|Strategic Planning Information|
Financing Business Expansion for Your Small Company
How you finance the expansion of your business is important. Borrowing and understanding the consequences of borrowing for your financing is extremely important. If you are going to borrow the money to finance the expansion of your business, you need to make sure that you are not going to get yourself into a cash crunch situation. This is where you are going to have a lot of money coming in from new business completed and invoiced but not have enough current cash flow. When you borrow you will be financing new equipment, locations, signage, or perhaps a new work truck on a credit line, lease or loan payments. The initial payments are going to be due before you get your increased income from the expansion in. This can be a major critical problem and we do not want this to happen to you.
When you finance your business location or expansion, you need to make sure that if you will be borrowing and will have to pay that money back with interest charged on the various loan programs. This is going to cut into your cash flow. You could also charge the equipment on a credit card, which is about the same rate as an equipment business lease. Maybe even a little less believe it or not.
The easiest way to get financing for expanding your business is to go down to your bank and get a loan. But you are not going to be able to get a loan if you have been hiding all the cash from your business, not making any deposits. That is something to think about. So many small entrepreneurs start out on the wrong foot hiding or skimming cash, then when they need to expand they have no proof of income or sales and cannot get qualified for a loan.
Now you may be in a position with your business where you can just pay outright for an additional units, equipment, locations or outlets, if this is the case hats off to you're my friend you are truly in a good position. This is a great position to be in but remember that if you put the money out in cash, you no longer have use of that money for other business needs. But it is a nice position to be in to be able to pay up front as your business grows. Remember though, some business investment assets are easily financed while for the purchase of others it is often easier to pay cash or just write a check.
Pkay then you are all set and have determined that the business needs to expand to take advantage of increased sales opportunity in your market place. So, Where to Get Financing? When financing your business expansion, there are many important factors that can make your task a total nightmare (the loan from hell) or extremely easy and a relative piece of cake. The smartest way to finance your business isn't the easiest. The easy way is to pay for it your self out of savings or use a credit card. Unfortunately if you take money out of savings that was there in case of emergency or for a down payment for your house or something equally important, this may put you in jeopardy later if you need that money.
The SBA would be a nice way to go but it takes a long time for them to approve a loan. If you own a home they want you to put it in the loan as collateral in case you don't pay your loan back. By the time they give you the money your investment opportunity is often lost. That big account you got that would nearly pay for all the new equipment has to be started ASAP. If you finance through the SBA 7(A) program, they will not let the loan term extend beyond the term of your franchise, if you are a franchised outlet. You may also be required to pay that loan off before you get any others
In summary, when doing business with the SBA you will: Pay more as a down payment; Spend more time in the approval phase; Need more collateral; Face shorter repayment terms; Be very aggravated by the whole process.
Approval of Credit for simple business bank loan takes time. If you are trying to get credit from your bank or from an SBA loan or something like that, it takes time. Be prepared to wait anywhere from several days to several weeks for approval. You need to factor this in if you are thinking you want to have a new location or more equipment for your current operations. If you need to expand look at your bottom line, can you afford it? Will your cash flow be able to handle the new debt if you are delayed for any reason from local building regulations, an inopportune lawsuit, competitive changes in the market, downward sector rotation in your industry. Think long and hard about these issues and if you decide to go for it, check all your options, interest rates, pay back periods and do what is best in the short term and the long run.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs
Thinking Like A Farmer
One of the difficulties we face in our industrialized age is the fact we've lost our sense of seasons. Unlike the farmer whose priorities change with the seasons, we have become impervious to the natural rhythm of life. As a result, we have our priorities out of balance.
Three Easy Ways To Know Thy Competitor
"Did you hear what your competitor is doing?" This question has caused many business people to freeze in their tracks. How about you? Does your sales team know what your competitors are doing? And if a prospect was to ask them, "give me 10 unique reasons why I should buy from you and your company," could they answer this question without a pause? "Knowing thy competitor" is critical, and this article will outline three easy ways to know more about them, than they know about you! Let's get started!
5 Strategies That Will Boost Your Business Productivity Today! - Part 1
Building a dynamic small business is a constantly evolving, increasingly demanding role.
Six Key Areas For Evaluating A Strategic Alliance
Strategic alliances are increasing at a rapid rate. It is good for business, good for the consumer. A strategic alliance is similar to a joint venture. Everyone remains in his or her own entity, yet come together for a single purpose or period of time to create something that could not otherwise be created.
Executive Summary for Business Plans of Franchisees
Writing a business plan for a franchised outlet of a larger company to get funding or find investors is difficult because the franchisor already has a plan which is working, but until you are privy to it upon purchase you actually know relatively few details. The franchisor must keep this information proprietary to insure competitors do not steal the information, but the franchise buyer needs the information to prepare a business plan to get a loan from a bank. Thus a catch 22 exists and is further exacerbated by the fact there are laws against some types of disclosures, which many franchisors due to the litigious nature of franchising do not wish to disclose based on advice from their attorneys. So what do you do? Well, you do the best you can using the UFOC, uniform franchise offering circular or ask the franchisor to send in a business plan directly to your banker who, signs a waiver of non-disclosure and you cannot see it until purchase.
Invalid Excuses for Poor Business Results - Rising costs
Note to Northwest Airlines ? It's not about fuel costs
Your Business: Will It Have A Happy Ending?
"Begin with the end in mind," says Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Successful Living. Those who have created a successful business know it does not happen without planning, hard work, and a little luck. Yet most have no plans for leaving their business, ever.
How to Write a Business Plan Market Analysis
Writing a business plan is an essential part of the initial strategic planning of any company. One thing, which seems to hang up most entrepreneurs, is figuring out what kind of data and information goes into the Market Analysis section. So often entrepreneurs will attempt to bluff or BS their way thru it. Often you find those with MBA write meticulous Market Analysis sections and although they may have little if any true entrepreneurial skills going into a new business, their business plans are sure to impress. But you need not be an MBA to write a proper Market Analysis section in your business plan for your next business.
Completing the Annual Planning Process
Imagine an office without a desk, or lights, a computer, or even something as simple as a chair. When the architects and designers started planning a building or office space they knew they would have to make concessions for these items during each of the building activities. As marketers, we take part in many activities, much like a builder or designer does.
Invalid Excuses for Poor Business Results - The Economy
Note to Rite Aid and CVS: It's not about the economy
Fail to plan... or Plan to FAIL??
Running a business, whether it be an offline multi-billion dollar company or an online part time home business, they share many similar traits.
Home Improvement Construction Project Planning
The first task before hiring a contractor for home remodeling is laying out the details on what exactly you want done. This will ultimately save you time and money, as you will be able to choose the perfect contractor for your construction job, and get the job done correctly the first time. Personally, I have always found that writing out every detail initially will help you think of the task more clearly in your mind. This will also aid in your description of the job to the contractor, and will allow for a better estimate of time and cost, which are coincidentally the two most important things to consumers.
How to Develop a Successful Board of Advisors (...and Why You Should!)
In today's rapidly changing and highly competitive markets, many privately held companies are creating outside advisory boards to give owners and CEOs fresh, knowledgeable advice. Even for small businesses, setting up an advisory board can give you a significant advantage over competitors that are relying solely on internal talent. An experienced and well-connected board of advisors can help your business grow and prosper in ways you've never imagined. What is a Board of Advisors? An advisory board is an outside group that is informally organized to provide business owners and corporate leaders with support, advice and assistance. While formal boards of directors have legally defined responsibilities and fiduciary duties, advisory boards have no formal power or binding legal authority. They serve at the pleasure of the business owner or CEO. Benefits of an Advisory Board There are several advantages that companies with advisory boards have over their competition. A board offers your business: An unbiased outside perspective. Increased corporate accountability and discipline. Enhanced CEO and management effectiveness. Greater credibility with investors, vendors and customers. Help in avoiding costly mistakes. Rounding out skills and expertise lacking in current management team. A sounding board for evaluating new business ideas and opportunities. Enhanced community and public relations. Improved marketing results and effectiveness. Strategic planning assistance and input. Centers of influence for networking introductions. Crisis and transition leadership in the event of the death or resignation of the CEO. Help anticipating market changes and trends. Steps to Creating an Effective Board of Advisors: Analyze the strength and weaknesses of your current management team. Look for critical areas of expertise and knowledge that your company could use help with such as marketing, legal, finance, eCommerce, and research and development or information technology. If your company is planning on going public within the next few years, seek out advisors who have successfully taken companies down that path. Set clear, written goals and objectives for your board of advisors. Getting maximum value from a board of advisors begins with clear objectives and goals. Board members must know why they have been asked to serve and what is expected of them. Before establishing the board, the CEO and senior managers should sit down and ask some of the following questions: 1. What are the main areas we need advice and guidance in? 2. What specifically do we need the board members to do for us? 3. Who are a few potential candidates for board membership? 4. How do we avoid giving away too much control to outsiders? 5. What will be the powers and limitations of the board? 6. What will setting up the board cost initially? Annually? Will it be worth the cost? Determine the size and structure of your board. Advisory boards range in size from two members to over thirty. The right size depends on many factors, such as your company's size, complexity, stage of development and individual skills needed. My experience and research has found that for most small to mid-sized, growing companies or start-ups, a 5 to 7 member advisory board is an ideal size. Smaller firms can start with just one or two members and add new members as they grow. Recruiting Candidates Determining whom you invite to join your board is one of the most critical decisions in setting up a board of advisors. Often a business owner's first instinct is to ask friends, family members or professional advisors to sit on their board. This is usually a mistake. Unless your friend or family member is a recognized authority in an area of expertise lacking by your management team or a highly successful entrepreneur, they are probably not the wisest choice. Another reason to avoid asking family or friends to join your board is lack of objectivity. Often advice from a friend, family member or management insider is sugar coated to protect relationships. An outside advisor can give you a much more objective and honest assessment of the situation. Using professional advisors such as your lawyer, banker or accountant as board members has it's own pitfalls. These advisors are already working for you and may not be as objective as you need, due to having an interest in generating future business from your company. Some critical action steps for recruiting a dynamite board of advisors are: Develop a candidate profile. After you have determined the areas of expertise your company is in need of, create a profile of candidates that successfully fit these needs. Take care to address knowledge and skills that your company will need to meet projected growth and future challenges. Seek out experts. Search online and offline for experts and proven leaders that meet your candidate profiles. Contact them and begin discussions about possible board membership. Ask for recommendations. Solicit recommendations from the experts you speak with that cannot serve on your board, of collogues of theirs that they feel would be a good fit for your needs. Begin networking with your attorney, accountant and other professional advisors. Once you have successfully recruited an advisor, he or she can often lead you to another good candidate. Find your candidates motivation. Most of your candidates are not going to be motivated by money alone. In fact, if money is their primary reason for joining your board, they may not be what you are looking for. The most effective board members are motivated by the challenge and intellectual stimulation of building successful companies. They serve because they are already high achievers and enjoy the challenge. Have variety in your board. Try to include experts and successful entrepreneurs from several different disciplines. Often board members who are successful marketers, CEOs and business owners from different industries can bring a fresh perspective to your business. These individuals can often help you incorporate best practices from other industries, into your own industry, creating revolutionary changes and opportunities. Look for a proven track record. Find the leaders in their field. The best board candidates are successful CEOs, business owners, professionals, university professors and consultants who have achieved success in their own businesses and careers. Clearly communicate your goals and objectives. Invest time in talking to and meeting with potential members. Communicate to them what your goals and objectives are. Let them know that you are not looking for "yes men" and that you want advisors who will challenge you and hold you accountable for your businesses growth. Board Compensation Board members expect and deserve to be compensated for their time, efforts and advice. Typical advisory board compensation includes a stipend from $5,000 to $25,000 per member, per year. Some companies pay their board members per meeting, with payment ranging from $500 to $3,000 per meeting, with a monthly retainer of $500 to $2,500. Companies should also cover transportation, meals and lodging for members when attending meetings. Most successful boards also give or require members to buy stock or some form of equity in the company. This gives the board members equity participation and a vested interest in the growth of the company. Pitfalls to Avoid Some potential problem areas to avoid when setting up or working with your advisory board are: Members missing meetings. Because board members are usually running successful businesses of their own, they may not always be available for every meeting. However, board members should be made aware that attendance of board meetings is important and expected. If a member is chronically absent, the value of their membership on the board should be reviewed. Insecurity of senior managers. Some company insiders may feel intimidated or threatened by the involvement of outsiders. The CEO or owner must make every effort to communicate to his staff the benefits and importance of having a board of advisors. Incompatible personalities. This is a challenging situation, because most members of your board will be strong willed, achiever types, who have gotten where they are by taking charge. Many will have strong convictions about their opinions and may find it hard to defer the leadership of the meetings to the CEO. You must determine when a member's personality is "too strong" and becoming disruptive. Excessive number of board members. Because of their strong personalities, if you have too many members on your board, the more assertive members often dominate the debates, depriving you of the contributions the quieter members may have made. Lack of CEO communication. Withholding company information or not regularly communicating with the members of your board of advisors destroys trust and effectiveness. Regular communication between meetings is essential to maintaining an effective board. Inadequate compensation. As I mentioned, you do not want compensation to be the determining factor in a candidates membership on your advisory board, however successful individuals of the caliber you seek expect to be fairly compensated for their time and knowledge. Keys to Board Effectiveness If you build it, use it. Owners and CEOs who invest the time and money in creating a board should be committed to soliciting and using its advice on important issues and decisions. Value their input, even when they disagree with what you want to do. Sometimes a board is at it's most valuable when it recommends against a course of action the CEO wants to take. If you recruit a good board, often they have already been down the path you are on, and their experience (and past failures) can help you to avoid costly mistakes. Communicate with your advisors. Keep the members of your board informed about what is happening in your company and industry. Counsel with individual members on the phone at least monthly and send them information well in advance of your meetings, to help them prepare and keep the meetings productive. Hold regular meetings. Most boards meet once per quarter. However, boards should meet more often during times of rapid growth or if company needs merit additional oversight and guidance. Have an objective for each meeting. Your board members are busy people and their time is valuable. Make the most out of your meetings with them, by having a clear agenda and objectives for each meeting. Make sure to cover the most important items of business first, in case the discussions take longer than planned or some members have to leave early. Annual assessment of board performance. Periodically assessing the board's effectiveness is a critical factor in ensuring a good return on investment. Each year the board should set performance goals and define their criteria for success. At the end of the year the CEO and the board should assess it's performance, compared to its goals and criteria for success. Over 80 percent of all private companies are operating without a board of advisors or board of directors. Odds are your competitors do not have one. Because of this, developing a board of advisors can give your company a distinct advantage over your competition. This is particularly true for start-ups and family run businesses. There is tremendous value in receiving objective, knowledgeable advice from a board of advisors who share in the financial and equity growth of your business. I encourage you to begin recruiting your advisory board today!
Mining Market Data
With a heightened awareness of opportunity, ideas can often be generated by market research. The National Women's Business Center (NWBC) defines market research as "a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment with the goal being increased understanding. Through the market research process, you can take data?a variety of related or non-related facts?and create useful information to guide your business decisions.
Online Promotion: 10 Ways To Use Focus Groups To Ignite Your Profits
A focus group is a group of employees or current customers that discuss and brainstorm new ways to improve different parts of your business.
Microsoft Great Plains in Aerospace & Defense industries ? implementation & customization highlights
Microsoft Great Plains fits horizontal markets clientele and in case of Aerospace and Defense industry we'll talk about contractors ? parts and subsystems for government contracts. We do not necessarily talk about large corporation, however models described could be implemented for large publicly traded company. As a rule ? market is represented by established companies with long history, including long history of its ERP and Computer Business System. It is difficult to stake on the computer operating systems future, however you may try to give high level of trust to the ERP coming from Microsoft Business Solutions, especially considering the fact of acquisition of such market leaders as Great Plains Software and Navision Software.
Legal Strategies in Business Plans
Writing a Business Plan these days is tough, venture capitalists are busy and there are so many ideas to choose from. Bankers want a tight, sweet and to the point business plan. Family Members who may lend you money are generally worrisome due to lawsuits and liability. This is why you need to pay particular attention to the Legal Section of your Business Plan.
To Go or No Go, That Is The Question
Last week we talked about a few of the ways to test the feasibility of a business idea to help determine if the idea really had merit or just looked good on the surface. To recap, I said don't bet the farm on the opinions of friends and family, consult with knowledgeable business experts, and conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis. This week let's take it a step further and talk about the creation of a formal Feasibility Plan which will help you determine the true feasibility of your big business idea.
Going Self-Employed ? A Few Handy Hints
The day you decide to take the plunge and work for yourself will be one of the most life-changing choices you ever make, whether starting a company large or small or as a freelance; from the very first moment of being self-employed, you and you alone will stand or fall by your decisions and actions. You will be responsible for steering your business through all its ups and downs, good times and bad times with no guarantee that everything will turn out right in the end.
2 Simple Steps Before Starting Your Business
There is so much small business information available today that it's easy to be bogged down by the sheer volume of it all. Where does one start? Well, it's safe to say not all the information you'll receive will be of equal value. So it's important to be discerning when you're thinking about applying any suggestions to your new business. In many cases, you'll find some suggestions don't match your business type, management style, budget, or industry. This could lead to wasted dollars spent and time lost. So learning how to research and compile information will be key in developing a plan that is tailored to fit your business needs.
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