Category do a reality check

When to ignore your critics!

An here I include the so called business gurus - just ignore them.Can you imagine what happened when Alexander Graham Bell announced he wanted a phone in every house - Western Union called it an "electric toy" and "totally out of the question";Henry Ford said he wanted one car in every family - most felt the horse was here to stay.The same happened to me still in 1995, when most people thought the internet was going to disappear faster than it had arrived - I remember the abuse very well. So why do people get so negative about other peoples business ideas: Lack of Vision is probably the biggest reason;Envy is another big reason - driven by the inability to take a risk themselves and the fact that they can't bear to see others succeed;Genuine concern for your well being - they thing your are taking too big a risk, you are naive, and so on.Take advise on certain techniques on how to run your business, but do not take advise on if you should start a business or not.

Making the best out of change or riding a trend.

While I always caution people, that change is not necessarily progress, it is also correct that change is what is creating new business opportunities every day.It is living with this change and realizing the opportunities change generates that is the important process here. So how could a small business and start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants go about seeing these opportunities?The answer sounds easy, but requires patience, you need to look at your chosen market segment from the out-side.

Small Business Maxim: What If?

Look outside of your box, read books from other business entrepreneurs, try and see how they made a change work for them, read your wife's Cosmopolitan - your husband's Mens Health magazine, look at other industries, ask your kids what they like, be interested in anything and ask yourself all the time, what if.....?Your customer calls to complain about the last order - what if?... What if, applies to all aspects of your small business or startup business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants: Customer Care & Support;Sales;Marketing & PR;Accounting & Credit ControlEspecially Business Planning, and so on ....It just does not end, you may not be the next Einstein, but I bet you, you will get some pretty good answers from yourself, if you bother to find the right "What If....?"

Q & A: What questions should I ask my accountant before I start my business?

Choosing an accountant/CPA is probably one of the most important decisions to get right, because you are unlikely to have an accountant's grasp of taxationcompany lawdealing with the tax authoritieswide range of knowledge about small business.You need to make sure you find an accountant/CPA who concentrates on small business and start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants before you make any appointments.Another aspect is size, make sure you are not "one among millions" sort of speak, smaller accountants practices are often more in tune with your small business needs, because they are a small business too.Here are some questions I would be asking when starting out with a new business venture: Should I start my business as a sole-trader, partnership or limited liability company?Can you help me to find and raise finance? (Read about bootstrapping first!)Will you help me with setting up my cash-flow forecast?When do I need to register for VAT (UK), GST (Australia) or when do I need to charge sales tax (US)?Am I ready to start trading, or should I wait?Do I need to choose my financial year and trading year end date?Are you going to do my bookkeeping and accounting work?Will you work online with me, so we both can be up-to-date with my business progress?Will you deal with my employment issues, pensions, annuities and insurances for me?Will you help me to understand more and more of these issues myself, and will you be available for advice if and when I need it?There are many more issues to consider and they depend on your business, that is where your accountant will help you too.

Marketing for Small Business: Do Pro-Bono work.

I believe it can be better resources or money spend, than doing google ads, it is a good bootstrapping technique - and a win-win situation for you and the sponsored organisation.For example, the College StartUp blog has an article today about "5 ways to get “paid” for pro bono work", they talk about the marketing benefits you may gain by doing good. Every small business or start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants has something to give, which could make a difference.

Q & A: Does Small Business Need a Disaster Plan?

To be perfectly blunt about the subject, it is not made easier by confusing technology and more to the point terminology, that even we have difficulty understanding some time.We should not expect business start-ups and small business in general to be accountants, bookkeepers, IT specialist, lawyers, marketing & PR gurus and so on. We should provide small business with an infrastructure in which it can concentrate on core business tasks, while at the same time enabling the business owner to stay informed of all relevant business facts like cash flow, sales, HR issues, tax position and more.... Have a look at virtual assistants in your area.There are other questions you could ask yourself, just take 30 minutes, get a peicJust to mention it, a disaster plan in a burned out house is of no value to anyone, again keep it online.Answer: YES, a small business needs a disaster plan, just like any other business.

Q & A: Is Higher or Lower Cash-Flow Better For My Micro Business

So I reconsidered and decided to write about it here.As I said, generally speaking, a higher cash-flow is desirable because you have more "scope" to develop cash-flow reserves for your small business, by using standard cash-flow planning tools, like renegotiating payment terms with your suppliers and deal with credit control better.Here is the thing, if you are a micro business, or even a one man/woman home business, more or less cash-flow may not be as important to you as concentrating on credit-control. Let me explain, if you are a service business, you may just want to make enough money for your monthly income, there are limits to the amount of work you can do, before you start running into other problem areas, like employment issues, office rent, etc. You may no want that, you may be very happy the way things are - and contra to popular belief that is perfectly OK.

Q & A: What are successful cost-cutting solutions in small business?

Let me give you some pointers here, but please remember you can always do more on the cost-cutting front in any small business and start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants.... Or have it done on a results basis, doesn't cost you time and gets you money back.Do credit control - get your money in lower your bank overdraft cost and charges.This is only a short list of what you can do, but it's a start.

Small Business Checklist: Business Process Outsourcing

As many of you know by know I'm a sucker for bootstrapping for small business and start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants, and outsourcing is a big part of my bootstrapping philosophy, so here a re a few pointers: To outsource, or not to outsource ....... or you new service provider makes you feel, as if they are doing you a favor, don't deal with them, you need partners and not people you feel guilty calling.Nobody answers the phone - put the phone down and do not call back.

Q & A: What do you mean by credit control?

I have written about this before here: Small Business Checklist: Getting PayedSmall Business Failure - Reason: Cash-FlowCredit control deals with getting your money in, and is most important for small business survival. You need to pay attention to your credit control all the time, if you can't do that get someone else to do it for you, outsource it to a virtual assistant, for example.Hope this helps, otherwise get back to me.

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