Financial Yardsticks for Small Business

Your Assets

Tracking your equipment, furniture, real estate and other holdings should be easy. But to have a true idea of the value of your business, you also have to track changes in the value of those assets. More than one small business has found itself located on a piece of land that’s worth more than the business itself. Similarly, you also will want to track the declining value of assets such as computers and office furniture.

Your Liabilities

On the face of it, this is easy — liabilities are what you owe. But what you owe isn’t always as obvious as a bill from your landlord. Payroll taxes are a liability that depend on the size of your payroll. Loans are a clear liability, but in repaying them you’ll want to be able to track how much of a payment is applied against principal and interest.

What does it Cost You to Produce What You Sell?

If you’re buying a finished item for resale, this is relatively easy. It’s trickier if you have to calculate all the factors, such as labour, that go into manufacturing a product. .

What’s it Costing You to Sell What You Sell?

Advertising, marketing, … Read the rest

About Small Business Proposal Development

In smaller companies everyone has to be direct charge, there is no budget for sales and marketing groups or sales engineers. Everyone bills the customer and very often everyone is working on a customer site. When a new opportunity is identified there is no one to work it properly until the RFP hits. Notice that the company isn’t caught flat footed or bidding out of the CBD they’re just doing all they can do with the resources available. Because Small Company Inc. wants to grow and prosper they’ve sent people to be trained by those companies espousing the best practices and they would like to emulate those they wish to become. All that Big Company Inc. may have been doing for a year or more to get ready to bid, Small Company Inc. now tries to squeeze into a 30 to 120 day period. It would be stressful to do this once or twice in a year but some companies go through this insanity perpetually.

The few good people that get stuck on proposal teams burn out quick. Between the proposal and the customer and other company responsibilities the quality of work suffers; the proposal, the customer or the company. … Read the rest

Small Business Strategy

THE FOUNDATION

A good way to begin “strategic thinking” is to remind yourself why you chose the business or industry you came to be in. What were your hopes or aspirations at the time? While probably not at the top of your thoughts, the core values that attracted you once are most certainly still important to you. No matter what opportunities you choose to pursue, start by reminding yourself about the things that really matter to you. If you are doing this with a team, the process of identifying the most important common values is always a good first step.
One you are clear on what is really important at the core; there are many good tools and methods to help identify opportunities. In this article I offer four frameworks to consider; perhaps one will be tempting to delve into depending on your situation.

POSITIONING

In any business or organization it is important to differentiate yourself in a relevant, meaningful way from everyone else out there. A good starting point is to take a closer look at the unique competencies and strengths in your organization.

In a method commonly used in strategic planning known as SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and … Read the rest

Budgeting Software for Small Business

The budget is an essential element of the business process. It allocates the financial resources of the company according to a preset plan and forecasts cash flow. How well the business adheres to the budget and how quickly it can react to deviation from the budget are often determining factors in the success or failure of the enterprise. Budgeting software that can assist in this becomes a great aid to the small business owner. The following are three of the top budgeting software programs available on the market today that are geared for small business.

Microsoft Forecaster is the first. It works well with a variety of general ledgers and coordinates with other Microsoft small business software to automate and simplify the entire budgeting process. It is considered a very intuitive type program, and the fact that it is so similar in its appearance to other Microsoft programs makes it very easy for the small business owner, and his key people to quickly grasp its operation and to benefit from its features.

Budget Maestro by Centage is the second entry. It has a very sophisticated logic that is built into the program and continually tracks the income statement, balance sheet, … Read the rest