Month: October 2019

Basics of Business Incorporation

Incorporation gives a separate distinct identity to your business, completely different from the shareholders or owners. The assets and liabilities of your business and owners or shareholders are distinct. The company has a separate legal existence albeit it does not have a separate body or mind of its own.

The personal property of the shareholders is safe even in cases of settlement of dues of creditors or any other form of lawsuits. You are liable only to the extent of your investment in the business. Similarly, the company property is safe if you are into any personal lawsuits.

Business incorporation allows you to transfer your ownership easily, sometimes without any paperwork too. The credit ratings of the company are separate from that of the different shareholders of the company. Your personal poor credit rating does not affect your business in any way.

Applicable tax rate for your company is much lower than personal tax rates. Your company can carry forward any amount of losses into the next financial year.

The existence of your incorporated business does not suffer due to the death or incapacity of any partner, owner, or shareholder. Your business continues its existence as usual. This offers greater stability to the company and helps in extensive capital accumulation. Such accumulation is useful in investing in bigger projects and for longer time too.

Your company has to follow the incorporation laws and regulations of the respective province. Different provinces have their own sets of rules and regulations.

An incorporated company can own property, pay taxes, sign contracts, and function almost like a separate entity. However, a corporation cannot vote like a citizen. Besides, although the company has such basic incorporated rights, yet, it can function through a person only. Such authorized signatories and functionaries act and sign on behalf of the company.

A board of directors governs and manages all the activities of an incorporated business. These directors function on behalf of all the shareholders. Shareholders elect or in some cases select the directors.

Business incorporation offer easy solutions for retirement plans, insurance plans and premiums, and many other deductibles in your tax benefits.

Business incorporation necessitates formation of essential bylaws for functioning and working of the company. Shareholders decide on such laws though their voting powers at regular shareholder meetings.


Work vs Play

If there’s any common theme among coaches—it’s that they don’t like marketing… they just want to coach. But, when it comes to bottom lines, the reality is that you don’t make money from coaching—you only make money from marketing. So, the question becomes how can we make marketing enjoyable and even fun so we will actually do it?

I got an idea the other day when I was preparing a workbook and worksheet for our monthly training package. When I thought about how much fun it will be to go through these materials with members, I realized that the titles of these documents could be better! After all, coaches already have too much work, so are they really going to want more “work,” i.e. a WORKbook and WORKsheet? Then it came to me. I’ll rename my materials “Playbook” and “Playsheet”. Then the perception will be that they are going to play, not work, with the materials.

This perception shift can be applied to marketing too. I know it’s a leap, but what if when you schedule a time to work on your marketing, you call it “play time” instead? I’ve already been doing this. I tell my friends that I don’t work on my business any more—I play with my business. I’m excited to get up every morning so I can go to my office and “play” on my computer.

My “To Do” list is now called the “Get To Do” list. My business playtime includes things that I love to do: writing emails and promotional copy (I love to write), designing graphics and webpages (I love to be artistic), making training materials (I love to create things), and having conversations with prospects (I love to meet people and find out more about them).

So now, if you are one of those coaches who dislikes marketing, I’d like to challenge you to see how you could make it “play” instead of “work.” How can you change your perception about marketing so you will do what it takes to market your business? After all, it still has to be done. So why not make it an enjoyable activity?

To incorporate this perception shift into your business, here are some handy steps:

  1. Take some time to brainstorm, what YOU could do to turn your “work time” into “playtime.”
  2. Watch how you refer to your business when in conversation. Talk about it as if you enjoy every aspect of it.
  3. Change your “To Do” list into a “Get To Do” list, and see how it changes your attitude about it.

The consequences will be that the anxious or frenzied vibration that comes from hating marketing will not be imbibed in your marketing. Instead the marketing will have a vibration of joy and therefore be more attractive to prospective clients. With a perception shift, you can make marketing more enjoyable. Why not give it a try?!


Entrepreneurial Capitalism

A meta-analysis of extant academic literature suggests income inequality is persistent in both developed and developing nations in spite of demonstrable and significant economic growth. There are many theoretical, structural and empirical reasons for the widening gap between return to capital and labor on one hand, and compensation to management and workers on the other. For example, capital tends to be more productive, more mobile and receive very favorable tax treatment than labor in many jurisdictions.

Further, global competition, innovation, slower productivity growth, and marginal rate of technical substitution may be depressing wages even in developed nations. Moreover, the benefits of globalization continue to accrue more unevenly to highly skilled labor than to low skilled labor. Finally, periods of economic growth tend correlate with increasing income inequality because different economic sectors as well as individuals do not grow at the same pace.

As we have already explained in many publications on this topic, human capital analysis deals with acquired capabilities which are developed through formal and informal education at school and at home, and through on the job training, experience, and mobility and longevity in the labor market. Please note that nations as well as individuals are portfolios of distinctive competencies that derive from resources and capabilities. Many nations in the developing nations have plenty of resources but lack capabilities-the ability to put them to productive uses.

Clearly, mere possession of resources alone is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for economic development. Functional human capital that manifests in enhanced productivity and innovation is the critical and strategic link between resources and economic development. A preliminary analysis of macroeconomic data indicates that the problem of economic stagnation is not peculiar to developing nations nor confined there. Indeed, for many years in developing nations such as Nigeria, significant percentage of all graduates from institutions of higher learning are underemployed, have contract jobs with no employment benefits or no jobs at all even after the National Service and certification.

Many labor market experts and social observers are apt to point to the glaring lack of requisite knowledge and employable skills in high demand. While this may be true, lack of functional education that leads to employment is only part of the problem. There is significant and gathering empirical evidence suggesting that many of the employed university graduates in Nigeria go without pay or regular compensation for extended periods of time and still others are on contract employment with meager income and no employment benefits or guaranteed ongoing employment.

Before you postulate that skills acquisition is neither a panacea nor the fastest way to employment, please note that employable knowledge and skills are necessary but not sufficient condition for social mobility. This explains in part why many graduates from Colleges of Education and Technical Colleges in very high demand in tightening labor markets do not fare significantly better than those from Liberal Arts or even Business and Engineering Schools.

Therefore, the purpose of Skills Acquisition projects adopted by the Okwelle Skills Acquisition Center (OSAC) is to help graduates and entrepreneurs take effective steps toward functional education, knowledge and skills acquisition, self-employment, self-reliance and financial independence. As sure paths to the middle class and upward social mobility, any knowledge and skills acquisition project must focus on producing entrepreneurs-a crop of graduates with burning desire for self-employment, self-reliance and financial independence. The graduates must not only have requisite knowledge and skills of their specific trade but must be entrepreneurs who are business savvy with demonstrable grasp of business management knowledge and skills. Please note that all entrepreneurs are business owners but not all business owners are entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are special breed of business owners that assume every risk in pursuit of profit and financial freedom. Without the entrepreneurial class other factors of production-land, labor and capital including technology remain dormant and are classified in our profession-financial engineering as non-performing assets. As some experts aptly put it, once you decide to work for yourself you never go back working for someone else. Generally, people do not plan to fail, they simply fail to plan. Additionally, freedom whether spiritual, economic or political is indivisible and must be pursued relentlessly. The passionate drive toward financial freedom is the critical difference that sets entrepreneurs apart.


Get Grants For New Businesses

A business grant is provided to a business or a proposed business after it fulfills certain criteria. It works very much like a commercial loan, except for the fact that you need not repay a business grant. Because the business grant does not burden you with issues like repayment and interest, the competition for these grants is fierce. They are harder to get than loans, and take longer to sanction, since a committee scrutinizes your application first.

Private organizations, business groups and government institutions provide business grants. In the US, though the federal government does not provide direct grants for small businesses, state government and many private organizations help out new businesses by providing grants.

For small business grants, almost all kinds of privately run businesses with less than 30 employees qualify. Whether you run a day care center, photocopying business, or retail from home, you can apply for a small business grant. The only eligibility criteria are that you must be above 18 years of age and a US citizen or resident. You need to submit a well-written business proposal in order to get a grant sanctioned, since you have to convince the grants committee about the feasibility of your business.

Typically, a business grant for new businesses, especially small businesses, can fall anywhere from $500 to $50,000. If you are starting a new business, you can get more.

A business proposal is crucial if you want to avail the benefits of a grant. A business proposal details how to plan to run, organize and get fund for your business. You need to mention how much money you will need, how much you hope to earn through your business, what kind of business model you will follow, how many people you will employ, insurance policy, business failure planning and other information. If you have no prior experience in running a business, then you may want to consult a small business advisor while drafting a business proposal.

Entrepreneurship is vital to the economy of any nation, which is why governments and private institutions provide grants to dedicated people who want to make a success of their new business. If you are keen on making your new business a hit, then there should be no problems in getting your grant application approved. In order to locate a suitable grant, and for drafting a business plan, you may need to consider a small business expert who can guide you.


Disadvantages Of Leasing Business Equipment

No Built in Equity

In addition to paying the higher cost, you are not able to build any equity in the business equipment you have leased. This is because you are not the owner of the business equipment. This is a very big disadvantage of leasing business equipments. This lack of ownership is also responsible for the increase in the overall cost of the business equipments, because you also pay to the lesser for carrying the risk of the ownership with him. Moreover, the payments for insurance charges and taxes, further increases the cost of acquiring the business equipment.

High Early Cancellation Charges

One more disadvantage of leasing business equipments is that irrespective of the fact whether you are using the business equipment or not you need to pay for the total term of the lease. In some cases, you may get the facility of lease cancellation if you do not need the leased business equipments any more. However, this is at the cost of very high early termination fees.

Tax Deductions

It is also possible that IRS do not accept the leasing of business equipments as purchases for the tax benefits. In that case it will be a great disadvantage. In the beginning, when we lease business equipments that we require immediately for the growth of the business, it looks beneficial for us. However, in the long-term there are several disadvantages of leasing business equipments. During the term of the lease, you pay not only for the cost of the business equipment, but also for the charges of the leasing company. Even, after the end of the lease term, you are required to make rental payments for using the business equipments.

Cost of Maintenance

Not owning the leased business equipments does not save you from the onus of maintaining it. If your staff is not capable of repairing, then it may become a very costly affair in case of serious fault.


Work Smarter Instead of Harder

Hard work is important. Those who work hard and are consistent with their work are much more likely to achieve the things that they want.

However, working hard doesn’t necessarily mean that the work you are producing is of value and good quality. Other times working too hard may cause stress that leads to producing work that is of lower quality.

I believe that we must put more emphasis on working smarter. Let’s look at 5 ways on How to Work Smarter Instead of Harder.

Time. The first thing that you should be aware of is how you spend your time working. It’s a good idea to make a plan of what you will be working on, how you will carry out your work and also to decide how long you need to spend working on each task. This way you will learn how to use your time in a smart way so that you can reduce your working hours while being more productive.

Standards. Having standards are different that having goals. Standards mean that you have to obey to them because that is how your mind is conditioned. Setting higher standards mean that you are conditioning your mind to achieve things that you haven’t achieved before.

Reflect. A great way to monitor your work is to reflect on the goals that you have achieved and the ones that you fell short on. This way you can understand what works and what doesn’t, so next time you can set new goals applying the things that do work.

Distractions. Staying away from distractions will keep you focused while you are working. The main distractions to be aware of are smartphones, emails, social media and music. While working avoid these unless they are necessary in your work. Working without distractions is a great way to work smart and have more time in your day to do other things.

Downtime. Lastly, it is important to know that you shouldn’t work for long periods without giving yourself breaks. A nice routine is to work for 45 minutes with 10 minute breaks in-between. Furthermore, you should leave yourself time in the day to be enjoying the things you like to do and spending time with family and friends, after all that is more important than your work.


Play Up Product Descriptions

Interesting without Fanfare

Once you have identified your buyer, imagine that you’re talking to them face-to-face while writing your product description.

Note that nothing can be more boring than kilometric sentences stuffed with unnecessary fillers, especially overused adjectives like excellent, one of a kind, the best of its kind and top quality, among others.

Use short, clear-cut words to highlight the features of your product; it is also best practice to present these in bullet format.

Your customers will appreciate bite-sized information more than a block of big words.

Remember that online customers stay on a web page for about 10 seconds, but the holiday rush could shorten this as they’ll be busy shopping for themselves, friends and loved ones.

Create Desire in Their Minds

Unlike in a physical store where practically everything on the rack can be touched and tested, your product can only be viewed on your website, which makes it hard for customers to decide whether to buy it or not.

Using a writing technique which breathes life into your product, you can easily make them want to buy your product.

By nature, most of us want what we don’t have yet-otherwise, none of us would be working or aspiring for anything.

Use that distinct human quality to hit on your customers’ need for the holidays while writing the description.

For women’s apparel, for example, make them feel good at the idea of redefining holiday fashion wear in that party dress.

If you’re targeting the yuppie crowd with your trainers, spell out how these can help them look sleek and stylish without compromising comfort.

It basically comes down to putting together a good story with your target customer as the main character.

If you give them a good reason to buy your product, then they will buy it in a flash.


Common Entrepreneur Mistakes

Growing too quickly.

Growing too quickly can be just as dangerous for a new business as moving too slowly. Expansion should only be done to meet the demand of the product, not simply for the sake of growth. It takes time, resources, and more, to develop a new brand or location, which takes away from the successful existing ones. For this reason, it is very important not to grow too quickly.

At times it is much better for the small business just to sit back and build up their capital, instead of borrowing money to try to grow too quickly. The rule should be quality over quantity… always. Make sure you provide the best possible service or product for your existing customers, and can do so for new ones before expanding.

Not staying ahead of the competition.

This should be right on the top of your list of things to do. If you don’t blaze the trail, then you are simply following others. One of the issues which can really hurt your business is not taking notice when a close competitor makes an announcement or launches a new product. If competition has a policy that makes it more convenient for your customers to do business with them instead of you, take notice. Always pay attention to the market and make adjustments to your business model. One of the benefits of being a small business owner is having the ability to easily adjust to new market conditions. Do not lose touch of that advantage because it could cost your business in terms of sales.

Not being careful with whom your hire.

Small business owners need to be very careful whom they hire and employ. Each person working for your business should benefit you in some way. Character and a willingness to work hard are sometimes more important than education, experience, or even pay scale. More often that not, the employees who have degrees and experience will slack off, feeling that they no longer have to work as hard. Pay very close attention to the new guy or girl at the bottom your organization.


Pet Grooming Business

Importance of Customer Referrals

Referrals come from many sources vets, customers, and neighbors. Be sure to provide quality services to clients if you want them to refer you to other people. A happy customer will come back to you and use your pet grooming service at least 5 times a year. Multiply that by the number of years he will live in the area, and you get to understand the importance of keeping your customers happy.

If you offer good services, chances are that the local veterinarian will also recommend your pet grooming business to pet owners. Apart from providing quality services, you also need to work on customer relationships if you want them to refer your business to other people.

In addition, keep in mind that if the quality of service is bad, you won’t lose just the client but many other potential clients as well. This is because the unhappy client will tell others to stay away from your pet grooming business.

Therefore, you see how important referrals are to your pet grooming business.

Customer Referral Strategies

How to get customers to recommend your pet grooming business to other people? Here are a few strategies.

  • Ask for it in the form of a survey. Put to them questions like “What did you like about our services?” or “How can we be of more help to you?” Then ask them if they know anyone else who might be interested in your service.
  • Draw up a mailing list of potential customers. Then send emails detailing your pet care services to them.
  • Ask new customers how they got to know about your pet grooming business. This will help you focus your referral strategies, keeping in mind where your market exists.
  • Send Thank-You notes or New Year greeting cards to vets, clients, and other people who referred new clients to you. A gift voucher or coupon is an excellent way to thank someone who has referred many customers to you. This also encourages them to refer more people to your pet grooming business, since it makes them feel appreciated.

The client referral strategies outlined above work well for any pet grooming business. You also need to provide superlative service, since that is the only way to ensure referrals. Customer relations and quality of grooming are both important factors when it comes to customer referrals.


Risks Small Businesses Face

Some of the risks that small businesses face are overhead cost, cost of equipment, expected sales volume, salary cost, taxes, price charged for service or product, competitor’s actions, the local economy, changing trends, risk that the product may become obsolete. Other risks include damages from fire, water, natural calamities, intentionally inflicted damages, loss of data and property due to theft, machine breakdown forcing work to come to a standstill, cash flow problems that may force a business to close.

Every sector has its set of risks and the responsibility of the owner is to identify study and counter these risk factors. Loss of records due to fire or other such risks will make it impossible to determine the financial transaction details such as who has to pay or who has to be paid, making it impossible to bill or collect from customers.

Failure to obtain all necessary licenses and permits may be a risk that could close the business. Employees that may embezzle, liability losses, public liability, liability to employees, business could close temporarily due to ill health of its owner or due to his death, when a key employee who was invaluable is unable to continue etc. are some other risks that may hinder small business from functioning normally. When cash flow forecasts are inaccurate, the business runs the risk of taking bad decisions that could have been prevented such as applying for a large amount of loan that the business cannot really afford. Selecting unqualified personnel as key employees, disgruntled employees can be a risk too, as they can take a business to the cleaners suing the company no matter if they are right or wrong etc. are other types of risks for small businesses.

When you consider insuring your business, your agent would have identified all insurable risks and would have advised you to take certain precautions to counter/prevent them. However, the types of risks for small businesses vary according to the nature of the business, hence the owner should himself, also make an effort to identify the risks and effect good risk management techniques.
Several firms offer their service as well as products that help in running a business easily.