5 Business Growth Strategies to Survive a Growth Spurt

They say that slow and steady wins the race, but in business the race never ends and the slow and steady will soon be left behind. The trouble is that the faster the growth rate, the more risk involved. Many businesses which experience their first growth spurt don’t make it out the other side. If you’re a small business owner, make sure to familiarize yourself with these business growth strategies before you come to that first, and all-important, growth spurt.

1. Grow your profits, not your revenue – It’s easy to get blinded when you see your revenue growing rapidly. Don’t forget that your expenses are surely growing as well, perhaps even faster than your revenue is. Growth creates more growth and many businesses fall into the trap of embracing the growth before laying the proper foundation. The mismanagement of growth can cause efficiency to drop and overhead costs to rise radically. Don’t sacrifice profit margins to increase revenue – it is not sustainable business growth strategies.

2. Develop your infrastructure – That brings us to what are sustainable business growth strategies: the businesses that surprise their growth spurt are those that have a well-developed infrastructure. Make sure you have systems in place to allow your business to absorb and respond to new challenges effectively and efficiently, such as clearly-defined work procedures, communications channels, short and long-term goals, etc.

3. Have a bold vision – Speaking of goals, what are yours? Every business owner has a vision, their business wouldn’t get very far without one, but there are a lot of them out there. What separates you from the pack is the boldness of your vision. In this age of instant gratification, if you’re not trying to find a new or ground-breaking way of meeting people’s needs, then you shouldn’t get to comfortable with the idea of long-term growth.

4. Maintain loyalty – Just because your business is growing doesn’t mean your head should be growing. Nobody gets successful without the help of their partners, employees and customers. As your business grows, don’t neglect the people and the community that helped you to get this far. “Think global, act local” is one of the business growth strategies that apply no matter the shape or size.

There are many ways to grow your business but you have to be careful not to like that growth run away from you. A negative cash flow is the reality for many young, growing businesses – but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these to ensure your growth is sustainable.

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Small Business Venture Capital Strategies

When launching a new small business, often the entrepreneur will consider venture capital as a source of funding. Here are 3 tips to ensure that venture capital funding can be secured when sending out your business plan:

  1. Send your business plan to the right people
  2. Venture capitalists tend to specialize in certain kinds of businesses. Some will specialize by industry, only investing in new energy companies, for instance, while others look for a certain size of company to invest in. It is worth doing the research to determine who the venture capital backers are for your industry, before you start sending out your business plan. Venture capitalists who are not specific to your industry can provide recommendations to make your plan more appealing to other venture capitalists. However, it would naturally be a mistake to send your plan to potential investors who will not even consider it.

  3. Make sure your business has the potential to be profitable enough
  4. Most venture capitalists look for a return of about 5-10 times their initial investment. For example, an investment in a company of $2 million should yield a return of $14-20 million after about five years. To satisfy these requirements, it is generally necessary to have a business which has the potential for a high rate of return on the amount invested. If the rate of return can reasonably be expected to be lower, such as for a clothing retailer, then it is probably better to look for an alternate source of funding, such as an investment or commercial bank.

  5. Remember to include an exit strategy for your investor
  6. Venture capitalists generally do not want to be involved with a new venture for an indefinite period of time. Most will plan to leave the new venture after about five years, so you should offer a clear explanation of how this may be achieved. There can be a variety of reasons for this; some venture capital managers require that the holdings periodically be sold off to acquire other offerings. Nonetheless, by demonstrating that you understand the limited time frame for many venture capitalists, you automatically make your plan more appealing than those which do not.

In summary, by sending your business plan to the right people, by recognizing what rate of return is necessary for venture capitalist involvement, and by including an exit strategy, you can improve your odds of securing venture capital funding for a new and growing business.

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How to Get Your Business Funded in 2018

Contrary to popular belief, business plans do not generate business financing. True, there are many kinds of financing options that require a business plan, but nobody invests in a business plan.

Investors need a business plan as a document that communicates ideas and information, but they invest in a company, in a product, and in people.

Small business financing myths:

Venture capital is a growing opportunity for funding businesses. Actually, venture capital financing is very rare. I’ll explain more later, but assume that only a very few high-growth plans with high-power management teams are venture opportunities.

Bank loans are the most likely option for funding a new business. Actually, banks don’t finance business start-ups. I’ll have more on that later, too. Banks aren’t supposed to invest depositors’ money in new businesses.

Business plans sell investors. Actually, they don’t well-written and convincing business plan (and pitch) can sell investors on your business idea, but you’re also going to have convince those investors that you are worth investing in. When it comes to investment, it’s as much about whether you’re the right person to run your business as it is about the viability of your business idea.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a business plan. You should. Your business plan is an essential piece of the funding puzzle, explaining exactly how much money you need, and where it’s going to go, and how long it will take you to earn it back. Everyone you talk to is going to expect to see your business plan.

But, depending on what kind of business you have and what your market opportunities are, you should tailor your funding search and your approach. Don’t waste your time looking for the wrong kind of financing.

Where to look for money

The process of looking for money must match the needs of the company. Where you look for money, and how you look for money, depends on your company and the kind of money you need. There is an enormous difference, for example, between a high-growth internet-related company looking for second-round venture funding and a local retail store looking to finance a second location.

In the following sections of this article, I’ll talk more specifically about different types of investment and lending available, to help you get your business funded.

1. Venture capital

The business of venture capital is frequently misunderstood. Many start-up companies resent venture capital companies for failing to invest in new ventures or risky ventures. People talk about venture capitalists as sharks-because of their supposedly predatory business practices, or sheep-because they supposedly think like a flock, all wanting the same kinds of deals.

This is not the case. The venture capital business is just that-a business. The people we call venture capitalists are business people who are charged with investing other people’s money. They have a professional responsibility to reduce risk as much as possible. They should not take more risk than is absolutely necessary to produce the risk/return ratios that the sources of their capital ask of them.

Venture capital shouldn’t be thought of as a source of funding for any but a very few exceptional startup businesses. Venture capital can’t afford to invest in startups unless there is a rare combination of product opportunity, market opportunity, and proven management. A venture capital investment has to have a reasonable chance of producing a tenfold increase in business value within three years. It needs to focus on newer products and markets that can reasonably project increasing sales by huge multiples over a short period of time. It needs to work with proven managers who have dealt with successful start-ups in the past.

If you are a potential venture capital investment, you probably know it already. You have management team members who have been through that already. You can convince yourself and a room full of intelligent people, that your company can grow ten times over in three years.

If you have to ask whether your new company is a possible venture capital opportunity, it probably isn’t. People in new growth industries, multimedia communications, biotechnology, or the far reaches of high-technology products, generally know about venture capital and venture capital opportunities.

If you are looking for names and addresses of venture capitalists, start with the internet.

The names and addresses of venture capitalists are also available in a couple of annual directories:

The Western Association of Venture Capitalists publishes an annual directory. This organization includes most of the California venture capitalists based in Menlo Park, CA, which is the headquarters of an amazing percentage of the nation’s venture capital companies.

Pratt’s Guide to Venture Capital Sources is an annual directory available online or in print format.

2. Sort of venture capital: Angels and others

Venture capital is not the only source of investment for start-up businesses or small businesses. Many companies are financed by smaller investors in what is called “private placement.” For example, in some areas there are groups of potential investors who meet occasionally to hear proposals. There are also wealthy individuals who occasionally invest in new companies. In the lore of business start-ups, groups of investors are often referred to as “doctors and dentists,” and individual investors are often called “angels.” Many entrepreneurs turn to friends and family for investment.

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What to Do When Your Business Is Unprepared for a Black Swan Event Like the Coronavirus

Don’t panic. There are a few very simple things you can and should do.

You have a receptionist or guard watching the front door, an alarm system at night, anti-virus software protecting your computers and a firewall protecting your servers. It’s all good except for one thing. You just sent your staff to work from home. You can’t let your business information, including some data with compliance requirements that must be protected, become exposed to the internet.Don’t expose your business, your employees, or your customers to internet pirates and scammers or worse. If you have suddenly found yourself in this position, consider providing your employees with these basic tools to allow them to work from home securely.

We live in an age where the level of risk to our confidential information grows greater every day. The need to safeguard digital communications places a tremendous burden on a business and requires constant diligence to mitigate these ever-evolving risks. During a Black-Swan event like the spread of COVID-19, where you are forced to make a critical decision like sending your staff home with only a few days’ notice, it is critical that you do not let your guard down. The use of secure encrypted email application is the front line of risk avoidance for your business.

Email Encryption is a must

You need an application your entire team can use safely, easily, and affordably. You don’t have the time for extended training sessions or to find out who has what capability at home. You need a product that is easy to install, easy to use and highly flexible, including a compatible mobile app. If you will be sending secure emails to clients, suppliers or others outside of your business you will need an application that allows you to send an encrypted email to recipients to purchase the application in order to receive a secure email.

Check out Send_It_Secure by Protected Trust https://envoy.protectedtrust.com/ Their free trial is being extended to 30 days during this crisis with no further financial commitment necessary. Group rates are available if you decide to continue use in the future.

Team Communications

Communicating with your employee team in as easy and transparent a manner as possible helps keep your team focused and motivated, even when working remotely. There are several products on the market that provide texting and group chats, video conferencing, scheduling and conducting online team meetings, and file collaboration and sharing. To keep things as simple as possible for employees just becoming accustomed to working remotely, combining these capabilities on a single, easy to use application will eliminate a lot of headaches and get your team back to work quickly. The Microsoft Teams application is a good way to accomplish this. There are some upfront minimal fees but they are small if you are able to maintain your employee productivity.

Check out https://www.protectedtrust.com/ They specialize in setting up virtual teams.

Culture Change

Employees like working from home and see the ability to do so anytime as a benefit. No traffic, no gas, and work in your PJ’s if you want. Then they finish their first day working remote and add soon their list can change. No quiet office, no escape from the kids, no business lunches, loss of contact with their fellow employees and delays getting their job done because they can’t just walk down the hall to ask the boss a question. Let’s face it, people also have lots of reasons to like working from the office. Your employees may be in culture shock. Some can handle it and will see it as a benefit, and some will not.

Working with remote employees is also a culture change for managers. Can you run a business without the ability to see your employee’s fingers running across the keyboard? Many managers are “Old School” and have a greater problem with culture change than their employees. Much of the change is in the mindset of the manager. https://paulemcmahon.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/6-tips-in-10-minutes-for-successful-working-from-home/

I recommend a book titled “Virtual Project Management” by Paul McMahon. It was written for software managers but has broad application in any virtual environment. www.pemsystems.com

There are many reasons to believe that the days of working in tall office towers are over. What 9-11 didn’t accomplish, the 2020 Pandemic may. Of course, I recognize there are jobs that can’t be done remotely… but many of them can. The overhead cost to operate most offices, rent, electricity, cleaning, insurance all go away when you lock the doors and let your employees work from home. Lowering overhead costs is often a good tradeoff for perceived lack of control over your employees. Use the current situation to try remote working with your employee team. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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5 Reasons for Writing Business Correspondence

What is an effective business organization? The answer to this is quite broad and diverse. But there is one aspect of business operations that is often neglected. This is business writing.

Effective business communication is important in the daily operation of a company. Moreover, it can dictate whether the company earns or loses money. In addition, it affects the business organization at different levels from the individual up to the corporate leaders.

1. To convey information

The essential role of business writing in an organization is to share information. Whether it is the latest sales statistics or sale projection, a business plan, a marketing proposal, proper communication of data is essential. The success of a business organization depends on the quality of information that passes through its people.

2. To justify an action

Another reason why people communicate is to justify or explain an action. One example to this is writing an incident report. The person explains what happened so that the company can understand an event better. Justifications and explanations require that the author put as much detail as possible to communicate his thought clearly.

3. To influence action

Business writing is often a way to influence other people. A good example of this is presenting a business proposal, a marketing plan or a project proposal. By detailing pertinent information, the author seeks to affect the decision. Influencing others is a hallmark of effective business communication.

4. To deliver good or bad news

The workplace is a dynamic place. It offers employees both good and bad news on a daily basis. Through proper business communication, the bad news is properly written to soften the blow. Likewise, good news is highlighted just to give emphasis. This can range from getting a pay raise to sharing the company’s achievements. On the other hand, this can offer grim realities like suspensions, or even layoffs.

5. To direct action

Lastly, effective business writing aims to direct the reader to the right actions. Many company documents like SOP manuals, employee handbooks, technical instruction manuals and the like offer explicit information. In order for a corporate correspondence to direct the action of the employee, it must be clear and concise. Unfortunately, many failures in communication result due to unclear and conflicting statements.

Having these 5 reasons of corporate correspondence in mind, an author can effectively write business communication. Furthermore, the proper writing style stems from a clear and effective business writing purpose.

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Sample Business Plan Outline

If you are looking for a partner, funding, angle investor or venture capital you will be asked for a business plan. Even if you are not in need of capital in the formation of your new business endeavor you will still be glad you prepared a business plan to help you prove to yourself that you have the right stuff and that the business is economically viable. The first step in the creation of your new business will be making a customized business plan. Please use this outline as your template to insure you do not forget anything important. This is a business plan format and outline I had created after reading over ten business plan books and taking the best of each of them and putting them into one outline. I give this to your freely and wish you great success in your new business. It is the great entrepreneurial spirit and the entrepreneur that build this great nation, glad to see you are one of us

BUSINESS PLAN

I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A. Form Of Business

B. Introduction

C. State Of Technology

II. OBJECTIVES

A. Goals

1. Market Share

2. Sales

3. Customer Service

B. Statement Of Purpose

III. COMPANY ANALYSIS AND INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

A. Location

B. Background

1. Accomplishments

2. History

3. Strengths

C. Local

1. Trends

2. Business Climate

D. Position For Growth

1. Future Of Industry

IV. MARKETING ANALYSIS

A. Marketing Strategy

1. Customer Markets

a. Types

2. Government Markets

c. Agencies

d. Divisions

3. Non-profit Markets

f. Organizations

2. Risk Considerations

a. Politics – Special Interest – Government

b. Competition – Profiles

3. Inventory

a. products

b. Supplies

c. Purchasing

4. Equipment

a. Layout

b. Type

5. Sales

a. Tactics

b. Pricing

c. Promotions – Advertising

6. Media

a. Fundraising

b. Newspaper

c. Radio

B. Demographics

1. Scope

2. Segment

3. Surveys – Etc.

4. Markets To Exploit

5. Types Of Customers

C. Distribution

1. Customer Service

2. Delivery

3. 1-800 Number

4. Flyers

V. MANAGEMENT

A. Implementation

B. Controls

C. Training

D. Labor

E. Independent Contractors

VI. OPERATIONS

A. Hours

1. Operation

2. Delivery

3. Specialty

B. Maintenance

1. Vehicles

2. Equipment

VII. LEGAL STRATEGIES

A. Licenses

B. Regulations

C. Insurance

VIII. FINANCIAL STRATEGIES

A. Taxes

B. Capital Requirements

1. Financing

2. Required Investments

3. R.O.I.

4. Breakeven

5. Working Capital

C. Benefits

1. Security

2. Health Coverage

D. Projections

1. Ratios

a. Quick Ratio

b. Debts To Assets

c. Asset Turnover

d. Cash Flow

E. Expenses

1. Lease Payment

2. Royalties

3. Printing

4. Insurance

5. Utilities

6. Telephone

7. Labor

8. Bank Fees

IX. STRATEGIC PLANNING ANALYSIS

A. Long Term Goals

B. Manager Plug-Ins

C. Renewal Of Franchise License

X. APPENDIX

A. Competitors Brochures

B. Feasibility Studies

C. Picture or Rendering of Location

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How to Pivot Your Small Business Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis

Easy Ways to Create a Coronavirus Crisis Management Plan

As small business owners, we’re prepared for a lot of things, whether it’s a seasonal shift in sales or an unexpected employee absence we have to step in and cover.

But we’ve never seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving us uncertain about how to cope in these strange times.

I know that this is a scary and isolating time both personally and professionally. I hope you’re staying safe and healthy, and that this article can help you with planning for business challenges related to the coronavirus.

I’ve personally had to pivot many times as an entrepreneur, and while it can be stressful, it can also be a time of innovation and growth.

As you’re creating your coronavirus crisis management plan for business, here are a few things to focus on:

The Importance of Helping Over Selling

I get that you have a company to run, and I’m not suggesting you start giving things away for free or risk your health to open up shop. What I’m recommending is that you take a step back and think about your community while you’re running your company.

Maybe there is a way that what you offer could help people in this difficult time. One of our clients, The Broken Whisk, has had to stop serving customers in their Agassiz, B.C. restaurant. They instead created a select menu of gourmet meals for only $5 each, which can be ordered in advance and picked up.

And not only is their Facebook post getting liked and shared because it’s a delicious offer and a way of giving back to the community, it’s also started a chain of charitable giving. More and more people are donating money to buy meals for those in need.

Is there a way you can adapt your current marketing model to better serve your customers and community?

Online Events & Offerings

Obviously, hosting a conference or awards dinner is off-limits at the moment. A huge part of your planning for business challenges related to COVID-19 is going to include an online marketing strategy.

Think of some ways you can still connect people from the comfort of home, including webinars, Facebook Live videos and virtual conferences using tools like Zoom. And don’t just focus on coronavirus-related content. Keep producing video that will benefit your small business marketing strategy long after the COVID-19 crisis is over.

Here’s a good example of a pivot to online marketing. A Stroke of Genius is a client of ours located in North Vancouver, BC. As an interior decorator, Barbara Aylesworth has built her company working directly with clients and manufacturers. However, with the COVID-19 crisis, she’s had to pivot her marketing strategy to include virtual consultations and project management.

Barb is also inviting people to send in their pics of decorating and design challenges via Instagram, offering to then send her ideas for possible solutions.

This is a fun and inspiring way to engage her community when people need it the most!

Should You Stop Marketing During COVID-19? Read more on our website.

Unless you sell toilet paper or hand sanitizer, you may be concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on your small business; your revenue, employees, and empty marketing funnel. So does that mean you should hunker down and stop your marketing efforts for the time being? No!

I’m a firm believer in focusing on what we can do and change while finding the opportunities amidst adversity. In this article, I’m sharing some ways you can address the challenge of marketing during a crisis and keep your company going.

Business Planning for Future Growth

Of course you have to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with the right messaging, but don’t get tunnel vision when it comes to your marketing strategy and ad dollars.

While consumers are spending more time online, they’re not keen to make decisions about the future right now. If you have a service that requires your customers to plan far ahead or travel, your conversion rate will suffer during the outbreak. So don’t expect that the same content and ads that brought in traffic before the pandemic will keep coming.

But all is not lost! This can be an opportunity to engage with your customers on social media and increase your brand awareness with content and even paid advertising. With paid ads, you may even find that you have less online competition during an economic downturn, meaning you’ll pay less for more eyeballs and clicks.

From promoting spring-themed gift cards on your website to creating useful articles on financial planning during COVID-19, give your customers a reason to stick with you-even if the pandemic is bringing you more business.

For example, Your Yoga Flow is an online app that provides virtual yoga classes. If anything, they’re seeing an increase in sales as people try to stay active and healthy while cooped up at home. By not just selling their services, but providing a free meditation during “these trying times,” they boost brand awareness, give something back and stay top-of-mind.

If you’re willing to look forward while creating your coronavirus crisis management plan, you’ll be better positioned to stay relevant and remarket to your audience at a later time.

Empowering Your Employees

According to recent statistics, over 500,000 Canadians, or approximately 2.5% of the workforce, have filed E.I. applications already. If you haven’t had to make hard decisions about laying off staff, how can you keep your team busy and optimistic about the future?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer training opportunities to help your team and your company in the long-term-whether that’s getting a new certification or reading relevant industry books.
  • Consider making vacation policies or work hours more flexible to accommodate employees whose kids may be out of school, for example.
  • Share jobs across departments to increase responsiveness to your customers.
  • Involve your team in “back burner” projects or things you’ve put off because you were too busy before.

If your team is working remotely, make sure to check in with them often. A virtual daily coffee or 15-minute meeting to see how everyone is doing can be vital to your team’s mental health and well-being.

No matter what type of company you have, your customers are looking for help and assurance right now. As you’re developing your coronavirus crisis management plan, keep in mind that everyone is being bombarded with messaging noise.

That means emails from every company they ever followed on social media, bought a product from or signed up to get an eNewsletter from! As you pivot your small business marketing strategy to survive the COVID-19 crisis, make sure all of your communications provide succinct, meaningful and relevant information.

The more value you can offer your customers right now, the more successful you’ll be as we shift to a new way of marketing and emerge from a global crisis that made our world a lot smaller.

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Risky Business

Investors instinctively understand the importance of performing legal and financial M&A due diligence. Things tend to come off the rails though when it comes to performing an operations due diligence. Most investors simply don’t understand the role of operations due diligence and the result is that most M&A failures can be traced back to an ineffective operations assessment. Legal and financial due diligence are performed to determine the legal and financial status of a business at a point in time, typically the day a deal is closed. Operations due diligence on the other hand is determines the ability of the business to sustain its operations over time. It asks: Are there potential operations risks that could cause a future failure of the business? Investors rely on their attorneys and CPA’s to perform their legal and financial due diligence, but often attempt to perform the operations due diligence themselves instead of involving someone with risk assessment expertise. Worse, they perform a partial risk assessment by looking at management or sales or strategy, etc. but fail to assess the entire enterprise.

The recent bankruptcy of the Solyndra solar company has now become the poster child for un- sustainable businesses. Without delving into the politics of the bankruptcy or all of the possible reasons for the failure, it is fair to say that the investors in Solyndra, including the US Government, failed to effectively assess the operations risks that could impact Solyndra’s ability to sustain its operations.

The following are just two examples of the operations risks Solyndra faced. First; former employees have stated publicly that they were throwing out as much as $100,000 worth of defective solar cells each day. If this is true than an effective operations due diligence should have identified the high cost of quality as a potential risk to the sustainability of the business. Identifying that risk would have allowed investors to insist that a mitigation plan be put in place to reduce or avoid these costs. Second; as part of their marketing plan Solyndra was pursuing a proprietary product design. As the price per watt for standard solar panels began to drop, particularly those manufactured by their Chinese competition, Solyndra wasn’t able to make corresponding reductions in the price per watt of their proprietary products that would allow them to remain competitive. The inability of Solyndra’s products to compete has been attributed to commoditization of the standard panels and to unfair competitive practices by the Chinese. The reasons for the bankruptcy are not important to this discussion though. An effective operations due diligence would have identified the operations risks and their potential impact on the sustainability of the business.

We can assume that the Solyndra investors had a sufficient number of attorneys and accountants. Neither the quality risk nor the competitive risk in these examples would have been apparent in a legal or financial due diligence though and an effective operations due diligence was never performed.

Unfortunately, just as many investors misunderstand the role of operations due diligence, many businesses don’t yet understand the importance of implementing a formal risk management program and resist providing the funds for risk management activities. Solyndra should have identified their own operations risks and developed mitigation plans to avoid them. Businesses that manage their risk improve their sustainability. If it is important for investors perform a risk assessment as part of their due diligence, isn’t it also important that a business perform proactive risk assessments on a continuing basis?

With the release of ISO 31000:2009 (Risk Management Principles and Guidelines on Implementation) some businesses are starting to implement risk management programs in earnest. Unfortunately, even in these businesses, risk managers often have trouble justifying the funds to support their activities because senior executives have trouble justifying the cost of the program because it is difficult to measure the benefits of improved sustainability.

An effective risk assessment whether performed by an investor during the M&A process or as a proactive self assessment by a business must assess risk across all operations of the business. It is not sufficient to say we looked at the management team or the sales department, etc.

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Entrepreneurial Aptitude – A Measure of a Franchise Business Owner’s Probable Success

The Keys to Franchise Business Owner Success

The value of the brand, the location, the support provided by the franchisor, the quality of the product or service, local competition, and the economic climate…they all influence business success. We would expect the potential small franchise business owner to investigate these factors thoroughly as part of the due diligence process.

But the greatest variable of all is the small franchise business owner himself or herself, and his or her skills in managing the business. If you have never run a business before, how do you know that you have what it takes to be successful? It behooves the potential small franchise business buyer to extend the due diligence process to include an objective self assessment, something not usually done in any formal way by the franchise buyer.

Evaluating your Entrepreneurial Aptitude is a great way to measure probable success as a Small Franchise Business Owner.

Entrepreneurial aptitude may not be what you think. The things that make you successful in corporate America are not the necessarily the same as the skills you need to succeed as a small franchise business owner. Graduating with honors, being a great team player in a Fortune 100 firm for a number of years, or having been the captain of your college football team or cheerleading squad has little to do with your entrepreneurial aptitude.

The dictionary defines “aptitude” as the “potential to acquire skill.” When applied to an entrepreneurial environment, it is the potential to acquire the skills to manage the business. Who would want to buy a franchise without knowing that they have good potential to acquire the skills to manage the business?

But can Entrepreneurial Aptitude be measured in any meaningful way?

In fact, entrepreneurial aptitude can be measured. Studies of highly successful entrepreneurs define a profile of fairly common family background, childhood experiences, core values, personalities, and many more characteristics. Testing yourself against that profile of highly successful entrepreneurs is an excellent way to gauge your personal entrepreneurial aptitude. We encourage every potential franchise business buyer to “take the test before you invest.”

The Proof Is In the Results

The most successful entrepreneur that I have ever known matched the ideal test profile almost exactly. Although he would have had limited success working for someone else, his results as a business owner were phenomenal.

He started his software business while in his early twenties. He was an unimpressive looking guy with unimpressive credentials. He did not have a Harvard MBA; in fact, he never finished college. His experience was limited to a few years as a software developer. He had never managed anyone before starting his business. He was neither a charismatic personality nor a dynamic communicator. Clearly he was not the typical corporate executive profile.

I worked with him for eleven years. I was constantly in awe of his invaluable instincts and skills indicative of a natural-born entrepreneur. He had a clear vision of where he was taking his business, and a passionate contagious uncompromising commitment to get there. He was brilliantly creative. He had a strong bias to action rather than debate even if he did not have the consensus of his senior staff.

He had started the business with no outside investors and retained full ownership. When he decided to exit the business, he sold it for an undisclosed amount in excess of $500,000,000 (yes, I do mean half a billion dollars with a “b”). And it was all his!

He had the perfect entrepreneurial aptitude.

Take the test before you invest

Scoring highly on an entrepreneurial aptitude test like the one that we provide to our clients is no guarantee of success in running your franchise business, nor is a low score a guarantee that you will fail. But it is a clear indication of how easy it will be for you to develop the skills necessary to run a small franchise business and whether you have the fortitude to do so. It is a very important step in the franchise business purchase due diligence process that should never be overlooked.

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Debt-Consolidation Companies Approved by the BBB (Better Business Bureau)

In life we understand that there are high points we never want to leave and low points we hope to forget. One of the most common situations that many endure are financial problems. In today’s economy it can be a bit hard to make the money necessary to save enough to make a big purchase or investment up-front (for example paying cash for a car or home, covering medical expenses, or even taking a much needed vacation). With this in mind, taking out a loan is something that many see as a temporary relief or a last resort option in the case of an emergency.

At times, the decisions we make during bad times, permeate into our good times. If a loan with poor terms is acquired under stress, there’s a good chance that consolidating your debt is a solution that will relieve the pressure. There are Better Business Bureau (BBB) approved consolidation loan companies that can help you re-organize all of your loans accordingly and begin paying them off.

Cambridge Credit Counseling

With an A+ rating from the BBB, it is pretty safe to say that by first impression Cambridge Credit Counseling can be a great company for you. Their main goals is to help individuals consolidate their loans including housing, credit card, student loan debt and more.

As a full-service consumer credit counseling agency, if you are experiencing a multi level situation in regards to your loans, the entire team is experienced in pointing you to the right direction.

Accredited Debt Relief

Accredited Debt Relief was established in 2008 with the intentions of helping individuals in their financial shortcomings. As a consumer you will be able to receive a free quote in addition to free consultation as well. Their goal is to assist clients by consolidating debt and resolving said debt within 24-48 months. Depending upon your personal situation you can expect your rate to be between 4% and 8% (which is pretty great comparing to the average).

National Debt Relief

National Debt Relief helps clients with debt solutions regarding housing, credit cards, and regular loans. Many customers have noticed that their credit card payments were reduced by 30% – 50%. While bankruptcy tends to be a option that some take, it is not necessarily what needs to happen.

The difference between bankruptcy and consolidating your loans is complex. Bankruptcy has long term effects on your credit but it can be positive if you are not looking to make any credit-based purchases in the near future. Consolidating your loans is a reduction in the payment or a renegotiation of the payment terms. There is no delay, as you continue to pay back your debt immediately. The sooner you pay your debt back from loans, the quicker you can begin to improve your credit score, making BBB approved debt-consolidation companies an option worth looking in to.

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