Contents

Business phone systems can be simple or complex, depending on the number of lines and desk units to be installed. With a little forethought, purchasing a business phone system can allow you to have an expandable platform that is easily capable of handling the growth your company may experience. Many business phone manufacturers make equipment that is only useful within their product line. For this reason, it is essential to examine what products are offered to make sure that your needs will be met both today and several years down the road.

Replacing and Upgrading Business Phone Systems

Replacing and Upgrading Business Phone SystemsBusiness phone systems can be simple or complex, depending on the number of lines and desk units to be installed. With a little forethought, purchasing a business phone system can allow you to have an expandable platform that is easily capable of handling the growth your company may experience. Many business phone manufacturers make equipment that is only useful within their product line. For this reason, it is essential to examine what products are offered to make sure that your needs will be met both today and several years down the road. If you are replacing a business phone system, you may not be able to utilize parts of your current system for an upgrade if your current equipment is outdated or no longer manufactured. Some business phone systems are only expandable so far, with the number of lines being limited. For cost purposes, it is always more cost effective to upgrade an existing system than to completely replace your system, but be especially careful when doing so. Find out all the information you can on your current product line and make sure that it can be expanded even further should the need arise. Many business phone equipment retailers and wholesalers offer used or refurbished equipment that small business can use to avoid having to completely replace their existing hardware. The most important time to consider the future for your phone system is during the initial purchase. Equipment that is time tested and offers several options for expansion may be more expensive than some of the cheaper options available, but the savings you will experience in the long run can eclipse whatever many you may save now by a substantial amount. Just as a desktop terminal and server system for a business is a serious purchase that merits future needs considerations, a phone system is no different. Do your homework and you can get a business phone system that will meet your business needs for many years to come.

Factoring Invoices - Financing for Small Business Owners

Factoring Invoices - Financing for Small Business Owners

Peter owns a successful business that is growing quickly. Like many businesses, Peters company has good commercial and government clients that buy regularly from him. And since Peter is really good at his business, his clients have been purchasing more and more products from him. His business appears solid.But some cracks are starting to appear in the foundation. Hes been close to missing payroll twice. Hes delaying supplier payments. Even worse, he chose not to bid for a major government contract because he couldnt afford to. Thats true he couldnt afford to bid for new business. He was afraid of having to add more employees and buy more materials.How can that be?Like most business owners, Peter extends terms to his clients. They usually pay him in 30 to 45 days. But, since Peter runs a small business, his suppliers demand that he pay them in 10 days. Plus employees need to be paid every two weeks.In summary. Peter has clients that want to pay in 45 days and suppliers/employees that want to be paid in 10. Since the company does not have a lot of money in the bank, the math doesnt work.Is there a solution? Yes, Peter should consider factoring his invoices to fix his cash flow. Factoring will provide him with the necessary cash to pay suppliers and employees, while eliminating the 30 to 45 day wait to get paid.Invoice factoring works as follows:1. You deliver the product or service and invoice your client2. You send a copy of the invoice to the factoring company for financing3. The "factoring company" advances you up to 90% of the invoice. You get immediate funds.4. Once your client pays the invoice, the transaction is settledWith factoring, Peter will be able to meet his current obligations. His company will also have enough cash on hand (or liquidity) to bid on new job proposals, allowing him to grow the business and take it to the next level.

Understanding Financial Statements

Understanding Financial Statements

In Financial Accounting - Reporting for those outside the business, the 3 most important financial statements, relevant for budding entrepreneurs are: 1. The Statement of Financial Position or the Balance Sheet 2. The Statement of Income or The Profit & Loss Statement 3. The Statement Of Cash Flows. The Balance Sheet shows the business's assets, the liabilities, and the equities of a business. It is a 'snapshot' of the business economic resources at a certain date. That is why when you see one, it says something like, The Statement Of Financial Position as at dd/mm/yyyy. Unlike a Balance Sheet that is a 'snapshot' of economic resources, the Profit and Loss Statement is a summary of the flows of earned revenues and incurred expenses of a business for a period of time. That is why when you see one, it says something like: Profit & Loss Statement for the year 200X. The Statement of Cash Flows summarizes the 'cash' effects of the activities of a business for a period of time. These activities can be operating, investing and financing. The keyword that I would like to emphasize in the above definition is the word 'cash'. It only records activities that involved the transfer of cash. I can summarize the above even further: 1. Your Balance Sheet shows you what you own and how you acquired them (borrowed from others or contributed by you). 2. Your Profit And Loss shows you how much you are expending each period and how much you are earning. 3. The statement of Cash Flows summarizes the exchange of cash in your operating, investing and financing activities. I personally feel that for most freelancers, when starting a small business, attention should be placed on your Profit and Loss statement because that is your record of how much income is coming in and how much expenses is going out. Take a look at the revenue items there to know which activity is bringing in money and take a look at the expense items to see which ones are costing you the most and ask yourself whether those expenses are really necessary. Are there ways in which you could cut your costs? Costs are what any entrepreneur has to control at the start of every business. No cost item should go by unnoticed or unmonitored. Their existence must be justified. Every dollar counts. Every dollar that gets tied up in one thing is a dollar that could otherwise be used somewhere else. ________________This article was written for OrangesAndLime.com, to help creative individuals artists, musicians, designers, illustrators and entertainers build their own freelance businesses. Please note that this article serves as a guideline only. You should still seek professional advice regarding the matter because laws and practices change over time and they differ from country to country.

Where to Find the Perfect Business to Buy

Where to Find the Perfect Business to Buy

You dream of owning a business and experiencing its many benefits freedom, power, wealth, and fulfillment. But you dont want to start a business on your own. Theres too much risk and uncertainty. Plus, you dont know what you would want to do that could be successful. Instead, you want to find an existing business or a proven business idea that you can operate successfully. But the million dollar question is: Where do you find it?There are several methods of finding a business to buy, and each has its own benefits. Here are some options to consider:Word of MouthThis method of finding the perfect business to buy is very much chance-based and consists of someone telling you about, or you driving around and seeing, a business that is for sale. Due to its nature, you are exposed to a very limited number of businesses. And unless you are very lucky that one of the few discovered in this fashion is exactly what you want, this method is not very effective at finding the perfect business to buy. Classified ads in the local newspaper The old-fashioned method of finding a business to buy is to look in the classified ads in the local newspaper and see if any catch your eye. This is a very difficult way to find a business to buy for several reasons. One, the number of businesses-for-sale listed in the classifieds is very small compared to the overall universe of businesses that are for sale at any time. Two, classified ads typically present you with only three lines of cryptic text to give you background on the business. And three, classifieds do not have a search function so you have to spend a lot of time looking through all of the classifieds to find those businesses that interest you. While classifieds can serve a purpose in buying a business, they are not very efficient or effective.Business BrokersBusiness brokers are typically very professional and knowledgeable in the art of buying and selling a business. Plus they are skilled at helping sellers sell their business. But therein lies the rub they are contractually obligated to help the seller sell the business. They are not obligated to you as the buyer. Therefore, brokers will usually look out for the sellers best interests first, which means they will often only show you businesses that they represent. This severely limits your exposure to the number of businesses that are available for sale at any one time, which makes it an inefficient method of finding the perfect business to buy. However, more common these days are Buyer Brokers. These business brokers represent you, the buyer, in your efforts to buy a business. This can be very effective because the broker knows how to navigate the process of buying a business. However, you often have to personally pay the broker to help you buy a business, which increases your costs. Therefore, it is often best to conduct a search for a business on your own, and then hire an attorney or experienced broker to guide you through the purchase process. But where do you search for businesses on your own?Online marketplacesOnline marketplaces typically contain an exhaustive list of businesses that are for sale. Plus, it is easy to search these thousands of businesses instantly to find only the ones that meet your criteria. This makes online marketplaces the most effective, efficient and comprehensive method of finding the perfect business to buy. There are many online marketplaces to choose from, but they are far from equal. Some have inadequate search functions, others are just interested in collecting listing fees from business sellers, and others do not offer the buyer tools to help make your search process easier. As a result, selecting a good business-for-sale marketplace is critical in your search for finding the perfect business to buy.You want a site that allows you to search its listings for free, and has a strong search function to help you do it effectively. In addition, you want a site that allows you to save your searches and be alerted via email (Email Alerts) anytime new businesses are listed that meet your search criteria. This saves you the time and effort of continuously searching sites everyday looking for the right business. Instead, the site does the work for you and presents you with businesses that are of interest to you.Finally, you want a site that puts its money where its mouth is, one that charges sellers based on performance and not on a pre-set monthly fee. These sites are dedicated to helping match business buyers with sellers while lowering the cost of selling a business. As a result, these sites are very effective for both buyers and sellers.Resources * Find the perfect business to buy or franchise to buy, * To find a broker to help you buy or sell a business, visit BrokerSource * Sell a business or franchise quickly and easily

Entrepreneurial Myths: The Truth Behind Them

If you are about to start off in business you will have no doubt heard these comments:So many businesses fail. Why are you doing this?I hear that you need a large amount of money to get a business off the ground these days.Why are you throwing away the security of your job?These, and more of the same, are typical of the barriers that so called friends and advisors, put in your way if you are thinking of starting a business. These barriers are built on the back of myths about the pitfalls and challenges which surround running your own business.In this article, well take a look at some of these myths and reveal them to be exactly that just myths! Dont get me wrong, being an entrepreneur can be tough and there are hurdles to cross, but lets bring some common sense into the debate!You Dont Have a Personal LifeYes you will! It can be hard juggling the responsibilities of running your own business and spending time with the family, but at the end of the day, you are going to have far more flexibility with your personal life, than any employee will ever have. The real issue is, do you have the time management and planning skills to get things done, thereby allowing you time to spend with your family.You Have To Be Cunning and Ruthless To Be a Successful EntrepreneurOk, it may help you in the short term but this is not a sound, long term strategy. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to build relationships with both customers and suppliers who will stick by you during the rough times. Being ruthless over pricing may get you one or two good deals but you are unlikely to build a lasting and profitable relationship. Your aim should be to strike a balance between what you want and what your customer or supplier wants.You Wont Have To Work As HardYour current job may be stressful and subject you to long hours. The idea of running your own business is appealing because you can slow down and take life at your own pace. To a degree this is true but theres no getting away from the fact that it will be hard work. Most small businesses dont achieve profitability until year 3 and so its a long slog. Remember, if was easy, everyone would be doing it!What does make the difference though, is that you are finally doing something you love and so the hours and the struggles dont seem like hard work at all. So perhaps this myth may be true after all!You Have To Have an Original IdeaNo you dont. Most businesses are built around a central idea. The difference is usually how its delivered. The core products of all fast food places are the same, as are clothes shops, newsagents etc. You can make a decent living effectively copying someone elses idea but done in a slightly different way. Dont be put off by the doomsayers who will gleefully point out that its been done before. Your response should be, Great! That shows the idea works!You Will Be Your Own BossNo way! Theres only one boss in your new business the customer. They are essential to your success. When you were working for that large, faceless Corporation, the loss of the odd client wasnt that big a deal - plenty more where they came from.In your new world you have to do whatever it takes to keep your customers and keep them happy. The customer is the one who calls the tunes. You have to listen and take note, before someone else does. However, at the end of the day, when all their demands are met, then perhaps you can have some time to yourself and enjoy the pleasures of being your own boss after all!You Need A lot Of Money To Get a Business Off The GroundSome businesses do need a fair bit of cash to get moving but there are many areas you can go into without the need to invest in a large amount of stock, machinery or equipment. The low-capital businesses involve the use of three very cheap commodities your brain power, your knowledge and your time.A business where you sell your expertise, not actual goods, to other people can be cheaply set up and carry high profit margins. All you may need is a PC, a desk and a telephone line. Whats stopping you?You Only Have To Do What You Want To DoUnfortunately this myth is wrong. We all have areas or skills in which we excel and its this expertise which usually forms the basis of your business. Your dedication to paperwork, bank statements and the VAT man may not be that high, but branching out on your own doesnt mean you have the choice to avoid these terrible tasks.Whilst you were able to do this when you were sitting in the big corporate office, you can no longer hide. These tasks have to be done otherwise the deck of cards can start to collapse.If you do have serious misgivings on certain areas, marketing for example, then consider taking a course to improve your skills. If its something you seriously cant do, then go and find someone to do it for you dont hope it will go away because it wont. You will have seen that some of the myths not being true is good news and others not so good news! Be sensible in considering the myths which are thrown at you. See it for what they are - comments from people who dont know what they are talking about! In the next issue Ill have some more myth-busting ideas for you.

Choosing A Vending Machine Company What To Look For

A vending machine company will supply you with the vending machines you need if you are thinking about starting your own vending machine business. It may be difficult for you to choose a company to deal with if you cannot find a company for vending machines near where you live. There are many of them with an online presence, but you have to consider the cost of getting the machines to you. A "vending machine company" sells both new and used vending machines so you will have different prices to choose from. Starting a vending business is not the same as starting any other type of business. You will be home based and just travel your route to service the machines on a regular basis. Servicing means taking the money out of the machines, restocking the products and making sure that the vending machines are working properly. To get started in a vending machine business, you first contact a vending machine company to purchase the machines that you want. You will find both new and used vending machines for sale, so you can make the decision both on the products you want to sell and the cost of the machines. A vending machine company can take the form of one person operating a home based business or a large company with many staff prepared to take your order. If you choose a company that you find online, you really have to size up the website to help you make the decision. Ask yourself if this company has a wide range of vending machines and whether or not it also sells the bulk vending products you will need. You should be able to browse the list of "used vending machines for sale" as well as get valuable information about starting a vending business. If the vending machine company that you start with treats you well, you will of course stay with that company. Changing companies in the middle of "starting a vending business" will not project a very good image of you to the business associates you make when placing the vending machines in locations. Therefore, it is important that you do research the company before you make a commitment to buy or rent any of its vending machines. If you buy the machines, then you can choose any supplier you wish for the products, but if you lease the machines, you may be stuck with the company until the end of the lease. Any vending machine company that continually puts roadblocks in your way when starting a vending business is one that you should steer clear or. If you cannot get clear answers to your questions about the used vending machines for sale or about how they operate, you will not be able to develop a good relationship with this company. Since each vending machine company does have different prices for the machines, it is a good idea to check out several companies before you make your final decision.

Summary

Business phone systems can be simple or complex, depending on the number of lines and desk units to be installed. With a little forethought, purchasing a business phone system can allow you to have an expandable platform that is easily capable of handling the growth your company may experience. Many business phone manufacturers make equipment that is only useful within their product line. For this reason, it is essential to examine what products are offered to make sure that your needs will be met both today and several years down the road.