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Interactive Forum

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Welcome to our Interactive Message Board.

The CBBO Interactive Forum is a business management tool that allows you to communicate with other Bradley County business operators in an informal way. You can post questions asking for advice without fear of embarrassment. You can also offer advice with the same freedom, completely anonymously if you wish. All e-mail addresses will remain confidential and not posted unless instructed to do so. The idea of Interactive Forum is to help business owners and managers navigate the pitfalls and stumbling blocks of making a business successful in Bradley County.
If you are experiencing a business related problem it is highly likely that someone out there will be able to help. And, if you have solved a problem, maybe that information could help save a business. Please keep your e-mail communications as short as possible.

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My bank returned a bounced check from one of my usually good paying customers. Not sure whether she has just miscalculated her account or is spending big before filing for bankruptcy. What is the most effective way of getting my money without upsetting a good customer?

At A Loss,  Cleveland.            Reply

Dear At a loss - If it's a local check, take it to the bank from where it was issued and ask the teller if there are sufficient funds to cover it and whether the account is often overdrawn. More than likely you have caught your customer between deposits. If there is enough in the account to pay the check go back to your bank and re-deposit it immediately. You may be out of pocket $3-4 for the redeposit but at least you won't alienate your good customer with embarrassing calls about a bounced check.

I have been considering adding a small tea room at the back of my my retail store, serving  just teas, coffees and pastries for my tourist customers. Would I need to get a special license to do this and who would I need to contact?

Sticky Business, Cleveland.            Reply

Dear Sticky, if your business is in the city of Cleveland, call the city planning office (423) 479-1913
or the county planning office (423) 476-0540.  If they can't help, they will know where to direct your call.

Can someone tell me of a good and very "user friendly" office management software for my computer.
Just the basics ...statements, invoices, envelopes, etc.

No Whiz Kid, Charleston Tn.          Reply

I find "Quick Books Pro"  to be a great software to use for my small business. It simplified my office tasks considerably.

This year I have lost a lot of merchandise and money to theft. What type of security system would be most cost effective for a very small business?

Losing It, Cleveland.                Reply

Place mirrors so you can see blind spots from your check-out counter.

You can buy a low cost security camera that plugs into an ordinary TV for less than $50. You can also make VCR tapes to help prosecute shoplifters. The sight of a camera will stop most thieves.

I'm sick of people parking their vehicles in front of my business while they go eat at a nearby restaurant. I have two allotted parking spaces for my customers. What can I do?

Feeling Sick, Cleveland.                Reply

A sign saying "space reserved for customer of the month" sometimes works but it could deter your customers too.

Put a sign up saying violators will be towed. Even if they won't, it will help.

Tell your customers and employees to park in front of the restaurant.

  If  I catch a shoplifter red-handed, can I forcibly detain them until police arrive?

  Ready for action, Cleveland.        Reply

  How often can I hold a sale? Can I put items permanently on sale or do I have to have sold the item for full 
  price before putting it on sale? Is there a law governing this?

  What's the big deal, Cleveland.    Reply

  I work as an independent hair stylist in a Cleveland Beauty Salon. The owner of the salon has a business license. I
  was told by a lady who said she was from the city government, that I, along with my fellow stylists also had to have 
  business licenses, surely this isn't true.

  Making waves In Bradley County      Reply

  Reply to "making waves....."

  If you are paying booth rent you DO have to have your own business license.  You are considered an independent   
  contractor.  If you are on commission then no you don't need one because you are considered an "employee" of the
  salon.  So, if you pay booth rent better get you a license.

Can I inform other small businesses of a shoplifter that was apprehended at my business? I know she shops at other similar retail stores and she had been robbing me blind for a long time until we finally got video taped proof. I'm sure if she is doing it at my store she is also doing it at others.Can I let them see or give them video tapes and pictures of her and her procedures for shoplifting?     

Robbed blind in Bradley County    Reply

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