Understanding Your Business – A Feasibility Analysis

Every business is unique. There is no single set of rules that apply to all. The challenge to survive and grow that business is a function of its market, its customer base, its competitors and its resources. Only by understanding where opportunities may lie for supporting, growing and expanding opportunities will the business be able to meet and overcome the enormous challenges that exist today.

(While understanding the competition is of extreme importance, it is beyond the purview of this article.)

Understanding the overall picture is vital. You need to understand your consumer and his relation to your product or service. What is the ‘value proposition’ that your product or service offers your customer?

Regardless of the type of product or service you offer, a major determinant of the success of your business will be the price you set. Price must cover the costs of production including overhead. To lower prices, you must lower your costs, so you must know the real costs of running your business.

The first step is to gain a thorough understanding of the internal workings of your business–you need to understand your critical business processes–all of the activities that are essential to providing quality products and services.

Work to understand your culture, processes, and technology. Start by analyzing your business using a process map to identify your bottlenecks and delays. Identify the activity owner of each business function. This is generally a manager or supervisor with overall responsibility for a particular business unit.

Rank the importance of each process as it impacts the performance of the business. The aim is to identify where the flow slows within your business. By documenting and analysing every interface between departments you will ensure that all business problems are addressed and reduce the risk of eliminating the benefits of existing processes.

Determine how effective the accounting procedures are in monitoring all your financial activities. Out of date or poorly prepared records can actually hinder the growth of your business. Evaluate how computers and software can improve efficiency.

Understanding your business inside and out will give you much better operational control. It will enable you to determine what processes and procedures need to be eliminated or added to ensure your survival and prosperity.

Understanding your business, and understanding what the risks are and what changes you have to make will be the key to whether the business succeeds or fails.

Laws Involved Around Small Businesses

Many people think because they have a small business they can’t benefit from the counsel and advice of an experienced business attorney. An experienced lawyer can easily help a small business owner avoid unnecessary litigation and if necessary have the best outcome for the case.

A business should always do things to protect themselves from lawsuits and its personal from business and personal liability. To avoid those kinds of situations the business should have a complete business liability policy available in place, and as well a company procedures and policies, like an employee book. Most  lawyers should be able to provide assistance with developing procedures, policies, and handbooks.

A small Business Attorney Can Help Resolve Your Dispute

A small business is an enterprise generally with less than 100 employees. It is usually a closely held corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship acting under small business law regulated by the government. In terms of ownership, only a few stockholders own or hold the shares of a closely held corporation. In contrast, partnerships involve two or more persons who agree to go into business together as co-owners. And a sole proprietorship is a business operated by a single owner with no separate legal entity for holding or operating the business, including the liability of the owner for the debts.

Most business law firms has the type of strategic, aggressive, and experienced business lawyers you need to best represent your business law matter. The entrepreneurial spirit translates into willingness and ability to craft attorney-client relationships that better suit the clients’ needs and make economic sense.

If you have a small business don’t hesitate in hiring an experienced law firm to protect you and your business. There are people out there ready to file a lawsuit against you or your business for the minimum issue they can find. For example, in the year 1994 the  famous chain food restaurant McDonald’s lost a lawsuit against a 79 years-old that claimed had spilled hot coffee on her lap. McDonald’s ended up paying a ridiculous sum of $2.86 million regarding this lawsuit.

Business Insider,a famous website that write about news related to legal issues, create an article entitled “Ten Ridiculous Lawsuits Against Big Business”. Click here to read it.

Online Network Marketing – Home Business For Baby Boomers

The time is right for baby boomers to embrace their new home business. The baby boomers have been a major force to be reckoned with ever since the first one was born in 1946 and until the last one came along in 1964. If you were born during this time period, then you are a baby boomer. There are about 80 million of us and we represent about one third of the U.S. population. It’s estimated that we control 65% of the money.

If you were in the right industry (or picked the right stock) as the wave of boomers grew, then you could have enjoyed a ripe harvest. While the first wave may be retiring, the rest of us need to make sure that we are positioned correctly to enjoy our turn when the time comes.

Year of the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur magazine says that 2010 is the year of the entrepreneur. And I want to challenge you to claim your spot as a new home business owner. Are you ready to stretch and grow into a business model that’s a perfect fit? We have tons of experience and a lot to offer. Have you ever thought about starting your own business? If you genuinely want to help people, a home based business works well because you can start it part-time with less than $1,000.

What would it be like being the boss? Would you work harder for yourself than you have for your employer? Are you ready to start building the life you see when you close your eyes and dream? We were taught to go to school, get a good job, work hard, and then retire to do the things we always wanted to do. How is that working out for you? The old way is broken and doesn’t work anymore. Putting your future in your boss’ hands just doesn’t make sense – emotionally or financially.

Four Keys to the Right Business

But how do you decide to start a business? What should you consider before you begin your new enterprise? Let me give you four essential keys to help put the odds in your favor. There’s nothing fancy or mysterious about them. They are just common sense.

1. The first key is to look for a market that is growing. Being part of the baby boom generation, you’ve had a huge impact on markets throughout your life. Ask yourself, ‘What is important in your life, right now?’ What kinds of products and services will you be looking for and buying over the next ten to fifteen years?
2. The second key is to look for something that is purchased over and over again. If you market a product or service that is used rarely or doesn’t run out, then your next paycheck will depend on finding a new customer. If you offer a widget that gets used up on a regular basis, you will build up a steady clientele that will buy from you on a consistent basis. Which would you rather have?
3. The third key is finding a product that cannot be purchased just anywhere. Most commonly available products are purchased on either convenience or price. People will pay more for something if it’s something they need right away and they don’t want to run all over town to get it (e.g., convenience stores). If price is important to them, then they will buy what they need at the lowest cost (e.g., Walmart). You want to make sure that you are not competing on either of these levels.
4. The fourth key is to find a business model that allows you to leverage the efforts of other people. There are only so many hours in each day. If you are the sole worker in your business, then your business will grow only as fast as eight hours each day will allow. However, if you train others to build their business inside of yours, then you will benefit from the efforts of others in addition to your own.

Carpe Diem

The time is now. It’s important to understand the four keys to choosing the right business in order to set yourself up for success. Decide today that this will be your year. Isn’t it time for you and your family to win? Seize the day and create long lasting prosperity in your home business today.

The 3 Essential Documents Needed to Start Any Business

Starting a business can be a risky undertaking. They can be full of missteps, starts and stops and disappointments. To ensure that you start off on the right footing, there are three documents that will create your ventures foundation. Without them, it will be hard to be successful. These three pieces will take some time to get right. Iterating on them will codify your idea. This creation and iteration process will make your venture much more likely to succeed.

Step 1: The Pitch

The first document is your pitch. This is usually done in some presentation tool like NeoOffice or Keynote or Powerpoint. It should be the first document you create since it outlines your venture.

The importance of the pitch is that it allows you craft a story for your business. It’s what Angels and Venture Capitalists will want to see when they meet you. A good pitch is not a wordy, 12 point font business plan in Power Point but a high level vision of what you want to do. Refining your pitch will strengthen your story. Refining your pitch delivery will make your idea come alive.

Step 2: The Financial Model

Once you have outlined your idea, you need to figure out if it will actually make money. I know, sounds shallow and all corporate but it’s the truth. There is no point in spending a ton of time on your business idea unless it feeds you.

The financial model is meant to cull through your assumptions about income and expenses. Getting these all down will help you refine your pitch and executive summary. Since this is an iterative process, don’t worry about getting everything perfect right away. Just get something down you can play with. If you are unsure about an expense, put it in anyway. It’s much better to over estimate a little than to undershoot. The same applies for income (or sales).

Step 3: The Executive Summary

The executive summary is critical to getting that first meeting with investors. It’s the first thing they will ask for (the pitch might be second). It needs to stand-a-lone as the best possible high level overview of what you do. Each word, each phrase and each number has to do useful work. It has to be clear, concise and easy to read. Think of it as your ventures infomercial.

Step 4: Iterate

Getting all three pieces right will take some iteration. These iterations will anneal all three into a cohesive set. The best way to iterate is to practice your pitch in front of your team and others you trust. Have them act as investors and critique your delivery and message. These sessions will show you where your idea needs more work. Any area where you have to give long explanations or stumble over words, needs to be refined. Stumbles during the warm-up will tend to get worst when nerves get the best of you when in front of investors. Practicing will make that a whole lot better.

What About A Business Plan?

Business plans are an important component of your venture but not the end all, be all. Solid business plans start with the three documents above. They lay the foundation for how your plan will be structured. It’s important to flush out the high level idea before you dive into the business plan details. In most cases, your original idea will morph into something different. Waiting for the morphing to stop will save you time and effort.

Some funding sources don’t even want to see a business plan (Ventures and Angels). What they will want is a verbal description of your venture along with specific plans (like technology road maps or market roll out). Just because you don’t do a formal plan does not mean you don’t have to do the work. Knowing your business inside and out will instill in the investor that you are the right person to make it successful. Skimping on that will never get you funded.