Category: Business

Institutional Investors

  • Equity Funding Mode:
    Majority of businesses prefer the equity-funding mode. Such funding is provided the venture capitalists or institutional risk takers who could be large financial institutions or high net worth individuals. Such investors constantly look out for start-up businesses where they can invest their money. They prefer to invest in at least three to five year old companies that posses the potential of becoming large national players in the end. Such venture capitalists check several potential investment options annually but may choose to invest only in few of them.

The venture capitalists may choose to participate in the management strategies of the company, in which they invested. They generally play a passive role in that company’s management, however, are free to react if they do not find certain things in the management worthy from the investment perspective.

Generally, the venture capitalists do not prefer funding start-ups and financing companies in their early stages, as the level of risk associated with such companies is often high. However, there are exceptional cases, wherein, the entrepreneur has obtained such a funding pattern, if he has a proven track record in the business where he operates.

  • Debt Funding Mode:
    Debt financing is generally done through banks and is common for funding start-ups in case of small companies. Banks offer products such as short-term loans, single-purpose loans, and seasonal lines of credit to meet the financial requirements of the small companies. The banks issue such products to the customers against their personal guarantees. The lender uses the collateral, in case, the borrower defaults in repaying. Banks do not prefer to give loans for start-ups or any other purposes on a long-term basis to small companies.
  • Securities Offerings:
    Producing genuine securities offerings before the investors while seeking for their investments is must. Otherwise, your company may end up violating the Federal and State Securities Laws, which could have disastrous consequences.

Research the market well for the right contacts of private capital before structuring any deal. Check out the contract options available in the market carefully. The most popular options are – royalty financing contracts, preferred stock, and short-term mortgage loan that has a tenor of three to four years.

Business Plan Resources

Build Leadership And Management Capacity

Implementing this principle ensures that the business owner and managers are committed and dedicated to the purpose and the direction of the business. The leaders of the business show the way, through their own beliefs, attitudes and behavior. They engage in their own leadership skills development as a constant.

The leaders in the business are the ones who must live the mission, vision and values of the business, on a daily basis and at all times in everything that they say and do. They adopt an ‘always learning’ mindset.

Develop A Strategic Business Plan

Effective business owners have a deep and thorough understanding of the nature and direction of their business. To this end, they clearly articulate the vision they have for their business within the framework of the small business plan. Everyone in the business understands the business plan. Everyone knows what their roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are in bringing about the results that have been spelled out for achieving the vision of the business.

Inculcate A Customer Focus Throughout Your Business

Everything that is done within a business is about delivering quality outcomes and results for customers. The effective business owner knows who his or her customers are, where they are located and what their needs are. With this knowledge in hand, they then ensure that their customer needs are met and, indeed, exceeded. Systems, policy development, procedures, processes and measures are all essential in achieving this area of excellence.

Deliver Products And Services That Provide Value

The effective business owner and manager always make sure that their business provides value for money with their product/service range. This means having proper controls in place for quality assurance, from product design and development, production, distribution and customer follow-up and feedback. These control mechanisms are indicative of an ongoing, continuous improvement culture that ensures value for customers on a consistent basis.

Create A Developmental Culture

The successful business owner creates an ethos where continuous learning is the hallmark of pursuing excellence in everything that is done. This is evidenced from the recruitment stage through to exiting. All the employees in a value-based business are employed as being competent and being the ‘best fit’ for the business. They are always developing, both personally and professionally. They all have development plans that are aligned to business objectives and performance outcomes.

Adopt A Common Decision Making Framework

Effective decision-making is critical in achieving excellence. Successful high performing business environments adopt a common language and agreed ways of arriving at best-balanced choices, reaching conclusions, resolving conflict and making hard-edged decisions. Everyone in high performing business cultures knows what these frameworks are and uses the tools consistently to ensure common understanding in the implementation of problem solving/conflict resolution.

Measure Your Business Performance

Establishing benchmarks and measuring results and performance against agreed objectives and outcomes will insure high performance and excellence in business. Such measures are identified and spelled out in concrete terms in relation to the other six areas listed above.

Stepping Up to Potential Success

A business takes a few things in order to be successful. Unlike many have been taught, it doesn’t take what you think it would. It doesn’t take the right credentials, ‘falling into’ a market, or even going to business school. It is much simpler than this. The only thing that you need to do as a business is watch your character and your ability to open the doors.

A strong entrepreneur is the type that is mentally aware of what is available. They are able to find markets, are continuously working on the next best thing and don’t stop at anything. Their character is aggressive, straight-forward and persistent in getting the job done. Just like someone who is running a marathon, they don’t stop when they get tired. They only stop when they have crossed over the finish line in order to get their medal.

By beginning with these characteristics, you can start stepping towards your own success. It is the development of these few attributes that will lead you into practical actions of helping your business to succeed.

The first application to these attributes is to find the best way to advertise to people. Where will they go to respond to you? How will they catch your name, your services and your business? Some say this is the Internet; however, never underestimate the power of the mail box. This is definitely something that everyone will be looking at every day.

The next way to apply entrepreneurial attributes is to make sure that you are always focusing on a niche. It doesn’t matter what it is at the time, just find a group of people that you know will be interested in what you are offering. Focus on finding the best in the group through assertive means of advertising and reaching out to your niche. This is one of the most important steps to succeeding with your business.

The only other step that you need to take is with your persistence. The more persistent you are the more customers you will find that want your business. The more you focus on finding the right targets, make sure that you get your foot in the door ahead of your competition, and keep working towards your achievements, the more likely you will be to succeed. As W. Clement Stone says, “Inspiration to action.”

Believe it or not, it is these simple things that will make or break a business. Whenever you feel like stopping, giving up, or getting a day job, know that you are on the edge of great success. You just have to get through one more jump before you begin to see the new horizon that will open for your business to be the best.

Succeed In The Wholesale Business

The number one aspect of starting a successful wholesale business is focus. Once you have the ideas and the business action plan set, you need to focus on building such wholesale business niche into a profitable venture. You need to set yourself daily goals as to what you are going to achieve for such 24hrs period. There is a huge difference between having something written and not having anything written down. Both research and even my testing shows that once a wholesale entrepreneur focus on achieving his required written daily goals for his business, the chances of getting the job done are increased. When you don’t write what you need to do either for the day or for the whole week, you are most likely to be as people say- lost at the sea. This is even the primary reason a wholesale business fails in America, they start the business and once they do not see profits as expected- they carry their fault on the business instead of carrying such faults on themselves. Selling wholesale tangible items on the Internet and better yet on eBay works- your first step is to focus on what you need to do each and every day.

Second, if you are going to become a retailer or sell wholesale tangible items either locally offline or on the Internet- you need below wholesale prices for the merchandise you will sell. For most businessman and businesswoman this one is obvious- but in my surprise more than 95% of wholesale business are not buying wholesale merchandise at the best possible prices. It is incredible to see many online wholesale businesses go online and fail because they never had a great wholesale distributor or the perfect wholesale list to start with, thanks to reliable and profitable contacts.

My last suggestion for this lesson as a guy who started earnings more than a thousand dollars in a single day on the Internet is focus, develop profitable wholesale sources to your portfolio and build multiple niches around such business with sub-niches. With wholesale, I can assure you that you can focus in specific merchandise and build sub-niches around it. I look forward on teaching you more.

Strategies for When Clients Don’t Pay

Gentle reminder

Your invoice could have been forgotten, misplaced or buried in a pile on your client’s desk. If they have gone past your due date, email – or call depending on what is most comfortable for you – a gentle reminder asking them the status of payment.

If you use QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online, you can also email a statement directly from the system.

Be personal

If you’ve reminded the client and no payment has come, it is time for either another email or a phone call. Your client may tell you that he is very busy and apologizes that he “forgot” again.

Explain that cash flow is very important to your small business and that you can not afford to carry the unpaid invoice any longer.

Always remember to make it easy for your client to pay you. Tell him that you are happy to be paid via wire, PayPal, credit card – offer him all the options and be sure that you have more than just “send a check” available. Make it as easy as possible!

Be the “squeaky wheel”

If your client is having his own cash flow issues, he may need to make hard choices about who gets paid when. Send an email reminder or statement every other day or every week – take your comfort level and go one step further.

By being the “squeaky wheel”, you insure that you are at the forefront of his mind when he is paying bills.

Cut him off

As hard as it is, sometimes you need to tell the client – even though you’ve become friends – that you can not do any additional work until your invoices are paid in full.

As a small business owner, you are responsible for the running of your business and, as a result, there are times when you need to make tough decisions that are best for your business. You can’t afford to work without compensation and your client should understand that.

Get tough

You’ve tried being gentle. You’ve tried being personal. And you’ve squeaked so many times that you’re tired of hearing your own voice. Now it’s time to put that prepaid legal plan to use!

Have your attorney send a formal letter stating that if you are not paid, in full, within X number of days, that you will either take the client to small claims court (the normal limit is between $2,000 and $7,500 – it varies by state in the U.S.) or to arbitration. Whether you sue or go to arbitration depends on the contract you have with your client as some state that disputes will be arbitrated.

Run A Successful Small Business

  • Get in motion by eliminating the procrastinator’s best friend: “Messy Desk/Office Syndrome.” If that is something you’re plagued with, you’ll find slaying the beast a lot easier if you take what I call the “The 3 D System” approach to organization which directs that you look at what is on your desk or what is cluttering your office and either Dump it, Deal with it or Delegate it.
  • Outsource everything that is not the best use of your time. Look at where you make your money, and if it’s not at bookkeeping, Web site maintenance, or writing marketing materials, for example, farm those tasks out to someone who can do them far more quickly and efficiently than you can.
  • Take things from your “to-do” list and block off actual times for working on specific items. For example, 10-10:30 AM might be for returning phone calls; 1-2:00 PM for working on an article; 2-3:00 PM could be for updating your marketing plan or for researching business networking events. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done when you assign specific times for doing things.
  • Resist the temptation to answer the phone every time it rings as a new conversation will not only distract you from what you are doing, but it may lead you to abandon the task all together as you become drawn into resolving other matters. If you work alone, pretend you have a secretary and that you’ve told him or her to “hold all calls.” Then return the calls when you have both a clear mind and the time to tackle them.
  • Take charge of your e-mails; don’t let them take charge of you. Resist temptation and commit to checking your in-box only twice a day: first thing in the morning and around 3:00 PM.
  • Set specific, realistic goals with timelines and commit to taking at least two action steps every day.
  • Avoid becoming overwhelmed by chunking every task down into manageable bite-sized pieces. Not only will you get more done, you will feel terrific as you realize how much you have accomplished.

Stages Of Business Development

Start-up Phase

Start-up phase is that phase during which a business comes into existence. It is during this phase that plans are conceptualized and implemented regarding how the business should be set up, how it should be run, where to get the start up capital from and how to keep the cash flow going. During the start up phase, legalities of setting up the business are taken care of. Every business, which is starting up will normally require a large investment of capital, lots of time and effort, setting up of good profitable and stable customer base, money to buy raw materials, manpower recruitment etc. Businesses usually arrange for their own limited resources to run their activities. At first, demand is assessed and/or created for the products or services the business wishes to offer. Then manufacturing facility and processes are established (if it is a business engaged in manufacturing) or processes for providing service are established (if the business will be service provider) or goods for sale are purchased (if it will be business engaged in trade).

Growth Phase

During this phase of its existence, businesses experience expansion of its activities and enhancement of its customer base. It is an exciting period for the business. Its products and services are gaining acceptance in the marketplace and customers are patronizing them in increasing numbers. Profit margins also tend to increase during this phase. During this phase, the business require infusion of additional capital to buy capital equipment to increase production (for manufacturing businesses), to establish additional service network (for service providers) or procure more goods for trade (for trading businesses).

Maturity Phase

This is the third stage of a business development. During this phase cash flows stabilize and establishment of marketing networks and operational channels are completed. The respective brands become well known and there is a stable and faithful customer following. This is an ideal time for businesses to consider expansion or diversification.

Decline Phase

This is the last phase of any business. It is also called the terminal phase. During this phase, the business experiences market pressures from all quarters, and are unable to handle them successfully. The inevitable is cash flow drying up and losses mount up. Most businesses fold up during this phase. There are resilient businesses that do survive this phase and go on to succeed on a new lease of life.

Business Support Software

There are many support processes that any business would need during its existence. To support these business processes, softwares are hitting the market that cater to both new and experienced entrepreneurs. These softwares help business owners and managers to manage the business operations well. They are worth the money spent on them.

About Small Business Grants

After you have your business plan completed you can start working on your company’s funding. The first funding options that you have for raising the capital needed to start your company are to apply for federal grants and to apply for private small business grants. Each grant that is offered will have its own set of requirements and each will have their own application process. To qualify for small business grants you will need to have a solid business plan, a marketable product, and in some cases your own money to invest in your company.

There are a lot of financing options available for small businesses besides small business grants. Small business loans are a great option for people who have a good credit history and a great idea for a business. These loans are offered by most major banks. If you are interested in applying for a small business loan from the Small Business Administration then you will still need to submit your application material to a bank. This is because the SBA no longer funds small business loans, they only insure them.

Thinking Partnership

To set the record straight, I’m certainly not an attorney, nor am I in the business of dispensing legal advice. But as someone who’s been involved in – and burned by – a couple of partnership ventures gone sour, I do have opinions. I’d like to share those with you here if you’ll let me.

Most would-be partners see themselves going into business with friends or family members. Many times those involved have known each other for years. But knowing someone for a long time is not the same as knowing them well. At least not well enough to become partners with them. But that’s only the first drawback.

Drawback #2: Many would-be partners believe they can put a deal together with little more than a verbal agreement and a hand shake. Wrong! The only safe way to do it, if do it you must, is with a detailed written Partnership Agreement. One drawn up by an impartial attorney all partners agree on.

Drawback #3: Even before you get to that point, you should know that partners can be held jointly and severably liable for the obligations of the partnership. Simply put, that means either or all of you may be liable for all the liabilities of your business. Everything from accounts payable to judgments against the business, including obligations for which you as an individual may not be responsible at all.

That could wipe out some or all of the personal assets of each of the partners. But let me paint you a worse case scenario. Drawback #4: Partner A has only modest means, a simple home and car, along with a spouse and children. Partner B is extremely wealthy. Large home, fancy car, summer place, stocks, bonds, IRAs, the works.

Their business goes belly up for some reason, leaving behind huge financial liabilities and other obligations. Creditors take the partners to court in an effort to collect. A multi-million dollar judgment is rendered in favor of the creditors, and the court lays claim to the assets of the partners.

Partner A can lose his simple home and car, but once their gone he has nothing more the court can lay claim to. So they turn to Partner B to collect the balance of that multi-million dollar judgment. And to satisfy that judgment the court sells off his large home, fancy car, summer place, stocks, bonds, etc.

They might have been “equal partners,” but there’s nothing equal about what they stand to lose. If only because partners can be held personally liable for the obligations of their business – jointly and severably, meaning individually and collectively – I suggest you think long and hard before becoming involved in a partnership arrangement, even one spelled out in writing.

Prepare Your Business For Sale

When preparing your business for sale, keep the following in mind:

  • Selling your business is risky, so start the preparations at least one year in advance. You have to tie up all loose ends, make proper inventory of assets before you sell.
  • Go through audits and financial statements to chart growth. Ensure the financial records are up to date.
  • Formalize records and document all business dealings for the convenience of buyers. This will also help avoid confusion when the new management takes over.
  • Don’t keep any pending accounts of a customer open; tie up all loose ends before handing over the company.
  • Take care of the contract details with suppliers and franchisees. This will eliminate problems for the new management.
  • Get a proper handbook of company rules and guidelines printed. Unwritten rules are hard to follow.
  • Review leases and real estate deals. You do not want the location to affect the sale of your business. If the location can be a hindrance to sale, then consider moving to a better location before selling.
  • Take care of the equipment leases and return equipment once lease period is over.
  • Make an inventory of all the company assets, moveable as well as immoveable.
  • Upgrade and modernize software and computer systems. The best software should be installed before you make a sale.
  • Sell real estate separate from other company assets. Real estate attached to other assets makes the company unwieldy when its time to sell.
  • Ensure that employees’ interests are taken care of. Try to retain the good employees during the merger process. If you have to cut down on the number of employees, ensure they still have goodwill for the company.
  • Have an expert negotiator by your side well before you start negotiating a deal with the other party.

By taking care of your employees’ interests, and looking out for the new management when selling the business, you will earn a lot of goodwill. You should also put your records in order before selling. By following the guidelines given above, you will be able to avoid the pitfalls of bad business deals.