Great sales proposals: The basics

March 1, 2016

As marine fabricators, you sell both products and services, and sales proposals are probably part of your business. Proposals educate prospective customers, motivate them to buy, and ultimately inspire them to establish and deepen a business relationship with you. What makes a great sales proposal? For starters, it: Establishes your credibility, providing evidence to your …

Marine fabrication: Working with rigid enclosures

February 9, 2016

Canvas Designers CEO Mike Erickson, MFC, gives IFAI Expo attendees training and tips on crafting a quality enclosure for customers. “Working with Rigid Enclosures,” presented Oct. 7th at IFAI Expo 2015 in Anaheim, gave attendees an opportunity to learn some tips from the owner of Canvas Designers Inc., Riviera Beach, Fla., the largest custom marine …

Know your market, make your sale

February 8, 2016

Social media is a tool that can directly tie conversions to the efforts you set aside to utilize its potential. There are two main sectors of social media that businesses of all sizes can utilize to market their products and services: organic and paid. “Organic social” is the free, content side of social media. The …

Get that Business Loan Approved: What lenders look for in a borrower?

February 4, 2016

Most companies run on credit to sustain their initial business expenses. They file for a business loan to cover liabilities for the following: purchasing inventory and equipment or credit to support expansion. Previously, we have highlighted various places where businesses can get a loan, including banks and federal programs. But, what if you have been …

CRM programs run the gamut

February 1, 2016

There are dozens and dozens—maybe hundreds—of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software programs on the market. And it seems that most are difficult to use. In terms of navigating the programs, many CRM packages seem to be rated along an arc of complexity, from user-unfriendly to totally impossible to use. One well-known program, Salesforce, is often …

2016 MFA Time Standards Manual

January 1, 2016

The Time Standards Manual was developed in 1996 by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, to serve as a benchmark shop owners can use to set fabrication times, with which they can generate competitive labor costs. The manual is an ongoing project that will grow and change organically …

As the ACA stands

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been around since 2010, and despite more than 50 congressional attempts to repeal it, its shaky financial footing may do it in. According to a report from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, small businesses are among those most vulnerable to steep health-care cost increases affecting …

Not everything slows down during the slow season

October 13, 2015

Preparing for seasonal lulls includes finding ways to generate income when business slows. One way is to encourage customers to put off certain types of projects until the off-season. Discounts Mark Hood, MFC, of Hood Marine Canvas and Training, Merrimac, Mass., uses this tactic for customers requesting interior or cushion work. Offering a discount for …

Should you extend credit?

September 14, 2015

Fabricators stress caution when extending credit to customers. On the surface, it sure seems like a slam-dunk decision for a marine fabrication shop to not extend credit to customers. “Let’s see, when you write off thousands and thousands of dollars—maybe even $100,000 over the 30-year life of the company—you start to think about giving anybody …

Business ethics: Facing the dilemma

September 1, 2015

It seems like, in the wake of big corporate scandals, a heightened awareness of business ethics pervades organizations of every size. Most ethical dilemmas, however, aren’t that momentous or dramatic. They’re rooted in commonplace business activities you and the people around you encounter every day. How do you manage the ethical dilemmas you face? A …