Learning Why Companies Succeed and Why
They Fail - GB12
Companies succeed because they are . . . value
driven. Excellent companies believe that the basic philosophy
of an organization has far more to do with its achievements
than do technological or economic resources as well as organizational
structures and innovation. In other words, companies succeed
if its members share a common vision of their future, feel
they are important part of the whole, and look out for each
Exploring Top Businesses of the Future
Technology has spearheaded the home-based and home-office
business back into the entrepreneurial consciousness. In fact,
with advances in portable computers, cellular phones, modems,
and Fax machines, this type of business is fast becoming the
ONLY solution to escalating retail and office location costs.
Selecting Profitable Small Business Products
& Services - GB14
Almost everyone at one time or another has dreamed of sailing
around the world, flying a Cessna, cruising on a Harley, or
adding a gadget or two to their sparkling new baby blue BMW.
If you happen to possess a fine mechanical aptitude, as well
as a deep abiding love for outdoor recreational activities
and the toys that go along with them, then this area of merchandising
- whether, retail, wholesale, or mail order - could prove
profitable. It also could be a great way to explore your hobby
(Autos, Boats & Recreational Vehicles).
Researching Hot New Ideas for Products
& Services - GB15
Need to know who makes rubber bands, liquid dispensers or
flexible graphite gaskets? The Thomas Register of American
Manufacturers lists more than 149,000 manufacturing firms
in a 29-volume set. Volumes 1-19 lists American manufacturers
under 50,000 product headings with detailed descriptions of
the product, plus address and capital assets of each manufacturer.
Evaluating Business Opportunities - GB16
Is the target market responsive? If you can't answer this
question 'yes' without reasonable confidence, then the answer
is 'no.' A market can only be considered responsive if the
majority of people who make up that market, have in the recent
past purchased a product or service similar to the one you
Finding the Best Business Location -
Before making the commitment to buy or lease a site in a
particular area, determine whether the area is progressive
or stagnant. Find answers to questions such as: Are there
any changes planned for the area by city planners? Are any
schools, roads, highways, stadiums or shopping centers planned
for the near future? Will changes in other areas of the city
affect this area? Will these changes cause people to move
in or out of the area? What is the overall potential for economic
growth in the area?
Choosing the Right Legal Formations -
A general partnership is created when two or more individuals,
other partnerships or corporations, decide to combine their
financial and intellectual resources to create and run a new
company. There is no limit to the type of partners or number
of partners. The primary advantage of this type of business
formation is the pooling of talent, experience and capital.
However, dual and multiple ownership, can lead to serious
complications if the relationships between individuals begin
to break down. Quite often, the pool becomes a drain.
Naming Your Company & Products - GB19
Most people have been taught, never trust a
stranger until he proves himself a friend. Originally, the
handshake was thought up to make sure new acquaintances weren't
holding weapons in their right hands. The bottom line is don't
give a prospective customer an excuse to doubt you from the
start. Overcome their natural distrust of you by using words
that imply honesty. This rule of thumb is particular pertinent
to mail order and home-based companies which more of the public
have a tendency to be suspicious of. When choosing a company
name choose one that inspires confidence and trust.
Designing Logos, Business Cards & Stationary
A logo is visible evidence that you've made an investment
in your organization. A well designed logo shows that management
has a strong self-image, a definite direction for the future,
and a commitment to the highest standards of quality and professionalism.
A carelessly designed logo or no logo at all, is often associated
with organizations that are under-capitalized, poorly organized,
and of uncertain longevity.
Writing a Company Slogan & Mission Statement
A mission statement is an attempt to give your goals and
dreams tunnel vision. It is aimed at getting all members of
your organization to pull in the same direction, sharing the
same view of your company's goals and philosophy, as well
as the same vision that you have for the future of your business.
If given the serious consideration it deserves, it will reward
you time and time again by enhancing your company identity
and position within the marketplace.
Opening Communication Channels - GB22
One of the most useful functions of an answering machine
it to provide clients with additional information about company
hours, beeper numbers, fax numbers, or perhaps where key personnel
can be reached during non-business hours.
Selecting Computer Software - GB23
Buy software designed to help you think like you do on paper.
Initially, most people find it easier to think on a computer
like they think on paper. They prefer WYSIWYG environments
(what you see is what you get). Order-entry software, for
example, should have a colorful order-entry interface that
is easy on the eyes, has a comfortable feel and makes entry
points easy to find - like a well designed order-entry form.
Buying Computer Hardware - GB24
Despite the complexity of computer theory and design, building
one from its components is not much more complex than building
a Lego castle or a Tinker Toy bridge. Nowadays, a computer
is essentially a collection of standardized parts housed in
a box with a power supply. Almost everything snaps in, pulls
out, screws in, screws out, or unplugs and reassembles, so
that all you really need to build one is a few screwdrivers,
perhaps an integrated circuit installer (which can be inexpensively
purchased at Radio Shack), and a lot of patience.
Getting Connected - GB25
When choosing an ISP, consider the following: How fast is
their server? Access speed will also depend upon the speed
of their servers (processor speed and hard drive speed). An
old 486 will not perform as fast as a Pentium system. Likewise,
a Pentium system will not perform as fast as some of the more
expensive UNIX servers.
Getting Printed - GB26
The variety and quality of paper products that exist in the
printing industry is mind-boggling.
Avoiding the Computer Blues - GB27
If you plan to spend long hours in front of a computer each
day, or if a computer is essential to your business, than
the fundamental rule for avoiding the computer blues is to
prepare yourself for the worst and plan for the best. In other
words, avoiding the computer blues involves more than just
selecting the right equipment and various applications to
begin with. It also involves training personnel properly,
keeping up security, maintaining equipment and learning to
protect your computer from the multitude of computer gremlins
(a.k.a. computer viruses) just waiting for you to let your
guard down so they can eat your hard drive.
Adopting an Easy-to-Use Accounting System
Mention the word accounting, and otherwise competent business
men and women suddenly grit their teeth, furrow their foreheads,
and start uncontrollably pulling out chunks of their own hair.
Why is this? How can a craft, which is nothing more than a
tool to keep track of the inflow and outflow of cash, be thought
of with such contempt and fear? The mystery becomes even more
puzzling once you realize that ACCOUNTING is essentially the
discipline of counting money. And since most people start
a business to make money, it seems rather silly they shouldn't
enjoy counting it.
Managing Inventory - GB29
Consider your inventory carefully. Buying too much or too
little, the wrong type or size can quickly lead to financial
problems. In fact, it doesn't take long for excess inventory
to quickly become dated and hard to clear, nor does it take
long for customers to become dissatisfied with your selection,
or rather lack of selection and take their business elsewhere.
Setting-up an Efficient Order Entry System
A sales receipt based order entry system is usually seen
in a very small service firm in which services rendered and
occasional purchases are always written on a receipt. The
receipt becomes the order entry form and the record for accounting
and tax purposes. The receipts are usually stored in a cash
box along with the change fund and sales revenues. This type
of system is very cheap to set-up and simple to operate, but
very limited as a management tool.
Getting Insurance - GB31
Insurance companies feed on fear. More policies are purchased
based on gut feelings of catastrophic loss than any other
planning decision. Insurance companies are also schizophrenic.
Nice big friendly representatives greet you, but behind them,
are ruthless number crunchers who won't give you a dime unless
they have to. Remember, insurance companies are in the business
to make money first, and second, to help rescue you from harm.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Trademarks are one of the most important ways a company creates
brand recognition and can easily be your company's most valuable
commodity. Over a period of time, trademarks on products become
closely identified with the product, impart prestige and value
to it, and become of considerable marketing value.
Understanding Business Laws & Regulations
Be careful when using words like banish, rid, stop, correct
and end. Also, watch the literal meanings of the words cure,
remedy, therapeutic, and curative especially when used in
advertising copy to promote drug-related products. Other troublesome
words include: science, scientific, test, evidence, proof,
research, doctor and laboratory.
Licensing Your Operations - GB34
The prime objective of business registration and licensing
is to protect the names of established businesses from infringement
by new enterprises, and to make its ownership known to the
public. Among other things, it also allows you to set-up a
business bank account, apply for loans, and take advantage
of government counseling programs.
Opening a Business Bank Account - GB35
Banks get rich by manipulating a few percentage points here
and there. They charge high interest rates for credit card
loans, personal loans and mortgages and pay out low interest
rates for savings accounts, investment certificates and the
like. Banks also get rich by squeezing every single penny
they can out of every single monetary transaction. More and
more they are nickel & diming the masses by charging for basic
withdrawal and deposit services that not too long ago were
free. Banks are the epitome of the perfect miser.
Finding and Hiring Qualified Personnel
Over time, your company will tend to become more and more
homogenous as people who don't fit in leave, and those who
do fit in, stay and gain influence. This "homogeneity" results
in some positive and negative effects that should be kept
in mind every time you hire someone new.
Using Temp Services & Contract Labor
Every business can use some extra help sooner or later -
when, too many of its staff are sick, a special project needs
attention right away, a rush order comes in, or when seasonal
demands increase workloads. These temporary shortages of personnel
are especially hard to handle for the owner-manager of a smaller
business who normally has a small staff to begin with and
little leeway for shifting schedules. Not only does the strain
show up quickly in all the faces of its employees, but the
company budget begins to feel the crunch with all the overtime
required. To overcome some of these problems consider using
a TEMP service.
Weighing the Pros & Cons of Expansion
Being BIG is no good if your foundation is weak. A giant
with skinny legs is an invitation to be tripped.
Establishing a Long-term Strategic Plan
A Strategic Planning session starts with everyone in the
planning group taking a good look at all the internal and
external factors impacting on your company, both past, present
and future. More specifically, this means that you must recognize
the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that
will contribute either to the success or demise of your business.
Starting & Operating a Manufacturing Business
A quality control system asks the following fundamental question:
"What needs to be done to see that the product is done right
the first time?" Poorly made products will cause you to lose
customers in a hurry. In addition, when a product fails to
perform adequately, orders are placed on hold, inventory starts
piling up and returns start pouring. All this results in serious
cash flow problems.
Starting & Operating a Wholesaling Business
A common problem among wholesaling firms is to occasionally
lose track of orders as they are processed through their internal
system. When customers phone in to inquire about the status
of their orders or to add or subtract merchandise, the result
is confusing and upsetting. Often this results in delays for
both customer and supplier.
Starting & Operating a Retailing Business
Customers can be a great and inexpensive source of information.
They can tell you facts, not only about your business, but
about your competitors as well. They can also tell you much
about their buying habits and help you detect trends. Make
it a habit of asking them what they like, need, and read.
Jot down their requests and suggestions for new products and
services. Keep a notebook near the cash register.
Starting & Operating a Service Business
Make the results of your service as tangible as possible.
Marketing services is more difficult than marketing products
because the benefits of a service are often elusive and hard
to pin down. Thus, your marketing challenge is to make the
benefits of your service as touchable and seeable as possible.
Show your clients before and after pictures, prototypes, diagrams
and videos. Leave it up to their imagination and you will
soon find out that client imagination is a rare quantity indeed.
Starting & Operating a Mail Order Business
In mail order, it is relatively easy to monitor the results
of a promotion, to discover which ones are winners and which
ones are losers. It is also easy to analyze your sales records
to discover who are your slow customers, as well as, gain
insights into how you might be able to stimulate sales with
more persuasive incentives such as discounts, bargains, free
gifts, credit or by sending out more sales letters.
Starting & Operating an Import/Export
Business - GB45
When importing a product, a variety of expenses are incurred
that make the product more expensive than the initial price
paid to the exporter. These costs plus the original cost are
often referred to as the "landed cost." The extent of these
extra costs depend on the product, the country it is imported
from and the arrangements made with the exporter. These costs
can include shipping, insurance, Canadian or U.S. customs
duty, federal sales tax, excise tax, bank charges, brokerage
fees, currency exchange costs, storage fees, bonds to customs
(with merchandise above a certain value), and other commissions
or miscellaneous charges.