How to Build A Successful Business?
Starting a business and becoming successful is often part of the American Dream. But there is a difference between starting a business and building a successful business. Many businesses fail within the first few years of existence due to the lack of planning for the long-term. There is not enough vision and there is not enough done to strengthen the business properly from the ground up.
If you want to start a business there is an easy way to get a better understanding of why some businesses fail and others don’t. When starting a business think about it similar to building a house. If done right it is protecting you against any kind of storm or danger of the outside world and will last for a long time. It offers shelter and protection. For you and your business that could be translated to that you want to have a business that is able to weather economical ups and downs (=storm) and that will provide income to pay the bills (shelter and protection).
When building a house there are several different steps you need to follow to have the house build. You know you want a house, but you got to pick a location and get an architect to plan everything out. In the business world that would be: you know you want to start a business, but you have to come up with a business idea and work out a business plan. The next thing for the house would be to build the foundation (and eventually the basement) for the house. In the business world – you got to build the initial infrastructure (example: connecting with vendors, find a manufacturer for your product, create a sales team, rent office space, get a delivery truck, etc.). Once that is in place you able to actually do business and earn some money. But you are not completely done yet. You need to build a frame, put in windows and you also need a roof on house. For your business this means that you pay off debt, improve business processes and get professional help when needed (example: find a tax accountant, select a payroll service, etc.).
Once the house is build you probably want to fill it with furniture and make it livable for the future. Nobody wants to sleep on the floor, right. Again translating this to the business world it could mean that you invest money you earned back into your business. You buy machinery instead of leasing it. Eventually you buy a building, hire more staff, develop more products, move into new markets, build up a high cash reserve, and buy other businesses and so forth. This is often the step where winners and losers separate. Re-investing money into the business is a key factor for success. If you go and spend all the money on your own salary to buy things you have nothing to go back to when the economy slips into a recession or if disaster strikes.
The successful business owner has build up a cash reserve or can borrow money from bank – securing loans with the assets of the business. Going back to building a house this pretty much matches the same efforts. You pay off your mortgage and have equity available to eventually borrow against when emergency arises. Emergencies do not include paying off credit cards to use them again or to buy a car. Financially responsible you should be looking at the long term and not finance short-term goods with long-term debt.
Real estate investment takes motivation, drive and ambition on your part if you want to see your hard work turn into a huge profit. If you, yourself don't have the enthusiasm, chances are, your real estate investment days won't last long or make you much money. But, if you do, the possibilities are endless and so is your financial gain.
So, don't trust that just the location of the property is going to be enough to make you the money you've been dreaming of. You need to make sure you spend the time to find an agent that is excited and motivated to sell homes and that knows how to make you both a lot of money.
Think about it this way: if you hire a real estate investment agent that talks down about a property or location instead of highlighting its potential or good points, how quickly do you think it's going to sell? So, make sure your agent is positive and has your best interests in mind. Also, don't be afraid to bargain, negotiate or try to make deals with your real estate investment agent because you never know what someone will accept. It's always better to try than to always wonder how much you could have saved.
If you're thinking about getting into the type of real estate investment that involves fixer uppers, be careful. Think long and hard before setting yourself up for this kind of project because it is time consuming and sometimes costly. You have to make sure that your costs in this type of real estate investment will ultimately be minimal compared to your gains.
With any venture or business where there can be great financial gain, there is risk. Real estate investment isn't any sure thing. It can be a way to help you and your family have the lifestyle and kind of life you've always wanted. Don't be afraid to take the risk if you're visionary and can see the big picture.
Real estate investment can be the vehicle that makes you a millionaire or, at the very least, allow you to live comfortably. So, take the time to hire the real estate investing agent that knows what he/she is doing and is a knowledgeable and savvy salesperson. You potentially can and will earn quite a profit in real estate investing ventures; you just have to make pragmatic, well-thought decisions before you begin.
Harold D. Swannson has created a Investment Resourceful Information site
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Accounting Professionals: Are The Necessary?
A new idea is merely the combination of two or more old ideas. The creation of a new idea is the critical first step in establishing any business.
People who dream of setting up their own business but dont succeed, generally fall into one of three categories:
too few ideas
too many ideas or
waiting for the perfect idea.
Any of these three states of mind may hinder the budding entrepreneur.
Would be entrepreneurs with too few ideas.
These individuals typically say if only I had an idea for a business.
Just remember that if you say you dont have an idea it really means you have no-idea! If this applies to you, you need to get cracking on that first idea fast! As soon as you are able to dream something up, youll have the essential ingredient that all successful businesses are built upon.
Would be entrepreneurs with too many ideas.
Can you ever have too many ideas I hear you say? Well if your creative process leaves you feeling overwhelmed for choice then its definitely a possibility! Many highly creative people experience inertia in business purely because they have so many ideas. They dont know where to start or which idea to implement first!
If you fall into this category, just pick one of your ideas (it doesnt need to be your best one!) and begin to mentally develop it further. Consider the first key steps you need to take to push your business idea forward. Remember that you dont have to have a 100 page business plan or a fully formed idea before you can start taking action! All you need is a little focus.
Would be entrepreneurs waiting for the perfect idea.
This is the equivalent of expecting to know how to swim once youve found the perfect swimming costume.
If you fall into this category, even if you do manage to find the perfect idea, ask yourself whether or not you are going to have the right skill base to get it off the ground. Many successful entrepreneurs have failed many times before their perfect idea came along. It is through being prepared to fall down and stand up again that you develop the tenacity required to succeed in business.
Stay Ahead of the Game.
Whatever your circumstances, whether you are in business already or looking to start a business, creating ideas and being innovative will help keep you on top of your game. The way we are doing business globally is changing at such a rapid rate that if you dont consistently innovate, you will soon be out of business.
Cultivate your Innovation skills.
All the entrepreneurs that I have met have been possibility thinkers. By this I mean they keep their minds open to new opportunities and new ways of thinking. The best way for you to cultivate this ability within yourself is to spend time around other creative thinkers. Challenge each other to innovate.
A Simple Idea Creating Exercise.
Two nights ago I had a brainstorming session with a couple of entrepreneurial friends over a meal. We did a little 5 minute exercise where each wrote down as many ideas as they could on how to create a million pounds within a year. The quality of the initial ideas was absolutely irrelevant. What was really valuable was what came afterwards, when each person read out their individual lists and we discussed how these particular ideas could work.
We had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and generated a couple of really great business ideas (as well as plenty of ordinary ones!), purely by focusing our brains to answer a simple question.
So how many entrepreneurs does it take to change a light bulb?
Well Im not entirely sure on the answer to that one! But I do know how many ideas it takes to start a business
Copyright Damien Senn 2005. All rights reserved.
Entrepreneurs - Your Well Being Should Come Before Profits
Does your business needs an outside accountant?
It all depends. If you require an audited or reviewed financial statement, then, yes, you need a CPA. In any event, it is always a good idea to maintain a relationship with an accountant no matter how small your business. Whether your accountant is a CPA is up to you. The real question is: To what extent do you need outside accounting services? That also depends on you and the nature of your business.
I always start with the admonition: The Buck Stops With You! You cannot afford to dissociate yourself from understanding the meaning of your financial statements. If you solely rely on your accounting staff or accountant for completely accurate financial data, then you are asking for trouble. If you are going to own or manage a business, then you have a responsibility to learn how to speak the language of business. The language of business is accounting knowledge.
How involved you become in the accounting process will be determined by time schedules, your mental pre-disposition, desire for control, cash flow, etc. One scenario, if you can afford it, is to hire an internal accounting staff to prepare financial statements on a monthly basis and have an external accountant check them over. Another common scenario is to prepare part of the compilation yourself, such as preparing a sales journal and a cash disbursements journal, and then hire an outside accountant to prepare a bank reconciliation and the financial statements for you. Some do this on a monthly basis, others quarterly. Some business owners do the books themselves all year and turn them over to the accountant at the end of the year to verify the balances and do the depreciation entry for tax purposes.
There are numerous ways to work with an accountant. Regardless, you should learn enough about accounting to be able to communicate intelligently with your accountant. Since you are intimately involved in your business you may recognize danger signals that not even your accountant will see.
Selecting an accountant
Relying on the yellow pages to find an accountant can be risky. The best way to find any professional is by a referral. However, you need to interview prospective accountants before signing on. One of the first priorities is to find out what their experience level is. Your business may have very specific accounting and tax issues that require a certain amount of expertise. Perhaps you have a manufacturing concern. What does the accountant know about raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods inventory accounting? Does the accountant know how to set up job-costing and overhead burdens? Ask for references from other like-kind businesses.
Keep in mind, that you may go to an established firm with a good reputation, but with whom are you going to have a relationship? Is your account large enough to warrant a relationship with a partner? You need to feel confident with the person assigned to your account. Perhaps a smaller firm with four or five accountants who are all seasoned veterans might work better.
You will also want someone with whom you can relate. The ability to communicate is a crucial factor. Your accountant may be technically proficient but can you understand what he or she is telling you? Does he or she listen when you ask questions? Dont be afraid to ask for someone else if you are having difficulty communicating.
Another important criterion is accessibility. Is your accountant too busy to talk to you? Can you get your questions answered within a reasonable period of time? Do you feel important to him or her? Situations may arise where you need information immediately to make an important business or tax decision, will your accountant respond quickly?
Last, but not least, are the accountants billing practices. Billing practices vary from firm to firm. Some firms are very aggressive and put tremendous pressure on staff and partners to bill every minute they can. Some firms require a review process before any work goes out the door. This means that every person who performs any work on your account, including the person who puts the stamp on your envelope, bills you for it.
Find out in advance what happens if you call the firm to ask a simple question that takes less than five minutes to answer. Are you billed for five minutes or are you billed in increments of fifteen minutes even though you only talked for five? Some firms justify this increment billing by explaining that you are paying for the accountants expertise that may have taken years to acquire, therefore, they say, its worth it.
Some accounting practitioners charge a flat rate for services rendered or a combination of flat services and hourly charges. For instance, an accountant might charge $200 a month to prepare a monthly financial statement but charge $100 an hour for special projects. Within the monthly fee, the client can call to ask questions that last fifteen minutes or less for no additional charge. This way the client is not reticent about calling. Getting your question answered may prevent little problems from later becoming bigger more expensive problems.
Very often projects take longer to complete than anticipated. Complications arise and the practitioner should be paid for his or her work. Always insist that, if there are going to be additional charges over and above what has been agreed upon, that the accountant gets your approval first. Be sure to clarify these procedures before engaging an accountant in an engagement letter. This is a document that spells out the responsibilities of both parties and how the relationship is going to work.
Remember, there is absolutely no reason to be intimidated by your accountant. After all, you are paying for the services, and I promise you, the accountant wants your business.
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