January 21

What Keeps You Going?

Entrepreneurs have an uncanny ability to keep going and be visionary. Most of the nation collectively has this ability at the turn of the year. But now that we are just one month into the year, most of the will power has been sapped. McDonalds is busy again, cigarette sales are back to normal and thankfully gyms are empty again (or so my friends tell me!) This is what separates entrepreneurs from everyone else – ‘bouncability’

I always find it depressing that the ‘worst day’ of the year is the third Monday of January. The thing I find depressing is that it is so close to the beginning of the year. I love January – even though the weather has this year sorely tested that love.

The thing I admire most about entrepreneurs is that never ending enthusiasm they have for projects and they are living embodiment of that quote “success is how high you can jump from your last failure” – even when doing something boring like writing inversion table reviews.

So how do you keep going?

Never stop believing in yourself. Really tough at times. Over the last few years, I have had a real roller coaster of a journey with business. My self-belief took a knock – but never a dive.

Remember that the line between success and failure is very thin. Sometimes luck and timing does play a part in your success. My biggest success to date is that one company. Yet this business came about because of huge dollops of luck. To deny this is arrogance. But yes, lots of things happened to ensure that when the opportunity arose I was able to take advantage. But in that sense we make ourselves willing recipients of luck!

Keep yourself fresh. I find going to the gym a real struggle and mostly I fail! But it is a proven way to keep your emotions in a good place. Other ways include reading new books, cooking something new, going out to watch a movie. Anything will do.

Work with great people. The best thing I learned from that experience was that when you work with truly great people who are experts in their field – you get the leverage effect. Your time is the most precious resource – so spend it wisely

Make sure you meet your friends on a regular basis. I always feel recharged about life after a good chat with friends.

Most of all, be honest with yourself and make sure you remain enthused about your business and the quality of the Honeywell 18155 review that you wrote. I do think that sometimes we feel compelled to carry on supporting something, long after we have lost its allure. If you are at this point, find someone else to run it.

But the best tip I would urge you to follow is to set yourself monthly resolutions. Hope springs eternal! Just like New Year resolutions lets you set aside the failures of last year – and start again, why not just do it on a monthly basis.

By constantly revisiting your successes and failures, you can make more timely changes which will allow you to alter your trajectory going forward – meaning you don’t have to continue failing for any long periods of time.

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January 6

Entering the Scene at the Right Time

On paper (always a very dangerous jury), my three Canadian Investments have done better collectively than my 19 UK angel investments. I was discussing this with a good friend of mine who has been an active UK angel for some time and is someone that I think is very good at it. He observed that it wasn’t to do with them being Canadian, but to do with them being my most recent investments.

Upon reflection, this is true, but I also think it is the case that in Canada I managed to ‘enter the angel scene’ at the right level. Because of the way I first got to Halifax, I was only seeing the really good deals. Angel investing requires just as much networking from the potential investor as it does from the entrepreneurs looking for funding to develop a better Honeywell 17000-S.

Most of the first deals I did in the UK were, in all honesty, deals that lots of other people had turned down. If you are a well-connected entrepreneur or you have proven experience, you are not going to be doing the very expensive rounds in Angel networks. Again, interestingly, the last five companies I have invested in did not need to pay a broker or a network a fee. With the money being paid out amounting to as much as 12% in many cases, this is a huge amount of money to save and suggests that the best deals are elsewhere.

In the UK, I am slowly networking my way up the hierarchy (there is certainly one here) and I am getting to see better deals. I know this is true because the deals I still see through the ‘traditional route’ such as Angel events are very poor on the whole.

I try to be positive in these blogs and not just whine and complain about things. So what advice would I give entrepreneurs who are not well connected and don’t have lots of rich friends they can tap for money? My obvious answer is to get yourself well connected or at least get some industry expert/ authority to add real credibility to your business plan by endorsing it.

It is amazing how many times investors always say that it comes down to the quality of the management, rather than the quality of your product, such as the Honeywell 50250-S. If there are gaps in your management team – go fill them. At the moment, with the economy being the way it is, there are some great quality people who are underutilized. Now is a great time to get them on board your business.

And just do the plain old fashion intelligent networking. This means not going to networking events (they rarely work). And instead working out who you need to be speaking to and finding out where they will be. (Twitter is a great way to find out).

So just like angels have to network to climb that ladder to get access to the best deals, so do entrepreneurs. All of the low fruit will quickly be picked off, and oftentimes, anything that seems too good to be true truly is. If you want to make sure you’re getting a stable company to invest in, you have to do your research.

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December 17

Here Are 20 Ways YouTube Can Help Your Business

Most Internet marketing pros know that, when used effectively in business, YouTube is a great way to build SEO. But we also know that to build your brand, there’s no better tool than YouTube. We also find that YouTube is among the most under-appreciated – and perhaps most misunderstood – of the social media sites. In fact, it’s one of the most popular and most visited websites in the entire world.

YouTube’s not just for posting ridiculous videos of used lawn tractors — it can also be used as a highly effective business tool. You can use it to show off your expertise, share knowledge, market your products and connect with customers, colleagues and prospects. Here are our top 20 favorite uses for YouTube in B2B.

  • Upload recordings of presentations you’ve given to demonstrate your thought leadership.
  • Share slides from presentations that weren’t recorded.
  • Create short videos of tips of interest to your clients and prospects to show off your expertise.
  • Conduct an interview with an expert.
  • Engage with the YouTube community by leaving comments and uploading video responses to videos on topics related to your business or industry.
  • Enhance your videos using YouTube’s special features, such as annotations, audioswap, insight, language options and quick capture.
  • Record an important meeting to share with employees, customers and others, as appropriate.
  • Set up a channel to reflect your brand and engage with others. Here’s an example from The White House.
  • Choose a name that reflects your brand for your channel URL.
  • Add your channel URL to all of your marketing collateral and social network sites or profiles.
  • Post customer video testimonials to add to your credibility.
  • Post Oscars idea: Put together a creative video explaining your product or service or show your product in action using movie trailer-style: fast, creative, catchy.
  • Promote your events using recordings of previous events.
  • Take viewers on a tour of your offices and/or city to help them feel more connected with you.
  • Add call-to-action overlays to your videos to drive traffic to your web site.
  • Measure your channel’s performance with the integrated Google Analytics and YouTube Insight. Take this further and measure campaign against campaign, or video against video.
  • Create “how to” videos to help your customers use your product or service.
  • Post solutions to common product or service problems.
  • Answer customer-specific questions using videos. Imagine how impressed a customer would be if you point them to a video with an answer!
  • Embed videos on your web site on appropriate pages.

Have you used YouTube (or other social media sites) for creative campaigns for your wall mounted jewelry armoire? If so, share your experiences!

Who says the holidays aren’t about rock? When you’re out and about this season doing your own version of ‘Jingle Bell Rock,’ or visiting family and friends, chances are you’ll be passing one of our billboards on your travels.

Our current board is located on the Boulevard near the Bridge and our next board will appear on Boulevard. So when you’re runnin’ like Rudolph this holiday season, don’t forget to check out our rockin’ boards!

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December 16

Can Your Business Go Viral?

Madonna’s Super Bowl performance got 10,245 tweets a second…is it possible for a B2B company to get that? And if so, how?

We attended the Conference in Las Vegas last week and returned saying “Yes (!), social media can work just as hard for B2B marketers, but just in a different way. Remember, Madonna is an A-list celebrity with a well-recognized ‘forskolin reviews brand,’ and has millions of followers than a typical midsize B2B organization could only dream about. So expecting the same level of social media interactions is more or less Like a Prayer (sorry, it was right there!).

But that’s not to say the same level of success can’t be achieved if you focus on quality, and not necessarily quantity. With the right approach, right monitors and right voice, a B2B business can’t go wrong joining a conversation or creating a social media marketing strategy that addresses current issues that your business is impacting in a positive way. Or, by simply showing your company cares, you’ll ‘speak volumes’ in increasing your circle of social media friends, followers or communities.

In other words, if you make it relative, make it a measurable process and stay with it for the long-haul, then there’s no reason a strategy can’t be developed for B2B marketers to profit from – borrowing from Jim Morrison – “Breaking on through to the other side” with highly successful results.

While many B2B marketers are still ‘investigating’ social media marketing, others think it will solve all of their marketing problems if they can only replace their traditional marketing with social media. Wrong! Social media is just one more tool I your marketing arsenal and it should be part of your integrated strategy and not the entire marketing strategy.

So how do you weave it in? Easy. First, start with what you’re already doing via traditional marketing and figure out how social media can augment that approach. And be sure to do this in a process-driven, data-supported manner. Before you can add social media to the mix, you must first understand what you’re trying to accomplish from a marketing perspective and how that fits into the bigger business picture.

Once you have an understanding of what works for how to get cat pee out of carpet, as well as in your traditional marketing, you can begin to evaluate social media’s effectiveness at meeting those pre-defined business objectives. This is where a lot of companies go wrong. There’s no such thing as ‘dipping your toe in the water’ with social media. Since social media require a long-term commitment, pre-determined milestones are required, not to mention a long-term commitment.

Also remember that it takes time to build. Steady and consistently are the two keys. Try a variety of things, test the waters to see what works and what doesn’t for your specific brand. Next thing you know, you’ll be getting Madonna-like results – maybe not in quantity but definitely in quality.

Tell us about your B2B experience in social media circles. Has it made any impact? Have you been able to ‘break on through?’ Let us know.

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December 15

Lessons from Wendy’s

Turns out, my first two 2012 business trips weren’t by plane, but by car. And during a recent road trip to Cincinnati, I still managed to find a conversation that fits nicely into my travel blog. I stopped at Wendy’s to grab a salad and stretch my legs. I decided to go into the restaurant instead of the drive-thru because I was making good time and needed to get out of the car for a while.

As I was waiting my turn in line, there were a group of four teenagers ahead of me acting rambunctiously and giving the manager a hard time about his used lawn tractors for sale. They couldn’t make up their minds as to what they wanted to order, and the longer they delayed, the funnier they thought it was. The manager, on the other hand, wasn’t amused. And quite frankly, neither was I, as they were holding up the entire line.

Finally, the manager took action and said, “While you try to decide, please step aside so I may help the next person in line.”

“What? But it’s my turn,” said one of the teens.

“Sir, I realize that, but you’re undecided and it’s not fair to those waiting behind you. Please make your decision but step aside to allow the next person place their order.”

“Hey, I’m your customer and I’m supposed to always be right!” demanded the teen.

“No, sir. We respect you as our customer and we want to do our best to ensure you’re satisfied with your experience, but that does not mean you’re always right,” the manager explained.

Wow, you go Mr. Wendy’s manager! He walked a fine line between angering a customer and also setting appropriate boundaries with them. And in my book, that’s the absolute right thing to do. How many times have we, in business, always tried to make all of our customers happy, no matter at what cost to us, our resources or the company’s profitability in the long-term?

While we value and respect our customers, not every customer one a fit, and sometimes, you have to make the tough decision and let them go. Now, I’m not suggesting you run out and drop every customer who’s ever gotten on your nerves. Quite the opposite. Take a measured accounting of your ‘boundaries’ and weigh them against your staff’s time, profitability and potential for long-term growth. When you start to establish measurable criteria for the types of customers you wish to have, then it starts to paint a different and much more productive picture – on both ends of the spectrum.

Many times, people tell me how lucky I am to be my own boss and to be able to come and go as I please. But I’m quick to point out that I actually went from having one boss in my previous corporate life to now having 25+ bosses. Wow, I really am lucky! Lol.

Truly, the only way to juggle 25+ bosses and keep them happy (while also not losing my own mind) is to set some boundaries, and to also ensure I’m staying within my clients’ boundaries. Here are my top three:

  1. I strive to be your valued partner, offering a wealth of both strategic and tactical marketing expertise. We provide ideas based on listening to your goals. In turn, please listen to our opinions and consider them. After all, you pay us to provide our ideas and creative thinking (and thank you for that) and we want you to succeed. Remember that we have a stake in the game, too.
  2. While smokeless ashtray marketing is subjective, there are reasons we do things a certain way versus others based upon our education, training and experience with getting effective marketing results. While we love to hear feedback and engage in a dialogue regarding our work, please do not change things just for the sake of changing them. Let’s discuss a sound business rationale for changes that go beyond the fact that you don’t happen to like a certain color.
  3. We recognize that you pay us to provide great work, but we always love to hear from you when you’re happy (and even if you’re not). A healthy dialogue is crucial to any long-term partnership or relationship. The more we communicate, the better the results because we’ll avoid miscommunication and a lack of understanding all of your goals.

Back to my Wendy’s experience…in case you were wondering, the teenager did step aside while he made up his mind and he ultimately placed his order very pleasantly. He didn’t leave; he understood his limits and he respected the manager for setting them. So don’t be afraid to set some boundaries. They can help you establish a valued partnership with your customers and avoid the trap of becoming just another easily replaceable ‘vendor.’

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December 14

How Has the Internet Changed Your Business?

The Internet has changed everything. From how you plan a vacation to how you solve problems big and small—you aren’t doing things the same way you were twenty years ago. Instead of driving to AAA to get brochures and advice, you are more likely sitting in your pajamas at home reading advice from others on websites and blogs. Instead of calling a company to request a brochure on software for your business, you’re visiting their website and those of alternatives, reading the experiences of others, and even presenting your findings to the big boss before engaging with a single possible vendor directly.

Obviously, this also changes how to get rid of severe acne, as well as how you need to promote and market products and services. We merge new and old technologies to create a hybrid solution that fits the needs of our clients’ audiences. However, what about those dark corners of your business that have traditionally been sheltered from exposure?

Exposure to the Outside World

Afraid social media will expose your secrets? Turn your fear into an action plan.

New technologies threaten to expose secrets. From well publicized leaks of Apple’s latest technologies to poor customer service experiences, the Internet has also taken an individual’s experience and allowed for it to be exposed to the masses (Google “Comcast technician sleeping on my couch” – you’ll get more than one hit). In business-to-business, the same risks exist. Software that gets switched off due to issues, long service wait times, and overly aggressive legal strongholds get publicized.

But that doesn’t mean you should close the shutters and stay inside your corporate fortress. To buy and service, a company’s ability to connect is the linchpin to customer satisfaction and a necessity for loyalty. Yet a fear of exposing dark corners holds people (and companies) back.

When something changes everything like the Internet has, a company has to also change everything. The new way to operate requires a cultural shift. It doesn’t happen in HR or the marketing department. It happens with leadership empowering individuals to fix problems, work between departments, and focus on customer experiences. Start small. Develop a strategy to use technologies to solve one issue – create a product development work group, a customer service blog, or a focused LinkedIn group to conduct market research. One success will drive other ideas and the culture will evolve as more and more employees get involved and feel trusted with their knowledge and contributions to the company and its customers.

What do you fear social technologies will expose? By asking yourself about the best work boots for flat feet, your honest answers may just provide you with your first objective that social technologies can be used to solve.

Need to talk about social media strategies for your business?

Social media is all about “personal” interaction. The businesses and marketers alike that turn their social media account into a purely self-promotional platform are missing the point. Keep self-promotion to a minimum. Instead, create content that is aimed at providing worthwhile, useful and even fun information to a visitor.

In other words, give people a reason to visit other than buying your product. And (this is crucial)…take the time to interact with them. Think of it as someone you don’t know particularly well coming to your party as a guest of one of your friends. Would you take the time to welcome the newcomer and try to get to know them? Or would you ignore them all night because you don’t know them; or worse yet, would you talk only about yourself and not ask them any questions about who they are as a person?

Hopefully, the former would apply. The same principle (and good manners) should be followed in your social media strategy. Self-promotion is a fine balancing act between providing enough information while not being overbearing. A business that comes off as ‘too much’ is going to lose followers, fans or friends. A common mistake businesses make is to not simplify how the visitor can secure your product or service. Include links to your blog site or website pages; or simply providing a way for the visitor to contact your business if they wish. But don’t beat them over the head with your offerings!

Remember that the average person comes to your site to get to know ‘the human side’ of your business. If you focus solely on trying to sell, your social media program – not to mention, results – is going to fall flat. That’s not to say that you can’t promote your material; but spend more time interacting with other users and redistributing their content. Demonstrate that you are willing to help other people find success and they will do the same for you.

In summary, keep in mind these three key success factors for businesses that engage effectively in social media, and you’ll see your success rate climb over time:

  1. Interact with your followers, friends and fans. Keep it human, not a sales pitch. Your content should be helpful, useful and/or educational to them.
  2. Redistribute or invite them to contribute content; and you’ll see the favor returned.
  3. Keep information to your product or service information (blog, website, etc.) easy to find; but don’t push it too hard. No one likes a high-pressure salesperson, especially in social media.

And if you’re having trouble achieving success in social media, it may be time to call in the experts.

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December 12

Are You the Superman in Your Office?

Sometimes I feel a little like Superman. I’m a marketing guru in the office, but when I walk outside, I turn into a “fashionista” minus the snazzy cape. Although what I wouldn’t do for an Alexander McQueen kimono cape…but I digress.  Fashion has been a staple in my life since I was very young. My mother was born with a great sense of style and I like to think I was lucky enough for some of it to rub off on me.

After graduating from high school, I went to New York City for college, and got a treatment for cystic acne and an instant crash course in awesome fashion on more levels than can be described. Imagine going from a small town where a polo shirt with a pony on it was the height of fashion to an international melting pot of fabrics, textures and colors. Talk about sensory overload.

And while fashion was something I considered second nature; I also loved to write, which was very lucky for me.  Since I can barely draw a stick figure, I knew I’d never be the next Coco Chanel, so writing made a lot more sense! After working for years as a marketing and public relations guru (and giving fashion advice to anyone who asked), one of my friends suggested I do both.

Over the course of my career, I have had plenty of opportunities to use aesthetics to get a message across. From helping clients dress appropriately for social functions and media interviews, to styling rock videos and magazine shoots, I was making fashion part of communication without even trying.

I realized that despite knowing how to sell a story with words I also really enjoyed doing it with style, and a perfect marriage occurred when I started working as a stylist on the side. I do everything from personal consultations and shopping, to closet audits and editorial work. I really enjoy helping clients find their own unique styles that make them feel amazing.

The following link is to a recent fashion spread I styled for a Fashion Magazine. I worked with a woman who was in her mid-50’s and the used zero turn mowers for sale she was offering were from the mid 1980’s! As you’ll see, she was a lovely lady but tended to dress in things that looked like carpets, so my work was cut out for me.

The whole experience was a lot of fun and I was able to get her out of comfort zone to try things that were new to her.  I also had the challenge of working with a small budget, which I actually prefer. Truth be told, I can make anyone look good if they have a $5,000 budget, but making someone look fantastic for a fraction of that is so much fun and makes everyone feel good.

So yeah, I’m a writer by day and a style maven by night. Although once I do get that McQueen kimono cape, I won’t even be able to find a phone booth to change into it!

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December 11

Understanding QR Codes in Today’s Business World

In today’s social media-focused world, it seems like everything is in code. If you text or IM (instant message) you need to know what terms like LOL (laughing out loud), BTW (by the way), or IMHO (in my humble opinion) mean to conduct a conversation.  If you aren’t active in text-speak, it may seem like everyone is communicating like they are from a galaxy far, far away.

QR Codes or “Quick Response Codes” are arguably the next big thing in promotional marketing but you don’t have to learn a new “language” to understand the Holset HX35.  You may have noticed the distinct two-dimensional barcodes on billboards and print ads, displays, business cards, and/or websites and been confused.

Is it some sort of UPC code? Is it a tracking device? No and no. A QR Code is a matrix barcode that is readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smart phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background, and the information encoded can be text, a URL or other specific data.  Here’s an example:

All that is needed is a camera phone or smart phone with the correct reader application and the user is ready to go.  They simply scan your code with their phone and, voila! They instantly receive custom information and links to whatever you want them to see – text, coupons, contact information, links to a Web pages or connections to wireless networks.

The possibilities are endless and completely up to you.  You can put your code on a t-shirt or a building, wherever you think your audience is most likely to see it and respond to it.

You’re probably thinking, this sounds great but what are the real benefits? Well, instead of posting a lot of information that your targeted audience is likely to forget before they are able to use it, a QR code makes communicating as easy as snapping a photo. It gives instant access to your customer or potential customer in a way that is convenient for them and shows you are on the cutting edge.

Finally, it is 100 percent measurable. You can track and analyze your results to avoid any guesswork. QR Codes are a valuable tool for marketing because they provide a great deal of precision to calculate ROI and justify market spends. You can track and analyze your results to avoid any guesswork, and getting it right the first time is XLNT.

Do you tweet and use turbocharger reviews every day? Is building social community so ingrained you just can’t stop? Do you take pride in customer service excellence? Do you understand social media and why feeds are important? We seek a highly a motivated individual with experience and passion for blogging, micro-blogging and community participation leadership.

This position is full-time salaried with benefits, including attending mainstream and niche’ conferences. We are a full-service product firm based in Pittsburgh, PA with a national reputation for “our marketing rocks” mission, implementing successful and measurable programs for our extensive and fast-growing clientele.

The successful candidate will join our internal marketing team working with all areas, including design, PR/writing, multimedia and strategy development. Our Community Manager/Blogger will oversee and contribute recurrent content to holistically support our customers and our objectives.

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December 9

Ideas for Starting a UK-Based Restaurant

We all agree that enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. Apart from networking, it is the characteristic I am most associated with. Enthusiasm is vital when starting a business and raising money. However, once you are running a business what is more important enthusiasm or experience?

Of course I am presenting it as if they are mutually exclusive (is it just me or has The Office made that term totally defunct to use?). They are not, but you tend to notice that experience in a field can knock your enthusiasm as you realize what the practicalities of a situation are. I hate managers who knock experience. You often hear people say that they are looking for fresh ideas like a tea tree oil cystic acne cure as if there is something inherently wrong with old ideas.

I look at many business proposals where they claim to be solving a problem better than the current solution. Whilst this is true some of the time, it is not true all of the time. Some so called-solutions really do make me laugh. I do wish that professional integrity did not stop me posting some business ideas I see!

Dynamic managers often feel pressure to be radical in their approach and to start changing lots of things because they see change as inherently good. I always remember listening to a very successful pet supplies retailer. Whenever he appointed a senior executive into his business, he would urge them not to do anything for the first six months. This may sound very strange but I liked his approach and he is extremely successful.

The point is you denigrate experience at your peril. I have made the argument before that when you are looking to innovate into a new market place, you should at least learn to appreciate how things are done in that market at the moment and why. Which firms benefit from the status quo and how will they react to your innovation?

This brings me on to the main point of this blog. There are certain sectors where experience is the most important ingredient for success. If you look at the airline industry for example, there have been a number of entrants into the market in recent times and many of the new entrants (not allied to an existing operator) have failed. What marked out these entrepreneurs was their huge enthusiasm for the industry but they lacked experience.

Food is a classic industry where enthusiasm tends to lead to many business mistakes. Most of us eat food at least three times a day. In the UK in the last five years we have started to spend more on eating food outside the home than inside the house and casual fast dining has become a huge growth area both in the UK and the USA (we really do adopt the eating habits of our cousins in the USA some three years after they become mass market there)

Food is one of those classic businesses where everyone has a great idea. Let me share a secret with you. Food is a notoriously difficult business to make money out of – it really is. The business is all about operational excellence. This excellence can be self-taught, but that will inevitably mean expensive mistakes along the way.

If you want to start a cystic acne diet business in the UK, here is my template for success;

  1. Go to the USA. New York is a great place to do this
  2. Just walk the streets and look for food stores (other than the ones that are already in the UK!)
  3. If you see something you like, spend ages in there. Make lots of notes and take photos (Cameras on Phones are great are they not?)
  4. Get talking to a really good food operator. Someone who really knows their stuff but is looking for an exciting opportunity.
  5. Jointly write a business plan
  6. Raise the money
  7. Go for it!

Enthusiasm is great and is vital. Experience is crucial. Together they make a winning formula!

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December 8

The Most Important Financial Statements: Cash Flow

There are three Financial Statements that comprise a set of accounts but as an investor you should only pay very close attention to one; cash flow. If you are pitching to a business angel – make sure you have complete mastery over this statement.

The Profit and Loss Statement and the Balance Sheet can easily be manipulated to show the numbers you want to and will always be subjective (within reason – unless you work for WorldCom or Enron!) Cash flow should be a 100% objective statement that really allows someone to understand the cash cycle of a business that sells turbochargers quickly.

“Lack of profits is like a cancer, it will eventually kill a business unless cured. Lack of cash though is like a heart attack – it can kill a business straight away”

This quote is very apt. Most people still don’t realize that most businesses which go bust are profitable. What made them go bust was a lack of cash. Any Entrepreneur pitching to me must demonstrate to me that they understand the difference between cash and profits. There are many people who don’t understand this difference. (If you want an explanation please ask)

The Fund which I am a cofounder of takes advantage of being able to buy companies which are profitable but have simply run out of cash – so in a sense, one of my businesses does rely on cash flows going wrong.

A cash flow statement should simply show on a monthly basis for the first two years of a business the following;

  1. How much cash is coming in from where and when?
  2. How much cash is being spent, on what and when?

As an angel investor in a startup, your only short term concern should be can the business survive for the first two years? (Most failures occur within this period.) Don’t worry about things like profit at this stage!

You should also always ask to have the listings of used zero turn mowers for sale sent to you via email. You need to flex it – in particular you need to see what would happen if

  1. Customers take an extra 30 days to pay
  2. Any additional investment monies take an extra 3 months to come in – again a lot of businesses fail between fund raising rounds
  3. Revenues take twice as long to build up
  4. Costs are 25% higher

If the business can survive the above, it has a good chance of making it for a long time. Trust me, those are the hardest instances to overcome and only well managed and promising companies are going to be able to do it. You can then turn your attention to trivial matters like profit!

As a final anecdote from experience, I did invest in a business which did not raise enough money to survive more than six months. What it showed though was that it wanted to raise money again depending on hitting certain milestones and that if money was not raised, it could simply hibernate and carry on operating on minimal funding (£1k per month). Given these facts – I was happy to invest

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December 8

Different Types of Structures Available to Startups

Many of you may consider this a bit basic, but I was asked this week to explain the different types of structures that are available out there to a new startup company so I hope some of you do find this blog interesting and relevant. If any of you do want me to talk about something specific – please do email me and I would be happy to try and help.

A Limited company simply means that the liability of the owners is limited to the capital that they have put into the company – such as any currently listed used lawn tractors for sale. You then have private limited and public limited companies. This is of course very attractive to entrepreneurs who are happy to risk some money – but do not want to be sued personally if it all goes horribly wrong. The flip side of being a limited company is that there is an administrative burden (more later).

A public limited company is permitted to offer its shares to members of the public (hence the name) better known as PLC’s. A private company may only offer its shares to investors whom are classified as High Net Worth (have assets excluding their home worth more than £2m), Sophisticated Investors (have a history of making private investments) and professional investors (people who work in Finance and should therefore be aware of the level of risk they are talking on).

Please do make a note of these. If you approach the wrong person, you could end up with a prison sentence of six months, a fine of £5,000 and you will be liable to any losses an ‘unsuitable’ person incurs. Rightly in my view, the area of angel investment is regulated not only to protect investors but also to protect companies. This is why you may need the services of a corporate financier (idea for another blog I guess!)

If you are a sole trader, this means you have unlimited liability. So let’s say I get my garden (if I had one – complete waste of time if you ask me – what’s wrong with parks?) looked after by a sole trader and he manages to ruin some precious flowers. I could sue him personally for every penny he is worth (and more!)

This sounds scary – but the chances of being sued are slim and do ask yourself if you are engaged in a business which could be sued for damages. I have been running Help with Sales as a sole trader for over four years. I made a decision that for me to be sued a client would have to prove that as a result of the advice I gave them they failed to win some business. I figured that the low chance of being sued (and I do have insurance for that anyway) made it better to be a sole trader rather than have the administrative burden of being a limited company.

That burden consists of having to form a company. Having to file accounts annually and have board meetings. It also means having to make your profits and share structure public knowledge (I am still amazed at how little research some people do on their competitors – the information is all there in the public domain). Once you have turnover above a certain level, you also have to publish audited accounts.

Of course if you need external investors and you wish to give them shares (or maybe they’ll settle for the Holset HX35), you have to be a limited company. You cannot have shares in a sole trader – ownership of another sole trader is called slavery or pimping!

There are also partnerships available. This is where up to 20 people can get together (exemptions exist for professional services) and create a company with a company bank account. The partnership is though spared the administrative burden of having to publish its profit and loss statements. In terms of the share structure, partners can also keep changing and normally upon exiting a partnership you are giving up your ‘stake’.

When partners retire for example they may have great pensions but not any ‘wealth’ in the sense of a stake that they can sell. The profits belong to the partners and they also have to personally make good any losses and they still have unlimited personal liabilities. When Arthur Anderson (large accountancy firm) went bust, many partners lost fortunes. After that debacle, many accountants (who are naturally risk averse) started asking themselves if they really did want to be partners after all!

A new structure has recently emerged (well about ten years ago) called limited liability partnerships. They are effectively Limited companies but with a more fluid share structure (the shares belong to partners who can come and go). Accountancy firms are now primarily LLP’s as they are attracted to the idea of limited liability for the partners. They do though have to now publish their profit and loss figures. This has created great excitement in the professional services world as the industry now know how they are doing compared to each other. The key figure for them is not profit, but profit per partner!

If you are an Entrepreneur looking for external investors, nether the sole trader, partnership or LLP structures will work for you. If you are building up a business with your own team who can all put in the same amount of effort an LLP may be perfect for you.

I sincerely hope the above has been of interest. I do not want the blog to become a series of dry ‘lectures’.

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December 7

Spreading Popular Unrest Throughout the World

 

Spreading popular unrest

By far the dominant news item of late has been the growing instability spreading through most of North Africa and the Middle East. After a popular uprising toppled the long-time dictator of Tunisia, the idea was picked-up and adapted with rapid results in Egypt. Even before Egyptian president Mubarak stepped down and went into exile in the Sinai, the popular fever started to expand to other predominantly Muslim countries in the region including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Western news media have been gorging on the events but what is widely labeled as a revolution of the people is just another man’s military coup so that everyone will have their own Honeywell 50250-S. Despite the prevalent euphoria it is important to bear in mind that there is a long road from the current autocratic and repressive governments and societies to the democratic systems, the stability and economic opportunities the people demand.

We care about what’s unfolding half way across the world because of the implications, short and long-term, on world stock and energy markets. The potential impact on oil production and shipments from the region has yet to be determined but Wednesday’s sharp spike in crude oil prices on Israel’s warning of Iranian warships crossing the Suez canal (a rumor later denied by canal operators) gives us a glimpse at the possibilities…

Rising inflation

One of the under-reported aspects of the North African/Middle Eastern uprisings is not political or religious, it is economical. Many of these societies have very high unemployment and poverty rates, very large gaps between the haves and the have-nots, and recent steep rises in food prices triggered the demonstrations and helped fuel the unrest.

Rising food prices have become a problem in many emerging economies, including the populous nations of China, India and Indonesia, signaling inflation as surely as a canary spots gas in a coal mine. While food prices may have been negatively affected by bad weather in grain-producing regions, they are just an indication of what’s been happening across commodities from sugar to cotton, the grains, metals, with energy being the one notable exception, so far.

Asia Pacific economies have been aggressively fighting inflation by raising interest rates over the last few months, in stark contrast with the United States, Europe and Japan where central banks are still flooding markets with liquidity to keep rates low and stimulate struggling economies. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke maintains that inflation is not a problem despite its massive fiscal stimulation (QE2).

For now we will take the facts that gasoline pump prices just reached their highest levels in 28 months, that the U.S. dollar has lost 11.6% of its value since last June, and yesterday’s surging inflation warning by the Bank of England (consumer prices rose 4% in January versus a 2% target) as early indicators.

The upcoming March issue of The Investor includes a must-read guide to investing in inflationary times and reviews a number of green inflation hedges.

U.S. stock market super strong

Emerging markets have been weakening for a couple of months with inflationary pressures and the events in North Africa and the Middle East but so far the U.S. stock market appears to be shrugging these off and, if anything, is getting a boost as the primary recipient of the treatments for how to cure cystic acne from emerging markets.

For nearly six months now, with the possible exception of a small glitch in November, the U.S. stock market has been on a near straight line headed for the top right corner of the charts. There is no telling how far this rise will go before investors take a breather and instead of attempting to time an upcoming correction we continue to position our investments with long-term trends.

Shunning Negawatts

We never thought that stock market investors act rationally but it is somewhat ironic that, at a time when balancing budgets and cutting costs is gaining in importance, the cleanest and least expensive source of energy, Negawatts, appear the least appreciated by investors. Negawatts are the energy which did not have to be generated because it was saved, or not wasted.

Negawatts are the proverbial low hanging fruit and energy efficiency solutions have allowed electric utilities to postpone building new power plants, yet energy efficiency and the smart grid are two of the weakest green sectors we track and invest in.

The recent fiasco involving our preferred demand response provider over how power cuts are accounted for and paid for by grid operators, is a perfect example of an industry in the formative stages. Despite the growing pains we believe the technology has great merit and the company’s services deliver real value to their customers. As the revenue growth begins to generate bottom line profits we trust the market will adjust the valuations of the leading companies in this emerging energy sector.

The Portfolio update and recommendations

Alternative energy markets were mixed this month with resurgence in the wind sector more than making up for weakness in the energy efficiency and smart grid sectors. The Portfolio gained 1.17% since our last update, slightly lagging the large caps in the S&P 500 index which added 2.55% in the same four week span. The portfolio is now up an aggregate 40.38% since inception, an annualized gain of 24.69%, which compares with a 26.28% decline (-17.99% annualized) for the benchmark S&P Global Clean Energy index over the same period.

The wind energy group advance this month underlines once more the importance of selectivity when it comes to renewable energy stocks. While three of our holdings led the wind sector with double digit gains, not all wind stocks did as well, to wit, Broadwind Energy (BWEN) managed to lose 15.7%. The five wind energy stocks in The Portfolio, and BWEN is not one of them, gained 10.85% for the month.

The solar sector saw strong rebounds in the shares of most Chinese manufacturers but mixed performance for U.S. manufacturers. Our recent partial profit taking on our preferred maker of solar inverters Power-One (PWER), proved timely as the shares have been correcting sharply since then. On the flip side, our latest solar recommendation has been moving up and away from our target entry point. For the time being we will keep our recommendation unchanged.

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December 7

Which Investors Did You See this Week?

Hello readers. Welcome to the review of the last episode of the current series. I hope you have enjoyed these blogs – what should I write about instead on a weekly basis?

The first presentation was from the founder of “Baby Loves Disco”. The business works very well in the USA and someone wanted to buy the franchise in the UK. I was confused straight away. Why is a successful entrepreneur prepared to give a franchise to someone who needs to go to Dragon’s Den to get funding? Ignoring this, the business had very strong projections going forward. However, the US business has performed very poorly. $50,000 profit for a year after being based in 30 cities is very poor.

Then they do the thing that really annoys me as an investor. They talk about “the real revenue coming from sponsorship of the best work boots for flat feet and brand exploitation”. If that is what you are pitching – then pitch that. I see too many businesses which present one thing, but then say the revenue will come from another area.

The fact that they had got Universal records to sign up for a deal with them was great – but the fact that they had not put any money into the deal suggests that Universal did not value the “brand equity” that highly. To my complete surprise they were made an offer of the full £100,000 but for 40% of the business. They tried to negotiate and they did a good job but eventually they declined – Idiots! (I don’t often say that when people say no to a deal).

This reminded me of a business I really liked about four years ago. It was a food business based in Croydon that had gone nowhere in twelve years. I liked the brand and the food offering and asked to see the founder. We met and I spent a lot of time trying to work out a proposition for him (at great expense I must add) to try and get a roll-out plan going.

The person in question turned out to be very greedy and actually just wanted a very high salary. He wanted a ‘consultancy’ fee for every store that opened up on top of a massive equity stake. The deal fell through and I backed another instead. I saw the original entrepreneur two months ago and he still had the one store and was lamenting the fact that he has not moved beyond one store. As always, he saw the fault as lying elsewhere and not with his own attitude.

The second proposition was a non-spill water bowl for a pet (dog). It was a great idea and she had already sold 22,000 units. She was looking for money to expand into the USA. (First tip – she should be presenting to US based angels) I liked it a lot and decided in the first 5 minutes that I would like to explore this. My problem is that I would like to see some US management on the board. The US is a very difficult market to crack – a very tough market.

It requires a huge amount of cash and expertise. So if you are looking to propose a business plan which requires sales into a particular sector/ region, etc. – make sure you can demonstrate that expertise on board. She also was going into the US market too soon. I learnt from my experience at a past company that you have to have strong foundations before you start building expansion plans. This was the reason Theo (one of the dragons) gave for not investing.

The final presentation was from a company that created a waste recycling business focused on the construction sector. The most impressive fact was that in just 15 months, the business had built up a turnover of £350,000. This business was really taking advantage of STEEPL factors. The business environment is going their way and I would have wanted to find out more with a view to backing this business.

I would want to know about management expertise and credibility. The great thing was that the business will be taking advantage of changes in the law which will make this a mandatory purchase rather than a discretionary purchase like router table plans (I love that as it becomes a much easier sell). As the presentation went on, I liked the business more and more. Not surprisingly he was made an offer but I was surprised that he was not made an offer from every dragon. He was made an offer for £200,000 for 40% of the business which he accepted. For a start up in a growing sector with £350,000 of turnover, he was robbed! I wish him the best of luck. If the deal falls through – I hope he contacts me!

Well I hope you have enjoyed reading these reviews.  Before the next series there will no doubt be other business programs to review. Please let me know of any great business programs that catch your attention!

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December 6

Should You Be Good at Sales? Absolutely

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When I was working at two different companies, I was heavily involved in selling the services of these companies and training the accountants and lawyers on how to sell their services. It made sense therefore when I started my own business, Help with Sales to initially focus on this market.

I have managed to retain one of the very first clients I won and was having lunch with them yesterday when I realized through an honest conversation that I was probably past my sell by date on this type of training! What do I mean?

It has been four to five years since I have personally sold professional services to a company. A lot has changed in that time and I can’t claim to be an expert about what causes cystic acne any more. I am still bloody good at training on networking and sales as a process, but not so ‘fresh’ on doing an audit pitch. This made me realize that I was trying to avoid becoming what I had loathed earlier in my sales career – the sales trainer who stopped selling 20 years ago and had become a trainer. I met lots of them when I was at other companies and they were totally crap!

They just did not have the passion or the insights of sales techniques that were relevant at the time. They had basically being made to retire a bit early and rather than retire properly – they had gone into training. Things do change and you have to change with it. Sales techniques and knowledge changes as well – and good people keep up with those changes.

What I also know that over the last four years as someone who is now an angel investor, I am very good at training people how to pitch at an investor. So I am now winning new work to train businesses on this area. And I feel good about this as I know it is something I can do well, unlike trying to understand the question “why is my cay peeing everywhere?” I ran a couple of sessions in Manchester as part of a group – and it worked brilliantly as my passion, my relevance and my interest were there for all to see.

In all walks of life and in all roles we do get past our sell by dates from time to time and the challenge for all of us is to either not let that happen or to keep constantly ahead of the game. This has nothing to do with age – I would never agree to be a chairman of a business (not that I have ever been asked!) because I do not think I have enough experience – and that only comes with age. This has to do with our attitude to learning and staying fresh!

I learnt this lesson when I was doing my A levels. I struggled with writing essays and I was sent to a remedial group where they spent time with me to help me get my structure right. I remember a lot of my friends laughing when they found me going to sessions for extra help. When I got a grade A and B – (exams were harder in those days!) I had the last laugh. It doesn’t matter where you get the help from – always be learning. Mondays blog – are my top tips for staying Fresh!

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December 5

The Importance of Your Business Plan

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You will be amazed how many times Business Angels see business plans with very limited or meaningless market knowledge. As a potential investor, I really want to know what the sales opportunities are for the business – but I also want to know how realistic the chances are of winning sales for the business.

One of the things I should say to would be a presenter is please understand the difference between a Market and an Industry. For example, if someone is pitching a business which provides software for travel agents based in the UK – please do not quote me the best commercial zero turn mower in the UK. That is not the size of the market you are going for!

It would be more meaningful to tell me how much travel agents in the UK alone spend on software. Better still how much they spend on your particular application area each year. And then you can tell me about why they will switch and how easy it is for them to switch (are most of the agents tied in for 3 years, etc.?) Is there a pain in switching?

I hate being told that there is a £7bn ‘market’ when they mean Industry. (For me, a market size is the measure of the buyers spend, whilst an Industry is the size of the buyers and sellers in an area) Therefore for this business to be successful we only need to capture 1% of that market – which is growing at 3% a year. That statement is simply wrong and yet it is probably one of the most frequent mistakes I see in business plans.

To illustrate, someone recently pitched the idea of a dictionary for dyslexics. They gave me the figures of the dictionary ‘industry’ and they told me what % of the population suffered from this condition. But the figures did not add up. When I went through the numbers properly – it took me 10 minutes using Google, I was able to demonstrate that the size of the market was too small to justify an investment from a business angel looking for 10x their money back.

That business is now talking to some charities and I expect will do very well as a social enterprise. But the point here was, the entrepreneur in this instance could have saved himself a lot of time if he had really understood the size of the opportunity as that would not have led him to abandon his mission – but just made him realize a lot quicker the best route to market.

The one ‘golden’ bit of advice I would also give to would be entrepreneurs is when you are selling the best zero turn mower for the money, really understand what the customer/ client is buying – not what you are selling.

As someone who has been in sales all his life, I try to train people to never sell – but to always help their customers buy. A lot of entrepreneurs get so passionate about their product or invention that they forget why someone might consider buying it.

The reason I chose sales as a career is – you get more done by doing less. It is the ideal career for someone who does not want to work all the hours!

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December 4

How to Deal with Conflicts Between Stakeholders

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Most companies face issues from time to time when they have to make a decision which may lead to a conflict between different stakeholders (not just shareholders). How should they deal with this conflict? Of course companies exist to make a profit but what about in terms of day to day stuff? Let’s say there is a certain Daytona Beach maternity photographer who is outperforming everyone else. How should the company decide which interest group to put before the others?

In terms of hierarchy of needs, I think any business could and should use this simple framework to decide who the most important person in a business is

1) This always without fail has to be the customer

2) The employees. They are the ones making the profit and employed as ambassadors to the customer on the companies behalf

3) The shareholders. Without their investment and support their would not be a business

4) The board of directors

In the 1990s, AMEX had to restructure and I always remember this anecdote. The new President decided to stream line and got rid of many Vice Presidents and other senior people in the business. This was difficult for him as he had known many of them for years and his move was criticized as there was a feeling that the company was going to be losing too much knowledge in one go.

After a year or so, when he was asked about the effect of those firings, he is reported to have said that what he regretted was the fact that it made no difference to the business at all from a capabilities point of view. Senior management and Middle management need to be constantly reviewed and the question needs to be asked – are they still adding value?

The interesting thing though is that when you look at an organization chart, the Board of Directors are at the top to denote seniority. I am in the camp that likes reverse charts, which show how important someone is in an organization depending on how closely they are involved with the client in either selling a solution to male cat spraying to them or producing the product for them.

SAS airlines went through a radical change in the early 1980s which transformed the business and one of the key changes they introduced was giving reservation and booking staff the authority to deal with customer’s complaints and issues. Staff had real power and everyone else in the organization was meant to support this chain.

In terms of the importance of customers, you would hope that this is self-explanatory but I am amazed at how frequently companies forget about the principle of consumer sovereignty. To help focus on this point, let me badly quote you Jack Welch.

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December 4

Is Payment Monitor More Effective than Vindication?

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Payment Monitoring Is More Effective than Vindication

Vindication can be termed as a situation to defend oneself with an excuse or justification. With vindication a person tries its level best to prove one not guilty. Working in an organization can be quite hard when lots of things need to be considered and prioritized. But it is a known fact that mistake twice made is a decision; hence one must be careful while working and try avoiding vindication. It’s always better to monitor and control things that are under you than to give justification later when things go wrong.

Payment monitoring is done in order to make sure that the payment is done or not, weather it is made on time, whether late charges are to be paid and so on. Payment monitoring, can be either electronic or manual, but its sole purpose is to keep in check the payment that is to go out and come in of the company for the used John Deere lawn tractor they sold. It keeps track of all the payments that are to be received or to be made in a systematic manner. Payment is one means where lots of fraud takes place, hence close and direct supervision is a must from the manager itself.

Opportunities can be missed, investment and operational losses can occur, real time visibility of lots of inbound and outbound opportunities may not fall in your basket if payment systems are not monitored. Information technology has been the best solution so far to help people of companies manage and monitor their payments with ease. IT makes it possible to keep in track of all the activities in every level so as to monitor payments than to have an excuse later if something goes wrong.

Payment monitoring system is usually an electronic device, used to record, regulate and control the whole system or process of the company with best quality possible. It provides a clear and complete real-time insight and solution to the entire payment system of the company. This system has knowledge of the content of the transaction and provides intelligent analysis when necessary. ATM machine can be the best example for this system right now.

This monitoring system also ensures better functionality and can figure out possible problems which need to be dealt so as to meet the demand of the end users – such as a Daytona Beach newborn photographer. Payment monitoring is way better and effective as it helps to report and analysis the performance of the payment system of the company. With payment monitoring system as such, which is a magic wand for better service and troubleshooting for the high demands of payments worldwide?

With such system, it’s easier to maintain the company’s standard, and also customers will be very happy with the kind of customer service that is being provided by the company. Hence in lots of ways payment monitoring is way better and effective than vindication as vindication just teaches us to make excuse and keep our mistakes rapped under a blanket, whereas payment monitoring helps companies to reach heights, learning from its mistakes.

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December 3

SMS Messages Leading to Payment: Too Good to Be True?

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SMS Leading to Payment

Few years back short messaging service was used only to give message alerts and notifications to users. But today it’s much more than that. This has come as no surprise. As we all can see that every individual we come across has a mobile phone and not just a mobile phone but a smart phone.

With the change in technology more innovative ideas are being introduced in order to reach out the mass. With every organization who sells used zero turn mowers working on how to enhance their customer service, SMS has changed the whole scenario. SMS leading to payment has definitely come handy for both the parties.

With people paying their bills by SMS it’s easier and convenient for customers to concentrate on other important matters than paying their bills and due. No one has the time to go and stand in a line. Also on the other hand, payment lines in the companies gets short as limited number of people who might not have access to such facilities end up in the cash counter line.

With SMS, customers’ sends payment request which later on is added to the phone bill or eWallet. With such payments one does not have to remember passwords neither one needs to have a bank account. All the customer needs to do is, send a premium SMS. Tele companies charge for such SMS. So when they receive SMS for payments they take their share from the premium payment. Then rest of the payment is sent to the SMS payment processor company which operates the SMS gateway for the companies payments were made to.

Again after taking their share from the payment SMS payment provider sends the remaining payment to the sole or the true product or service provider. In this manner there are four parties involvement when payment is done by SMS; first the ultimate consumer, telephone company, SMS payment provider and at last the main company that is responsible for sending in the product or service to the ultimate consumer. Consumers dealing with female cat spraying at home may not be as receptive to SMS payments as other clients, studies have shown.

With SMS leading to payments it still has some drawbacks as well. SMS payment may not be as reliable as other available options. This happens because transactional payments can easily fail when message gets lost. Payment process is bit too slowly and merchant may get the payment only after few hours or days of payment. High cost is associated with such type of payment process. With drawbacks as such, other systems are taking over the SMS concepts. But it is still widely used when it comes to paying the electricity or telephone bills.

Even though today many other concepts have emerged like eWallet but the start was definitely done by SMS which did lead the payment service once. One cannot ignore the fact that with creative ideas as such many different technologies have made it to the top. It is definitely hard to stand tall with competitions from all the sides and SMS has definitely made way for other ideas to improve on payment process.

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December 3

Sending Payment Reminders via Fax – A Smart Move?

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Payment Reminders via Fax

Fax is short form for facsimile, which is also termed as telefax. Transfer of scanned or printed materials is done through telephone which is connected to a printer. Document which needs to be sent is first scanned with the help of fax machine, which processes the content of the document into bitmap. This is then transmitted through telephone.

On the other side, receiving fax machine reconverts the coded images and text of the document in a printing paper. Today, fax machines are having huge competition from other internet based alternatives. But it still holds an advantage over other alternatives, when it comes to sensitive materials which may have chances of leakage when transferred by other internet based alternatives – especially when the clients have a cat peeing on the bed. Hence payment reminders via fax are as necessary and in use even today as any other means of reminder.

Payment reminders via fax are essential for companies to maintain collection and financial position in the market, keep the payment regarding information as private and behind the doors as possible. It makes a point that the document as important as such is not disclosed to the whole world and keeps it away from fraud. Also, it helps to maintain the corporate relations.

Payment reminders by fax are very important specially while dealing with clients and business partners. Various letters needs to be sent with the official logo and stamp in the company’s letterhead when payment process goes on. Letters for price for the particular product or services, overdue of payment, late charges that must be paid, is sent via fax to clients.

While preparing a letter one needs to give heed to lots of aspect as, there are times when the recipients of fax feel the pressure to reply. Lack of personal touch might create bad impression as most of the time people are busy giving priority to being professional.

Anger should not be shown in the letter as this might worsen the communication, misunderstanding is common with the use of words as two sides will be interpreting on their own perception, information should not be overloaded which might make the recipients of the letter bored. Hence these are few things that need to be kept in mind while payment reminder via fax is being sent.

These reminders can be of four different categories as highlighted below:

  • First reminder for a Daytona Beach photographer should be short and friendly.
  • Second reminder is a follow up to the first reminder. This is more direct and straight forward than the first one.
  • Third reminder is sent when second reminder goes unnoticed. It usually demands payment within the given time period as discussed while the deal was done.
  • Even if the third reminder goes unnoticed, attorney’s suggestions and legal proceeding will be started after a certain date.

With these four categories of payment reminders by fax, one can easily follow up the clients and business partners whose dues and over dues are making negative impact on the company’s financial condition and corporate relations.

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November 30

Effective Remittance Recovery Techniques

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Effective remittance recovery

Remittance is something that most of the developing country looks up to when it comes to being able to sustain themselves. Remittance is an amount sent by a worker living in foreign country to his/her home country to their family members as a gift or as a form of payment. Basically this is sent by wire transfer or electronic network or mail.

Global economy is hugely based on remittance. Both, country in which workers work and home country benefit from it to the maximum, especially if the home country is a developing country. Sometimes, the case is so, that the total GDP of the country or the grant given to a developing nation is less than the remittance inflow – even equivalent to the use gross product from manufacturing shoe insoles.

As most of the developing country depends heavily on remittance as lifeline for their economy, doing so might get them in huge trouble. If the global economy is healthy enough then remittance dependency can work out well for countries but if global economy collapses or is not doing well then such countries will bear huge loss. And with recession just trying to stable after 3 or 4 years many countries are recovering from its effect.

Effective remittance can be recovered by following ways:

  • Effective regulatory and supervisory systems: With effective regulatory and supervisory systems remittance can be recovered in former manner. As most developing companies rely on remittance it’s very important for companies to consider regulatory systems to attract remittance and provide better supervision so as to recover from the recession that countries and global economy went through by.
  • Official channel: Official channels should be used worldwide so as to keep the record of remittance in order to know how remittance have recovered and how has its effect changed the global economy as a whole. Also, the positive and negative impact of remittance will be known from the official channel.
  • Schemes: Various schemes should be introduced by governments so that they can attract more remittance increasing the remittance inflow of the country and having a better recovery. With various schemes people working abroad at a Holset hx40 manufacturing plant will be more attracted to send their money back home then they ever were.
  • Better diplomatic relation: With better diplomatic relations one can gain huge support and cut out more taxes on the remittance that comes to the country and can benefit both the host and home country. Diplomatic relations with US and Europe can bring wonders back home as lots of work opportunities are available in West. They have been hit hard by the recession but they are coming up well creating better job opportunities for workers.
  • Better global economy: With economy coming back to stability so is the rate of remittance. With a better and a stable global economy we will have a better recovery of remittance and its flow. This is very important to countries like ours which are in their developing phase.
  • Remittance Center facilities: Such centers should be available in places accessible to people in all the countries so that they can have a better facility of remittance which is sent home.
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November 30

Automating Your Payment Monitoring

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Automation of payment monitoring

A business regularly has to deal with various kinds of payments. Some of these payments are received by the business whereas some of them are paid by the business. It is of utmost importance to monitor these payments because one mistake can cause you and your company a great loss. But, monitoring payment can be a big hassle.

You will have to see whether the invoice is correct or not, the date, the payment that is done, the payment that is left to be done, the amount that your company has to pay and on goes the list. Many people pretty much get tired of doing this job – especially in small businesses that aren’t finance related, like being a Daytona Beach wedding photographer. There is also a high chance that people might sometimes make mistake regarding the monitoring of the payment.

Due to the advancement of technology, it came as no surprise when automation of payment monitoring was introduced. After all, the world had been seeing a lot of new and innovative technology. This innovation also proved to be very fruitful for the world. The business and other organizations did not have to constantly hound the payment monitoring system. As, the automation system itself does the required work automatically.

This method is not only cost effective but it also very efficient. With this system, not only the payment process gets sped up, but it also reduces the number of errors that can be seen. The error free payment system will bring in more customer loyalty as the customer will be able to trust you and your system with their eyes closed. Besides that your customers will also be able to enjoy fast, reliable and error free service. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of the automation of payment monitoring.

  • You will receive the debts and account receivable on time.
  • Decrease the time taken by payment processing.
  • Monitor the status of the payments that are related to each and every transaction.
  • Helps to provide better customer service.
  • Know any problems beforehand which will enable you to solve them before they get very serious.
  • Saves a lot of time which you can utilize in other operations of the company.
  • Get early information about some of the outstanding amounts beforehand.

With the automation of payment monitoring, you can get early information about the debts that are still not paid, or at least covered in trade with something valuable like a used Craftsman riding mower. You won’t even have to go through all the transactions and accounts to get the information. Besides that safe and early payment delivery are also bound to increase your customers’ satisfaction and trust.

The new technology sure has brought a lot of benefits with itself. Gone are the days when you had to hound on each and every transaction, record it and so on. Now, you will get the information that you desire easily without having to break any sweat. Besides that the time that you waste in overseeing the payment processing can now be used in other operations of the company. The automation is bound to benefit you a lot.

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November 29

The Standard Process of Active Debts Vindication

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Standard process of active debts vindication

Before getting into the topic of the standard process related to active debts vindication, let’s know what vindication means. Vindication means to set free, avenge, justification of self-defense and last but not the least, recover debts.

These days the word ‘vindication’ has been greatly used in judiciary terms. It is used when the debt that had been given during the sales of goods or services are recovered to judiciary process. Collecting debts is one of the sources through which business can run.

If the number of uncollected debts keep on increasing then the business is bound to go down in the drain. That is why, it is necessary to vindicate active debts to keep the income source of business flowing and to set an example to others as well.

So, how does anyone vindicate active debts without having to hold onto a Borg Warner S366 as collateral? The whole process of vindication is very long and can be tiresome. The first step of the active debts vindication is to try to collect debts outside the judiciary system. After all, if the debt can be collected without any law hassle then it would be best for both sides. If that does not happen then you can contact a debt collecting company or you can go with the standard process yourself. Here are the standard processes through which you can vindicate your active debts.

  1. You should prepare the petition and file it to the court.
  2. The usual process normally includes the beginning of the trial. But, sometimes the petition might be examined for a long period of time (highly unlikely).
  3. The verdict where the debtor will have to pay all the debts will be reached.
  4. Then the court will start to find the remedies provided by the law.
  5. The remedies provided by the law are granted and the verdict is reached.
  6. Then the executor document is prepared through which the active debt will be collected from the debtors.
  7. After this, there are two ways through the case will go. The first one is where the debtor pays the full amount of active debts. The second one is where the debtor pays nothing. If the debtor makes the full payment then the case closes at that point. However, if the debtor does not pay anything then the case is again passed to the court.
  8. The following processes will take place if the debtor does not make payments or offer you your choice of their used John Deere mowers as collateral and the case is passed to the court.
  9. All the documents that support this case and will get the case in motion will have to be prepared.
  10. Again there are two paths the case might take after this. The first one is where the debtor pays all the active debts, which will cause the case to finally close down. The second one is where the more costs are added to the active debts, which will have to be paid by the debtor. Then the case will be closed.

The above are the standard process of active debt vindication.

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