Global surveys indicate that many people are unhappy at work. In fact, it’s been estimated that over 70% of the workforce consists of passive job seekers. These people are not actively looking to leave their current jobs but would consider a move if something better were to come along. This should be alarming news for the business community considering that the acquisition and retention of talent is critical for an organization’s success. Why does the evidence suggest that employees are more distracted and less engaged than ever? The internet, social media, even our cell phones… Sure,…
A man stepped into my office seeking business-startup assistance. The frantic look on his face and his uneasy demeanor caused me to label him as ‘desperate’ (the worst position to be in when starting a business). Automatically, I went through a series of questions regarding his business idea: did he have experience, money, and a passion? I also wanted to know about his personal finances – was he expecting to support himself right away from the business or did he have a “day job”?
Even though buying on credit is convenient, it is not always a good decision. Once a person crosses that line, of buying now and paying later, the process becomes more tempting to buy items we do not need or items that are on sale.
Instead we should be asking ourselves, “Can I pay off the debt in a month before interest is added?” “What is the long-term benefit of this purchase?” “Will I end up paying more (in the long run) for the item than it is worth?” “If I had the cash, would I make that purchase?” “Is it a need or a want?”
The wise reasons for not using credit cards are:
As a non-profit, WESST only exists because of people and organizations giving us money to do what we do best—helping entrepreneurs from the idea stage to actually starting and expanding their own self-sufficient businesses. What is the perspective of our investors? Our investors want to know that the investment they are making is a good one. To answer that question, we have to be able to produce actual, quantifiable results.
Last week, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) New Mexico chapter presented its first time ever program, Go Global with NAWBO. “With the world getting smaller and with increasing competition from foreign and domestic sources, NAWBO wanted to present options to members and guests on how to grow their businesses with exporting opportunities.
So, your business plan has proved to be a good tool — a roadmap essential to your building a successful business domestically. Maybe you sell regionally or throughout the U.S. and now you are thinking of expanding your business to international markets. Good thought since exporting can even out sales and cash flow.
But before spending too much time and money on research, there are a few things to contemplate before you begin your Export Business Plan.
“Can I sell my products or services?” “Who will buy what I sell?” and “How do I know if my products or services have value?” The answer to all of those questions lies in market research.
“Market research” is a term used to describe a broad range of ways to find out information about target customers, competitors and industry. When doing research, it is important to be clear about which aspect of the market is the subject of the research: customers, competition or industry.
A niche is a narrow subsection of the market that is not being served or not being well served. Even though it is narrow by nature, it should not be so narrow that there are not enough customers to sustain a business. The most profitable niches are low on competition and high on demand. The next question might be, “Why is it useful to carefully define a market and focus on a niche?”
Prior to starting a business, it is critical for the owner(s) to determine how she/he wants it to be structured (legal entity). Choices include Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, C-Corporation, and S-Corporation. Each entity has a set of characteristics, benefits, and limitations that should be considered thoroughly before selecting it.
Retail businesses usually have storage rooms to accommodate an increase in merchandise, but may not be prepared to grow the business by square footage (due to long-term leases, high rent costs, etc.). Home-based businesses or selling online might require additional space as well (especially if the garage and storage units are full), but cannot handle the increasing costs of rent, staff and shipping. So what is the answer for moving the merchandise (which is necessary to increase cash flow) without breaking the pocket book? The answer may lie is a simple notion of outsourcing shipping, packaging, and warehousing via fulfillment centers.
Money, or the lack of it, seems to be the main issue that constantly confronts small businesses. Whether the business is just starting or has been in business for awhile, they all need operating cash flow. Simply said, businesses need available cash to pay monthly bills, unforeseen expenses and for operations (keeping it afloat). Without cash flow, business owners could easily be out of business within a short time.
Often times, after paying taxes, struggling with employees and the bottom line, the tired business owner asks, “Is it worth it?” Undoubtedly it is or businesses would be closing left and right (aside from what the economy forces upon us). Nevertheless, business owners that can stay in business, after wrestling with direct and indirect obstacles, must really love what they are doing. In fact, that love and passion will be the driving force to keep the business afloat and the owner sane.
Nowadays, we live in a relaxed environment. Granted, we are higher tech (cell phones instead of party lines, lap tops instead of manual typewriters, and wide screen, HD TV instead of 12” black and white), but can we say that our lives are better? As an observer, I’m always amazed at people shopping in pajama pants, flip flops, and oversized t-shirts (those are women). In businesses, I’ve been waited on by clerks who literally looked like they had just stepped out of bed (hair scrunched up, wrinkled clothes, and far too casual for my taste). We’ve all been met with indifference, rudeness, and a lack of care for the customer. Little if no training goes into how the customer is treated or to what extent the customer is right. How many times have we asked a clerk for a size, color, or item to be told, “Everything we have is out there; if it isn’t, we don’t have it?”