Ready, Set… Grow
July 09, 2019 | BY Simcha Felder
By definition, an entrepreneur is a creator, a producer, an investor. So, it’s no surprise that no matter the size of their business, entrepreneurs yearn for expansion. While it might seem like today’s market is dominated by the Amazons and Facebooks of the world, the reality is that 99.7 percent of all businesses in the United States are considered “small,” totaling 28.8 million organizations with less than 100 employees. Although they likely all share the dream of growth at some point, expansion is a very risky proposition.
While 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 50% fail in their fifth and that number rises to 70% in the tenth. These Bureau of Labor Statistics are consistent over time, suggesting that year over year economic factors do not hold outsize significance over business survival. Strategic planning does, according to Crown Sterling Ltd. CEO Robert Grant. That is because our competitors, perhaps more than any other factor, affect our outcomes. To win at business you’ll need skills, but more so you’ll need to out-strategize the other players in the game.
“Expanding a company doesn’t just mean grappling with the same problems on a larger scale,” writes Sharon Nelton in Nation’s Business. “It means understanding, adjusting to, and managing a whole new set of challenges—in essence, a very different business.” For those leaders who identify a need or avenue for growth there are important things to consider. Effective research, long range planning and a flexible budget are necessities.
A strategic plan answers some important questions, namely, what am I going to achieve by expanding and how will I get there? Some goals may include meet existing customer demands, expand into new markets or increase brand recognition. Your plan will ensure you don’t sacrifice the ultimate goal of increasing sales by sacrificing your current ones.
What do I know and not know about this new venture? Venturing into previously untapped markets is sure to unveil the unexpected. Best Buy didn’t catch on in China because big, bright stores just didn’t capture customers the way lower Chinese prices did. Starbucks underestimated its competition in Israel and bowed out of all their stores after two years. Small businesses should bear in mind that doubling the size of your company tends to increase your bills by a factor of six – budget accordingly keeping in mind the soft costs, like upgrading financial and record keeping software and communication systems.
Plan ahead but strike quickly; if you’ve anticipated a good move chances are that your competition has, as well. He who strikes first, has the advantage. Entrepreneurship is all about pushing forward and playing a step ahead of your opponent is often all it takes.
Play to win.
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An implementation plan is key to making strategic goals a reality
March 20, 2019 | BY admin
In the broadest sense, strategic planning comprises two primary tasks: establishing goals and achieving them. Many business owners would probably say the first part, coming up with objectives, is relatively easy. It’s that second part — accomplishing those goals — that can really challenge a company. The key to turning your strategic objectives into a reality is a solid implementation plan.
Start with people
After clearly identifying short- and long-range goals under a viable strategic planning process, you need to establish a formal plan for carrying it out. The most important aspect of this plan is getting the right people involved.
First, appoint an implementation leader and give him or her the authority, responsibility and accountability to communicate and champion your stated objectives. (If yours is a smaller business, you could oversee implementation yourself.)
Next, establish teams of carefully selected employees with specific duties and timelines under which to complete goal-related projects. Choose employees with the experience, will and energy to implement the plan. These teams should deliver regular progress reports to you and the implementation leader.
Watch out for roadblocks
On the surface, these steps may seem logical and foolproof. But let’s delve into what could go wrong with such a clearly defined process.
One typical problem arises when an implementation team is composed of employees wholly or largely from one department. Often, they’ll (inadvertently or intentionally) execute an objective in such a way that mostly benefits their department but ultimately hinders the company from meeting the intended goal.
To avoid this, create teams with a diversity of employees from across various departments. For example, an objective related to expanding your company’s customer base will naturally need to include members of the sales and marketing departments. But also invite administrative, production and IT staff to ensure the team’s actions are operationally practical and sustainable.
Another common roadblock is running into money problems. Ensure your implementation plan is feasible based on your company’s budget, revenue projections, and local and national economic forecasts. Ask teams to include expense reports and financial projections in their regular reports. If you determine that you can’t (or shouldn’t) implement the plan as written, don’t hesitate to revise or eliminate some goals.
Succeed at the important part
Strategic planning may seem to be “all about the ideas,” but implementing the specific goals related to your strategic plan is really the most important part of the process. Of course, it’s also the most difficult and most affected by outside forces. We can help you assess the financial feasibility of your objectives and design an implementation plan with the highest odds of success.
business - management - marketing - #smallbusiness - business management
Business deductions for meal, vehicle and travel expenses: Document, document, document
July 24, 2018 | BY admin
Meal, vehicle and travel expenses are common deductions for businesses. But if you don’t properly document these expenses, you could find your deductions denied by the IRS. (more…)
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Does your business have to begin collecting sales tax on all out-of-state online sales?
July 05, 2018 | BY admin
You’ve probably heard about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing state and local governments to impose sales taxes on more out-of-state online sales. The ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. is welcome news for brick-and-mortar retailers, who felt previous rulings gave an unfair advantage to their online competitors. And state and local governments are pleased to potentially be able to collect more sales tax.
But for businesses with out-of-state online sales that haven’t had to collect sales tax from out-of-state customers in the past, the decision brings many questions and concerns. (more…)
#smallbusiness - #statetax #salestax #onlineretailer
Choosing the best business entity structure post-TCJA
June 26, 2018 | BY admin
For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created a flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations. Under prior law, C corporations were taxed at rates as high as 35%. The TCJA also reduced individual income tax rates, which apply to sole proprietorships and pass-through entities, including partnerships, S corporations, and, typically, limited liability companies (LLCs). The top rate, however, dropped only slightly, from 39.6% to 37%. (more…)
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