Buying A Business: Look Before You Leap

For someone wanting to get started in business, there are many points in favour of buying a business as a going concern. This avoids, on the one hand, the stress and headaches involved in starting a new business from scratch, and, on the other, the often irksome degree of control exercised by franchising companies. However, as many business owners have discovered to their cost, it is not really a good idea to grab the first business you see advertised, even if it seems to offer excellent potential, and even if you don’t want the hassle of a lengthy search. If you buy in haste, you are likely to repent at leisure — slow down and check out a few things first.

 

First and foremost, you need to consider whether it is a type of business in which you have experience, or even an interest. This seems obvious, yet it is surprising how many people buying a business do not think of this until too late. If you are tempted by a hot dog stall because it seems to be making huge profits, but you have no experience in the food trade and hate the smell of hot dogs, you will not last long in the business.

Find Out Why The Business Is Being Sold

Once you have spotted what seems to be a suitable business, there are several things you need to look into, as many apparently attractive enterprises are not what they seem on the surface. Before buying a business it is of course essential to find out why the business is being sold. The business brokers can help you with this. The owners may simply be retiring, or they may be selling up because they can’t make a go of the business. Don’t just have a brief conversation — get to know them, have a few drinks with them or take them out to dinner. The more time you spend with them, the better you will be able to gauge how honest they are being with you. Also be wary if they don’t want to talk to you.

How Healthy Is The Business

If you are satisfied with the reasons for the sale, you then need to look into the health of the business. Take a walk around the neighbourhood and see whether there is a buzz, or whether there are lots of For Sale signs and boarded-up shops. If the immediate neighbourhood is in decline, the signs are not good that this business has a promising future. Check when the lease is up — if you have to sign a new lease agreement shortly after buying, this could throw everything into uncertainty, as the terms of the new lease could be quite different.

The Numbers Say It All

It is then time to start on the crunch work, and check out the facts and figures relating to the business – you need to do a thorough analysis of what the business is worth. It is a sad fact that many businesses for sale do provide seriously inflated figures for profits and sales in their advertising literature. Make sure you get hold of all the relevant paperwork, including the audited accounts and the financial records — if the sellers are not willing to provide the books for inspection, or if it is clear that the books have not been meticulously kept, walk away. It is advisable to employ professionals, including a lawyer and a qualified accountant, to look at the financial and other records.

You should also have professionals check the assets of the business, including property, equipment, contracts and even employees. Be very clear on which assets are or are not included in the sale, and if they are, what condition they are in. If equipment is out of date and needs replacing or upgrading, it could throw your financial projections into chaos. As well as assets, you should also of course check liabilities, such as debts. Make sure that equipment and vehicles are owned outright and are not subject to hire purchase agreements.

One Of The Key Reasons To Buying A Business Is The Customer Base

The other major aspect when buying a business online is to look at is the customer base. If there are only a few customers — some small businesses may have only one — what happens if a key customer goes out of business? How loyal are the customers and could they be easily poached by the competition? This is especially relevant if the customers have a strong personal relationship with the present owners. Carry out some discreet research to find out how strong this relationship is, and whether it would survive a change in ownership.

Buying a business as a going concern is a great way to get started, and the chances of success are much higher than when starting from scratch. However, no matter how excited you are when you think you have found your ideal enterprise, you must keep a cool head and look before you leap. As long as you are ruled by prudence and common sense, and keep emotions at bay, you have a great chance of making a wise and profitable investment.

 

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Drilling Through Concrete – What to Watch for

When drilling holes in concrete, there is no substitute for quality equipment and a sharp masonry drill bit that is also of high quality. If you have an inferior drill with little power, and a dull bit, your holes will not be deep enough, and they will be off-line.

If you use quality brand name drills such as DeWalt, Bosch, Black & Decker, or Makita, you will be on the right track. There is no substitute for quality and steady power when you are drilling concrete.

You should always read the instruction manual of your drill thoroughly, and get to know your machine. Understand and study where all the controls and knobs are located and what they do. You need to know how to set your machine up and it needs to become second nature. You have to be comfortable with how the drill works with you holding onto it.

Learn more: If you need scanning services especially with scanning your concrete slabs

Be sure and set the depth of your hole-to-be. While some of the machines do have a depth control bar, if it doesn’t learn how to set the depth with a pencil mark, or with masking tape.

Learn how to hold the drill properly while it is operating. You will need to hold it like a gun, with your index finger in place on the trigger. If the drill has a handle for your other hand, be sure to use it as intended. If the drill does not have an extra handle, place your hand on the back of the housing on the drill while in operation.

Before you start to drill, make your mark on the wall with a soft pencil at the point where you are to make the hole. Mark the spot with a dot or a small cross, but don’t make the mark too large.

Place the tip of the bit on the mark and apply enough pressure to hold it in place, but don’t press down too hard. You will get used to the amount needed by practice. Start out slow, and make a shallow hole that will guide the drill.

Now start to drill in earnest, using a high speed. If your drill has a hammer function use it occasionally. If you don’t have a hammer function, stop every ten seconds and pull back, and start again, letting the bit cool. Keep on the same tack until you reach the desired depth.

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The Importance Of Working On Your Business, Not In It

Working On Your BusinessIf you are like many business owners, you feel frustrated because you realize you are too bogged down in the day-to-day operations of your company but don’t know how to free yourself from this trap. When the enterprise you set up was in its early days, it seemed natural to have a hand in every aspect of the business. However, according to management principles, if you want to grow your company, and build it into a business that will survive and keep growing, you have to change the way you do things and get out from this level of involvement.

Making this transition is sometimes described as learning to work on your business and not in it. The concept originated in a book called The E-Myth — that is, entrepreneurial myth — by a business guru who pointed out that many people who start businesses are technicians who are experts in that particular industry, and actually prefer to stay involved in the day-to-day running of the business, because they feel safer, and because they believe nobody else can do it as well. However, they are not promoting the growth of the company this way — they need to make the transition to managers, who can put the right systems in place, and then to entrepreneurs with a vision of how the company can become what they originally wanted it to be.

Entrepreneurs Or Business People

Of course, many people who start companies are in fact entrepreneurs with a vision but are obliged in the early days of their business to do everything themselves, because they can’t afford to employ staff. When they acquire more employees, they continue in this way because it has become a habit. If this describes you, you may need help in getting “out” of the business and learning to work on instead of in it — that is, stepping back and looking at where you want the business to be and how it can get there.

Small Business MarketingThe first step in making this transition is changing your mindset. You have to be ready to leave your comfort zone and unlearn many of your old habits. In particular, you have to be prepared to accept that maybe some of your staff can do some things as well as you can, and if they can’t do them quite as well, they can learn. You will never master time management and control of your business without learning to let go

The Secret Of Delegation

Your acceptance of this will enable you to take the next step, which is to delegate. If you are going to take some time out for working ON your business, somebody else has to do the work you would have been doing. If you don’t have the right people, you have to take tough management decisions — hire new people and train them. You will find delegation hurts at first, so you can begin by delegating very specific tasks. As staff prove themselves, and the business doesn’t fold, you can start handing over larger projects and wider responsibilities, and you will see people’s skills and confidence grow.

In your initial stages of a delegation, you may only be able to free yourself up for a short time — say, two hours a week. Block this time out and discipline yourself not to allow any interruptions. Use the time to focus on one specific project that has to do with the growth of your business. For instance, identify one goal you want to achieve and write down ways of getting there; think of one way you can differentiate yourself from the competition; consider ways you can improve the morale and productivity of staff through positive rewards. As your level of delegation grows and your time out increases, you will find it becomes more and more effective and productive.

The Importance Of Working On Your BusinessOnce the delegation is well underway, the next stage is to put systems in place, making it much easier for others to run every aspect of the business. Systems can address and minimize problems before they occur — if a problem arises, a tried and tested system will act as a roadmap and direct the way staff will respond to the situation. Once you have the right systems in place, based on the right management principles, the business should almost be able to run itself. This way you can finally make the transition to being an entrepreneur, as the systems do most of the managing for you.

At the end of a year, from a small and tentative start, you could notice a massive difference in the business, as well as in yourself. You have made the transition from doing to managing, and from managing to leading. Now you are finally in a position to provide the vision and inspiration that are so essential for the growth of your business — but if you look round, you will be surprised at how much it has grown already.

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Improve Your Time Management And Boost Your Business Performance

Time management is an issue for everyone — it is a common observation that there are not enough hours in the day. In business, however, the effectiveness or otherwise of time management can make the difference between success and failure, or profit and loss. It is so crucial that many companies even hire consultants to help in improving productivity, so that a whole consulting industry has grown up round this topic.

Project Management

Time ManagementA specific area of business in which use of time is particularly crucial is project management and project scheduling. Completing a project on schedule is usually the major deciding factor as to whether the project stays within budget, so effective time management is one of the most essential attributes of a good project manager. Not surprisingly, therefore, a large body of consultancy and training is devoted to the specialized area of project management.

Can We Really Manage Time?

The basis of time management planning is that everyone has the same amount of time, but some people get far more done than others in the same time period — so, strictly speaking, we cannot manage time, we can only manage our own use of it. Most of the problems of inefficiency and lack of productivity result from time wasting, repetitive tasks, poor scheduling and lack of organization, so that people can feel they have worked hard all day and yet achieved very little.

Time management in a business can be improved on two levels — first by analysing business systems and workplace structures, to identify areas where poor use of time and human resources hampers productivity on the organizational level. At the same time, work needs to be done with individual staff members to ensure they manage their own time more effectively.

Time Wasters

Before trying to put in place any systems or methodologies, it is essential to start with identifying and eliminating the factors that cause wasted time, or time robbers as they are sometimes called. These time wasters often appear quite trivial, so they are taken for granted and can be difficult to spot. However, their cumulative effect is phenomenal, and they will cancel out the effectiveness of any time management techniques.

One of the main factors in wasted time is poor work habits — untidy desks, filing systems not kept in order, appointments not written down. Along with this goes interruptions — not only from colleagues and subordinates, but from telephone calls and e-mails. Staff need strategies to deal with these, including scheduling specific times to deal with e-mails. Other major time wasters include work overload and procrastination, which often go together. An employee who is panicking about having too much to do often doesn’t know where to start, and ends up doing nothing — or reading e-mails.

Time Management Strategies

Time Management StrategiesTo help with prioritizing, a consultant will often suggest starting with creating task lists, and learning to manage them. A well-known system for task lists is Alan Lakein’s ABC prioritization. Everything on the list is prioritized as A, B or C, and a time schedule is assigned to each category — for instance, A is to be done in a day, B in a week, C in a month. Whether or not this specific method is followed, prioritizing tasks, scheduling and sticking to the schedule are essential.

Getting Things Done

One of the most popular and well-used time management methodologies is Getting Things Done, or GTD for short. The central concept is that instead of having all your tasks and projects spinning round in your mind, you move them out of your mind into a system, which you write down and update weekly. This allows you to use your mental energy in actually doing tasks, instead of trying to remember them, and you use your weekly update to drive your priorities. Users find it a big plus that it allows you to group together similar tasks, such as outstanding phone calls, which you can do when you have a bit of time. The idea is that you can quickly spot the next task to be done on each front and keep all your projects going, while your mind stays clear, to relax and be creative.

Time management training can be especially beneficial for owners of small businesses, who regularly find themselves trying to do many different things at once. There are many different techniques and systems, and different ones work for different people, but whichever you use, it can take many years to become a really proficient time manager. However, there is no need to be discouraged. Even small changes over a year can really add up, and you can look back and see how your productivity has gone up, your stress level has gone down, and your business performance has improved all round.

Image By: Free Digital Photos (Phaitoon & digitalart)

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