Click the link below to go to the weekly business rail, with garage sale tips, BBB advice on what paperwork to keep, and more. Or check out these other links.
Tip of the Week
As the weather warms up, garage sales begin appearing all over the U.S. Garage sales are a great way to clean out clutter while making some extra dollars for home improvements, bills, vacations or even "retail therapy."
Marcela Iannini, department chair of Advertising and Design & Media Management at Miami International University of Art & Design, says, "Garage sales are great opportunity to employ basic marketing principles in a fun way; a little innovation and creativity go a long way to maximize sales."
"It's important to start with the basics of marketing - the four P's - price, product, promotion and place. In garage sales it works best to think of the product as the garage sale itself and the items to be sold as product lines or brands of that product," adds Cheryl Pilchik, Advertising faculty at The Art Institute of Philadelphia.
Dr. Larry Stultz, department chair of Advertising and Web Design & Interactive Media at The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, agrees. "It is imperative to use the same thinking retailers use to maximize the visibility and sales opportunities for a garage sale."
Below are some suggestions from Iannini, Pilchik and Stultz on making the best of your garage sale:
- Product and price: Product mix is important in retailing. You can either focus on one type of product (kids' toys or garden tools, for instance) or a broad mix of products. Study sales in your neighborhood to see what works best. Check out the prices, too. You should consider not only the original cost, but also what others charge at sales like yours. Rather than use a lot of time individually pricing each item, consider grouping like items together on large tables, posting the same price for all items on that table - like retailers do.
- Place (scheduling/location): Think about a high-traffic area - retailers pay a premium for high-traffic locations. Perhaps you can team up with several neighbors and choose the house that has the most street visibility. Knowing your target market is paramount in timing your sale. Consider scheduling with other activities in your neighborhood - art shows or community events will help draw additional traffic.
- Promotion (advertising/marketing): A successful garage sale requires careful planning and promotion using proven advertising strategies to make your sale stand out. One successful strategy is choosing a theme related to the items to be sold and carrying out the theme in all aspects of the sale. For example, if most of the items to be sold are from the 1980s, you'd play 80s music, have everyone working at the sale dress in 80s style and use 80s elements in your flyers.
Spring cleaning is a good time to rid your home of the clutter and paperwork you have accumulated over the past year. However, when it comes to reviewing your financial records, knowing what to keep, what to discard and when is very important. The Better Business Bureau suggests the following record keeping and removal tips:
- Canceled checks: All canceled checks and related receipts or documents for a home purchase or sale, renovations or other improvements to a property you own should be kept indefinitely. The same holds true for non-deductable contributions to a retirement account. Checks that support your tax returns must be kept for a minimum seven years. All other checks may be discarded after a year.
- Deposit, ATM, credit card and debit card receipts: Save them until the transaction appears on your statement and you have verified that the information is accurate.
- Credit card and bank account statements: Save those with no tax or other long-term significance for about a year, but save the rest for up to seven years. If you get a detailed annual statement, keep that and discard the corresponding monthly statements. Also, be sure to mark closed deposit accounts as such.
- Credit card contracts and other loan agreements: Keep for as long as the account is active; they may be needed in the event you have a dispute with your lender over the terms of your contract.
- Documentation of your purchase or sale of stocks, bonds and other investments: Retain these while you own the investment and then seven years after that.
For more advice on safely discarding paperwork, visit www.bbb.org.
According to Forbes, here are the most powerful actors:
Number to Know
$9.6 million: Amount of money the typical CEO made in 2011, according to an Associated press study.
Facebook recently launched a camera app for the iPhone. It works like Instagram, the company that Facebook is in the process of buying.
GateHouse News Service