Monthly Archives: July 2017

Grandad, What’s a Business?

Grandad, what’s a business? This is a simple question but like many simple questions the answer is a bit more complicated than you might expect. Complicated but easy to understand if you let Grandad explain.

Quite simply, a business is a group of people who are joined together to sell something to bring in money, referred to as “income”.

A business can be very small, even just one person. This small business can have a legal form or the person can just consider himself (or herself) to be “self-employed”. Even a one-man business must bring in enough money to pay for his living costs. Otherwise he will need to get a job in another business or live on social security paid out by the government and that is no fun at all.

The size of business that we meet most often is as small as 2 or 3 up to as many as several hundred. These companies are often referred to as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They normally have a legal status such as “partnership” or “limited company”.

The big beasts in the business jungle can be very large indeed, often with thousands of employees and many millions of pounds income and are usually “Public Limited Companies” (PLCs). All these businesses are important and Grandad will tell you more about all these businesses in the next few days.

Let me tell you now about the money earned by a business, called “income”. This money must be enough to cover what are called costs or “expenditure”. Costs are all the expenses that the business incurs: the materials the business might have bought, rents, wages and money paid to other people. Costs can include a whole lot of other things such as computer cost, telephone bills, insurance, heating, transport etc.

The idea of a business is that income should be more than expenditure, If income is greater than expenditure, the difference is called a “profit”. If income is less than expenditure then the business is said to make a “loss”.

Making a loss is a BAD THING. If losses continue then the business cannot carry on and is said to be bankrupt. The business has no money to pay its bills.

Profit therefore must be a GOOD THING. Not everyone agrees but Grandad will explain as we go on why profit is a VERY GOOD THING.

There is an in-between result which is called “break-even”, which is not a loss and not a profit. Normally a business can survive in a break-even state but it brings problems that we can talk about later.

Grandad has not yet mentioned the greatest contribution that businesses make to all our lives – TAXATION. Businesses are a rich source of TAX, which our government needs to pay for schools, the National Health Service, roads, police, firemen, the Army, Navy and Air Force, old age pensions etc. Our politicians have great ideas on how to spend money but they have no money to spend unless businesses create TAX.

Resilient Businesses Move Their People To The Cloud

Every year, as the Atlantic hurricane season approaches many businesses have a nagging realization that they are at risk due to a catastrophic “Black Swan ” event. Black Swan events are a constant source of risk in states like Florida where many communities are subject to disruption due to coastal storms. This risk is particularly acute for businesses that depend on the storage of on-line data if there is a chance their critical data could become lost or corrupted. But the threat from Black Swan events isn’t limited to Florida, nor is it limited to large scale disruptive events like hurricanes.The black swan theory or theory of black swan events describes a disruptive event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild. Consider the following scenario…

“We tend to think of disasters in terms of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, or other mega events. Sometimes, however, less notable events occur that can have a catastrophic effect on a business. In February 1981, an electrical fire in the basement of the State Office Building in Binghamton, New York, spread throughout the basement of the building setting fire to a transformer containing over a thousand gallons of toxin-laden oil. Originally thought to be PCBs, the toxins were soon determined to contain dioxin and dibenzofuran, two of the most dangerous chemicals ever created. The fire was smoky and quickly filled the 18-story building with smoke. As the transformer burned, the soot entered the buildings ventilation shafts and quickly spread toxic soot throughout the building. The building was so badly contaminated that it took 13 years and over $47 million to clean before the building could be reentered or used. Because of the nature of the fire, the building and its contents, including all paper records, computers, and personal effects of the people who worked there, were not recoverable. This type of event would be irrecoverable for many businesses.” – Operations Due Diligence, Published by McGraw Hill

What affect would a catastrophic hurricane that affected an entire region or a localized disruptive event like a fire have on the operation of your business? Could you survive that kind of interruption or loss? As the dependence on on-line data has grown in virtually every type of business, so has the risk that loss of their data could disrupt the operation of the business and even result in its complete failure. In response to these threats, there has been an evolution in the approaches used to mitigate these risks as the volume of on-line data has continued to grow. Originally, the concept of Disaster Recovery (DR) emerged as a mitigation strategy that focused on the recovery of critical data after a disruptive event by giving the business the ability to restore disrupted IT operations.

Disaster Recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures that enable the restoration of critical business data and allows the IT infrastructure to be restored to a prior state. DR was originally seen as the domain of the IT department who were given responsibility for mitigating the risk. To minimize the risk, system backups were scheduled frequently and aggressive DR plans that included server cold start procedures and data backups were implemented.

The goal was to restore the infrastructure to the last point where the data had been backed up (at the time, typically on tape). The acceptable DR practices at the time allowed the IT system to be rebooted when the facility power was finally restored… Unless it was in a flood zone or the off-site backup storage facility had also been impacted. In either case, the operation of the facility could potentially be disrupted for some period of time and the data restoration was also potentially at risk depending on where backups were stored.

Now let’s roll the calendar ahead… As technology evolved so did the Disaster Recovery strategies, which lead to new concepts that evolved to the requirements for a Business Continuity solution as a means of mitigating risk. Still seen as the domain of IT, as technology moved towards solutions like shadow servers, distributed data locations and high speed bulk data transmission with hyper connectivity. Data no longer had to be “recovered”, it just had to be connected in distributed locations where it could be remotely accessed. Business Continuity mitigated the risk of data loss and allowed a business to recover much more quickly and efficiently from a Black Swan event because its servers never went completely down.

Business Coaching for Business Improvement

Business coaching can actually bring the much-desired changes to your business. Coach is a word which is derived from “kocsi”, a Hungarian name that means “carriage”. Today, however, the word has a wider use and it basically means transportation of people from one point to the other where they desire to be.

Business coaching, therefore, can be defined as a process that can be applied so as to move a business from its current position to where the owner envisions it to be. What a business coach does is to offer guidance and assistance to the owner in view of business growth, helping in the clarification of the business vision and how exactly it can fit well with the personal goals. This is a very important step and should be a point of focus.

Business owners should be made to understand the importance of reaching their goals for the business and how it can affect them personally. The business owner is responsible for the determination of the passion and speed in which goals are met. When the business owner has a passion for reaching a goal, he will be more determined to make it work by all means.

Usually, a coach will get to know the business owner desires and this helps in the prioritization of the goals and strategies that need to be put in place. It is the work of the coach to meet you with the owner on a regular basis so as to ensure they remain on track to all commitments that they may have made.

Accountability is a critical component of business coaching. It is important to understand that a business coach isn’t a consultant. This means that they don’t work for the business. The main aim is to help you with focus and keep on reminding you the importance of reaching the set goals. They also work to motivate the business owner to actually keep the commitments. They are the sounding board and can even hold a mirror so as to reflect all the blind spots that you may have missed.

Most of the success stories that you may have heard attributed it to amazing business coaches. For business owners who seek to have more time, more money and better relationships and health, it becomes important to have a business coach. The reason why the most business fails is that people are not really taught about ways in which they can actually win at life. Coaching, therefore, bridges the gap and enlightens the business owners in ways that only a coach can achieve.

It is the dream of every business owner to have a winning team around them. Also, anyone in business desires to have great profits in an effortless and exponential way. A winning business allows you to have time and money freedom. If you feel that you need to rethink your commitments and focus on the goals you had initially set out for your business, then getting a great business coach can actually help you and your business to a great extent.

The Benefits of Buying an Established Business

The dream of business ownership is alive and well these days, especially in Colorado. As of 2015, the state is home to nearly 600,000 small businesses which employ almost 1,000,000 people! Every day you hear about a new start up being launched or a company taking its headquarters to Colorado. Business is good! So for today’s discussion, we thought it would be important to address the benefits of buying an established business over starting a business.

In Colorado, 52% of small businesses fail within the first four years of being established (as of 2016). But this percentage dramatically decreases with the purchase of an established business for a number of factors which we will discuss below.

Proven Business Concept. Buying an established business is simply less risky than starting a business of your own. The concept has been proven to work and has a track record of that success. This also comes in handy when it comes time to finance the business, banks are much more willing to lend to a buyer with a proven concept than fund a start-up business.

Established & Recognized Brand. When purchasing an established business, there will already be a brand in place, that is recognizable in the community and has a history and reputation behind it. It is much easier to market an established business to a community than to market a new business.

Staff In Place. Hiring employees is time-consuming and costly and within the realm of a start-up business, every penny counts! An established business comes with staff in place that has already been hired, trained and developed to operate the business. These employees will not only be able to help you transition into your ownership role they will also provide you with a more flexible schedule to focus on business strategies and family.

Customer Base. An established business has had the time to develop customer relationships and a loyal following. Which means the business will benefit from revenue from the time of purchase on. With a start-up company, the owner will have to work much harder to gain traction within the community and attract customers.

Growth & Planning. Instead of working to make your start-up business viable, as the new owner of an established business, you will be able to focus on scaling and strategic planning. This factor alone can alleviate a large piece of the risk and stress of a start-up business.