Importance of Family Business Management

Ready to be at the wheel?
March 10 and 11, 2018 gave aspiring and budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect and collaborate. As the best and brightest minds came together and brainstormed on on how to fuel their business growth. It is the most important aspect in any of the business. The conference at IIT Mumbai brought together the best breed of entrepreneurs, innovators, venture capitalists, business model creators, consultants, policy-makers, academicians, and business practitioners to present and discuss innovation and success under the aegis of entrepreneurship for Small and Medium Businesses.

Over the past decade or so, in the dilemma between joining family owned businesses and higher studies. The scales have been tipping towards entrepreneurship and joining family owned businesses.

Let us explore the genesis and the reason why:

The Genesis
Today, family-owned businesses account for two-thirds of the world’s businesses and generate most of the world’s economic output, employment and wealth. In many regions of the world, family companies dominate the economy. “Family-controlled firms now make up 19% of the companies in the Fortune Global 500,” states The Economist. In India alone, 67% businesses are family run. McKinsey forecasts, that by 2025,there will be more than 15,000 companies worldwide with at least $1 billion in annual revenues, of which 37% will be emerging-market family firms.

The need
There is a need for Family Business Management Programs whether you are in a successful family business or you are into a business facing challenges and trying to bring about a changeover.

Successful family business:

Successful family businesses are successful because families see important changes in their industry. Simply put, successful families are entrepreneurial. Also,families succeed because they invest in productive activities, emphasise growing assets, and consume relatively little of their wealth. These families maintain a culture that encourages family members to create things of lasting value. It’s not surprising that these families encourage entrepreneurs. Furthermore,successful families remain reasonably united, keeping supportive members loyal to one another and to the family’s mission. Over generations, as families become more diverse, it is likely that only a few relatives per generation will directly work in the business.

Outside-the-business members might still support family philanthropic efforts or social activities, and sometimes that level of involvement is enough to maintain family unity. But investing in family entrepreneurs can also keep talented members contributing to the broader family’s wealth and mission. Investing in family entrepreneurs has to be done objectively based on the feasibility of their business plans, and also fairly within the family. Even if some entrepreneurial projects don’t succeed, these investments will help you spot talent to keep your business growing. And you are sending an important message: this family is committed to creating value.

Family businesses – facing challenges
While family businesses on average are stronger performers than other types of enterprise, they face distinct challenges that need to be managed. This constraint often kills the family business.

This creates the need for a course of study in Family Business Management that helps students understand how to capitalize on the strengths, navigate the challenges, and guard against the weaknesses of the companies and the families that own them.

How is Family Business Management program different from an MBA in Entrepreneurship?
Both Family Business Management and an MBA in Entrepreneurship prepare you for setting up and gearing your own business. However, there is a subtle difference. Unlike MBA in Entrepreneurship which prepares students for a setting up a business, the Family Business Management programme is targeted at family business owners looking to sustain, scale and grow their businesses. The content and pedagogy includes concepts of entrepreneurship, business sustainability, market trends which thereby lead to portfolio expansion and business growth. The program would help you evaluate the state of your family businesses and gear you towards accelerating your business to the next level.

Colleges/Institutes for Entrepreneurial Management
Xavier School of Management (XLRI),Jamshedpur, offering a full-time six-month Post Graduate Programme for Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management (PGPCEM).

Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Gandhinagar,offering a two-year, full-time, residential Post Graduate Diploma in Management-Business Entrepreneurship (PGDM-BE).

SP Jain Institute of Management and Research – Mumbai,Start Your Business Certification Program (SYB), Grow Your Business Certification Program (GYB), The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM).

Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies,Mumbai,M.B.A in Social Entrepreneurship

Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship – Bangalore, offering one year Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP)

Nirma Institute of Management,Ahmedabad,offering regular two-year MBA specialising in Family Business & Entrepreneurship.

Amity Business School,Noida, offering two year M.B.A in Entrepreneurship

IIM, Bangalore, specialization in Entrepreneurs & Family Businesses.

IIM Udaipur, Management Development Program for Women Entrepreneurs.

National Institute for Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Delhi
The NIESBUD is an apex institute in the area of entrepreneurship and small business development under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India. It oversees the activities of various institutions and agencies engaged in entrepreneurship development, particularly in the area of small industry and small business. It also provides numerous training and development courses for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Making the right choice:
In the world of family business, the entrepreneurs we celebrate are usually founders of companies. If you wish to be a founder of a company, start your new venture and learn how to navigate, go in for a pure MBA in Entrepreneurship. However, if you wish to join your family business and are supposed to take care of and grow the founder’s creation, you are not expected to be entrepreneurs but to understand and carry forward the vision of the founder,an MBA in Entrepreneurship would be more helpful.

Therefore, it is imperative that you make the right and informed choice…

Are these mutually exclusive?
If this makes you think that family business management programs are incompatible to entrepreneurship. The reason is because they are for students who are in family businesses that are usually tradition-bound, multi- generational. Let me tell you, we need to blur the lines here. The family businesses need to be more entrepreneurial. They need to pass on the entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities. To create new streams of wealth across many generations- not just pass the business on from one generation to the next. We need to come up with the concept of ‘family entrepreneurship’. When a leadership transition occurs in a family business, the new generation of leadership should be careful to maintain and build on the networks and knowledge of the former leaders, while expanding their own networks. This will insure that the business can continue to be entrepreneurial into the future.

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Banks Have a Lot of Reasons to Reject Your Small Business Loan

For a small business to grow into a big business, it needs a loan unless it has exceptional sales and profit margins. A small business owner has quite a few places where he/she can go with a loan request. Banks seem to be one of their options on most occasions. What these owners might not realize is that banks have recently developed a reputation for rejecting small business loans. It seems that banks are more interested in financing large businesses due to their benefits. A bank can come up with a variety of reasons to reject loan approval for a small business. Some of the common reasons are as under:

Reasons for Banks to Reject Your Small Business Loan

Credit History

One of the barriers between you and the business loan is credit history. When you go to a bank, they look at your personal as well as business credit reports. Some people are under the impression that their personal credit does not affect their business loans. But that’s not always the case. A majority of banks look into both the types of credits. One of the aspects of credit that matter a lot to the banks is credit history. The length of your credit history can affect your loan approval negatively or positively.

The more information banks have at hand to assess your business’ creditworthiness, the easier it is for them to forward you the loan. However, if your business is new and your credit history is short, banks will be unwilling to forward you the desired loan.

Risky Business

You must be aware of the term high-risk business. In fact, lending institutions have created an entire industry for high-risk businesses to help them with loans, credit card payments, etc. A bank can look at a lot of factors to evaluate your business as a high-risk business. Perhaps you belong to an industry that is high-risk per se. Examples of such businesses are companies selling marijuana-based products, online gambling platforms, and casinos, dating services, blockchain-based services, etc. It is imperative to understand that your business’ activities can also make it a high-risk business.

For example, your business might not be a high-risk business per se, but perhaps you have received too many charge-backs on your shipped orders from your customers. In that case, the bank will see you as a risky investment and might eventually reject your loan application.

Cash Flow

As stated earlier, your credit history matters a lot when a bank is to approve your loan request. While having a short credit history increases your chances of rejection, a long credit history isn’t always a savior too. Any financial incidents on your credit history that do not favor your business can force the bank to reject your application. One of the most important considerations is the cash flow of your business. When you have cash flow issues, you are at risk of receiving a “no” from the bank for your loan.

Your cash flow is a measure for the bank to know how easily you return the loan. If you are tight on cash flow, how will you manage the repayments? However, cash flow is one of the controllable factors for you. Find ways to increase your revenues and lower your expenses. Once you have the right balance, you can approach the bank for a loan.

The Debt

A mistake that small business owners often make is trying out too many places for loans. They will avoid going to the bank first but get loans from several other sources in the meantime. Once you have obtained your business funding from other sources, it makes sense to return it in time. Approaching the bank when you already have a lot of debt to pay is not advisable at all. Do keep in mind that the debt you or your business owes affects your credit score as well. In short, the bank does not even have to investigate to know your debt. An overview of your credit report can tell the story.

The Preparation

Sometimes, your business is doing fine, and your credit score is in good shape as well. However, what’s missing is a solid business plan and proper preparation for loan approval. If you haven’t already figured out, banks require you to present a lot of documents with your loan approval request. Here are only some of the documents you will have to present to the bank to get approval for your loan.

Income tax returns
Existing loan documents
Personal financial documents
Affiliations and ownership
Business lease documents
Financial statements of the business
You have to be exceptionally careful when these documents and presenting them to the bank. Any discrepancies can result in loan rejection.

Concentration of Customers

This one might come as a surprise to some, but a lot of banks consider this aspect of your business seriously. You must not forget that loans are banks’ investments. Businesses that approach the banks are their vehicles to multiply their money in the form of interest. If the bank senses that your business does not have the potential to expand, it can reject your loan request. Think of a mom and pop shop in a small town with a small population. If it only serves the people of that town and has no potential to grow further, a rejection is imminent.

In this particular case, even if the business has considerable profit margins, it relies on its regular customers for that. The bank might see it as a returnable loan but not as an investment opportunity.

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Startup? Build a Business With Staying Power!

INTRODUCTION

Are you thinking about starting a business in 2019, but don’t know how or even where to begin? This article outlines the biggest obstacles to overcome, what you need to start your business, and what to do after year one!

THE MYTHS OF STARTING A BUSINESS

When thinking about starting a business you want to think about “Why are you starting the business?” Often times someone decides to start a business with the mindset they will have more free time, work at home, and have a flexible schedule. Unfortunately, it is important to avoid these myths. Majority of the time, starting a business isn’t any of these things. Instead, it is long hours, working at home may be a distraction, less flexibility, and there are many hats to juggle. It’s completely different then working for a company and it is important to keep all of this in mind when deciding if starting a business is right for you. If it is, then let’s dive into getting started with your business idea!

Attitude is EVERYTHING. You need to always keep a cheery attitude. Many things are going to happen during the lifecycle of the company, both good and bad, and the most important thing is to keep a positive attitude.

BIGGEST OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME

The two biggest obstacles startups face when starting a business is money and reputation. You need to make sure you are able to stay afloat and have a means of financing when starting out. And reputation is also an obstacle because you don’t have a reputation or customers. Unless you start out with a group of customers, most of the time you are starting out very alone.

WHAT YOU NEED?

VIABLE PRODUCT

You need to provide a product/service that people want to buy. Researching similar products/services is important to see what else is out there that is similar to your idea and then determine how your product will be better than the competition. It is also important to be able to bring experience to the table. It is the experience you have that will make the company. Typically, you want to have a niche so you can take a focused approach and decide what type of company you want it to be. Lastly, you need to consider if you can sell enough of your product or service to make a living. Will you be able to cover all of the expenses and salaries that come with a business?

BUSINESS PLAN

A business plan is absolutely essential. What is a business plan?

Start with an executive summary, which is a high-level description of what the business is going to do. Next, you need a business description that lays out the business in detail. Then, comes the market analysis, who is going to be your customer and who is your competition? Next, is organization management. Who is going to manage the business? Are you going to manage it yourself or are you going to hire someone from the outside to handle your business? Most of the time you are starting off managing the business yourself. Next, you need a sales strategy, what type of sales strategy are you going to encompass? And lastly, you need to include funding requirements and financial projections. What kind of funding do you need to start the business and how much do you project to make?

A written plan is critical. It is absolutely essential you write down the above information on paper.

There are many business plan templates available to help. Even if you are an established business, you don’t need anything complicated. An additional resource is a simple roadmap. This breaks out month by month projections for 2 years. What trade shows will you attend? How many people will you hire? What type of marketing campaigns will you run?

Last, goals are extremely important. You need to set specific goals in your business plan so you know where you are heading.

MEANS OF FINANCING

How will you finance your business? Some of the key questions to ask are how much money will you need to stay afloat? Will you be taking a salary? What will your non-salary expenses be? How many people do you plan on hiring the first year? What about company benefits? Even if you are by yourself, you will need benefits and insurance. These are all questions you need to think about.

Should you self-finance or take out a loan? Self-financing is often recommended if you have enough money in the bank to float the business and your salary for a year or two. This option reduces the pressure. The last thing you want is pressure from creditors. Loans are going to be difficult to procure. If you manage to get a loan, you will have to personal guarantee and you will need collateral.

There is also the possibility for a financial business partner, however, a financial business partner can often lead to meddling and pressure. It also may cause you to run the business differently then you envisioned. Remember, you are starting the business to put your own spin on it!

A fourth option is a funding company. This is a viable option because they will often do your payroll and invoicing for you. Sometimes the funding company will provide a basic ATS system as well that could help you start off. The downside to a funding company is often it is hard to breakaway. You need to pay off loans with interest and sometimes it isn’t financially feasible to breakaway. If you use a funding company, you want to make sure you understand the agreement and know what it takes to step away from the funding company.

Some additional funding options, are family, small business grants, and crowdfunding/internet. It is really up to your discretion though if this is a good option for you. Small business grants tend to be hard to secure and a lengthy process. Crowdfunding, gives you small amounts of money from a large number of people. It is an unusual option, but could work.

How much should you pay yourself? It depends on the industry, but typically your first year’s salary is $34K to $75K. You also have to be prepared to possibly make nothing for a couple of years! It is important to prepare for that. You don’t want to get yourself into a debt situation.

First Year Profits. Very few businesses make a profit their first year. It is incredibly important to not get discouraged if this is the case and continue to soldier on. Generally, it takes two to three years for profits to kick in.

COMPANY NAME

Make sure you create a company name that you like and represents the “look & feel” of the business. Avoid using your name, leave that to the law and accounting firms! Sometimes it makes you look small. You always want to make yourself look larger than you are. Lastly, consider a name that begins with an “A” to appear high on lists.

Next, you will need to form a corporation. You can’t just start selling stuff! A good best practice is to get a book and read about the different kinds of corporations. You really need to understand how this works if you are running a business.

You will need an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Then you will need to decide what kind of corporation you want to form. There are C corporations, which is an Inc. company. You may have heard the term “Cannot pierce the company veil.” That means if you start a C corporation, no one can sue you personally. They have to sue the corporation. Additionally, you file taxes separate from your personal taxes. This is a great option because it allows you to keep your personal and business affairs separate. For S corporations, this is not the case. Your personal and business tax returns are the same. One advantage to keep in mind, if you want to sell the company there are often tax advantages. If you form a C corporation, it is very difficult and expensive to form a S corporation afterwards. If you don’t plan on keeping the business for a long period of time, forming a S corporation may be a viable option. Additionally, there are corporations called Limited Liability Company (LLC). You can also form a not for profit, but you must be careful with that and make sure you qualify.

The best thing to do is consult with your attorney and accountant to find out which corporation is the best for you. Once you form your corporation, you will need to get a business license, register with the state, and get a bank account.

MARKETING YOUR HEADQUARTERS

Marketing your headquarters is just as important as everything else. An outside office is a good route to go because it projects professionalism. The first year you will be spending a lot of time PROVING you are a real business. One of the best ways to prove this is to have an office. This avoids the dog barking in the background while on the phone. Additionally, it helps you focus. There is no temptation to throw a load of laundry in! An office is also a great place to meet people. You don’t want to constantly have to meet at a coffee shop. Especially today when you are trying to recruit people, you want to convey professionalism.

You don’t need to start off in a fancy office. Some cities offer temporary space. In Chicago, you can get an office for $350-$700 a month that includes 1-3 private offices, a corporate mailing address, a receptionist/company phone #, WIFI, meeting rooms, and a furnished space/kitchen. If a temporary space is not an option in your city, you can also rent a small office. Get inexpensive yet trendy furniture! You can also get a starter internet phone system.

If a physical space is absolutely not in the budget, you can get a “Virtual Office.” You can purchase a virtual office as low as $99/month and it provides you with a corporate address, receptionist, meeting rooms, and calls going out appear to come from your company name.

MARKETING COLLATERAL

You NEED professional marketing materials and business cards. It is essential to find a good designer, but it doesn’t have to be expensive as long as the materials look good. You only need the basics to start out. Most of the time you are producing an e-brochure, e-mail template, and a one-page handout to distribute at trade shows and when visiting clients. Do not make these yourself. Even if you are graphically oriented, you shouldn’t spend time doing this. You need to be on the phone making business calls.

Everything you send needs to make a statement and spell “success” with your materials. You need to look like an established company.

You will also need a logo. You may want to get a professional to design your logo that costs a little more. This will make a statement about your company and you will have it for a while. Letterhead is optional. Mostly, you probably aren’t sending a lot of letters, but if you plan to send letters you will need letterhead. You will need a proposal template since you will be sending many proposals to clients. Lastly, you absolutely need a website. If you don’t have a website, you aren’t a legitimate business these days. People want to look you up and if they can’t find you on the internet then it is a red flag. Again, do not make the website yourself. You can always tell if it is a self-made website. Two essential items for your website, is an inquiry form and mobile optimization. Your website must be mobile optimized because everyone is searching on their phone.

MARKETING TACTICS

Simple questions to ask yourself is who are you selling to? Who else is selling to them? What is your focus? Why should a customer choose you? These are basic questions, but you would be surprised how many small business owners can’t give a good answer to these questions.

E-mail marketing is important; however, it shouldn’t be your main focus. A very low percentage of e-mails actually get opened due to the mass amounts of e-mails everyone receives daily. Cold calling is a favorite of many. It is essential so you must like to cold call. Always leave a message. Many times, people prefer to call back later, however, leaving a message begins to build that relationship. If they are looking for the solution you offer, who will they call? Mailings are also good to add into you marketing mix to send out a couple of times a year. Jumbo postcards mailings are always a good option. There are many professional postcard companies online that will design the postcard and handle distributing it to your mailing addresses. You always want to follow-up with a phone call to get better results. Trade shows are great to attend, but can get expensive. This is a good way though to get your name out there. Social Media is very important these days. If you don’t know anything about social media, take an online course. Many people are on social media so it is a great way to reach those that are on it. Lastly, referrals/networking is extremely important. Once you start to get customers, you will be able to get referrals. And networking is a great way to meet new people. Always attend events that potential clients may be at.

SALES

Business owners should know how to sell. The most important thing is to believe in your company and be able to sell the concept. You have to know why your product/service is the best and learn how to sell why it’s the best. At the end of the day, customers are buying “YOU.” In most cases, your product is not one of a kind. You need to convince the customer that “YOU” are the one.

If you are new and a small company, buying from you is a risk. You have to overcome this your first year. Someone will have to be your first customer. How will you prove that you are not a risk? This is something you need to think about and be ready to answer when you are asked. One way to do this, is say if you work with me, I will be handling your account personally. You want to put together a list of benefits that you being a smaller company will be able to offer verse a large company.

SALES CONTRACT

Once you get your first customer, you MUST have a contract. Don’t use your uncle’s attorney who specializes in drawing up wills. You need an attorney who knows your business and specializes in it. Steal a contract template from online that depicts your business and says everything it needs to say. Using an attorney to write up a contract from scratch is extremely expensive and most of the time you can get a better one online anyway. In the sales contract, DO NOT concede on important points. How do you know what the important points are? One way is to ask your attorney. What is it on this contract that I should never modify? One item you will find on most standard contracts is if litigation occurs it goes to the seller’s state. You never want to change this in the contract because if something does come up, you will need to hire an attorney in another state and that can get very expensive. Most people know that it goes to the seller’s state, however, some people will want to change this. You never want to mess with your contract without consulting your attorney.

Always remember, do not give away the store. You will always want the business, but it won’t be good if you concede on too many matters. You have to calculate in your business plan and your financial projections what you are going to charge. If you get business that you aren’t going to charge what you need to charge, then you might as well not get it. You need to spend your time on business that will be profitable.

ORGANIZATIONS/TRAINING

You need to be in both national and local organizations because it gives you instant credibility. Anyone who is part of a national organization knows you get high-level training and gain industry knowledge. Additionally, you learn about legislation. You need to know the laws. Local organizations accomplish the same, but you get local related industry knowledge and legislation. You can also attend local events verse spending money flying somewhere. Joining both national and local organizations are very important for instant credibility.

EMPLOYEES

Eventually, you are going to need to hire employees. You must have an employee agreement. Again, you can grab a template online and run it by your attorney. When you hire someone, you will need to give them a written offer letter, benefits, and an employee agreement.

You will need to figure out how much you will pay your employees and also what benefits you will give them. Being a small business, you may want to give your employees better benefits they can’t get anywhere else so there is an incentive to work for your business. You will also need to figure out working hours and supplies you are going to provide.

Additionally, an employee handbook is essential. You can purchase a corporate handbook template and customize it by filling in the blanks. You want to provide all of your employees a copy on their first day and update it each year. The handbook should provide guidelines on all processes and policies, such as a mission statement, vacation/PTO policies, etc. You never want to be unclear with anything.

What does a good employee profile look like? You need team players and someone who has a passion for the job. You don’t want someone to drag them self in every day. You also want your employees to be determined and dedicated. If you provide your employees with incentives, they will most likely be dedicated.

It is up to YOU to keep your employees motivated. Engaging your employees is important. Talk to them and see what they think about different topics. You also need to align your metrics and have goals for your employees to reach for. Goals help increase employee productivity. It is important to identify and remove internal roadblocks that can harm an employee’s productivity. Training and professional development opportunities are important for your employees. And lastly, you must always remember to focus on your business strategy. You can’t please every market. If a client isn’t the right fit and will cause more stress for everyone at your company, pass the business up.

ACCOUNTING

Probably the most boring thing about owning a business is accounting, payroll, taxes, etc. Unless you like these things of course! Unfortunately, if you don’t, you have to think about these things when owning a business.

PAYROLL

For payroll, you can hire an outside payroll company, have your accounting firm do it, or do it yourself through a payroll software. You must file your payroll taxes, otherwise you can go to jail. You also want to make sure you avoid high late penalties. The government will charge you if you are late on anything.

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE

Make sure you send out invoices to customers promptly because the sooner you send them out, the sooner the money comes in. Cashflow is extremely important. You have to stay on top of open invoices, even if your accounting firm is doing your invoices, more then likely they are not going to make collection calls. You will also need to send out a statement of account, which is a document that outlines everything the customer owes. When you send this out, people tend to pay quicker because they see all of the money they owe.

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE

You must pay your bills promptly in order to secure a good credit rating. You want to have a good credit rating because prospects are going to run a D&B on your company. Get rid of credit cards that you do not use because this can also harm your credit score. Additionally, avoid running up credit card debt. Do not get into debt no matter what. It will kill the business and stress you out.

FINANCIALS

There are two very important documents you must have. One, is a balance sheet (assets & liabilities). Assets are cash in the bank, furniture you might have, etc. Liabilities are accounts payable, outstanding loans, collecting 401K from an employee, etc. Second, is an income statement (revenue/expenses/profit.) This would include what your sales and expenses are. You take what you sold, minus expenses, and that is what your profit is. At the end of the year, that profit gets carried over to your balance sheet and becomes part of your owner equity for the next year.

It is very important to understand your financials. If you don’t, get a book, attend a seminar, etc. You don’t want to rely on your accountant. You have to be cautious of embezzlement when hiring an outside company so it’s key to understand your financials and be able to notice anything that doesn’t look right.

CORPORATE TAX FILING

Never do your corporate tax filing yourself. It is complicated and, more importantly, you will always want an accounting firm to sign off on it.

IMPLEMENTATION & SOFTWARE TOOLS

IMPLEMENTATION

At some point, you have to deliver the product/service. If you are a staffing firm and are placing candidates, you have to make sure they stick or you will not get paid. You also need to always provide high quality service. High quality service means repeat business and referrals. This is one way to help grow your company.

SOFTWARE TOOLS

If you are a staffing company, you need a database that can manage clients and candidates. Make sure you input all clients, candidates, and follow-ups into the solution. A cloud-based software is the way to go with an easy monthly subscription fee. Training is very important. You need to know how to use your software. If you are going to invest in software, use that tool to help grow your business. It will make processes more efficient. It can also help increase customer service. If someone is out of the office and a question comes in from a client, you can take a look at the notes in the software and see where everything was last left with that client. You don’t need to wait for that person to be back in the office.

Once you invest in your software, implement a mandatory use policy for your employees. For this you will need a process handbook. The book defines what you want them to enter and how you want them to enter it. Data not entered leaves when an employee leaves. This is your data, this is your business, you want to keep it in the business. Additionally, with software you can monitor performance and gather important statistics on employee performance and the business. In order to continue to grow your business, you need a way to generate reports and identify what is going well in your business and where you need to improve.

AFTER YEAR ONE

In year two, you are going to capitalize on your achievements. You will have customer references to help bring in new business. You are going to be able to invest more in your business. You can invest in more employee training, updating your website, attending an additional trade show, and maybe it is the time to move into your new office!

After year one, you want to assess how the first year went and come up with a new business plan for year two. Every year you want to come up with a new business plan. You will want to brainstorm with your team new ideas and make sure everyone is communicating what their plan is for the next year. This helps guarantee there are no inefficiencies and that no one is doing the same work twice.

Each year, you will want to continue to hone your skill set and processes. You want to constantly challenge yourself and change your company as the industry changes. You must continue to be passionate about what you are doing. The minute you are no longer passionate, sell the business! ALWAYS continue to dream, but not only dream, but take action and make it happen. Make sure you celebrate success from both a company and employee standpoint. You also have to be willing to take risks if you want your business to be successful, but don’t be reckless. Constantly explore new ways of approaching your business. Know your limits, but never try to stop exceeding them. Lastly, don’t be afraid to let go of low performers. Firing is very painful, but unfortunately it is necessary. Also, don’t be afraid to let go of high performers if they have a bad attitude and are poisoning the environment, they have to go no matter how much money they are making for you.

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Small Business Owners: Accounting Is for Profit Planning, Not Just Tax Preparation

One might be led to believe that profit is the main objective in a business but in reality it is the cash flowing in and out of a business which keeps the doors open. The concept of profit is somewhat narrow and only looks at expenses and income at a certain point in time. Cash flow, on the other hand, is more dynamic in the sense that it is concerned with the movement of money in and out of a business. It is concerned with the time at which the movement of the money takes place. Profits do not necessarily coincide with their associated cash inflows and outflows. The net result is that cash receipts often lag cash payments and while profits may be reported, the business may experience a short-term cash shortage. For this reason, it is essential to forecast cash flows as well as project likely profits. In these terms, it is important to know how to convert your accrual profit to your cash flow profit. You need to be able to maintain enough cash on hand to run the business, but not so much as to forfeit possible earnings from other uses.

Why accounting is needed

Help you to operate better as a business owner

Make timely decisions
Know when to hire a team of employees
Know how to price your products
Know how to label your expense items
Helps you to determine whether to expand or not
Helps with operations projected costs
Stop Fraud and Theft
Control the biggest problem is internal theft
Reconcile your books and inventory control of equipment
Raising Capital (help you to explain financials to stakeholders)
Loans
Investors
What are the Best Practices in Accounting for Small Businesses to address your common ‘pain points’?
Hire or consult with CPA or accountant
What is the best way and how often to contact
What experience do you have in my industry?
Identify what is my break-even point?
Can the accountant assess the overall value of my business
Can you help me grow my business with profit planning techniques
How can you help me to prepare for tax season
What are some special considerations for my particular industry?

To succeed, your company must be profitable. All your business objectives boil down to this one simple fact. But turning a profit is easier said than done. In order to boost your bottom line, you need to know what’s going on financially at all times. You also need to be committed to tracking and understanding your KPIs.
What are the common Profitability Metrics to Track in Business — key performance indicators (KPI)

Whether you decide to hire an expert or do it yourself, there are some metrics that you should absolutely need to keep tabs on at all times:

Outstanding Accounts Payable: Outstanding accounts payable (A/P) shows the balance of cash you currently owe to your suppliers.
Average Cash Burn: Average cash burn is the rate at which your business’ cash balance is going down on average each month over a specified time period. A negative burn is a good sign because it indicates your business is generating cash and growing its cash reserves.
Cash Runaway: If your business is operating at a loss, cash runway helps you estimate how many months you can continue before your business exhausts its cash reserves. Similar to your cash burn, a negative runway is a good sign that your business is growing its cash reserves.
Gross Margin: Gross margin is a percentage that demonstrates the total revenue of your business after subtracting the costs associated with creating and selling your business’ products. It is a helpful metric to identify how your revenue compares to your costs, allowing you to make changes accordingly.
Customer Acquisition Cost: By knowing how much you spend on average to acquire a new customer, you can tell exactly how many customers you need to generate a profit.
Customer Lifetime Value: You need to know your LTV so that you can predict your future revenues and estimate the total number of customers you need to grow your profits.
Break-Even Point:How much do I need to generate in sales for my company to make a profit?Knowing this number will show you what you need to do to turn a profit (e.g., acquire more customers, increase prices, or lower operating expenses).
Net Profit: This is the single most important number you need to know for your business to be a financial success. If you aren’t making a profit, your company isn’t going to survive for long.
Total revenues comparison with last year/last month. By tracking and comparing your total revenues over time, you’ll be able to make sound business decisions and set better financial goals.
Average revenue per employee. It’s important to know this number so that you can set realistic productivity goals and recognize ways to streamline your business operations.
The following checklist lays out a recommended timeline to take care of the accounting functions that will keep you attuned to the operations of your business and streamline your tax preparation. The accuracy and timeliness of the numbers entered will affect the key performance indicators that drive business decisions that need to be made, on a daily, monthly and annual basis towards profits.
Daily Accounting Tasks

Review your daily Cash flow position so you don’t ‘grow broke’.
Since cash is the fuel for your business, you never want to be running near empty. Start your day by checking how much cash you have on hand.
Weekly Accounting Tasks

2. Record Transactions

Record each transaction (billing customers, receiving cash from customers, paying vendors, etc.) in the proper account daily or weekly, depending on volume. Although recording transactions manually or in Excel sheets is acceptable, it is probably easier to use accounting software like QuickBooks. The benefits and control far outweigh the cost.

3. Document and File Receipts

Keep copies of all invoices sent, all cash receipts (cash, check and credit card deposits) and all cash payments (cash, check, credit card statements, etc.).

Start a vendors file, sorted alphabetically, (Sears under “S”, CVS under “C,”etc.) for easy access. Create a payroll file sorted by payroll date and a bank statement file sorted by month. A common habit is to toss all paper receipts into a box and try to decipher them at tax time, but unless you have a small volume of transactions, it’s better to have separate files for assorted receipts kept organized as they come in. Many accounting software systems let you scan paper receipts and avoid physical files altogether

4. Review Unpaid Bills from Vendors

Every business should have an “unpaid vendors” folder. Keep a record of each of your vendors that includes billing dates, amounts due and payment due date. If vendors offer discounts for early payment, you may want to take advantage of that if you have the cash available.

5. Pay Vendors, Sign Checks

Track your accounts payable and have funds earmarked to pay your suppliers on time to avoid any late fees and maintain favorable relationships with them. If you are able to extend payment dates to net 60 or net 90, the better. Whether you make payments online or drop a check in the mail, keep copies of invoices sent and received using accounting software.

6. Prepare and Send Invoices

Be sure to include payment terms. Most invoices are due within 30 days, noted as “Net 30″ at the bottom of your invoice. Without a due date, you will have more trouble forecasting revenue for the month. To make sure you get paid on time, always use an invoice form that contains the right details such as payment terms, itemized charges, and your payment address.

7. Review Projected Cash Flow

Managing your cash flow is critical, especially in the first year of your business. Forecasting how much cash you will need in the coming weeks/months will help you reserve enough money to pay bills, including your employees and suppliers. Plus, you can make more informed business decisions about how to spend it.

All you need is a simple statement showing your current cash position, expected cash receipts during the next week/month and expected cash payments during the next week/month.

8. Executive Dashboard (weekly review)

This dashboard gives you a ‘snapshot’ of your operations on a weekly basis.

It consist of Cash on Hand, Cash burn rate, Account Receivables, Accounts Payable, Items sold, Inventory on Hand, inventory turns, outstanding issues in the business, and gross profit margin, new sales wins, customer losses, customer service performance, on time delivery rate and product quality performance.

Monthly Accounting Tasks

9. Balance Your Business Checkbook

Just as you reconcile your personal checking account, you need to know that your cash business transaction entries are accurate each month and that you are working with the correct cash position. Reconciling your cash makes it easier to discover and correct any errors or omissions-by you or by the bank-in time to correct them.

10. Review Past-Due (“Aged”) Receivables

Be sure to include an “aging” column to separate “open invoices” with the number of days a bill is past due. This gives you a quick view of outstanding customer payments. The beginning of the month is a good time to send out overdue reminder statements to customers, clients and anyone else who owes you money.

At the end of your fiscal year, you will be looking at this account again to determine what receivables you will need to send to collections or write off for a deduction

11. Analyze Inventory Status

If you have inventory, set aside time to reorder products that sell quickly and identify others that are moving slowly and may have to be marked down or, ultimately, written off. By checking regularly (and comparing to prior months’ numbers), it’s easier to make adjustments so you are neither short nor overloaded.

12. Process or Review Payroll and Approve Tax Payments

While you have an established schedule to pay your employees (usually semi-monthly), you need to meet payroll tax requirements based on federal, state and local laws at different times, so be sure to withhold, report and deposit the applicable income tax, social security, Medicare and disability taxes to the appropriate agencies on the required dates.

Review the payroll summary before payments are disbursed to avoid having to make corrections during the next payroll period. A payroll service provider can do all this to save you time and ensure accuracy at a reasonable cost.

13. Review Actual Profit and Loss vs. Budget and vs. Prior Years

Each month, take the time to review your budgeted expenses and compare them to what you have actually spent. Are you spending above or below budget? Discuss the variances and take action as needed

Your profit and loss statement (also known as an income statement), both for the current month and year to date, tells you how much you earned and how much you spent. Measure it against your budget every month (or quarter). Comparing your actual numbers to your planned numbers highlights where you may be spending too much or not enough, so that you can make changes.

If you have not prepared a budget, compare your current year-to-date P&L with the same prior-period year-to-date P&L to identify variances and make adjustments.

14. Review Month-End Balance Sheet vs. Prior Period

By comparing your balance sheet at one date-June 30, 2015, for example-to a balance sheet from an earlier date (December 31, 2014), you get a picture of how you are managing assets and liabilities. The key is to look for what is significantly up and/or down and understand why. For example, if your accounts receivable are up, is it due to increased recent sales or because of slower payments from customers?

Quarterly Accounting Tasks

15. Prepare/Review Revised Annual P&L Estimate

It’s time to evaluate how much money you are actually making, whether your net assets are going up or down, the difference between revenues and expenses, what caused those changes, how you are spending profits, as well as identifying trouble spots, and making adjustments to improve sales and margins.

16. Review Quarterly Payroll Reports and Make Payments

You have been reviewing your semi-monthly payroll reports. However, the IRS and most states require quarterly payroll reports and any remaining quarterly payments. Again, it’s best if your payroll service provider completes these reports and files them. Your job is to review to make sure they appear reasonable.

17. Review Sales Tax and Make Quarterly Payments

If your company operates in a state that requires sales tax, make sure you comply to avoid serious penalties. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help you determine your state tax obligations.

18. Compute Estimated Income Tax and Make Payment

The IRS and states that have income taxes require you to pay estimated income taxes. Review your year-to-date P&L to see if you owe any estimated taxes for that quarter. Your tax accountant can assist if necessary.

Annual Accounting Tasks

19. Review Past-Due Receivables

Now it’s time to check significant past due receivables and decide whether you think customers will eventually pay, whether to send past due bills to a collection agency or whether to write them off for a deduction.

20. Review Your Inventory

Review your current inventory to determine the value of items not sold. Any write-down of inventory translates to a deduction on your year-end taxes. If you do not write down unsellable inventory, you are overstating your inventory balance and paying additional taxes that you don’t owe.

21. Fill out IRS Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC

The IRS has a January 31 deadline that requires you to report the annual earnings of your full-time employees (W-2s) and most independent contractors (1099s). This deadline includes mailing copies of the tax forms to the people who worked for you. Note: A 1099 form is not required for any contractors who earned less than $600. Consider saving time and avoiding errors with an e-filing service.

22. Review full-year financial reports for tax reporting

Get organized
Collect and store important documents (use apps and calendars for help)
Create email folders to store bank statement and receipts
Store contracts and agreements
Track miles and vehicle expenses
Store all required documents for your business type.

Tax Preparation
Tax preparation is a historical view and not a profit planning event
Capture all relevant events
Identify all deduction categories
Capture all meals
Meetings —-whatever was discussed/calendar
Try not to go over industry average industry cost for meals.

At tax time, carefully review your company’s full-year financial reports before giving them to your accountant. Before you sign your return, be sure to review it for accuracy based on your full-year financial reports. Remember if IRS audits due to underpayment, they will deal with you not your accountant for any additional taxes, penalty and interest.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to do all this yourself, a great strategy is to partner with a monthly accounting service. Outsourcing your accounting to an expert will simplify your life and give you more time to focus on running your business operations.

A monthly accountant will provide you with a profit and loss sheet, balance statement, and accurate account reconciliation every month, ensuring that you have the financial information you need to make the best choices for your company.

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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