Manhattan has an incredible history with plenty of culture and so many dining options it's hard to make a decision. It's also exceedingly expensive, especially for business. Whether it's a new shop, small, midsize, or large - the sticker shock of operating a place of business is sometimes overwhelming.

So how exactly is anyone really surviving? Can you say loss leaders? I discovered loss leaders years ago when a project I was working on received that designation. It seemed the product we were pushing was not as well received by the public as had been anticipated. So they lowered it below market to get rid of it. Theoretically, businesses use loss leaders to draw in customers. But in this case, the item unwittingly became a loss leader when it didn't sell. I say the manager just needed to find a way to save face and get it off the books - fast!

Another way that businesses can really save some dough is by using virtual office services. I read one study that showed how outsourcing traditional office jobs like answering the phone, taking messages, scheduling appointments, and taking orders costs around a whopping 50 percent less than when a company hires temp employees to do those jobs - let alone the cost of benefits for regular full time employees! This is a no brainer when you think about paying all those costs - like for unemployment insurance, healthcare, bonuses, paid time off for vacation and sick days, and social security and other tax obligations. All that stuff really does add up.

Smaller businesses are often faced with whether or not they can even operate at all. Entrepreneurs usually cannot afford to pay themselves, let alone someone else. When you think about it, virtual services can serve as a form of loss leader in that, if you make it easier for customers to find and do business with you - it's a way to draw them in. There is really no doubt that virtual services have revolutionized the way that everyone does business - in the best ways possible.


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