More Than Fortune Telling: Finding Your Cash Flow

More Than Fortune Telling: Finding Your Cash Flow

By Sharon  Jones

No-one can predict with 100% accuracy what the future holds. However, when it comes to the business, you can get a lot more insight than you think you might be able to. Especially where finances are concerned. You won’t be able to predict the way you can utterly capture the market without any risk, but you can get a closer look at the data of your finances and figure out where it’s headed. You can even figure out the potential risks to make it as smooth as possible.

Photo by MiraDeShazer

Expenses to prep for

Rather than starting with your revenue, it’s essential to get an understanding of your expenses and your overhead. These are often the most concrete projections in your cash flow, with fixed costs often making a much larger proportion of them than variables. Staying ahead of your costs also means you have more time to cut them down. For instance, if you have worrying printing costs, you can start the switch to a paperless system. If the costs of labor for a certain process are too high, you can outsource them.

What’s coming in

The other half is figuring out what your anticipated revenue is. The best way to do this is to rely on the data available to you. For newer businesses, this means making both a conservative and aggressive estimate based on differing price points, marketing channel usage, sales staff and so on. For those who have been in businesses for years, compare past sales with investments you intend on making with estimates on their return. If you’re invoicing your clients and customers, then using tips from places like www.xero.com can help you make sure you’re getting everything you’re owed sooner and not throwing off your short-term projections.

The bumps on the road

A good projection is always going to have some wiggle room. Unless you get it dead wrong, however, it should be somewhere between your conservative and aggressive estimates. The times that revenue is below conservative estimates is often due to the big, unexpected costs that aren’t your fault. There is something you can do about them, however. Services like www.equifyllc.com allow you to better understand the risks to the business depending on your specific circumstances, to help you better craft an insurance plan. If you leave it to yourself to pay for every bump in the road out of your own pocket, it can get in the way of your cash flow and disrupt your current business plans, setting you back if not endangering the business in total.

A business owner has to be future-minded. Reacting to the realities of the market and your finances as they happen is going to leave you a step behind, disrupting you more often than not. Understand the cash you have coming to you and see it in your hands sooner. Know the expenses you can expect to accommodate and how to make sure you can handle them. Divine the serious financial risks and protect yourself against them. It won’t future-proof the business with total certainty, but it will make it a lot easier to better face the financial challenges ahead.

 

The Key Reasons Your Growth Didn’t Hit Targets This Year

The Key Reasons Your Growth Didn’t Hit Targets This Year

By Jerry Mooney

Lots of businesses are feeling the pinch right now. It’s not surprising. We’re feeling it at home too. Things have changed quite dramatically in the last twelve months. Many forecasters are feeling a little foolish for proposing growth targets that were, in hindsight, just too much to meet. There are plenty of reasons why your business might not have performed as expected. Do any of these common key reasons apply to your company this year?

Didn’t Invest To The Level Needed

Investment is needed year on year to ensure growth. Sure, you might not have made a loss. Perhaps your profits are up on last year. But if they didn’t meet the target, then something is amiss. Investments can be made in your stock, your research, your marketing, your people, or anywhere that needs a boost. Where did your money go? Are you even seeing a return on that investment?

It sometimes takes money to make money – image origin

This year, make sure the money is going where it needs to. There are several ways you can raise the cash if your profit line isn’t the size you hoped for. You might look to unsecured lending or credit lines from companies like Unsecured Capital. When you visit them online, you can see that this is perhaps the least complicated and time-costly method of raising the funds you need. Crowdfunding is another way, assuming you have a product to attract the investor with.

Didn’t Adjust Your Marketing Strategy

The marketing strategy should be revised and revisited several times a year. Whenever something changes or doesn’t meet the mark, it should be scrutinized and adjusted. From the simplest SWOT analysis, to complex big data filters to find specific answers – the work needs to be done. This will help you make informed decisions and changes as required to all your promotions and campaigns.

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The good thing about digital marketing is you can stop and start campaigns in a moment. That saves you a lot of money and gives you the freedom to perform complete one-eighties if you need to. But what is the good of that if you’re not scrutinizing the results? Make sure you are monitoring the performance of each campaign and adjusting regularly to meet your ROI. Set up a dashboard for easy analysis.

Have you been monitoring your competitors closely enough? It is essential to respond quickly as they make moves on your market share or share of voice. Empowering your marketers with budget control to make those moves might be quite important in your type of business. One way to do this is to set targets. Set an ROI on each penny or choose a percentage per medium.

Didn’t Forecast Political and Economic Upheavals

There has been a lot of political and economic upheavals. With so many changes in power across the globe, it was inevitable that things would change dramatically. If you didn’t forecast troubled waters ahead, make sure you are on top of things now. Things will undoubtedly continue to be choppy. How are you going to weather the storm?

Where in the world is trouble going to brew next? Image origin

Protecting your business interests overseas is often more tricky to do than you think. But there are also interests closer to home that may be upset. Technologies are also changing rapidly. The way customers want to engage with your and buy from you is also changing. It’s essential you can keep up with their preferences while retaining stability in the wake of political and economic turbulence.

The easiest way to do this is to list all of the possible threats you can think of. Then make up some of the scariest ones that might crop up on a really bad day! Start planning your actions should these events arise. If you are prepared for the worst, you’ll be able to manage difficult times ahead with ease.

Didn’t Motivate Your Workforce

A lack of productivity can kill a business. There are many reasons why employees might underperform. Motivation is just one of them. Motivating an entire workforce is never easy. It takes good management as well as a good level of understanding about what makes each worker tick. You might offer rewards, incentives, or not. These are not essential for motivation. But do address any concerns your employees might have, especially if you’ve just turned in bad results.

Is everyone contributing? Image origin

Start by looking at the salaries and benefit packages you offer. Are they competitive and are they fair? What about the workloads? Does the salary recognise the level of stress and responsibility that is involved? If you start to lose employees, it can become very expensive to replace them. Instead, get involved, talk to them, and listen to their aspirations.

Simple things like flexible working can help your workforce provide better results. If you can’t offer a higher salary, can you offer an extra day off work? You can motivate your workforce by setting realistic targets. And coaching or mentoring can also be high value. Make sure everyone feels they have the knowledge and training to perform well. A simple lack of confidence can drastically reduce productivity.

Didn’t Curb Your Spend

If your company isn’t frugal, your business simply won’t survive. Aim to cut spend every year by adopting new technologies and more efficient ways of working. It’s not always easy to identify where your company is overspending. Efficiency analyses can help to some extent. However, chances are your workforce knows where things don’t add up. Ask them for some ideas on stemming a spending bleed.

Make sure you have a very detailed budget for every part of your business. Aim to trim at least two percent off every cost each year. You might switch suppliers, install meters, or find innovative ways to reduce your overheads. You might even move to a smaller premises, or go paperless. Keep working toward cost reductions, and you’ll have less pressure to perform if times get tough in your sector.

It’s not easy to always hit targets year on year. Forecasting the growth isn’t an easy job either, and sometimes we just get it wrong. Stay on track with your savings, continue to invest, and help your employees deliver the results you’re after.

 

Outsourcing: Attributes You Want In The Companies You Hire

Outsourcing: Attributes You Want In The Companies You Hire

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By Jerry Mooney

Making the decision to outsource an essential facet of your business is always going to be fraught with tension. If you’re going to entrust your an aspect of your business to another company, you’re going to want to be sure you’ve picked the right company for the job.

If you have never outsourced before, then you might be wondering how you can be certain you’re hiring the right company. How do you know who to trust? Who is really going to be able to help you? What’s a good deal?

Answering these questions satisfactorily is important, but you also need to look for the overall attributes that a company has; how it presents itself, the feeling they create when you speak to them. Below are three of the most important attributes you want to see in any company you hire, so keep an eye out for the following —

Customer-Focused Thought Processes

What Is It?

Customer-focused thought processes make it clear the company you’re considering will be taking your needs into account first and foremost. They won’t be defaulting to “what they always do”; they’re going to work with you to create a truly customized experience. As you can see from these King Kong agency reviews, clients state that the company’s customer-focused attitude was essential to their working relationship being positive. So you’ll want to see the same from any company you hire.

What To Look Out For:

  • Customer-focused companies ask a lot of questions and encourage you to be both broad and specific with your thinking.
  • Customer-focused companies don’t try and “sell” to you; they won’t try to dazzle you with a sales pitch, they’ll talk to you to try and ascertain your needs and how they can help you meet those needs.

Good Communication

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What Is It?

Good communication is necessary across a variety of mediums, from the way the company writes their website to how easy you find them to talk to in person. You should also consider how long the company takes to respond to your emails or enquiries; you don’t want to be left sitting waiting for a response.

What To Look Out For:

  • Fast email response, preferably on the same day
  • You should always feel that you have had your questions answered when you have spoken with them. If you finish a conversation and realize you’re still not sure of something, then that’s a problem.

The Ability To Simplify Technical Terms

What Is It?

If you’re hiring an SEO or advertising agency, it’s easy to get swallowed whole by jargon. The same is true if you’re manufacturing a product and a manufacturer uses all kinds of technical terms for machinery, most of which you’re not even sure are actually English. You need any company you hire to be able to explain technical terms to you, a layperson.

  • Patience when explaining a technical term
  • A willingness to adapt to your lack-of-knowledge and explain things in plain terms.

 

If you find a company with all three of these attributes, then outsourcing to them will almost certainly work well for you.

The Banks Are Afraid Of Bitcoin: Here’s Why

The Banks Are Afraid Of Bitcoin: Here’s Why

The fight for the future of money is on.

By Jerry Mooney

The 21st century has not been kind to the banking industry.

First, there was the financial crisis of 2007/8. Of course, this crisis was one that the banks made for themselves, so there’s no need to feel too sorry for them. The financial crisis changed everything for the banks; reliant on government bailouts to survive, they experienced public opinion turning against them in a most visceral way. Even now, faith in the banking system from the general populace is largely non-existent. The Occupy Wall Street movement was a perfect example of how times have changed; bankers were no longer to be trusted, they were to be judged and deemed unreliable.

A decade on from the first rumblings of the financial crisis, one might assume that the banks have managed to survive their biggest challenge– albeit with their public reputation dented. However, 2017 finds the banks rattled for an entirely new reason: there’s a significant threat to their very existence hovering on the horizon.

The Birth Of Cryptocurrencies

The idea of cryptocurrencies has been popular in some circles since the 1990s, but only in the past decade has the notion really taken off. It’s no coincidence that cryptocurrencies, the most famous of which is Bitcoin, began to take shape as a legitimate alternative to the existing banking industry around the time of the financial crisis– people were ready for a change. With the financial system as we knew it collapsing, more and more people were tempted to explore the idea of a revolutionary new system.

The Biggest Threat?

Given that banks have survived the financial crisis — so one could assume they can handle anything —  it’s worth wondering if Bitcoin is truly a threat to their status in the world. Can a cryptocurrency really change the way society handles money, rendering the banks obsolete?

Bitcoin doesn’t need banks; there’s no need for a third-party for the system to work. It’s also accessible; there’s no need to pass a credit check, and your previous banking history is irrelevant. Bitcoin is a leveling system, without a hierarchy, where everyone has access to the history of each transaction and is empowered to protect the system for other users. Bitcoin is populated not by a banking elite, but by regular people who can head to xCoins Inc for details on how they can get involved and potentially improve their lot in life. Bitcoin has become a monetary system; not one quite like we know monetary systems to be, but one that is working for thousands of people.

Bitcoin is a legitimate threat to the banks, and it appears to be a threat they are taking seriously. If Bitcoin continues to grow and becomes more commonplace, then there’s a chance the entire banking sector could be rendered obsolete.

The Demise Of The Banks

Bitcoin is legitimately scaring the banks as it offers a genuine alternative to the system they have always had control of. For hundreds of years, any personal financial decisions we made and financial planning we undertook had to go through one channel: the banking industry. Now, a viable alternative to that industry is emerging and growing in confidence. No one knows what the future might hold, but one thing’s for sure– we can expect the banks will fight, tooth and nail, to remain relevant in the face of what appears to be their biggest threat yet.

Maximize Your Fundraising Efforts With These Charity Event Tips

Maximize Your Fundraising Efforts With These Charity Event Tips

By Lina Martinez

There is no better way to raise a bit of extra cash for charity than by hosting a large fundraising event. You can make money by selling tickets and then once people are there, you can have various activities and giveaways to increase your profits further. Plus, there are lots of different ideas when it comes to putting on a charity event – you might want to host a charity auction or organize a sophisticated dinner. But, no matter what event you put on, you should use all of the following tips to ensure that you raise as much money as possible.

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Know Your Budget

First of all, it’s important that you have a clear budget in mind. This will help prevent you from overspending as that can reduce the final amount you can give to the charity. So, think about how much money you can put towards this event, and then work out how much you need to spend on the various expenses of planning an event. Write down how much you can allocate for venue hire, catering, and staff, and make sure that you don’t spend more than what you originally allocated.

Get Staff With Experience

You will no doubt need to hire some staff to help you plan and run the event. These people should have previous experience working with charities and some customer service experience would also come in useful. It’s a nice idea to get some lanyards from customlanyardscanada.com for your staff to work so that it is easy for people who attend the event to tell who is and isn’t working on the event. That way, all of your visitors and guests will be able to quickly spot someone to help them if they have any questions about the event.

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Think Of The Location

It’s important that you host your event in a location that is very easy to get to, even for those who won’t be arriving by car. So, ideally, you need to look for quite a central location that has good transport links. That way, you are maximizing the number of people who will be able to make it to your event. Even though central venues are going to be quite expensive to rent, it’s worth thinking about one as it means more people will be at the event.

Create A Fundraising Goal

It’s a good idea to publicize a fundraising goal for your event. When people know that you are trying to raise a specific amount, they will be a lot more likely to give generously to try and help you reach this goal, especially as it is all for a good cause! So, consider how much you want to raise and think about getting this printed on a big banner from fastsigns.com so that you can put up somewhere in the venue.

Hopefully, you’re now full of ideas for your next charity event and this blog post has given you some practical ideas on how to execute them. Good luck raising all that extra cash!

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