Posted tagged ‘finance’

Try Again – A Third Grade Lesson for Small Business

November 18, 2009

It is especially important for Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs to develop an indomitable spirit.  This little poem inspires me when I feel like a hampster on a wheel.

from THE BEACON THIRD READER by James H. Fassett with a copyright dtd: 1914.

Drive the nail aright, boys,
Hit it on the head;
Strike with all your might, boys,
While the iron’s red.

When you’ve work to do, boys,
Do it with a will;
They who reach the top, boys,
First must climb the hill.

Standing at the foot, boys,
Gazing at the sky,
How can you get up, boys,
If you never try?

Though you stumble oft, boys,
Never be downcast;
Try, and try again, boys,
You’ll succeed at last.

Integrated Approach for SMB, Small Business, Startups, Entrepreneurs

November 7, 2009

In the face of continuous technological changes and financial market volatility, it is becoming increasingly important to define business ideas and validate the concept before launching a high technology or eCommerce venture.  The Integrated Approach provides the means to entrepreneurs in objectively analyzing their business ideas.  It enables them to identify the underlying factors that are critical for the longer-term success of the venture and whether their concept is actually a viable business solution.  Additionally, the framework evaluates the allocation of limited resources, especially of cash, and helps determine if the venture can deliver a sustainable competitive advantage.

If you can’t answer the following questions – using no more than the napkin your drink has been served on, the bartender’s pen and a conversation with the person on the stool next to you – then you might want to think again . . .

Business Questions:

  • Who is your customer?
  • What is your revenue model?
  • What is your cost structure?
  • Who is your competition?
  • What is your sustainable competitive advantage?

If you can actually answer the five questions above, then form a team and build a business plan around the answers you’ve scrawled on that drink-soaked napkin.  To form a team you must – you guessed it – answer five more hard questions . . .

Team Questions:

  • Who should be on the team?
  • What are the necessary roles and responsibilities?
  • Who is missing from the team?
  • What are the lines of communication?
  • How will decisions be made?

Starting a business is not an easy process, however by following a diagnostic approach one can actually crystallize the strategic vision, and validate the concept before scarce resources are allocated to the venture. The integrated approach consists of three distinct phases namely due diligence, funding and execution.

Source: James M. Rasmussen, Manager- Global Deal Services at Accenture.

Are you Startup, Small Business, an Entrepreneur – Ready for Success?

October 25, 2009

Of all those who answer the call of entrepreneurship, most fail. But why is that? What is it about some entrepreneurs that make them successful? What is their recipe for success? 

Before embarking on your journey of self-employment ask yourself the tough question. Do you have what it takes? It is true: only about 30% of startups survive after the five-year mark. Perhaps the two most common reasons for this are that entrepreneurs tend to lack the necessary skills to execute their idea and that they grossly underestimate the capital and resources needed for the startup  to be successful.

 Ask yourself, why are you starting a new venture? Don’t be afraid to be aggressive, as long as you remain realistic. Be specific and consistent, in what you want. In terms of money, are you trying to realize your earning potential by taking matters boldly into your own hands? Or are you sick of corporate downsizing? Do you simply want more of the pie to replace what you’ve lost or supplement what you already have? Now, let us not forget perhaps the most important echelon of pursuits: personal goals. What drives you? Do you thrive on freedom, flexibility, and security, or are you looking for recognition, job satisfaction, and a chance for professional growth? It could simply be a change of career or particular retirement goals that drive you. No matter what your reasons for self-employment are the pertinent question still remains. 

Do you have what it takes? Can you handle the stress of being self-employed? The distinction between work time and personal time will blur. Typically with a new business, any problem that arises, becomes your problem, and it won’t go away simply because you’ve closed the doors for the day. Decisions you make regarding the startup will have a direct and immediate impact on your personal life. And what about your family?

Will you and your family be able to accept your commitment to the startup and cope with the physical and mental strain of your endeavor? Not to mention an unpredictable pay schedule, lack of readily available health insurance, and the necessities of saving for retirement (the most neglected issue among startup entrepreneurs). If you (and your loved ones) have fully prepared for what is in store for you, then you’re in good shapeThe reality is that until others can be hired to handle certain tasks for which they may be especially qualified, you the entrepreneur must be the manager, the marketer, the accountant, the lawyer, the planner, and the one who thanklessly stays up late working and worrying.  

What are you willing to sacrifice to be successful?

The Greatest Challenge facing CFOs, Changing Nature of CFOs Role

October 9, 2009

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret – curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” – Walt Disney.

The CFO of today is no longer reflects on historical data. The role of today’s CFO is rapidly changing, they must be strategic in thier thinking, solution driven and leverage best practices to be a true business leader.  The CFO in the future will be a true business partner and will compliment the CEO.

While the economic value of decisions made is very large, yet  the CFO’s greatest challenge is:

  1. Visibility: into key operational drivers.
  2. Forecasting: Ability to easily construct economic forecasts with “what if” scenarios and
  3. Bridging Organizational Silos: Readily extract meaningful information about business performance from their organizations silos, i.e., disparate financial, operational and transactional systems.

Starting a business: Steps to Financial Freedom & Self Employment

October 4, 2009

What makes Tiger Woods, or Tom Brady different.  It is an insatiable desire to win. Burning desire is the starting point of all achievement.  Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.  All achievement, all earned riches have their beginning in an idea!  – Napoleon Hill

The journey towards self-employment and financial freedom begins with one, single, passionate idea.

We have all had them, ideas that would revolutionize the world, simplify life or enhance the functionality of a product. Usually these all-pervasive ideas come to us while we are in the shower, or while driving down the road, even while listening to music. How often have we come up with an excellent idea only to find someone else actually implementing it?  So why is it that only a few actually succeed in making their dreams a reality?  How do we realize our burning desire to be self-employed and transform these earth-shattering ideas from mere daydreams to a successful corporation?  A true entrepreneur is driven by the desire to be successful. This burning desire is the launching pad of viable ideas. The essence lies in the simplicity of the idea (Value + Simplicity = Success) by Sid Kemp.

The desire to achieving tremendous success can be classified into the following rudimentary steps. Begin by actually visualizing the outcome.  Imagine the reason why you want to start the business.  Visualize the exact amount of wealth you would like to generate. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, next determine what you are willing to sacrifice or give up in order to attain your desired goal.  Many entrepreneurs never set sail; they analyze the idea to death, procrastinate about launching the business and hence fail to achieve their fullest potential.  Decide the date by which you want to start your business.  Having determined the “Go Live” date conduct a thorough analysis of the business idea, by writing a detailed business plan. Finally, align the people, business processes and technology needs with your desired goals and objectives to build a cohesive unit.  Failure is no longer an option.

The reality is that with an unlimited opportunity and a business climate conducive to new ventures, there is a phenomenal influx of ideas.  Venture capitalist receive about 12,000 business plans per year in this Internet Age, but end up financing only about 15 to 20.

Back to the original question: How are we going to do this? Take our ideas from start to finish.  Ultimately, the answer will be found in looking at how the winners did it. Not only that, but we should listen to the experiences of startup experts, such as industry leaders and financiers. From all this, we will be able to process engineer a start-to-finish integrated methodology to launch our dreams into reality

Ask This CFO – Winds of Change are Stirring…

September 15, 2009

CFO Magazine (CFO Report):

  •  “… executives are unhappy with their visibility into key operational drivers…”

*CFO’s today lack decision support tools

  • The Finance function remains saddled with Limited data access, Inefficient processes for data acquisition, and Inadequate reporting.

(*“On the Up and Up” published by Hyperion Solutions Corporation, 2004)

Starting your own Business -Managing Growth & Risk

September 5, 2009

Growing Pain:Managing Growth for SMBs,Small Business, Entrepreneurs

The greatest challenge that any organization especialltySmall Business faces is in managing growth along with the successful execution of business ideas.  In today’s hyper competitive business environment, achieving profitability is extremely critical.  As your sales volumes surge, managing the day-to-day operations can become a complicated and a time-consuming process. 

It is my experience that entrepreneurs end up performing several job functions during the course of a day.  As the business grows, they find themselves pulled in several different directions, battling one crisis after another.  The excitement and enthusiasm of managing an organization soon fades and they find themselves paralyzed by numerous issues surrounding staffing, business process management (BPM) and financial operations to name a few.

Organizations that have the ability to convert thought into action succeed while the rest languish in mediocrity.