Month: November 2019

Government Grants

Starting a small business from scratch is difficult at the best of times and raising startup capital is perhaps the hardest part. Your bank will probably want personal guarantees if they even consider you for a loan. Your savings and even your home may be at risk if your business fails, so the thought of a free government grant to start your business is very tempting. But do these grants really exist and can the average entrepreneur get one?

There are indeed many grant and loan programs for small businesses, including many that are administered by state or local government, rather than the federal government. Unfortunately, the whole procedure for finding and applying for a grant can be time-consuming and complex. Some grant eligibility decisions can take a while to wade through the bureaucratic processes. You will have to submit business plans and grant proposals that will take a considerable amount of time to create. Time which could be better spent on building your business.

Having pointed to the drawbacks, there are many genuine government grants for both small businesses and individuals available, and these can be substantial. The government gives away $400 billion, yes billion, in grants. Twenty-six Federal agencies annually offer over 1,000 grant programs in various categories. It will generally be a lot easier to find government help for businesses in deprived or rural areas, or for minority businesses. Typically, consultancy or training packages are more freely available than cold hard cash.


Buying Assets And Depreciation

Before buying any assets, you must understand how to work out the depreciation of a particular asset. Several factors affect depreciation. When will you be going to start the asset in question? What is the expected life of the asset for the period the asset will remain useful? What is the purchase price of the asset at the time of buying? For how much amount you will be able to sell it if you wish at the end of its utility period. For example how much you will get on selling as scrap etc. moreover, you will also take in to the account if there are any additional cost required fro disposing the asset.

Many fixed assets such as computer hardware, plant and machinery, motor vehicle and other trade tools have a certain life that is useful for the owner and after the end of this period they wear out and become obsolete. The length of time for which a particular asset will be used productively is used for spreading the cost of the asset. All this exercise is performed for showing the cost of the asset as an expense that is creating profits over the year instead of just writing off it in the year when you purchased it.

The useful life of the asset varies vastly with the type of asset. For example, the useful life of a computer may be as little as three years. It may be working perfectly, but by then the chances are more of it becoming obsolete. Similarly, the expected life of a motor vehicle is normally between three and five years. On the contrary, if you properly maintain the plant and machinery of any manufacturing unit, its useful life may go up to 15 to 20 years. When we show it in the balance sheet, we need to record the depreciated cost of the previous year along with the provision for depreciation this year. We can find out the current value of asset by subtracting this provision from the historical value.


Hire Board Of Directors For Your Business

Your Needs

Many small businesses do not actually need a board of directors. You need to think about areas where you may need a board of directors. If you need someone with specialized skills to oversee aspects like management, you may consider hiring a board of directors.

Functions

Exactly what will the role of the board of directors be? How will they function? How will tasks be executed, and who takes the final decision? These are the questions you need to ponder before you select a board of directors.

Accountability

In order to avoid losses in business or fraud, your board of directors needs to be accountable. They have to implement the ideas discussed and execute tasks assigned to them. Without accountability of the board, your business will suffer not just financial loss but possibly even loss of reputation.

Diversity

The board of directors should have people from diverse backgrounds. This lessens the tendency for groupism and increases the chances of the right decisions being implemented. Moreover, having people from varied backgrounds on board is an effective way of getting new ideas.

Kind of Board

What kind of board do you need? You could have a large board only if your business is large or you plan to expand. Mostly, small businesses need just an advisory council, where the directors will offer advice but not take decisions.

Term

You need to fix a term for which each director will serve on the board. Setting a term for the board avoids stagnation, and you will get new ideas from new members.


About Warehouse Management Systems

Implementation of a WMS:

The basic logic of any WMS software is combination of items, location, quantity, unit of measure, order information, where to stock, to pick up from and in what sequence to perform these operations. It is all about directed movement before you set up the extensive warehouse system by assigning specific logic to the various combinations of item/order/quantity/location and information in correct sequence.

  • Location Sequence: Define the pick up flow through the warehouse and assign a sequence number to each location.
  • Zone Logic: It designates an area; combine this with exact location logic within the zone to direct picking, put away, replenishment to and from specific areas of the warehouse.
  • Fixed Location. It uses pre-determined fixed locations per item piece picking, case-pick operation, put away and replenishment.
  • Random Location: It generally refers to areas where products are not stored in fixed locations. With combination with other logic, exact location can be determined.
  • FIFO: Directs picking from the oldest inventory first. First-In-First-Out.
  • LIFO: Last-In-First-Out is very relevant for overseas customers because of longer transit time. Especially useful for distribution of perishable goods for both domestic as well as overseas customers.
  • Quantity or Unit of Measure: Allows you to pick directly the same item based upon the quantity or unit-of-measured order from different primary picking or reserve storage locations.
  • Few Locations: This logic is primarily used for productivity. It determines least number of locations needed to pick the entire quantity or to stock the entire quantity. The only drawback of this logic is poor space utilization.
  • Pick-to Clear: Great for space utilization as it directs pickings to the locations with the smallest quantities on hand.
  • Reserved Location: It predetermines specific location to move inbound or outbound shipments, even to an awaiting outbound trailer.
  • Nearest Location: This directs goods for picking/put away to the closest available location to that of previous set up.
  • Maximize Cube: Slightly impractical, but uses unit dimensions to calculate cubic inches per unit to cube capacity of the location. Units can then be stacked in a manner that it fills every cubic inch of available space.
  • Consolidate. It creates additional moves to consolidate, such as, products stored in multiple locations.
  • Lot Sequence: This logic uses lot number or lot date to determine locations to pick from or replenish.

Other Functions/Considerations of WMS:

  • Activity-based costing/billing for shipment, storage or transaction
  • Labor tracking/ Capacity planning in manufacturing
  • Yard management for cross docking of trailers
  • Slotting of packages in best locations
  • Pick cartons is best for similar size and weight cartons
  • Cycle counting for operational functionality
  • Advanced shipment notification to automate receiving process
  • Automated data collection with bar codes
  • Task interleaving and order picking to obtain maximum productivity
  • Combine multiple logic methods to determine best location for pick up, put away to optimize space utilization and productivity.


Researching Small Business Ideas

Researching will help you get a clearer idea about your business and the factors that have an influence on your business and will also help you understand all aspects of your business better. Since research is a very crucial aspect, expert help is recommended to conduct it and analyze the results.

Steps Involved In Researching a Business Idea:

  • Determine the kind of business that you are interested in.
  • Determine the kind of product or service you want to offer.
  • Conduct as much market research as possible.
  • Determine your target market. Classify all data collected to get a clear picture of your target market, such as the age, their average income level, etc. Determine if the market is growing or shrinking.
  • Find out the average household income, the spending patterns, and other necessary details by conducting surveys or looking them up on the Net. Determine which kind of customer is dominant in your area–the purchaser, advisors or the actual users of your products and services.
  • Determine if there is a market for the product you intend to sell or, if the market saturated, where you can select a niche to specialize in.
  • Competitive analysis gives you an idea of what customers seek as well as devise strategies whereby you can offer better services than your competitors, thereby capturing the market on being launched. Study their moves carefully, judge their weaknesses and their strengths and find out how they deal with certain situations and actions they take in crucial situations.
  • Determine the price of the services or product you intend to sell, which can be determined by studying the competition. Make sure you never under-price your services or products. People tend to buy products or services that are priced high assuming that they are of better quality.
  • Determine what external factors can influence your business such as politics, ethnic backgrounds, culture, etc., and how to confront them.
  • You could conduct a test by releasing a sample of the product and testing how it is received and judge by the results if you will proceed with the venture or not.
  • Conduct extensive research and determine the cost of the start-up. Make sure your estimation is as accurate as possible and ensure that you have researched possible institutions to approach for a loan to fund the start-up.
  • Make sure you do research about the kind of legal structure that will best suit your business as well as reduce tax bills considerably by hiring the services of an experienced attorney.


Choosing Personal Business Coach

Business coaching ought to have a strategic emphasis. The purpose of personal business coaching is to keep you to account, focus you on your strategy, and provide expert help with strategic decisions.

The main focus should be the overall business system, and whether this system will continue to deliver results in the future. Every part of your business needs attention. It should be managed to ensure that long term goals are prepared and the plans to achieve them are implemented. All the while an eye needs to be kept on cash flow while maintaining your profit. You can see that personal business coaching should ideally be conducted by a person knowledgeable and experienced in business, and your coach ought to adopt the following type of approach:

  • A Long Term Perspective (Big Picture View)
  • Define and Focus on Key Results (Profit, Sales)
  • Regards the business as a system and identify the key components that will deliver results
  • Ask whether the system is working and delivering results?

Ensure that the coach demonstrates the skills you will need. A simple presentation of what can be done is not good enough. A personal and business coach should demonstrate that they have the expertise, can apply this to your benefit, and so that it suits your own style, preferences and needs. Your coach should also focus on your life – how you will achieve success. Focusing only on business and neglecting ‘touchy-feely’ stuff like your dreams may leave important stones unturned. The following are some of the points you should expect your personal business coach to focus on:

  • Reflection and balance in the goal you set
  • Gaining clear purpose and formulating goals
  • Ask “What is working and what is not working?”, “What will work better?” This is better than following only cookie-cutter recipes for business planning. You want reflection and original thinking.
  • Your well-being (positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement)

Life is about more than business. It is about getting what you really want. Ask what will give you greater well-being. Imagine how different your life could be if you manage yourself each day to do what matters most to you. A personal business coach should focus on business goals such as sales and profit, but also on goals that enrich your life.

Lastly, everything is negotiable. This may not go for special offers and radical discounts, so trying to negotiate a lower amount when the deal is already a good one may not be the way to go. It is reasonable to want to check things out first, and pay no upfront fees until you are sure the personal business coach is the one you want. Try to get a monthly fee with no upfront payments. That way you can stop the coaching with only a relatively small amount at risk.


Business Lease

Business leases are important agreements that may affect the viability of a business and requires the guidance of an experienced attorney to fully comprehend even the tiniest detail.

The terms of the lease, the type of lease, the rent, security deposit, etc., has to be carefully negotiated to get the maximum benefit. If the area is in demand, the lessor gets the upper hand in the negotiations. A long-term gross lease will be ideal for any business where as a graduated lease will greatly benefit start up companies.

The option to renew, the annual rate of increase in the rent, the rent for the renewal period, or if it’s to be fixed at the time of the initial lease agreement, has to be decided upon.

The Lessee and the lessor can inspect the property together and sign a document stating the condition of the premises before tenant occupation. It will be better for the lessee to negotiate a sub lease clause.

The lessee has to agree to maintain the property well; paying for the utilities, etc. He has to follow the building rules and regulations involving the parking area and common area usage too. Signs or hoardings can be used in the property only after obtaining permission from the lessor.

The lessee has to pay for any damages or repairs caused to the property during his occupancy.

The landlord has to provide adequate insurance coverage for the property, especially fire coverage. It will be advisable for both parties to have general liability insurance too.

Property taxes for the personal property of lessee and lessor have to be paid by both individuals.

In case the lessee is delinquent in paying the rent, a notice of default {usually three days time} is served, giving 30 days to the lessee.

The landlord has the right to inspect the property as well as authorize and carry out repairs that are necessary.

The lease is not affected by the sale of the leased premises and the security deposit has to be returned by the new owner.
The lessor may use a “for-rent” sign 60 days prior to the end of the lease term.

It is essential to make sure while establishing a business lease in Colorado that all legal owners of the leased premise sign the lease agreement. These are some of the essential factors contained in a lease agreement.


Role of Vision in Business

This is all well and good, and indeed our senses – taste, touch, smell and sight are responsible for enjoyable things in our lives. How great it is to savour a delicious kind of food like an amazing tropical fruit, to enjoy a drink so tasty or to feel the sun’s warmth on a glowing summer’s day. How pleasurable to look at a sparkling ocean and to hear music being played. The sound of a grand piano, the pull from our middles of a violincello.

But really, these are the more basic of the human functions we have. Senses work only in conjunction with stimuli and if we are not careful, Pavlov’s Dog can begin to best express our behaviours – conditioned and reflex. Unthought-out and rote. Reactive rather than inspired.

Business demands more than senses – more than just a relationship between external stimuli and our senses. Business demands something from the realm of higher human behaviour. It demands that faculty which lifts us above the mundane, demands the faculty which breaks through all ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and ‘maybe’s’. It forces from us a relationship with this faculty and says – “stay with me if you want to do well” – that faculty – isĀ vision.

Vision is so important that it can’t be understated.

We all love business – business is something excellent, it brings interaction with others, it brings exchange in terms of money. It can be demanding, it can be tiring, but like a tether of light and pulling us along – it is our vision, and our relationship to vision that determines, in many ways, how well we do.

The vision that we have in business is the same skill, the same type of focus that great men and women have had and developed all through their lives. Greatness in business and greatness in life have no separation.

Great people possess great vision – it is forged by the master craftsman of their will-power in the furnace of their minds. And great businesses require vision too.

So we really must nurture vision – every day we must return to the image we have created of our business and it’s role. In a way, it is our businesses which create our worlds. Vision doesn’t talk in shades of grey – it is always bright, strong and golden.

So your vision for your business could have been to establish a world-wide company – a network of trade, spanning the continents. Or your vision may be to create a product that brings more peace to the world. You may have set out to utilise technology to make people’s lives better, or simply because you love technology so much that you just intrinsically know that you have no choice but to mould it into the most amazing shapes you can. Your vision may simply be to create a business which brings you and your family wealth and wellbeing – all of these visions are worthy. Strive on always with your vision. Take time, everyday to refresh it. Your own mind is the strongest tool you have – vision one of its great powers.

Even as we get older and things change all around us – vision remains constant – as long as we make it strong within us all the time. So do not worry, on those days where an important staff member quits, when the amazing product you’ve just got onto the market doesn’t perform as well as you expected. When your tax bill is higher than you thought and when cash flow problems seem like a big hurdle – they aren’t. Make your vision stronger and obstacles will fall away and your business, and all of your life, will grow strong and radiate life’s excellence throughout.


Key User Acquisition Strategies for Aspiring Appreneurs

  • Optimisation
    App Store Optimisation in your app world is similar to SEO in the web world. Optimising your app’s listings will help in increased workflow and counting the store search results as well. Use the right set of keywords to increase its online visibility. Many of the developers add certain descriptive words to the app titles. Most importantly, App Stores function more like search engines for the popular ones thereby, pulling them to the top. Helping it to secure a high rank becomes easy and simple by adding high-quality images and relevant descriptions.
  • Test Different Acquisition Channels
    While starting from the very scratch, it becomes important to test all the various user acquisition channels and choose the most promising options available. Following here are some of the most effective ideas to try out for planning a winning user acquisition strategy.
  • Leveraging Social Media
    Building a social media presence has become essential for businesses and considering it as a prime online marketing tool for your products and services. Thus, you must invest your time in social marketing activities like starting or joining conversations, connecting with influencers and much more. You can build groups on LinkedIn or Facebook, active Reddit subgroups, use popular hashtags and join Twitter chats to reach the audience on a wider scale.
  • In- app Sharing
    Another strategy which, works well for marketers and entrepreneurs is encouraging sharing content with the social media audience directly via the mobile app. You can think of sharing videos with the audience via Twitter or can enable automatic sharing for sharing content on social media platforms.

Start A Home Based Writing Business

There are different types of writing requirements in today’s business environment. You can opt to choose the one that suits your skills, interests and temperament.

  • Resume Writing: This is a requirement that job seekers are always on the lookout for, since not everyone can create an effective resume on their own. A creative resume writer can help by making effective resumes that meet corporate requirements.
  • Copywriting: There is an ever-increasing demand for copy writing from ad agencies, non-profit agencies and corporate. This is especially suitable for those with a flair for writing persuasively as clients always have products and services they want to sell.
  • Search Engine Optimized (SEO) Keyword Articles: This market has grown exponentially in the preceding two years. Businesses and cyber marketing firms have realized that to succeed they have to maintain high levels of traffic on their website and also conversion rates from this traffic. They need to provide content that meets their customers’ needs. SEO keyword article writers meet this requirement. They write articles replete with common phrases and word combinations linked to their business. Every time someone searches for these phrases, the article comes up and helps to route customers to the website.
  • Business Writing: This area generates a large volume of business. Corporate require to regularly producing documents like annual reports, brochures, direct mailers, sales letters and such like material. They are always on the lookout for writers who can undertake these assignments. This can be source of regular income for you.
  • E-book Writing and Publishing: You can well take on assignments in the realm of e-commerce by writing fiction and non-fiction e-books. An increasing number of people now prefer to buy literature on the net. You can cash in on this demand especially if you have a technological bent of mind.
  • Freelance Writing: There is a huge volume of papers, periodicals, newsletters and e-zines that are being produced regularly. This generates demand for articles on a variety of topics. You can well delve into this field if you have a flair for this type of writing.

Fortunately, there is many help readily available when you finally decide to take the plunge into home-based writing. Lucy Parker, a successful home-based writer herself has written a very handy guide to help you establish a viable and successful home-based business. It contains a wealth of information on how to develop your business plan, start-up costs, pricing, marketing, sales; in fact anything that a anyone starting a home-based business is looking for. So go right ahead and with a bit of luck and plenty of hard work, you should be on the way to making a success of your business.