Thursday, December 29, 2005

7 Questions For A More Productive 2006

Did your company perform as expected in 2005? Did you reach your goals?
If you want to build a thriving company in 2006, answer the following questions. Good answers to these questions will lead the way to a productive year.
1. Are you gaining feedback from customers?Entrepreneurs listen to customers and gain feedback. This is how they discover great ideas. Successful entrepreneurs are out in the field finding out what customers really want and need.
2. Are you looking for more opportunities, both inside and outside the organization?
Successful companies are not afraid to dump old products and move on to new ones.
3. Do you have a mentor? Mentors can jump-start an entrepreneur’s knowledge level, link him or her up with new contacts, offer feedback on ideas, plans and strategies and even provide help in raising capital.
4. Have you built an A-team?Savvy entrepreneurs bring people into the organization who are smarter and more skilled than they are. They then create incentives to keep them. The best entrepreneurs are clearly team builders.
5. Are you giving something back to the community?Good will often ends up being a business strategy. The community basically says, “You support us, we will support you.”
6. Are you radiating your passion? Success belongs to people with passion. Zeal sustains entrepreneurs during the ups and downs. It becomes contagious, rubbing off on employees and customers.
7. Are you providing mind-boggling service? When you deliver legendary customer service, customers will rave about your company and become tremendously loyal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Buying The Right Business

Just knowing the business's financial situation isn't enough. In order to investigate a business, find the answers to the following questions:
1. Is the location leased? If there's less than three years left on the lease, look into getting a new term or a guaranteed extension from the landlord. A good location means nothing if you have to move out in a year when the lease expires.
2. Will the employees stay? A key employee's departure could profoundly affect the business' future operations and earnings.
3. Who are the customers? Do any of the clients account for more than 10% of the business's gross sales? Does the company have a binding contract with these customers?
4. What about training? Is the owner willing to stay for a specified period of time to train you, or at least be available for phone consultations?
5. Who is your competition? Check the surrounding area and industry records. If you're planning to buy a doughnut shop and another one is due to open down the street, the company may not be such a good investment.
6. Who are the suppliers? Are they in good shape financially and able to continue providing you with the necessary supplies? Does the business have lines of credit with them?
7. Is the equipment in good working order? How old is the equipment, and are there warranties or service agreements?
8. Are there any judgments or lawsuits lurking?
For more information on buying a business, visit