How to Build A Successful Business or Successful Entrepreneurs?
Starting a business and becoming successful is often part of the American Dream. But there is a difference between starting a business and building a successful business. Many businesses fail within the first few years of existence due to the lack of planning for the long-term. Successful Entrepreneurs in South Africa there is not enough vision and there is not enough done to strengthen the business properly from the ground up.
If you want to start a business there is an easy way to get a better understanding of why some businesses fail and others don’t. When starting a business think about it similar to building a house. If done right it is protecting you against any kind of storm or danger of the outside world and will last for a long time. It offers shelter and protection. For you and your business that could be translated to that you want to have a business that is able to weather economical ups and downs (=storm) and that will provide income to pay the bills (shelter and protection).
When building a house there are several different steps you need to follow to have the house build. You know you want a house, but you got to pick a location and get an architect to plan everything out. In the business world that would be: you know you want to start a business, but you have to come up with a business idea and work out a business plan. The next thing for the house would be to build the foundation (and eventually the basement) for the house. In the business world – you got to build the initial infrastructure (example: connecting with vendors, find a manufacturer for your product, create a sales team, rent office space, get a delivery truck, etc.). Once that is in place you able to actually do business and earn some money. But you are not completely done yet. You need to build a frame, put in windows and you also need a roof on house. For your business this means that you pay off debt, improve business processes and get professional help when needed (example: find a tax accountant, select a payroll service, etc.).
Once the house is build you probably want to fill it with furniture and make it livable for the future. Nobody wants to sleep on the floor, right. Again translating this to the business world it could mean that you invest money you earned back into your business. You buy machinery instead of leasing it. Eventually you buy a building, hire more staff, develop more products, move into new markets, build up a high cash reserve, and buy other businesses and so forth. This is often the step where winners and losers separate. Re-investing money into the business is a key factor for success. If you go and spend all the money on your own salary to buy things you have nothing to go back to when the economy slips into a recession or if disaster strikes.
The successful business owner has build up a cash reserve or can borrow money from bank – securing loans with the assets of the business. Going back to building a house this pretty much matches the same efforts. You pay off your mortgage and have equity available to eventually borrow against when emergency arises. Emergencies do not include paying off credit cards to use them again or to buy a car. Financially responsible you should be looking at the long term and not finance short-term goods with long-term debt.
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Why should you consider refinancing real estate investments instead of selling them? Maybe you've owned a rental property for years, you've paid down the mortgage, the value is up, and you want to cash in on that equity. You will do better to refinance. Here's why.
There are two problems with selling. First, selling means paying a large capital gains tax. You can avoid this if you reinvest through a 1031 exchange, but then the point is that you want your money, right? Second, you'll be giving up your inflation-indexed retirement plan. A good rental property generates more income as rents go up.
Refinancing Real Estate Investments Is Better
If you refinance, you can get much of your gain out of the property, without paying a penny in taxes. You see, borrowing money is not a taxable event. Take your loan proceeds and spend them however you want, and still keep your rentals. Doesn't that sound better than losing a big chunk of your equity to taxes?
Now, let's look at an example. We'll suppose you have owned a small apartment building for several years. Let's say you bought it for $340,000, with a down payment of $80,000. Interest rates at the time were at 9.5%, giving you a payment of $2,106 monthly on the balance of $260,00 (30 year amortization).
The property is now worth $560,000, and you owe $220,000. Your cash flow is around $2000/month. Now, how do you get at some of that equity? If you sell, you will give up the income, AND pay a big part of the profit in taxes. What happens if you refinance?
If a bank will loan you 70% of the value, that would be $392,000. Pay off the first mortgage, and you are left with $172,000. You can spend it any way you want, and no taxes are due.
It gets even better, especially when interest rates are low. If the new interest rate is 6.5%, your new payment will be $2295. In other words, you get $172,000 to spend any way you want, and you still have over $1,800 cash flow each month, from an inflation-indexed retirement plan.
Here is an even better scenario: Spend $50,000 of the loan for high-return upgrades to the property, such as carports and a laundry room, and raise the rents. You could have $122,000 left over to spend any way you want, AND have higher cash flow than before! Isn't that sound better than selling your retirement plan? When you want that cash, consider refinancing real estate investments.
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If you're the typical person whos considering becoming a computer consultant, then you are probably a LAN administrator, doing some kind of PC support job for big enterprise or maybe even working for a smaller integrator. In this article, you'll learn what you need to do first to realize your goal of becoming a computer consultant.
From talking to hundreds of people in this situation right now, the number one thing is that you have to decide that you really want to and really need to do it. Dont put tons and tons of time getting all this IT training and business training and spending all this money until youve decided that you really want to do it.
Why Become a Computer Consultant?
There are lots of reasons why people want to become a computer consultant. You may want to be more responsible for your own career destiny, you may want to be able to build something from scratch that you can call your own, or maybe youre just totally fed up with being stuck in the cubicle, reporting to your boss, and just in general being held back in your career over things that are way beyond your control.
Take Some Action Right Now
As your first step toward becoming a computer consultant, take out a piece of paper right now and write down The Top Five Reasons Why I Have To, Need To and Want to Become a Computer Consultant. Then go ahead and list them. This is really your declaration of independence.
Set a Deadline
You are now laying it on the line and saying all the reasons why you want to, why you have to, why you need to make this happen now. Why you need to start taking the right steps to get going in the right direction. Most importantly though, is when you get done narrowing it down to the top five list, preferably putting the most important reasons to you at the top of the list, give yourself a concrete deadline.
Take out the calendar and make a promise to yourself that youre going to make it happen and write it down right on the bottom of your piece of paper. Print it out or rip it out of your notebook, put it up on the bulletin board next to your desk and look at it every day. The more specific this is, the easier it is going to be for you to make it a reality.
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Santa: The Consummate Entrepreneur
Does your business needs an outside accountant?
It all depends. If you require an audited or reviewed financial statement, then, yes, you need a CPA. In any event, it is always a good idea to maintain a relationship with an accountant no matter how small your business. Whether your accountant is a CPA is up to you. The real question is: To what extent do you need outside accounting services? That also depends on you and the nature of your business.
I always start with the admonition: The Buck Stops With You! You cannot afford to dissociate yourself from understanding the meaning of your financial statements. If you solely rely on your accounting staff or accountant for completely accurate financial data, then you are asking for trouble. If you are going to own or manage a business, then you have a responsibility to learn how to speak the language of business. The language of business is accounting knowledge.
How involved you become in the accounting process will be determined by time schedules, your mental pre-disposition, desire for control, cash flow, etc. One scenario, if you can afford it, is to hire an internal accounting staff to prepare financial statements on a monthly basis and have an external accountant check them over. Another common scenario is to prepare part of the compilation yourself, such as preparing a sales journal and a cash disbursements journal, and then hire an outside accountant to prepare a bank reconciliation and the financial statements for you. Some do this on a monthly basis, others quarterly. Some business owners do the books themselves all year and turn them over to the accountant at the end of the year to verify the balances and do the depreciation entry for tax purposes.
There are numerous ways to work with an accountant. Regardless, you should learn enough about accounting to be able to communicate intelligently with your accountant. Since you are intimately involved in your business you may recognize danger signals that not even your accountant will see.
Selecting an accountant
Relying on the yellow pages to find an accountant can be risky. The best way to find any professional is by a referral. However, you need to interview prospective accountants before signing on. One of the first priorities is to find out what their experience level is. Your business may have very specific accounting and tax issues that require a certain amount of expertise. Perhaps you have a manufacturing concern. What does the accountant know about raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods inventory accounting? Does the accountant know how to set up job-costing and overhead burdens? Ask for references from other like-kind businesses.
Keep in mind, that you may go to an established firm with a good reputation, but with whom are you going to have a relationship? Is your account large enough to warrant a relationship with a partner? You need to feel confident with the person assigned to your account. Perhaps a smaller firm with four or five accountants who are all seasoned veterans might work better.
You will also want someone with whom you can relate. The ability to communicate is a crucial factor. Your accountant may be technically proficient but can you understand what he or she is telling you? Does he or she listen when you ask questions? Dont be afraid to ask for someone else if you are having difficulty communicating.
Another important criterion is accessibility. Is your accountant too busy to talk to you? Can you get your questions answered within a reasonable period of time? Do you feel important to him or her? Situations may arise where you need information immediately to make an important business or tax decision, will your accountant respond quickly?
Last, but not least, are the accountants billing practices. Billing practices vary from firm to firm. Some firms are very aggressive and put tremendous pressure on staff and partners to bill every minute they can. Some firms require a review process before any work goes out the door. This means that every person who performs any work on your account, including the person who puts the stamp on your envelope, bills you for it.
Find out in advance what happens if you call the firm to ask a simple question that takes less than five minutes to answer. Are you billed for five minutes or are you billed in increments of fifteen minutes even though you only talked for five? Some firms justify this increment billing by explaining that you are paying for the accountants expertise that may have taken years to acquire, therefore, they say, its worth it.
Some accounting practitioners charge a flat rate for services rendered or a combination of flat services and hourly charges. For instance, an accountant might charge $200 a month to prepare a monthly financial statement but charge $100 an hour for special projects. Within the monthly fee, the client can call to ask questions that last fifteen minutes or less for no additional charge. This way the client is not reticent about calling. Getting your question answered may prevent little problems from later becoming bigger more expensive problems.
Very often projects take longer to complete than anticipated. Complications arise and the practitioner should be paid for his or her work. Always insist that, if there are going to be additional charges over and above what has been agreed upon, that the accountant gets your approval first. Be sure to clarify these procedures before engaging an accountant in an engagement letter. This is a document that spells out the responsibilities of both parties and how the relationship is going to work.
Remember, there is absolutely no reason to be intimidated by your accountant. After all, you are paying for the services, and I promise you, the accountant wants your business.
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