Golden Business Ideas

A “New” Price-Setting Tool
Going, going, gone!

Auctions, which go back in time to the first bazaars, have gained new popularity in this e-commerce age. But they may have an even more basic function than simply selling goods and services to the highest bidder.

Consider this: Setting a price for a product is as much an art as a financial exercise. Price it too high and customers balk; set it too low and customers suspect the product is inferior. Hundreds of years ago when people bid on most items in an open market, the pricing mechanism was dynamic. But as the modern marketplace developed, bidding became limited to a handful of products.

The Internet is changing all that. Web sites such as eBay and the growing number of business-to-business online marketing sites have become the modern-day open market. As such, they are resurrecting dynamic pricing. Increasingly, companies are using them to gather intelligence and pricing trends—a powerful marketing tool that’s not to be ignored.

Extend a Cartridge’s Life
Just because a laser printer appears to run out of toner—that is, the print gets lighter or even starts to skip—don’t feel you have to replace the cartridge immediately. Instead, remove the cartridge and give it a good shake. That will give you quite a few more print jobs.

“If everything you try works, you’re not trying hard enough.”
—Gordon Moore, founder of Intel.

How to Pick a Pricing Plan
When you’re faced with paying a higher up-front cost and lower per-use rate vs. a lower fixed cost and a higher per-use rate—such as with a cell phone pricing scheme—it’s usually best to go for the higher fixed-rate plan. So says Dr. Eugenio J. Miravete, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His research indicates most buyers tend to underestimate how much they will use a service, so it’s more economical to pay more up front and pay less per use.

Technology Etiquette
If you’re more comfortable with computers and technology in general than your coworkers, certainly share what you know with them and offer to be helpful, but don’t be too aggressive about it. Some computer techies tend to be somewhat less than tactful when dealing with people who are more paper oriented.

When nontechies have to deal with a condescending or know-it-all colleague, they find it more difficult to get up to speed.

Yes, Please Interrupt Me
When making a presentation, invite questions from the audience during your talk. Don’t make listeners wait until afterwards.

Reason: While questions during your presentation do break your flow, they are an excellent gauge for measuring whether you’re addressing the audience’s concerns. If you’re off the mark, the questions will help you get on track.

Bonus: Some questions may even open doors to other areas of interest that you may want to pursue.

An Invitation
The JofA publishes a monthly collection of Golden Business Ideas and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).

Send your ideas to Senior Editor Stanley Zarowin via either e-mail ( ) or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy , Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.


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