Showing posts with label business magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business magazine. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Five Things You Should Know Before Starting A Business

Own your name. Make sure the company name you choose is one with an available trademark and Internet domain name. To see if a trademark is available, you can do a trademark search online through the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website. Failure to properly obtain a trademark could put your fledgling business at risk -- not to mention that the time and money you have invested in establishing your business name could go to waste if someone else owns the trademark. Don't assume your new business name is not trademarked because you were unsuccessful finding such name on the Internet, either. Someone could have used the name for a business that closed, or filed a trademark and never used it.

Get in with the law. Understand what regulations, licenses and taxes you will need to follow, obtain and pay for your new business. After doing some initial research on your own, consult with a lawyer and accountant to confirm your understanding and to help structure your business to be in compliance with the law. Generally speaking, you will need to need to (i) ensure you are charging the correct amount of tax your service or product that your business is promoting, if applicable and (ii) obtain all of the proper licenses needed to run your new business, at a minimum. Establishing a successful business is hard enough. The last thing you need is some technical legality or administrative detail to stand in the way of your success.

How much do you need to live? When working on your business plan, do not forget about the most important factor: YOU. You need to take into account your living costs. Rent, mortgages, and health insurance -- these are all things that don’t pay for themselves. You will most likely need to cut out all the unnecessary extras you can live without. Make sure you account for unforeseen or unexpected expenses by factoring a little flexibility into your budget for those “just-in-case” moments. You might even consider taking a part-time job until things pick up with your new venture and speak to a financial planner to help you budget yourself properly.
Where are you in your life? Starting a new business takes brains, bravery, and what will seem to be endless hours of hard work. When you own your own company, there is always something that has to get done. You will most likely find yourself working at least 60-80 hours a week for the first two years. With that said, I’ll ask you one very important question: Are you ready to give up your personal life for the next three years?
Don’t over -- or under -- spend. Starting a business can be incredibly financially taxing on you and your family. You will need to learn where and when to spend. It’s important not to waste those precious seed dollars but it’s equally important to spend where necessary. In any business, you often have to spend money to make money. Don’t skimp out on things your company needs. For example, it may be worth it to put $1500 in an online vendor listing, but it may not be necessary to give every new customer a $15 mug. Be sure to keep up with technology too -- there are many time-saving programs and apps (including free or inexpensive ones) that can help you keep track of it all, and as we all know, “time is money."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Does your business know how to comply with the Modern Slavery Act?

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced by the UK government last autumn in a bid to eradicate illegal slavery from the country's supply chains.

Under the legislation, buyers found to be enabling modern slavery to take place in their supply chains can face significant financial penalties, alongside potentially irreparable reputational damage. This means that supply chain visibility is essential.

Modern slavery prevalence

According to research carried out by the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability at Hult International Business School, 71 per cent of companies believe it is likely that modern slavery is present somewhere within their supply chains. Andrew Wallis, CEO of Unseen, commented at the LUPC & SUPC Conference that procurement professionals concerned about complying with the law on supply chain transparency should not be afraid of finding slavery.

With many believing it's probable that illegal workers are employed in their supply chains, it is clear that action needs to be taken to improve supply chain transparency and demonstrate actions to address the end this practice for good.

The Modern Slavery Act requires buying organisations with an annual turnover of £36 million or over to provide regular reports on the presence, or lack of, illegal working in their supply chains to demonstrate their compliance with the legislation to the UK government.

However, recent research has shown that the initial introduction of the Act has so far failed to have the intended impact.

Compliance among buyers

Earlier this year, the CORE Coalition and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre found that the majority of buyers are already failing to demonstrate their compliance with the new Modern Slavery Act.

The organisations looked at the quality of the first 75 reports received and found that only 22 were signed by the company director and available on their website's homepage. Businesses are also expected to provide information on their organisational structure, approach to supplier due diligence and give evidence of other company policies; for example, environmental, and health and safety.

Marilyn Croser, director of the CORE Coalition, commented: "While the companies that have published reports under the Act are to be commended as early movers, it's clear that there is widespread misunderstanding among business about what's required."

It's important that buyers are displaying their modern slavery reports on their websites to do their bit to improve visibility, but 33 of the initial reports were absent from the web and a further 33 had not been signed by the buying organisation's director.

Are your suppliers even aware of the act?

A survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) led to the discovery that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also appear to have significant gaps in their knowledge in terms of complying with the recent Modern Slavery Act.

Over two-thirds (67 per cent) of the 267 small businesses questioned said they had not taken any steps to eliminate slavery from their supply chains, while a further 61 per cent were unaware of the introduction of the Act or the potential implications it could have for their future.

Although eight in ten SMEs reported that they did not think modern slavery was present in their operations, CIPS believes this is primarily due to ignorance and a widespread lack of awareness of the legislation. As a result, large buying organisations could be allowing modern slavery in their supply chains via the SME suppliers that they work with, placing all businesses involved at risk of financial, reputational and even legal damage.
David Noble, group chief executive officer of CIPS, stated: "To truly eliminate this evil from UK procurement, supply chains need to be mapped and simple measures put in place. Partnerships between larger corporations and smaller SMEs will be instrumental in driving out malpractice in the supply chain.

"The legal duty in the Act must not override the moral obligation of us all to make sure our supply chains are slavery-free."

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

7 Steps to Develop a Successful Business Plan

Most people who spend a little time searching on the Internet or in a bookstore can quickly find a guide on how to write a business plan. However, just following these templates doesn’t guarantee that the business plan produce will be successful or even good. A successful business plan needs quite a bit more to actually be useful and even more to be functional and successful. As the elements come together, if done correctly, the most important component of success will come from the business owner and leadership versus the company itself.

Your business plan needs seven specific elements that will make it stand out beyond just the basic pile of applications and home printer documents everyone regularly sees.

1. Research
If your company is going to run a viable business plan and investors are going to put their money into it, your information has to be top notch. And that includes knowing every topic involved, not just your internal operations. Research and critical analysis are key to developing and communicating a business plan properly. The information used has to be relevant, valuable, and objective. However, you’re not writing a novel, so the presentation also needs to be concise. That means choosing the right research to include versus just a brain dump of anything about the company’s situation.

2. Have a Purpose

What is your business plan being written for? A road map on how to operate? An investor or loan pitch? Both? A historical document? The purpose has to be clear and definitive. If you don’t know why you’re writing a business plan, the effort will be a waste of time. Knowing also means having a target audience you expect the plan to be ready by. With both defined, it will help dictate what information is included and how.

3. Craft a Company Snapshot

Some people call it a company profile, others a snapshot. Either way, your business plan needs a section that gives a reader a clear view of what your company is, does and provides in a few paragraphs. This should be the same information that one would find if they looked on the business’ website. It’s designed to be quick and digestible mentally because it needs to stick in a reader’s mind quickly, especially as more information is provided later in the plan. If the reader remembers nothing else, he or she will have the profile well entrenched in memory. And that matters when your plan is being considered with others.

4. Detail the Company in Total

Some folks write their business plan to only highlight what they think are the selling points and good features of their venture. That’s a mistake. Most readers have a pretty good idea where the company sits in the big picture. Detail the company’s status in full, good and bad. And where there are weaknesses, include plans on how they will be addressed given the right support. Details should also include key features like patents, licenses, copyrights and unique strengths no one else has.

5. Write the Marketing Plan Beforehand

A simple mistake made by most startups is that people think they can write a business plan without knowing first how something is going to be sold. A strategic marketing plan is essential; it shows how your product or service is going to be delivered, communicated and sold to customers. It covers where, when and how much, all the key pieces that later on feed into the financial statement projections in the business plan. No surprise, marketing has to be nailed down before planning out the rest of the business.

6. Be Willing to Change the Plan for Your Audience

Another common mistake folks often make is writing only one business plan. The document given to a lender is going to be very different than the one for internal direction. Smart startups have multiple versions, just like candidates have multiple resumes for different prospective employers. Match the plan and message to the audience you are addressing.

7. Include Your Motivation

This is the most important piece in a successful plan – your motivation and goals. Why are you going through all this effort, work, sweat and effort? Your motivation needs to be a reason that will convince people the business will succeed, through thick and thin. A business needs a mission that drives it, not just selling to make money. Your motivation defined in the business plan is that mission.