Entrepreneurs – Want To Start A Business But Not Sure What Type?
Many entrepreneurs get that itch to start a new business, either because they are fed up being “wage slaves” or they like the freedom that working for yourself can bring. Some even think that they will be richer or have more spare time. Many are not sure what kind of business they want.
First of all – never start a new business because you want more money or more time. Starting a new business takes both lots of time and most, if not all, of your money.
Secondly don’t fall into the trap of starting a business just for the sake of it. Make sure that someone wants what you are aiming to sell! Your fruit cakes, tattoos or begonias may be the best in the area but if no one wants them – then you are going to be going bust very soon.
So how do you find out what kind of things you are going to sell?
1) Look at the type of area that you want to set up your business. A majority of aged clients is not going to be keen to have tattoos but might love your cakes!
2) Look at the other businesses selling in your area. Whilst it is sometimes good to group some businesses together such as car sales – make sure there is enough people left who may buy from you. Similarly if there is a successful company that is not coping – maybe you can inherit some of their clients?
3) Look for gaps in the market. Are their complimentary businesses close by who you can join in with to share customers? Is the market just crying out for a particular product of service.
4) Most importantly go and ask people. Give talks at clubs about your subject and see what kind of reception you get. Hold a competition for the best ideas etc.
Good luck in obtaining a firm foundation for your new business.
As an entrepreneur, you’re hardwired to enjoy a greater level of risk than the average person. But do you enjoy the thrill of business and investing so much that you’re willing to risk:
-Being hounded by creditors?
-Being denied a mortgage?
-Paying more than your fair share of interest on your loans?
-Losing your house?
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, this may be the most important report you’ve read in a long time.
Because, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners I’ve met over the past 28 years, you’re in danger of facing all of these horrific problems.
And it’s all because of your business.
You see, entrepreneurs typically make one or more financially devastating mistakes when financing the launch, operation and/or growth of their businesses. In most cases, they don’t realize that they’re making a mistake.
And to tell the truth, even when they do realize they’re making a mistake … they lull themselves into thinking that the consequences will be a minor annoyance.
Until, one day, they can’t qualify for a mortgage. Or they can’t get the to-die-for financing offered on the new car they’re buying. Or they’re hounded by creditors and eventually have to declare bankruptcy.
And it is all because they use their personal finances to fund the launch or expansion of their business. They then use personal credit cards to pay for business expenses. If you are in business or thinking about starting a business, business credit is a must.
Let me explain, most business owner have no idea that they can establish business credit and even fewer know how to how to establish business credit. If owners would take the time necessary to educate themselves about establishing credit they would no longer have to use their personal funds for start up capital or working capital.
They would also be able to use business credit cards which don’t report to their personal credit reports, therefore, not lowering the personal credit scores.
The most important goal of business credit though is to obtain unsecured business lines of credit, which can be done once the business credit profile is set up properly. Once a business obtains unsecured business lines of credit, they then have the working capital they need to start a business or expand their business. The business owner has check book control to use the business lines of credit as they wish. And best of all, the business lines of credit don’t report to the business owner’s personal credit report.
If you have set up your business profile correctly there are a number of banks that will lend to brand new start up business. That is right, brand new start up business with no track record whatsoever. The banks will extend unsecured business lines of credit so they can have the start up capital they need to finance the business of their dreams.
Make no mistake about it; business credit is a MUST for every business owner. Don’t put your personal assets at risk finance or fund your business!
Myths About Entrepreneurs
Does your business needs an outside accountant?
It all depends. If you require an audited or reviewed financial statement, then, yes, you need a CPA. In any event, it is always a good idea to maintain a relationship with an accountant no matter how small your business. Whether your accountant is a CPA is up to you. The real question is: To what extent do you need outside accounting services? That also depends on you and the nature of your business.
I always start with the admonition: The Buck Stops With You! You cannot afford to dissociate yourself from understanding the meaning of your financial statements. If you solely rely on your accounting staff or accountant for completely accurate financial data, then you are asking for trouble. If you are going to own or manage a business, then you have a responsibility to learn how to speak the language of business. The language of business is accounting knowledge.
How involved you become in the accounting process will be determined by time schedules, your mental pre-disposition, desire for control, cash flow, etc. One scenario, if you can afford it, is to hire an internal accounting staff to prepare financial statements on a monthly basis and have an external accountant check them over. Another common scenario is to prepare part of the compilation yourself, such as preparing a sales journal and a cash disbursements journal, and then hire an outside accountant to prepare a bank reconciliation and the financial statements for you. Some do this on a monthly basis, others quarterly. Some business owners do the books themselves all year and turn them over to the accountant at the end of the year to verify the balances and do the depreciation entry for tax purposes.
There are numerous ways to work with an accountant. Regardless, you should learn enough about accounting to be able to communicate intelligently with your accountant. Since you are intimately involved in your business you may recognize danger signals that not even your accountant will see.
Selecting an accountant
Relying on the yellow pages to find an accountant can be risky. The best way to find any professional is by a referral. However, you need to interview prospective accountants before signing on. One of the first priorities is to find out what their experience level is. Your business may have very specific accounting and tax issues that require a certain amount of expertise. Perhaps you have a manufacturing concern. What does the accountant know about raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods inventory accounting? Does the accountant know how to set up job-costing and overhead burdens? Ask for references from other like-kind businesses.
Keep in mind, that you may go to an established firm with a good reputation, but with whom are you going to have a relationship? Is your account large enough to warrant a relationship with a partner? You need to feel confident with the person assigned to your account. Perhaps a smaller firm with four or five accountants who are all seasoned veterans might work better.
You will also want someone with whom you can relate. The ability to communicate is a crucial factor. Your accountant may be technically proficient but can you understand what he or she is telling you? Does he or she listen when you ask questions? Don’t be afraid to ask for someone else if you are having difficulty communicating.
Another important criterion is “accessibility”. Is your accountant too busy to talk to you? Can you get your questions answered within a reasonable period of time? Do you feel important to him or her? Situations may arise where you need information immediately to make an important business or tax decision, will your accountant respond quickly?
Last, but not least, are the accountant’s billing practices. Billing practices vary from firm to firm. Some firms are very aggressive and put tremendous pressure on staff and partners to bill every minute they can. Some firms require a review process before any work goes out the door. This means that every person who performs any work on your account, including the person who puts the stamp on your envelope, bills you for it.
Find out in advance what happens if you call the firm to ask a simple question that takes less than five minutes to answer. Are you billed for five minutes or are you billed in increments of fifteen minutes even though you only talked for five? Some firms justify this increment billing by explaining that you are paying for the accountant’s expertise that may have taken years to acquire, therefore, they say, it’s worth it.
Some accounting practitioners charge a flat rate for services rendered or a combination of flat services and hourly charges. For instance, an accountant might charge $200 a month to prepare a monthly financial statement but charge $100 an hour for special projects. Within the monthly fee, the client can call to ask questions that last fifteen minutes or less for no additional charge. This way the client is not reticent about calling. Getting your question answered may prevent little problems from later becoming bigger more expensive problems.
Very often projects take longer to complete than anticipated. Complications arise and the practitioner should be paid for his or her work. Always insist that, if there are going to be additional charges over and above what has been agreed upon, that the accountant gets your approval first. Be sure to clarify these procedures before engaging an accountant in an “engagement letter”. This is a document that spells out the responsibilities of both parties and how the relationship is going to work.
Remember, there is absolutely no reason to be intimidated by your accountant. After all, you are paying for the services, and I promise you, the accountant wants your business.
How Well Do You Know Your Prospects? Take this 10-Point Quiz to Find Out
One of the greatest time wasters of all are unnecessary or poorly run meetings. If you want to dramatically improve your time management skills, then learn how to have productive meetings.
"Brian" is the Operations Manager in a large corporation. Every Monday morning, his CEO has a managers' meeting .
This is what usually occurs:
The agenda is circulated the day before which means the managers have little time to prepare.
The meeting always starts late as the CEO will wait for latecomers. In fact, he's often late.
A couple of the managers tend to "waffle on". The CEO who chairs the meeting is not assertive enough to keep them on track.. He's also a 'waffler'.
Most of the managers sit there, bored out of their brains for a majority of the time. They also get stressed as they feel they are wasting time listening to the "wafflers".
As the CEO does not schedule a regular "catch up" time with each individual manager, many unnecessary issues are also discussed.
If this describes some of the meetings you convene then how about taking action and ensure from now on that they are highly productive.
If you're like "Brian" and you would have difficulty suggesting to others how they could improve their meetings, then I suggest you pass this newsletter on to them. Effective time management also includes effective meeting management.
"You'll do so much you'll be surprised when you get your meetings organised"
9 Ways to Improve Your Time Management by Having Super Productive Meetings
Ask yourself, is this meeting really necessary?
Do you need a face-face meeting? A phone call, email or conference call might be a better solution.
Invite as few people as possible
Only have the necessary participants attend.
Have a written agenda with clear objectives
Ensure it is circulated well in advance to those attending. Indicate timeframes allowed to discuss each item.
Double check the meeting venue has been organised the day before
If refreshments are supplied include water and fruit. Ensure the meeting area is quiet with no distractions.
Start and finish on time
Respect your time and everyone else's.
Have an effective chairperson
Unsure who to choose? At the beginning of the meeting count up to three. At three, each participant points to the person they believe will keep the meeting on track.. The person with the most votes is elected.
Circulate the minutes within 48 hours
Ensure all actions have the appropriate person written next to them.
Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes
It's good for your mind and body.
Ensure all mobile phones and pagers are turned off
It's amazing - people have been known to survive without their phones and live to tell the tale.
Good time management is also about using your time wisely when attending meetings. If you can enforce these guidelines, you'll be happy to attend future meetings knowing that your time isn't being wasted.
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