Amazon Home Services Marketplace

amazon-local-servicesAmazon has launched its Home Services (formerly Amazon Local Services). If you are looking for voice lessons, yoga classes, furniture assemble, mounting wall televisions, setting up baby gates, house keeping or even assembling those products you buy at Ikea, now you can order them directly on Amazon. You can list your services on Amazon if you are a service provider or you can look for services close to you. Using geo based technology, Amazon matches your queries with your zip code. How will this impact your lifestyle? Hopefully it will make it much easier for you to get help with simple to expert projects.

Amazon Home Services competes directly with Angie’s List and other online local services. The number of Amazon’s service categories and the number of cities in which they are offered are both ballooning. It will take some time for the public to get used to ordering local services this way and time for merchants to list their services on Amazon.

As of March 30, Amazon Home Services was available in Miami, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, San Jose, Portland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, Riverside, Tampa, Orlando, Austin, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Cincinnati, Charlotte and St. Louis. Other locations are being added regularly.

Quietly introduced in late 2014, the service initially featured service providers whose businesses could help Amazon shoppers with additional needs related to purchases, such as installers who could put up a new TV. The expanded program goes well beyond that concept.

Now the list includes such things as plumbers, home improvement sources, lawn and garden, auto mechanics, computer and electronics aids and yoga instructors. There is a “more” category for items that jibe with those listings. It includes such exotica as “goat grazing” and “singing performances.” The goal is to have a list for anything a customer is likely to need, including housecleaning and babysitting.

The introduction of the expanded service is a big step toward competing effectively in the on-demand economy. Amazon is partnering with some of the on-demand service startups, but not trying to replace them entirely. The approach is consistent with what Amazon has done with other initiatives, such as its online art store or the Amazon Sellers program. Experimentation has proved that the relationships can increase sales for small retailers of physical goods.

Amazon hand-picks the businesses it includes at its sites and ensures that they are licensed, insured and background-checked. The mega company had taken a 20 percent cut of services costing under $1,000 and 15 percent of those over that amount. But in conjunction with the new launch, service fees have been readjusted in three categories with varying fees. The company also has built in safeguards to assure the authenticity of user reviews and prevent spurious reviews by those who want to cause trouble for a competitor. Amazon shoppers buy services by putting them in an online cart so reviews can be authenticated.

The Amazon website says that prices quoted in the service are the same as those prospective customers would receive if they called the service provider direct. That answers some complaints from customers who sought services in the earlier phase of the program. Amazon also offers to match prices if the customer can find them cheaper elsewhere.

Small Business Lessons From Coca-Cola

Innovation Never Ends

When does a successful company come to the point at which it can rest on its laurels and coast? Never, according to Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Co. When he took over the reins of the soft drink giant four years ago, it was a bit stagnant, struggling to keep up with the PepsiCo competition. Through a series of brilliant manipulations, he put Coke back on top of the rankings. Last year, the Fortune 500 company racked up sales of 5.5 billion cases of product in the United States alone, with more than twice that amount in top markets throughout the world.

World Wide Distribution

Coke Advertisement In Israel - 4/27/2012

Those numbers are staggering to smaller businesses struggling to establish themselves in a competitive market. But in a recent far-ranging article in Fortune 500 Magazine, he reveals tactics that could be applied by just about anyone. Among them:

Don’t become blasé about the possibilities.

When Kent spent five days touring Asia he cranked up employee enthusiasm by telling them “This is your once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Don’t miss it.” He describes his own leadership style as “constructively discontent.” There is no room for standing still.

Stick to business

The company talks in figures that track up into the billions, but Kent has initiated a policy of charging managers $15 if they use their cellphones for personal calls. He lives by the same rule. He bases this seeming nit-picking policy on his perception that one of Coca-Cola’s problems was a lack of respect for cash. He uses cash to fill his BMW at the service station and keeps a well-supplied money clip in his pocket for spending money. It’s a reminder that its small amounts mounting up that keep Coke in the top rankings. (Currently they are 59th among the 500.)

Look for ways to be innovative

When Kent was heading a marketing job in Rome, there were rumors that Coke planned to shut its Italy offices. He came up with the idea of putting Coke products into 150-milliliter mini cans, a much more manageable size for airline galleys than the standard 12-ounce cans. The company was first with the concept and latched onto major accounts with airlines, trains and ship lines across the Continent.

Watch out for your partners

Kent understands that while Coke manufactures its famed concentrates and syrups, the bottlers down the line are closer to the customers who buy the product. He capitalizes on that fact, treating the contributing components down the line with consideration and respect. At one point in his career with Coca-Cola, he quit over such issues, compounded by a stock-trading incident that involved short sales of Amital shares. He resigned from the company for a time. But bouncing back from reverses also is part of his approach to business. During the interim, there were several years of rapidly changing leadership and related problems in the company. He was rehired in 2005.

Be prepared to take a bold step when needed.

For Coke, one of the steps that put the company back in the lead was a deal with entrepreneur Steve Cahillane, who had founded State Street Brewing in the 1990s. Kent put together a deal that enabled Coke to acquire Cahillane’s company while giving the latter rights to bottle Coke products in Norway and Sweden, a profitable scenario for both. It was without question a bold move for Kent, but he shored up his chances of convincing his board by preparing a finely detailed plan that cogently outlined the advantages to the company.

Keep an eye open for products or services that fit neatly into your family

Coco-Cola has 15 brands with retail sales over $1 billion a year. The public’s demand for a periodic something new in the soft-drink arena suggests that the number could go up. Refusing to become bogged down in narrow interpretations of what fits has been a boon to Coke and could be for many a smaller company as well.

Capitalize on new technologies

Kent had the foresight to recognize the value of using emerging technologies to sell more product. He encouraged his vice president of innovation to head up the design of a self-serve fountain machine that allows customers to mix beverages to their own taste via touchscreen. The company has focused on marketing via digital strategies. It has the largest consumer brand fan page on Facebook, with 41.4 million likes.

Provide growth opportunity for your leaders

Coke has initiated a program called Talent 2020. Executives are assigned a research project outside their area of expertise and have six months to put up a defense of their findings to a leadership team. No Power Point. They are expected to stand up and present what they’ve found sans the glitter. Some of their ideas have already been woven into the corporate fabric.

Look ahead

Kent’s vision is incorporated in his statement that “The future of the world belongs to two groups: those that can grow and those that cannot grow. Those that don’t grow will go into oblivion.”

Next time you order personal checks consider Coca-Cola image checks.

Big Break For Small Business Suppliers

An exciting new opportunity has been created for small business owners. The ability to offer their products or services to large corporations is a big boost to businesses that would otherwise not be able to even put their foot in the doors of big companies.

Supplier Connection, a program recently put into effect by the U.S. Small Business Administration is a program offered by the IBM foundation and was created as a way to improve part of the Obama administration’s American Supplier Initiative. The public-private effort involves 15 major corporations that are willing to consider ordering supplies and services from the small businesses registered with them. The corporations collectively have more than $300 billion in purchasing power.

It is expected that the initiative will grow small businesses, create new jobs and add strength and diversity to America’s supply sources, said SBA administrator Karen Mills.
“While it is clear that becoming a corporate supplier can lead to business growth, breaking in can be a challenge for small businesses,” she said.

The administration recently sent letters to more than 50,000 small businesses outlining the new program and providing tools to smooth entry into the process. Supplier Connection is available to interested small business owners and registration is free online. There, they are able to register their company name and include details about what kind of products they offer. The hope is to provide small business owners an opportunity to become suppliers to larger corporations.

Among the 15 companies that have signed on to the program are Wells Fargo, UPS, Pfizer, Office Depot, Kellogg’s, John Deere, J P Morgan Chase, Dell, Facebook, CitiGroup, Caterpillar, AMD, AT&T, Bank of America and Caterpillar. They have agreed to look at the services and products of small businesses that register online. They then will determine which services or products warrant their financial investment. Small businesses can learn to supply large corporations with their unique offerings.

Small business owners often have no idea how to connect with large corporations and thus never get the chance to get contracts with corporations who have large amounts of capital. This free service can help pull small companies that have real potential into the mainstream of American business and put them on the road to success. The new revenues coming from a business relationship with successful corporations may prove just the needed edge to grow revenue to new levels. On the other side of the coin, the corporations that are purchasing goods and services will have better insights on the pulse of emerging businesses. Everyone wins.

Small businesses connect with business checks suppliers for ordering discounts.

The Future Of Apple Without Steve Jobs

Apple Stock Prices from 1984 - 2011

The Rise Of Apple Stock Prices

What does the future of Apple look like without Steve Jobs? Analysts are predicting a very bright future.

Today, Apple is worth $377.83 billion dollars. Share prices are fluctuating between $401 – $409.  It is the largest company in the world and new products are in development.  The iTV, which is currently in the prototype stage, could revolutionize the television industry and it could add billions of dollars to the worth of Apple.

Gene Munster, analyst for Piper Jaffray, a $400 million dollar investment company, says “We believe that of the estimated 220 million flat panel TVs sold in 2012, 48% or 106 million units will be internet-connected, of which Apple could sell 1.4 million units,” Munster wrote. “We believe an Apple Television could add $2.5 billion or 2% to revenue in 2012, $4.0 billion or 3% in 2013 and $6.0 billion in 2014.”

Will that make investing in Apple now a good investment? David Zeiler writes an interesting article: Why Apple Stock Is Headed for $500 – And Beyond. The momentum behind Apple seems to be growing past the loss of it’s founder, Steve Jobs.

A recent book called “Steve Jobs,” by Walter Isaacson, clearly reveals the thinking that has been driving the success of the company for years. Steve’s out of the box, creative thinking has gotten the masses to use computers in a new way. From the launch of the MacIntosh in 1984, to the recent launch of the Ipad2, his products provided us with the next generation of technology.

Designing products with ease of use has been Steve Job’s philosophy. Thank goodness, because the masses are not tech geeks. His artistic sense of design, minimalistic lifestyle and obsessive attention to detail are the fuel behind the products we have come to love and use daily.

From his high school part-time job working at Hewlett-Packard, Steve Jobs found one mentor after the next to teach him about technology, product creating, business structure and relationships. Although not always the best at relationships, his demand for perfection and his drive for great product creation triumphed.

There is a future for Apple because of Steve Jobs. His vision and creative thinking will truly be missed, but his contributions to the world will benefit generation after generation.


Related Company Valuations – October 31, 2011


Apple Inc. 377.68B
Microsoft Corporation 225.50B
IBM 218.78B
Google Inc. 193.01B
Oracle Corporation 166.52B
Intel Corporation 129.99B
Verizon Communications… 105.09B, Inc. 97.32B
Hewlett-Packard Company 53.35B
Dell Inc. 29.15B


1984 Launch of the Macintosh, the best place to order checks.

Quickbooks Merchant Services Developer Earns Reward

Quickbooks Merchant Services Inventor

Hugh Molotsi of Intuit, receives an award of $1 million dollars.

On August 31, 2011, Hugh Molotsi received the “Founders Innovation Award,” for his role in the development of Quickbooks Merchant Services. An employee of Intuit for many years, Hugh discovered a business problem by talking to business owners about why they weren’t use credit card processing and the most frequent response he got was that they didn’t know how to do it.

Quickbooks Merchant Services Impact

Providing a solution to that problem was the beginning of the creation of Quickbooks Merchant Services which Hugh was instrumental in developing. It was released in 1999. Within two months, the business was profitable. Within the first year, they had 3,000 customers. The next year, business tripled to 10,000 customers and revenue tripled as well. Intuit’s future businesses were built on the fundamentals that the Quickbooks Merchant Services had. Now most of their customers, revenues and profits are from Quickbooks Merchant Services customers. Most of the Intuit businesses today and most of them for tomorrow are because of Quickbooks Merchant Services.

Through Hugh’s leadership he has earned two leadership in excellence awards and four of Intuit’s Innovation Awards. According to Intuit founder, Scott Cook, he is a classic leader and teacher. He is a continuous learner and focuses on self-improvement. He received Intuit’s special recognition, special access to Intuit events, and a financial reward of $1,000,000.00.

Intuit Company Development

Intuit has produced the popular accounting software, Quicken for personal finance, Quickbooks, and Turbo Tax. Intuit is a financial services company founded in 1983 by Scott Cook, former employee of Proctor & Gamble and Tom Proulx, a computer programmer studying at Stanford University. These two brilliant people worked together to help make people’s lives easier by creating the first software accounting program for families and businesses.

Intuit now has a revenue of $3.9 billion dollars, was ranked #44 by CNN as one of the top companies to work for and was ranked in Forbes magazine as one of the top 100 most inventive companies. Their mission statement is to remain “driven by our passion for inventing solutions to solve important problems, perfecting those solutions and delighting our customers.” Intuit makes a practice of rewarding their innovative employees by giving them special recognition and handsomely rewarding them financially. Intuit has become a success story inspiring people from all walks of life.

Founder of Intuit

Scott Cook co-founded Intuit Inc. in 1983 and now serves as the chairman of the Executive Committee. He earned an MBA from Harvard University and received a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Southern California. Cook is a member of the board of directors of eBay; Procter & Gamble; the Asia Foundation; the Harvard Business School Dean’s Advisory Board; the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin; and the Intuit Scholarship Foundation.
Quickbooks Checks