Welcome to Lancaster, Texas!

This website is developed to benefit you, the user. The Lancaster Chamber members listed here are committed to doing business in the City of Lancaster and the Best Southwest Area; and to providing quality products, merchandise and services. It is the hope of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce that you will give these members serious consideration when making your buying decisions. When you shop locally you contribute to the school system, municipal services, and yourself.

The Lancaster Chamber is forging ahead in community and business support. Our membership luncheons are held each month with informative and educational programs. We host NCA5 evening events giving local businesses networking opportunities. We have quarterly meetings of the Manufacturers and Logistics Roundtable, and monthly meetings of the Small Business Council, called Better Business Breakfasts. Each year the Chamber hosts the annual State of the City address by our mayor.

Lancaster is a very unique city in southern Dallas County. We have an airport, a municipal golf course, and a 155-year-old historic Town Square. We have the Lancaster Community Park with recreation center and a library that is unparalleled in the whole metroplex. The school system is growing and striving to improve the opportunities available to students. Lancaster also has the Cedar Valley College, a community college; as well as UNT-Dallas and Northwood University located in close proximity. These institutions of higher learning have consistently shown a willingness to offer services and support to citizens and businesses in our area. The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce directors and staff hope that you find this directory informational and useful as you make your business connections.

Sincerely,

Lancaster Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Mission Statement

“Actively support, promote and attract business to better serve the Greater Lancaster Area”

Commerce: Finance and Cash flow

In the early years, the major causes of business failures are the mismanaged finances and cash flow problems. The first few years of business is crucial to a long-term success. To maximize your chances of success, have your sights too high and be aware of the pitfalls, by then you can manage the finances and cash flow of the company.

Here are some useful tips to monitor the finances and cash flow that can help you sensibly control your expenses and make your business grow.

Use financial planning and forecasting.

It is healthy to track the finances and develop a business framework or financial plan. Different business has different plans, there is no generic framework to run a business. However, circumstances are inevitable, you have to consult your accountant to see what framework or plan suits your business. Be realistic at all cost, budget your expenses to see whether the plan works or not.

Be enthusiastic and ambitious, but do not forget to be realistic.

Each business owners have a fair share of enthusiasm and ambition, however, financial decisions should be rational and be based on facts. To manage a business, the journey goes through a mixture of experimentation, successes and occasional mistakes. Each and every successful entrepreneur grew in over a period of time, with some minor difficulties through their journey. It is healthy to take some risk.

Monitor the cash flow.

With the help of some accounting software, the inflow and outflow of cash can be monitored. This accounting software will generate a chart that will let you see the flow rate of the money in a period of time. Cash inflow should be greater than your cash outflow, moreover, do not panic whenever you have problems with your cash flow.

Regularly review the business expenses.

It is important to monitor the business expenditure, with the help of your business accountant, and the accounting software is a great help too, which can let you view the following:

Profit and loss reports, which shows the income, expenses, and profits over a period of time.

Balance sheet reports, which shows assets, liabilities, and net equities.

Statement of cash flow reports, which shows the inflow of cash and outflow of cash.

Accounts payable and accounts receivable reports, which shows the business debts and the money owed to the business.

And depreciation reports, which gives you the breakdown of the value of the assets owned by the business.

Appropriate pricing for the products and services.

To have the proper margin and pricing of the products and services is not easy. You have to do some experiment, it will clearly depend on the desirability of the product, the location, and visibility of the business, the effectiveness of the marketing and the pricing policies of the competitors.

To have a successful business and a better entrepreneur you should thoroughly understand the numbers that work in the business. With the knowledge you have, you can steer the business running on to the right direction.

Ecommerce: Make it Prosper

As the Internet continues to evolve, opportunities to earn supplementary and full-time online income will grow.

The economy has been stagnant for some time, and people have been struggling with it. Thus, most of us thought of ways on how to earn an extra income. Some resort to working overtime or apply for a second job to have an additional monthly income. However, some people did not know that the internet can be a source of income. A number of people have been starting their business on the internet and makes extra income online.

Making an extra income online does not require a lot of time or cut into the entrepreneur’s regular routine.

The first method is one of the popular ways most people are doing, start a blog or e-commerce website. Use it to share something, your hobbies, thoughts, and passions to make real connections with people. This can give you the advantage of having an online advertisement, affiliate marketing, and subscriber-based lists, which are based on the profit.

The second method to make money online is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing gives you a chance to earn strong commissions through a series of one-time sales. Online merchants provide you with an affiliate website and marketing support.

The great thing about affiliate marketing is you don’t have to create your own products, you don’t have to provide any customer support, and you don’t have to create your own marketing materials.

All you have to do is pick a profitable market, promote the products as an affiliate and earn a commission anytime a sale is made.

Online surveys are one of the easiest ways to earn extra cash. Brand name corporations and market research firms are desperately seeking people’s opinions on products and services and will offer good remuneration for it. Depending on their complexity, each survey can be worth five, ten or more dollars.

There are many reputable survey companies to choose from, but you may want to limit yourself to 3-5 in the beginning.

You also want to avoid illegitimate companies; as this field is widespread with scam opportunities that will take a lot of your time and pay you very little money.

This isn’t one of my favorite ways to make money online, but it certainly is an option.

If you have specific journalism skills or are adept in IT or software domains, freelancing may prove to be a lucrative source of secondary income. Increasingly, companies are implementing a content marketing strategy and turning to outside sources for specific assignments, and if you can prove your worth there will be more work available. Even simple skills like data entry may be to your liking, provide you can offer at least 5-10 hours weekly.

Think about it, making money online is surprisingly easy once you set your mind to specific income goals. Ideally, the activities that you choose to engage in are fun, exploit your talents and interests, are worthy of your time, and offer fair compensation.

Planning to Join the Commerce World?

Every young entrepreneur looking for an advice on their business start-up. Having your own business is a learning process, there is a better chance of success as you make smart decisions. There are a handful of tips to start a new business, give your new business the best chance of success.

Write a business plan, and be passionate about it.

You have to devote more of your time and energy to start a business and to make it successful. However, no matter how passionate you are, it will not be successful unless you have a plan in place.  Most of the successful small businesses need a break-even analysis, profit-loss forecast and a cash-flow analysis.

A business plan is essential to allow you to experiment with a strategy for the business on paper.

Determine the profit the business will make.

The ultimate goal of every starting businesses is the profit, to know the profit, you have to do a break-down analysis, assess the expenses and how much you have to sell to cover the costs and start generating a profit.

Plan out a financial goal.

Determine the factors that are necessary to your business expenses to launch and operate. You will even have unexpected costs, it is better to be prepared than be short on the funds.

Once you have determined all the business expenses, plan out a business budget.

Most entrepreneurs build their businesses through loans, loans can cover the expenses. However, it will take months or years to produce a profit. Ensure that loans will not pull down your business, or better, save a capital before you start your business.

Do not do it alone, hire someone.

You need a support system while you are starting a business. However, you have to be picky about people, do not just hire someone who comes along with the basic qualifications. Have someone in your business who has the motivation, creativity, and the right personality. After you have hired the right person, make sure you give them the right and appropriate kind of employee relations.

Some business tries to save money by hiring people as an independent contractor rather than full-time employees. Watch out, the Internal Revenue Service imposes large penalties on businesses that do not withhold and pay taxes for their employees.

Provide the best customer service.

Businesses will not exist without the customers, figure out how to acquire customers to have a greater chance for your company to succeed.

Know and acquire the legal requirements.

Understand the rules and regulations in putting up a business. Legal structure, accounting system, business registration, and tax liabilities are few of the government regulations and your responsibilities as an owner. Follow these to avoid penalties, although it may vary from one place to another.

Over half of the newly built businesses fail within the first five years. It is a reality for some entrepreneurs to launch a business that became unsuccessful. You have to figure out how to revive your business when it will go downhill.

Ecommerce and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In this generation we are in, nothing is free. However, you can excuse yourself from the situation in spending some cash for the promotion of your website. Free website promotion, how could that be?

Do not ever waste your time spending for website marketing with ways that can only give you a little return. There are promotional techniques that are free on the business website, these techniques can surely return an increased traffic to your website.

Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website, it is a great help!

Aside from the help of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the promotion of your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is easy to learn and understand, you can apply the basics you have learned to your own website.

Utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves the ranking of the web pages of the site, and add more valuable traffic on the site.

Whenever you are using a non-texts on the content of the web pages, in the used JavaScript, image maps or photos, utilize the ALT tag to give the search engine bots something to read.

Convince others for reciprocal linking!

One of the best methods to have a free promotion for your website is to convince other website owners to link your site to their website. Focus on linking your website to relevant quality sites.

However, you have to be cautious and aware that the inbound links to the website do not depend on the quantity of the links, it depends on the quality of the links.

Write informative and interesting articles.

This method for website promotion is one of the best, you write informative and interesting articles and offer it for free to some websites or publishing blogs and journals.

This method might need a lot of convincing, you need the articles to be well-written and persuade the website owner to publish it. Look for a website to write on first, read how the articles were written and then make sure to fit the article to the needs of the website.

Without much effort, you can achieve an increase website traffic and ranking, when you get to publish your written articles on long-lived and well-known websites.

The power of social media.

Social media does not only connect you with your friends and family, it can also make you connect with your prospective customers.
Social media offers you a high visibility at a low cost, which is great for website promotion. Different channels of social media attract different kinds of prospective customer, thus there is a need to have a social media plan.

You have to make sure that you are using the right and appropriate social media platform for your business.

Produce a high-quality content.

When you do not produce a high-quality, informative, and interesting content, all of the things mentioned above will be put into waste.

Produce a high-quality content that makes other people want to read and to promote their own blogs or website on your site.

Business Plan: Platforms, Tutorials and Templates

Writing a business plan is a necessary part of building a new business, many of the entrepreneurs struggle with the process of creating a business plan. It is not just time-consuming and stressful to conduct a necessary research and gather the required materials. It can also be confusing on what requirements should be written and what information should be included in the business plan. Here are tools and tutorials that can get you started on the business plan.

Online Tools

The following set of online tools gives you a glimpse through each section of the traditional business plan in a step-by-step format.

SBA’s Build your business plan tool that is a step-by-step guide that can make you save the progress and come back to it for up to six months.

Enloop is the tool where you add in your information and it automatically writes your plan based on your details.

LivePlan is an online service that simplifies the business planning process while providing assistance with budgeting, forecasting, and performance tracking.

RocketLawyer allows the business owners to create a customized, printable business plan by following an online step-by-step interview process.

StratPad is a step-by-step approach and cloud-based business planning software helps small business owners create a plan in less than a day.

Business Plan Tutorials

These business planning tutorials can help the new entrepreneurs on how they can start their business plan.

SBA’s Video Business Planning Tutorial is a series of video tutorials includes nine videos that are about 2-10 minutes each. You can pick and choose where to start or run through them in the original order.

Entrepreneur’s Element of a Business Plan is an in-depth review of the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn’t include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help.

Comprehensive Business Plan Outline is a business plan outline that walks you through each section of a basic business plan, including an overview of what should be included, examples and tips for writing each section of your business plan effectively.

Shopify’s Ultimate Guide to Business Plans is a comprehensive 9-chapter business plan guide covers every important aspect of writing a business plan.

Business Plan Templates

These templates are more of a “fill-in-the-blank” format to get your business plan started, one of these templates may be exactly what you need.

SCORE Business Planning Templates is a collection of business planning templates that are for both new and established businesses.

BPlans’ Business Plan Template is a downloadable template that gives you a clear idea of what a traditional business plan should look like.

The $100 Startup One-Page Business Plan is a downloadable and fill in the blanks with this one-page business plan template.

Office Depot’s Business Plan Templates are templates that include the most important elements of a business plan that demonstrate how the nature of a business and the target audience for the plan impact the content.

Failures in Commerce and How to Avoid Them

Starting a business is no walk in the park. In fact, the number of new businesses that fail exceed the number that succeeds. That’s why it’s more important than ever to create a unique product or service that helps you stand out from the rest. According to statistics, about seventy-eight percent of small business startups survive the first year and about half of all employer establishments survive at least five years.

You may have started your business for the wrong reasons. The right reasons for starting a business which leads to building a successful company include these:

You have a passion and love for what you’ll be doing, and strongly believe that your product or service would fulfill a real need in the marketplace.

You have the drive, determination, patience and a positive attitude. When others throw in the towel, you are more determined than ever.

Failures don’t defeat you. You learn from your mistakes, and use these lessons to succeed the next time around. They consider failures as a “learning process.”

Not Investigating the Market. Your desire to open the agency blinds you to the fact that we’re in a down housing market and the area where you want to work is already saturated with agencies, making it very difficult to break in. You have to find an opening or unmet need within a market and then fill it rather than try and force your product or service in. It’s a lot easier to satisfy a need rather than create one and convince people that they want to spend money on it.

Leadership Failure. You will struggle as a leader if you don’t have enough experience making management decisions, supervising a staff, or the vision to lead your organization. Perhaps your leadership team is not in agreement on how the business should be run. Do whatever you can to enhance your leadership skills and knowledge of the industry. Examine other business best practices and see which ones you can apply to your business. A successful manager is also a good leader who creates a work climate that encourages productivity. He or she has a skill at hiring competent people, training them and is able to delegate. A good leader is also skilled at strategic thinking, able to make a vision a reality, and able to confront change, make transitions, and envision new possibilities for the future.

Insufficient Capital. New business owners often don’t understand cash flow or underestimate how much money they will need for startup and they are forced to close before they have had a fair chance to succeed. They also may have an unrealistic expectation of incoming revenues from sales. Be realistic at the beginning, and start with enough money that will last you to the point where your business is up and running, and cash is actually flowing in. Use professional business accounting software to keep records of all financial transactions, including every expenditure and all revenues received, and use this information to generate profit and loss statements.

Commerce Pioneers

Jeff Bezos

He is the CEO and founder of Amazon.com. He briefly topped Forbes’ ranks of the world’s richest in July 2017, as his online retailer’s stock surged. He owns nearly 17% of Amazon, which he founded in a garage in Seattle in 1994. Bezos attended Princeton and worked at a hedge fund before quitting to sell books online. He is a pioneer in world of internet commerce, and was instrumental in defining this space that is now defining many aspects of the internet world. It is Jeff Bezos who innovated the concept of “predictive analytics”–recommending products to customers based on search history and buying habits. Whether you like the concept or you hate it, the idea has made online commerce more profit rich and efficient, and is making online shopping a better experience for consumers throughout the world. Bezos also purchased The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million.

Howard Schultz

Founder and executive chairman of Starbucks Corporation. He served as CEO of the company from January 2008 until April 2017.  He grew up in the Canarsie Bayview Housing Projects in Brooklyn. His father worked many blue-collar jobs while his mother took care of the children. Schultz also served on the board of e-commerce company Groupon, Inc. from early 2011 up to April 2012. He is a consummate example of courage, hard work, and the ability to achieve the American dream. Even in the glow of his own successes, Howard is also interested in investing in others’ success and continues to invest actively in other business ventures, such as eBay.

Larry Page

He sits at the helm of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, healthcare division Calico, smart home appliance division Nest and more. He cofounded Google in 1998 with fellow Stanford Ph.D. student Sergey Brin. Page was its first CEO until 2001. After serving as president of products, he took CEO job again in 2011. Larry Page is another example of a businessperson who can persevere any challenge. Larry and his company have faced much criticism and received ample praise over the years for his company’s actions. But in the midst of the storm, he has never let what others think sway him from pursuing the course for his company that he considers the best.

Tim Cook

After Jobs resigned as CEO and became chairman of the board, Cook was named the new Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc. on August 24, 2011. He is an American business executive, industrial engineer, and developer. Cook was the Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc. During his tenure as the Chief Executive he has advocated for the political reformation of international and domestic surveillance, cyber security, corporate taxation both nationally and abroad, American manufacturing, and environmental preservation. He previously served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, under its founder Steve Jobs. Tim Cook is doing a tremendous job. Rather than attempt to match the consumer-facing innovations Steve Jobs had been known for, Tim Cook is forging into the future with his own new advances, such as Apple’s newest innovative inventory management techniques.

Types of E-Commerce

E-commerce is an online commercial transaction between a supplier and a client. It has six types:

  1. Business-to-Business (B2B)
  2. Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
  3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)
  4. Consumer-to-Business (C2B)
  5. Business-to-Administration (B2A)
  6. Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)

 

Business-to-Business (B2B)

Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce encompasses all electronic transactions of goods or services conducted between companies. Producers and traditional commerce wholesalers typically operate with this type of electronic commerce. In this type of e-commerce, a business buys from or sells to another business electronically. For example, a bag manufacturer needs more red dye for their new line. They would proceed to electronically transact to get this ink from an ink business. On the other side of the transaction, the ink seller is also engaging in business-to-business e-commerce by electronically making the sale and binding agreement.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

The Business-to-Consumer type of e-commerce is distinguished by the establishment of electronic business relationships between businesses and final consumers. It corresponds to the retail section of e-commerce, where traditional retail trade normally operates. This massive market consists of the average consumer at home, going online and placing orders with businesses.

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

This type of e-commerce takes place strictly between two consumer parties. It can take place in many forms including direct sales, trade arrangements, auctions, and more. If a business is not party to this online transaction, it is considered consumer-to-consumer e-commerce. The moment you think of C2C e-commerce eBay.com comes to mind. That is because it is the most popular platform that enables consumers to sell to other consumers. Since eBay.com is a business, this form of e-commerce could also be called C2B2C e-commerce (consumer to business to consumer e-commerce). Craigslist, vehicle trading posts, and sites like TradeAway.com also facilitate this type of e-commerce.

Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

This commerce has empowered consumers to originate requirements that businesses fulfill. In consumer-to-business e-commerce, the business is temporarily acting as a consumer, purchasing a product or service from the actual consumer. This type of e-commerce is much less common than most other types, but does comprise a number of key slices of the e-commerce market. Crowdsourcing is a prime example of this. In crowdsourcing, a group of individuals combines effort to create a product or service that the business entity wants to purchase.

Business-to-Administration (B2A)

Businesses electronically vend services and products to administrative entities. This most commonly takes place when government administrative offices transact with businesses in order to fulfill operational needs. This part of e-commerce encompasses all transactions conducted online between companies and public administration. This is an area that involves a large amount and a variety of services, particularly in areas such as fiscal, social security, employment, legal documents and registers, etc. These types of services have increased considerably in recent years with investments made in e-government.

Consumer-to-Administration (C2A)

Any electronic commerce that takes place between the consumer and an administrative body falls into this category. Other common examples include social security payments or a local community center’s membership payments. Both models involving Public Administration (B2A and C2A) are strongly associated to the idea of efficiency and easy usability of the services provided to citizens by the government, with the support of information and communication technologies.

Challenges in E-Commerce

Back in the day, you can sell just about anything and make crazy money. Competition was minimal, technology wasn’t as affordable as it is now and access to product was limited. Now, Amazon is a major competitor to everyone.  China is opening up to the world and technology is now affordable. The e-commerce industry has become so fierce, that surviving has become a matter of concern. With internet fostering the birth of many newcomers threatening reputed players, the need for differentiating on the basis of customer service experience has become as critical in modern times. This article will discuss a few e-commerce challenges that players face. The information here is based on research by Cyriac(2015) and Assan(2017).

Challenge #1: Lack of Verification Measures

Once a customer signs up in an e-commerce portal, the portal is unaware about the customer except the information he/she entered. The credibility of the customer is questionable. This heightens when the customer issues a Cash-on-Delivery (COD) purchase because the business is unsure whether the customer is genuine or not. These have resulted in huge revenue losses for many e-commerce players.

Challenge #2: Selling the Right Product

Shopping cart platforms like Shopify have eliminated many barriers of entry.  Anyone can launch an online store within days and start selling all sorts of products. Amazon is taking over the eCommerce world with their massive online product catalog.  Their marketplace and fulfillment services have enabled sellers from all over the world to easily reach paying customers. Let’s not forget about Aliexpress.  They’ve simplified product sourcing by giving access to Chinese manufacturers within a couple of clicks.

All of this has made it very difficult for retailers to source unique products unless you they decide to manufacture your own.

Challenge #3: Product Returns and Refunds

When products are returned because customers are unsatisfied with the product, it scars the business with heavy loss on shipment and reputation. Cost of logistics have always been an issue for e-commerce players especially for those who deliver for free.

Challenge #4: Customer Loyalty

E-commerce industry is an industry where the cost of switching is pretty insignificant. A lot of players have lost customers because their rivals have a better quality of customer service, or better discounts. Knowing that 86% of clients stop doing business with a company because of poor customer service, you need to ensure customer service is always a priority for your online business and part of your retention strategy. Customers demand consistent and seamless experiences across all channels, and players that refuses to deliver fail to retain customers.

Challenge #5: Achieving Long Term Sustainability

Increasing sales is one way to grow the business but in the end, what matters most is profitability. Online retailers must always find ways to cut inventory costs, improve marketing efficiency, reduce overhead, reduce shipping costs and control order returns.

Challenge #6: Choosing Right Technology and Partners

Some online retailers may face growth challenges because their technology is limiting them or they’ve hired the wrong partners/agencies to help them manage their projects. Retailers wanting to achieve growth must be built on a good technology foundation.  They must choose the right shopping cart solution, inventory management software, email software, CRM systems, analytics and so much more. In addition, hiring the wrong partners or agencies to help you implement projects or oversee marketing campaigns may also limit your growth.  Online retailers must choose carefully who to work with.