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.
This is a good time to look at your marketing. Repeat business often lulls owners into not searching for new customers, but as you lose regulars, you need to draw in new people. Consider this an opportunity to find new ways to promote your business. Maybe try holding an event like a competition or demonstration to draw people in. Perhaps you could offer smaller portions for lower costs to encourage people to remain and advertise on being a healthier option. Be creative in your advertising, and the customers will come. Give away “freebies”, they get to taste what you offer, while they are in your restaurant. Lastly, never forget to promote yourself every day, your charm, personality, you.
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.
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.
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.
This is actually a good idea in today’s marketplace, you should always ask, it doesn’t hurt. If you’re a business buying product to resell and you ask for no terms and you pay cash, you should pay less than the business who buys both on credit and/or terms, i.e. 90 days. Remember paying by credit card will cost the merchant money to process that payment, and “time” in regards to terms, very expensive. Cash is so far the most reliable payment method when it comes to making sure that the funds are real and available.
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.
There are several advantages to a teleclass if your company is large enough to support it. You can reach a wider audience for less cost. It’s more environmentally sound to not have people traveling all over the place. People can review later if they want. The risk is that you distance yourself from the people you’re trying to teach. I wouldn’t entirely eliminate the face to face contact of in-person lessons, but consider adding teleclasses to your arsenal of communication tools, and consider having the teleclass in employee groups.
First of all, keep in mind that real estate works in cycles. By agreeing to a longer-term lease with your landlord, you might put yourself at a slight disadvantage in the future, let that idea alone for now. Remind him that it won’t be easy to fill the space. You’re an established business and have a much better chance of consistently paying the rent than a start-up that has no track record of success. More importantly, they know what to expect from you, and a new tenant could easily be a nightmare. Consider offering a simple profit share plan of your sales on a temporary basis and tie it to a potential rent decrease. Look for non-tangible benefits that could possibly help your landlord. How about advertising for other locations your landlord might own? Cross-promotion with another business? Find new ways to compensate for the rent and you’ll be able to talk them into something you can afford.
When you’re talking about working with suppliers, you’re talking about a relationship with another business owner. That relationship has to be about more than money. I can see that you’re concerned about quality, but have you considered service? Delivery? How fast you’re taken care of and how carefully? All of these should factor into any decision regarding a supplier. Consider also your customers. They might not mind a small price jump if you can keep it reasonable and the quality remains the same. They might be ok with a different quality product. Is there anything you can do with the leather to off-set the quality difference? Sometimes quality craftsmanship can make things better in the long run. In the end, your situation is not unique, but it will benefit you to do the research you need to, not only on other suppliers, but on your customers and your own capabilities.
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?
There are several options for accounting software that can help you out. QuickBooks is by far the most popular, well-known application for this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best for your needs. How many different reports do you need? Do you have a payroll at all? How important is tracking inventory like art supplies? Do you own a computer? Consider what you need and then look for software that meets those needs. Looking at websites that compare various applications like www.toptenreviews.com can give you a good idea of what each application has to offer and how much it’ll cost. You might also look for software that offers free demos so you can see if it’ll work for you. Further, there are online services that can track all of this for you so you don’t have to worry as much about the record keeping.
Honestly, you may be worrying too much about this. A common problem that small business owners have is that they underestimate their own product and its worth. A reasonable price increase is unlikely to drive away most of your key customers and might even draw more as they feel that higher prices equate to a better product. Keep in mind also that if you have, for example, a 10% profit margin, a 1% price hike means 10% more profit. A little bit can provide you with what you need to continue providing the service your customers have gotten used to. Also, consider offering discounts while raising prices, such as a referral discount, that will also have the benefit of increasing your customer base.
For one thing, keep the compensation simple. Percentages of order values work well in cases like this. Decide if you’re doing straight commission or a base plus commission. Try to keep the program incentive based on performance and long term contractual agreements. If you speak with a few of your reps to be surprised how often they might suggest less than more of what you were thinking, at that point a little more will make them “hungry”, watch your bottom line, but value the future volume they’ll produce. Just think about what you need and structure your compensation plan accordingly.
The first thing I’d try is to find out what the specific issues of consulting verses employment of the selling and buying parties were. Talk with each of the parties; find the common ground in the specifics of what they both agree on. I’d then see if it was possible to create a new agreement which focused on both of their individual needs.
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?
When negotiating to get a product into stores, the major thing you need to keep in mind is what the advantage is for them. Why should they purchase your product? Just the idea that “it’ll make you money,” won’t cut it. Do your research and figure out how many parents would like to keep a baby journal but don’t have the time. Try selling direct at parenting classes, children gyms, and similar places (always with permission from the location, of course) to give these boutiques an idea of how in demand your product would be. Having knowledge of your product and unique “out of the box” placements will make any negotiation easier, especially if you know how it will benefit the other person.
There are specific laws dealing with how internet radio pays for the use of licensed music, originally outlined by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed in 1998. It established rules and guidelines for how much internet radio has to pay. However, at the time that amount was really restrictive. There has been an ongoing debate about it since then, and only as recently as September 2008 did the US Congress pass a law stating that the amount of royalties an internet radio broadcaster has to pay would be based on a percentage of revenue, and January 2009 when that was accepted as official by the US Copyright Royalty Board.
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.
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.
Wages are a tricky thing, but generally they’re set on the basis of position importance and skill requirements. What you should do is consult your accountant and trade association for the most current practices in your area, as well as cost ratios and profit margins. There is a federal minimum wage and several states have one, but for the most part once you have an idea of what the standard is, wage is something that you work out with your prospective employee.
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.
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
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.
WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL TAX ADVISOR PLEASEnnSome tax related time frames, such as your tax return filing deadline or the due date to pay the IRS estimated tax payments, are clear-cut. But when it comes to tax records and how long to keep tax records, the answer is far from simple. nnTax records such as receipts, canceled checks, and other documents that prove to the IRS an item of income or a tax deduction appearing on your tax return should be kept until the statute of limitations expires for that tax return. Usually this is three years from the date the tax return was due or tax return was filed with the IRS, or two years from the date the tax was paid to the IRS, whichever is later. This is the time period in which the IRS can question your tax return – typically three years after it is filed. There is no statute of limitations when a tax return is false or fraudulent or when no tax return is filed with the IRS. You should keep some tax records indefinitely, such as tax records relating to property, since you may need those tax records to prove to the IRS the amount of gain or loss if the property is sold. nnWE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL TAX ADVISOR PLEASE
There are several ways to go about this. The first and most cost-effective is to simply contract your need as it may be needed, if you’re not able to learn it or dedicate the time for it yourself. Look at IT services that hire on a per-need basis for big problems. Offer incentives to employees who are willing to fix minor IT issues. These are good options for small company budgets.
It really depends on the business, but “customer service” should theoretically be everything that your company is about and represents. If you can provide for your customer in the best way you know how consistently within your own current structure, then you don’t need somebody else to do it for you, as long as your customers are satisfied and more. If your customers aren’t happy by the response when they have questions or comments, then it’s time to consider getting people specifically to deal with customers.
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.
If you’re website is reselling something directly to consumers, then the best way to value it would be membership and purchase history’s, followed by the rate of new members monthly and about a dozen others factors besides the sites ranking in the world against its closest competitor. If you are engaging in a sale currently, please contact us directly at EM Advisory Corp, to many times company owners leave too much off the negotiating table.
First, let us recommend that you consult an expert on this, as setting price levels can be a complicated process. However, just as a basic idea, prices are based on a few major considerations.
The first thing you need to consider is your direct costs (actual material costs), labor, and overhead (facilities, utilities, taxes, insurance, security, and general operating costs). When you add all of these things up, you have the break-even cost.
From that point, you have to determine what you’d like your profit to be. Again, that is a very complicated decision, and we suggest talking to a financial adviser before settling on something.
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.
Taking on a partner doesn’t always make it easier to run your business and can, in fact, make it more difficult. What you should look for in a partner is somebody who compliments you, and makes up for your weaknesses with their strengths. I know somebody whose uncle was an amazing salesman, but didn’t know how to run a business, so he hired my friend’s father, who helped him quadruple his business within two years. Make sure if you do take on a partner that you have a clear understanding in writing of what everyone’s rights and responsibilities are.
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.
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.”