formats fora auctions, lowest and highest unique auction, however they both run on the same premise where the last unique bid wins the item. Winning a penny auction will require a certain amount of mental tactic and a bit of luck. However, you can increase your odds of winning by practicing certain techniques such as managing your bids wisely, learning how to work with the time, and keeping a level head and your emotions under control. When you combine those three strategies to your bidding plan, you will find that you win a lot more often.

It is important that you do your due diligence to protect yourself when participating in auctions. Not every auction is run by honest and trustworthy people. There are people out there who just want to take your money. You can protect yourself by ensuring that you only bid on sites that already have a very positive reputation from real users.

How to Find Great Live Auctions for Resale Items

Hi, my name is Walt. I’m an auctioneer with 25 years of experience in the auction business and licensed in the state of MA. I own Quick Auction Service, a company that specializes in building and running custom auctions, I’m also the webmaster of my own site and have been on eBay for 8 years. Besides eBay, the types of auctions I run most frequently are antiques and on-site estate auctions, although I’ve run everything from business overstock auctions to charity & special event auctions.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge and stories of the auction business. My goal for article is to help folks get the absolute most out of their auction experience.

Whether your fresh out of the package or a seasoned dealer I think I can offer something in this article to help you with your auciton adventures.

There may be as many reasons to attend auctions as there are types of auctions to attend. Maybe you want to attend an auction to buy items for re-sale on eBay, or some other market. Maybe you want to furnish your home with wonderful antiques, or you want to furnish your home as inexpensively without sacrificing quality.Some folks are just looking for a fun night out. With a little perseverance all these things are possible.

There are antiques and estate auctions, auto auctions, overstock auctions, absolute and no reserve auctions, real estate auctions, specialty auctions where only one genre of items are sold, tailgate auctions, live auctions, online auctions, sealed bid auctions, silent auctions, charity and fund raising auctions and many more.

Can you really buy for pennies on the dollar at an auction? You bet! Many times I’ve seen folks buy and re-sell at the same auction on the same night for a good profit, although be advised, this should only be done after the auction is over.

There are a lot of ways to find an auction, but here are some tips on how to find and attend the best ones.

Visit the genre of shops in the area that apply to the type of auction you want to attend. IE: If your looking for a good antique auction to attend, stop in the local antiques shops and ask for what there are for good auctions in the area. Sounds obvious right? But listen to what they don’t say as well as what they do say. Oftentimes when a dealer speaks poorly about an auction he or she attends, it may be likely that they are trying to keep a good thing secret. Think for a moment, why would a dealer keep attending a lousy auction?

Newspaper ads: I personally like to find ads in the classified ad section rather than flashy display ads. Flashy ads are usually indicative of an auction that will be high priced, may have reserves, (a set price on an item), and usually an enormous crowd. While any auction can be profitable to attend, it is usually best to steer clear of the glitzy ones, at least for the beginner.

Here’s the minimum you want to find out before you go. If there is a phone number in the ad, call and ask for the terms of the sale. What forms of payment do they accept? Is it an absolute auction? An absolute auction is one that has no minimum or reserve bids on items. These are the best auctions to attend! Is there a buyers premium? A buyers premium is like a tax that everyone who makes purchases at that auction must pay above the winning bid price. Most auctions these days do charge a buyers premium, 10% is not unreasonable but I feel much more than that is greedy, and the auctioneer that charges over 10% is counting on most bidders not doing the extra math as the bids quicken in pace.

A fair auction will have ample time to inspect the merchandise, usually at least 2 or 3 hours. Find out when inspection starts and make sure to attend! Never attend an auction if you can’t make the inspection, not unless your prepared to gamble. Most auctioneers sell at a rate of about 100 items per hour, which is why they sell “as is”. They simply don’t have the time to give a detailed description of all the items. Since almost all items at auction are sold AS IS, there are sure to be some damaged, refinished, fake and incomplete items at any given auction. Beware of any auctions that offer very little or no inspection time.

Good auctions will usually have 150 to 400 lots. A lot may be one item or a group of items. The exception to this are specialty auctions, auto auctions, real estate auctions etc.

When you attend your first sale, take note of the 1/2 dozen or so dealers that buy the most often. See if you can find out about other area auctions they attend.

When you do find an excellent auction, attend it as often as possible. By frequenting good sales, you help increase the bottom line of that business. It’s difficult for many auctioneers to keep the quality of merchandise consistent, so good attendance certainly helps. And when an auctioneer gets to know you as a buyer, he/she will go out of the way to accommodate you, to keep you coming back.

Hiring An Auction Company

Estimating your assets value:

Typically, one of the first questions a business owner will ask me is, “how much will the assets bring at an auction”. After taking the time to review the assets, the auctioneer should give the client a conservative estimate of the sale based upon his experience and the current market trends. It is important that the company give realistic expectations so the seller can make informed decisions based on their best interest.

Compensation and Expenses:

Is the company you are considering working for you or against you? The agreement you decide may determine this.

A business owner should carefully consider how the auction company is compensated. The most common commission structures include: straight commission, outright purchase of assets, guaranteed base with a split above to both auctioneer and seller, guaranteed base with anything above going to auctioneer or a flat fee structure.

In a straight commission structure, the company is paid an agreed upon percentage of the total sale.

In an outright purchase agreement, the auctioneer simply becomes your end buyer. The company purchases your assets and relocates them. While this can be an option in some unique situations, keep in mind that they will want to purchase your assets at a very reduced price to make a profit at a later date.

In a minimum base guarantee, the auction company guarantees the seller that the auction will generate a minimum amount of sales. Anything above that amount either goes to the auction company or split with the seller. While a seller might feel more comfortable doing an auction knowing that he is guaranteed a minimum amount for his sale, keep in mind that it is the best interest of the auction company to secure a minimum base price as low as possible in order reduce their financial liability to the seller and secure higher compensation for the sale.

In a flat fee structure, the auctioneer agrees to show up for the sale and call the auction. There is no incentive for the auctioneer to get the best prices for your assets. The auction company is compensated regardless of the outcome of your sale.

What is the best option for business owners? In my experience, an agreed upon straight commission structure. This puts the responsibility on the auction company to offer the best outcome for everyone involved. There is an incentive for the auction company to work hard for both parties, set up and run a professional sale, get the highest bid and sell every item on the inventory. Successful auctions translate to a higher bottom line for both the seller and the auction company.

Auction Expenses:

In most auction agreements the expenses to conduct an auction are passed to the seller. If the auction company pays for the expenses, it is simply absorbed in higher commission rates.

All expenses should be agreed upon in advance in a written contract. Typical expenses will include the costs of advertising, labor, legal fees, travel, equipment rentals, security, postage and printing. A reputable auction company will be able to estimate all expenses based upon their experience in previous auctions. An agreement should be actual costs charged as expenses, not an estimated amount.

Advertising is typically the highest cost in conducting an auction. The auction company needs to set up an advertising campaign that will promote the sale to its best advantage and not overspend to simply advertise the auction company.

Once the auction is complete, the auction company should provide a complete breakdown of all expenses to the seller, including copies of receipts within the auction summary report.

Buyer’s Premium:

What is a buyer’s premium? If you attend auctions regularly, you are very familiar with this term. The auction company charges a fee to the buyer when they buy an item at auction.

The buyer’s premium has been around since the 1980′s and is standard auction practice. It was first used by auction houses to help offset costs of running brick and mortar permanent auction facilities. Since then, it has spread to all aspects of the auction industry. It is prominent in online auctions and allows auction companies to cover added expenses incurred from online sales.

It is the responsibility of the auction company to provide clear disclosure of the buyer’s premium to both the buyers and the sellers. Those not familiar with auctions are often taken back by the buyer’s premium. They looked upon it as an under handed way for the auction company to make more money. Reputable auction companies will provide full disclosure within the auction contract, advertisement and bidder registration.

Typically, an auction company will charge online buyers a higher buyer’s premium percentage than those attending an auction in person. Extra fees are incurred with online bidding and are charged accordingly to online buyers. This provides the seller a level playing field for both online buyers and those attending the auction in person. Without the buyer’s premium, there is no way to do this.

Pre-Sales:

We’ve all been there. We’re looking forward to attending an auction only to find that some items were sold prior to the auction date.

As an auctioneer with over thirty-six years of experience, I can honestly state that pre-sales will hurt an auction. When a company decides to liquidate their assets, it is easy to sell off high-end pieces of equipment through online sources, equipment vendors or to other businesses. The seller receives instant cash and avoids paying a commission to an auction company.

Auctioneer’s find themselves appearing to acting in a self-serving capacity when potential clients say they are planning to sell off parts of their inventory prior to an auction. It’s hard not to consider the auctioneer’s commission when they warn you not to pre-sell anything. Yes, the auctioneer wants to earn a commission on those sales but it is more important that the auctioneer protect the sale from potential negative backlash that comes from pre-selling. The buying public knows when an auction has been “cherry picked” prior to the sale and it reflects in their bidding. It becomes a sale of “leftovers” and that impacts prices.

A buyer who purchases prior to the auction usually does not attend the sale. They already bought equipment at a good price with no competition. If they do attend the auction, they tend to let others know of their great pre-sale purchases which again, impacts prices and the overall excitement of the sale.

It is important to understand that auctions work best with a complete inventory. You want competition on your higher end equipment. The easy to sell items make it possible to gain respectable prices for hard to sell items.

When a business owner decides to liquidate their equipment assets, there is only one opportunity to do it right. Hiring a reputable auction company will assist you with a professional, orderly and timely liquidation.

Five Tips for Selling at Live Auctions

Ah, the old-fashioned country auction! The idea of a country auction conjures up certain images for people. The image of a fast-talking auctioneer offering up an antique table or chair is a popular example.

People who are buying household goods or collectibles are looking to get their items at the lowest price possible. However, the people who are selling their items at auction are hoping for the highest price!

Unless a person is in the business of buying and selling antiques or other items, not a lot of thought goes into how goods are prepared for sale via the auction process. However, if you are one of the growing number of people using auction venues to sell your collectibles or other inventory, there are a few things to learn first about how to sell at auction before you bring a truckload of stuff over to the next event.

Tip 1: Make sure the things you want to sell are a good “fit” for the auction house you’ll be using.

Never bring a load to an auction house without actually having been to one of the previous auctions. It’s important to get a feel for the type of goods that the house sells. For example, at one very rural country auction it was common for the owners to sell live chickens, pots and pans, car parts, and farm equipment.

After close investigation, this would not be the right venue for selling your daughter’s “Hello Kitty” collection. On the other hand, the spare John Deere parts that you bought at last week’s yard sale might be just the right thing for the buying crowd at this auction.

Tip 2: Be sure you clearly understand the terms and policies of the auction house.

Visit with the auctioneer ahead of time. Call to find out what the best days and times are to visit. One of the worst possible times to drop in for an informational visit with an auctioneer is the day of the auction. Call ahead and ask. While you’re at it, find out what are the best days and times to drop your stuff off.

Once you have a little time with the auctioneer, you’ll be able to find out what type of commission he or she takes from consigners (which is you), and what type of paperwork might be needed. Some auction houses send out Form 1099 tax forms at the end of the year. An auctioneer may need to see your identification and have you fill out a W-9. Be prepared.

Find out what happens to your items if they don’t sell. For example, some auctioneers may have a minimum starting bid. If, for some reason, one of your items does not sell, it may be grouped with another one of your pieces. Know the auctioneer’s strategy beforehand so that you aren’t surprised on pay day.

Tip 3: Make sure the auctioneer knows what you’re selling.

It might be perfectly obvious to you that the signed print you are consigning is a rare and valuable piece of art. However, the auctioneer may not know this particular artist. Make a note of anything particularly special about your items, and leave the note with the piece. Be sure to tell the auctioneer about it as well. He or she might determine that this is something to highlight on the company website or in the newspaper listing.

Tip 4: Present your items neatly.

No one likes to have to dig through a box full of grimy and greasy car parts to see what treasures might be in there. Separate the parts and lay them out on a flat, or use more than one box to de-clutter the lot.

There is no need to buy fancy display boxes. It’s easy enough to go to the local convenience store or supermarket and ask if you can have the emptied boxes or flats that they are discarding.

While it’s good to present clean items, take care not to ruin the value of anything by over cleaning. For example, if you find some old cast iron cookware, clean the obvious dirt and grime, but don’t scrub it to its original finish. For many people, this ruins the value of the item. So, clean and tidy and organized is the key here.

Tip 5: Don’t complain to the auctioneer if your stuff doesn’t sell for as much as you’d like.

The phrase to remember here is, “You win some; you lose some.” That’s just the way it is. There are some days where an auction house is loaded with people who all seem to want what you’re selling. There will be other days where the crowd is sparse, and the bidding is simply not competitive.

Remember that it’s in the auctioneer’s best interest to sell your things for the highest possible hammer price. But sometimes, it’s just not going to be a stellar sale. The auctioneer is only human, and is also disappointed if a sale doesn’t go as well as planned.

If you notice that every time you bring a bunch of goods to sell that you’re not realizing as much as you think you honestly should, try another auction venue and compare apples to apples. That is, bring the same types of items to the new auctioneer and compare the results.

Unless the auctioneer is particularly disagreeable or inconsiderate to you or buyers, there is no reason to confront him or her about a sale. If you find you just don’t care for an auctioneer’s style or methods, find another one. Believe me, there are plenty of them out there!

The primary thing to remember as you learn how to sell at auction is that the business is unpredictable at best. You will have good days, some not-so-good days, some great days. The more you sell, the more experience you will gain, and the more enjoyable the business will be.

Real Estate Auctions – The New Land Rush

On a sunny afternoon in Florida, an energetic crowd gathers on the lawn of a high end luxury estate. A loud and eager banter between an auctioneer, a group of bidders and bidder assistants fills the air. For several minutes the auctioneer asks for the next highest bid and the bidders respond. Suddenly the bidders grow silent. The high bidder holds his breath in anticipation of winning the auction. The auctioneer calls for one more bid. In a loud clear voice which rolls over the audience he says, “Fair warning, last chance” the auctioneer pauses, “SOLD!” And in less than 10 minutes another multimillion dollar estate has changed owners.

Successful real estate auctions like the one above are happening all over North America and the Caribbean. Recently real estate auctions have been on the rise, the increase in popularity is partly driven by growing inventories and fading buyer confidence. Properties that were selling in weeks using traditional methods are now languishing on the market unable to attract buyers even as seller’s lower prices. Many say the real estate boom is over but savvy buyers and sellers are profiting from real estate auctions.

Real Estate Auctions Work in Up or Down Markets.

Regardless of trends or market cycles, real estate auctions provide an open and transparent process for buyers and sellers. Properly conducted real estate auctions attract ready and willing buyers and motivate them to act now.

The auction method removes the “wait and see” attitude which serves to further depress real estate values. Buyers are always concerned about overpaying. Buyers gain confidence with their purchases at real estate auctions because they can see what others are willing to pay.

When market demand is high and inventories low, real estate auctions can deliver selling prices well above what a willing seller would have accepted in a negotiated private treaty sale. In good selling climates many property owners using traditional real estate methods; negotiating with one buyer at a time, leave thousands of dollars of equity on the table. During up markets real estate auctions are the best way to establish top market price.

Evaluating Your Real Estate for Auction

Not every property or seller for that matter makes a good candidate for auction. First of all sellers must be ready to sell now and for the current market value. Also a real estate auction will not fix problems caused by a downturn in market value of your property, if you owe more than a willing buyer will pay, be prepared to come to closing with your check book.

Properties that do well in real estate auctions have a high uniqueness factor. Ask your self, “What makes my property different from most others?” Maybe you own a resort property or high end luxury home, commercial properties and land do very well at auction. Real estate auctions thrive on uniqueness. If your property is like everyone else’s, the best thing you can do is offer the most competitive price.

Most importantly sellers must be reasonable about setting a minimum bid. A seller must look at the lowest, most current comps and price below that to generate the interest and urgency necessary for a successful real estate auction. Once the auction begins and qualified bidders start competing against one another you can watch the selling price increase.

Locate a Qualified Real Estate Auctioneer

Start by checking with the National Auctioneers Association, the best real estate auctioneers belong to this organization. These real estate auctioneers are well trained and adhere to a standard of practice and a code of ethics. Many attend the annual International Auctioneers Conference where the latest techniques and innovations in the real estate auction industry are presented.

Find out if the company you are interviewing is a full time real estate auction firm. Many real estate agents are getting auction licenses yet have no experience with the auction method of marketing. Conducting a successful real estate auction is nothing like (private treaty) traditional real estate sales. Go with a real estate auction pro.

You’re probably better of with an auction house that specializes in real estate auctions. There are many qualified auctioneers who have generations of experience selling personal property; furniture, dishes, lawn equipment and the occasional rare painting. Selling real estate at auction is a complex matter that should only be attempted by full time experienced real estate auction professionals.

Commissions and fees may vary, sellers must pay all marketing expenses up front and buyers typically pay 10% of the sales price to the auctioneer of which a share goes to participating real estate agents.

Types of Real Estate Auctions

Auctions are effective because they create a seller’s market. Professionally conducted real estate auctions create urgency, a reason to buy today and competition for the property. Terms and conditions of sale are established ahead of the auction. Real estate auctions will follow one of these three approaches:

Absolute Auction

The property is sold to the highest bidder regardless of price- using this process often returns the highest sale price.

Minimum Bid Auction

Seller agrees to sell at or above a published minimum bid price – this method is useful for internet auctions.

Seller Confirmation or Reserve Auction

With a reserve auction, the seller “reserves” the right to accept or decline any bids usually within 48 hours of the auction. Reserve auctions are used when there is a lien on the property from a lender or a court ordered sale with a minimum selling price.