Category Archives: Inter Business

How to Make Your Business Financially Fit

Steve is a successful business owner who takes his business very seriously. He focuses on growing his business and has several employees. People love his products and services and are sharing them with others. What Steve is struggling with is making his business financially fit. It seems like his business is always tight, and he is barely making it each month. Sound familiar?

This is what we hear from many business owners. They want to grow and be successful, but they are missing some tools to assist them in staying profitable. Here are four tools you can implement into your business to be financially fit.

1. Know Your Overhead Cost – It is easy to know what the cost is of each product or service you sell, but many business owners fail to include their overhead cost when figuring their numbers.

Profitable businesses know what their profit is on each product or service after their overhead cost is included. Overhead costs often include, administrative expenses like office supplies. Other expenses may also include marketing and advertising, employee related, facilities and equipment, vehicle related expenses, insurance, and tax related expenses.

Companies should know the percentage of breakdown related to each product sold, each procedure or job performed, or each service that is provided.

This allows the business owner to price their products and services at the right price. If the overhead cost is not included, it can cause the business to lose money on each sale that they are making.

2. Manage Your Cash Flow Regularly – Cash flow is so important for a financially fit business. If a company does not have a good eye on their cash flow, it can cause them to struggle every month.

Knowing what money you have coming in, and what money you have going out each week and each month will help you to know what you need to bring in each week to manage the bills that are going out.

It will also assist you with meeting goals like buying that piece of equipment that will make you more profitable or investing the money to increase overall profitability. Look at a statement of cash flows; a statement of cash flows will show you what money is coming in and what money is going out each month.

3. Pay Attention to Your Numbers Each Month -Waiting until the end of the year to get your bookkeeping in place for your tax accountant can be a very costly mistake. A financially fit business pays very close attention to how the business is doing on a weekly and monthly basis.

They know how much they need to make each week in order to be a profitable business. They also look at their financials each month to see what they need to do in order to improve the next month overall performance.

If a company fails to do this, they have no way of making important business decisions because they don’t know where they are at. Not know where your business is at will cause your business to fail. If a business isn’t growing, they are dying.

4. Know Your Financial Ratios – Many business owners don’t know what business ratios they need to track in order to be profitable. Knowing the right ratios can help a business owner know what decisions they need to make to move their business in the right direction.

As an example, one of the ratios that a business needs to track is the current ratio. This ratio will help them track how healthy their business is. A healthy business will have at least a 2 to 1 ratio, so $2 in assets for every $1 in liabilities. If the business is carrying inventory, it is important to have a 4 to 1 ratio.

To determine the current ratio, take the current assets and divide them by current liabilities (Current Assets/Current Liabilities.) Once you have the current ratio, it can be tracked each month to determine if your company is moving in a good direction or if you need to make some changes in your business to move it in the right direction.

Implementing these tools into a business can make a huge difference on how profitable a business is. A small hinge on a gate can help a large gate swing back and forth, just as a small step in the right direction can make a huge impact on a business.

Ways To Make Your Business Work Harder

Many business owners are working so hard at their business that they fail to enjoy the rewards of being the business owner. If you are letting the life of your business overrule the business of living your life, then it is time to begin turning the tides.

Finding ways to make your business work harder for you and your family is the reason we all started our businesses in the first place. If your business is obstructing your efforts to enjoy life with friends and family, this is a problem. We all know a lot of work goes into building a successful business, but if it is consuming all your time, effort and energy… is it worth it?

Why this coordination is important:

Every time you find new ways to help your family benefit from the efforts of your business, your life balance and family life improves.

If your business consumes your entire life and your family life suffers because of it, your spouse and children may actually resent the time that you spend there. Even if it provides a great deal of income, the value of family and social life may be sacrificed.

Make your business help you, your family and your social life. You will be happier, healthier and live a longer more rewarding life.

5 Ways To Consider:

Consider paying children’s education expenses as wages for work

Many small business owners make a good living and have higher than average incomes. This can cause their family to qualify for little to no college financial aid when their children are ready to attend college.

If you are going to have to pay for it anyway, why not pay your children to help out at your small business. Pay them as an employee, contractor or consultant to do work for you and your business.

If you pay them enough to cover their college costs, you will receive a tax deduction for the cost of their college education by deducting their income from your business. They will be responsible for helping out with your business and they may surprise you with how much value they add to the business. New ideas, new technology, a new and different viewpoint might be just what your business needs.

Schedule family vacations around business travel

When a family vacation is something you’re considering, think about coordinating it around a work trip. Do you need to go to conventions, trade shows, seminars or other training for work? If you drive to go to those business activities, your gas mileage is tax-deductible regardless of how many individuals you have in the car with you. Does this conference or training trip require you to stay in a hotel? Your hotel expenses for that night can also be deductible regardless of whether you have your family with you in the room.

Scheduling family vacations around business travel can help make it more manageable. This allows you to enjoy time with your family or friends while also working on your business. Consult with your spouse or family to coordinate the two.

The Relationship Between Human Resource Practices And Business Strategy

The relationship between human resource practices and a company’s business strategy are aligned in many ways. The ultimate goal of the alignment is to use human capital as instrument to maximize the organization assets for the benefit of the stakeholders. Below are some of the relationship between human resource practices and business strategy.

STRATEGIC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Human resource practices create the process for the development of employees’ knowledge and the skill-set across the organization to promote its core competencies that support and maintain its competitive advantage in the industry. The term “strategic HRM” is the new template in the management of modern organization that is anchored on the concept that the most valuable asset an organization provides itself is HR, since it is the tool that is responsible for the coordination and implementation of other factors of production that spurs corporate performance journals

The business strategy adopts by an organization is meant to showcase how it intend to succeed by using the factors of production at its disposal to build a competitive advantage, strategy-business. Business strategy helps to identify the direction that the organization wishes to go in relation to its environment. Human resource strategies manage human resource so that the goals set by the organization can be achieved. The focus is directed on what the business intentions are as they relate to human resource policies and practices. Therefore, how human resource is spread across the organization’s units and departments, motivated, managed and retained will affect the performance outcome after the business strategy has been implemented. The relationship between business strategy and human resource practices also would determine the organization competitive and performance outcome.

A glimpse into Oya Erdil & Ayse Gunsel’s ‘BUSINESS STRATEGY AND HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGY- THE INTERACTION’ shows there is a relationship between human resource management practices and an organization business strategy, which also could be referred to as the business environment and organizational development. Another defining aspect of that relationship is the across the board acceptance that an organization’s human resource management practices have a link to the firm’s decision making process, in other words, the HR practices be closely aligned with the strategy of the whole business. While there is not much disagreement as pertaining to the relationship between HR practices and business strategy, there is a tendency not to acknowledge the deeper nature of the relationship. The theory of human resource management opined that should employees be considered and managed as a valued strategic asset, the organization in practice would be able to achieve a competitive advantage, and the outcome will be a superior performance. This again, means managing human resource in such a way that it will correspond to the business strategy, being that the goals and process of each of the strategy profiles are different.

According to Oya Erdil & Ayse Gunsel, this relationship is further entrenched when you look at how human resource practices are selected based on competitive strategy espoused by the organization. An organization that coordinates its business strategy and human resources policies and practices achieve a superior performance outcome than those that do not.

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.

Juggling Living in the Now and Our Businesses

Does anyone else find this quite a tightrope walk? It can be quite mind boggling!

The Past, Future but rarely Present

The business world at large demands projections, business plans, analysis of data and constant checking of figures – which area of our business should we concentrate on next, which country should we try to conquer next? A full time job in itself if we don’t have people to help us out!

All of the above serve to keep us in either the past or the future. The present moment is fleeting and reflects what we have been doing in the past anyway – so why spend so much time analysing it? Surely, by looking at the present moment and where we are – not just in business, but in our lives – we have a pretty accurate yardstick of how we have been creating our lives to date.

Business is a Serious Business

Most businesses are run with the aim of making money – yes, I know – I’m stating the obvious! However, isn’t it just this factor that takes the joy out of many businesses? A bit like a person who loves amateur dramatics, but when they decide to transfer over to the professional stage the joy dissipates because now their lifestyle depends on their success. There is a mantle of seriousness which now envelopes them and, except for a fortunate few, it’s not fun anymore, but business.

This very seriousness is what ties people up in knots, makes them tense, stressed and out of touch with their intuition and guidance. There is too much fear of failure and thoughts of not having enough money to support themselves, needing to go back into work that they hate doing just to make ends meet and even the fear of people telling them ‘I told you so!’

There are many layers to starting our own business. It’s about making ourselves vulnerable because we can ultimately be rejected by the world and nobody wants what we have to offer. The ultimate rejection! It takes courage to take that leap of faith.

We have to be Passionate

Loving what we do is really the only way to have any chance of a successful business, and I’m not just talking about money. I’m sure all of us have had dealings with businesses which have been run delightfully – restaurants that serve the most delicious food for example. Then one day we visit our favourite restaurant and the food isn’t quite as good, the service isn’t quite as personal and, on enquiry, we find that the restaurant has changed hands. The passion and energy of the person/people that started it has gone and, unless the restaurant is taken over by people with equal passion, the customers are going to feel the difference. Is there ever the same level of passion shown for a business which is already a running concern versus one that has been built from scratch with blood, sweat and tears? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

It is our energy which runs our business. We can have unlimited funds to throw at it, but unless we have passion for what we do that money is going to go down the drain, as potential customers will sense that we aren’t in business for the love of it, but purely as a way of making as much money as we can, in as short a time as possible. We won’t show up as people that they can trust!

Small Business Should Invest in Big Data

Big data refers to huge volumes of structured and unstructured data; however, processing such massive volumes of data via traditional data management tools is inefficient and impossible. To understand big data you have to realize the devices that are collecting it today e.g. bar code scanners, mobile cameras, CCTV cameras, motion sensors, smoke alarms, web analytical tools, CRMs, etc. From the examples, you can see that these devices collect a vast array of data types hence the structured and unstructured part in the definition. The sheer velocity at which the data is being produced cannot be controlled and processed using traditional methods and tools.

However, the use of big data and incorporation of big data analytical technology gives businesses the competitive edge over their competitors.

Big Data and Small Businesses

It is only a thing of the past when terms like big data and business intelligence were associated with large enterprises only. Today, small businesses have to leverage the data they are collecting in order to remain a part of the competition. For years, cost has remained the main reason why small businesses did not adopt big data analytical technologies, but this has changed now. There are budget-friendly tools available for small businesses to take advantage of the data they are collecting today. According to some experts, small businesses can take better advantage of big data since they are able to make the necessary changes far more quickly than large enterprises i.e. real-time response to insights from available data.

According to an IDG study in 2016, 78% of the large enterprises agree that big data strategy has the power to change how businesses have always operated. This shows the acceptance of big data technology and strategies for large enterprises and strengthens the fact that small businesses could become irrelevant if they did not adopt the same strategies.

Benefits of Large Data Analytics

Large Data and Big Companies, a report by IIA Director of Research, Tom Davenport, reveals that businesses are benefitting greatly from big data analytics especially in improving their products, making business decisions faster and reducing costs. Here are some ways small businesses can benefit from big data.

• Cost Savings

The upfront cost of implementing large data tools and strategies is high undoubtedly, but the long term benefits of doing so are matchless. The healthcare industry is a great example of how the use of large data can help businesses reduce their costs regardless of their size. Using predictive analytics, Medicare and Medicaid Services forestalled more than $210 million fraud in healthcare with just 2 years of utilizing the aforementioned technology.

In addition to preventing frauds, small businesses can also reduce their costs by steering clear of creating more inventory than needed, including better partners in the supply chain, etc.

• Improved Decision Making

This is the biggest benefit of large data. It allows businesses to expedite decision making by processing the data fast and giving insights in timely manner. In the past, business decisions were reserved for future strategies in the light of available data and the trends that were observed in it. The amount of data that businesses are sitting on today is huge and thus more powerful insights are to be gained from it.

This vast amount of data requires the use of modern big data hardware technologies. Once both the things are in place for a business, they can understand customers better, create products that are a closer reflection of what customers want and develop a brand based on most reverenced values.

• Impenetrable Security

Businesses are more focused today on using large data to improve their core capabilities, but less attended to a more serious concerns i.e. cyber threats and security breaches. Almost every small, medium and large business is connected to the internet today. Moreover, the Internet of Things has broadened the attackable security surface for businesses making it easier for cyber criminals to attack networks and penetrate company databases.

The biggest concern for modern businesses is that they have to “respond” to cyber attacks that have already occurred rather than being able to prevent them from occurring. The use of big data and big data analytical tools can be a game changer in this area allowing businesses to prevent any security attacks way before they are executed.

Developing A Business Startup Success

It can be easy to lose sight of the very reasons why you wanted to open your business startup. You can get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations, leaving little time to focus on what makes your business startup standout in the market. Having a strategy in place that allows you to keep you motivated can ensure your business stays on a path of success.

Fall In Love With Your Business

Any business that you invest your heart in soul in should be the great love of your life. You need to nurture it and watch it grow. Having a real passion for what you are doing and the products and services you sell can make your business startup a real labor of love. You should have a real hunger that drives you to do well. Making your business startup idea one that you can stand behind and love to eternity is the first step in achieving success.

If it seems that you are losing that connection with your company and not really feeling the love, take a step back and allow yourself to remember how it all started. This can spark your emotions for your business and allow you to fall back in love with what you are doing. Your passion for your business is often times enough to get you through the challenging times.

Surround Yourself With Good People

From your employees to your professional network, the people that you surround yourself with can have a strong influence on your business startup. These very people can give you new ideas and help educate you on your business’ operations.

Having positive people to lift you up can be a strong motivator and allow you to have someone to bounce thoughts off of when you feel uncertain about a decision. Use your network to gain valuable information and learn from your peers on what mistakes to avoid. They can prove to be a big part of helping you run your business and ensuring it is successful in its endeavors.

Don’t forget your employees; they can be a big part of keeping your focused on your business startup on a daily basis. Good employees will drive your customer service and in turn your revenue. When your employees believe in your business and the vision you have set for it, it makes it that much more important that you deliver now and into the future.

Create A Marketing Strategy

Having a marketing strategy in place to promote your business is necessary to help achieve strong revenues. You should have prepped and planned a strategy that you want to adhere to market your business startup to your customers. It doesn’t have to be a large portion of your budget, but it should include some effort on your part.

Think about where your customers go for their information. Be visible to them and make sure you use every opportunity that is available to you to market your business with both new and existing customers. Try social media, check into local advertising, hold and an event, and use what is available to you to reach your customers and introduce your business’ products and services to the masses.

If you stay aggressive with your marketing plan, you are sure to garner the attention of your current customer base as well as a new group of potential clients. This can bring in more revenue and keep your business startup on a path of success.

Get To Know Your Customers

It is your responsibility as a business startup owner to know everything there is to know about your customers. You should have a strong idea of who they are, what their likes are, and where they are located. When you truly understand your customers, the more effectively you can serve them with your products and services.

While your attention may be turned toward gaining new customers, don’t lose sight of your current clients. They are the bread and butter of your business, and you want to make sure you are not replacing existing customers with new customers at a losing pace. Show your loyal customers how much you appreciate their business. Without them, your business will only see marginal success, and you want to make sure to grow your business startup rather than be stagnate in its approach.

Take Time For You

It may be difficult to imagine, but you need time away from your business startup. You may think that you can’t take time away or that your momentum will crumple without you, but taking a vacation every now and then is one of the best things you can do for your company. When you step away for a moment, you allow yourself the opportunity to recharge and refresh. You’ll be able to see your business in a new light and be surging with motivation when you return.