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In the event you spend any period of time driving an automobile, it is crucial to understand the particulars of automotive repair. A lot of people do not take time to even find out about preventative maintenance for vehicle. Luckily, this article has many great auto repair tips to maintain your car in good shape.

A breakdown can take place at any moment, so it is very important provide an emergency kit somewhere within your car. This kit should contain several items, including tools, flares, a gas container as well as an emergency battery charger. Tend not to forget blankets and a good flashlight with many batteries.

If you are at the auto shop, ask a lot of questions concerning your vehicle. What is going to they actually do to solve it? What exactly is the problem? Preventing issues will save you a lot of cash.

Every time your car is repaired, irrespective of how minor the problem was, make sure you keep track. If you have troubles later, these records come in handy. Without one, you might turn out paying for more diagnostic tests, and will also be more challenging to learn where the problem is stemming from.

Require OEM parts. OEM parts implies that part was produced by the company especially for your model and make of vehicle. Although using generic parts may provide some short-term savings, it’s impossible to learn whether they’ll endure as well as OEM parts. It may be a good deal, but if you need to continue to replace the part, it is really not going to be a good deal in the end.

Usually do not leave valuable products in the interior of your car if you wish to leave it with the mechanic shop. They will likely be taken out and could be lost. Empty the trunk too.

Look out for obvious “warning signs” when dealing with a whole new auto repair company. If you’re receiving double-talk when you ask them a subject, these are probably not the mechanic to suit your needs. You need to trust a mechanic, and should you not believe trust, find another.

Determine what the lights in the dashboard mean. These are located there to assist you, so utilize them to your benefit. Yes, there are sometimes false positives, but it is risky to ignore these warning lights. Should you so, a problem can get worse and be more expensive to correct.

Understand that visiting the dealer is not really something you should do if you want a vehicle fixed. You can find great techs everywhere whether there’s a fantastic shop 10 minutes out of your house or whether you want to check out the dealer further away. If you are an effective level of comfort with someone, you need to hire them.

Having a car means being forced to make it in good, working condition. Choosing the best mechanic is undoubtedly an acquired skill which will take time for you to develop. Take advantage of the information that has been offering you to assist you to have an easier time keeping your vehicle running.

Dental Practice loans. Great way to provide expansion capital for your business.

Tax time is here and many business owners are not as excited as individuals who file and are expecting a large tax return, especially a business that will owe taxes to the IRS.

Many dental practices find after getting their taxes done that they will owe money to the government. The fact that additional cash flow is needed many businesses are unable to find the money they need to pay their taxes through traditional sources such as banks.

Once funding is available through a bank statement loan the dental practice may use the funds for any purpose. Pay bills, pay taxes, expansion, pay staff, buy new and used equipment.

Many alternative funding companies do exist such as Small Business Loans Depot. These business have various types of programs that can generate cash flow for many businesses and allow them to use their current used equipment assets.

This is an idea program for dental practices looking to do various types of things for their businesses.

Right now due to an uncertain economy, businesses need additional cash flow. Business owners cannot expect to go to a bank and receive unlimited amounts of cash to fund their business plans.

Some dental practices still feel they have the ability to go to their bank and find the additional cash flow to pay bills, taxes or fund their expansion plans. Once they apply and are denied they find themselves in a very dire situation and unable to operate without any cash flow.

When dental practices expand using additional cash flow, it is a very good investment.

The first thing most business owners do is to buy additional inventory. This is a good way to pay for additional marketing and advertising to supplement the additional inventory.

When companies need alternative funding, Small Business Loans Depot is a good way to provide additional cash flow through its specialized sale leaseback program The sale leaseback program generates cash for small businesses using their current used equipment assets.

The program is ideal for dental practices looking to expand or hire new staff or purchase new equipment.

The process involves using many types of equipment assets common to businesses as collateral. Up to 80 % of current value of equipment may be obtained.

This involves using a fast, easy and convenient way to obtain capital with a one page application. There are significant tax advantages that are geared to assist the business owner.

For details, contact Ro Beasley for details at Small Business Loans Depot.

 

THE STATE OF ALTERNATIVE BUSINESS LENDING GOING INTO 2014

The year 2013 was a very good year in the alternative business financing industry. After going through some growing pains in 2008-09 with the bank meltdown and start of the recession, alternative lenders such as Accounts Receivable Factoring and Merchant Cash Advances have become very important for small business startups as well as businesses which are looking to expand.

Alternative business financing has almost become main stream today, as banks continue to turn down applications for business loans. Today traditional banks with their stringent requirements have been only approving businesses with “A credit.” This has left a huge void in the small business lending industry which is now being filled by alternative business financing lenders. Small businesses are always looking for fast access to working capital which they can use for many different reasons such as payroll, marketing, inventory, and cash flow. The great thing about alternative financing, is that business owners are now able to get access to this working capital even with poor personal credit and without the need to put up any collateral.

Small business owners usually do not mind paying a little more money to alternative lenders, because they know that trying to obtain a bank business loan will involve going through a very lengthy application process, involving tons of paperwork, headaches and red tape, only to later find out they were denied for the loan. With various alternative lenders, such as accounts receivable factoring and merchant cash advances, it is now possible to be approved in as little as 24 hours and have access to this capital in less than 1 week.

According to the November 2013 biz2credit small business lending index, the large banks (with 10 billion or more in assets) only approved 17.4% of loan applications This number is way below the numbers that existed back in 2005-07, when the big banks approved more loans than they denied. Compare those numbers to alternative business lenders who today approve more than two thirds of their loan applications.

The approval process and paperwork of an alternative lender is simple and it is much faster and easier than the application process you have to go through with a traditional bank. The entire process is being stream lined today by alternative lenders,who are utilizing new types of technology to make the process easier. These lenders can now approve applications in a matter of days rather than months unlike the application process of banks.

No longer does a business owner need to put up their house or personal assets as collateral for the loan and their personal credit score has very little impact on the decision making process of an alternative business lender. Today even credit unions are falling behind because of their rigid application process.

As we head into 2013 it is still not clear what implications Obama Care is going to have on the small business owner. However the housing market has stabilized, and unemployment is dropping from 8.5% in January 2012 to about 7% in December of 2013. I believe with the availability now of these alternative lending sources, more and more small businesses are going to be able to grow and succeed. Make no mistake, alternative business financing clearly plays a vital role and fills a real need for small business lending in the U.S. today.

In conclusion, 2014 is shaping up to be very promising for small businesses as well as the overall U.S. economy. One of the main reasons why businesses fail is due to lack of capital. The fact that these new type of lending sources now exist, means that much less small businesses will fail. The availability of fast access to working capital is now a reality and is readily available to small businesses at every stage of their development.

Copyright 2014 The Business Financing Group

About the Author

Richard Lonschein has been a practicing business attorney for 9 years and is the president of The Business Financing Group which helps small business owners get the best available rates and terms through alternative financing lenders such as Merchant Cash Advances and Accounts Receivable Factoring.

Among the very important needs for the development of any society or community; there is no doubt that business plays a vital role. Through the art of business; many social requirements and needs are met to ensure that all living creatures with in the society maintains their state of wellness as well as develop into a more fulfilling state. Taking an observation of the physical world; countries with well-developed businesses have the highest power and control than the others; this shows how business has the ability to improve developments as well as confidence to the very owner but also to its corresponding society once the business succeeds to reach at high ranks.
However, people have different views and ideas when it comes to the subject of businesses; some believe that business brings about a positive development and outcomes to the society while others believe that it is a source of most negative outcomes with in the society. Depending on what your view on the business world is; the truth remains static and constant that business plays a great role in ensuring that the community needs are met sufficiently. Needs like employment, domestic products, infrastructures, domestic services etc would be very difficult to attain in the absence of business. However, it is very unfair to deny the presence of bad businesses which bring about negative impacts to the society.
Many people on this mother earth would like to have a business that will succeed and pave their way to the high ranks and in-fact all people who start businesses have one clear goal in mind which is to succeed into high ranks but only few of them make it to the top; in-fact only a few people maintain their businesses for two years after they have established them. The reasons for their failure are clear and solid that they do not have the best knowledge to hold to as they manage their businesses. They may have good intentions for starting a business but to maintain and improve the business; a good knowledge is required and there is when you need to learn and understand the best business ethics for highly successful businesses.

Discover the Best Business Ethics for Highly Successful Businesses

Set A Goal and Go For It

If you wake up in the morning and start thinking of what business you should do to earn money then I doubt if that business will ever succeed. Do you know why? Because the term business does not describe money, it describes needs. If you instead wake up in the morning and start to think how you can provide the best healthy food products to ensure that food is always available easily and cheaply for everyone, that will surely do. Poor goals will give you poor motive for your business and therefore produce poor achievements. Set a clear goal or goals that not only benefits you but also the society and make that your motive and go for nothing but that pure community based goal.

Have a Wide Vision but a Narrow Focus

The bigger and larger your business will be depends fully on the vision you have. If you have a bigger vision then you are most likely to have a bigger business and vice-versa is true. For example your goal is to provide apples to the society; a bigger vision is to think of how to supply apples to the whole world so that everybody would get the benefits of apples and a narrow focus will be to focus on the production and supply of apples only without including mangoes, oranges or any other similar product so that you can rip the highest benefits from apples but also to give all you can to produce the best products and to supply them in the best way possible. So whatever your business product or service is, think of expanding it to the world level and be as descriptive as possible on your specific focus.

Decide What to Do and What Not To

As you manage a business, various distractions come along the way; some are good and worth engaging with and some are not. If you know what you should always involve with and what you should not, it will make it so easy to immediately act on opportunities that come ahead before others do. You should make these decisions early in advance and abide by them because they are this decisions that will govern your entire business and will also determine the extent of your business. Put a list of all things that you believe are legit and worth doing in the business and the ones you believe are not legit and unworthy; including the ones you are having access to currently and the once you don’t have current access to, so that in-case an opportunity arrives; instead of thinking whether you should take the opportunity or not, you instead immediately take the opportunity or ignore it.

Manage Your Employees/Team

To be sincere, you need other people to assist you in your business. These people could be your employees or team depending on the nature of your agreement. Whatever your agreement is; you have to manage this people in the right way and in the right direction of focus. Make them realize how deeply you want your business to succeed, how you want things to be done, how the business will benefit them and the society at large. Don’t treat your employee as slaves or anything of the kind. Spend time with them to know how they see the business, what they like in it and what they don’t. Initiate with them positively and motivate them regularly on both material and non-materials things. Note: If you have well managed employees/team you can always build a good and better company but if you have poorly managed employees/team even the company you have now will fall and never raise again. Therefore appreciate your employees and manage them well. Since you only have two hands and you are very limited to the number of activities you can do despite the amount of knowledge you have, well managed employees could simply mean more of your very own hands.

Set Clear Plans and Strategies

Note: If you fail to plan it simply means you are planning to fail. After you have set a clear goal or objective, you need a plan or strategy that you will follow through to achieve your goals. A plan is simply a road or path that you make so that you can walk your business through. Here is the good thing and bad thing about plans. A plan will always take you to where you set it to take you despite the fact that you are aware of it or not. Whether you know or you don’t know if your plan is good or bad; your plan is just a road/path and the only thing it can do is direct you to where it heads. Therefore it is up to you to make a plan that will direct your business in the direction you want or desire. Once the plan is heading in the best direction so is your business. You may need to consult other successful business people to help you out but don’t rely on their suggestions; it is good to be as unique as you possibly can. Don’t start a business without a plan your most certain to fail. Make a five year, 10 year, 20 year, 50 year and 100 year plan for your business to pass through. Due to the dynamic environmental changes you might need to modify your plans, but as you modify them, don’t ever forget your primary reason for starting the business for that is the life of your business.

Be Open Minded

The world’s best innovative ideas were obtained from unexpected situations or people and so it will be with yours. Don’t only expect best ideas from your professional qualified consultants or close friends. Be open enough to let anything suggest an idea to you. Let a child tell you something concerning a certain product or service you produce, it’s true that they might have a very low understanding of things but it’s not true that it is always that way. Most business owners don’t consult their employees on high matters; your employees know your business more than you think they do. Be open to some of them that seem creative and unique, ask them what they think of the business and what should be modified and maintained for effective and efficient performance. Not only being open with people but also with situations. Don’t stick in the office full time and then back to bed. Take some time to walk in a park, garden, beach and observe the nature around you, by doing this your mind sucks new ideas all around the environment through vision and thought. Not all ideas you hear people saying to you are good, even if they seem good, relax and personally analyze them carefully if they match with your primary objectives and plans for the future before deciding whether to include or exclude them.

Manage Your Cash Flow Closely

When you talk of the existence of a business you can’t escape the fact of the commodity value which is the money in and money out. The healthier your cash flow is, the wealthier is your business. Don’t exclude yourself from the managing business cash flow even if you employ a professional to do that. Cash flow management is a very important part of the business that despite what the business is facing currently it will ensure that the business maintains its state of financial balance. Take note of newly existing unexpected balances and put them into consideration for the future. Managing the cash flow of the business will make you aware of any financial or market changes immediately when they occur and you can take effective measures sooner and avoid future risks.

Always Aim At Serving the Community

Remember that community based goals and objectives are the heart of any high ranking business and so should your business aims. Keep a close eye to the community that your business serves. Aim at providing only the best to your community and at a reasonable cost. By cost it is not necessary in terms of money; it could also be through other ways of payment such as inviting another customer to buy the products or services etc. Be creative as you can be but just don’t forget that your priority lies to the satisfaction of the overall community needs. The moment you stop serving the community and look at your very own interest which usually happens after you’ve started succeeding, you are most likely to start losing your business direction and focus which as mentioned above is the heart of the business existence. Let you do your interests after getting your own paycheck from the business but do not redirect the business plans and aims to look after your personal interests.

Emphasize on Team Work, Confidence and Open-ness

When it comes to managing a business; you are very exposed to great challenges. Even though you can tackle this challenges personally if you had unlimited time and unlimited strength with you, but you probably don’t have unlimited time and your strength wears off within mostly eighteen (18) hours of constant working and you need a total rest; having a team that works together to achieve a common goal could do you a big favor. Emphasize your employees and team members on togetherness, confidence and open-ness. These three tools are very important if you are to make it safe and successfully through all the business challenges you come across with. With a team working together with confidence and open-ness not a thing would be impossible to achieve. Build a state of belonging to each other among your employees and team members. In order to do this, you will need to be creative on how to engage your team together to understand one another for the sake of the business and themselves. Coaching your employees should do it but also regularly hanging out together as a business team and even more as friends should make it a lot easier to build these tools among your employees or team members.

( Continue Reading Part Two )

 

About the Author

Hi; My name is Young Eddie. I am the founder of the website “My Life, My Rules” where i teach and help people succeed in anything they want in life. If you would like to learn some great ideas please visit my site at: http://www.youngeddie.com

Educated young men and women are more and more going for business ventures than for salaried jobs. Many of them have enough enterprise and innovativeness to nurture the ideas of novel consumer articles and services that the society is waiting for. Most of the times flare and talent needs to be backed by practical wisdom and novel ideas have to be monitored into business enterprises by financial prudence. Small Business Help is an advisory and consultancy service for the budding business entrepreneurs.

Business concepts and ideas are one thing and setting up a business to translate those ideas into money earning instruments is another thing. If you are qualified in a particular branch, you should go for possibilities in that arena. If you are from general education, you have to be trained in the required lines afresh. A business runs on capital and human labor, but the most essential thing is the planning for the business and a clear concept about the road ahead. If you are thinking of producing a consumer item, you should have a clear idea of the consumer behavior and frequent shifts in its pattern. A unit set up to produce one article may go dry soon as consumers shift away from the product.

Small Business Advice is a window run by both governments of various countries and private agencies to assist the willing entrepreneurs. The services include training and counseling. The entrepreneur is assigned to a mentor who will guide his programs as per his qualification. The need for resources, tools and sites are then looked after. Retail franchise is the most popular program which involves less capital and less labor. It is a matter of establishing contacts between dealers and whole-sellers and retailers. A small entrepreneur can make a small beginning with a little money.

In other areas of the business venture the mentor will lead the progress from the conceptual to the practical application. If one wants to deal with chemicals and containers, he has to be trained in chemistry and must be informed about the users of those chemicals. The mentor may send him to laboratories for possible customers and to chemical producers for his raw material suppliers. Then he will be in need of finance and expert hands. His certificate from this Business Help will help him access banks and institutions. For businesses in services sector one can go to assistance departments of the governments for accessing services related to information technology and computer application. Independent call centers and BPO services may thrive on jobs received on contract. For this the entrepreneur must have training and authorization from the respective departments.

Varied programs are floating for business seekers and the businessman has to select his/her chosen branch where he/she has certain knowledge and expertise. Determination, willpower, grit and diligence always meet success when the seekers are monitored by this Business Help.

If you need any help for putting your ideas into practice, go to the Small Business Help for mentors, training and supports.

This content has been taken from http://businesswealthbuilders.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/small-business-help-is-a-big-friend/

About the Author

David hall has a lot experience about a successful Business idea. Click here to contact him, or is followed on: Google+

Budding businessmen need coaching on various aspects before they can venture into any business activity. Any business covers multiple fields of learning and knowledge without which business ideas will remain half formed and the pursuits are bound to grope in darkness. sydney business coaching institutes, plant desire for business in an individual, guide him on the path which is thorny and finally hones his skills of resource management. An entrepreneur slowly becomes a businessman under the tutelage of professional experts from the field of commerce and industry.

Business demands creativity, knack for novelty, organizational efficiency and an uncanny sense of timing the decisions. All these qualities remain dormant in any man or woman as he/she goes through a formal learning process in schools and colleges. Formal university degrees make one qualified and eligible for undertaking a job of responsibility but it stops there. Business coach training instills an iron will and determination to succeed. You have to be innovative and very alert about the dynamics of the market and its recent trends. Human resource management is the most important aspect of any business enterprise. This critical aspect has to be learnt, felt and realized. Good HR personnel of established companies can be the best resource persons for this particular training.

Finance and accounting occupy the major part of any training schedule. It is finance all the way from the set up of a business to the auditing of accounts. No management is expected to know all the aspects of finance and accounts, but they must have the basics of every field of activity through which their companies have to travel. business coaching sydney institutes appoint experienced accountants, chartered accountants, tax practitioners and marketing specialists to train the trainees from their experiences of past operations in famed companies. It is not about the theories of economics and commerce that they preach about, but all the way their practical wisdom gained through experience. The trainees can visualize their future path and chart their ways accordingly. Their company itself provides the best of confidence building measures.

Training for entrepreneurs move from one field to another. When you have done your market survey and decided on the products you are going to produce, it is time to learn how to utilize the outdoor media, visual and audio media and the web-world to promote the products and connect the customers. An entrepreneur does not do everything himself, but manages everything and the ability to manage comes from extensive training. Renowned companies have established institutes for management training.

You should learn how to handle finances institutes and banks for loans and advances for your raw materials and working capital requirement. Some tax laws have also to be learnt to manage the commercial taxes, corporate taxes, customs and excise duties and export import transactions. These can be best learnt from the experienced accountants of reputed companies. Coaching institutes retain those experts on contract basis after they retire from service. They produce businessmen of the future.

Try to enroll yourself in a reputed business coaching center and mature into a successful entrepreneur.

This content has been taken from http://businesswealthbuilders.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/business-coaching-helps-entrepreneurship/

About the Author

David Hall is among the professional Successful Business Wealth Builders Service providers in Australia. Visit here, or follow us on: Google+

hWhether you are the owner of a small business or a start up, it is understandable that things can get a little too busy. From managing everyday tasks, taking care of employees to finding ways to increase business, the responsibilities and duties that you face can often mean you neglect managing your business finances and your long term goals.

Despite being at the crux of every business and crucial to lasting survival, many businesses often struggle to focus enough time and attention on maintaining their financial profile. Was 2013 the year you struggled to keep up with your bookkeeping? Did your tax records slip and did you struggle to get your VAT returned on time? Then of course there is the issue of maintaining focus; a lot of businesses struggle to maintain a clear focus and often simply carry on without ever referring back to any original ideas and plans. If you found yourself struggling to keep up then why not ask yourself; how will 2014 be any different?

With the first month of the year drawing to a close, now is a great time to take a step back and look at the situation that your business is currently in and start to take control before the year slips away from you…

Outsourcing Finances- From bookkeeping to tax and vat returns to the constant task that is payroll; if you struggled to keep on top of everything this year then why not consider outsourcing your financial management? There are a range of start up business accountants that offer their services at a fixed fee leaving you free from stress and well rested with the knowledge that an expert is taking care of it all.

Business Plan- There are a phenomenal number of businesses that create a fantastic business plan highlighting long term and short term goals and aims but forget that it even existed. Are you keeping your business goals focused or have you also neglected to keep an eye on your plan? This year why not make a conscious effort to stick to your business plan? You would be surprised as to just how beneficial a little bit of clarity can be.

Cash Flow- One of the biggest strains any business can face is cash flow. With often far too much going out then coming in, things can very quickly become a massive struggle. Are you regularly monitoring your day to day charges? By failing to keep on top of it all you could end up in a big mess. Outsourcing as mentioned above will of course be a great help however you mustn’t remain ignorant to it all yourself.

Before the New Year stops being a new year and starts flying by; make sure you have the right tools, team and attitudes in place to give your business the best chance possible. Whether 2013 was a fantastic year for your company or not, you would be surprised as to just how refreshing a new attitude can be!
About the Author

Ben Black is the Director of Calculated Accountants, a firm of professional start up business and small business accountants dedicated to providing solid, trusted financial advice and support.

7 Predictions for Enterprise in 2014 (Led by Cloud, Social, Mobile, Big Data and Internet Of Things Adoption)

The following post is by Pluto7.com predictive analytics company, with contributions from its founder, advisors and its clients ranging from World’s largest networking equipment company, World Largest Coffee company, leading SaaS company and one of the world’s top IT Services company bringing the diversity of perspective.
The dust is finally settling after the New Year celebrations and returning back to work, with 2014 is turning out to be quite promising and exciting for all of us to make these predictions. Contributors of these predictions are highlight respected in their organization, in the market and are considered thought leaders. We plan to track our prediction thought out the year and share our assessment at the end of the year to see how we faired.

1. “Check out this App” – Cloud based Enterprise application on subscription will rapidly expand its presence in all size companies, just like how smartphone apps got into our phones few years back.
Remember the excitement we all saw when finding cool apps on smartphones and how we shared it with our friends. Some of the apps really made our lives easy while costing minimal amount. Expect similar trend in Enterprise applications going on cloud. With subscription model rapidly adoption, cost of infrastructure lowering, time to market improving for app development a flood of Cloud based enterprise solutions will hit the market in 2014 making us rethink how we saw enterprise applications. Time of large dollar and crazily priced on premise software will slowly change.

2. “Big Data Real or Hype” – Hear lesser debates on Big Data on Cloud adoption and hear more on Use Cases, Outcomes, Value demonstration and ROI

While last year was all about experimentation with Big Data applications and many failed, with some hard learnings, expect the evolution to the next levels. We saw one toy manufacturing company bring it toy to the top 10 most wanted Christmas through such experimentation. Business teams will want to see how they can achieve real value from all the data being collected.Enterprises will apply the learnings to and invest in potential areas where the returns are more cleared. Business and IT will get smarter in ROI determination with these technologies as they continue to learn with the market. Most enterprise management agrees that these newer technologies adoption to improve business is not an option.

3. “Top Picks for You” – Recommendation features are not only for Netfix and Amazon!!!!!!! Most of us land up seeing a recommendation from amazon, Netflix or similar information in our purchases. Now the similar and better recommendation engines with predictive analytics technologies are available for all kinds of enterprises with the expansion of Big Data, Social, Mobile and Cloud offerings helping Enterprises drive upsell/cross sell. Nothing stops a door manufacturer to recommend to its customers to buy double panned windows when they are on their website. These predictive analytics or recommendation engine will get lot cheaper and easier to deploy in 2014.

4. “Like” – Supply Chain, Sales and Finance collaborationto drivebetter Customer Experiencebeyond Marketing using Big Data and Social Analytics data.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media led the mass adoption leading to retail business shakeout, political changes and dramatically improved human networking. Now similar large scale influence of innovation in Big Data, Cloud enabled on Mobile devices will be seen in 2014 within the Enterprise boundaries and expanding into partner and customer networks. Customer, partner feedback on product and services will flow into your supply chain, marketing, product engineering and finance. Product defects found in your supply chain will preempt defective products shipped to customers saving money and many such examples. That leads us to the next prediction.

5. “Future” – Predictive Analytics ( Recommendation based ) approach will gain more traction in day to day analysis in various enterprise functions

In year 2000 a large networking company shipment report costs $1M+, 6 months to build, 8 hours to execute at company level. This led to improvements in people utilization and process changes resulting in on time shipments dramatically over 5 years. In 2014, the same can be achieved with less than $200K, 1 month to build and 1 minute to execute showing ROI within 1 year additional you will get the features of predictive analytics ( statistically modeling ) capabilities with recommendation algorithms at fairly low incremental costs. Humans will spend less time generating the report and scanning for exceptions and more time analyzing recommendations, what-ifs, exceptions and anomalies. More importantly in 2000 these kinds of reporting was IT led, and in 2014 it will be more business led.

6. “Data Everywhere” – Internet of Things (IoT) momentum will bring the People, Process aspects into lime light aligning with Machines, Mobile, Social.
From our perspective IoT is a natural formation of a framework to bring the people, process, machine, data and social together attempting to simplify the Tsunami of innovations and progressive technologies together. From 2014 heading towards 2020, the explosion in “things” will generate a rich wave of new sources of data with varying formats for analytics. Enterprises will continue to struggle to keep up parallelly; innovating with the massive information coming from the mobile work force. From phones, to cars, to refrigerator to smart meters to medical sensors, everything will talk to everything if there is an incremental value to humans with the corresponding data analyzed. Business decisions will be accelerated in organizations that have a better adoption plan for IoT across their ecosystem.

7. “Innovative Minds” – Everything stated above is created by human minds. There will be a continued shortage of brains in US and some areas globally.
Call it Data Scientists, Developers, Programmers, Analysts or any other roles you can think of which brings newer insights into business improvements through data and process re-engineering, there will an increasing shortage of labor seen in 2014 across US and part of the globe. For an example, take Silicon Valley in California. The last seen massive labor growth was in 2000. With 14 years gaps, with rapid innovation, enterprises now ready to spend, US economy recovering massively after 2007 bubble and Investors itching to invest in smart ideas, the labor costs for smart human minds will go up. The US government in addition has tightened the immigration laws further supporting the demand increase. Get ready to pay more to your high performing existing employees or new hires.
About the Author

Pluto7.com (in business since 2005), a Supply Chain and Financial Planning Firm that helps companies to institutionalize data-driven decision making and harness Big Data using Predictive and Social Analytics on cloud and premise

he Fitness Center Industry in 2014

Fitness centers as we know them today have only been in existence since the 1970s. Since that time, the industry has experienced steady growth. There were 17,000 clubs at the beginning of the decade, and over 30,000 by 2010. About 50 million Americans are members of a fitness center- these include commercial health clubs, non-profit clubs like the YMCA, or miscellaneous for-profit clubs such as corporate clubs, country clubs, and spas.

Nearly 40% of these 50 million people attend health clubs on more than 100 days out of a year. The overall industry generated 22 billion dollars in revenue during 2013, and employed approximately 400,000 workers. The industry is highly fragmented – the fifty largest companies control only about thirty percent of the market, and there are only a few dozen companies that own more than ten centers.

Major services typically include facilities for aerobic exercise and weightlifting. Running, swimming, yoga, karate, basketball, and swimming may also be offered. Smaller fitness centers may cover just a few thousand square feet, while multi-activity operations can cover over 100,000 square feet. The operations of all fitness centers are similar- the operator makes space and equipment available for customers to engage in various types of fitness activities, provides staff to help customers properly use the equipment, maintains the facilities, and provides various other services such as professional trainers and class instructors, child care, food and drinks, showers and lockers, hot tubs and saunas, and sales of sports clothing and equipment.

Competition in the fitness industry is high. Particularly during recessions there have been increases in people running for exercise, with the appeal being that it is free. Non-profit gyms may not offer as comprehensive a set of services or the highest-quality equipment, but they can still be a lower-cost alternative to commercial fitness centers. In addition, consumers can decide to buy their own home fitness equipment, such as treadmills and elliptical machines that can steer them away from gyms altogether.

Other challenges include the fact that fitness centers must continue to buy equipment to keep up with the latest trends- this can be a crippling capital expense. Also, there is a degree of seasonality to fitness center revenues as well that must be accounted for- more people join during the first quarter, largely due to New Year’s resolutions. Finally, there is a danger of liability if people get injured in the gym.Fitness Centers and Weight Loss

Perhaps the most significant factor impacting the fitness industry is the obesity epidemic. Obesity has taken the U.S. by storm and has created a sort of counter-culture that has resulted in increased fitness center memberships. The rate of obesity in the U.S. has grown steadily since the 1980s, and all states with the exception of Colorado consider at least one fifth of their population to be obese. Today, over 80 million Americans are considered clinically obese. Indeed, one billion people worldwide are considered over their ideal weight.

There are a number of different weight-loss programs used in America. Diets, exercise, and surgery represent just some of these methods. Over 30% of Americans were on diets in 2013, and about two-thirds were women. Because of this, the weight-loss market is generally aimed at women.

Because so many in the U.S. are feverishly interested in losing weight, the weight-loss market is rampant with fraud. The Food and Drug Administration has had to crack down on a great deal many products posing as legitimate mechanisms for weight loss. These fraudulent products have created a sort of hive U.S. mindset that weight-loss programs and products are a gimmick. Americans have dropped out of these plans at high rates, feeling program and product claims to be misleading. Additionally, because of the typically less than ideal health of people starting these programs, there are real risks of litigation if there are pre-existing medical problems before participation in weight-loss programs. Furthermore, businesses closely associated with the weight-loss industry are subjected to onslaughts of federal regulations affecting supplements.

Obesity in America shows no sign of slowing down, and because of this there is promise for the continued future growth and success of the fitness center industry, particularly at the expense of the less substantial and more fad-driven weight-loss industry.Finding Success in the Fitness Center Industry

Regardless of the size and type of fitness center, the following three points can guide fitness center success in 2014:

Focus on weight-loss programs- most members join fitness centers for the purpose of losing or maintaining weight

Emphasize high intensity interval training- the proven success of HIIT as a weight-loss method should be leveraged to retain memberships

Embrace new technologies- equipment with modern amenities and features underscores the quality of the fitness center

Competition in the fitness industry is fierce. Big, all-inclusive clubs battle with small gyms and non-profits. Additionally, competition comes from other recreational activities as well as home fitness programs, such as the popular P90X and Insanity.

This is not to say competition is bad for the fitness center owner. Competition is good. It means more people are working out. It emphasizes the reality that, to stay strong in a competitive industry, fitness center operators must focus on what makes their club stand out.

The fitness centers that succeed to the highest degree are the ones that know who they are and do not try to be all things to everyone. They reinvest in their facility, update their equipment, and bring in the best staff- they do not compete on price alone. Above all else, they focus on customer service- placing an emphasis on ensuring they deliver an environment and services that will help their members meet their health and fitness goals.

Barnes Reports: Worldwide Fitness & Recreational Sports Centers (NAICS 71394). (2013). Worldwide Fitness & Recreational Sports Centers Industry Report, 1-106.

Fitness & Recreational Sports Centers Industry (NAICS 71394). (2013). United States Fitness & Recreational Sports Centers Industry Capital & Expenses Report, 1-216.

Williamson, M., & Tharrett, S. (2013). Emotional Quality and Service Quality Are Important in All Types of Clubs. Club Industry, 29(2), 58.
About the Author

10 years business experience; 2014 MBA candidate

Copyright (c) 2014 Ted Hurlbut

In my last post, I introduced 6 tips to help you manage your retail business expenses. Here are 6 more tips to help you manage specific expense categories:

1. Purchases (versus Cost of Goods Sold): Purchases is the value of inventory coming into the store, at cost. Cost of Goods Sold is the value of inventory being sold out of the store, at cost. Cost of Goods Sold is what is shown on the Profit & Loss, but Purchases is what you pay for. If Purchases exceeds Cost of Goods Sold inventory is going up and cash is going down, which is not sustainable. Thus, effective inventory control is the first and most essential piece of effective expense control. Aligning inventory coming into your store with planned sales going out will keep inventory levels in line, and align vendor payables with anticipated cash flow.

2. Payroll. Payrolls that are weighted toward full-time – whether hourly or salaried – are more fixed than variable. There’s not a lot of flexibility in how payroll expenses can be managed. On the other hand, payrolls that are weighted toward part-time employment are more variable than fixed. There may be a lot of flexibility, but there may not be the stabilizing presence that full-timers provide. A good balance between full-time and part-time employment results in the stability and consistent customer experience full-timers can provide, with the flexibility of part-timers, and the ability to manage payroll expense at a sustainable percent of sales.

3. Rent. The structure of your lease agreement reflects your risk tolerance (or, unwittingly poses unseen risk). A rent structure made up of primarily flat rent caps your rent expense, but can create financial stress during periods of weak sales. A rent structure with a low base but significant percentage rent clauses may protect the downside scenario, but allows your landlord to participate in any upside growth. A well thought out blending of flat rent with percentage rent can minimize and control your exposure across a range of possible sales levels.

4. Advertising/Marketing: Traditional advertising, aimed at attracting new customers, has become increasingly ineffective, as traditional media loses its predominance, while still remaining relatively expensive. In this new environment, however, it is far more effective and efficient to focus marketing efforts on existing proven customers, via email and social media. The objective is to deepen and strengthen relationships, increase the frequency of visits and the average ticket, and leverage those existing relationships to reach new potential customers. And, these new media are far, far less expensive than traditional media.

5. Interest Expense: Many small retailers have emerged from the worst of the recession carrying significant amounts of debt. The best way to think about this debt is that it’s a long-term problem that requires a long-term solution. You can get in trouble pretty quickly if you feel compelled to throw every available dollar at that back debt. It’s far better to re-finance that back debt – as well as any credit card balances – with a term loan, with sustainable re-payment provisions. Further, seek out an appropriate line of credit to finance seasonal working capital needs. Lenders are becoming increasingly willing to lend if you can show that you are operationally throwing off consistent positive cash flow.

6. Travel, Entertainment and Meals: All too often, I run into situations where clients have been mixing business and personal expenses. They feel they’re ahead if they can run things like travel, entertainment and meals (among other things) through the business so they can be deducted as business expenses. When that happens, however, they end up sacrificing discipline and control over an expense category that can quickly add up. Separate your business finances from your personal finances. Run your business as a business and maintain good financial discipline in running it. Your business is not an ATM.

In the world we now live in, financial success requires a commitment to proven retail business fundamentals, operational discipline, and a heightened attention to detail. Further, financial success requires a commitment to continually enhancing managerial capability, including the ability to manage your retail business expenses. Follow these tips, and you’ll find that it’s easier to keep expenses under control, and generate consistent positive cash flow!
About the Author

Ted Hurlbut is a retail consultant, coach and speaker who helps independent retailers increase sales, profitability and cash flow by leveraging his deep expertise in the core retail disciplines. To learn more about how you can benefit from Ted’s proven retail know-how, visit his website at http://www.hurlbutassociates.com or download his report “The 16 Essential Elements of a WINNING Independent Retail Strategy”.

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