Category Archives: Business

Keys to Securing Market Intelligence

If you are responsible for managing investments or financial portfolios the value of industry expertise and market intelligence cannot be understated.Many fund managers, investment brokers, private equity firms, and private placement organizations, both large and small, possess either in-house expertise or utilize the services of industry advisors to provide and augment insight into the markets and players that is not often found though traditional research. Many national expertise firms exist to provide platforms for analysts and fund managers to tap into this knowledge base and gain the information necessary to fill in the gaps and enhance their understanding of the industries and companies in which they have holdings or seek to make entry.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Another useful and beneficial tactic used by many investment firms is to maintain a list of qualified industry experts that can be called upon when needed. Many competent firms specialize in particular industries and even geographies to provide expedited and very relevant information for a simple phone consultation or can be retained for specific periods of time. The firm’s information is typically retained in-house for the primary markets and industries that pertain to the investment profile of their firm and clientele.While there are reams of information available online, much of it will require extensive investigation and vetting in order to be considered valuable. The sourcing of much of this information is provided from companies that have not actively participated in these markets and is oftentimes derived from the review of financial statements and resources available in the public domain. Some also conduct industry surveys and generate reports that are available for purchase.The other factor in online research is time. As we all know, timing is critical and the sooner you can have confidence in the information you possess, the greater the opportunity for success and more responsive your investment decisions can be.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
When it comes to investment decisions it is often wiser to seek council from those with a first-hand exposure to the specific industry in question. The information can typically include insights on competitive pressure, company leadership, pricing, market share, strategic advantages, new products in development, expansion estimates, industry and company exposures, and of course provide confidence and verification of going forward estimates and projections made by the company.In today’s economy knowledge is king, and the information you need to make the best decisions possible is readily available to support your company and your customers.

Business Cost Savings Through Safety

Business Cost Savings Through Safety

Setting a health and safety program in place will reduce costs. Having a program will reduce accidents and will lead to lower company worker’s comp premiums; further business insurance companies prefer their customers to have health and safety programs. These insurance companies might even discount the premium if a program can be proved to exist. The average cost of an accident is $68,000. Direct costs in accidents such as worker’s comp and fines levied can close a business. Indirect costs such as low morale of employees, legal fees, and retraining can be as costly if not more.

A working program will:
1) Improve employee morale – Shows care in their well being
2) Reduce revenue loses – Fewer accidents keeps all employees at work
3) Give a boost to the customer – Makes sure business is operating optimally

Small businesses that have a voluntary health and safety program in place have fifty percent less accidents and reported insurance claims than that of their counterparts according to OHSA stats. Most small businesses fall below the legal requirements for having a formal health and safety program in place due to number of employees on staff. Sixty eight percent of reported accidents are in the service industry which shows even businesses such as retail establishments are not free of accidents.

A health and safety program can be started by writing a health and safety policy; this is simply values that a company wishes to convey in its work processes. Secondly, is how communication between all employees and owners will function. And lastly, put procedures in place to ensure safe practices.

To find unseen hazards and unsafe practices, an audit needs to take place. Take a hard look at the workplace and record all factors that may lead to injury. These hazards might be dangerous chemicals or as simple as a letter opener. Identifying these hazards will lead to procedures to controlling them. Controls such as “Don’t run with scissors in your hands” are effective. Write all procedures in a manual.

Implementing these health and safety procedures will be done with behavioral change. Some programs become weak and non effective because of:
1) No definition of safety practices – No written processes
2) No teamwork – Safety is communication from the top to bottom and vice versa. A well written plan will describe what roles everyone plays in safety policies.
3) No effective goals – The “accident free days” poster will come as a result of sound safety processes.
4) Wrong incentives – Money as a reward does not work well. Health and safety should be fun and worth employees effort. The right incentive plan can be cost effective and have obtainable goals. Incentive plans can include movie passes or simply “free coffee on the boss.” The insurance industry reports for a dollar spent on health and safety yields four to six dollars in savings.

Once all of the hard work of developing and implementing the health and safety program is done, set aside some time each month to review the workplace. Record what is found; this is a good practice to see dangerous trends that might occur such as a fire exit constantly being blocked. On the quarters of the year post a meeting with employees. These meetings are a great way to get vital feed-back from employees and keep them involved. At least once a year, do an audit to make sure your health and safety program is current with present business operations.

Competing With Color Levels The Playing Field

According to the United States Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers. There are an estimated 22 million small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. today. Such companies are constantly challenged with the need to create a huge impact in a noisy marketplace with a limited budget.

Today, affordable imaging and printing technology makes it possible to build an in-house marketing program. In fact, Revival Lighting, a vintage lighting fixtures company in Spokane, Wash., cut the cost of producing marketing materials 90 percent when they brought marketing in-house. In addition, because marketing materials can age quickly and frequently need updating, companies with the flexibility to respond on the fly will impress customers while reducing costs.

Color has become an effective, even necessary tool in marketing materials. According to a study by Loyola College in Maryland, using color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

Bold and multicolored designs can impact people’s moods. Environmental green is considered hip and has taken on new, positive associations, while the combination of blue and floral reds has been found to evoke vintage designs and heritage, according to a 2005 study by The Color Association of the U.S.

In addition to printing materials in-house, SMBs should take advantage of inexpensive and often free marketing services that are available on the Web. For example, HP hosts an in-house-marketing portal for entrepreneurs and SMBs. It contains case studies, how-to seminars and other free tools and information, including over 200 free marketing templates ranging from brochures to an image library.

Blogs-online journals or newsletters intended for general public consumption-are another great tool for learning more about how to use color and create marketing materials in-house. To save time and money, SMB marketing guru John Jantsch, who maintains the popular blog Duct Tape Marketing, recommends that businesses create a marketing kit describing you, your company, services provided and what sets your business apart from the rest.

To improve marketing effectiveness on a shoestring budget, bring it in-house, remember to use color, take advantage of free services and seek out expert advice.

How To Find Your Dream Apartment For Rent Online

Finding the perfect apartment for rent online is not an easy task. In fact, most people who don’t own their homes dread the task of finding an apartment that they will be happy with. The Internet is sometimes full of lies and half-truths, which is why it’s important that you find out more about your potential rental.Compile A ListStart the apartment for rent search by compiling a list of apartments that you would be interested in renting. The Internet offers a wealth of search engines for this arduous task, and it is important you don’t leave out any possibilities. Some of the best rentals are actually listed by private landlords or small management companies. Make use of lesser-known websites to dig up those diamonds in the rough.

Read The Proper ReviewsAfter compiling a long list, it’s time to cut down on the contenders. The best way to do this is to read reviews of your potential apartment for rent. Use several websites to read reviews from. It is important that you get a good idea of what to expect from a certain management company. Keep in mind, not all rentals will have reviews about them online, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the place is good.Take all reviews with a grain of salt. Everyone is different, and what may have been a nightmare for someone’s expectations, may not be for you. After reading several reviews, consider what are common problems they have all discussed. For example, many reviews mention that local residents smoke in the alley; it is safe to say most residents are smokers.Get To Know The NeighborhoodIt is crucial that you rent an apartment that is in a neighborhood that fits your needs. If you need work or you like the nightlife, choose an area with restaurants, clubs and shopping centers nearby. It helps to use Google Earth to get a feel for the place, but once again don’t base your entire opinion of a place on online screenshots. Places often look different from what you see online.Crime And TrafficMake sure you check out the crime rate in your potential area. There are some crimes that are annoying, but if you choose an area with a high crime rate, it can become a life threatening problem. Most counties and cities publish their crime rate reports online for free public viewing.

Traffic is something else that you need to be aware of. It isn’t enough to just visit the apartment in person. Even if it’s located next to a freeway, it doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be constant traffic jams. Use Google Maps to view the traffic real-time or at a certain time.It is important that you end up renting an apartment that fits your needs and lifestyle. It is not easy to point at a listing and assume that it is everything you want it to be. There are many aspects of apartment renting that you need to consider before settling down.

Finding an Apartment for Rent: Not a Daunting Task Anymore

In the hierarchy of human needs housing stands at third position after satisfying the needs of healthy food and suitable clothing, because house is the place where a person relaxes according to his desires without any restrictions. Therefore, when it comes to construction of the personal house a person doesn’t leave any stone unturned in furnishing his house with all necessary contemporary accessories.But, what about the persons who are compelled to live in a rented house, how these people can furnish their houses to enjoy the complete relaxation at their home after having working schedule at their workplace? Because these people have to literally rely on the facilities offered by their landlord and they cannot make any type of change in their place and are bound to adjust with the limited facilities.Interestingly, all these problems in today’s scenario have become the folklores and now even you can enjoy the pleasure of relaxing in the rented an apartment in the same way as you can enjoy in your personal house. Today, trend of searching for rented apartment through local newspapers or through references has become an obsolete method of searching an apartment, now days there are various real estate agencies that will help you in tracking the apartments for rent according to your requirements. These agencies have the listed of registered apartments available for rent with them and on your request they can help you in getting an apartment on rent depending upon the budget available with you.

But, now you might question about the authenticity of these real estate agencies, especially about their higher service charges and condition of the apartments they provide for your residential purpose. If this is so, then you are at an edge of doing mistake, because the charges of these agencies are dependent upon the type of service required by you. This in-fact is my personal experience as almost a year back, I also had to undergo the same situation of finding a suitable accommodation for myself when last year as my the part of my job responsibility I was transferred to Adelaide from home town Brisbane.Anyhow, before sharing my experience, let me ask you a question that, Do you also feel that locating at a new place is always a daunting and scary task, especially in some new city? This question I am asking you, because last year I had to locate myself in one of the rented apartment due to my job. Although the distance between both these cities is about six hours or so, but as I had never been away from my apartment for a day travel of these six hours was not less than travelling to space.The next big problem in front of me was finding an apartment for myself, although my company had granted me the housing allowance, but responsibility of finding a suitable apartment for my living was on my shoulder. Fortunately, one of my colleagues who had also faced the same situation suggested me to search for apartment for rent through online sources, because in the current era when all activities move around internet searching apartments for rent in Adelaide was not a difficult task.An interesting feature which I realized while surfing the portals of these real estate agencies is that they facilitate you to place the type of property you want to rent in and do not pressurize you to live in the apartment suggested by them. Moving ahead the experts of these agencies will let you visit the place before finalizing the deal with the property owner, moreover the experts of these agencies will help you in getting the formalities associated with renting an apartment accomplished according to the rules and regulations prevailing specific region. One more interesting feature about the portals of these agencies is that they have the pictures of properties available for rent with them from both exterior and interior, thus making it easier for you to at-least estimate the condition of the place you are going to live in.

Postscript: As visiting a new place during vacation is an exciting activity, locating at new place has been just opposite to it. Because when you visit any new during vacation you just stay in some renowned hotel and return back to your city after three-four days, but when you locate to some unknown city for a long time you need to get yourself prepared according to its lifestyle. Moreover, as you are new to the city you are also unaware about the road and transport facilities which, along with the tension of finding a suitable apartment for rent enhances the series of problems you to have cope with.But as a friend in need is a true friend indeed by browsing the different website you can search an appropriate apartment provided to you by some established real estate agency.

Buy a Small Business in the UK

Looking for a serious investment opportunity? You may want to consider buying a small business in the United Kingdom. There are several ways to turn a good profit in small business, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you are looking for an investment opportunity, especially if you are an investor from the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.

Any investment opportunity naturally comes with some risk. Foreign investors will need to calculate an additional variable when figuring up the possible amount of profit margin, loss ,and potential for both, as well as the exchange rate. How well is your currency doing against the British Pound? Be sure to include some “wiggle room” in your budgeting for fluctuations in the exchange rate.

For those already living in the UK, concerns such as taxation and local regulation are familiar topics. To those in overseas locations, it’s important to look up the laws of the land pertaining to your type of business, the taxes for which you will be liable, and how to properly account for them. This may seem elementary to those with experience in putting money into an overseas investment opportunity, but for the first-time investor in a UK small business, there are many laws and policies that might surprise you. The key is to do your homework, get the advice of a good UK legal expert, and be prepared for a new and different way of doing business.

If you want to buy a small business in the UK, it’s good to do a bit of research into the type of business you want to use as an investment opportunity. Are there ways that you can expand the business onto the Internet? Can the Internet be a help to you in increasing sales, market visibility, or media awareness? All of these factors are important to keep in mind. The most successful small businesses are the ones whose owners know how to take advantage of the Internet, while still meeting local needs and demands with speed and precision. It’s not so different than doing business anywhere else in the Western world. It’s important to understand how the buyers in your area of the UK respond to and utilize the Internet when it comes to commerce.

You’ll also want to give your competing businesses a good hard look to see how they are using the Internet. Are you thinking of investing in an already crowded market? If so, you’ll need some fresh ideas to give your version of the business a new approach so that you can set it apart from the competition.

A UK investment opportunity in small business may bring some unexpected surprises if you are considering investing in a “rising star” business. For example, twenty years ago, nobody had ever heard of a “cyber café”. Today, cities are full of places that offer Internet services, games, coffee, and more for a price. This concept has become a very important part of many communities. Those who took the initial risk a few years ago, putting money in what they saw as a good investment opportunity, are reaping their rewards today.

Those who buy a small business in the UK often find that the investment opportunity is well worth the risks. With some research, a bit of financial planning, and the expert advice of a UK legal advisor, you can turn a potential opportunity into a major success. If you are living in America, Canada, or elsewhere,

Bylaws – The Guts of a Corporation

Most states make forming a corporation relatively painless by providing forms for practically everything. The bylaws of the corporation, however, are an area you don’t want to rely on a form.

What Are Bylaws?

Bylaws are the technical rules that govern how a corporation will be run. They are a private document for the corporation and are not filed with any government entity. The purpose of the bylaws is to set out how things such as meetings, voting and share transfer will occur with the business.

Provisions

Typically, the bylaws will be the biggest document in your corporate book. If you are a single shareholder entity, they tend to be fairly straightforward since there isn’t really any dispute possibility unless you have a split personality. If there are two or more shareholders, however, the document is going to be a key item because it is going to detail voting rights and so on.

Typically, the bylaws of a corporation will cover the following specific issues:

1. Board of Director Meetings – When, where and how meetings will be conducted.

2. Notice of Meetings – The form, time and how notice must be given to board members.

3. Quorums – Before a board can issue resolutions on corporate business, a certain percentage of board members must be present. This “Quorom” is set out in the bylaws.

4. Annual Meetings – The bylaws typically detail when and where the annual meeting of the entity will occur.

5. Special Meetings – The process by which special board meetings may be called when an issue arises that requires the immediate attention of the board.

6. Voting Rights – Language detailing the voting rights of shareholders and board members in relation to passing or defeating resolutions.

7. Share Transfer Rights – Language detailing share transfer issues such as right of first refusal and so on.

8. Directors – Language detailing how many board members there will be, the length of their term, compensation, etc.

9. Amendment – The process by which the bylaws can be amended to reflect the evolution of the business.

10. Removal – Language detailing when and how a board member can be involuntarily removed.

There are numerous other provisions that can and probably should go into the bylaws of a corporation. Make sure to discuss them with your attorney.

Can accounts receivable factoring help your business grow?

Are you stuck with great but slow paying clients? It is interesting how your biggest asset (great clients) can also be your biggest liability. But that is how business is. And as an owner you must adapt.

Whether you like it or not, slow paying customers are here to stay. As a rule of thumb, commercial clients pay their bills in 30 to 60 days. And lately, the trend has been deteriorating. So, what do you do if you have slow paying receivables.

Many owners try to go to the bank to get a business loan. Not surprisingly, few business owners get business loans. As a rule, banks will only finance companies that have long and established histories. This is not your case if your company is new or emerging from tough times.

If your biggest challenge is that you cannot afford to wait up to 60 days to get paid by your customers, then the solution is accounts receivable factoring. Most commonly known as factoring, this type of financing eliminates the usual wait to get paid. It provides you with the necessary funds to pay suppliers, meet payroll and take on new business opportunities.

And how does factoring work? Simple:

1. You finish the work and send an invoice to your client. You also send a copy to the accounts receivable factoring company.
2. The financing company advances you 70% to 90% of the invoice (a small reserve is held to handle disputes, etc.)
3. You get the funds in 24 hours
4. As soon the customer pays the invoice to the financing company, they rebate the reserve (less a small fee)

As you can see, accounts receivable factoring can easily be integrated into your business, providing you with prompt invoice payments. Usually, funds are advanced within 24 hours of submitting invoices.

Accounts receivable factoring is easy to qualify for. Accounts can be set up in as little as 4 business days. As opposed to business loans, the main requirement for factoring is to do business with strong credit worthy customers. So if you do business with good commercial clients (or the government), be sure to add factoring to your business tool chest.

Cash Flow Planning for Solo Professionals

You’ve heard it a million times – cash flow can make or break a business. Lack of cash flow planning is the reason why many businesses fail. In fact, many PROFITABLE businesses fail because of cash flow issues. Without adequate cash flow, you can’t pay your bills and you can’t make plans for your business.

So… what is cash flow planning? Cash flow planning is projecting your future cash inflows from sales, services, and loans, and comparing them to your future cash flow needs (suppliers, salaries/wages, loan payments, taxes, etc.). The difference between the two is your net cash flow.

Why is cash flow planning so important? Cash flow planning can help you identify problems down the road, and fix them before they occur. Cash flow planning can also help you make decisions such as should I attend that conference I’ve wanted to attend, should I buy the new computer I’ve been wanting, or do I need to work extra hard this month to avoid a cash flow deficiency next month?

The first step in planning your cash flow is knowing where you spend your money! Solo entrepreneurs need to have a good grip on both their personal and business spending, as most solo entrepreneurs rely on their business income to meet personal finance goals (i.e., pay the bills!). So, you should track both your personal and your business spending, although I recommend that you keep them separate (that’s a topic all by itself).

What’s the best way to track your spending? You can use pen & paper, spreadsheets or a software program. The best method for you is the method that you will actually use on a regular basis.

You should project your spending for at least the next 12 months so that you include annual and other periodic expenses. If you are experiencing a cash flow crisis, you should track & project your cash flow on a weekly basis, instead of monthly.

If you are an existing business, you can project your cash flow for the next year by reviewing your expenses for last year. If you are a new business, you will need to estimate your start up costs in addition to regular operating expenses.

Start up costs include inventory, legal expenses, advertising, licenses & permits, supplies, and many more costs that you may not have thought of. To research startup costs you should contact your local Small Business Development Center, contact a SCORE counselor, join groups of similar business owners, and read as many books or articles you can find on the subject.

To improve your cash flow, you should:

1. Complete the first 3 steps. You have to understand cash flow planning, track your cash flow, and project your future spending needs before you can improve your cash flow.

2. Create best and worst case scenarios and create appropriate responses to both scenarios. For example, if your best case scenario is to increase sales by 50%, how will you use the profits? Will you put the profits back into the company by investing in new equipment, training, etc.? If your worst case scenario is a drop in sales by 50%, how will you continue to cover your monthly expenses? By planning for the best and worst case scenarios, you’ll be ready for any situation.

3. When estimating your future income, realize that some people will pay late, and account for that fact in your projection.

4. Charge what you’re worth. Many businesses, especially service professionals, under-charge when they are first starting out. This is a great way to go out of business. Make sure you are charging what you’re worth, and remember you’re in business to make money, not to give your expertise away for free.

5. Watch your business spending. Focus on the value the item brings to your business, and avoid lavish spending (i.e., do you really need the fastest, newest computer available?).

6. Don’t hire until necessary. Consider using virtual assistants or temporary employees before hiring permanent employees.

7. Give incentives for early payment for products and services. On the flip side, chase down invoices the minute they’re late. Charge interest or late fees to encourage timely payments.

8. Update your cash flow regularly. Your cash flow plan will change frequently as your business grows. You may want to update your cash flow plan weekly when you first get started, then switch to monthly once you’ve got a good handle on your cash flow.

Remember – whether you are a new or growing business, your cash flow projection can make the difference between success and failure.

Chemical etching – An innovative process for your all nameplate requirements

Chemical etching is a skilled practice of engraving your brand name on a nameplate. Texas Nameplate Company etches your emblem directly or indirectly on the metallic or non-metallic base and makes it more pliable to any lacerations. Chemical etching can be a substitute for embossing. The chemical etched nameplates are made by masking certain areas of metal by acid resistant material and then taking off desired amount of exposed material by acid. Widely custom name plates are etched on aluminum, stainless steel, brass, alloys etc and then baked after stuffing with varnishes for a perfect finish. The depth of industrial name plates etching varies from 0.0015 to 0.003 inches, depending on the height and stroke of letters and the type of metal or alloy. Along with chemicals gas and electric processes can also etch these wide ranges of metals.

Etching, also termed as ‘milling’ is of different types like laser etching, abrasive etching in which abrasives are used, photo chemical etching which is quite inexpensive and a high quality etching method. Photo chemically etched metals thus produced can be used as cost effective name tags, custom labels, panel boards, personalized name tags, industrial name plates for commercial uses and personalized name plate. Electro etching in which electric current is used instead of chemicals, dry etching does not use chemicals at all, Reactive ion etching which uses electric circuits and gas having chlorine or fluorine as iodized particles and vapor phase etching which also make use of reactive gases and many others to add to the list.

Chemical etching is preferred for practical applications and product identification tag. Name Tags made by chemical etching are durable items, which withstand even the harsh surroundings. Chemical etching makes your custom name tags withstand toughest
environments, high temperatures and extreme outdoor conditions. Thus solve your purpose year after year. Texas Nameplate Company compliments the etching with screen-printing to avoid splitting or other form of wear and tear. Various adhesives are also added to etched metal name tags according to your specifications for pasting or welding. You can use our chemical etching nameplates on truck, tankers and trailer, control panels, dials and gauges of aircrafts, asset and property plates; and operating and warning signs for numerous electronics, military vehicles, and machinery etc. Chemical etching is also used to create stencils for commercial art and woodworks.

You can always depend upon TNC for any queries regarding the etching of your nameplates and sort out material suiting your specific requirements.