Recently, 500 companies — mostly small businesses and startups — went to Walmart (NYSE:WMT) company headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to pitch their products to company buyers.
If they’re selected, they’ll get to sell their products at Walmart stores and on the retailers website. It could mean huge growth for those small companies. But there are challenges involved as well.
This is the fourth Open Call event Walmart has held.
This year, Walmart is specifically looking for American companies and is promoting American manufacturing. So companies that sell products that are made in America could have a good chance of getting their products placed in Walmart stores or even getting the opportunity to manufacture some of Walmart’s private label products.
Walmart Open Call 2017
Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart vice president for U.S. Sourcing and Manufacturing said in a statement, “While finding products our customers want is a year-round focus for our buying teams, Walmart’s annual Open Call is a special opportunity to connect our buyers with companies that are manufacturing products in the U.S. and to identify new and unique product solutions.”
American manufacturing has been experiencing a resurgence in some sectors. So this type of open call allows Walmart to potentially tap into some interesting new markets while also taking advantage of some of the positive public perception that often comes with supplying American-made products and supporting job growth and the U.S. economy.
But for the businesses in attendance, the opportunity could be even more significant.
Walmart is the world’s largest retailer. So getting products featured on store shelves or on Walmart.com could provide a huge sales boost.
And the significance of that opportunity was not lost on the small businesses in attendance, some of which went to extra lengths to put on a great presentation for their products.
In fact, nearly 100 companies received deals on the spot. And dozens more will continue to have conversations with Walmart about future opportunities.
The companies that receive deals from Walmart could also gain some local notoriety and extra coverage for their participation.
Overall, this type of event provides a unique opportunity for small businesses, many of which face major roadblocks in getting their products in front of large retailers or corporations.
Of course, this also means that those small businesses that receive deals will need to step up production in order to meet that increased demand. But for the businesses that can take on the extra work, it’s a potentially huge opportunity.
Amazon unlimited storage plan has been killed off
New plans are effective today
All users with unlimited storage plan can use it full term as is
One of the most lucrative things Amazon Drive offered was an unlimited cloud storage plan for as low as $60 (roughly Rs. 3,800) per year. However, the company has now revised its plans to cancel unlimited storage abilities, and instead offer just 1TB for the same amount. The maximum cap of storage capacity is up to 30TB now with additional $60 levied per TB – which goes to a neat $1,800 (roughly Rs. 1,15,700) for 30TB.
Essentially, Amazon Drive has aped Apple iCloud’s pricing and is offering the same as the Cupertino giant per terabyte. Just a few days ago, Apple revised its 2TB plan to $120 (roughly Rs. 7,700) per year, the pricing that earlier applied to 1TB. Beyond 2TB though, Amazon is still the cheapest of the lot, with Google Drive charging as much as $3,600 (roughly Rs. 231,400) per year for 30TB. Amazon notes that all Prime members will still get the benefit of unlimited photo storage (keyword photo), and all new Drive members will get up to 5GB of storage space free (again just like Apple, however Google Drive leads the lot with 15GB of free drive storage).
The starting plan is at $12 (roughly Rs. 800) for one year for 100GB of storage. There is no 50GB and 200GB plan like how Apple offers. You can check all the new pricing for Amazon Drive here.
Amazon notes that current Drive customers will keep their existing unlimited storage plan through its expiration date. At the end of their existing subscription, customers with auto-renew turned on and 1TB or less of data stored will be renewed into the 1TB plan for $60 per year. Customers with auto-renew off, or who have more than 1TB of data stored, will need to visit their account’s Manage Storage page to opt in to one of the new plans.
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No matter what business you’re in, choosing a first-rate office is important. When your work location allows you to focus on tasks, meet clients with confidence, and project a professional image all at the same time, it’s easier to achieve results that can help you take your business up a notch.
However, choosing an office isn’t just a matter of taking the nearest available real estate space. Many factors need to be considered for your property investment to pay off and lower the chances you’ll pick a space that doesn’t fit your needs to a T. For that, you can refer to the tips below.
Tips for Finding an Office Space
Plan Your Business Needs to the Last Detail
By knowing your business needs inside and out, you can narrow down your office space options in no time. Before you decide to bring your business to the nearest center of entrepreneurial activity, ask these questions first:
- What are the tools, equipment and peripherals you need, at the least?
- How many employees do you have, if any?
- How much space do you need to accommodate your equipment and employees?
- What other amenities, other than the bare essentials, should the office be able to accommodate?
- Does the office have a space where you can meet clients and other visitors?
- Is the office conducive to work? Is it free of noise, glare and unpleasant smells? If not, what can you do to make it better?
- Do you foresee having to expand your space? If so, when do you expect it to happen?
- Can you afford to pay for the office, regardless of your level of income and expenses? Your benchmark value should be the difference between your lowest projected income and highest projected expenses.
- Is the location as accessible as possible for you, your employees, your partner companies and your target clients/customers?
If it’s challenging to answer these questions at the moment, try to visualize what your business will be like once it’s up and running. After all, a TD Bank survey says that 76 percent of business owners credit their success to the use of visualization techniques.
One technique you can use is the mind map. Essentially, the mind map starts with one central idea that branches out into several interrelated ideas. For example, you can write the word “business” on a board, encircle it, draw lines emanating from the circle connected to phrases like “location,” “employees” and “equipment” and so on and so forth. The idea is to make a clear yet comprehensive visual model that helps you pin down every possible consideration for choosing an office space.
Mobilize Your Real Estate Team ASAP
Of course, purchasing office space isn’t like plucking SPAM off a Wal-Mart shelf and checking out with the cashier. You have documents to prepare, papers to sign and landlords to negotiate with. It can be hard to handle all this, unless you have a team of experts to help you.
In particular, a real estate broker who specializes in corporate properties can be invaluable. Because they have a thorough understanding of your business needs, brokers can connect you with the owners of properties most suitable to your needs. Plus, if you’re lucky to land a tenant broker, you can cut back on costs since those types of brokers are typically compensated by landlords.
You’ll also need a lawyer who’s experienced with real estate matters. A lawyer can help you iron out any kinks in your lease contract, and ensure that the terms and conditions are as favorable to you as possible. Speaking of which …
Unless you have millions of dollars in extra cash, it wouldn’t be practical to purchase your own property outright. That’s why most startup owners prefer to lease instead.
Aside from lower upfront expenses, leasing also lightens the pressure to compensate for your property investment ASAP. The cost of an upfront purchase can take at least seven years to recoup, while a lease contract can last from two to three years. Essentially, leases grant you more flexibility in case your business grows faster or slower than anticipated. Lease payments can also be used as tax deductions, which translates to lower expenses during the life of your business.
Be aware that there are different types of leases you can take advantage of, as follows:
- Net Lease. Aside from your monthly rent, you also pay a portion of expenses such as taxes, insurance and maintenance.
- Double Net Lease. Your lease is equal to the sum of your rent, taxes and insurance.
- Triple Net Lease. Your lease is equal to the sum of your rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance.
- Gross/Fully Serviced/Fixed Lease. Your landlord pays most or all of your operating expenses, though a portion of these may be passed on to you as a “load factor.”
Again, be sure to consult a lawyer for any vaguely worded provisions in your lease. These contracts are often skewed heavily in the landlord’s favor, so it’s important every term and condition is clear to you.
Consider Shared Office Spaces
You don’t have to shoulder the lease by yourself. If there are other tenants who lease the same office space, you can divvy up your expenses with them. And if those tenants are engaged in businesses complementary to yours, you can also establish strategic partnerships that will benefit everyone involved.
Have a Backup Plan
It’s possible that, even after careful consideration, your choice of office space may not be the best one after all. To offset any frustrations you might have with that arrangement, choose up to five possible offices that meet most or all of your criteria. Any more than five and you’ll end up with what is known as analysis paralysis, or the inability to make decisions due to the overabundance of choices.
With these tips, you should be able to construct a general plan for choosing an ideal office space.
Republished by permission. Original here.
Office Photo via Shutterstock