Are You Winging It In Your Business?

Are you so busy that you feel like you’ve fallen off track?

Are your deadlines more like suggestions?

Do you feel like your business is struggling, has lost its focus, or is out of control?

Do you feel like you have no control over what happens day-to-day?

If so, you just might be winging it in your business.

If you feel like that proverbial chicken with its head cut off, you’re not working according to your plans and goals. You might be extremely busy, but are you productive? The two are not the same. Being busy may mean you’re simply going with the flow and doing what you need to at the moment to keep the business going.

Again, you’re winging it. You’re flying by the seat of your pants and don’t have the focus or the control you need to keep your business on goal. When you’re not in control, you’re not productive.

And if you, the CEO and Visionary, aren’t being productive, your business is simply treading water and not growing.

When your time is focused primarily on daily tasks and busy work inside your business, you don’t have time or energy to create goals and plans to help make your business thrive. All you do is put out fires, and you don’t have time to train your team to avoid setting fires in the first place.

You’re winging it, not working it. You’re wasting precious time doing things someone else needs to be doing. You’re not delegating effectively (or at all), and you’re mistaking being busy for being productive.

At the end of the day, you’re not helping your business to profit because you’re stuck doing everything but high-level, revenue-producing activities.

This is not a judgment. I’ve seen this too many times with my clients, and in the past I did my share of winging it. I was so busy dealing with emergencies and distractions that I couldn’t focus on my real job in the business, the CEO role.

I didn’t see a way out. Maybe you can relate.

I’m happy to tell you today there IS a way out, and it’s simpler than you think.

I love to help my clients discover the difference between working ON their businesses and working IN them. When you work on your business, you do the tasks a CEO should be doing, such as building strategic business relationship, delivering and engaging with your clients, writing marketing materials, and planning and creating new products and services. You work on your vision and your big plans for the future.

That’s your role, not putting out fires, dealing with customer service, solving operational issues, managing day-to-day operations and marketing management, creating manuals and procedures, or paying the bills.

You need to delegate all those tasks and get back to what you do best: finding new ways to grow your business that serves the world.

However, no one teaches us how to delegate when we go into business. You need support in deciding what to keep and what to delegate.

You need someone to run the day-to-day operations of your business so you’re free to grow the business. You need someone to help you stop winging it and start working it.

It’s time to bring in an online business manager. Not getting this valuable support will stall your business and burn you out. An online business manager will produce far more value than he or she costs. The time and energy you’ll regain will pay for your Online Business Manager several times over.

You became a woman entrepreneur to share your ideas, have an impact in the world and create a living for you and you family. When you hire a virtual business manager for your 6-7 figure business, you’re able to breathe and use your energy to plan the future of your business. You can create goals and plot the course to reach them.

Not knowing how to delegate and spending time and energy on the wrong things are just two ways women entrepreneurs find themselves stuck in their businesses.

When you have a professional online business manager to lighten your load, you quickly become unstuck.

8 Golden Success Secrets for Small Businesses

Running a small business is as challenging as trekking to Mt. Everest without having oxygen cylinder, prior practice, and a valid map guide. The challenges are only because there are no authentic rules that can lead a small business towards success while other major obstacles comprise: low budget, limited manpower, and lack of efficient resources. But as a small business owner, you must delve into the passcodes that help you decode the secret patterns of operating a successful startup or small business. It not only helps you to sustain your current growth but also excel your business planning’s to achieve higher objectives. There are a few suggestions based on real-world experiences, which can assist you to hit the bull’s eye.

1- Utilize the power of social media:

Nowadays, the entire world revolves around social media and if you are able to use its full potential, it can immediately help you increase your sales and brand reputation with very minimum resource and effort. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, help you connect with a large scale of users, where you can directly interact with them, thereby allowing you to convert them into your potential clients. It forms a two-way channel that not only allows you to put your message across but also, listen to what your targeted audience want, which eventually goes a long way in improving and growing your business.

2- Research and analyze your competition:

A business turns to be successful only if it runs on some finely grinned facts and figures. And competition analysis is one of the most important elements of the process. Competition analysis tells you the strength you will require to establish your brand in the market as well as it helps to prepare your business planning adequately so that you could avoid the chances of business failure. An additional benefit of competition research is it allows for designing and developing more feasible and user-oriented products that eventually help you attain a competitive edge over the current market.

3- Work as per your plan but be flexible too:

Efficient planning is a roadmap that drives your business to the top in the long run with predefined routes. It is always advised to stick with our planning even if we face a few hurdles while running our business given that the strategies are designed after in-depth analysis. And day-to-day challenges should not incline you to alter with whatever you planned. The winners always back their business plannings regardless of the stiff challenges, but on the other side, a successful business requires the owner to be flexible enough to embrace new changes. Adapting the new ideas and concepts not only makes a business owner take smart decisions but also, keeps their core planning intact and fresh.

4- Use informative materials to build trust and loyalty:

The Internet is the best medium to reach out to the huge audience with less effort, but you should keep the fact in mind that there is already a heavy flow of advertisements and endorsements all over the web. So, what can be an efficient way to create our presence with a significant impact?

There are definitely some better ways to do it like using informative online materials such as well-written blogs, well-designed infographics, animated videos demonstrating some set of skills, and presentation sheets, etc. Following such practices will attract a huge mass to our platform to learn and engage with us, which gives a sense of trust and ultimately convert them into our long-term clients.

5- Hire your weaknesses:

A small business consists of a team of limited dedicated professionals, having different skill sets of all the corners to tackle most of the business requirements. Small businesses, sometimes, compromise in some crucial areas since they can’t hire specific individuals due to the lack of budget. To get your business positioned to the top, please don’t bear with your inefficient area. Rush into hiring experienced professional(s) so that all parts of your business fire with the same intensity.

6- Be ready for mergers and acquisitions:

Even after working with your full potential, you may not generate enough force to compete with the leading competitors. Other small businesses with the same concept may face the same situations. Just find them and join in the talks to check the possibilities of the merger to form a combined force, which can provide the required pace and power to achieve the common business goals. Mergers have a long, rich history of producing successful businesses, so don’t shy away with it. Similarly, business acquisitions are a noble idea to inject more strength to our business if budget allows us to do so.

7- Keep the quality service always on:

Quality service is the most important source that keeps your client for a longer period of time and it spreads huge positive feedbacks in the mass, driving in a large number of new clients. There have been more than just a few businesses reaching to the top just on the base of excellent service and even without spending a bomb on advertisements and business promotions. While there are other businesses which have failed miserably because of giving no importance to the quality of the services they provided. All in all, having the sound quality of the products/services is the key to succeeding in today’s cut throat competition.

8- Don’t give up:

Running a successful business is not a child’s play since it requires a lot of guts, courage, and risk-taking capabilities. It, sometimes, shakes your ambitions when going through some rough patches, and you need to have the burning desires within you to keep it alive. Keeping patience is also an important character that the small business owner must have, as the formation of a business and climb the ladder of success, demands to wait for long period of time. So, as a business owner, you need to instill never give up attitude to see your dreams come true!!

Summing it up, though the above-mentioned points are not entirely foolproof but yes, following these points will definitely help you to become a smart small business owner who can defy all the challenges and get on the top of the competition. Of Course, the chances of success or failure of your business completely depends on your planning and execution.

Small Business Marketing Hacks Every Business Owner Should Use

There’s a lot that’s changed recently with online marketing. Most people now go straight to Google to search for something they want. The phone book is out and Google, or search traffic is in. If you are a small business owner you can benefit from the internet as a source of business. What’s even better is that you can tap into this resource for free if you have a physical business.

Google Places

Google Places lets you advertise your local business for free in the search results. When someone searches for a local business in your area, your results will come up first for many searches. This is a simple cost effective strategy you should definitely be employing in your business. With Google Places, you list your local business and Google will send you a confirmation postcard with a Google verification code on it. Once you have verified your listing with this code, Google knows you actually reside at this address, or run a business from it.

Google Places works wonders for small business owners who work from a certain location. If you’re not on it you are definitely missing out on business. Plus, your competitors could be using it which means they could be taking your potential customers. To use Google Places just do a quick search for it on Google and it will take you through the setting up process.

Bing Places

Bing also offer this same listing on their own search engine. It’s just like Google Places so not much to add here really. Simply fill out your details on the online platform and verify your listing when you receive a code in the post. When you create your listing you will have to list your business within a certain category, or two. Look through the existing categories and find the one or ones which are the best fit for your business. This is the same as Google Places. By listing in more than one category, if the platform allows, you can benefit from a number of searches within your local area.

Other Listings For Free

Yell and Yahoo also offer free listings for businesses too. Also do a ‘Google search’ for local directories and free listings and you will find a range of sites which offer free business listings in your area. In some cases even the extra links back to your website can make a difference to your ranking, even if the link itself doesn’t bring you more business.

Blogging

You may well not have the time or inclination to start a blog. However, in some business areas blogging is a good way to increase your business reach online in a fairly cost effective way. Depending on your business, and whether it opens itself to a blog, you can get some good results by targeting some keywords in your business niche, or simply writing compelling content and sharing on social media.

Keyword Research

You can use Google’s free keyword planner to search for terms which are already getting hits on the search engine. By finding long tail keywords in your business niche and writing good content for them, you stand more chance of being listed on the search engine. If you can find untapped keywords which bring in customers to your business, you can write articles which will bring in customers for free for years to come for free.

Paid Advertising

After you have exhausted the free methods of advertising, you can start looking at paid advertising methods. Many business owners try and fail with paid advertising. This is why it is worth learning properly the do’s and don’ts of paid advertising.
Pay per click advertising can make a massive impact on your business. But you should also be very careful. Make sure you start out with a small budget and get properly educated on how to create adverts and which keywords to choose. In particular look at the different types of keyword matches. Get this wrong and you can easily burn through your budget and list your advert for entirely the wrong audience.
However, paid advertising is remarkably scalable. Once you have a campaign which works you can easily increase your budget and you are in a position to pay for new customers.

Return On Investment

When I started with pay per click I didn’t understand return on investment. I ‘dipped my toe in’ and dabbled very tentatively. If I didn’t see an immediate profit, I stopped altogether. This is a mistake. Initially there is a lot of testing and measuring to do with paid advertising. After a while you get an advert which successfully brings you customers. However, knowing the return on investment from successful doing this is a game changer. If your customer goes on to purchase again and again, how much are they worth to your business over a year, or 10 years? Knowing this is a huge key to having the confidence to put money into an advertising campaign. Even if you lose money in the short term, your new customers will bring you new business over the long term. Learn the average spend from each customer over a year and then 10 years. Then decide what each customer is worth in terms of advertising. Does this change your view on what you can afford?

Paid Advertising Methods

There are various paid advertising methods available to use for small businesses online. Start with one method and become good at that before moving on to the next. Facebook advertising lets you target potential customers down to their interests, location and other variables. Pay per click advertising lets you target intent driven adverts. With pay per click you start with the keyword your visitor is looking for online. Once you have tested and measured an advertising method and you have a profitable model, you can leave it running and scale it easily. Then move on to the next one.

Even if you only use a couple of the methods suggested in this article, you can dramatically improve your business with only a small amount of effort. Once you have learned all these methods, you will know how to scale up your business and increase your profits. You can then invest in other forms of advertising, testing and measuring as you go. Whether these are on the internet or offline, using the same strategy (which lets you measure the response of a customer) means you can gradually improve all your advertising methods over the long term, increase profits and grow your business.

What Are Serviced Apartments and Corporate Housing Apartments?

The term ‘Serviced Apartments’ refers to fully furnished apartments that are available on rent either as short term or long term accommodation. The earliest serviced apartments started out in the USA and the concept became an instant hit amongst business travelers. Those who had to stay in new cities away from home for lengthy periods of time found that they could save a lot of money by renting a serviced apartment instead of staying at a hotel. The popularity of serviced apartments grew exponentially over the years and today this concept is an established and well recognized vertical of the hospitality industry the world over.

Serviced Apartments offer you the kind of flexibility, economy and extended stays that hotels can’t provide by any length of imagination. Though the hotel industry has a unique customer base and its own advantages, the serviced apartment industry has carved a niche segment of its own. Hotels are still the ideal choice for short stay travelers. With restaurant, pools, bars and various other facilities, hotels have an edge in wooing the short stay crowd. The apartments however are in a league of their own when it comes to offering convenience and value for money.

There are a few exclusive serviced apartment chains that would put even the most expensive hotels to shame. But mostly, the apartments are no frills living spaces that provide practicality and comfortable stays at considerably lesser costs. These days most of such accommodation have started looking like hotels with receptions, room service, etc. However, the basic concept of flexibility still remains. The highlight of such apartments is that they are available for long term stays. By definition hotels can turn out to be extremely expensive for long stays, but the apartments can rent you a fully furnished room or an entire apartment for long stays at very reasonable prices.

Serviced apartments like to position themselves as a ‘home away from home’. Indeed, their most appealing proposition is the prospect of living in a fully furnished apartment with all the facilities you would have at home. Your get your own kitchen, your own clothes iron and various other simple things which make you feel quite at home. There are many kinds of such apartments, but the most common types are the apart-hotels and corporate housing. Apart hotels are regular serviced apartments that function just like regular hotels except that they don’t offer facilities like restaurants or bars.

Corporate housing apartments are large residential blocks that are rented on the whole and converted into serviced apartments that offer all basic facilities like laundry, internet access etc. The only complexity involved with staying at such an apartment is the booking process. The process is not as straightforward as is the case with hotels. Generally, an agent can get you the best rates with diligent negotiation. Even then you may have to pay a large security deposit for longer stays. In spite of these minor drawbacks, such apartments are a very popular choice worldwide amongst travelers who like to feel at home wherever they are.

The Numerous Features of Serviced Apartments

In recent times, serviced apartments have become the preferred choice of temporary accommodation for a lot of people. Serviced apartments are furnished apartments that can be availed for long term or short term stays. When compared to hotels, these apartments are the cheaper option. The number of people choosing such apartments over hotels is increasing on a daily basis. This can be attributed to the boom in international travel and a corresponding increase in the sophistication levels of travelers. Convenient, spacious and private are some adjectives that can be used to describe such an apartment.

Cleanliness is an important feature of serviced apartments. Most providers of these apartments employ maids who will clean the apartment, replenish toiletry supplies and remove trash, on a regular basis. Security is yet another hallmark of these apartments. A lot of these apartments use high end security systems to keep occupants safe. Key card access and security guards are also used by some apartments. A lot of the people who stay in such apartments are leisure travelers. Hence most of these apartments offer a variety of recreational activities for guests. Ping pong tables, billiards tables, barbeque pits, playgrounds, spa and swimming pools are some of such features.

The importance of staying fit has been well documented in recent years. As such, most of these apartments have gym facilities as well. The gym will contain a good selection of weights and machines. Unlike hotels, residents of serviced apartments have to cook their own food. Therefore, most of them are located near convenience stores so that occupants do not have to travel far to get food and other supplies. Most of the occupants of such apartments are looking for a home like experience. Hence, the apartment providers take every measure possible to give the occupants exactly what they want.

Contrary to popular belief, serviced apartments do not cater exclusively to leisure travelers. A lot of people, who are on business trips, prefer to stay in these apartments due to the various technological features. Corporate accommodation is an important characteristic of such apartments. Rooms for corporate accommodation will be furnished with state of the art appliances. High speed internet, Wi-Fi and telephone services are obviously included. Regardless of whether the accommodation is corporate or leisure, one can be assured of top notch service. Privacy is one of the most important features of such apartments. Few hotels can match the privacy offered by serviced apartments.

The Best Features Of Serviced Apartments

More and more people are opting for serviced apartments when traveling. It is because this type of accommodation offers a lot of advantages than staying in an expensive hotel room.

When choosing a serviced apartment as your accommodation, you are provided with the comfort and security you need. Here are the best features of this kind of apartment:

Stylish Yet Affordable Accommodation

When opting for apartments that are serviced, you are also saving an ample amount of money. In addition, you also get the comfort you need because the apartments are designed in a stylish way to make you feel comfortable and at home. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for a luxurious hotel room in order to get the comfort you need.

Spacious Environment

In most cases, a serviced apartment has an area which is twice than that of a common hotel room. With this, this type of apartment can provide ample space for you to move freely inside the apartment. This type of accommodation is very suitable for a family vacation or a corporate trip.

Greater Degree of Privacy

Choosing to stay in a serviced apartment is like living in your own home because you can have the privacy you need. You can enjoy private times with your loved ones inside the apartment.

Accessible Location

The good thing about a serviced apartment is its location. Most of these apartments are situated at the heart of the metro in order to ensure an easy access to almost every destination around the city.

Safe And Clean Accommodation

When staying in a serviced apartment, you do not need to worry about every member’s safety because a 24-hour security service is available within its premises. This is to ensure that everyone has peace of mind while living inside the apartment. When it comes to cleanliness, you do not have to worry about it. Such apartments have weekly maintenance service to ensure every room is regularly cleaned.

A Well-furnished Place to Stay

Another great feature of such accommodation is having a fully-furnished accommodation. Such apartments are air-conditioned. There is a TV set, washing machine, and refrigerator. In addition, this type of apartment has a kitchen with utensils, which is why you can cook your meals.

Allocated Parking Space

When you choose to stay in a serviced apartment, you do not need to worry about parking your car. This type of accommodation has an allocated parking space for everyone.

Indeed, opting for a serviced apartment is a cheaper option than a hotel room. You can search online for possible choices of serviced apartment providers. This way, you’ll get to have a great choice online. By choosing such an apartment, you can enjoy your trip with your friends or family.

When traveling with your friends or family, opting for a serviced apartment is indeed a great choice. Also, you can choose to stay in the apartments during corporate trips. This way, you can save more money while enjoying the comforts that apartments can provide.

Resilient Businesses Move Their People To The Cloud

Every year, as the Atlantic hurricane season approaches many businesses have a nagging realization that they are at risk due to a catastrophic “Black Swan ” event. Black Swan events are a constant source of risk in states like Florida where many communities are subject to disruption due to coastal storms. This risk is particularly acute for businesses that depend on the storage of on-line data if there is a chance their critical data could become lost or corrupted. But the threat from Black Swan events isn’t limited to Florida, nor is it limited to large scale disruptive events like hurricanes.The black swan theory or theory of black swan events describes a disruptive event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild. Consider the following scenario…

“We tend to think of disasters in terms of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, or other mega events. Sometimes, however, less notable events occur that can have a catastrophic effect on a business. In February 1981, an electrical fire in the basement of the State Office Building in Binghamton, New York, spread throughout the basement of the building setting fire to a transformer containing over a thousand gallons of toxin-laden oil. Originally thought to be PCBs, the toxins were soon determined to contain dioxin and dibenzofuran, two of the most dangerous chemicals ever created. The fire was smoky and quickly filled the 18-story building with smoke. As the transformer burned, the soot entered the buildings ventilation shafts and quickly spread toxic soot throughout the building. The building was so badly contaminated that it took 13 years and over $47 million to clean before the building could be reentered or used. Because of the nature of the fire, the building and its contents, including all paper records, computers, and personal effects of the people who worked there, were not recoverable. This type of event would be irrecoverable for many businesses.” – Operations Due Diligence, Published by McGraw Hill

What affect would a catastrophic hurricane that affected an entire region or a localized disruptive event like a fire have on the operation of your business? Could you survive that kind of interruption or loss? As the dependence on on-line data has grown in virtually every type of business, so has the risk that loss of their data could disrupt the operation of the business and even result in its complete failure. In response to these threats, there has been an evolution in the approaches used to mitigate these risks as the volume of on-line data has continued to grow. Originally, the concept of Disaster Recovery (DR) emerged as a mitigation strategy that focused on the recovery of critical data after a disruptive event by giving the business the ability to restore disrupted IT operations.

Disaster Recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures that enable the restoration of critical business data and allows the IT infrastructure to be restored to a prior state. DR was originally seen as the domain of the IT department who were given responsibility for mitigating the risk. To minimize the risk, system backups were scheduled frequently and aggressive DR plans that included server cold start procedures and data backups were implemented.

The goal was to restore the infrastructure to the last point where the data had been backed up (at the time, typically on tape). The acceptable DR practices at the time allowed the IT system to be rebooted when the facility power was finally restored… Unless it was in a flood zone or the off-site backup storage facility had also been impacted. In either case, the operation of the facility could potentially be disrupted for some period of time and the data restoration was also potentially at risk depending on where backups were stored.

Now let’s roll the calendar ahead… As technology evolved so did the Disaster Recovery strategies, which lead to new concepts that evolved to the requirements for a Business Continuity solution as a means of mitigating risk. Still seen as the domain of IT, as technology moved towards solutions like shadow servers, distributed data locations and high speed bulk data transmission with hyper connectivity. Data no longer had to be “recovered”, it just had to be connected in distributed locations where it could be remotely accessed. Business Continuity mitigated the risk of data loss and allowed a business to recover much more quickly and efficiently from a Black Swan event because its servers never went completely down.

Business Continuity originally encompassed planning and preparation to ensure that an organization’s IT infrastructure remained intact enabling the business to efficiently recover to an operational state within a reasonably short period following a Black Swan event. Technology today has evolved towards cloud solutions that put both the data and the applications into remote “cloud” locations so it would seem the IT responsibility for mitigating the risk of on-line data loss or corruption has been solved. With highly connected, fully distributed solutions, some people feel the need for business continuity may be fading in criticality. Nothing could be further from the truth…

The fact is the risk was never solely in the loss of the data but the loss of the businesses ability to operate. There are businesses that cannot tolerate any disruption to their operations. These include healthcare, insurance, and communications companies, critical logistic suppliers, transportation providers and local governments. It is during Black Swan events that the services and products these businesses provide may be most needed. The requirements of other, less critical businesses, whose operations could be interrupted for days or even weeks, but who might face a significant financial risk, may also make their continued operation a matter of corporate survival.

Today’s technology has completely abstracted business processing and data from the user by moving critical IT infrastructures into the cloud. Cloud technology enables users to work from remote locations, but use of the cloud doesn’t fully mitigate operational risk. It means people have now replaced computers as the critical path to continued operations. The operation of the business is more likely to be interrupted because key personnel aren’t prepared to sustain operations during a Black Swan event. They don’t have a facility that has been proactively planned to support operations during disruptive events that could last for hours, days or weeks. Particularly in areas like Florida, where large natural disasters such as hurricanes can disrupt services to entire communities, resilient businesses need to prepare in advance for sustained operations during a disruptive event. The ability of a business to continue its operations during times of distress are a measure of the businesses resiliency.

Business Resiliency: takes business continuity to another level because it makes it the domain of operations management rather than leaving it solely as the domain of the IT Department. When planning for disaster recovery or business continuity the critical link is now the people who are needed to operate critical systems remotely. Yes, there are occasions where staff can work from home or from remote facilities the business may operate, however, this is not always a satisfactory answer and even when it is, businesses often find themselves scrambling to play catch up, trying to figure out who does what and “how can we get it done under these circumstances” situations. During Black Swan events including regional disruptions like hurricanes or local disruptions such as fires, many of the people the business relies on may not have power, internet or even a phone needed to enable them to work from home. Because you can’t put people in the cloud, Business Resiliency requires planning, training and practice so that your staff knows how and when to mobilize.

Resilient businesses integrate Black Swan response into their continuing operations so that, when they are needed, at a time when the business and the people are under stress, everyone knows how to respond efficiently and effectively and where to go to provide that response. Business resiliency requires a dedicated facility that has been hardened to withstand Black Swan events and has been designed to provide the support services the people and the IT infrastructure will both need. Business resiliency requires proactive planning and the integration of operating procedures into the businesses standard operating plans to include remote operations by trained critical staff who have been mobilized to respond during disruptive events and it requires proactive practice to ensure that, when remote operations are needed, the people are ready.

Grandad, What’s a Business?

Grandad, what’s a business? This is a simple question but like many simple questions the answer is a bit more complicated than you might expect. Complicated but easy to understand if you let Grandad explain.

Quite simply, a business is a group of people who are joined together to sell something to bring in money, referred to as “income”.

A business can be very small, even just one person. This small business can have a legal form or the person can just consider himself (or herself) to be “self-employed”. Even a one-man business must bring in enough money to pay for his living costs. Otherwise he will need to get a job in another business or live on social security paid out by the government and that is no fun at all.

The size of business that we meet most often is as small as 2 or 3 up to as many as several hundred. These companies are often referred to as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They normally have a legal status such as “partnership” or “limited company”.

The big beasts in the business jungle can be very large indeed, often with thousands of employees and many millions of pounds income and are usually “Public Limited Companies” (PLCs). All these businesses are important and Grandad will tell you more about all these businesses in the next few days.

Let me tell you now about the money earned by a business, called “income”. This money must be enough to cover what are called costs or “expenditure”. Costs are all the expenses that the business incurs: the materials the business might have bought, rents, wages and money paid to other people. Costs can include a whole lot of other things such as computer cost, telephone bills, insurance, heating, transport etc.

The idea of a business is that income should be more than expenditure, If income is greater than expenditure, the difference is called a “profit”. If income is less than expenditure then the business is said to make a “loss”.

Making a loss is a BAD THING. If losses continue then the business cannot carry on and is said to be bankrupt. The business has no money to pay its bills.

Profit therefore must be a GOOD THING. Not everyone agrees but Grandad will explain as we go on why profit is a VERY GOOD THING.

There is an in-between result which is called “break-even”, which is not a loss and not a profit. Normally a business can survive in a break-even state but it brings problems that we can talk about later.

Grandad has not yet mentioned the greatest contribution that businesses make to all our lives – TAXATION. Businesses are a rich source of TAX, which our government needs to pay for schools, the National Health Service, roads, police, firemen, the Army, Navy and Air Force, old age pensions etc. Our politicians have great ideas on how to spend money but they have no money to spend unless businesses create TAX.

There is a tax called CORPORATION TAX which is charged as a percentage of the profit the business makes. However businesses create tax for the government in many other ways. Everyone who gets wages or a salary from a business pays INCOME TAX and the business pay NATIONAL INSURANCE for each person working for the business. No business, no wages, no income tax, no national insurance. Businesses charge VAT (Value added tax) on most things they sell They pay what they collect (less what VAT they have paid to other businesses) to the government. Owners of a business can take money out of the business in the form of what are called “dividends”: INCOME TAX is paid as a percentage of these dividends. Finally owners can sell a business to somebody else and if they do, they pay CAPITAL GAINS TAX on the sale. If a business buys insurance, it pays INSURANCE TAX. If it buys goods from abroad, it often has to pay TARIFFS to the government.

Corporation Tax, Income Tax, National Insurance, Value Added Tax, Tax on Dividends, Tariffs, Capital Gains Tax all help in paying for things we value such as schools, police, defence and the National Health Service. Without these taxes the government would not have enough money to pay for these things. By the way, businesses also pay COUNCIL TAX which pays for local services such as street cleaning, parks, playgrounds and many other things we take for granted.

Of course, businesses are not created and operated in order to pay taxes. The business is created to make money for the owners and to pay wages for the people working in the business. They will work hard in the business for their own benefit. the tax paid out being an unintended benefit to the rest of us. This raises all sorts of interesting questions that Grandad will talk about another day.

5 Ways To Make Your Business Work Harder for You and Your Family

Many business owners are working so hard at their business that they fail to enjoy the rewards of being the business owner. If you are letting the life of your business overrule the business of living your life, then it is time to begin turning the tides.

Finding ways to make your business work harder for you and your family is the reason we all started our businesses in the first place. If your business is obstructing your efforts to enjoy life with friends and family, this is a problem. We all know a lot of work goes into building a successful business, but if it is consuming all your time, effort and energy… is it worth it?

Why this coordination is important:

Every time you find new ways to help your family benefit from the efforts of your business, your life balance and family life improves.

If your business consumes your entire life and your family life suffers because of it, your spouse and children may actually resent the time that you spend there. Even if it provides a great deal of income, the value of family and social life may be sacrificed.

Make your business help you, your family and your social life. You will be happier, healthier and live a longer more rewarding life.

5 Ways To Consider:

Consider paying children’s education expenses as wages for work

Many small business owners make a good living and have higher than average incomes. This can cause their family to qualify for little to no college financial aid when their children are ready to attend college.

If you are going to have to pay for it anyway, why not pay your children to help out at your small business. Pay them as an employee, contractor or consultant to do work for you and your business.

If you pay them enough to cover their college costs, you will receive a tax deduction for the cost of their college education by deducting their income from your business. They will be responsible for helping out with your business and they may surprise you with how much value they add to the business. New ideas, new technology, a new and different viewpoint might be just what your business needs.

Schedule family vacations around business travel

When a family vacation is something you’re considering, think about coordinating it around a work trip. Do you need to go to conventions, trade shows, seminars or other training for work? If you drive to go to those business activities, your gas mileage is tax-deductible regardless of how many individuals you have in the car with you. Does this conference or training trip require you to stay in a hotel? Your hotel expenses for that night can also be deductible regardless of whether you have your family with you in the room.

Scheduling family vacations around business travel can help make it more manageable. This allows you to enjoy time with your family or friends while also working on your business. Consult with your spouse or family to coordinate the two.

Manage taxable income and year-end purchases to lower tax bracket

Operating and owning a business requires seeing the big picture and planning for the future. Your business will likely need new or updated equipment, computers, other technologies etc. to operate smoothly and efficiently. Be able to forecast these needs.

Here is where you coordinate your tax situation with these needs. If you know you are in need of new equipment, computers, etc. in the near future, look at your taxes. If you are looking at a higher tax bracket for the year you may want to make these necessary equipment purchases sooner than expected. Or you may want to wait until next year. This requires consulting with your business advisor to determine the best option.

Use Retirement Plans

Consider reducing your current income by using a Retirement Plan. Not only will this help you once again for tax purposes, but it’s also helping you and your families future. So many small business owners neglect to put retirement needs on their priority list. Often we hear “my business is my retirement plan.” Putting all of your eggs into one basket can be extremely risky and even dangerous for your future.

You may want to consider adjusting your salary in order to account for contributing to a retirement plan. There are many ways to rearrange things to make it possible to contribute. The tax savings alone can help justify the redirecting of your income into a retirement plan. Be sure to look at all of the different options and scenarios as this will provide further clarity.

Also if you choose to offer your employees a retirement plan, this will help attract quality employees, retain them and allow for an additional tax savings for any company match. You may even be able to take a few days off without worrying about the business functioning without you! Think of how that would allow you more family time. Consult with your financial advisor to clarify your options and the benefits to you, your business and your family.

Consider adding or using a home office arrangement

There are many benefits of utilizing a home office arrangement for you, your business and especially your family. If you’re currently renting or paying for office space it may be feasible to create or use an office space at home. With technology today, working out of the house has become much more functional.

If you’re solely stationed out of your home, this provides for another tax benefit. You are able to write off the portion of your mortgage that accounts for the square footage of your home office. Also any improvement expenses, internet expenses, utility expenses or taxes that are directly related to your home office may also be deductions. Finding ways to cut taxes is crucial for a small business owner.

If your line of work makes it unable to be based completely out of your house, even just working a day or two from home will allow you to spend more time around your family and add some flexibility to your work schedule.

Your Challenge:

Here are 5 ways to help your business work hard for you and your family. Share your ideas with your spouse, children and business advisers. In every case that we have executed these strategies properly, the rewards were three-fold. Family life improved, your work-life balance improved, and the business also benefited.

You’ve worked too hard to get your business to where it’s at… It’s time your business returned the favor!

How to Evaluate the Performance of Your Company Based on Your Business Plan

A business plan is one of the most important documents that is needed for the betterment of the business. It includes all the need to know strategies, marketing techniques, sales techniques and financial forecasting methods that will be used to increase profits and revenue of the business. However, writing a business plan is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and concentration and is one of the biggest responsibilities that will be undertaken. For this crucial task there are dedicated people called business plan consultants. They will be the people who take the ideas that the entrepreneur has and converts it into a document that will be viewable by the whole world. Since this is a very big responsibility business plan consultant fee is a bit high. There are many factors that affect a good business plan and a great business plan will help the business clarify the business idea, identify potential problems in the business, find out objectives of the business and monitor the progress of the business. Since this is a very important document it is vital to keep a keen eye on the following factors when writing the business plan.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the highlight and the brief description of the entire business. This has to be highly detailed but short enough so that a potential investor is able to read and understand the status of the business. It does not mean that it has to be limited to one or two pages.

The executive summary will include the highlight of the business concept which will describe about the product or service and the market that they are being offered. Then there are the financial features which talks about all the sales, profits, return on investment and cash flow. Then the summary has to mention about the financial requirement that is need to invest in the business and talk about the capital and how to expand the business. The current position of the business will be stating about the business’s present state and how it got here. Finally, the major achievements of the business is needed to be mentioned so that the potential investors could be impressed by the achievement that the business has done.

Business Description

The business description is about the details of the business. This should not be a highlight about the entire business like the executive summary but the in depth analysis of the business. The description has to start with a short introduction which states about the past, present and future of the industry. Here you should mention about the markets that the business will be interacting with and the future market places that business will be willing to interact with. The products or services that the business is still developing should be thoroughly discussed here so that the potential investors who have got an idea and are willing to invest in the business can get a thorough knowledge about it.

The structure of the business has to be described in the business description. The hierarchy of the business and the business places should be described in detail. The legal considerations of the business should be thoroughly stated so that there is clarity for everyone.

Market Strategies

When developing the market strategies there has to be a lot of market research done on the market place. This will give the business entrepreneur a very good idea about the potential market and how he can use the market to increase the profits of the business. After observing the market the company will be in a position to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the business and will be able to develop a system in order to identify the potential opportunities and threats. These studies will also be able to develop strategies to forecast the market place’s prices and when to supply more goods and services. These has to be clearly mentioned in the business plan so that these strategies can be used when necessary.

Pricing and Distribution

The process of pricing and distribution has to be clearly detailed in the business plan. The descriptions about all the prices must be mentioned in detail in this section. How the business can lower the prices when necessary and how t react to the fluctuating prices has to be mentioned in detail. The process of distribution of the products until it reaches the hands of the customer has to be clearly stated.

Competitive analysis

The potential competition in the market place has to be studied and noted down in detail for the writing of a good business plan. Here all the strength and weaknesses of the competition should be monitored and noted down. This will be very helpful in countering to the completion which will be vital for the success of the business.