Thursday, December 17, 2015

Computer Software for a Small Business

Investing in a good computer software is essential for effectively managing a small business. It not only saves time & money but also brings accuracy to the work. A small business owner who is preoccupied with so much work, a good computer software gives him / her required information & ample time for planning. It also helps him / her in making timely decisions.

Buying an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is one of the best options for a small business. It supports a number of business functions i.e. accounting, sales, procurement, human resource, production, inventory management, CRM (Customer Relation Management) etc. In an ERP different business applications are integrated in one software. Therefore, you do not have to buy different computer programs for different tasks. The data is shared & flowed between different functions this saves data entry operator from feeding same data more than once.

When you decide for an ERP then go for an online cloud based ERP. This will allow you to work from anywhere around the world. Also you will not be depended upon your computer as you will be using cloud data storage and you will be not using your hard disk for storing the software or the data. One more advantage is that  you will be able to access your data by any other device i.e. tablet, smartphone etc.

A cloud based ERP is need of the hour as it is a one of the vital tools to run & manage your small business effectively.

I hope you found the above information helpful. Please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Managing Day-to-day Affairs in Small Business

When we talk about managing small business, our daily actions are very important as they may make or break the business. Taking right actions means, making right decisions and it is only possible when you have true & complete information. Make sure you are always fully aware about everything concerned with your business.

Do not leave this for your employees. In a small business, usually owner has to wear many hats therefore he/she should have sufficient knowledge almost about everything related to the business.

Some of the things which you, as an owner, should always know are:
  • Your current payables & receivables.
  • Your latest bank position & cash in hand.
  • Your expected sales & stock position.
  • Your competitors’ activities.
  • Your product / service cost till the delivery of the product / service.
  • Your production capacity utilized & idle. Also your production efficiency.
  • New market trend.
  • Likeness & dislikeness of your customers.
  • Any change in rates of your inputs.
  • Government rules, regulations & taxes and their updates.
  • Any other news which may affect your business in any way.

The more you are informed more you will be able to make swift & right decisions. Making right decisions at the right time is the key to successfully managing your small business. I hope you found the above helpful. Please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Money Management in Small Business

Running out of funds is a nightmare for any business. It is impossible to operate a business successfully without having good money management skills. Following are few tips to help you in this regard:

Make a budget: you should know your periodic expected income as well as expenses. Also you should be aware of break even point of your business. Then plan & work hard to cross it and go beyond it.

Start with adequate funds: When you start a new business make sure that you have sufficient funds at your disposal. Usually new businesses take some time before they can support themselves. For the first few months you should have enough reserves to meet all the expenses.

Check cash in hand & bank position regularly: Monitor incoming & outgoing funds on daily basis. That's how you will always know your current fund position.

Check your receivables & payables frequently: Just like fund position you need to see your receivables & payables on daily basis. Take necessary action to ensure that you receive your payments and meet your liabilities on time.

Invest in good accounting software: This will give you more control over, all the financial issues. Also you will always have a complete picture within a mouse click. It will give you quick & accurate information. It will save you a lot of man hours. Also, it will help you to make quick & right business decisions.

Reduce expenses: Reduce your expense by purchasing items only when needed. Buying unnecessary things will block your funds. Always negotiate rates with suppliers. Thoroughly examine everything in your business and try to reduce expense where possible. Make sure that nothing is being wasted in your business operations.

Try to receive your sales proceeds on time: Make a clear payment policy and inform your customers accordingly. Offer discount when a customer pays upfront. Do not offer long term credit to your customers.

Never mix personal funds with business funds: Please make sure that you never ever do that. It will only complicate things and you will never be able to find out the correct financial position of your business.

I hope you found the above helpful. Please feel free to comment.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Purchasing System for a Small Business

Every organization needs goods & services to run its business.  Arranging those goods &  services from external sources is called purchasing. A purchase department buys raw material, spare parts, services etc. Sometimes these are available in local market and sometimes these  need to be imported or manufactured from a workshop.

Depending upon the nature of business purchase manager needs some expertise/technical knowledge to discharge his/her duties well. Purchasing is one of those vital functions which can make or break an organization. It has to be done with great responsibility. The objective of a purchase department is to buy required items at minimum price. Also, it should avoid a stock out situation at all cost.

 Following are few tips for small businesses to perform this function right:

·         First understand what  exactly you need to buy i.e. specifications/detail of the required product/service. This way you will protect yourself from ordering substandard or wrong stuff.

·        Get three or more quotations from different suppliers.

·         Make a comparative statement to select the right supplier.

·         Always negotiate price.

·         Try to get some credit.

·         Always try to find out why one supplier is economical than other.

·         Place order to a supplier with good repute.

·         Place order on time. Delaying may hamper some business operations.

·         When placing order mention complete specifications on the purchase order.

·         Maintain a minimum stock to avoid disruption in business operations. Items which are not readily available their stock should be more than the ones available on short notice.

·         Maintain good relationship with your suppliers.

·         When selecting a supplier keep all his/her term & conditions in mind.

·         Determine the exact quantity to be ordered. Buying too much will block your funds and ordering too little may create a stock out situation.

·         Upon receiving the goods, thoroughly inspect the items to ensure these are as per your purchase order.

·         Pay the supplier only when you are satisfied with the quality.

I hope you found the above helpful. Please feel free to comment.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Advertising in Small Business

In a new small business, letting know your market presence to your potential customers is necessary for your survival and growth. A small business does not have a huge budget so following are some of the economical but effective options for advertising your small business:

Directories: Advertise in your local phone & business directories like yellow Pages under the most appropriate / relevant category.

Classified Ads: Place a classified Ad in the most read & circulated paper of your area. Usually Sunday or weekly holiday papers are read the most.

Blogs: Web presence for any business is vital. So create a blog & frequently update it. Make sure it is mobile friendly. Please use Search Engine Optimization for better results.

Website: Create a website, showing your business detail, relevant photos, contact information etc. Make sure it is searchable on major search engines. You can even make money through your web site with the help of Google Adword. Ensure your website also has a mobile phone version. Please use Search Engine Optimization for better results.

Handbills / Pamphlets: You can also attract new customers by distributing handbills in public areas like malls or you can ask newspaper hawker of your area to distribute it with the newspaper.

Direct Marketing by visiting / by phone: If you are trying to target a niche market and you happen to know your customers. Then you can introduce your business by personally visiting or by calling them.

Advertising on websites: You can place ads on the websites which you think are frequented by your potential customers.

A billboard outside your business premises: If your business premise is located on a busy road then you can invest in a good billboard. This may also help.

Social Media: Social media websites are a good tool for advertising & selling products. Learn by watching how others are using it. There you can also use their paid advertisement option.

Periodic emails: Collect email addresses of your potential customers and send them email periodically to inform about your new products, deals etc.

Customer Referral program: You can start a customer referral program where you can encourage existing customers by rewarding for bringing new customers. The reward could be a special rate or extra service or product for a limited time or could be something else.

Giveaway: Distribute giveaways to your existing customers. Gift items like wall clocks, wall calendars etc. These are good source of  publicity.

Personalized Packing material: In case you are selling a product then make sure your packing material i.e. bags, boxes, cartons etc. carry your logo, name and contact information. These also sometimes help potential customers to locate you.

Ebay or OLX: Websites like ebay and OLX are also a good place to sell your products & services. These are used by a huge number of people so you may easily find your customers there. Also it cost nothing and easy to use.

Youtube: You can sell your product by making and uploading a video about your product/service. Use Search Engine Optimization for better results. Also, you can place a paid advertisement here.

Google plus local, Bing Local & Yahoo Local: These can also help you to sell your product / services and attract more customers. Visit their websites and learn how to use these.

Above was a brief write up on how you can advertise your small business in a low budget. I hope you found it helpful. Please feel free to comment.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Staffing Your Small Business

Hiring right person for the right job is vital for the success of any business. In a small business mostly owners also work. So before you start hiring first make a list of all the jobs needed to be done on daily , weekly, monthly and annual basis. Then decide what you will be doing yourself and for which jobs you need help.

Do not opt for too many jobs for yourself, as it will over burden you and there will be little or no time for thinking, planning and effectively managing the business.

Now there are two ways to get help. You can hire an employee or you can outsource a job. Many times small businesses outsource accounting & tax related work. It saves them time & money.

Keep in mind that hiring is a time & money consuming process so make sure that you do it right. Make a list of job openings you need to fill and write down what skills, education, experience & other characteristics are required for each position. Then advertise accordingly. You can do it by:

  •             Placing an ad in the local paper
  •             Placing an ad thru internet
  •             Hiring the services of local headhunters
  •             Contacting job placement department of a university in your area

Interview in detail to know the candidates better and their capabilities. Evaluate each candidate carefully and select the best ones for the job. Make sure the selected candidates have the right knowledge  & experience. Also, they are willing workers with a positive mental attitude.

If in doubt call them again after a day or two for a second interview to further probe them. Sometimes it is better to offer an appointment letter with a 30 days or more probationary period so in case a candidate does not work as per your expectations then you can release him/her without any obligation and find a better employee.

Please feel free to comment. I hope this will be helpful.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Selecting Right Location for Your Business

Selecting right place for business is very essential to make it a success. Selecting a business place is one of the major decisions when you start a new business. If one ends up in a wrong location then it may have devastating consequences. Selecting a business location depend on the nature of business.

Some businesses depend more on a particular location than others. If the nature of your business is such where you deliver your products to the customers and they do not need to visit your place then you can have a cheaper place with fewer facilities or even can do it from your home. In case you plan to open a shop or a restaurant then there are many factors regarding location, you need to consider. Some of them are:
  • ·         Availability of sufficient customers in the area
  • ·         Easy access
  • ·         Easy to locate
  • ·         Availability of Parking Space
  • ·         Affordable rent
  • ·         Size of the premises
  • ·         Space for storage & future expansion
  • ·         Availability of employees / labor in the area
  • ·         Competitors in the area
  • ·         Easy access for suppliers to make delivery
  • ·         Location should be in accordance with the type of potential customers
  • ·         Utilities connections at the premises

In case you plan to start a farming business or manufacturing businesses then you have to make sure that your premises is:
  • ·         Close to main highways so you can easily send your product to market.
  • ·         Also, it should be close to a bus / train station/ airport in case you plan to ship out of town.

Above is a brief write up on selecting right location for your business, I hope it will give you an idea what to look for in an ideal business location. Please feel free to comment.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Naming Your Small Business

Giving an appropriate name to your small business is very important as it is one of the things that attract customers. Following are a few properties of a good business name:

1  . Short 

2  . Memorable

3  . Easy to spell

4  .  Sound good

5  .   Different / Unique

6  .   Has a positive meaning

7  .  Gives an idea about the nature of business

The Business name should be short & sweet. It should be easy to remember & easy to spell. These properties also help customers to remember & locate you by phone directory or through internet.

The name should sound good. You can find out this by saying the name loudly to yourself or you can get feedback from friends & family. A unique or different name is something which catches others'  attention immediately. Just make sure the name is not confusing & difficult to pronounce.

The name should have a positive connotation. Neither it should offend anyone nor it be a laughing stock. Also, the name should give an idea what the business is about i.e. XYZ Garden Shop. This will save your & others' time.

Once you finalize the name then get it registered with the competent authority. Also, get the domain name. Get your logo designed from a professional, unless you are good at it. Please remember, your business name & logo is your identity so apply for a trademark registration to protect it.

I hope it will be help. Please feel free to share your comments.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Choosing the Right Business

Choosing the right business is something very important. One should spend sufficient time reflecting. on it. In case you make a wrong decision then you may end up wasting your precious time, energy & resources. Therefore, a detailed research is highly recommended before you start.

Business includes selling products as well as services. There are a number of factors one has to consider before choosing a business. Some of them include:

1. Do you really like this business

2. Requirements to start the business

3. Market demand

4. Your expertise

5. Budget

6. Law of the land

Please ensure that you really like the chosen business and enjoy doing the required work otherwise it may become a burden. Here, you need an introspection to really know how you feel about it. Only proceed if you really love the idea. Be prepared to leave your comfort zone to achieve success.

Find out in detail what it takes to start the business i.e. equipment, infrastructure, expertise, labor, cost etc. Discover source of equipment, know infrastructure needed and costs & time required to start the business. Meet suppliers, vendors, potential customers and others related to the industry to gain the first hand knowledge.

Sometimes even you love doing something there is not sufficient demand. So before you start make sure there is a sizable market out there. You can get an idea about the demand through internet, by meeting potential customers, by conducting surveys, by sample testing etc.

Usually, in small businesses the owners lead their teams. So, when selecting the right business  make sure that your qualification . expertise, experience etc match with the requirements of the business. In case you lack vital knowledge then you will not be able to effectively run your business. In that case its better to educate & prepare your self before starting the business.

Budgeting is one of the vital tools which may help you in making a right decision. It gives an estimate of the expenditure & income in a set period of time. It will give you an idea how much funds you should arrange for the business and when and how much income can you expect. Therefore, work hard on your budget to get an accurate picture of your future venture. When preparing it make sure it is based on facts rather than vague assumptions.

Knowing law of the land is very important. Find out the tax applicable on your business, permission / license if any you should apply for and any other requirements you need to meet before you start. Please make sure your business is in accordance with the law of your country.

Keep in mind, that only a detailed  study and research will help you in reaching a correct decision. There is no substitute for the right knowledge.

It was a brief write up on, " Choosing the Right Business", there may be other factors also, which I may have not covered, but I felt these were the most important. I hope it will be helpful. Please feel free to share your comments.