Category Archives: Business Planning

Small Business Owners – It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” He was talking about baseball, but he might as well have been referring to the recession. But, we aren’t out of the woods yet.

For most small business owners, outwitting the recession has become an obsession, and in many cases a necessity. It’s certainly a subject we discuss often in our PRO peer advisory boards. Even after more than a year, I’m still learning new survival strategies, while finding value in revisiting the tried-and-true. You never know where or how the next good idea will surface. And when things are this dire, you can’t afford to leave any stones unturned.

Have you done everything possible to transform your company into a lean, mean fighting machine? One that can withstand the worse economic conditions since the Great Depression? Are you still searching for solutions? Do you need help taking action?

With this in mind, let’s consider some simple-but-powerful recession-proofing strategies:

Know Your Cash Flow – Right now, every small business owner should be projecting monthly cash flow (i.e., incoming vs. outgoing funds). Managing via your Profit & Loss statement is fine under normal economic conditions, but right now, P&Ls can lull you into a false sense of security. Do you know what’s coming in, versus what’s going out? If not, it’s time to learn.

Really, REALLY Reduce Expenses – Have you slashed your expenses as much as possible, in every conceivable area? I recently broke down typical small business expenses into 35 categories, some obvious, some easily overlooked. Do you still have cuts to make, but can’t seem to take action? What are you waiting for? What will it take to make you act?

Ramp-up Collections – If you’re having trouble collecting outstanding receivables, you’re not alone. But your old methods may no longer be sufficient. Consider new approaches, from getting personal (how about sending your accounts a “roses are red” delinquency love poem?) to getting tough (as in, yes, refusing to deliver more product until the account catches up).

Conduct SWOT Analysis – When was the last time you took complete, objective stock of your business? After all, you can’t make improvements until you know what you’re dealing with. Now’s the time to buckle down and analyze Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Set SMART Goals – The Boy Scouts were right: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The key to achieving goals is to make sure they’re SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Write them down, break them down into steps…and yes, get them done.

I recently achieved one of my own key business goals. I finished writing my new ebook. “The Small Business Survival Guide: How to Survive (and Thrive) During Tough Times.” It’s filled with all the strategies I’ve learned over the years and especially this last one.

You can buy it now at http://www.thesmallbizsurvivalguide.com/Survival_Guide.html. For a special introductory price of $11.95 (the regular price is $19.95), you’ll get the collective wisdom of the best business minds I know. Buy it…I guarantee you’ll learn something you can apply to your business NOW.

Business Structures

2 Small Biz Guys engage a pretty dry subject with a little flair – business structures. Although the topic is about as interesting as watching paint dry, business owners have to face the fact that their business must have some legal structure. We are not attorneys and you are advised to consult both an attorney and CPA when determining how to structure your business.

The basic business structures include Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Trusts and Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The structures move from very simple with complete liability of the business owner to somewhat complex and less direct liability. Often businesses go through a progression or evolution from one to another over the course of the business’ growth. We discuss the various forms and the distinctions of each regarding personal, financial and tax liability.

Initially, determining a business name requires various legal forms, checking with the Secretary of State for the availability of the name, and filing appropriate paperwork with the State Corporation Commission. Every state is slightly different yet very similar in the process. For branding purposes, your business name should be descriptive and distinct regarding the business itself. It’s always best to describe what you do in your business name.

We close the show talking about the growth of holacratic businesses, like Zappos, and their challenges as Millennials take over the world.

You will find some useful information in our discussion and perhaps gain insight toward your own business path.