Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Debt consolidation sooner then latter is better

Most families are in debt. Credit cards make it so easy to spend more then you have and then you get stuck with interest rates that eat up all your payments so you don’t ever get ahead. All your doing is paying off the interest and a very small part of the principle. Then you find that you have to pay so much on the card that you have to use the card to live. You can never get out from under the debt load with out winning the lottery or getting some help. The credit card system is designed to get the most money out of you as possible. To clear up your debt with them you need to deal with people who understand how to best work within the system to get you out of debt.

There are a lot of debt consolidation companies out there now because there is such a big need. The good thing is that there are local debt consolidation places that you can walk in and deal with someone face to face or you can go with online debt consolidation where you can deal with it in your own home, when the time is right for you. Both have pros and cons all dependent on what you are most comfortable with. With walk in places you will need to make appointments with in their business hours. With using an online debt consolidation company you can deal with your debt when the time is right for you. Which is really good because what usually happens is there is a moment that you just cannot deal with being in debt anymore and you want to fix it right then and there. With doing it over the Internet you can get the process started right away. No waiting to get an appointment and then start the process.

The other problem is that people tend to be embarrassed about being in debt and will just keep putting off dealing with it for as long as they can. This is bad because it just gets worse, not better. The longer you don’t deal with it the more money you end up owing, and the more stress you are under. Dealing with it online takes out part of the embarrassment because you are not dealing with someone face to face. For some people it does make it easer. What is really important is to recognize that you are in over your head and get help. Find the right debt consolidation company for you and use them to get out from under the debt. The sooner you do so the better off you are.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Translation services are still needed in this day and age

Over the years how people do business in the world has changed. We now can deal with anyone any place in the world. Some times people forget that English is not the only language people do business in. When you deal with people all over the world eventually you are going to need the services of a translator no matter what language you use. It used to be that you had to have someone on staff to do the translations for you or you had to send your documents to someone and wait for them to translate them and then send them back to you. Often if you had more then one language to be translated you would have to deal with different translators. So if you needed an Arabic translation, a Farsi translation (Persian) and a Hindi translation they would all have to go to different people. This was very time consuming. If someone is waiting for an order, confirmation or wants to do business with us we don’t want to be waiting a long time to get back to them. It is important to respond as soon as possible.

At one point we were looking at importing some handcrafted belly dance belts as well as some of the costumes from a company in India to sell at festivals. The costs were quite reasonable and the company we were looking at had an English website. It was still kind of daunting for us to think about importing. When you are dealing with another country and a different language you want to make sure that there is no confusions about anything. As we live in Canada we have experience with language issues and confusion just by going to a different province. When you deal internationally you never know whom you will end up dealing with and what their written language is. It is always best to be prepared. These days you can find companies that will translate multiple languages for you, and even better you can send your items by email, fax or as a computer file. This saves a lot of time. The sooner you can get a translation, the sooner you can make a decision, fill an order, make a sale, or fix a problem. As everyone knows, time is money, even when dealing with people across the world. Business is business no matter what language it is done in.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How to go from entrepreneur to successful manager

So you are an entrepreneur with a successful small business, you have grown enough that you need to hire people. You have to take time from "doing" to interviewing, hiring, training, motivating, supervising, disciplining, and firing. You have to depend on others to keep your business successful. You have to let go, trust others to do as good a job as you do. On top of that you are not going to have as high a profit margin as staff are expensive and increase your cost in many ways. You need to find quality, skilled people that are reliable because poor staff can damage your business. Now your role changes from doing what you love and do yourself to being a manager dealing with paperwork, payroll, scheduling, and employee issues. How do you become a successful manager and keep your business going?

To be a successful manager you need to know what the needs of your company and employees are and how to balance them. Keeping your staff happy is very important to keep up productivity and reduces turnaround. Most research has shown that employees who feel valued work harder, take less time off and are loyal to their employer where those that do not feel valued slack off, take more time off and are often looking for a new job. Taking the time to hear what your staff needs can be extremely beneficial to you, and your company. Your employees are the people doing the jobs, you never know what insights they have about their job that can improve the job or save money for the company. People are more willing to change or work harder or meet unusual dead lines when they feel a part of the company, not a clog in a big machine.

Being able to deal fairly and promptly with your staff and their concerns goes a long way towards the perception your staff has of you and their willingness to work with you. For example, if your employee has issues with scheduling and your able to help them out then they are more likely to put that little bit extra when the need is there. Treat people with respect, you hired them, if you did not respect them or their ability to do their job why did you hire them. If you no longer feel they can do the job, let them go with their dignity intact.

You also need to be consistent and clear in your expectations and instructions/directions to your staff. Train your people to do the job the way you want it done. Do not assume that they know to do it your way. Once they are trained trust them enough to let them do the job, but still be available for when they have questions, concerns or some thing unusual or unexpected happens.

At the same time you need to keep meeting the demands and needs of your customers. You cannot sacrifice the needs of the company to meet the needs of your staff. As important as it is to work well with your staff you have to be able to recognize that having a good relationship with your staff helps but is not all that being a manager is about. Getting work done is. You need to be able to fire people as well as work with them. Liking some one is not enough of a reason to keep someone if they are not doing their job.

Knowing what needs to be done and when is also very important. As is being organized and able to prioritize. You need to make sure that you keep on top of deadlines, make sure you have everything your staff needs to meet them as well as make sure your staff is doing what they need to do to meet them. If you are a good manager you will have staff you can trust to do the work, being a successful manager means keeping on top of it and keeping things on track.

To be successful you need to be well organized, able to prioritise and work well with people. You have to have an understanding of how to get the people working under you motivated and wanting to get the work done. It is a mix of talents and personality. Some times it is better to hire a good manager then doing it your self. If you are not as good at managing your people as you are at managing your business you could be doing more harm then good. Poor management can destroy a business as fast as poor employees.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Small business cash flow problems, credit cards solutions?

More business go under because of the discrepancy between the inflow and outflow of cash. What good is it if you have $1000’s in accounts receivable if you cannot pay your debts and daily operating costs today? This affects both small and large businesses, it is the way you handle the difference that counts.

If you have a cash flow problem you need to look at your payment terms and contracts. See what you can change. Can you do a % discount on the receivables if your customers pay in 15 days instead of 30 days? This can speed up the turn around from invoice to cash in hand. Also take a look at your budget, can you decrease the discrepancy by changing your budget. There are lots of ways to improve cash flow.

However, no matter how good your cash flow is you still have to deal with slow payers and no payers. This can have a large impact on your cash flow. Large projects can also place a strain on cash flow. So how do you supplement your cash inflow with out ending up with a crippling debt load?

Budgeting always plays a big part of business. You budget your expected returns and expenses but always try to leave a cushion of cash to off set the unexpected. Like having to go to court to get payment or having to write off a large account receivable, or actually getting an unexpected contract. When budgeting alone is not enough and you have to look out side for an influx of cash what do you do? Where do you turn to, what options are open to you? Well that depends on your existing debt load, how much you need and for how long.

Selling your accounts receivables is a good way to get ready cash with out going into more debt. The question is, will any one buy them and at what % on the dollar will they buy them. What good is selling off our receivables at a loss? It might help now but in the long term loses you money and throws off your cash flow and budget. Only use this when things are dire or you are selling off bad accounts you expect to have to fight for, or wait a long time for, or not receive payment.

A loan or mortgage lets you pay it off over a long period of time. This is good if you expect a long time between spending the money and getting a return on it. It is also good if you expect a long-term cash inflow from this investment of cash. Not so good a choice if this is for a short-term solution.

Short-term solutions, for when you expect a quick turnaround, are line of credit, over drafts and credit cards. If used properly these are great tools for day-to-day operations. Like when you have a cheque to be cashed on Monday but payroll is due on Friday. These options need to be used in the short term, when you can pay them off in days or weeks, not months or years. Real problems arise when people use these short-term solutions for long-term problems. These options usually have higher rates of interest then loans and mortgages can eat deeply into your profits if not paid quickly.

You need to know what your money needs are and find a financing solution that is best for each situation. All the planning, barrowing and such will not work if you don’t have a good understanding of your cash flow, develop a good budget and follow it.