Learn the Basics of Starting a New Business From the Scratch

Deciding to start your own business can be one of the most exciting and rewarding decisions you make in your life. All businesses start from a common point – an idea. You may have dreamed of starting your own business for years, or inspiration may have hit you unexpectedly. Regardless of the source, the first step of starting your own business is coming up with a business idea.Your mind is the greatest and the most powerful tool you have. The hard truth is, you will never achieve anything unless you first think about it and make a distinctive effort to achieve it. Well, you may be wondering: what is the best business idea for me? Remember, that you will only be truly successful by doing what you can relate to. So the question is, what do I really relate to?A good % of new businesses fail today. This is largely due to mismanagement, poor planning and knowledge gap. Statistics and past personal experience have proved this. In today’s business world, succeeding in a new venture can be quite challenging and demands adequate planning. A good business plan will primarily include your business structure, an executive summary, products and services, market analysis, marketing strategy, management summary and financial analysis.Now that you’ve identified your big idea, you need to balance it with a little reality. The research you conduct in your small business start-up process will help you figure out if your business idea has the potential to succeed. Researching will also help you in preparing a formidable business plan. So research your business thoroughly. Identify potential pitfalls and learn to avoid them from the word go. In essence, learn from other peoples mistakes. Seek insurance for your business or business items to avoid telling a bad story. Plan every step of the way before you even start. This includes full investment and expense planning as well as contingency plans. Grab as much literature on your proposed business as possible. This will also help in ensuring that you keep your knowledge up to date and may even provide new knowledge on innovations that you had no previous knowledge about.You need a plan in order to make your business idea a reality. If you intend to seek financial support from an investor or financial institution, then bear in mind that a formal written business plan is compulsory. Even if you don’t, having a business plan can provide a lot of clarity and direction, assist you to determine your business objectives and provide a sound basis for accessing your companies potential to succeed. How you would like your business to operate? Do you want sole proprietorship, partnership or limited company? If you are a small business owner, you should opt for the first. This is less complicated and requires no paperwork. A simple business plan will primarily include your business structure, an executive summary, products and services, market analysis, marketing strategy, management summary, Business Insurance and financial analysis. Decide early on how you intend to finance the new business and keep it going. This requires some financial planning on your part. Learn to control your expenses. Note that you will most likely encounter unforeseen expenses along the line and as such you should make provision for this so that you don’t get stuck along the way. Incorporating a 5year plan will help ensure you do not run out of steam along the way. Your financial plan should be incorporated into your overall business plan.Have an excellent marketing strategy and don’t forget to employ the tool of advertising. You want to reach as many prospects as possible within your identified niche area. Advertising can be a powerful tool that keeps you in business. After all, the more people you reach, the greater your chances for consummating and the greater your chances of being successful in your business.Good selling involves providing the right product and services to your customers thereby creating customer satisfaction. Your ability to provide and fulfill your customers need will determine your level of success in selling your business. Customers buy satisfaction. Creating customer satisfaction is the key to customer retention. Every business plan should include a market analysis. This is one of the first and most important reasons to do a business plan. And whether you’re just starting a new business or reviewing an existing business, you should renew your market analysis at least every year.

How Do I Sell a Distressed Business?

As the Great Recession in the US starts to heal and spread through the economy, many business owners are looking to sell their business and regain control of their lives. For different reasons, the recession has been longer and deeper than many imagined, one of the main reasons why Chairman Bernanke at the Federal Reserve keeps saying he will not be raising interest rates for the ‘foreseeable future’ as he wants to make sure the growth in the economy is permanent and not temporary as happened during the Great Depression.Despite the return to growth in the economy, a lot of business owners are unable or unwilling to hold on to their business in the hope of getting a better price if they sold. At the moment there are many buyers for certain types of businesses but I am seeing these buyers look for bargains. I am also seeing many business owners saying “Get me out, I am done.” They are highly motivated to sell rather than close the business as they want to see their business survive and feel a new owner with marketing money and energy can make it thrive and the price they want is extremely reasonable, that is, just the value of the assets.If you own a business and want to sell because the physical, financial and emotional price is too great here are some steps to take.The first step is probably the most important. It’s critical to step back from the business to be clear where it is at. If sales are declining rapidly then that business will be very hard to sell. If sales are flat then that is good. If sales are starting to increase that’s better. To help with this step, look at the cash flow. If a business has positive cash flow it has so many more options to a business that has no cash flow and/or no chance of this improving.The second step is to look at the finance in place. If the business has no loans, that is great as the assets can be sold free and clear. If the business has loans from family and friends, it is time for heart to heart discussion about who gets how much. If the business has loans from a bank it can be well worth having a discussion with them. Take care with this approach as you need to be sure the bank will partner with you. Banks are in the business of lending so talk to their Asset Protection manager whose job is to protect the interests of the bank by getting bad loans off their books.The third step is to move forward with selling the business. As I mentioned above, the sale will be around the hard assets. As the seller of the business you may be tempted to think there is value in customer lists, software, a website or the business phone numbers but the reality is these assets are not producing enough cash from the business sales. Do not get me wrong, a buyer will want them but they will not be willing to pay for them; only the hard physical assets or fixtures, furniture and equipment.Make a detailed list of all the fixtures, furniture and equipment so you can clearly show a buyer what you have including the make, model, date of purchase and any other positive points you would like to make.Step four is to start marketing the business and the assets. This is probably the hardest part. If the business has employees you do not want them to find out the business is for sale as they will likely fear their job and leave. Customers will be unsettled as well. The other party to worry about is suppliers. If their current terms include credit then they move to require cash only on all sales, so care needs to be taken.If a suitable buyer comes along, it will be important to run the sale through an escrow company. This protects all parties in the transaction especially the buyer as they want to acquire the assets free and clear.The process to sell a distressed business can be beyond the skill set and patience of the owner and there is a need to find expert or professional help. There is a cost to this professional help but it can be minimized and pushed to the end of the transaction so they only get paid if the assets are sold. Depending on the business, there may be options such as the expert taking an equity position that does not cost money. The critical step is to find the right expert that can evaluate the business and offer a viable solution.The place to look for an expert includes any association in your particular industry. That is, if your business is in the auto repair industry or manufacturing industry, check with your association to see if they know any experts. There are two associations that have consultants that work with businesses in distress. These are the Association for Corporate Growth and the Turnaround Management Association. To find a local contact in your market, simply do a Google search for these associations and see if you can find a local chapter and a point of contact to call and ask for help.The biggest challenge for small business owners and a business in distress can be the owner themselves. The emotions of being overwhelmed with what to do, accepting the reality of the situation, but not being too critical of themselves, that is, seeing it as a failure and being concerned about what to do if they owe money to family and friends. The situation also puts stress on their immediate relationships and simply adds to the negativity of the situation. However, selling a distressed business is now about the future of the business including its customers, employees, suppliers and a positive legacy of seeing the business move from survive to thrive.

Construction Industry Export Possibilities

99.1% of the world’s consumers live outside of the United Kingdom. Enough possibilities? The construction industry is a peculiar industry amongst other industries. The United Kingdom is a peculiar country amongst other countries. These two facts allow for enormous possibilities as well as a whole lot of other stuff going wrong when seeking sales abroad. My own introduction to the construction industry came from being recruited from a successful exporter of polythene to people who make nappies to running the nascent export operation of a leading materials manufacturer. It took at least six months for me to understand the complexities of specification selling, the exporting bit was a piece of cake. Every country has its own culture and practices and the British construction industry is unique, so offers unique products and services as well as incomprehensible (often to us as well as foreign clients who really don’t care) practices, Identify your strengths and exploit them, only now you potentially have a strength your competitors do not. As an example, I quickly discovered PU cements didn’t really exist in much of the world due to the original patent so selling against local competition was easy.The obvious reason that UK companies fail to take advantage of the potential is fear. However, the vast majority of successful British exporters I have known have achieved this success through a mixture of good fortune and (to a lesser extent) our imperial past. The world has changed, British reputation does not count for so much and global trade is now the norm. If people have made money by being lucky (essentially getting specified by British architects), imagine what can be achieved by doing things proactively. I will attempt to describe some of the possibilities bearing in mind that strategies differ depending on where in the supply chain you find yourself.Demand: UK GDP is a small fraction of global GDP. The EU is the same country, economically speaking, with a population of 503 million. There are a lot of customers out there.Profitability: On average, exporters create more jobs, grow sales faster and their employees earn more.Risk mitigation: This is especially relevant to the construction industry. The ups and downs make Blackpool’s Big Dipper look like a kiddies’ slide. Of course, other countries suffer as well, but often at different times, so you can spread the risk and maintain sales in lean periods.SMEs: Smaller businesses have greater potential. This report http://www.fasttrack.co.uk/fasttrack/leagues/smeexport100leaguetable.asp?siteID=9&searchName=&yr=2015&sort=num&area1=99 from The Sunday Times shows what is possible as well as the notable absence of construction companies.With a large export market researched and identified, you can then actually manage your profitability. It depends on the service or product, but an export order is usually larger, a project might be enormous and economies of scale can be achieved. Products or services which are common here may be scarce and demand a large premium elsewhere. Knowledge is crucial. With a larger potential customer base to call on, you can pick and choose business according to which is more profitable. I could name at least three companies who have built a worldwide reputation after feebly following up an enquiry which very fortuitously turned into a multi-million pound project. Be the first to look for opportunities and you have a better chance of seizing them.This article is intended to highlight the possibilities of exporting so, while I could write at length about how to achieve exporting success, here I just want to examine a few different approaches for different types of organisations:Sub-contractor: Possibly even 2 men and a van. With specialist skill and knowledge and a good relationship with a materials manufacturer, you may be able to do specialised work abroad where no suitably skilled staff are available. Talk to them.Main contractor: Endless possibilities. If not involved, speak to a specialistQS: This area is a little more difficult but this link http://www.icoste.org/ may help:Architect: Possibilities will depend entirely on the philosophy of the practice. If open to the new, get out there..Materials manufacturer: If not the most possibilities, certainly by far the easiest to achieve. Find the same kinds of people in other countries whom you sell to here and sell to them. If you are not doing this already, speak to someone who knows how to do it.Builders merchant: Huge possibilities where demand exists, research is crucial.Equipment manufacturer: If your existing export sales are not already over 50% of the total, you maybe need a strategy rethink.During the course of my work, I read a lot of literature about exporting. It is usually prefaced with, ooh, it’s scary, risky, people do things differently and speak funny languages. While it is true that, if you insist on British working practices and payments or insist on your own company’s way of doing things, you are unlikely to export anything, if you open your mind, the world is that oyster. Your most important strength will be your adaptability. Nevertheless, exporting offers up a whole new set of possibilities. Evolution comes from mixing, matching and finding the best. You will find certain British products or practices are very highly valued overseas but, at the same time, discover all those products and practices which are better than ours and bring them home. There is no doubt that exporting makes you stronger.In my experience, one of the big weapons in the arsenal of the typical construction industry sales person is the treasured list of project references. If you really want to show off, you have to have some international ones. The transformation in a company’s reputation once they are successfully exporting is astounding. Any specifier is going to place a far higher value on your company if you are working internationally. Exporting boosts your domestic sales too, you cannot lose.Aside from building your reputation by exporting, you will also make your company stronger. If you have ever coveted the reputation of German engineering or Japanese technology, get out there and compete with them, learn what they are doing and do it better.Whatever you do as a company, you are in the business of getting things built. Getting something built in Barcelona is just the same as doing it in Barnsley. You may possibly have more fun in Barcelona, that is up to you. You want to make profit, there are a lot more projects out there than British ones. Why not find them?