Letter of Intent (LOI) in Crude Oil Deals – The Legal Traps and Pitfalls of LOI for Crude Buyers

Nowadays, to hear many of the oil sellers and operators, particularly their brokers and agents, who are involved in the international open market crude selling, describe it, this document – called the “Letter of Intent” or LOI, for short – is not only an essential document for doing crude oil business, but one which every credible person or company engaged in crude buying should always use in initiating a purchase. To many of these operators, not only should crude oil buyers use the LOI to initiate their buying orders, but initiating the purchase order in that manner, they say, has always been the usual way by which credible buyers initiate their purchasing projects, as doing it that way indicates, they claim, that a buyer is “serious” and genuinely committed to making a purchase.

THE SELLERS’ RATIONALE FOR DEMANDING THE LOI

This position expressed by one representative of a seller, a Swedish-based broker, in a recent exchange with this writer’s office regarding the seller’s offer wherein the prospective buyer’s mandate resisted the broker’s insistence that the prospective buyer must first sign an LOI, pretty much sums up the traditional rationale offered by sellers and/or their agents for having an LOI:

“Buyer who is serious, ready and able to purchase [crude oil], will sign [an] LOI and all the necessary documents that protect the rights of the Brokers and proceed. There is nothing to lose in signing those documents. This is how it is usually done and this is how it should be.”

In sum, the rationale underlying the Seller’s demand for LOI, can essentially be summed up as follows:

1) That giving an LOI to a seller by a prospective buyer, is an indication that the buyer is “serious” and willing to purchase;
2) That use of the LOI is the usual way of initiating a purchasing proposal by a buyer, and is the right and proper way to go; and
3) That there is nothing for anyone in the deal to lose by a prospective buyer signing an LOI.

HOW VALID, OR OTHERWISE, ARE THESE USUAL RATIONALE BY SELLERS OR THEIR AGENTS?

Ironically, while oil sellers and their agents frequently demand that prospective “serious” buyers involved in crude oil transactions should first offer an LOI, the buyers, on the other hand, are not generally enamored of that idea. Especially when, in effect, what is being asked of them is to provide the LOI upfront to a little-known Internet-generated seller about whom they lack any familiarity with or whose bona fides as sellers they know next to nothing about – other than, perhaps, that they (the buyers) had had some initial communication with the “seller” via an Internet contact. In deed, to this writer’s knowledge, crude buyers, particularly the more established and prominent ones, would very rarely offer an LOI upfront to any sellers to initiate a purchase. And when, especially, the supposed “seller” that’s involved is one that is a virtual unknown to the buyer, or one that is merely an Internet-generated seller about whose bona fides and credentials the buyer knows practically next to nothing, one can be almost absolutely certain that the chances of a crude buyer of substance signing over an LOI to such a seller, is practically next to zero.

Contrary to the sellers’ and their super sales-conscious agents’ familiar claim that “There is nothing to lose in signing those documents,” quite the complete opposite is true – namely, a great deal, in fact, could potentially be lost particularly by the buyer by signing an LOI to a supposed seller. Why? In a word, this is because the LOI is actually fraught with many incalculable legal flaws, traps and pitfalls, much of which could often be prohibitively costly for the buyer, according to legal authorities and contract law experts. (See below for more on this)

In fact, some experts have called the LOI a document whose use is primarily advocated or promoted only by amateurs and marginal dealers or “joker-broker” types in the crude trade business, especially the overzealous sellers’ agents and brokers in a desperate hurry to land some buyers. Mr. Ziad K. Abdelnour, President & CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc, a New York-based advisory firm to traders and suppliers of metals, minerals and crude oil commodities, calls the LOI document something that is primarily “used out on the Internet by inexperienced traders,” and by “inexperienced ‘intermediary seller’ who is claiming to be the supplier.”

The point is that the often-heard notion and claims by some sellers or their overzealous agents and brokers that the use of the LOI to initiate a purchasing proposal by a buyer “is how it is usually done and this is how it should be,” may be applicable and prudent only in the minds, the imagination, and hopes or dreams of those sellers, especially the more marginal ones and their brokers and agents who operate on the fringes largely on the Internet. It is NOT a view that is shared by the broad spectrum of credible buyers, more especially when the “sellers” involved are largely unknown and obscure operators.

THE REASONS WHY BUYERS & EXPERTS SHUN & DISAPPROVE OF THE USE OF LOI

They include the following:

1. LOI is used as manipulation tool at the hands of unscrupulous sellers & agents.

Often times, obscure or scam-oriented persons who claim to be crude Sellers, or represent themselves as sellers’ agents, mandates or brokers largely by an Internet contact or communication, employ the LOI merely as a tool to quickly “corner and box in” a prospective buyer to a purchase deal, before the prospective buyer may demand that they provide their business profile or show him something tangible to demonstrate that they are truly legitimate sellers. Such sellers would persistently demand that the prospective buyers hurry and issue them an LOI right upfront purportedly as proof that they are “serious” about making the purchase – that is, before the buyer may probably start raising some probing questions about them or their credentials as legitimate sellers.

Many a time, especially in a case involving a supposed seller who is either a fake seller or does not actually have the supposed crude in hand yet, or, an unscrupulous aspiring seller’s agent or broker who actually has not acquired a crude supplier (seller) yet, buyers may issue an LOI only to find out that there is no seller on the other end. This happens a lot in situations where you have an hungry agent or facilitator who is still struggling to get a real supplier, and by extracting this LOI from an unsuspecting buyer, this facilitator can commit the buyer only for him then to start hustling to find a seller or supplier.

2. LOI is a Legally Worthless Document That Means Virtually Nothing

As a practical matter, in legal terms, the Letter of Intent is a worthless and meaningless document. The LOI is a badly flawed legal document. This is because the document is, as one experienced contract law expert put it, “an agreement to agree which is non-binding and non-enforceable as a contract.”

Ziad K. Abdelnour, President & CEO Blackhawk Partners, Inc, the New York-based advisory firm on such matters, puts it this way: “Giving a Letter of Intent only means ‘Yes I’m intent to buy the goods but I can change my mind anytime.’ A letter of Intent is not a binding contract. [Hence] The Letter of Intent is a total waste of time on a worthless piece of paper.”

So, if a letter or document that nominally or presumably conveys the signer’s “intent” or intention to buy, is essentially meaningless and worthless in legal terms, and is not binding on the signer or anyone, and CANNOT be enforced on him, then why would a respectable crude buyer, in the first place, want to waste its precious time and resources (or that of its expensive lawyers) to engage in such a fruitless exercise for the benefit of a seller? Especially for an unknown or obscure seller?

3. LOI is fraught with many legal booby traps & pitfalls especially for the buyer.

But probably the most damning reason why credible crude buyers would have little or no use for LOI in their buying dealings, is that using the LOI is fraught with many incalculable legal traps and pitfalls much of which could atimes be very costly for, and to the detriment of, the buyer, according to legal authorities and contract law experts.

A fundamental flaw of the LOI, lies in what Vasilios J. Kalogredis, a Wayne, Pennsylvania attorney, calls “the uncertainty and potential risk of any such undertaking.” Kalogredisis, a business contract law expert, explains it this way:

“Letters of intent are often touted as a ‘non-legally binding’ way to get the parties to set forth in writing what the undertaking is among them relative to a transaction. Too often, parties will sign such a document, feeling that they have little or nothing to lose by doing so… [True, that’s] one of the attractive elements of the letter of intent [its purported non-binding nature]. However, courts have found letters of intent to create binding obligations, even if the letter itself does not explicitly state that it is binding… certain provisions within the document may indeed [still] have legal effect.”

Kalogredis calls that basic fact that a document generally viewed by many as a casual and non-binding document, could atimes still become binding under certain unpredictable circumstances, “one of the traps in a letter of intent,” and adds:

“My advice [to parties contemplating having an LOI] is to proceed with caution before signing any such document. As a general rule (and there are exceptions), I urge the parties to go right to the final documents and “dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s,” rather than go through this interim step of a letter of intent, which has many potential traps.”

Another contract law attorney, Ivan Hoffman of California, makes essentially the same point:

“Parties to a transaction sometimes intentionally create a letter of intent as an expression of what they intend to agree upon should certain circumstances arise… [whatever happens], the document will not be binding and thus not enforceable until those circumstances arise. Thus, the letter of intent is essentially a legally worthless document. It is not clear to me the reason any party would ever bother to create such a document and yet I have seen it used on many occasions. If parties to a transaction intend to bind each other, then they should create a binding contract, not a letter of intent. If the parties to a transaction do not intend to bind each other, then why bother creating a document that is not binding?

However, sometimes one of the parties prepares a document believing it to be a valid and enforceable agreement only to find, after expensive litigation, that it was not a binding agreement at all but merely a non-binding, non-enforceable agreement to agree, letter of intent.”

4. LOI as a Source or Promoter of Undue Litigation

Aside from the legal problem of the ambiguity and uncertainty inherent in LOI, there is yet another major problem inherent in the document, from a legal standpoint. Namely, precisely because the LOI is basically ambiguous and non-definitive by nature, the document often easily lends itself to different interpretations and understandings at the hands of different parties (or even the courts), and thus lends itself, in turn, to being a fertile source for undue litigation and legal contests for those involved with the use of that document in their transactions.

Lawyers at the Coollawyer.com, explain the legal “paradox” inherent in the LOI, wherein the signing of an LOI, is often prone, not to bringing about less litigation, but more litigation, and put it this way:

“Letters of Intent, legally, are the worst of all worlds. Writing a letter of intent is not to be taken lightly. In law, you either have a contract or you don’t. LOI’s are the legal equivalent of “almost pregnant.” Letters of Intent emphatically state that. They state that they are not formal agreements, and then often proceed to set forth agreed terms of the proposed transaction. Given this paradox, if the deal goes sour, one party can argue [in court] that those agreed-upon points were, in fact, agreed upon – or, in fact, a binding contract. And, in some cases, furthermore, that the party relied on the LOI and has monetary damages based on such reliance.”

The lawyers add that: “This is the legal problem with a Letter of Intent – you can’t legally state you agree to something and then state that you don’t in the same document.”

Famous Case of a Letter of Intent Gone Bad: Court Case of GETTY OIL vs. PENNZOIL

A famous example often cited by legal scholars, was a case involving the Getty Oil and Pennzoil in very early 1984. The parties had signed a “Memorandum of Agreement” – viewed by the parties at the time as a Letter of Intent – for a complex investment and stock transaction, whereby Pennzoil would purchase Getty Oil stock, and set forth general terms of the investment that had been reached in conversations, and also stipulated that the Memorandum was subject to the approval of the Board of Getty Oil. The Board of Getty Oil sooner approved the transaction and both parties announced on January 4, 1984 in a press release, an “agreement in principle” to the terms of the Memorandum. The final agreements for the merging of Texaco and Getty Oil were signed by the parties on January 6 – 8.

However, during the same period, on January 6, another oil company, Texaco, came into the picture as it publicly announced that Texaco and Getty Oil would merge. Pennzoil protested the proposed merger, and Getty Oil filed a law suit for the court to issue a declaratory judgment that it was not bound by any contract it had with Pennzoil.

The long and short of the story, is that the court, after scrutinizing not only the Memorandum, but also the wordings of the press releases and other documents that Getty Oil and Pennzoil had issued over the course of their dealings, found Getty Oil to be “in breach” of the Memorandum of Agreement – the document the parties had viewed as a letter of intent. Thus, a document (the letter of intent) that the parties had started out viewing as non-binding and unenforceable, had changed from being that, to being a final agreement! Pennzoil, on the other hand, ended up with $10.6 billion (later settled for $3 billion) from Texaco for interfering in its deal with Getty Oil.

Moral of the story? If you’re ever contemplating using a Letter of Intent in a business transaction, you had better watched out, it may not be as simple a matter as you might think. You better be very cautious, for it could result in unforeseen and unpredictable consequences!

SUMMARY

Put very simply, as a legal or even business document, it’s hard to image any document that could be as beset with so many near-crippling legal flaws, traps and pitfalls for its signer, as the LOI. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that in the REAL world of international buying and selling of crude oil, while the crude sellers and their army of sales-obsessed aggressive brokers and agents may generally be infatuated with the idea of having the LOI document widely and routinely used by prospective crude buyers to initiate their purchasing offers, nothing, on the other hand, could be more disliked, more unacceptable or unwanted by most crude buyers, particularly the more credible and substantive lot. What is more, on top of everything else of decisively negative nature about this document, the LOI is a document adjudged by virtually every legal expert in the field as a document that is legally meaningless, worthless, unenforceable and non-binding both on the signatory parties or on anyone, but yet has the potential to bring forth immense and unanticipated legal complications and problems for the signer(s).

To conclude, there’s perhaps no more apt way to conclude this piece, than to quote this very fitting statement by contract law attorney, Ivan Hoffman, of California: “[Given that] the letter of intent is essentially a legally worthless document [but yet one that could potentially cause many serious legal problems for the signer]. It is not clear to me the reason any party would ever bother to create such a document and yet I have seen it used on many occasions.”

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Rescinding Of A Determined Employment Contract

With the right to employment comes another essential related right which is the right to choice of one’s employment. The right to choice of one’s employment gives the freedom to people to undertake work of their own choice and not toil in the field in which they do not wish to put their labor. Laboring against the will of one’s self can be considered to be forced labor which is illegal in UAE and most of the other countries in the world. Employment contract is an agreement between the employer and the employee where the employee agrees to work for the employer for a fixed period of time and for a specific job – role. Employment contracts sometimes do not fix the duration of employment in which case the contract is known as an undetermined contract whereas determined employment contracts are contracts that bind the employee to the employer for a fixed period of time. Employment contracts are not considered as forms of forced labor as both the employee and employer willingly enter into it but in the long run it may be considered as forced labor as the main aim to fix a duration is to ensure that the employee does not leave the employment before that duration even if he wishes to and therefore once the employee signs an employment contract he has to work for the employer for the number of years fixed by the employment contract and the employee loses his right to leave quit the employment before that period. Though this is not considered forced labor it is in reality a different form of forced labor behind the veil of an enforceable contract.

In the United Arab Emirates the right to employment and all related rights enumerated in its rich constitution is only limited to the nationals of the United Arab Emirates whereas the rest of the people who live here as expatriates have to solely depend on employment contracts and therefore become the victims of the veiled forced labor. The present article discusses the regulations enumerated in the labor law1 for ending the employment and the consequences of breach of employment contracts of fixed duration.

According to the labor of the UAE the employer may on grounds enumerated in article 120 of the federal law no.8 of 1980, rescind the employment contract without giving notice. The grounds enumerated for rescinding of the employment without notice are as under:

1. In case the worker assumes a false identity or nationality, or submits false certificates or documents.

2. In case the worker had been appointed under probation, and the dismissal had taken place during or at the end of the probation period.

3. In case the worker commits an error resulting in colossal material losses to the employer. In such cases the Labor Department should be notified of the incident within 48 hours of the knowledge of the occurrence thereof.

4. In case the worker violates the instructions related to the safety at work or in the work place, provided that such instructions were written and posted in a prominent location, and that the said worker is notified thereof if he be an illiterate.

5. In case the worker fails to perform his main duties in accordance with the employment contract, and thereafter fails to remedy such failure despite a written investigation on the matter and a warning that he would be dismissed in case of recidivism.

6. In case the worker divulges any of the secret of the establishment where he works.

7. In case the worker convicted in a final manner by the competent court in a crime relating to honor, honesty or public ethics.

8. In case the worker is found in a state of drunkenness or under the influence of a narcotic during work hours.

9. In case the worker assaults the employer, responsible manager or co – worker during the work hours.

10. In case the worker remains absent without valid cause for more than twenty non – consecutive days in one year, or for more than seven consecutive days.

In case none of the above circumstances described applies to a case yet the employer terminates the employment of the worker without notice before the expiration of the determined employment contract, the employer has to provide compensation to the employee for the same. The compensation amount that is provided to the worker by the employer is in lieu of the damages suffered by the worker due to the premature termination of the employment. The law provides for a limitation to the amount of compensation which is limited to the total wage due for the period of three months or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract. Therefore this provision is subject to the terms of the contract. Many times the contract has liquidated damages fixed for specific breaches; in such cases the damages awarded do not exceed nor are less than the liquidated amount.

Similar provisions are also provided in case the worker decides to leave the employment before the expiration of the employment contract. The worker may leave the employment before the expiration of the contract without notice if the following circumstances prevail:

1. In case the employer breaches his obligations towards the worker, as set forth in the contract or the law.

2. In case the employer or the legal representative thereof assaults the worker.

In case the two circumstances mentioned above do not prevail and yet the worker leave the employment prior to the expiry of the employment contract, the worker is be bound to compensate the employer for the loss incurred by him due to the rescission of the contract. The compensation amount is limited by the law to not exceed the wage of half a month for the period of three months, or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract. Thus here too the terms of the contract if any regarding this matter shall be made applicable in a manner similar as it is explained above regarding termination of employment contract by employer.

These provisions mentioned above hold good only to the citizens of UAE, for the rest of 88% of the population the provision stipulated in article 128 of the law2 applies. Article 128 provides that in the event of a non – national worker to leave his work without a valid cause prior to the end of the contract with definite term, he may not get another employment even with the permission of the employer for a year from the date of abandonment of the work. It further provides for a warning for the employers that they may never knowingly recruit the worker or retain in his service during such period. The Non – national workers may be exempt from such penalties if they can secure an authorization of the original employer and after submitting such authorization in the ministry of labor and social affairs, attain the consent of the ministry for the new employment.

Do I Need A Pro Bono Attorney? Do They Really Offer Free Legal Help? How Do I Find A Free Attorney?

It’s a fact that the average person will face 4 to 6 legal situations every year. In fact, 50% of all households have a pressing legal situation right now (and the fact that you’re reading this probably means you’ve got a legal situation). Of course, a legal situation is just being in trouble with the law, but rather a legal situation is any situation in which the advice of a competent attorney would be beneficial to your situation. It’s also a fact that the national average And while we live in a country founded upon the premise of “Equal Justice Under Law,” for most people actually getting the legal help they need is often times a matter of choosing between legal help and eating or having a roof over one’s head. The average attorney charges around $300 per hour, usually with a retainer fee, which is an up-front fee of a certain number of hours pre-paid in advance (so 5 hours at $300 per hour would yield a $1,500 retainer fee), with any additional time paid as it accrues. Given this, it’s no wonder why most people find it cheaper to just get ripped off rather than go to an attorney! If you are in a situation where you need or may need legal counsel, what options do you have?

Pro Bono: What It Is… And What It Isn’t

The term pro bono comes from the Latin pro bono publico, or “for the public good.” The concept being that, since many people cannot afford legal help (I’ve even met lawyers who admitted that they couldn’t afford their own law firms rates!), legal help should be given to those who need it most (and are least able to pay for it). Most people are aware of the idea of a pro bono attorney because they’ve heard of them on television or in the movies. A “free attorney” is a powerful idea, and so the concept sticks in the mind.

In the United States, the American Bar Association (ABA) recommends attorneys give 50 hours of free service per year. However, various state and city regulations can and do amend that, some recommending as few as 20 hours. The biggest point to note is that these are not required of the attorneys, generally; and across the board, most law firms do not come close to their required hours.

The ABA does have a list of pro bono attorney groups and law firms available on their website. Most of those listed, however, are for specific cases or issue types (e.g., for legal issues dealing with the Arts or the Humanities, etc.). If you need an attorney for a personal issue, you may have a hard time finding an attorney in your area who specializes in the field you need and who can accept your case (assuming, of course, that you even qualify). So if you can’t find a pro bono attorney, what other options do you have?

Option 1: Legal Aid

Legal Aid is available in some form in all 50 states. It is a pro bono service (i.e., there to serve the public good), but it is not always a free service. Legal Aid attorneys are sometimes public defenders, and often paid for wholly or partially by state or local subsidies. Legal Aid sprung in part out of the necessity of needing to provide legal help for those who could not find a pro-bono attorney. Many attorneys who offer their service through Legal Aid will work on a reduced fee system, and some will work for free. However, income qualifications and issue qualifications must be met, and there is often a waiting list ranging from months to years for certain issues and in certain municipalities.

If Legal Aid isn’t an option, there is one other option which most people are unaware of but which can greatly benefit most people.

Option 2: Insurance Type Legal Services

Legal Insurance and insurance type products have been available in the United States for about 40 years, although they are common in some European nations (with as many as 80% of some nations having a plan of this type). Legal insurance and pre-paid legal service plans work much like medical insurance, with a small premium granting access to a range of various legal services, from consultation, letters and phone calls, document review, and representation in court. The benefit of legal insurance plans is that they are very affordable for most budgets, often costing less than the cost of one standard hour of attorney time for an entire years worth of coverage. These plans cannot, however, cover 100% of all legal expenses, so some legal issues might incur additional costs (generally things like bankruptcy, child custody and divorce, as well as criminal charges). Such costs are often defrayed by percentage discounts off of the hourly rate of the attorney or attorneys providing the service.

Why Legal Process Outsourcing Is a Better Option

The industry of LPO or legal process outsourcing has been experiencing rapid growth in recent years. This is in keeping with the increasing demands of legal entities looking to save costs and time. Sometimes, the practices may not have consistent teams for performing the document review work.

Usually LPO services are provided in relation to document drafting, legal research, legal contracts, legal transcription, legal agreements, patent applications, client letters, and more. Nowadays, legal process outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular, because managing legal work has become an expensive and time consuming process.

Organizing, documenting as well as managing legal reports are essential processes. However, these activities can be very time-consuming and overwhelming. Nowadays, legal professionals are extremely busy and they don’t want to spend their valuable time on such tasks. If work is outsourced to a reliable service provider, they could avail a number of benefits. There are many firms that specialize in providing legal process outsourcing services. They provide quality and cost-effective services to technology companies, start-ups and law firms.

Cost-effective Legal Process Outsourcing Services

Instead of bogging down your staff with tasks of documentation, assign them to reliable outsourcing firms. These firms efficiently handle various challenges faced by legal clients and provide the much needed guidance and assistance for completing the tasks of documentation.

Reliable firms provide the following LPO services among others.

Document management
Document conversion
Legal position staffing
Immigration paperwork
Legal aid services
Legal data entry
Legal consulting
Legal document writing
Legal transcription
Legal research
Litigation support
Legal website design
Paralegal services

Many of them also offer a free trial, so that the clients can develop a better understanding of the services. In these firms, their deep and broad domain expertise, market leading capabilities as well as established infrastructure is leveraged for meeting the requirements of LPO. All aspects of work that is undertaken are supervised by trained personnel. Professional expertise is ensured and experienced transcriptionists work round the clock to meet individual client requirements. This also helps in completing all the projects in minimal turnaround time.

What Benefits Can be Availed from These LPO Companies?

Cost-effective and accurate legal support services
Outstanding and quality customer service
Total confidentiality of clients
Timely delivery
Competitive pricing
Real time status reporting
Stringent quality control
24/7 technical support

Spend some quality time to search for a reliable outsourcing firm providing dedicated legal outsourcing support. Ideally, your partnering LPO firm should be available for your support round the clock to ensure uninterrupted workflow and streamlined functioning.

Enhancing Business Productivity

Productivity is an important element in the success of any business. However, it is truly surprising how little emphasis is placed on this very important aspect. Many people consider a focus on productivity to be a task that is undertaken in times of economic downturn. This is an absolutely incorrect assumption as productivity is not a tool to avoid business closure but a tool to boosts profits. If you want to aims at freeing your time for focusing on developing new products/services and devising strategies to beat the competition – all with the same resources at hand – then read on for five handy tips.

Tip #1: Measure your time
Remember that you can only improve on what you measure as otherwise you have no way of judging if you are improving or not! If you spend most of your time on a computer then use tools to measure how you spend your time. Find out the applications you use and the sites you visit and then audit the information weekly to judge where you can improve. If you are an outdoor person then use paper timesheets/PDA based software to find out how you are spending your time.

Tip #2: Establish and monitor deadlines
Meeting deadlines is crucial to improving the productivity of any business. Missed deadlines mean that projects/tasks start to overlap each other causing confusion and costing you not just money but also reputation. Ensure that all the stakeholders in a task are communicated the deadline well in advance. Send(but not flood) all stakeholders email reminders before a task is due for completion. Also use some sort of project management tools/charts to monitor progress and spot a task that is lagging behind schedule.

Tip#3: Invest in skill development
Your competitors can have the same machines, furniture, computers and even similar products. What differentiates you are your skills to do a task better. Invest in developing new skills to undertake new product development or decreasing your costs to do the same task.

Tip#4: Shop for “good fit” products/services
Remember that the best task you can do is the one that you are best equipped to do. Where possible upgrade your tools of the trade to help you claim a advantage by boasting of the best tools/services that your business uses. Make sure that your website/brochure clearly boasts your usage of these “premier” services/tools and describe how this improves your product/service.

Tip#5: Plan for business cycles
Every business has cycles when there is peak demand for a product/service. That is really the time when you need to arrange for enough stock/service so that inquiring customers are not turned away due to lack of inventory/personnel. Plan for such times well in advance. If you need to hire temporary staff then look for online/offline support assistants to help you out during this time.