A decade ago, I cheerfully plunged into the second half of my first century on this terrestrial plane. I used to view anyone over the age of 30 as “old.” Today, my more than 60-year-old eyes see very little age difference between myself and my 80-year old parents.While I have the good fortune to be self-employed, I see more and more baby boomers being displaced from the work force. Downsized, right-sized, fired, bumped, replaced, early retired, bought out, kicked out or given the hairy handshake (not many folks seem to get the golden handshake anymore). A slap on the butt and it’s out into the big world.
What do you do with an unemployed baby boomer? I had a fascinating chat with a friend recently who is in his mid-fifties and is competing for a number of management level jobs after 25 years in business for himself and a one year sabbatical. After reaching the very short-list and losing a few major competitions, his question was, “Does age count?” Continue reading Age or Attitude
Too often, business owners who get into trouble don’t even know they’re insolvent until the landlord puts a lock on the door.
A business plan sets the owner up with a basic understanding of business financials, and helps avoid the carnage. All business plans should include a cash flow forecast, pro forma income statements and balance sheets. In addition to these three critical components, there are a number of other financial reports that can help entrepreneurs understand how their business works.
Here are nine financial reports and a brief explanation of each.
- 1. Sales Forecast. A first year, 12-month projection of the number of units and the values for each product or service you will sell. A good sales forecast shows slower times, busier times and growth or shrinkage – it is the basic building block that enables owners to determine whether or not the business will bring in enough money to meet their financial expectations.
Continue reading Financial Reports That Help You Understand Your Business
Once an entrepreneur makes a success of one business, there’s a dangerous tendency to think he can duplicate his efforts in another business, and then another, and another. Spreading yourself and your resources over a number of ventures can impair your ability to deal with financial and other challenges. Aside from stretching finances, getting pulled in too many directions can deplete a business owner’s time and energy, making it difficult to maintain the core business that brought about the initial success.
The key to avoiding this killer is to know your abilities and be sure to keep enough energy, cash and focus to maintain your core business. When you’re tempted to spread your wings and become a raving capitalist, the first question to ask yourself is how much time, energy and money you can afford to invest.
- Assess Your Current Situation. The time to consider branching out to own different ventures is after you’ve made your core business successful and honed your time management to the point that you have time to invest in other things. A starting point to investing is to take a close look at where you’re at with regard to the core business. Is it running smoothly? Where is it at in the growth cycle? How much of your time is needed currently to run the business? Will it require more of your time and energy in the future?
Continue reading Beyond the First Small Business
After coaching many people through the eye of the business planning needle, I’m intrigued and bewildered by the gap between “what business planning is” and “what people seem to think it is.” Time and again I see intelligent people going to great lengths to avoid business planning when it’s exactly what they need to navigate the complexities of start-up.
Whether they admit it or not, those who succeed in business do some sort of planning – or hire someone to do it for them. The pieces of a successful business don’t fall into place perfectly by themselves without some kind of high-level roadmap to get them flying in formation. The elements of success come together because someone—usually the business owner—plans, agonizes, organizes, pampers, and weaves the threads together to achieve the desired positive result.
So, what is this aggravation called business planning? Continue reading To Business Plan or Not: Is That Really the Question?