Use of card surcharges can be considered fraudelent practices

http://www.bt.com.bn/business-national/2014/03/13/retailers-warned-passing-credit-card-surcharges-customers
To my understanding (someone please confirm), the surcharge is because the shops dont get the minimum sales through cards.
But the irony is, if they have a surcharge or minimum purchase, that would discourage people using cards. So the solution is IF their sales doesn’t reach the minimum in the first place then don’t bother getting the machine, and when you do, teach the cashier to ask cash or card to promote use of cards, even give a discount if necessary. That’s why the banks promote discounts using their cards.
Even small items by several people will add up. My last year lost wallet incident has made me prefer to lose my card rather than my cash, and therefore I would like to use my card more.
The added benefit of accepting cards for a company, is the less risk of the employee stealing the cash. They might steal the card info, but that is a problem relatively traced and fixed. For the employee, no hassle of cash and coins.

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In conclusion,
-Use card accepting machine if and only if your sales reach the minimum requirement,
-When you do accept cards, on order to reach the minimum sales promote the use of cards through discounts, or promotional items.
-Train the sales/cashier to promote the use of cards.
-Don’t use tactics that will scare customers from using their cards, e.g. surcharges and minimum payments.

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Secrets of Successful Project Management

Did some projects recently, this article at ST Training Solutions › Articles › Secrets of Successful Project Management, would have been helpful. The steps are here simplified:

  1. Know what are the objectives of the project. Know/assign those  who are responsible for the project.
  2. Plan activities to reach those objectives and account for obstacles.
  3. Act on the Plan, change the plan only if necessary and if it is still in line with the objectives.

Currently, I’m trying to understand using the Work Breakdown Structure within Project Management Software. The one’s I’m looking into are MS Project (propriety), and open source programs like OpenProj and Open Workbench and GanttProject. OpenProj has been said to be compatible with MS Project. So I’m looking into that. Anyone has any suggestions?

Business Plan Writing

I gave a quick 3 Hour presentation on Writing a Business Plan for LiveWIRE Brunei in their Be a Succesful Owner/Manager Workshop. Basically, it is what I’ve learned from my own research when I created my own Business Plans and Participating in Business Plan Competitions such as the LiveWIRE Business Plan Awards and The Think Big Business Plan Awards.

The Topics I covered include:

Here is the Presentation Slides I used.

Open Source Software Networking Event

3rd April 2010 – An open source software networking event was held at the University of Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) by the Brunei Open Source Software Community (BOSSC?). Among the contents of the event were:

  • Introduction to Open Source and its future developments presented by Pg Izam Ryan Pg Bahrin – he talked about the origins of open source, where it is headed in the context of Brunei.
  • A showcase from participants of Think Big Competition in which ITB students used open source software to develop software for a fingerprinting system used as an attendance record.
  • A presentation from the Ministry of Education (MOE) Curriculum Development Department in which free software is used to teach students in form 1 and 2 (year 7 and 8) skills such as 3D modeling using google sketch, computer graphics drawing using Artweaver and Google Apps in education.
  • Developing Islamic applications using Android by Hj Azaman Hj Sulaiman.

The events ended with a networking refreshment session. (I unfortunately had to personally go right before this as I was in a hurry to pick up my wife.)

Open source software I believe is the gateway in which Brunei can be a knowledge base economy. The use of propriety software as long as its pirated ones have been pushed to the masses for long enough, some of us have begun to realize that we do not have to settle for what is available, instead we can create something according to our own needs.

In the future, I expect the Open source movement in Brunei to flourish as soon as Copyright and Piracy laws are enforced in both the Public and Private sectors. Where the use of legal propriety software such as Windows and MS Office will be viewed as costly and many will revert to open source software such as Linux and OpenOffice.org. When this happens, then a whole new opportunity for software development, maintenance and training will  begin.

When I don’t know for sure, the copyright issues in Brunei have begun to resolve slowly, there has been rumors that the copyright enforcement in Brunei may begin more seriously in 2013.

The event Photos can be viewed on my facebook

5 things to grow your biz right now!

Being a photgrapher, my wife found this article http://photofocus.com/2009/10/30/five-things-you-can-do-right-now-to-grow-your-photography-business/

the article is about things photographers can do grow their business. I found the article to apply not just to photographers but to other businesses as well. Here is my interpretation of the article.

  1. Own Your Own Zip Code
    Start with your own area. Why would you be in a certain area and market to the whole country. It takes more time, effort and money the further you are from your area. A marketing guru talks about how to make your product a purple cow and how building your own tribe is essential to marketing your business.
  2. Show What You Want to Sell
    Show what you have to sell, and show relevant things. Imagine going to a shop and all you see is a Logo, a desk and a person. If you have products showcase them, if you have services, show pictures or certificates, news clippings, or achievements. A fast food restaurant always show the picture of food they serve. Additionally, this may also mean market yourselves. So, don’t forget to use facebook pages, twitter, or create your own website for you business. (If you want to make  a website, you can hire me either to build it for you, or to teach you 🙂 )
  3. Network Like Crazy
    Get to know more people, they might be your potential customers, business alliance partners. Join a network or an association, if possible something related to your business. Even better, find a business development community or association where you can meet other business owners and manager. I’ve joined LiveWIRE Brunei. There’s also the LiveWIRE International
  4. Avoid Time Stealers
    Do the things you do best and avoid doing things that you can let other people do it for you. Of course some people or business may be on a budget. So they may have to do things by themselves. If that’s the case then I’d recommend finding and hiring someone else – a salesperson to find more money for you, so you have the budget to hire someone else to other stuff for you. Manage your time, and delegate tasks.
  5. Charge More Money
    More money more profit, some people would be scared to raise their prices in fear of losing customers. But if a business is the best at what they do, why would they charge less? Even luxury business can thrive in a downturn economy. http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/article203048.html

I have to admit, I have to master some of theses my self. So wish me luck, as I wish you good luck.

Pitching your Business Plan!

Do you need to know what investors are looking for in a business? David S. Rose is a serial entrepreneur turned serial investor. He shares his tips in presenting.

He shares that investors are not just investing in your business idea, they are also investing in you. So you have to show that you and your team have:

  • integrity
  • passion
  • experience
  • knowledge
  • skill
  • leadership
  • commitment
  • vision
  • realism and
  • coachability

and how to show all these in just a few minutes by using logical and relevant steps. Using an outline for presentation that he recommends.

At the end he gave his top 5 tips in presentation.

  1. Always use presentation mode
  2. Always use a remote control
  3. Your handouts are not your presentation
  4. Don’t read your speech
  5. Never look at the screen.

He mentioned the use of a remote control to change the slides of the presentation. Those remote controls are sold in Brunei for more about BND40- BND 100. In 2009, I found a mobile phone software that can transfom any java and bluetooth enabled devices into a remote control to change the slides on a bluetooth enable PC.

It is from http://www.mobilewitch.com You have to install the PC software on the computer and the mobile app on the phone.

Click on the following links to the download page.