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The Three Worst Business Decisions Kona Impact Has Made

Kona Impact is almost ten years old. We’ve seen the best of times when the stock market and real estate markets propelled an immense growth in business and personal wealth, and we’ve seen the worst of times when clients had a hard time surviving and were existing month-to-month. All of those swings in the economy, however, are beyond the control of most small and medium-sized businesses; that is, we zig when the economy zigs and we zag when it zags.

good and bad decisions

There are many things that we do control. These day-to-day decisions can have a huge impact on our business results. Here are three mistakes we’ve made at Kona Impact. We would like to think we won’t make the same mistakes again.

  1. Going into businesses areas that are saturated. When we started Kona Impact, we thought that commercial photography and videography might be lucrative extensions of our offerings. Had we thought it through more, we would have realized that the Kona market is saturated with photographers, many with very high skill sets. We also did not understand the level of demand, so within six months, we realized that we would have to fight extremely hard for a very small piece of pie—a recipe for a failed business—so we quickly stopped these services.
  2. Trying to create demand through buying equipment. We purchased about $20,000 in specialized equipment when we started with the belief that by sheer force of will, we would be able to develop a market. We were, of course, dead wrong: the market did not exist, nor would it exist in a reasonable timeframe. Technology will seldom create a market that does not exist, and, in the end, today’s tech is yesterday’s news, so, in itself, it is not a wise foundation for business.
  3. Wrong-sizing our office space. Until about a year ago, we were in an office space on a busy intersection in Kona. We thought that the roadside visibility was essential, so we sacrificed space and good work area for visibility. This was a good strategy our first few years, but when we moved into sign making and wide format printing, we should have moved to a bigger space that accommodated our new and growing parts of our business. With a business-to-business model, we should have moved much quicker away from a space that was more retail and general office us.

Fortunately, we have made many more good decisions than bad decision, or we would not be here after nearly ten years. The expensive mistakes certainly sting a bit to this day, and the more strategic day-to-day mistakes about operations and products just become part of what we know and try to avoid in the future.

Kona Impact | 808-329-6077

“Forward” as a Guiding Principle for Business..and a Great Motto, too!

I started up my tablet this morning and was greeted by “Lenovo – For Those Who Work” on the splash screen. Ok, not a bad motto, but on my tablet, which I use to watch a lot of Netflix videos, it seemed a bit contrived and restricting.

Nike’s “Just Do It” seems to be a near-perfect motto or slogan for Nike’s products. It’s just three words; it’s a command; “It” can be anything to anybody, and together the three words are a great call to action and focus on the major impediment to change—all thought and no action. “Eat Fresh,” Subway’s slogan is equally good.Watch Jarhead 3 : The Siege (2016) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

I grew up in Wisconsin, where the state motto is “Forward.” I’ve always liked it for a number of reasons. It’s progressive and future-focused. At the same time, it gives direction and is in opposition to “backward,” which most would agree, is a horrible way of being or looking at government or life.

For Kona Impact, I would probably go with “Business Forward” for our motto. We don’t make a lot of consumer sales, and we hope that our products and services propel businesses into a better future. Not terribly unique, I’m certain, but it does capture the essence of what we try to do: move businesses forward, to the future.

A few years ago we had a client that was in a particularly combative mood. She was struggling to get a part of her business going, and she thought we were to blame. She called and immediately started saying we had referred her to the wrong provider for what she needed—the final piece puzzle we needed to complete the project. It was one of those hold-the-phone-away-from-your-ears-while-someone-rants calls. It was very uncomfortable for me, but, alas, that’s all part of business and project management. I’ve been working in design and published for 25 years, so I have pretty thick skin.

At Kona Impact, we knew the solution to her problem, and we knew we were powerless to get the final piece for her. She had to call the provider, which is something we told her numerous times. There was nothing we could do, and we communicated this weeks prior. The key to moving forward was entirely up to her.

At that time, her focus was purely on looking backward. She wanted to rant, and we were her (misplaced) target. I really wanted to interrupt and say, “This is the way forward. Do this and you’ll be done.” I also wanted to add, “Your rant is not constructive and is not based on the truth.” Fortunately, I bit my tongue and didn’t say the second thought in my mind! I just listened, explained the way forward and tried valiantly to end the conversation. I estimate that in the ten minutes she spent complaining to us, she could have had her issue solved if she called the 3rd party provider.

moving forward

My point is that looking backward is an inherently faulty way to run a business. For certain, learn from mistakes and successes, but forward is the only direction to move. Get caught up in what was, and you’ll never focus on the most important: what will be!

The next time you’re ready to start the blame game, ask yourself what outcome you anticipate. Will you really move your business forward, or do you just want someone to listen to your frustrations? If you just want to rant, reconsider, and focus on the more positive and future-focused outcome.

 Kona Impact | 808-329-6077

Working with a Sign Shop: Know What You Are Buying

The other day my 10-year-old daughter asked me what a “bait and switch” is. I told her it is when you are led to believe you would receive one thing and at the end, you might receive something of lesser quality or value. It’s trickery, I told her.

At Kona Impact, we never want our customers to feel like they were going to get one thing and receive another. It’s bad for the client and the business. Over the past ten years, we have had very few times, perhaps two, when we’ve had to deal with the accusation of a bait and switch or just a customer asking for something we did not include in the sale.

signs

We make great efforts to be very forthright and transparent to avoid surprises—for our clients and us.

Here are a few things ask your sign company when purchases a product:

  1. Are design costs included? Sign shops will often separate design/setup costs from the cost of materials and the production costs. For an intricate sign design, the design costs will exceed the cost of materials and production. At Kona Impact, we usually include “basic design” in the sign cost for banners or simple signs, but if you want something that will take a lot of design time, that’s extra.
  2. Can I have the sign design file? If you pay separately for design, we will gladly give you a pdf or jpeg of what we have done. If you have not paid for design time, ask if you can buy the design afterward.
  3. What is the material? Is this material suitable for my intended use? Discuss this in depth before you order!
  4. How long will the sign last? This to a sign professional is like asking how long a marriage will last! There are many variables: use, location, material, orientation to the sun, environmental wear, and so on. Most signs are printed on vinyl should have a 5-10 year expected life (or more), but one facing South next to the ocean will likely have less, and one facing north at a higher elevation in the shade will likely have more.
  5. Will the sign be ready to mount? Yes, but if you want holes in the sign, you need to be very specific about the locations. The standard real estate sign is 24” x 18”, but mounting poles and brackets might be two to six inches in. If you want the holes drilled, most sign shops, including Kona Impact will drill them for you, but we need to know where.
  6. Is installation included? Installation might double the cost of a sign, so be sure to ask. I should not be assumed.
  7. Can I self-install? For most small signs, we highly recommend self-installing, because our time to drive to your location, install and then return are costs we need to recoup.
  8. Do I need a permit? We do not advise on County of Hawaii permitting. The sign and construction codes are on the County’s website; read and decide what you want to do.
  9. Does it include mounting hardware? We can certainly provide mounting hardware, but you can save a lot of money by going to the hardware store—the same one we would go to—to get you stainless screws, washers and brackets.
  10. Is there a warranty? Every sign shop, including Kona Impact, wants your signs to last a long time. That said, where and how a sign is mounted are huge factors in the life of a sign. As such, we give broad guidelines—based on our product manufacturers’ information—for the life of signs, but we do not warranty anything once it leaves our shop. That said, if material fails prematurely—and it does on occasion—we want to hear from our clients, as we will do our best to make it right.

Everyone likes to believe they are getting what they think they are paying for. In our experience, most issues come from a misunderstanding or lack of clarity at the initial stages of the project. At Kona Impact, we try to go through all the eleven points above at the quote price stage, as we know nobody likes surprises—us or our clients.

If you are looking for signage on Hawaii Island, give us a call. We are happy to help!

Kona Impact 74-5599 Luhia Street, E-7, Kailiua-Kona, Hawaii
808-329-6077

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A Few Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

At Kona Impact, we love working with entrepreneurs! We love to see someone take an idea and make it a viable, sustainable business. We love to see people get rewarded for their innovation and hard work. It is, after all, what has built this country.

We have worked with hundreds of businesses and have completed thousands of projects over the years. We have worked with teenagers and retirees, PhDs and non-high school graduates, multi-millionaires and people scrimping to buy groceries. We like to think we have seen it all.

I was talking with a young entrepreneur the other day about business and doing business in Hawaii. He was inquisitive and seemed to be searching for ideas, so we spent some time going through the basics of business. Here are four ideas I shared with him about becoming a successful entrepreneur. Based on what we have seen in our ten years of business, they are important.

Get a Good Understanding of Business Law

I’m not saying you need to become a lawyer, nor do you need to hire one for a lot of your business decisions and day-to-day operations. You do need to understand what licenses you need for your business to operate, a proper business entity to register, your tax obligations, and you need to have an understanding of contract law.

I see a handful of businesses a year that seem to want to create their version of basic contract law. At a simple level, there is “offer” and “acceptance.” For example, if you come to Kona Impact and discuss a project and we offer a specific product, and you accept the offer verbally or in writing, you have entered into a contract. When that product is delivered or produced, you are responsible for paying for it. For certain, there are many nuances to this part of business law, but it’s important to have a fundamental understanding of the “offer-acceptance” nature of business. There is nothing that will turn off suppliers or partners more than a client or customer that is unreliable and is operating under flawed reasoning about legal responsibilities.

Here’s a pretty good primer on business law. It’s just a start; you need to learn more!

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Manini (the non-consequential)

A business owner will make hundreds of decisions a day, some of them of great consequence to the business and many decisions of less importance. Focus on the three things you think will drive sales, innovation or productivity and spend as little time as possible on the things that don’t add value to your business.

If you’re spending hours on a business card, you are wasting time. If you spend a substantial amount of time on social media checking out what your friend’s had for dinner last night, you’re wasting time. If you find yourself putting off sales and marketing tasks while working on polishing the silverware, so to speak, you need to stop and start doing the hard work of the business.

startup slingshot

Know What You Know and Be Willing to Admit What You Don’t Know

The most successful business owners I know in Hawaii are masters at doing what they do best and hiring good people to do other tasks. Seldom do I see an entrepreneur who does the sales and marketing, accounting, design, product delivery and customer service work at an “A” level for each. It’s just impossible to be good at all, so why waste time doing a thing for which you are inefficient? If numbers are your thing, hire a salesperson. If you’re a people person, and you would rather get a root canal than do the accounting and payroll every month, hire an accountant.

I see a lot of sole proprietor businesses where the owner is trying to do it all, and in the end, does nothing very well. Sadly, these micro-managers also tend to over-focus on the unimportant, robbing their business a true chance of success.

Be Over-Capitalized!

Starting or running a business is tough, and despite the best planning and intentions, a lot of businesses die due to running out of money. They might have survived over time, but the owners ran out of funds too early.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

At Kona Impact, we tell new entrepreneurs to have a year of operating capital when they begin. They should keep half their marketing budget for the second half of the year. We like to say, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” so have enough reserves to get through the unexpected.

In Conclusion

If you want to bias your business for failure, make bad legal and contract situations, focus on the inconsequential, try to be a “know-it-all” and start your business under-capitalized.

Want bias for success? Read up on business law, focus on the big issues, delegate, outsource and have reasonable financial expectations and resources.

Kona Impact | 808-329-6077

Thirty Business Ideas for Kona, Hawaii

Kona Impact has been helping new businesses for nearly ten years. We’ve seen some of the best ideas one could imagine, and, truth be told, some of the worst. Most businesses fall somewhere in the middle: a pretty good idea, but success depends entirely on hard work and effort acheter viagra 25mg.

Here is a list of 30 businesses that could, in my mind, do OK in Kona, Hawaii. Some are more commercially viable than others, and I am willing to admit that some are probably very bad ideas for one reason or the other. My intent is simply to get some ideas out there and perhaps inspire some great ideas for the readers. To my knowledge, they are not copies of anything that exists now.

  1. Energy consultant – unbiased consulting services for home and business energy use
  2. Low-cost airport shuttle for residents and visitors with remote lot parking
  3. Bakery
  4. Made on the Big Island store
  5. Reputable dog breeders
  6. Commercial co-packer for Big Island foodstuffs
  7. Dedicated performing arts center for hula
  8. Business incubator space
  9. Hawaiian language school for adults
  10. Viable alternative media for Hawaii news
  11. Nice made-in-Hawaii furniture store
  12. Triathlete training school
  13. Maker space
  14. Waterpark
  15. Dedicated vehicle painter
  16. Quality Hawaii-inspired clothes store
  17. Vocational training center
  18. Residential recycling service
  19. Children’s theater
  20. Addiction specialists (exist, but need more)
  21. Home-based nursing homes (exist, but need more)
  22. Big & Tall shop
  23. Saturday school for Japanese
  24. Comprehensive wellness center with nutritionists, trainers, physio-therapy, counselors
  25. Big-Island theme restaurant
  26. Vegetarian restaurant
  27. Quality antique shop
  28. Campground
  29. Kids’ recreation center
  30. After school college prep center

I’m sure there are hundreds more great ideas. Pick on. Go with it. And, when you’re ready to start building your business in Hawaii, give us a call!

Kona Impact | 808-329-6077

Create the Kona, Hawaii Community You Want

The Elections seem to bring out complainers in all of us. So-and-so just doesn’t care about the poor/homeless/business owners/ middle class/elderly/children. So-and-so is self-centered/dumb/arrogant/myopic/naïve/ignorant. I hear these statements every day, and, to be honest, I get a little tired of the endless whining and grouchiness.

While I can certainly be a grouch, too, about ten years ago I made a commitment to work on creating the community I want. By this, I mean that I would no longer complain about that which I could not affect, and I would choose the things I value in my community and try to make a difference. More action, less talk.

Here are some ideas and resources that can help you create the Kona, Hawaii community you want.

Community Services Organizations in Kona, Hawaii

As a Rotarian, I am heavily biased toward the Rotary Club of Kona. There is also a Sunrise Club and a Mauka club. Rotary is an international service organize with the motto, “Service Above Self.”

We also have very active Lions Clubs, Shriners and some very active churches that do a lot of good in the community. Living Stones has several good outreach programs. The Salvation Army in Kona also does a lot of good. Google, any of these, to find out how you can become involved.

Education

One of the most active groups in Kona is the American Association of University Women. They put on a wonderful G.E.M.S. (Girls Exploring Math and Science) day every year. Help them and you will be helping hundreds of kids in Kona a year.

All of the local schools would welcome gifts of school supplies-backpacks, notebooks, pencils, etc.—at any time. Some of our Kona schools have more than 60% of students receiving subsidized lunches, so donations of new school supplies are always welcome. The Salvation Army would also welcome donations for their pre-school and other outreach programs.

Another plug for the Rotary Club of Kona: it gives over $20,000 a year in scholarships to local students, and provides a free vision test to hundreds of local third graders every year.

Kudos to the Lions Clubs who provide hearing tests and some vision screening, too.

Policing / Crime

Join a neighborhood watch or form one with your neighbors. Call Crime Stoppers if you have information about criminal activity. Call the non-emergency police numbers for things that don’t require a 911 call. Don’t assume someone else is calling in problems. The Hawaii Police Department has an excellent community policing program. Give the station a call and see how you can be part of making Kona a safe and comfortable place to live.

Litter / Dumping

I see a guy going for a stroll just about every morning at the time I walk my dog. I often see him with a small bag he uses to pick up road side garbage. He’s creating the community in which he wants to live. I may also add that his good deeds are contagious.

Call the County to report abandoned vehicles. Get the make, model, color and plate numbers prior to calling.

Supporting Local Agriculture

Food security for Hawaii Island is abysmal, with most estimates putting the percentage of our food that is imported at 70%-90%. This, of course, will be a big problem in a time of natural disaster, shipping stoppage or closed airport. It also means that we are sending a huge amount of money off-island.

Visiting one of our farmers markets once a week is a good start. There are markets in South Kona, Keauhou, Kailua Village and several in Waimea. Shift just $50 a week to our local farming economy and you’ll add $2600 a year to our local economy. Forty families doing this would add $100,000 and probably a job or two to our economy.

kona hawaii

Supporting Local Business

The numbers are the same: shift $50 a week to locally owned business and you’ll probably keep about $1,800 a year on the island (based on 70% of money spent on local businesses staying here). Sixty people doing this a year would add about $100,000 and probably a job to our local economy. Sounds like a pretty good investment to me!

Helping to Create Fun

Though it’s not my thing, there is a group in West Hawaii working to create a motor park, where those who share a love a cars and off-roading can meet and engage in safe motor sports. If it’s your thing, get in touch and work together to get this done.

Another group is working to provide a safe, low-impact shooting range for West Hawaii. This would be funded by the taxes hunters and shooting enthusiasts pay on ammo and hunting licenses. To be located by the large dump in the Kohala region, this shooting range would provide many opportunities for a fun and safe recreational activity.

There are many, many groups that are working to expand the opportunities for Hawaii residents and visitors to get outdoors and get moving. People Advocacy for Trails and Hiking (PATH) has many programs to help kids learn responsible cycling, and they are great advocates for outdoor recreation.

Another local gem is the Aloha Performaning Arts Company. They put on six major productions a year at the Aloha Theater. Audition if you are interested in acting. Contribute your time or money if want to support excellent community theater, and, of course, buy tickets and attend the productions!

Providing Support to Our Residents

I’d also like to draw attention to a few excellent non-profits that are always welcoming to new volunteers. Hospice of Kona is, hands-down, one of the best run non-profits in Kona. They provide excellent end-of-life care and they are always very appreciative of volunteer time (and donations!).

Deep and Beyond is a wonderful group of volunteers from the University of Nations. They provide outdoor recreation activities—hiking and snorkeling—to those who face physical limitations.

Another great group is Special Olympics of West Hawaii. Last summer I volunteered a day to help with their Bocce ball tournament and it was one of the best days of my year (and I had A LOT of great days last year). Keep them in mind if you want to create a community that cares for everyone.

My point of this blog is not to tell you what to do; instead, it’s to encourage you to follow your heart and get involved with something that works for you.

Create the community in which you want to live!

Kona Impact | 329-6077

How NOT to Negotiate Price with a Sign Provider

We had a potential client come into our shop the other day. She is a local business owner who wanted to have graphics put on her delivery truck. At the end of the discussion we told her, in very polite terms, to go to another provider. We were just not a good fit for her project. We felt we were not a good fit for the way she wanted to do business with us. And, based on ten years of business, we knew that working with her would be difficult and stressful, and we should pass on the project.

Here’s what he did to set off our alarm bells for a difficult project:

  1. In the first minute of talking, he said, “Your competitor, XXXX, said he could do it for $XXXX dollars.”
  2. She then said, “Can you beat his price?”
  3. After that, “I need this done this week.”

Here’s where she went wrong. First, I suspect she was making up a price quote. Never lie. We can spot a lie a mile away. Second, I know the “competitor” and what equipment he has. If the price quote were true, it would not be a comparable quote, as the “competitor” does not have the proper equipment to do a professional job. Third, if you are fixated on price—usually a bad idea—you can’t expect quality and a quick turnaround, too.

Price, time, quality: pick two

At the end of the day, we have several variables that affect pricing. They are:

  1. Design time
  2. Materials
  3. Installation time
  4. Shop overhead (rent, utilities, insurance, bookkeeping, supplies, etc.)
  5. Employee cost
  6. Profit

We have a very good understanding how #1-5 factor into our goal, #6.

So, based on the above, here is what NOT to do:

  1. Don’t tell us what our price should be. We know our inputs into the price. You don’t. We’ll give you a fair price quote. You are free to look elsewhere if you don’t like it.
  2. Don’t make false comparisons. Sign shops are not selling commodity goods, so you need to understand material differences, design expertise, and the installer’s skill level to understand how the same project might have a different cost.
  3. Don’t compare us to online. If you buy online, you will have to do the design work, create an account, pay upfront, pay to ship and then wait two to four weeks for your sign. If the quality is poor, you get to start over. At Kona Impact, we’ll (in most cases) make a professional design for you and have your sign done in a day or two. There are no delivery charges, and there are no quality risks.
  4. Don’t do the old, “If you help us on the price on this project we’ll bring you a lot more work.” This labels you as a price-only buyer, and we know your loyalty will be fleeting, at best. If you won’t let us make money on the first project, why would we expect anything different in the future?
  5. Don’t show us price quotes from other sign shops. Let’s imagine you get a written $300 price quote from Company A and then you take that to Company B and Company C. First of all; you are wasting your time and the time of the people who make your price quotes. Second, you may only save $10-$20, yet you have wasted $50 of your time and $75 of the time of sign company’s. Get two quotes if you must. Pick one. Move on.

Here is what to do:

  1. Be upfront about your budget and what you want. Our prices do not change based on your budget. We’ve had multi-millionaire clients and small sole proprietor clients: they all get the same pricing! Just be direct about what you want, and we’ll give you a fair price quote.
  2. Be willing to accept a smaller sign or lesser quality materials if your budget does not allow for exactly what you had in mind.
  3. For many signs, like exterior signs on posts or buildings, self-installing can save you money. Offer to build a frame or supports yourself as a way to reduce sign costs.
  4. Focus on value instead of price. Most sign shops do high-quality work, and if you want something on the cheap, you are not allowing the shop to have the resources (money) to do quality work. At Kona Impact, we will avoid jobs that do not allow us the budget to do quality work.
  5. Always be polite. Pushiness or aggressive tactics seldom get you the best work at the best price. They are a big turn-off and counter-productive. We will treat you with politely and with respect, and we expect the same.
  6. Pay your invoices promptly. Every shop has a list of clients for whom they will not do more work. The reasons are usually non-payment of invoices and being a pain to deal with.

The best way to get what you want is to be open, direct and honest in your dealings with your sign shop. This, of course, is how you want people to deal with you and your business, so doing the same to your providers should be easy to do.

 Kona Impact | 808-329-6077

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Understanding Why Clients Don’t Pay…And What to Do About It!

One of the most onerous parts of running a business is trying to get paid. In a perfect world, a business completes an agreed project and receives payment immediately. That is, of course, how retail works: you pick a product off the shelf, proceed to the checkout area, make payment and leave. You know own what you paid for. For most non-consumer businesses, however, invoicing is the way it is.

Many of Kona Impact’s clients lament how much trouble they have to go through to get some customers to pay. After over 4,000 invoices, 800 or so clients and ten years in business, we’ve learned a few things. Here’s our take on getting paid.

Why clients don’t pay …and what to do about it

Bankruptcy / Legal Problems – These are the hardest, as the court has probably set out who can get paid and under what circumstances. You probably have little chance of being paid. The only leverage you have is if your client needs something you have—a service or product. There is no use in digging a deeper hole, so demand payment upfront, and try also to require payment on past due amounts. You have no responsibility to provide services or products to a business or individual for which payment is uncertain.

They say they are broke – This is seldom the case that a client has absolutely no money to pay for what you have provided. They do have resources, but paying you is not as compelling as keeping those resources. Here is where a three-prong approach often works. First, be the squeaky wheel and keep reminding them of their non-payment. Apply late fees (if you have made these clear at the time of initial invoicing). Another prong is to get something, anything from them on a regular schedule. A hundred dollars a week on a thousand dollar invoice will reinforce to the client the need to get paid. Finally, consider Small Claims Court. Kona Impact has filed a few times, and it’s amazing how quickly a client can find the money to pay. We always received 100% payment before the court date in both instances.

Slow accounting practices – We find this with several big businesses: the local guy submits the invoice, which goes to the regional office in Honolulu, which goes to the Mainland office, which goes to the accounting department, which, by practice, processes invoices on a Net 30 (or worse) basis. As a result, it might take 60+ days to get paid. At Kona Impact, we’ve found that local office most likely has a credit card for expenses, so try to get paid that way. Otherwise, you will wait and wait, and there is little you can do about it. Our record late payment this way was from Mainland hamburger restaurant that took six months to pay!

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Poor accounting practices – At Kona Impact, we send all initial invoices by email with tracking, so we are reasonably certain if the email has been opened or not. If after a week, we have not received payment, the invoice appears not to have been opened, and it’s a new client, we’ll double-check the email and send a paper copy of the invoice. If after two weeks—we are Net 15—we’ll send a Past Due Invoice and sometimes follow-up with a call. We accept that there are disorganized clients, and it is our job to help them stay on top of things! (Not really—all we want to do is get paid!)

“Dissatisfied” client –  I put this in quotes because it’s common for clients to invent dissatisfaction because their true reason for not paying is that they have poor cash flow or are broke. That said, every service and product provider will occasionally fall short of providing what was promised. The important point, as it relates to billing and getting paid, is that you need to open the lines of communication and seek resolution, as you won’t get paid when a client thinks they didn’t get what you want them to pay for. Yes, this is a perception game, and the truth might not be that important, as long as someone feels slighted. Make a call and try to figure out how to reach some compromise. If they dig in their heels, it might just be a bullying attempt prix de viagra en pharmacie. Don’t give in; just file against them in Small Claims if you are certain you have provided what you are asking them to pay for.

Poor Cash Flow – This is when a client’s finances are irregular, and there is not enough money in the bank to meet liabilities. The good news is that your client or customer will probably eventually pay, but the bad news is that it might be at some uncertain time in the future. If it’s an established and reliable client, patience (and a few reminders and maybe some late fees) are in order. If it’s a new client, you need to have ‘the talk.” For the most part, clients and customers will meet whatever boundaries you set, and if they can’t or won’t, you might want to reconsider keeping them as clients. I’ve always found that if you set Net 15 day terms, you get paid in about two weeks; if you set Net 30 terms, you get paid in about 30 days, and if you set Due on Receipt terms, payment can be immediate or up to 30 days.

The important issue in all of the above scenarios is to find out the reason for not getting paid. Your choices might range from patience—there is nothing you can do—to filing in Small Claims Court or Circuit Court, if it’s a large amount, to protect your rights. I always advise trying to work things out informally instead of working through the legal system, but at the end of the day, you deserve to get paid.

Some recommend trying to set up payment plans. At Kona Impact, we have mostly found these ineffective unless we have a credit card on file that we can charge on the set schedule. We find that clients who don’t pay what’s done when it’s done seldom have the responsibility and integrity to pay on installments.

The other important issue is to manage risks. New clients should pay more upfront and be subject to a “Cash on Delivery” system until they gain your trust. Clients that violate your trust and become difficult to collect payment from might be clients you want to drop.

At the end of the day, you have no obligation to serve any client, especially ones that subject your business to unnecessary risks. It’s perfectly OK to refuse service to someone that might not meet your terms and conditions.

 Kona Impact | 329-6077 | 74-5599 Luhia Street, E-7, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

One Year Past the Most Difficult in Time Kona Impact’s History – Happy Ending!

It’s hard to imagine but it’s been one year since we have been in our current location, 74-5599 Luhia Street. Kona Impact has been in business nearly ten years, and this was our second move.

We had no idea when we began 2015 that within a month we would be moving. We also didn’t know that we would have to go through some of the darkest days of being in business until we could turn things around.

In mid-January our poorly-maintained and horribly managed building suffered its third “brown water” leak into our office in two years. This one was horrible, putting us out of business for nearly half a month and destroying thousands of dollars of equipment and materials. We had dealt with the usual problems with office space in Kona: creepy crawly things and even some hairy creepy crawly things, but alas, that was part of renting an old building with an off-island owner and incompetent management.

We were told by several people, including a lawyer friend, that we’d have a good case to sue the building owner and the management company and win, but we decided it would be easier to move on. To this day, I am glad we just terminated our lease—as we had the right to do—and move on.

A few things we learned:

  1. The manager of your building works for the owner and not the tenants. They are there to protect the owner’s interests. Do not, for an instant, think they will put the tenants’ best interests before the owner’s.
  2. Your lease will probably release your building owner from any and all responsibilities, no matter how negligent the owner is in maintaining the property. If your building has consistent and serious problems—plumping, security or electrical—get out as soon as possible. Neglect is neglect and it won’t get better.
  3. Business disruption insurance will have so many loopholes and restrictions that it might not cover very much.
  4. Always be looking for a better deal. Had we realized that we could find double the space for the same rent, we would have moved much earlier. Sure, there is the fear that you will lose customers if you move, but always look for ways to find a better place.
  5. Don’t give into fear or bully tactics. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to run a profitable business and to follow the terms of your lease. Your building owner and property owners best interests are making you stay, even it means bending the truth. Ironically, a leasing agent will encourage you to move, as they only get paid when they lease a new location. Everyone has a vested interest! Follow yours!
  6. Don’t be afraid to move. It took us about four days to prep, paint and move to our new location. Given the huge and proven risk of staying where we were, this was not a hard choice. We’ve now had 365+ days of absolutely no building issues. I haven’t had to contact our property manager even once!

It’s been a year since we have been at our current location. We have seen significant year-on-year growth since we have moved. Our workflow is much smoother, and our extra space for inventory has meant that we can complete many projects in a day; whereas it would take two or three days before or longer.

Best of all, we are love renting a space where we can significantly lower our risks of business interruptions. The peace of mind is priceless!

Some people have asked if we are bitter about the whole experience with the property owner and the management company. The true answer is, of course, is a resounding yes! We make sure to share our experiences with business owners when they ask about good buildings, leasing agents and management companies. We always tell the truth, and in case of our old building and property managers, the truth is truly scarry.

So, as we celebrate the beginning of our second year on Luhia Street, we look forward to what the year will bring.

Success in 2016

Apples to Apples, Oranges to Oranges: Banner Pricing in Hawaii

Three things we have all grown to hate are hotel, air fare and car rental pricing. We have all found prices for these and then realized that they don’t include taxes, airport fees, cleaning fees, resort fees, convenience charges, broker commissions, and so and so on. These can add 50% or more to the rate you think you are going to pay.

Unfortunately, the sign business has a similar problem: using a low teaser rate for a product, but when all is said and done, that rate is not even close to the out-the-door rate you pay.

Here’s an example:

Banners $3 sq ft. (an ad for a Honolulu sign company)

Sounds great until you read the fine print. This price is for a low-quality material. Good quality material is extra. The rate does not include any layout or basic design. With few exceptions, almost all of Kona Impact’s clients do not have the software, skills or know-how to design a banner. So, unless you have these things, add an extra charge. The $3 sq ft charge does not include hemming. An unhemmed banner will curl up on the side and is inherently much weaker. So, add an extra charge for that. The $3 rate does not include grommets. So, unless you are one of the 1 in 1000 banner buyers that are going to staple a banner to a board or wall, you will have an extra charge for grommets.

Do you want the banner to be full color? If so, that’s extra!

Oh, and the $3 rate is for “standard processing” which means you will get your banner (low-quality material, your design, no hemming, no grommets) in a week. Want quick processing? That’s extra!

Kona Impact has made approximately 2,000 banners, and the number of times a client has wanted an unhemmed, un-grommeted banner on inferior materials with a print-ready file they have made is exactly zero! In other words, what the $3 sq ft pricing is advertising is something no one is buying!

At Kona Impact, we offer two prices for banner, which I am confident costs less than the out-the-door price of most companies:

$8 sq ft for a high-quality material banner with hem and grommets. This includes a basic layout with a turnaround time of a day. There are no extra charges for full color.

$6.50 sq ft for a high-quality banner with hem and grommets. The client provides the print-ready design. The turnaround time is a day. There are no extra charges for full color.

We also offer volume pricing and non-profit pricing discounts.

For example, one local company that advertising $27 banners has an out-the-door cost (6’ x 2’ banner with hem, grommets, “basic” layout, uncertain turnaround time) for $107! Kona Impact’s price is $96 with a one-day turnaround.

apples to apples comparison

It’s become a time when companies like to lure customers in with rates that seem to be reasonable. Hotels, car rental agencies, airlines, and, yes, sign companies do this. At Kona Impact, we are a full-service company that likes to treat our customers like we like to be treated when we are customers: fair, honest and transparent pricing. We do not give teaser rates and then engage in the “that’s extra” dialog with customers.

So, the next time you come across an extremely low price for a banner, ask the following questions:

  1. What is the material? Is this your best material?
  2. Does the price quote include any design time?
  3. Does the price quote include a full-color printing?
  4. Is there a setup charge?
  5. Does it include hemming or grommets?
  6. What is your turnaround time?
  7. Do you outsource your work to the Mainland?
  8. Are there any shop charges or additional costs?

At Kona Impact, we are very competitive when it comes to apples to apples and oranges to oranges comparisons. But be sure when you call for a price quote you are comparing the similar quality, costs and turnaround time!

Kona Impact
808-329-6077