Exit Your Business

Honey bees are truly fascinating. They offer various lessons in organisational theory. The queen bee may be considered the head of the colony and yet, interestingly, she may have little or no “say” in how she is replaced. If she dies or goes missing, the hive create a new queen. Actually they create a number of potential queen larvae and the first one to mature kills all the others. However, the hive may also decide that the queen is too old or is failing and needs to be replaced and so they create a new queen. Or conditions may be so favourable that they decide to split the hive and they create a new queen and the old queen has to find a new home. In each case, it is the hive that “decides” on the fate of the queen, not the queen.

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it, what would business be like if the workers decided when it was time to replace the leader? Of course, creating a new leader in business is not as simple as feeding a larva royal jelly…

Just like the queen bee, though, there are four ways that a business owner can exit a business. These four exit routes we will call the four Ds (rhymes with Bees).

Firstly, just like the queen bee you could Die in Service. It may not be the option of choice but if the time comes you won’t care much about what happens next (probably). And therein lies the problem – what happens to the business afterwards?

It can be left to your family to sort out and if they don’t have the desire or capability to deal with your business then it’s going to be difficult for them and your loyal employees. You may have made provision for this situation with an insurance policy, shareholder’s agreement and interim management provision, but it’s not ideal for the morale of your employees. Of course, even with the best laid plans, it might happen anyway, so it’s always best to be prepared with insurance, documentation and contingency plans in place. However, by choice, I assume this isn’t the exit most people are looking to achieve.

The second option is Dissolution. That is, at some point you decide to retire and you decide to close the business. All the hard work you’ve put in to building it up will have been for nothing as your legacy disappears. What’s more, if you have employees they would lose their livelihood. While this may be preferable to death in service, I would suggest, as it involves a conscious choice, it still seems a pretty sad way to exit.

The third is Disbursement – that is lobby someone to buy it from you. It could be your management team, a supplier, customer or competitor or just someone who fancies running your business. This could be the biggest pay day you’ll ever have. It could also be the most disappointing pay day you’ll ever have if you don’t put the necessary preparation in to making your business attractive to a buyer.

There are a number of factors that go into making the sale of your business as lucrative as possible. Firstly, and perhaps obviously, the stronger your business is financially, the more it will be worth. That means good margins (for your industry), strong cashflow and evidence of growth and growth potential. It also means having good financial management systems in place: a budget (that is used), a cashflow forecast, a capital plan, an inventory plan, a marketing plan, a salary plan, etc.

Secondly it means that the business is not reliant on the owner for its leadership. In other words, there is a management team in place. Businesses that rely upon their owner to be there to manage the day-to-day operations typically command a sale price of 3-40 times lower than ones with a management team in place.

Talking of over-reliance, if the business is reliant on one, or a limited number, of key employees, customers or suppliers, it will also put a dent in the sale valuation.

These are all things that you have control over. As are a strong recurring income and high customer satisfaction ratings. But they do take time to develop, largely because you can’t do it all at once. In addition, once you have developed strengths in these areas you will get a higher valuation if you have historical data over a number of years to prove it. So a lucrative exit can take 5 years to achieve.

However, having brokered a sale, lucrative or otherwise, that’s not the end of the story. You could be asked to stay on with buy out clauses, particularly if you are still heavily involved in the business. That period can be depressing. It can be even more depressing when you fail to achieve the buy-out targets and so you never receive the final payments.

And the negatives may not end there. Once you finally do exit the business, it can be pretty disheartening to watch your business flounder and fail in the hands of a new owner or management team that just didn’t understand how to make the business work. It happens more often than you’d imagine.

Mission Statement for Your Business

Magic of a Mission Statement – Small Business Instruction

When you create a business, you bring forth an entity which has its personality; a living thing. A mission statement expresses the essence of that personality and its nature of being. Defining your mission statement is not, therefore, an empty exercise. Rather it captures and radiates the core purpose of the business and serves as the driving force in everything you do.

Apart from the overarching opening I’ve just presented, why else would you spend time crafting a mission statement? The very act of thinking about your mission statement helps to clarify your business’s goals, standards, and values. These, in turn, form the foundation by which all interested parties know, understand and buy into your vision. And the foundation by which your company will flourish.

Of all the business planning elements, I believe this one provides the most direction. It pulls together disparate pieces and creates focus. Decision making becomes easy, as does strategy formulation. Your marketing messages appear clear and consistent. A strong mission invokes the company’s public voice. In other words, your communications and marketing materials speak in a way that reflects the character of every facet of your business.

A mission statement can be as short as a couple of words or as long as a few sentences. Make it vibrant. Make it mean something. Use active verbs and the active voice but most of all, make it inspire action. You want it to make a powerful impact.

Make your mission broad enough for expansion. Let me explain this by example. Take Starbucks; they could have had a mission: “To make the best coffee in the world”. It’s a decent enough statement, but it is limiting. See how their actual statement broadens the scope; “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.” Do you see the difference? Without a doubt, Starbucks lives its mission, and the scope is wider than just coffee.

To get your thinking in gear, I have presented some questions. Take a look, think about them and write your answer. When you have finished, pick out the most important points and put together in one, two or three sentences. And lastly, find out what other people think before you finalise it.

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS

• Why am I in this business – what made me want to do this?
• What do I do – define who you are, what you offer, and price, quality?
• How do I do it – how am I different to the competition?
• Who do I serve – persona?
• What image do I want to portray – how do I want my business to be perceived
• What value do I provide?
• What are the defining characteristics of my business – what philosophies or values guide me?

• Event Management
• Campaign Management
• Copywriting
• Market analysis and strategic marketing planning
• Create/manage social media programme
• Create/manage your digital programme
• Create and implement a marketing communications strategy and plan
… and more.

Why Work With Me?

• Excellent subject matter expertise – skills, knowledge and experience
• Flexible, no-nonsense, outsourced marketing support for your business
• Passion for mastery and success
• Results driven
• Holistic viewpoint – working on business success and personal value congruence

Cloud Computing and Small Businesses

Many hosted services are offered over the web for a variety of business needs. The general term used to refer to all of these is cloud computing. Cloud computing allows online companies to use resources over the internet rather than build and maintain their own in-house infrastructures.

Cloud computing is a trendy term that can be heard everywhere these days. Simply put, it refers to storing and accessing information and applications over the web instead of getting them all stored on the hard drive of your computer.

Storing or running programs from your hard drive is called local storage. This means that everything you need is physically there with you, making access to data easy and fast, especially for the one computer and the others connected to it through a local network. This was how many industries functioned for a long time before the cloud came along.

The “cloud” refers to the internet. This calls back to the times in office presentations when the internet was represented by a puffy cloud that accepts and gives information as it hovers above everything.

You may be using cloud computing at some aspect of life without realising it. This applies to online services that you use to send email, edit your documents, stream films or TV shows, listen to music, play games online, or store files and images. Cloud computinga makes all these things possible behind it all.

The first services to use cloud computing are a couple of decades old, rising fast so that a wide range of organisations are already using the service. This includes startups to big corporations as well as non-profits and government agencies.

Cloud computing at a glance

According to a study by the IDC, 50% of information technology will transition to the cloud within 5-10 years. Among the industries that rely heavily on data are the financial sector, telecommunications, technology, health care, government, advertising, retail, gaming, energy and data services.

Furthermore, 82% of companies have found significant savings in moving to the cloud. 60% of businesses already make use of cloud-based IT for operations. 82% of companies are also planning for a multi-cloud strategy.

These stats show that cloud computing holds much promise as a rising industry as well as a valuable resource for companies to take advantage of.

Cloud solutions for business

There are three different types of cloud solutions that businesses can choose from to find the best fit – private cloud, hybrid cloud and public cloud. Each offer different features and benefits. But with each type, the end result stays the same: cloud computing can be done wherever you are, at any time.

Private cloud

Private cloud works in industries with concerns for privacy, including medium businesses and more established enterprises that need to meet standards for security and compliance.

One example is IoT companies, such as those who trace customers through their phones. Other examples include health data companies, e-commerce sites that store credit card data, industries with high intellectual property concerns, and companies that emphasise data sovereignty.

Private cloud is managed by an in-house team of IT personnel or by a private host.

Private cloud offers complete control and flexibility, enabling businesses to manage their own dedicated resources within a third party datacentre.

Hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud is for companies that prefer the security offered by private cloud. This type of cloud solution is best for workloads that are highly dynamic and prone to changeability. This includes enterprises that can be split into two spheres, sensitive and non-sensitive.

Hybrid cloud also works best for businesses with seasonal data spikes, big data processing, and those with workloads involving API compatibility and requiring solid connection to a network. Hybrid cloud takes its name from the fact that it is managed by both in-house and external resources.

This mix of private and public clouds offer blending of such services as Office 365 for email with other applications that businesses don’t want to be made available in a shared environment.

Public cloud

Public cloud is for industries that have a significant amount of data with no major concerns for privacy. Companies that use this service opt for a pay-as-you-go structure. This type of cloud solution is managed by third party providers.

Industries that use public cloud include those in development and testing, development platform, training servers, one-off big data projects and websites with public information, product descriptions and brochures.

Public cloud is perfect for services, applications and storage that are made publicly available as well as those that use shared resources that are managed by the cloud provider.

Error Messages in Windows

Windows is still the most popular operating system, but unfortunately it is not uncommon to receive an annoying error message box. When you receive an error in Windows, it is a good idea to research the reason behind it and find a solution. Here is a short guide how you can do it:
• When the error message box appears press Ctrl+C (copy). This should copy the content of the message along with the title
• Next, open Google search engine and press Ctrl+V (paste). This will paste the message into the search engine.
• Press enter in order to start the search and within a few minutes you will usually be able to find a solution for your problem.
The most important think is not to get frustrated, as errors might happen quite often.

Challenges in the Workplace

Company owners often strive to make the working environment as pleasant as possible for their employees. They hope that in doing so, motivation within the firm will increase, which will boost employees’ performance and raise productivity. However, there are still many examples of workplace challenges that affect employees. Company owners should make it a point to be aware of these challenges and set up policies to handle the different issues.

1. Employee Engagement

Employees who are engaged at work feel connected with their organisation. They believe that the work that they produce is important, which motivates them to work harder. Additionally, employees who are engaged to the organisation are enthusiastic in the work that they produce for it. This will lead them to contribute actively to the organisation; they may even come up with ideas to further its market standing and reputation.

However, the lack of employee engagement is a key issue in several companies today. According to Gallop, this costs American businesses from $450 billion to $550 billion annually when absenteeism, workplace accidents and higher healthcare costs are taken into consideration.

In order for company owners to get their employees to be engaged with the organisation, they need to communicate effectively. For instance, they can initiate a culture of communication where the managers and the employees under them share common goals that they hope to work towards as a team. It is also crucial that they organise training sessions and regular meetings with their staff. Essentially, these will be a good platform for them to get to know each staff member better. These gatherings are also a good opportunity for company owners to present the company’s vision to employees, which will give them assurance that their work is important and valuable to the organisation.

2. Time Management

A difficulty that many employees encounter is prioritising their work, especially when they are faced with an overwhelming pile of responsibilities. For this reason, time management plays a critical role in the workplace. In fact, the ability to manage one’s time effectively will make the individual more productive.

In order for employees to possess good time management, they need to first be certain of their own role and responsibilities in the office. This will help them to understand the urgency of each task, which will lead them to prioritise their work more effectively. Company owners must also ensure that new employees fully understand the tasks that have been assigned to them. Additionally, it is important that each staff member knows what is expected of them and is able to handle their responsibilities efficiently while making minimal errors.

3. High employee turnover

According to a global study performed by the management consultancy Hay Group, the employee turnover rate in Singapore is set to increase. Losing employees that performed poorly or were negative influences in the workplace will have positive effects on the company. However, unplanned and frequent employee turnover will reflect badly on any organisation. This is often because high labour turnover suggests that the company is not selecting the right employees, failing to provide employees with a positive work environment and/or losing out to other employers who are able to offer better pay and benefits.

To reduce employee turnover, company owners must set the suitable compensation and benefits. They should also try to provide employees with a rewarding work environment. Ultimately, staff members crave recognition from their managers. They are also likely to want to be offered a more challenging position in the firm that will allow them to realise their potential in their workplace.

In conclusion, companies need to deal with the key challenges the affect the current workplace effectively. This will help them to be successful even during seasons of poor economic outlook. It is also crucial to note that it is not only the duty of the company owner to help the firm to thrive amidst these challenges. In fact, a positive change in the firm can only be brought about when every employee chooses to brainstorm ideas on how it can work towards solving these issues.

Nigerian Confidence Trick

Do you want to be rich? Most of us want to be rich, but even if we are rich according to the world’s standards, we still want more and more money. Many people are aware of this human nature, and some of them would do anything to cheat other people out of their money. This is basically how the Nigerian confidence trick scams emerged. Nigerian confidence trick is sometimes also called an advance fee fraud. Such scams are based on the fact that the target is persuaded to advance relatively small sums of money in the hope of realizing a much larger gain. There are even some movies which plot revolves around the Nigerian confidence trick. A good example would be the Hustle TV series where in various episodes greedy people are often tricked into investing small amount of money in hopes of realizing a much larger gain. Of course, anyone can be scammed this way, and this involves many innocent people. Do not be fooled by such scams, as it is easy to lose your hard earned money. Remember that there are a lot of scammers on the Internet, and you should be careful with whom you are doing business.

The Popularity of WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world. There are thousands of WordPress themes available on the Internet and most of them are free. New themes come out on a daily basis. Even though there are so many themes, people might often prefer to use a popular, well documented one. For example, my blog uses a quite popular theme, for which there are a lot of guides, even though not that often I see a blog with an identical theme to mine. I decided to use it, because I like the way it looks, but I also knew that I will not need to worry about potential problems. That is because this theme stood the test of time. On the other hand, I decided to make my theme look a little different by personalizing it. This way I have a high quality theme, a well documented one, and additionally one that looks original. I made some changes to the style sheet file and rearranged a couple of things. It is not that hard to make such changes, so feel free to try it out yourself. You do not have to start by making any drastic changes, as even changing the style and size of font is some kind of change that will make your blog look more original.
Naturally, WordPress themes are not the only themes that can be modified. You can modify any theme you wish provided that you know some basic html and php.

Starting on the Internet

I guess I will never forget those very few days or rather weeks straight after decided to become an online entrepreneur. My decision to become one wasn’t definitely an easy one. It took me some time to come to the conclusion that this is what I wanted to do in my spare time after work instead of dedicating my precious time to many other tasks that were available to me like hanging out with my friends. I knew that all I wanted to do was to spend my time trying to be a successful online entrepreneur.

It didn’t take me that long to realize that an entrepreneur that is interested in opening an online business is in for a rude awakening. I know that it can be difficult to start an online business once you have no idea even what to do. Did I know what to do when I was starting with my first business? Not really, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Little did I know that I was in for a rude awakening after I discovered that the world of the Internet was full of spammers lurking at every corner and wanting to rip me off at a first opportunity.

How to Make Promotions Better

One of the best things about promotional usb memory sticks is the fact that you can customise them they way you like it. The sky is the limit here. Whatever you have in your mind, you can easily convey into a design and then turn it into a flash drive of your dreams. I have seen some very nice, cute bespoke flash drives and look so cool that I would be willing to carry them with me wherever I go and show them to all of my friends around. I am sure that your customers would certainly appreciate such a gift as well.

When designing your perfect bespoke usb flash drive, make sure that it is going to reflect the nature of your company. For example, if you own a car dealership, you can design your memory stick to be in the shape of a little car. If you manufacture shoes, your usb drives can come in the shape of shoes, etc. As you can see, all you need to do is to allow your imagination to run wild, and you are on the right track to reminding your customers of who you are and what it is that you can do for them.

Importance of Customer Service

Every business needs to have some kind of customer service. Customers need to know that they are going to be served when they need it. They also want to be sure that are their questions are going to be answered on time. Customers like when they are being paid attention to. They also like if the customer service is friendly. Nobody likes to be treated badly. The minute your customers walk through the door of your business, you need to greet them. You can do it personally or you can hire a sales person to do it for you. Customers need to feel special and you need to find a way to make it possible.