EMAC has organized for the simple purpose of allowing business people to ask simple business questions which have been answered by business professionals without the expense of paying for the quality professional time as other websites began doing. We believe people need a break and a helping hand. The majority of these Q & A are related to small business issues, many just good common sense or simple direction.
We have seen that in most cases there are many answers to a single question. Our goal is to help you find the one or more answers you seek by sharing a few of our experiences in the form of answers to questions over the past few years. Which we hope will allow you to make a more informed decision in regards to your original question. We will not answer legal or account questions within this section, there are many qualified websites and professionals out there to assist you with those types of inquiries.
EM Advisory Corp would like to thank all of you for your questions and participation over the years. We commit to answering each of your questions to the best of our abilities.
Great question, but nowadays banks choose people not the other way around unless you have a minimum of 6 to 7 figures to give them. Banks are all about collateral, yours, if its large enough they will talk to you. There are several things you should consider. First of all, do your homework and make sure you know everything about your business, your history, and anything else a bank might want to know. Will this bank be in business tomorrow? Besides financing you, what do you want to get out of a bank? Find a banker you’re comfortable working with, and line up a couple of other people at the bank that are familiar with your business in case one person leaves. Find somebody who’s willing to send business your way since they do have a vested interest in making sure you do well. Also, make sure you can be honest with your bank about good news and bad. Finally, think about potential growth. If you’re approaching a bank’s lending limit, then they won’t nbe able to help you expand in the future. Always try new options in your search, think out of the box. Visit www.EM-Advisory.com a little self promo never hurts.
To begin with, take some time with your idea to figure out what you want out of it. Are you looking to get into a new field? Are you trying to expand on something you’ve been doing for a while? Determine how you want to approach your business, who you want to target, why what you’re doing is special and unique. Once you have a good idea of what it is you want to do and how, do an analysis of your competition to understand pricing, products, promotion, service, distribution, and quality. Then find ways to improve on most or all of these. Once you’ve gotten all of that information, you can start working on a business plan, which is basically an outline of what you believe your company will do from the initial setup phase to future expansion, this is where you should start.
If your business plan is a mess, I am assuming you’re talking about the outline needing work. This could be as simple as going online and searching for “Business plans.” There will be plenty of examples that you can use as an outline for what you want. Pick the structure that works best for the type of business you’re starting. If all else fails, you can visit our Parent Corp’s website http://emadvisorycorp.com/business-plans.html and contact us directly.
Websites these days can be very inexpensive and worth creating for a more expanded presence, i.e. tourism, new people moving into the area. Local search and local marketing is also gaining popularity on the Internet. Recent research by the Kelsey Group reported that 70% of Americans consult the web before making local buying decisions, while 36% of search engine queries now request local results. You should also utilize local review sites like Yelp, Insider Pages and Angie’s Lists
Having a website can allow you the opportunity to expand into new self promoting product lines like t-shirts, coffee mugs, embossed reusable ice cream cones with your logo on them sold through the website.
There are several ways to do this. The easiest way is to get a patent on the invention in question, but this is a lengthy and expensive process, often taking months and thousands of dollars. You can fill out a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) which will cost you approx. $75 and a few hours of your time, and will allow you to have protection on your ideas for 12 months, affording you all of the legal protection that entails and giving you a year to show off your ideas and find the investors you need to make it stick. Watch the time clock closely regarding your 12 months.
Yes and no. Grants exist in almost every government department, but you need to know how to write grants to get them. Colleges and universities generally get these because they write the grants for themselves; it’s a skill set they have perfected. However, if you’re wondering if the government can give you a “reasonably easy to get loan” with a favorable interest rate, then yes, it’s true. The US Small Business Administration has what’s called a guaranteed loan program that, if you prepare a proposal correctly, can provide you with a loan to get yourself started.
That really depends on your business. But to start, I am sure your brother, the lawyer, could help you find someone in his field to use besides himself, i.e. “my friend could help, he practices …” There are all sorts of different types of lawyers and their specialties are specific, such as patent, corporate, and structural. If you’re planning on trying to get a patent, for example, you will need a patent lawyer. Generally you can find legal help online for reasonable prices these days. It’s no longer necessary to keep one on retainer like it used to be.
We do not tell fortunes here. This is one of the hardest questions that only you can answer; your success depends on you. All businesses are different, and there’s no way to predict whether it will succeed or not. However, realize that so much of your success depends on you. The work that you put into your business translates into success, so be aware that no matter what you’re doing, it won’t necessarily be easy. Visit the Services Section at www.EM-Advisory.com to get a few more ideas for yourself, and always think out of the box.
Sure there are! nBanks are not the only place you can find money these days. You might want to look for private investors, people with enough money that they’ll be able to help. In fact, there is a website specifically for that opening in the end of April, 2009 called www.BC-OnDemand.com . You also might want to consider talking to the US Small Business Administration who can provide loans to start-ups and are usually easier to deal with than the banks.
While it sounds like you’re doing the right things to run a gym if you want to draw new people in, you need to do something unique. What kind of group fitness classes do you offer? Talk to your existing members or set up a suggestion box (if you don’t have one already) to see if all of their needs are met. There needs to be a reason to attend your gym that makes it different from any other in your area. Consider this question, are your members leaving and not working out, or are they leaving for another gym? If it’s the latter, consider why these other businesses are taking your customers. What do they have that you don’t? If it’s the former, what can you do that will convince people that working out is a smart investment? You might change your ads to focus on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, or sponsor events that focus on healthy living and how regular workouts can contribute to that. You need to research both internally and your surrounding marketplace.
Keep in mind that in a business like yours, you’re not just selling a product; you’re selling the prospects on the benefits of doing business with you. Frame your pitch in terms of what’s good about working with your company rather than just what’s good about your product. Do you provide solid customer service? Are your people friendly and reliable? Do you have a good track record regarding delivery? What’s better about working with your people and not just what’s better about your product? Most importantly, what is your competition doing?
Your best options as an entrepreneur is to focus on your own strengths first, you’ll discover your use of time, after you’ve identified your strengths. Then identify one by one people in business you can separately learn from who are experts in the specific areas that you are not for your project, this takes a little time, I’m still learning after 30 years and hope to never stop. Focus on the things necessary to get your project up and running, do not be afraid to ask lots of questions to everyone you can. When you’ve got yourself organized enough to move forward, step by step, then find your way to hire the people who you can help with your project. I wish I could tell you step by step 1 – 100 do this and you’ll succeed, but that’s not the answer, hard work and smart work is. Read through our website www.EM-Advisory.com and more of the questions and answers supplied through this site to help you identify more questions for yourself to answer.
Generally, the best option for this sort of thing is a screen name that will be easiest to remember and says the most about the service, or not. If you Google twitter for a definition you get hundreds of them from other twitters, if you search for the definition of Google, it seems they have managed to buy the definition of “search”. The company’s actual name is sometimes a good way to go look at abbreviations or even descriptions of what you do. Social networking sites can be great for your business, but people still have to take you seriously, so keep that in mind.
Truly depends on the nature of that small business. Make sure there’s something on your site that gives people a reason to keep coming back. It’s one thing to get them to your site, which these days could be a marketing nightmare to get it right. You need something unique on there that appeals to your target audience.
What sort of business are you in? A company name should be something relevant to the business, memorable, and maybe interesting to people when they speak its name, something “unique”. It should say something about what you do and how you do it. There are no other hard and fast rules for naming a company. After considering the above, look in the mirror and ask yourself, what will my new company’s name be?
You might want to consider franchising. A lot of young people, not ready to start working in the corporate world while things are still so volatile, are instead opening and running franchises of popular businesses. It lowers the risk that they run when they get in, but allows them enough freedom to operate themselves.
Another option is to start an internet-based business. With less overhead and a wider access to potential customers, it’s sometimes easier to get started without corporate backing.
Finally, look into taking partners. You’re not the only person struggling in this economy just out of school. Find people with similar interests and vision and start a business together.
There’s no way to anticipate your profits exactly before you actually make them, but there are ways to estimate them.nnThere are standards of comparison called “industry norms and ratios” that are used by businesses to figure out roughly how much a business should be making in an area. They’re broken down by standard industry classification (SIC) code by assets and size, and you can look up the kind of business you’re in in your area.nnSeveral groups keep copies of these ratios, but you can usually find them at your local library or by contacting the SBA.
That’s not an easy question to answer. It depends on what your business is, how long you’ve been running it, where it is now, what the demand is, and several other factors. The advantage to leasing, of course, is that you aren’t sinking as much money into the location right now, but it leave you with no resale or salvage value.nnTake some time to do a detailed cost analysis, especially with your financial planner. This is not an easy decision to make, and your best bet is to learn as much as you can about your specific situation before moving forward.
The first thing you should do is consult an accountant or financial planner as they will be able to answer your questions in much more detail than we can here.
That being said, at the very minimum, your records should show your tax returns, both federal and state, including income tax and Social Security, requests for credit from vendors or bank loans, and claims about the business in regards to selling it.
However, we suggest that you keep much more detailed records than this that include credits and debits for the day, payroll, etc. A professional financial planner can help you determine what you need for your specific business.
The threat of new entrants is a constant and consistent one. You have the advantage in that your business is established, but that’s no guarantee that a serious threat will not rise up to compete with you. In fact, it’s pretty much assured that eventually somebody will either improve on your product, or they will find some new product that will supersede yours.
There are two ways to combat this threat. The first is to keep innovating. Don’t sit on your laurels, no matter how good your business is doing. Continue to search out new ideas and new talent and take risks, or risk your business.
Secondly, establish a customer base. Keeping customer loyalty will be your best protection against the threat of new competitors. Always act in the interests of providing a quality product or service and you’ll have a good, solid base when somebody eventually tries to woo them away from you.
This is an excellent question because it applies to so many business owners that simply don’t know what business they’re in. I don’t mean to sound insulting, but take a moment to actually look at your business and ask yourself what you do. Are you a laptop salesman? Or are you a laptop repairman? It sounds to me more like you’re in the repair business than the retail business. So scale back your retail operation and focus instead on the repair work where you’re making the most profit. There’s nothing wrong with cutting off parts of your business that are unprofitable, and when you realize what business you’re really in, you’ll find it’s also much easier to do that work and give you a better sense of where you want to go in the future.
These are not mutually exclusive propositions. To begin with, you should always be learning. Business continues to evolve and you need to know what direction it’s going in and what direction you want to go in to parallel with it while adding your own twist for new directions. That being said, you shouldn’t be afraid to implement the things you’ve learned. The trick is to ask yourself: “Is this appropriate to my business?” Every company is different, and while something may work for one, it might not really apply to another. You should implement your new knowledge as soon as you can, providing that it’s a good fit for what you do. If not, then keep learning while you evolve the new knowledge in to your own structure.
That’s an excellent question. While I can’t speak for all such offers, especially independent ones, there are actually a lot of grants that the US government offers for minority-owned businesses. For a strong list of these, try looking at the first section here: http://bcondemand.com/government_resources.php
In most cases, it doesn’t really matter. Most small businesses use the calendar year for simplicity. However, it can be useful to use a fiscal year if your business has a busy season at a particular time. For example, this adviser was previously in the toy business working at a toy manufacturer. We made the bulk of our sales to retailers in the last quarter of the calendar year for the holiday season. We got paid for these sales January through March. In this situation, we ended our fiscal year in March and started the new year April 1. That is an example of when a fiscal year makes sense. Tourist businesses may also benefit from a fiscal year
We would urge you to speak with your accountant regarding your particular new business.
WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL TAX ADVISOR PLEASE
That largely depends on what business you’re in, but the trick with tax and record keeping programs is to take the time to figure out your needs. Do you collect sales tax at the register? Look for software such as Trustfile that supports e-filing for sales and use tax (required in certain states). Do you buy a lot of equipment that’s deductible? Look for business-friendly features, such as a comprehensive Schedule C section for managing deductions (available in TurboTax Premier, but not the less expensive versions). Do you have a sole proprietorship and work at home? If so, you’ll need help in navigating tricky subjects such as the home-office deduction, which TaxCut Premium and TurboTax Premier support. Do you have employees or run a corporation? In this case, look at higher-end products, such as TurboTax Business.
Once you figure out what you need, do some research to compare the various products out there. Sites like www.toptenreviews.com are great for providing side-by-side comparisons of the features available to various programs. When you know what you need done, it’ll be easy to whittle down the options to the one that best fits your needs.
WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL TAX ADVISOR PLEASE
Our answer might seem a little incomplete, but we do not know what type of product you are trying to present to children or their age group. Children are among the most highly sought-after marketing demographics in the country. Part of this answer depends on what you mean by “children,” as marketing to teenagers is vastly different from marketing to kids under ten, for example, but there are some tips that remain the same for both.
First, remember that in the end the parents control the purse strings. While they might not be directly exposed to your advertising a lot of the time, the way you present your product is going to affect how the kids present it to their parents, so make sure that what you’re selling has a benefit that will appeal to the adults as well as the kids. Make sure also that you’re placing your product where kids are most likely to have access to it. Mall stores are going to be much better than large chain superstores if only because kids are more likely to hang out at malls than their local Walmart or Target. If you have your own store, find ways to also make it a hangout for kids. If the kids are there, they’ll be more likely to buy your product or at least be exposed to it.
With children it’s also extremely important to keep an eye on trends. Clever marketing finds way to take what is currently “in” and use it to draw the attention of the target audience, in your case, children. nnOlder kids often like the same things as younger kids, but attempt to show that in an ironic way, like taking a popular cartoon character and making a t-shirt with a witty or mocking statement regarding said character. With kids it’s even more important to think out of the box and craft a marketing approach and presence that will make owning your product, ultimately, fun.
Your biggest consideration is going to be local zoning laws. New Jersey is famous (or possibly infamous) for its stringent, varied, and unpredictable zoning laws. As late as last month a company in Hammonton was forced to scrap plans for a solar array on their property because of zoning regulations. That you’re putting them on the roof of your plant will help as it side-step a lot of impervious coverage laws (which are designed to limit the amount you can build on a lot that will prevent rainwater from soaking into the soil), but there are still a labyrinth of zoning laws you need to consider. Try going to your local municipal building to find out what sorts of laws you’re dealing with. Often the local government will also be able to inform you of county or state regulations you’ll need to follow.
Beyond that, consider how much power the panels will provide and what you can use them for. How much do you currently spend on electricity and how much would solar power cost you? Assume that it’ll take a year or more to recoup your investment and determine if that matches your plans. You will definitely want to find out about tax deductions that are probably available for moving to green technology. Also, find out if all your excess energy can or will be bought by the local utility company. The most important thing to consider, and what all of these questions boil down to, is “Will this help me make my business more successful and my product or service better?”
When you say “more customers,” that implies that you have some to begin with. If that’s the case, then you have the seeds of new customers already. Start giving referral bonuses to your current customers if they bring new people to your business. Let them have 10% off of cleaning services if they get you five new customers, for example. You can compound this by going a little bit extra with your current customers by doing things like sending thank you notes on a major holiday or simply asking if there’s anything you can do to improve your service. If your current customers see you as attentive and interested in their business, they’ll be more likely to recommend you to your friends.
Actually, now is a great time for entrepreneurship for exactly the reason you said. The bigger companies are floundering, so there is more of an opportunity to get into markets that were previously dominated by them. Part of what is changing in the markets is that there is a noted lack of faith developing in the larger companies. The perception of large companies these days are as untrustworthy, uninterested, and generally not in tune with their customers.
This isn’t to say that new industry titans will rise out of the ashes of global economic meltdown, but rather that it’s making a little space for new companies as the current titans don’t have the resources to focus on competing with smaller entities. More to the point, smaller, local shops are more likely to be able to win the trust and comfort of their customer bases again. This is a time when knowledge of a product, passion for the purchase and production of something, can go a long way. Doing something well at a local level makes it more likely that a small business can be successful, especially when you would add today’s technology and communication advantages for the small business owner.
Also keep in mind that in economic hard times, new and clever business models emerge. People are losing jobs, and they have been so corporatized that it’s sometimes hard to conceive of doing something on one’s own. However, there are needs out there to be filled, and clever people can be the ones to fill those needs. Finding a new way to produce, market, package, or present an already established product or service in a cheaper, faster, or more efficient manner changes the playing field from that point forward and is better both for companies and consumers.
Depending on what kind of business you’re starting, there are several all over the internet. Take a moment and ask yourself some questions: How much do I need? What sort of loan might I be looking for? Should I be structuring my business plan for private investors, or go with well-established financial firms who are not in financial trouble themselves?nnOne good place that you will want to start with will be www.BC-OnDemand.com , but not until the first of June. It’s a site which is currently being built for all business needs and the business resources to exchange and communicate privately without large outlays of capital.
There’s no formula for business success. No math will help you except the math on your balance sheet, so don’t look for one. There are some things that can help you, though. Sound management practices, technical support, experience in whatever industry you’re in, and the ability to plan will help you make the decisions you need in order to create a successful company. Remember, though, that even with all of these elements, there’s no guarantee that you’ll do well. It will still take a lot of hard work , a realistic outlook, and any number of other factors that you can’t necessarily control.
That depends entirely on what state you’re in. Some states require that you incorporate, while some just require that you register with the department of state. The best thing to do is to look at Business.gov’s website and search for your area to find out what permits you need to run a business there. The address is http://www.business.gov/register/licenses-and-permits/ . You can put in your zip code and business type and it will give you a list of everything you’ll need to be licensed in your area.
First, let me suggest that you work very closely with your financial adviser and accountant when making any decisions regarding the financial health of your business.
That being said, what you’ll need as far as start-up capital begins with equipment and building needs such as lease, equipment rental and purchase, and upkeep on all of it for a year. Next you’ll need enough for both fixed and variable operating costs, which include your salary as an owner, telecommunications (internet service, phone service), and money to repay your loans in the interim, among other things, again for at least a year.
Make sure when you’re writing your business plan to work these costs out and talk with your accountant to help provide accurate estimates of what the variable costs will run.
It very much depends on your business, but if you’re running a small storefront in a local area, then location can be incredibly important.
What you need to consider when choosing a location is availability of your prospective clientele, their ability to access your establishment, the potential employee pool, and the number of competitors nearby. Be sure to be liberal in your definition of “competitor” when you’re considering this. Just because you run a bakery doesn’t mean the sports bar down the way won’t be drawing people into large, filling meals and pouring lots of alcohol that could prevent them from taking advantage of your lovely Black & White cookies.
There are three things any loan officer is going to want to know: what you’ll use the loan for, how much you want, and how will you repay it. These three things comprise the big question “Why should we give you money?”nnBe ready with a smart, well organized business plan that outlines projected financial statements, as well as the name, location, and production facilities of the company. You’ll also want to have in there your legal structure, marketing structure, business organization, and your qualifications to run this type of business, as well as the qualifications of key people in your prospective company.
A well-written business plan is a good beginning when it comes to looking for start-up capital. If you need help writing one, you can find an almost limitless number of templates online or hire somebody like the people at our sister site EM Advisory Corp to help you write it.
The first place you should look is a good local library, usually a major city or a university one. They’ll have a wealth of information about local business, free for you to find.
Next, find a good business consultant. We would like to humbly suggest speaking to the good people at EM Advisory Corp.
Finally, make an appointment to speak to the people at the local US Small Business Administration. They’ll be able to help get you on the right track.
This will require a little trial and error after you’ve discovered what your competition charges. You’ll find that as you would begin your business and place bids on properties to service, you’ll learn quickly what you can charge to beat your competitors while offering additional services your competitors don’t. Keep supply and demand in mind and always check out your competition to see what they’re doing, both in terms of pricing and services offered.
EM Advisory Corp is an Advisory firm that connects with people. Our advice is rooted in our experience and personalized to your needs. Search our site for related Articles. Browse our FAQ’s for Answers and use our provided information and Services to help you solve your situation.
“I feel like a hero to my Board of Directors thanks to you. Your confidentiality is much appreciated and your suggested changes to our approach with the new structure to handle the referral pass-through have worked so well that we needed to put 5 new associates in place, thank you again.”
“Your analysis of our current marketing efforts turned out to be spot on. Your suggested changes are already showing results over the last 60 days of running them, thank you, your services are under rated. We will be calling again.”
“I thought that putting your company on retainer was a waste of our resources, and time. I have never been so wrong, and so happy to be wrong at the same time. It would be my honor if you would consider a permanent position within our corporation.”
“I can’t deny that your services are invaluable. Not one person in my company was able to see our own mistakes. It does take a trusted advisor to look in from the outside and you have been that advisor. Thank you, for showing us a way to identify and correct these issues for the future.”
“One simple paragraph in our 98-page contract created a lifetime of residual payments back to the Partnership, thank you for seeing it. The statement you made is so true, “attorneys are not businessmen.” We will call you when we prepare for our next purchase.”
“The promotion was a complete success. The way you structured it allowed me to deduct the campaign and giveaway expenses from my taxes. The biggest benefit has been the permanent increase in my customer base. Thank you.”
“I never thought that the use of a separate website could benefit this section of my business. That thinking was just being out of touch with my own customer base. Our overall transactions have tripled over this last year. Our future continues to grow again.”
“One month! You changed our direction in a month. I never realized that I was inadvertently forgetting about what has turned out to be a profitable division of the business, and that same division was our problem, to begin with. Your quick analysis gave us the step up we needed.”
“Until I saw the numbers with my own eyes, I did not, could not believe what you were telling me. But it is true, you saved me over $600,000 of unneeded advertising spend in the first 6 months of this year over last year. I was most impressed with the fact that we sustained the same revenue, thank you.”
“You are correct, everything is a negotiation. I am very glad that you sat on our side of the table with the quite expertise you demonstrated. This sale will allow myself and my family to choose again.”