Archive for the ‘Financial Services’ Category

Marketing Case Study: Kudler Fine Foods

By Phil Forp

Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. Marketing affects all individuals, all organizations, all industries, and all countries. (Kerin, 2006, p.22) In this paper I will explain the value of three pieces of marketing research, the components of marketing mix for Kudler new catering service, far as their product, place, price, and promotions. I will also explain how Kudler should determine the products it wants to offer and how they will determine how they will price their products to be relative to other catering companies. I will also explain what term place means, how Kudler will go about promoting their catering service and describe how technology will be used by Kudler in their market, lastly I will explain if Kudler decide to go with catering how that mesh with their decision to contract with organic growers.

Marketing research is an important part of understanding the market and where there is a need for a service. The product and service will have to be targeted to the right people who are in need of the service. The three pieces of market research allow you to specify, identify, and determine the current market. The three pieces of market research are: ‘Specifying Constraints- The constraints in a decision are the restrictions placed on potential solutions to a problem. Identifying data needed for marketing action- Often marketing research studies wind up collecting a lot of that are interesting but irrelevant for marketing decisions that result into marketing actions. The data should be able to provide manager with information that allows them to make clear choice of action to take for their product. Determine how to collect data- Determining how to collect useful marketing research data is often as important as actually collecting the data. The two key elements in deciding how to collect data are concept and method. Concepts are ideas about a product or service. To find out about consumer reaction to a potential new product, marketing researchers frequently developed a new product concept, that is, a picture or verbal description of a product or service the firm might offer for sale. Methods are the approaches that can be used to collect to solve all or part of a problem.’ (Kerin, 2006, p.22)

Kudler has a new idea of starting a catering service but before they can start they will have to research the market to determine the right course of action. Kudler will have to define the marketing problem and the opportunity for increased customer satisfaction. The company will have to develop an organized plan to determine the effectiveness of their decision. People today are looking to eat healthier and stay in shape. Consumers have become interest in the quality of their health with today’s 54 percent of Americans is considered overweight. ( http://www.fit4free.org/musdevArticle.htm) As people begin to look into other foods the diet of many consumers are now change to foods that are healthier such as organic. This type of change in consumer’s diet has allowed companies like Kudler to provide these different types of food options. Before starting the catering service Kudler had decide to contract with local farmers for organic produce. The organic and gourmet food market in the United State has soured through the sky. There are more cooking show and more people cooking healthy than ever before. With this type of increasing market Kudler can began to advertise and market their organic product to their consumers. As organic continue to gain popularity with consumers the sales potential will continue to increase.

To ensure that their decision will be the best action to take for Kudler, the company will have to do research were they provide an atmosphere for customers to try their products and receive feed back. One method that Kudler could use is allowing customers to try their organic produce for free by providing samples. This can give Kudler a chance to introduce their new product and service to gain more customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is what drives a business to be successful, when customers are satisfy they return because of the product and service. Kudler will need to decide what food item and recipes will be their main attraction. The way that Kudler can determine their most popular products is by using there inventory process to track what items are being purchased frequently and more than others. According to what customers are buying, by tracking items in their inventory will tell them what products are doing well and the ones that are not, with this information Kudlers is able to determine what items would be put on their menu to entice customers.

The way that Kudler can determine its price is by knowing the community, competition, the cost of start-up, employees and preparation of meals. Unfortunately, with the quality of product that Kudler is providing the price for their food will be higher than their competition, but if Kudler can appeal to customers about their great quality and began to build loyal customers then they will pay the price because of the great quality. To be competitive in the market Kudler must be aware of the competition and the items and prices of their products and services. One of Kudler’s successful strategies is the focus on customer needs; these needs are met by offering an open menu with possible adjustments based on customer requests. With no set menu Kudler will be competitive in the market because they will cater specifically to each customer’s needs and their willingness to alter their menu keeps customers happy and coming back for future services. As a part of Kudler’s advertising strategy they need to focus on the customer satisfaction aspect and the openness to meeting and exceeding the customer requests received.

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Promotion is the key to starting a new business and the right decisions must be made to be successful. Promoting communicate messages to potential customers and clients. Kudler already has a clientele base of customers due to their existing business that willcost them little to no money to advertise to them. With the use of existing customers Kudler will be able to get word out that they have started their catering business. When customers are satisfied with a service or product they will not only come back but began to recommend the services to their friends or anyone they come in contact with. Finding out the needs of potential customers and adding this key message to advertising will draw business. For specific forms of promotion Kudler should use newspapers, in-store fliers, direct mailers to current loyal customers, and advertising over the intercom at each store location. Technology will allow Kudler to be more efficiency, cut cost and labor. Kudler right now is not using technology to its full potential but as business begin to increase this will become important as the business grows and the clientele grows to an unmanageable amount. Organic growers will mesh well with the catering service because of the increasing interest in organic foods.

As Kudler continue to grow they must remember that the most important thing is to continue to satisfy their customers and meeting their needs. As the business grows they will need to upgrade on technology to cut down cost and labor to be more efficient. Kudler can also utilize their existing customer base to advertise their product as well, as customers continue to love the services offered the existing customers will recommend the services to their friends and so on. Marketing is essential for success, research and planning must be done in order to know what course of action to take. After the implementation phase Kudler can review and look back to see what results were achieved and were the processes was most beneficial for the company overall.

References

Kerin, R.A., Hartley, S.W., Berkowitz, E.N., Rudelius, W. (2006) Marketing. [University

Of Phoenix Custom Edition e-Text].New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Kudler Intranet. (2005). July 5, 2008, from

https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/aapd/CIST/VOP/Business/Kudler/KudlerHome002.htm

Gomez-Mejia, L.R. & Balkin, D. B. (2002) Management [University of Phoenix

Custom Edition e-Text] New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies

About the Author: Phil Forp contributes as the editor to the

business and marketing

section of many well known academic research paper sites like www.FreeOnlineResearchPapers.com, for more information please visit.

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Refinance &Amp; Mortgage Tips: Down Payment From 401k Or 403b Retirement Annuities

By Tristan Hunt

If you are purchasing a home and have a substantial portion of your assets inside of a retirement account such as a 401K, 403B or other retirement product or annuity, you may choose the increasingly popular option of tapping those funds to make a down payment on your new home. Like any other accounts you may have in your name, such as brokerage accounts and bank checking, savings and money market accounts, most popular retirement accounts qualify as assets to be counted toward your ‘reserves’, a measure used by mortgage lenders to determine how many months of payments you must have in order to serve as a buffer covering payments you might miss if there were any interruption of your income.

Retirement accounts such as 401(k) or 403(b) annuity accounts are generally administered or sponsored in whole or in part by your employer. In addition to serving as excellent documentation of your earnings and savings, your 401K or 403B accounts can be used in a variety of ways to help finance your new home purchase. Depending on the specific restrictions applied to your account, you may have the option of withdrawing money directly from the account or ‘borrowing’ money in the form of a loan (against your own funds) which is repaid at a generally low rate of interest. Regardless of whether you cash money out of your account or take a loan against it, be sure to thoroughly document any details of the transaction, including any withdrawal or loan application paperwork, demand drafts, cashier’s checks, deposit tickets, etc. for the purpose of substantiating this source of funds to your lender.

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Lenders do treat down payment money from retirement accounts differently from program to program and state to state, sometimes from case to case. In particular, borrowing money in the form of a loan may increase what the lender’s perceives as your monthly debt obligations, because even though you are borrowing money from your own account, you are still obligated to make a payment every month which you wouldn’t have to make otherwise, and lenders will often consider this to be detrimental to your qualifying DTI or Debt to Income Ratio, making it harder to borrow as much money as you may need. On the other hand, cashing out any type of retirement account will always create a taxable event and sometimes also a penalty fee, which generally accounts to more than the nominal interest rate common to the loan option. Speak with your loan officer about the requirements of your individual program and weight the options with him/her or another trusted financial professional.

You may also consider speaking to your employer about any down payment assistance programs which may be available to you as part of your benefits package. These can come in many forms, but it is important to clarify with your employer that any down payment assistance granted does not amount to a loan and that there is no expectation of payment. Why would an employer want to help you make a down payment? Call them old fashioned, but most companies do want their employees to stick with them, and if your employer helped you achieve ownership of your dream home, how would you feel about them? As with the 401K, 403B or other retirement account options, down payment assistance from your employer should be documented in detail and all copies of communication, checks, deposit tickets and statements of account, along with signed records stipulating that the funds are given freely and not to be repaid, should be kept for submission to your lender.

About the Author: Tristan Hunt is a seasoned financial professional with a wealth of experience in the mortgage industry, advising clients on

debt consolidation, refinancing & investor loans

. Website: http://www.RefinanceOne.net

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Playing 20 Questions When Hiring New Employees Profitable Only When The Right Questions Are Asked

By Dustin Heath Cannon

Personnel management is the bane of existence for the majority of small business entrepreneurs. About as enjoyable as fundraising and yet as crucial as proper tax accounting, failure to ask the right questions during a job interview may result in your permitting a person onto your staff roster who will be a liability to your company. Of course, the traditional questions asked during an interview are trite at best, and reveal little if anything of value about the potential employee at worst.

Questions that invite canned answers will only tell you one thing about the potential employee: she or he has read the same literature as you, is aware of how the game is played, and knows the right answers to give. Other than that, you will not gain much of value by asking somebody about their role model, greatest strength or weakness, and reason why they think you should hire them. Instead, toss the trite questions and focus on the candidate by looking for seven traits that will show them to be a good fit for the position you are trying to fill.

1. The candidate’s qualifications must match the job opening. While experience is nice, talent to grow into a position is better at times.

2. Cleverness and acumen will guarantee an employee who can think on her or his feet.

3. Having initiative always beats waiting for directions.

4. Honesty presented with tact is worth its weight in gold. Do not hire a person who will not tell you honestly what they think of a plan, product, or idea.

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5. Find out how a candidate uses her or his life experience to deal with obstacles.

6. Understand what motivates a person. Money will give you a self serving worker.

7. Is this a likeable person? Remember that you will spend your waking hours with them and so will the rest of your staff.

While these traits will help to weed out potential duds, you can only adequately gage their presence or absence by asking the right questions. Here are 10 examples of what you could ask about in an open ended way:

1. Find out where the candidate is from and how they got to be where they are at professionally.

2. Learn where a candidate’s passion lies by finding out about their favorite job.

3. Find out what a candidate dislikes and do not put them in a job that requires it.

4. Get to know their expectation of a good boss and see if it matches you.

5. Learn how a candidate works to accomplish something they are proud of by asking about their greatest job related success and how it was achieved.

6. Get to know the opposite: find out how a candidate went about dealing with or fixing something that did not turn out right the first time around by recounting their worse job related experience and what they did in its aftermath.

7. Ask about a calamity that befell the candidate in their personal life and how they handled it. This will require tact!

8. Ask about the aspects of the position you are seeking to fill that appeal to the candidate.

9. Learn about the person’s hobbies. Opposed to popular opinion, this is not a trite question but instead a great way to learn something about the candidate on a personal level.

10. Get the candidate to share her or his thoughts on the ideal work environment. This will give you clues to their need for structure or freedom.

About the Author: Dustin Cannon, of Next Level Enterprises, LLC is a successful Internet marketer working with top leaders in the home business and Internet marketing industry. For more information visit:

CoOpForGRN.com

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How To Dispute Your Property Tax Valuation In Salt Lake County

How to Dispute Your Property Tax Valuation in Salt Lake County

by

Chad Wulf

See below for instructions on how to dispute your Salt Lake County property tax valuation.

Every year around the end of July, us Salt Lake property owners get our tax bills in the mail, and many of us probably don\’t think our home could actually sell for the price suggested by the tax assessor. Luckily, there is a process you can undergo to actually dispute how much your property is worth, and therefore, if successful, lower your taxes.

Sometimes, the county tax assessor is vastly wrong. I have a friend who was given a tax notice on a vacant piece of land where the county thought there was a $488,000 house on it. Unfortunately, there is no house on that property. So I am assisting him in protesting his taxes in this scenario. Your situation may not be this cut-and-dried, but we can still help you with your valuation.

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Here\’s the 3-step process you need to do:

1.Contact your favorite local real estate agent. (We recommend us, but we\’re biased.) Why? Because with MLS access, we can get you comparables. In order to say that your home is worth less than the county says it is, you\’ll need a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 comparable homes which sold in your area during 2011. Real estate agents have access to the true price that those homes sold for.

2.Next, you\’ll need to complete an appeal form. The form can be somewhat difficult to fill out without the correct information, luckily, we can help you find that info.

3.Then, submit both the comparables and the appeal form to the Salt Lake County Board of Equalization, either by mail or in person. This is located at

2001 S State St. #N3000

Salt Lake City, UT 84190

If you purchased your home during 2011, and your purchase price itself was less than the county\’s assessed value, than the process is also simple: attach a copy of your HUD-1 settlement statement (closing statement) and the appraisal of your home, along with the appeal form. Submit it to the above address, again either by mail or in person.

If you refinanced in 2011, you can do the same thing if you have an actual appraisal. Make a copy of the appraisal, of course, fill out the appeal form, and submit it to the above address.

The good news is that in this process, you\’re not alone. That\’s because The Joshua Stern Team is here to help. This is a service we provide FREE to the citizens of Salt Lake County, and we\’re happy to help. We\’ve helped very many people change what they\’re owed to the County, and saved them lots of money in the process. We\’re happy to help people appeal their property taxes as part of our value added service.

If you have any questions about the process, feel free to contact us directly: email us at josh@servingsaltlake.info, or use the chat interface at the bottom right of your screen.

For more information on how to get your property taxes disputed in SLC,

click here

. For all homes for sale in Salt Lake County,

click here

.

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