Entrepreneurs – Want To Start A Business But Not Sure What Type?
Many entrepreneurs get that itch to start a new business, either because they are fed up being “wage slaves” or they like the freedom that working for yourself can bring. Some even think that they will be richer or have more spare time. Many are not sure what kind of business they want.
First of all – never start a new business because you want more money or more time. Starting a new business takes both lots of time and most, if not all, of your money.
Secondly don’t fall into the trap of starting a business just for the sake of it. Make sure that someone wants what you are aiming to sell! Your fruit cakes, tattoos or begonias may be the best in the area but if no one wants them – then you are going to be going bust very soon.
So how do you find out what kind of things you are going to sell?
1) Look at the type of area that you want to set up your business. A majority of aged clients is not going to be keen to have tattoos but might love your cakes!
2) Look at the other businesses selling in your area. Whilst it is sometimes good to group some businesses together such as car sales – make sure there is enough people left who may buy from you. Similarly if there is a successful company that is not coping – maybe you can inherit some of their clients?
3) Look for gaps in the market. Are their complimentary businesses close by who you can join in with to share customers? Is the market just crying out for a particular product of service.
4) Most importantly go and ask people. Give talks at clubs about your subject and see what kind of reception you get. Hold a competition for the best ideas etc.
Good luck in obtaining a firm foundation for your new business.
Most people think Santa Claus only works one night a year. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, product distribution takes place on one magical night, but Santa's operation runs year round and is one of the largest manufacturing and distribution operations in the world.
You've probably never considered the fact that Santa is the CEO of a large organization that not only distributes a vast assortment of products throughout the world, but does so in a single night with just a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. Sam Walton would have killed to have Santa's logistics manual.
Do I believe in Santa? You bet your red longjohns I do. I especially believe in Santa's entrepreneurial spirit. Just consider all he does from an entrepreneurial point of view and I think you will start to believe, too.
Santa Is His Own Company Spokesperson
Santa is a brilliant marketer and knows that his image is the best marketing tool he has. No other face is as recognizable and no other entrepreneur has inspired so many songs. You'll never hear "An Ode To Jack Welch" on the radio ten times a day.
Santa's Customers Love Him
Just say his name around a group of kids and watch their little faces light up like Rudolph's nose. You will never see Bill Gates get that kind of reaction. Heck, he can't even make his own kids smile.
Santa Sets The Bar For All Entrepreneurs
When you list the traits of the perfect entrepreneur, Santa gets the highest marks. He has passion for his work. He loves his customers and will go to great lengths to make sure they are happy. He has the ability to spot consumer trends and bring products to market quickly. He can lead a large organization with a wink of his eye. He inspires those around him. He is tireless. He is dedicated. He is loyal. He is persistent. And above all, he is jolly. Name another jolly entrepreneur (other than Dave Thomas of Wendy's fame). I bet you can't.
Santa Is A Great Leader
Can you imagine trying to manage a few hundred giddy elves who are shut in year round and spend their off hours drinking spiked hot chocolate and doing who knows what with fairy dust? It would be enough to drive even the best of entrepreneurs to hide out at the North Pole. Somehow Santa manages the task without pulling his whiskers out. I expect he has a management system that promotes from within. The hard working elves get into management. The slackers are stuck cleaning up after the reindeer.
Santa Perfected "Just In Time" Manufacturing
Santa heads up one of the largest, most diverse manufacturing operations in the world. His product lines range from rag dolls to toy trains to rocking horses to baseball gloves for the little kids, to iPods and cellphones and diamond rings for us big kids. Santa's factory runs year round, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and never, ever suffers from cost overrun or production shut downs. Santa perfected the "just in time" method of production that is used by many of the world's largest manufacturers today.
Santa Pioneered Global Product Distribution
Santa is the king of single channel distribution. How else could he deliver millions of presents to good little girls and boys all around the world on a single night? Santa's distribution process is a closely-guarded secret (elves and reindeer are required to sign iron-clad nondisclosure agreements), but I expect it involves a highly detailed logistics plan and the best CRM software on the planet. You never hear about Santa calling up a kid and telling them a present is backordered until July.
Santa's Delivery & Tracking Systems Are Second To None
If you think FedEx is number one at tracking packages think again. Santa's track record is spotless. He has never, ever missed a single delivery or left a box sitting on the porch in the rain. Every package is delivered in perfect shape, right under the tree.
Santa Wrote The Book On Customer Satisfaction
Santa proudly boasts a 100% perfect customer satisfaction rating. You never hear about class action lawsuits and Better Business Bureau complaints against St. NIck. Santa makes sure that his customers are happy and if they aren't, he'll come back next year to make things right. If JD Power could find him, I'm sure they would give Santa their Christmas Customer Satisfaction Award.
Santa Claus Is Watching You
Not everyone believes that Santa is the perfect entrepreneur. There are those kids who complain that Santa never brings what they ask for, but we grown ups know that Santa brings the gift that is deserved, not necessarily the gift that is asked for.
Here's a little Christmas tip from your Uncle Tim, boys and girls, ladies and gents: If you get a lump of coal in your stocking this year it's because you were bad and that's what you deserved.
It was not because Santa dropped the ball.
Merry Christmas everybody!
Computer Consultant Startup: What's The First Step?
It is a well-understood axiom of the business world that there are two ways to improve the bottom line of the business. Stated simply, those two ways are to make money or to cut costs. Now no business can cost cut their way to profitability. But by the same token, waste and excessive internal costs for any business can eat away any profits that business is enjoying. So to get ahead in a competitive business environment, both methods must be employed.
When a business turns its eye to cost cutting, there is a stated or unstated business objective that the business owners will discover significant bleeding of revenues that are going on within the systems of doing business. So if those systems can be improved to eliminate that waste, the business would literally make money from the inside out because the overhead of the business would drop so dramatically.
The usual progress of such a cost saving campaign by a business is to find “the low hanging fruit” first. By that we mean that in order to satisfy the demands of management, middle management will identify superficial savings in hopes of satisfying the requirement. Hence switching from disposable cups to mugs or cutting back on break room amenities often go on the chopping block first.
Sadly, while there may be some superficial savings to be found in such places, the significant introduction of efficiencies for any business lie at a deeper level and take a more in-depth process of locating problems with how things get done internally. The methodology of finding these “money pits” within a business is often called “Process Improvement.” The concept of process improvement is to diagram a particular business process from inception to completion and document the stages it goes through, the handing over of authority for the process and to pin point places where inefficient methods are causing excessive cost in executing that process en route to the final stage of process completion.
Routinely, the areas of business structure that most often identified as being candidates for a process improvement examination are…
* Excessive overhead between departments. Departments within a business are notorious for taking on the atmosphere of a fiefdom and becoming resistant if not suspicious of other departments in the same company. When that happens, department managers will introduce paperwork and unnecessary processing to cause “work” to move to his or her department from another or for completed jobs to continue along their path. This excessive overhead can be costly at the department level and bog down the business as a unit enough to actually reduce the profitability of the organization.
* Communication problems. A business process moves through the organization as each department or entity adds value to the process through to the completion of the job. However if communications between departments or people along the process chain are flawed, a process can grind to a halt and wait for hours if not days before the missed communication is discovered and the work is put into the cycle to be completed. This slow down or break down in communications can be a tremendous drain on the company. To correct the problem, modern tools of communication should be reviewed so each significant person along the chain is quickly made aware of work that needs to be done and can signal to the next agent that their step is complete and that the process is moving to the next stage.
* An inefficient IT infrastructure. Out of date computer programs that are not integrated with each other cause needless work to be done to take data from one system and moving it into the next computer program only to be entered again at the next stop along the chain. Standardization and integration of data and systems will introduce huge efficiencies to the process.
By streamlining the process of moving a business requirement from inception to conclusion, we can remove much of the inefficiency and waste that has become inherent to that process. We can introduce up to date integration designs both at the IT and process level to quickly move the process from one department to the next upon completion. The outcome is a streamlined organization that is no longer “bleeding money” due to inefficiencies and as such is making money “from the inside out”.
How to Build A Successful Business?
April 15th – “The Day of Reckoning”! Every year, millions of Americans get ready to pay taxes to Uncle Sam, or get ready to collect a tax refund from Uncle Sam; when did this become the great day that it is for taxpayers, and when are we actually required to file a income tax return? Let’s take a look at the beginnings of the income tax date of April 15 and why it was chosen?
The first known income tax that Americans were legally required to pay was enacted during the early 1860s, and the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War was proving very costly to finance, and the President and Congress created the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted a law requiring citizens to pay federal income tax. This could be considered the start of our modern day income tax. This income tax was based on principles of graduated or progressive taxation and of withholding income at the source. The commissioner was given authority to assess, levy and collect federal income taxes. The authority to enforce tax laws by seizure of property and income and by prosecution.
Originally, the deadline for completing and filing your individual income tax was not April 15th. In the beginning, it was first set for March 1st. Then, during 1918, Congress pushed the date out to March 15th. Then, in the great overhaul of 1954, the date was once again moved forward to April 15th, and this is where it remains today. Why April 15th? The main thought from most scholars say the reasoning is that the date gives the IRS more time to handle the work load and more time to hang on to your money before offering a tax refund. This date has only been set this way for a little over 50 years. That’s not very long, in historical terms, and it could possibly be changed again.
If you are an individual taxpayer, you are required to file either a return or an extension of time to file (Form 4868) by April 15th. Corporate and other legal entities are required to file their federal income tax return by March 15th, and if not, they also must file an extension of time to file. What this extension does not do, is to extend the amount of time you have to pay any taxes due the government. So, if you are unable to ready your personal or business financial information in a timely manner, and have no reasonable estimate as to the amount of tax you may owe, you can expect to pay some form of penalty.
In the years following WWII, the burden of tax responsibility was shared fairly equally by the corporate world and the individual taxpayer. Today, however, the shift has been toward more responsibility on the part of the individual, and less on the business backs. To demonstrate how special interests have begun to overtake American politics, during 1867, public opinion was so strong, and the outcry of the general public so loud, that the President and Congress abolished the income tax law in 1872, and from 1872 until 1913 almost all of the revenue for government operation came from the sale of liquor, beer, wine, and tobacco. Although the income tax did make a small come back in 1894, it was found unconstitutional in 1895 by the U.S. Supreme Court because it was not apportioned among the states in conformity with the Constitution.
An interesting time during the formation and eventual taxation of America occurred during 1918. Until that point in time, the vast majority of tax revenue for government funding came from alcoholic beverage sales and high tariffs. In 1919, Congress passed an amendment to the Constitution that made it illegal to manufacture or sell alcohol; what would replace the revenue? American federal income tax was the proposed solution, and we’ve been paying since. Although during the great years known as Prohibition, many “revenue agents” spent their days tracking down “moon shiners” not tax evaders, the American citizen, the individual taxpayer took on the heavy burden of supporting government revenue, and it has become heavier with each passing year. On a side note, although “moon shining” was illegal, the “moon shiners” still had to pay taxes on the moon shine so they were incarcerated for tax evasion and not “moon shining”. Taxes seem to always come into play when looking for a way to prosecute someone.
Then, during 1942, the Revenue Act of 1942 was passed and the “New Deal” era was begun. Since that point in time, government control, power, and expenditures has continued to increase at a phenomenal rate, and today the American taxpayer supports a trillion dollar giant known as the United States government. This ravenous beast consumes more than 10% of our earned income each year, and if the Social Security Administration has their way, will continue to consume even more of our weekly earnings. We can foresee no other relief in sight.
Currently, all the tax regulations for this country are the responsibility of the Internal Revenue Service, and there are four major divisions of this government office: the Wage and Investment, Small/Business Self-Employed, the Large and Midsize Business and the Tax Exempt and Government Entities. Each division has responsibilities as they pertain to their individual specialty.
There continues to be talk on the hill to change the way taxes are calculated and collected. The most common themes are the flat tax and the national sales tax. Until Congress actually has the courage to step up to the plate and change it, taxes will remain as cumbersome as always.
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