3 Big Reasons People Fail Building Business Credit

There are three main reasons many people fail building business credit. The 1st BIG reason people fail, is that their business isn’t setup credibly in the lender’s eyes. The perception lenders, vendors, and creditors have of your business is critical. Before applying for business credit a business must insure it meets or exceeds all lender credibility standards. There are over 20 credibility points that are necessary for a business to have a strong, credible foundation.

To insure you are seen credibly, it is very important that you use your exact business legal name. Your full business name should include any recorded DBA filing you will be using. Insure your business name is exactly the same on your corporation papers, licenses, and bank statements.

Whether you have employees or not your business entity must have a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) to start getting business credit. Just like you have a Social Security Number, your business has an EIN. Your Tax ID number is used to open your bank account and to build your business credit profile. Take the time to verify that all agencies, banks, and trade credit vendors have your business listed with the same Tax ID number.

Your business address must be a real brick-and-mortar building, deliverable physical address. It cannot be a home address, cannot be a PO Box and cannot be a UPS address. Some lenders will not approve and fund unless this criteria is met. There are Business Address Solutions available at companies like Regus including address only where you receive mail and packages at your dedicated business address.

You must have a dedicated business phone number that is listed with 411 directory assistance, under the business name, to successfully obtain business credit. Lenders, vendors, creditors, and even insurance providers will verify that your business is listed with 411. A toll-free number will give your business credibility, but you must have a LOCAL business number for the listing with 411.

Lenders perceive 800 number or toll-free phone numbers as a sign of business credibility. Even if you’re a single owner with a home-based business, a toll-free number provides the perception that you are an even bigger company. It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive to setup a virtual local phone number or a toll-free 800 number.

A cell or home phone number as your main business line could get you “flagged” as an un-established business that is too high of a risk. DON’T give a personal cell phone or residential phone as the business phone number. You can forward a virtual number to any cell or landline phone number.

Credit providers will research your company on the internet. It is best if they learned everything directly from your company website. Not having a company website will severely hurt their chances of obtaining business credit. There are many places online that offer affordable business websites so you can have an internet presence that displays an overview of your company’s services and contact information.

It is important to get a company email address for your business. It’s not only professional, but greatly helps your chances of getting the thumbs up from a credit provider. Setting up a business email address is just too easy and inexpensive to neglect.

The 2nd BIG reason people fail building business credit is that they apply using their social security number. Always apply first without using your social security number. Some vendors will request it and some will even tell you on the phone they need to have it, but submit first without it. Many don’t even know you can get approved without it.

When you apply using your SSN you almost always are giving a personal guarantee. One easy way to know if you have business credit already is if you obtained credit without signing for it and providing your SSN. TRUE business credit doesn’t require an SSN in most cases to qualify.

Business credit is using your EIN to qualify for credit. When you have enough credit built for your EIN, you can then get approved without providing your SSN. If you provide an SSN, your personal credit WILL be pulled in most cases. That personal credit will then be used for the approval decision.

Most credit issuers will approve you without your SSN if your EIN credit is strong enough. If your EIN credit is not good enough, you might be declined and they then might ask for your SSN. No matter what ANY credit representatives tell you, credit CAN be obtained based on your EIN only.

The 3rd BIG reason people fail building business credit is that they apply for credit in the WRONG ORDER. A business credit report can be started much the same way as a consumer report commonly is, with small credit cards. The business can be approved for small credit cards to help them build an initial credit profile. These types of initial cards in the business world are commonly referred to as “vendor credit”.

A vendor line of credit is when a company (vendor) extends a line of credit to your business on “Net 15, 30, 60 or 90″ day terms. This means that you can purchase their products or services up to a maximum dollar amount and you have 15, 30, 60 or 90 days to pay the bill in full. So if you’re set-up on Net 30 terms and were to purchase $300 worth of goods today, then that $300 is due within the next 30 days.

You can get products and services for your business needs and defer the payment on those for 30 days, thereby easing cash flow. And some vendors will approve your company for Net 30 payment terms upon verification of as little as an EIN number and 411 listing. When your first Net 30 account reports your “tradeline” to Dun & Bradstreet, the DUNS system will automatically activate your file if it isn’t already. This is also true for Experian and Equifax.

You need to have a total of at least five (5) Net 30 day pay accounts reporting. Some vendors require an initial prepaid order before they can approve your business for terms. Vendor accounts are hard to find, so keep in mind that your vendors do not necessarily have to serve 100% of your business needs.

Avoid these three BIG mistakes to quickly build an exceptional business credit profile and score that you can use to obtain credit for your business.

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Building a Sellable Business: 10 Things Often Overlooked

Eventually, every entrepreneur realizes they cannot work in their business forever. For most entrepreneurs, this is the time they begin thinking of exit. Here are ten things you should think about before that faithful day.

Standardization

The first thing I will like to mention is standardizing services or products. In the onset of a business, an entrepreneur figures things out as he/she develops. As time elapses, the entrepreneur figures out what works and settles into a way of doing business. This usually happens at the $100,000 mark. The problem with this is the knowledge is embedded in the head of the owner. The owner often fails to communicate this knowledge to new hires. There is kind of an “unspoken standard” or “way of doing things”. People learn “the unspoken way” haphazardly. By not standardizing, the owner’s loses 50% of the value of the business when it is time to sell. Nobody wants to buy a business when all the knowledge is in the owners’ head and if they do there are usually lots of contingencies tied to the deal.

Delegation

Most entrepreneurs have this false belief that they are the best: No one can do anything as well as they do and without them the business will fail. This false belief enslaves them into believing they have to work harder than anyone to achieve success. They have a hard time even getting away from their work for one hour. The biggest problem with this, is you limit your business growth. They are people smarter than you and people who can do the job better than you if you just let them. If you have standardized your systems, delegation becomes easier: All the new person has to do is follow the systems you have created.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is not an issue that can be ignored in the information age. How we share information with staff, customers and vendors should be very well defined and preserved for consistency. Whether you use an intranet for communication with your staff and external stake holders or simply a cloud database, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the method you use is efficient in capturing and transferring relevant information.

Innovation

Innovation is the development of a new idea or developing a more effective design or process. Innovation could be in the form of redesigning your workforce, upgrading your technology, restructuring your offerings to match customers taste, etc.

Every product has a life circle. A product goes from growth, to mature phase and finally hits a decline. Innovation is required to stay competitive, if not your product life cycle becomes your business life cycle. Keeping tap of the external environment lets the entrepreneur see what processes, products or services need to be developed. As an entrepreneur, you should be a member of a trade association in your industry, read their magazines, and keep track of new developments. Keeping track of industry trends is important to your future existence. The external environment is consistently changing and the only way to build a sustainable business is to innovate.

Financial Systems

The financial plan of most business owners goes as far as purchasing QuickBooks and once a year completing their tax return. If they are more prudent they might look at the financial reports developed in QuickBooks monthly. While this is better than nothing, business owners can do a lot more in improving their financial position by investing in better financial systems. For instance what controls do you have in place to ensure the information in QuickBooks is accurate? Just like anything else, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Moreover what about the structure of your financial accounts, are they capturing the information you need. When you look at your financial reports, do you have answers to the most critical factors affecting your business? All of these questions are addressed in the way your financial system is designed. Investing in having a professional design the system is worth the headache you will save down the road. Moreover, be careful not to commingle funds and keep your financial records as clean as possible. Good financial records are worth a lot when selling your business.

Planning and Budgeting

Planning and budgeting is the process of telling your business where you want it to go rather than it telling you where to go. Small business owner fall into the trap of thinking that they cannot control what direction their business will take so they do not plan. Planning and budgeting go hand in hand. A budget is simply the numbers behind the plan. Having a plan and delegating the responsibilities of certain aspects of the plan is crucial. With a plan and a budget you can plan and execute on your business goal. Also business buyers like to see a history of business planning and budgeting. This increases the amount they are willing to pay as they are less anxious about being handed down a sham.

Developing key metrics

Once you have a plan and budget in place, you need a way to determine if you are on track. Metrics are used to measure how things are going. Usually metrics are measured against a budget developed using a strategic plan. Monitoring metrics on a regular basis can point you to where your business is failing before it actually happens. Some metrics you may want to track are: productivity rate, net margins, customer retention rate, customer acquisition rate, etc.

Tax Planning

Taxes have a big impact on what percentage of your net profits you keep. Tax Planning should be done before you sell. By structuring transactions differently you might be able to save more money on taxes. Do not wait until after selling to decide what you will do for taxes: When you get your cash after sale, you will be rest assured you have taken the best possible steps to minimize your taxes.

Exit Planning

Most business owners do not plan for the day they will leave their business. They work until the day they determine they are burnt out. The problem with this is the business owner does not leave the business with the best value possible. Working with a consultant should be done couple of years before you plan to sell. If you wait too long your business may become unsellable. The top two factors that affect business value are:

what is going on in the economy and,
how it particularly affects the industry you compete in.
If you hit a time of decline, no one will want to buy your business. Selling in a timely manner, will help you take your time to identify the best buyer who might be able to take your business to a level you were not capable of doing on your own.

Another mistake I see is because business sales rule of thumb are usually based on a multiple of industry revenue, entrepreneurs think they will hold on to the business till they reach a revenue mark and then sell. This is a false thought because you never know what bad fortune may befall your business before you sell. Moreover, if you try to manipulate sales to increase revenue, a smart buyer will discover this during the due diligence process which will kill the sale.

Lifestyle Planning

Business owners have the propensity to work without giving much attention to their personal lives. Lifestyle design should be integrated into the lives of business owners if not burn out is certain. This includes what kind of lifestyle you want after you exit your business. Do not neglect to take care of you or you will burn out and be no good to anyone. You should have a system of rewarding yourself at specific timelines in your business. For instance, I take frequent vacations and this helps me renew the love for what I do.

Do not make the mistake of thinking you will retire from your business and spend the whole day on the beach or playing golf. If you have spent your life working hard to build a business, you will get bored with just sitting on the beach doing nothing. Moreover, people die faster after retirement if they choose to do nothing.

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The Immediate Goals of Starting a New Business

Are you tired of your boss? Or are you getting ready for greener pastures? Setting up your own business can be very exciting. However, before you even take the first step, save yourself time and money by being aware of what’s involved in running a business. Investing time and money into proper planning is paramount when it comes to turning your dreams into reality. The idea of operating a small business is not just about working for yourself or from home, it’s also about having necessary management skills, technical skills, industry expertise, finance and, of course, a long-term vision to grow and succeed.

Whether you will choose to be an entrepreneur, buy a franchise, or start an existing business, the business planning resources are the same. The only things that will be different are the business strategies, business opportunities, upfront cost and step by step instructions to start various businesses.

The following are some of the immediate goals of starting a business:

Have Self Confidence

The foundation of success is self-confidence. Ask yourself, do I have the confidence to stand alone and be my own boss? If yes, then you are on the right track. People with self-confidence achieve success much faster than those without. Venturing into a new business means you are willing to risk. Confidence also helps you to understand your colleagues, employees and even customers. Without confidence, you cannot challenge solid issues that affect the business or even the tide the business comes with.

Choose the Right Business

If you want to start a business, you should have the right business idea in mind. What business do you wish to venture into? Do you have an interest in that business? Choosing the right business that you feel you can easily handle and manage is one of the ways to tackle this section. Will the business reap enough? Does it have competitors? If so, is the market competition tight? A market survey can help you in determining the right business.

Identify Your Market Niche

This is a factor to consider when starting a new business or changing your old location to somewhere better. You might have the right product, but you are selling it at the wrong location. For a new business to survive and beat the competition of the similar products it has to have a better location. This means available amenities, parking space, potential customers of the product and few competitors.

What are Your Goals?

What is driving you to do that type of business that you have chosen? Goals will help you achieve several milestones that you have put in place. With proper objectives, you will be able to invest the available starting capital wisely and plan your work schedule. Of cause you are not just going to germinate in one day, you need to set attainable goals and learn to be patient.

Have a Business Plan

Your business goals can only be achieved if you have a proper business plan. In case you don’t know how to prepare a plan, get advice or help from service consultants or a friend who is successful in business. A proper plan will help prepare for that little capital you have and adopt survival techniques to obtain loans on higher interests.

Always Promote Your Business

Sell your ideas and let people know what services or products you are providing. Confidence and vitality to what you are planning to invest on are what will bring customers to your door. Most entrepreneurs forget that the reason they are in business is to attract customers. If you use your finances wisely to market yourself, you will boost your business in a faster way. Some of the ways to advertise include; newspapers, websites, flyers, brochures and even enlightening people personally.

A serious entrepreneur will always be concerned of the following:

Product – what am I going to sell or service?
Finance – Where the capital coming from, where the money will be spent and cost estimates.
Receipts – any money you have spent so far and the current financial records (accountability)
Organization – what form is your business going to take and how will it be managed.
Adverts and marketing – new ideas on how to market yourself and generate revenue apart from what your competitors are doing.
Government permits, new business tax information’s and required business license.
Strategy – what do you plan to do to succeed within the shortest time possible?
When all the immediate goals have been achieved, get into the detail and the challenges that the business comes with. How you handle issues and tackle problems that arise in your business can make or break your business. Learn to persevere and be patient. Grab opportunities and market your product or services always. With creativity and great intelligence in your business, you can reap great benefits that you never expected.

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Small Business Owners: Improving Profits in Daily Operations

When you own a small business, there are dozens of people and projects vying for your time and attention. It can get hard to figure out where to focus your resources and easy to become overwhelmed.

Furthermore, in my years of consulting what I have found to be the difference in success or failure of a business was not the amount of money, a business owner had on hand, nor the education level of the management team. It was his or her daily habits and beliefs, that determined success or the lack there of.

What is profit? It is simply, how much money the business makes after transaction and paying taxes is over.

Traditional thinking about profit says, Revenue – Expenses = Profit. However, this method fails to measure lost opportunity.

What is lost opportunity?

First, business has people performing activities each day. The lost opportunity is in not measuring, managing and leveraging those activities on a real-time basis.

Management fact, your company profitability depends on how well your people consistently perform specific activities minimizing errors.

The following are 12 tips to help your business increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition.

1 – Living a balanced life

A. Work and business are not the be-all and end-all of your life. Learn to have fun! Spend more time with your family. Take a vacation once in a while. Engage in activities that will rejuvenate your spirit and your life. Take care of yourself, and your health, exercise and eat fruits and vegetables. Your productivity and focus will improve if you are stress-free and healthy. Bad health and divorces has destroyed more businesses than I have room to write about in this article.

2 – The Destination: Goals, Themes and Vision

A. Go find your business plans and update it. Since your business’ inception, a number of factors must have changed – from the overall business climate to your product line. Take all those changes into consideration, consider the business and economic climate, factor in your and your family’s goals, and get a clear assessment of the direction of your business. Get in touch with your business coaches, if any. What is your overall vision of your business? What are your goals 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now? What is your business theme and brand to your customers? Is it relevant to your business and memorable and fun for your customers?

B. Setting Team Expectations

1. Small business owners need to insure all managers and employees are on the ‘same page’ daily. Setting proper team expectations and accountability, is the most impactful thing you can do to insure the success of your business. Have weekly meetings with management teams to discuss accomplishments and challenges.

3 – The System: Starting your day off with motivations

A. Take a notebook (or a laptop or tablet) and jot down your thoughts and plans for the day. Whether you prefer doing this in the morning or in the evening, it is always best to take a step back, review what happened during the day (or the day before), and think of ways how you can do better. Take time to review your profit scorecard, in order to find quick hits and losses. Send out an email where you see outstanding work, done the previous day.

B. Figure out the 20% of activities that are producing 80% of desired results. Eliminate activities that are keeping you busy but not producing results, daily.

4 – Understand Customer Needs

A. Write down ideas, whether for your marketing strategies, product lines, or new projects that you want to take on. List your ideas on how to expand and energize your business. Only through innovation and continuing adoption of relevant new products and ideas can your business improve its competitiveness and profitability.

B. Take time to tap into your customer database and get in touch with your existing customers. Whether by phone, email or letter, contact your customers to greet them and remind them that your business is ready to serve them again. Get their opinions about what they think about your business (and make getting customer feedback a part of your business processes). You need to constantly look for ways to encourage repeat business. Although marketing and advertising are important to get more customers, quality, service and customer satisfaction are what keep a business successful in the long run.

5 – Understand the Profit Formula in your day to day operations

A. What are the critical success factors in your business, daily and monthly targets to meet or exceed annual profitability?

B. Develop an executive dashboard for monitoring operational progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

C. Compare the employee time documentation with information gathered from your operational monitoring process. If productivity is not meeting or exceeding goals, look at employee time logs where time is not being used as effectively as possible and make adjustments to that employee’s job role. If operations are running on track with goals, consider elevating goals by small increments until you reach a point of break-even.

6 – Keep employees involved, motivated and trained

A. Good employees are hard to find; yet they are an important element in your business. It all comes down to choosing the right person and personality type for each role so that no one is doing tasks that they resent. Forget coaching weaknesses (too time consuming), focus on leveraging strengths and passions. Check to see if they are getting what they need and make them part of the team. Help them understand the importance of their role in your business and how their job impacts the business as a whole. Review your relationship with your employees and find ways to keep your relationship happy and avoid costly attrition.

B. Hiring the right leader, someone who owns the operation from start to finish.

1. The small business owner needs to hire a operations leader to own the operation from start to finish. This person should be obsessed with the details, the metrics, and the numbers. They should be elated to hit their goals, inspired by business coaching to do better when they miss it. They love the success of your company; it’s not a job but an adventure to them.

7 – Keep an eye on new opportunities, markets and products

A. Start the year by exploring new markets for your business. Whether you are looking at targeting a new demographic or getting your business up on the web, take time to plan how you can expand your existing market. Look for ways to improve your marketing, whether by winning easy publicity, arranging an open house or preparing direct mails.

8 – Find Ways to Operate efficiently with lower cost

A. Motivate employees with production goals and ask employees and managers what they need to improve workplace operations. If suggestions seem practical and are within budget, consider implementing them. Example, only scheduling 30 minute meetings unless subject requires extra attention.

B. Documenting your Processes

1. Document the workflow of every operation within the business, with policy and procedures and special customer instructions. Yes, this is a time-consuming, tedious, boring exercise, initially. However, if you are able to provide clear and concise documentation to your team, it leaves very little room for things to be miscommunicated. Documentation makes it easier to onboard new employees, saves business from being reliant on any one person and allows the business to continuously improve and innovate operations, without having to waste months and money, researching and gathering workflow procedures from inexperience contract workers. Documenting helps to avoid ‘lost opportunity’ of being slow to change operations in the marketplace.

9 – Use Process Improvement initiatives to your competitive advantage

Six Sigma methodologies is a tool that can be utilized to improve process, people and profits. By establishing performance measures for key processes, asking the following questions.

• What is the purpose of the key process?

• What is the expected deliverable?

• How will the process owner know if there process has succeeded?

Six sigma benefits for small businesses are

1. Provides a road map and tools to determine root causes and solve problems

2. Reliable facts for decision making, improved metrics and measurements

3. Improvement in order accuracies and on time delivery

4. Improvement in labor efficiencies enterprise wide

5. Increased customer confidence and profitability (customer buy more better quality)

As a business owner, it is vital that you understand how ‘technology’ helps me to make more money by eliminating errors, overhead expenses and attracting more customers.

Invest in new technology that will help streamline operations and improve productivity, after processes have been documented. This could include new computers or equipment related to your industry or designing more efficient work stations and telephone systems. Provide training for new hires to ensure they are aware of how to effectively perform the functions of their job. If seasoned employees are underperforming, send them for training refresher courses.

Documenting processes, installing six sigma and implementing technology improves the customer experience with your business, making your profit planning measurements more transparent to employees throughout the enterprise.

Implementing an employee recognition system and recommendation process, continuously improves operations aligning performance with corporate vision, mission, performance measurements and corporate profit scorecard. Quality improves your customer emotional attachment to your business. Loyal customers are repeat customers which will recruit others to your business, increasing profits.

10 – Identify and Resolve Weak Spots in the System

A. Take stock of all aspects of your business operation and list down the areas that you want to improve. If your list of delinquent receivables is longer than Santa’s list, find out how you can improve your billing and collection process. Perhaps you need to improve your record keeping to help flag you on delinquent accounts

11 – Keep an eye on your competition

A way to get the inside edge on your competitors is by asking your customers for help. This need not be especially difficult or complex. Simply ask your customers (in the form of a survey or follow-up call) if there’s anything a competitor does (or sells) that they wish you did. Now, the idea isn’t that you’ll necessarily turn on a dime and honor every request that comes in.

Own a share of stock in their publicly-traded competitors. This alone entitles you to detailed financial information about the company each and every year. But what if you and your competitors aren’t public companies? The basic idea is the same: any financial data you can get your hands on is worth having. You want to know as much as possible about what their costs are, who their suppliers are and how you stack up in comparison.

If there is a trade journal or research study about your industry, now is the time to subscribe – and digest what it contains.

In addition to using your competitor’s products, you should go through and closely study their sales funnel. Every successful business has a system for attracting, educating, selling and following up with customers. Whether it’s via direct mail, Internet marketing or the telephone, this is the infrastructure that actually turns their prospects into buyers. How do you know if your sales funnel is performing at max capacity if you don’t compare it to the competition?

12 – Go Play Golf: Network, Network, Network

Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for your business.

Join business associations to meet other business owners, you might be surprised at who will assist you towards your success or what ideas you hear that can solve your current dilemma.

Join your areas Chamber of Commerce and participate in community service events. Get involved in your community by volunteering, donating to and/or sponsor local events. It gives you the opportunity to network with other business owners and maybe cross promote with others. These monthly meetings let you know what going on economically in your area.

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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