• What Clothes are Best for Newborns?

    comfortable clothes for youngstersBringing home your little bundle of joy is an amazing experience, but it is one that is fraught with woe over keeping the baby safe and comfortable. This brand new human being is extremely fragile, with its own personality, preferences, and needs. Dressing your little one accordingly is very important. At the same time, there are some basic components that need to be included in every newborn’s wardrobe.

    3 Tips for Dressing Your Newborn

    The brand name and color of the clothes you put on your newborn baby is not as important as the quality of the materials. When children are babies, fashion should be the last concern. Making sure your newborn is snug and warm is the most vital consideration. To decide what your bundle of amazingness should wear today, use the following guidelines:

    1. Weather Appropriateness

    Babies have incredibly thin skin, which means they are more sensitive to temperature changes. As an adult, fluctuations don’t have such an immediate and emergent effect. As babies, we should be put in clothes that protect our fragile bodies.

    1. Softness

    No baby wants to be swaddled in clothes that are rough or itchy. Make sure your baby is put in soft clothing that feels good on their sensitive skin.

    1. Proper Fit

    Put your newborn baby in clothes that are too small and she will be very uncomfortable. Put your newborn baby in clothes that are too big and she will be unprotected from the elements. Proper fit is of paramount importance.

    Newborn baby clothes should also make her body/diaper easily accessible and should be made from breathable materials that cover the hands and feet to prevent scratching.

    Types of Clothes that Are Best for Newborns

    Certain types of clothing possess every feature that is ideal for newborn babies. That is why we see the following articles being sold in nearly every baby section of every chain store in America:

    • Baby Onesies (long sleeve mostly)
    • Button-up or Zipped Sleepers (to keep baby warm while sleeping)
    • Swaddle Wraps (to mimic the closeness of the womb)
    • Fitted Socks (to protect feet from cold)
    • Mittens (to prevent scratching at the face)
    • Hat (to conserve body heat)

    While it is important to possess these basic articles of newborn clothing, it’s also essential to have a few soft blankets on hand for extra warmth. And as any experienced parent will tell you, leaving the house without a few receiving blankets is a no-no.

  • Do Emergency Dental Appointments Cost More?

    One of the big questions people have most often about emergency dentists is whether they charge more than regular dentists. It would seem to make sense that if you can get care at any hour do the day (since they do operate 24/7) then you would have to pay more for it. For many services in a variety of industries, you would tend to pay more for round-the-clock care. Wouldn’t the same apply to the dental industry?

    However, with emergency dentists, the cost isn’t necessarily more than what the regular dentist with closing hours would charge. It really varies from clinic to clinic. The various clinics can charge what they like, but they still have to remain competitive, and they know that if they charge lots more than their nearest competition, then most people will just wait until the regular dental practice is open to get their required services. Find an emergency dentist for faster relief.

    In many cases, emergency dentists are actually cheaper than their counterparts. That’s because they often do more business and can afford to keep their costs low due to the increased traffic they receive. You can actually save money by getting that dental emergency taken care of after work at an emergency dentist than you would having the same procedure done during the workday at your regular dentist.

    Of course, if you have dental insurance, it may not make any difference at all to you. The cost can be the same regardless of what the actual prices are. The dental insurance you have could leave you with the same amount to pay no matter how much is being charged for the service you need. Emergency dentists should accept the same types of insurance that your regular dentists does.

    If you are concerned about going to the emergency dentists because of the risk of increased cost, you should lay those fears to rest by actually looking up the costs and getting a solid figure to work with. You won’t actually know how much it will cost you to use one service over another until you get the total from the different clinics. You might be surprised at how affordable the emergency dentist is and you may end up preferring to go there for your dental needs in the future due to how quickly the assist you and how little they cost. You can find an emergency dentist near you by visiting www.EmergencyDentalPros.com/locations/.

  • Growing an Urgent Care Business

    blood pressure cuff on woman suffering heart palpitationsIf you own an urgent care business and it is doing well, then you are probably thinking about ways you can grow that business. We’ve seen rapid growth in this industry over the past couple years, but that’s not a guarantee that this growth will continue or that any expansion efforts you make will be successful.

    Yes, it is likely that the trend toward more growth for the industry will be successful. Healthy growth has been witnessed at every level of the industry, but that doesn’t mean every shot at growth has done well. There are many urgent care businesses that try to expand out into other locations near their original spot and then fail.

    It could be a problem of oversaturation or they may not be as successful as they think they are. It could be that the new location is simply poorly managed or staffed, and it doesn’t do as well as a result. There are any number of factors, but the big takeaway you should have is that expanding and growing your business, even a successful urgent care one, can be dangerous.

    You have to consider the factors that could be working against you, and you definitely have to take into account the risk you put yourself in. If you don’t have a lot of capital to draw on, and your new location does poorly to start with, will you have enough money to keep supporting it until things turn around? And what if it never turns around for that location? Will you be able to recover from that?

    You have to plan like the new location won’t do well. You really just don’t know how well it will perform until it is up and running. You can do some scouting and take surveys to see what people think about opening a new urgent care center in that area, but that’s not concrete evidence of how it will perform.

    There is definitely a push to start up as many of these centers as possible, since most of the ones that are already in place are doing so well. But if you plan to grow out your business in this way, you want to do it with care and a lot of foresight. You don’t want to risk what you already have just to try to gain some extra profit.

  • Startup Business Ideas: Mobile Services Are Red-Hot

    One of the hottest trends in both new businesses and franchising has been the growth of the mobile dent repair and mobile windshield repair industries. In our next post, we will take a look at what it takes to be a player in the business of repairing automotive body damage, but in this piece would like to explore a little bit about what it would be like to get a business off the ground in repairing and replacing automotive glass.

    how to nurture your startup business in windshield repairUnderstand that following the money is one of the most important considerations when looking into a new business. In the case of auto glass, revenue comes from a mix of insurance companies and the person for whom you actually do the work. This can mean to important things. Individuals are aggressive about shopping for the best possible price, not that insurance companies are not, but you will find yourself at a loss if you have not first looked into the rates being charged for similar services in your area.

    In working with insurance companies comes with its own issues. Often, it’s easy to get the claim approved, but waiting on payment can take an extraordinary amount of time. Some insurance companies pay promptly, but others are notorious for dragging out reimbursement. Make sure that you have an adequate warchest on hand to carry the inventory you need, not to mention pay all of your other overhead and life bills, in the early days when cash flow could be tight.

    The good side of this kind of a relationship is that it is a strategic alliance that can pay tremendous benefits once you have satisfied the insurance companies that you are a cost-effective solution for them to refer work to on an ongoing basis. Insurance companies prefer to continue using the same vendors, rather than look for every fly-by-night opportunity to save a few bucks. If you do quality work, and can establish yourself in an area, it will be long before insurance companies decide to use you whenever possible.

    Your Labor Force

    Unskilled or semiskilled labor comes with its own set of issues. Try to allocate enough pay so that your staff can be adequately trained in repair and replacement. Warranties are important in the replacement business especially, and you can lose a lot of money if sloppy technicians install glass in ways that causes leaks and associated damages.

    Also invest in back office systems that make it easy to book and remember customer appointments. Because this business relies on a lot of mobile response, you will have customers setting up times for your technicians to visit and there will be windows of opportunity in which those calls need to be made. Failure to show up will lead to aggravation and loss of future business.

    Stack up the Competition

    Finally, look online to see what the competition is in your area. If there are lots of established shops willing to do mobile auto glass repair in Greenville SC, you might want to consider looking into another area. It takes some time to build a reputation and that can be made even harder when insurance companies are already used to dealing with qualified repair shops near where you intended to begin your operation.

    However, if there is not a strong online presence from at least two or three other shops where you live, it might be just the ticket to start a windshield repair and replacement business. You can emphasize search engine rankings and even AdWords advertising to create early traffic as you establish yourself. Encourage those satisfy customers to shop online and offer reviews of the work you’ve done. Make sure that insurance companies operating in the area are made aware of those reviews so they continue to evaluate the possibility of sending claim work through your office.

  • Branding 101: Get the Customer to Sport Your Logo

    Offering free giveaways to prospects and customer is a powerful business building strategy that can result in a flood of new and repeat customers.

    It may seem counterintuitive to give away your products and services to build your business; however, people can’t resist the lure of receiving something for free. The word free, as worn out as it may seem, is still the most powerful word in marketing and has a hypnotic effect on people.

    Why Free Giveaways Work

    custom hatsThe reason free giveaways work so well is two-fold. First, prospects who test your product or service risk-free might recognize its value and continue purchasing what you offer. Or even better, your prospect will get “hooked” on your product or service and won’t be able to live without it.

    Second, because your product or service was given to your prospects as a free gift, they will feel psychological pressure to return the favor by continuing to purchase from you. This principle is called the “Law of Reciprocity,” which simply states that people naturally feel an obligation to return favors as a way of expressing their thanks.

    The Law of Reciprocity works! The Hare Krishnas raised millions of dollars in the late sixties and early seventies using this principle. In airports, the Krishnas would give away small wooden umbrellas as a free gift and would in turn, ask for a donation.

    After the donor would give their donation, they would toss the little umbrella into the first trashcan they passed. The Krishna would then pick the umbrella out of the trashcan and turn right around and give it to the next person. It worked like a charm.

    Know Your Total Customer Value Before Giving Freebies

    The key to safely offering free giveaways is to know your “total customer value” (also called “lifetime customer value”): the profit you will receive from your customer over the total length of your relationship. This figure includes not only direct business, but also the value of any referrals.

    For instance, suppose you own a dry cleaning business with an average “total customer value” of $1,250. How much money would you be willing to invest in free giveaways to acquire a new customer? $50? $100? $200?

    The answer is * yes * to all of the above. Why wouldn’t you invest $100 to gain $1,250 in profits? Coincidentally, this is why most small business owners are nervous about offering free giveaways. They don’t understand the principle of “total customer value.”

    Information – The Ultimate Free Giveaway

    Ideally, it’s best to offer free giveaways that are low cost but have a high perceived value to the recipient. Information is a great example. This is why it’s smart for small businesses to use special reports containing “insider” information as a free giveaway for new customer lead generation.

    Your special report could be a written document, an audiocassette, or a video on a subject of great interest to your target market. Videos especially have a high perceived value. A valuable reference guide that I use often is “Spencer’s Guide To Special Interest Videos,” which has over 13,000 hard-to-find videos.

    And what entrepreneur has not peddled free rulers, pens or embroidered hats at a marketing show?  This is a great way to distribute business cards and have people happily wearing you brand around town.

    Free Giveaway Case Studies

    There are a myriad of ways to offer a free giveaway and many effective types of giveaways (other than information) that small businesses can use to attract new and inactive customers. Here, several small businesses demonstrate how they use free giveaways to build their businesses:

    Case Study # 1 – Mobile Video For Hire Van

    The owner of a mobile video for hire service wrote a letter offering the use of a free rental van for four weeks. Why four weeks? To get people into a habit of using his service. The result? 19.6% redemption rate-and 65% of them went on to become regular customers.

    Case Study # 2 – Health Club

    A health club has saved a fortune on conventional advertising costs by having health food stores and sports shoe retailers give six-week free trial membership away to their customers as a special gift. The majority turned into paying members at over $500 per membership.

    Case Study # 3 – Optometrist

    An optometrist mailed a postcard to prospects offering free eye exams including four different types of eye tests (dry eye test, glaucoma test, visual acuity test, cataract test) to patients they hadn’t seen in two years. The optometrist grossed an extra $10,000 in two days and the phone rang off the hook, non-stop.

    Case Study # 4 – Oil and Lube

    An oil and lube center offered a free tire rotation, oil change, and fuel injection service. However, the customer was only allowed to take advantage of one of these services per visit. The free service giveaways resulted in significant upsells on each visit and the opportunity to capture the customer’s personal and automobile information for future offers.

    Case Study # 5 – Hair Styling Salon

    A hair styling salon offered a free children’s haircut with every visit. Most of the customers brought an average of two to three of their children to get their hair cut, doubling the salon’s weekly sales figures.

    Case Study # 6 – Chiropractor

    A chiropractor offered a free back massage gift certificate for Valentine’s Day with a free new patient exam including an x-ray, neurological and orthopedic exam. To make this offer super successful, he went around to local businesses and gave several gift certificates to the local owners and managers to give to their employees as a free gift.

    Case Study # 7 – Dentist

    A local dentist offered a free teeth whitening with a comprehensive new patient exam, including x-rays. To make this particular offer a winner, the dentist sent participating customers several coupons for their friends. To boost response, he coded each coupon-and offered three free whitening sessions to the customer that sent in the most referrals.

    Case Study # 8 – Carpet Cleaner

    A carpet cleaner offered to steam clean two rooms absolutely free. No strings attached. Once the cleaner was in the home he checked for stains on the floor, rugs that needed stretching, holes or weak spots in the rug; he even performed an air duct inspection. He averaged $60 – $80 dollars worth of services sold per free cleaning.

    Case Study # 9 – House Cleaning

    A house cleaning service offered to do a full house cleaning free in the month of December. They called it, “Santa’s Gift to Mommy.” They were immediately deluged with requests. Once “Mommy” saw what they could do to their home and how good she felt with a clean house, 38% of them signed up for the regular service. The biggest problem the house cleaning business owner had over the next 12 months was finding people to do a good job of cleaning.

    Case Study # 10 – Vacuum Cleaner Retailer

    (I included this case study because David Oreck is such a fantastic direct marketer.) David Oreck, chairman of Oreck Vacuums, gives away a free Cordless Speed Iron just for taking the “Oreck XL Challenge” and trying out his 8-pound vacuum cleaner. Even if you don’t buy the Oreck XL vacuum cleaner you get to keep the Cordless Speed Iron! And if you end up purchasing the Oreck XL vacuum cleaner, you also get his Oreck Super Compact hand-held vacuum. Now here’s a guy who knows what “total customer value” is all about!

    Justify Any Deal That’s “Too Good To Be True”

    If your offer that includes free giveaways appears “too good to be true,” it could decrease its believability and your credibility. To avoid this always explain how you can offer such a great deal.

    It might be that you goofed and are now overstocked, you got a great deal from your supplier, or you just want to say thank you in a meaningful way. Whatever the case may be, give a reason. It doesn’t even have to be a good reason; it just needs to be believable.

    Remember, your prospect is very skeptical and has good reason to be. We’ve all been duped at one point in time by a “too good to be true” scam. Furnishing your prospects with the reason why you can offer them such a good deal helps them to logically reconcile your offer in their minds. In turn, this will give your prospect the comfort level needed to act on your offer.

    Conclusion

    Using free giveaways is an effective marketing strategy if used correctly. Think about what you can offer free-of-charge that your prospects would consider valuable and that you can obtain cheaply. Don’t forget to compute your total customer value so you know how much you are able to invest in attracting a new customer. Lastly, make sure you justify any offers that are just too good to be true.

  • Does Insurance Accept Immediate Care Center Charges?

     Insurance Accept Immediate Care Center ChargesEven when immediate care centers are not a new invention, they have certainly developed a lot since their early beginnings back in the 90s. At first, insurance companies ignored their existence completely. So much so, that many ebbing facilities soon went out of business. It was natural that this should happen. After all, without any level of support from insurers, they did not stand a chance. However, many of them did survive against all odds.

    Faster, swifter Service

    These days, not only have immediate care centers set a new standard for urgent medical attention, but they have also become a flourishing business many larger health providers are turning to. Why did the scenario change so dramatically, just in a few years? To begin with, insurance companies started to accept immediate care center charges more readily. This would mark the beginning of a new story. In addition, urgent care centers became more and more popular. Suddenly, thousands of these centers were sweeping the country offering their first-class, walk-in urgent care attention. Search in any state and you will find a wide array of immediate care centers spread all over. To find out more about Treasure Coast Urgent & Family Care in Port St. Lucie for instance, click here.

    Cost-Effective Immediate Care Service

    If compared with other types of medical service charges, immediate care services are much more affordable. By definition, immediate care centers are freestanding, medical facilities that offer urgent care without requesting patients to ask for appointments. Of course, they differ from emergency rooms in the sense that they can deal with none-life threatening situations only. If your case falls under the category of life-threatening emergency, then the only place you could go is to an ER. Having said this, we should also state that it is a well-known fact that ERs have been abused for decades. Since a large percentage of patients waiting in ER waiting rooms should not be there in the first place, insurers have been turning to urgent care centers in their quest to lower down costs. On average, we can say that immediate care centers are less costly than ERs. However, the exact percentage is difficult to pinpoint exactly. In general terms, a visit to an urgent care center will cost anywhere from $71 to $125 whereas a visit to an ER for a common illness will cost about $570.

    How much do Health Insurance Companies Cover?

    This would depend on several factors, such as the insurer and the type of agreement they have with the immediate care center. Some insurance companies are running their own urgent care facilities, in which coverage is more significant. If we were to work out an estimate, we would say that with most private health insurance plans, patients are requested to cover their services with co-pays averaging something between $25 and $50 per visit. If compared with the costs of ER services, the cost is evidently much lower.

    In all, health insurers do cover a percentage of the costs of immediate care. However, these costs vary according to each health insurance company.