Treat It Like A Business

What does it mean when you are told to treat your business like a business? First of all, if you had any other type business, would you expect to succeed with it if you only dedicated a couple hours a week to building that business? The reality, if you are starting up any kind of business, whether it is a network marketing business or another type, you need to be there each and every day checking on progress and moving forward. If you are not, that business will surely fail. Absentee business owners are rarely successful unless they already have a strong management team in place. That doesn’t come until much later in a network marketing business.

Any normal business takes more than just an investment in time, however. The fortunate thing about network marketing is that it doesn’t necessarily require a huge commitment of resources to make it work. There is both good and bad sides to that, however. The advantage is that people with minimal financial means can start a networking business. The disadvantage is that without a significant monetary investment in the business, many people fail to treat it as a business.

Another critical aspect of any business is how you present yourself to those you are dealing with, your customers and especially your down line. You might think that in an online business, this doesn’t matter, but it does. Does the way you interact with your group or prospective customers appear professional to them? Do you know your business well? Do you make sure your customers are getting what they need from you? Do your customers know that you are there to support them? Are you aware that your success is directly related to their success.

In knowing your business well, you don’t necessarily have to have all the answers, but at least you know where to get answers if you need them. Be a student of your business, learning as you go, and teach others to also be students of the business. Learn something new everyday. Most network marketing businesses are continually evolving, trying new ideas, so they are always dynamic. Get involved in the dynamics of your business, and pass that on to others.

When you talk to your down line, are you distracted by other things going on around you? Can you really focus on what they are saying? In order to serve people well, you have to hear their concerns, and answer those concerns with confidence. Too many times we fail to connect with our people out of distraction from what is going on in our world. Are you focused on your challenges, or theirs? Network marketing is not a me centered business.

Sometimes how we dress will be reflected in how we converse with others. If you need to dress professionally in order to relate professionally, then it behooves you to do so even if no one but the four walls of your room see your attire. People can see it in your voice or in your words.

You have to genuinely care for people, but you can’t buy into their excuses. Their excuses are precisely what keeps them broke! You look beyond the challenge of the moment, giving them confidence that they can do it even though difficulties are encountered. You show by what you do that it can be done. You set an example for them to follow. You build trust and a relationship over time, and the stronger those bonds are, the stronger your business will be.

Another way to sabotage you business is to pass your personal problems and prejudices down line. Also avoid passing on bad news like the plague! This is extremely unprofessional and can kill your business overnight. You problems are not going to help them build their business unless your story is exceptionally motivational. You will have challenges and so will they. That is the nature of life. Go on and focus on what makes a difference.

There is another pitfall to be aware of as well. Be a listening post, but don’t take on responsibility for solving your down line’s problems for them. Realize that they will solve them one way or another by themselves. You are there to encourage them, to mentor them, to show by example that the business can be done. If you allow yourself to get sidetracked, your business will suffer.

Learn to smile when you talk, and also when you write emails. It shows. People sense a person who is smiling at the world in spite of all the problems. It draws them to you. A frown or worried look drives them away. Learn to be attractive to others in all your communications.

You can be friendly, but don’t be overly nosy, and don’t waste people’s time with idle chatter. Their time is valuable and so is yours. Have respect for them as well as for yourself. Stay focused, and stay on the business. If you do, you will be amply rewarded.

Family Business, Non-Family Business, Urban Myths.

After 20 years of working with Senior Executives across the world it’s interesting to see the mistakes when appointing Senior Executives. There can be many reasons why, but one reason is not understanding the differences of working in a Family Business and a Non-Family Business. I’ve recently met several Senior Executives who are unhappy with their employment because of this lack of knowledge and understanding and I’m meeting Business owners who didn’t realise there was a difference. These Business Owners feel that money and title is enough and stick to the Mantra of “Surely experienced ‘C’ level Executives can work in any company?”

Due to the change of economy, I have become more involved with assisting Family Businesses rather than just the corporates in finding ‘C’ level people. To do this successfully I believe that everyone in the process of hiring Senior Executives must understand the differences that separate the two entities. Having worked for an English and Indian Family Business in a past life this has helped me at first hand to see the ups and downs of these Businesses; this with a theoretical base has helped with running my own companies or advising others with theirs.

One recent company I have been involved with was run and founded by a successful New Zealand Entrepreneur. He does not have anybody in his immediate family to hand the reins over to. He has tried (outside the family) executives to fill his ‘C’ level roles and has had three people in three years! What is the problem? Was this a real Family Business? Was the Problem his, or the Executives?

We discussed the reasons for the failures but in terms of assisting the owner I got him to firstly look at where his people came from. All three had been ‘C’ level people in corporates and had done an excellent job in their corporate environment. They all returned to corporate life and continued to do well in their new roles. Why did they fail then in this successful company?

What I needed the owner to do was to identify a “Family Business”. I don’t normally use dictionary definitions but feel that in this instance Wikipedia gives a satisfactory explanation of a Family Business;

“A commercial organization in which decision-making is influenced by multiple generations of a family-related by blood or marriage-who are closely identified with the firm through leadership or ownership. Owner-manager entrepreneurial firms are not considered to be family businesses because they lack the multigenerational dimension and family influence that create the unique dynamics and relationships of family businesses” Wikipedia 2014.

We looked at his company and although he didn’t have anyone in the immediate family to take over the reins he had people who owned the company in minor leadership roles. We both agreed he did in fact have a Family Business.

He thought that buying in top salaried ‘C’ level Executives from corporates would enhance growth and sustain his business. He had not seen any differences between Family and Non-Family Business.

Urban Myths for Family Businesses;

All are unstable Small to Midsize businesses’.
As an Executive I don’t want to baby sit the junior family members so they can take over my job.
A non-family member will never run the company.
Mother and Father Companies, the only people that matter in the company are family members.
Emotional hard to work places due to family disagreements/arguments.
Incompetent family members in positions of authority.
Are these statements true or are they just Urban Myths?

Family businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy and now merit serious consideration by Senior Executives looking to advance their careers. This is an amazing turnaround from 25 years ago when nobody wanted to work for a family-owned business. There now seem to be many positives;

Patricia Epperlein from InterSearch reports that;

In the USA, 90% of businesses are family-owned. They contribute towards 40% of that nation’s GNP and pay approximately half of its total wages.

59% of France’s Top-500 industrial companies are family-owned.

It is estimated that 70% to 85% of all businesses worldwide are family-owned.

Tom O’Neil NZ Herald. Jan 2014 states;

Small to medium businesses are the lifeblood of New Zealand industry. Various sources cite family businesses as representing 75 per cent of Kiwi firms, providing up to 80 per cent of employment and 65 per cent of national GDP.

It’s interesting to note that when companies around the world state that they are a “Family Business” they are trying to reinforce positive family values of, Integrity, honesty, trust and loyalty.

Not all Family Businesses’ are SMEs. Companies like;

Porsche
WalMart
Tata Group.
In New Zealand the Talley Family (Agribusiness) and the Pandey family (Hotels).
Simon Peacocke of BDO Auckland, an accredited Family Business Advisor works with numerous NZ Family Businesses and feels that they do well because of the following reasons;

Family businesses think very long-term and are very resilient, much more so than non-family businesses.

Second and third generation family business members start their apprenticeship at a very young age. At 5 years old they are hearing their parents talking about the business so they have an incredible depth of knowledge to draw on.

Their relationships with staff and communities also tend to be different – closer, more connected, more loyal.

Staff tend to become part of the family business and to stay on as long-term committed employees.

While corporates like to be seen supporting their communities, family businesses generally don’t promote they are doing this – they just do it.

They don’t throw lots of money at things trying to get rich quick.

They also have a powerful focus on building relationships with staff, customers and suppliers.

So is it worth working for a family company? Is it better to work for a Non-Family Business? Is there any difference when the economy is good or is in a slump?

Nicolas Kachaner 2012 in the Harvard Business Review states,

“Results show that during good economic times, family-run companies don’t earn as much money as companies with a more dispersed ownership structure. But when the economy slumps, family firms far outshine their peers. And when we looked across business cycles from 1997 to 2009, we found that the average long-term financial performance was higher for family businesses than for non-family businesses in every country we examined”.

Senior Executives looking for longevity in the work place should look at the Family Business as this would take them through economies varying peaks and troughs. They will need to be aware that this will always be done in a cost effective way.

Business Consultants believe that they can tell easily if the company is Family or Non-Family Business. You just walk into the Head Office. A Non-family office has a very substantial corporate office with a “Wow Factor”. The Family business being more Frugal has very few “Bells and Whistles”. This Frugality is about the Family Business CEO looking to invest in the long term 20 year plan with the business passing down the generations. The Non-Family CEO is looking to make an instant mark and will try and outperform the person they have taken over from. There are many studies that show that Family Businesses did better in the recent Global recession for the above reason. The Family Business is frugal in the good times and the bad allowing them to weather the storms of economic crisis.

This is one of the factors that had been wrong in my client with three ‘C’ Level people in three years. His ‘C’ level people came in with a quick turnaround plan which they hoped would give a quick fix and outspending the last person in the hope that they would do something instantly. No twenty year plan for them as they had never been afforded this way of working in the past.

Do Family Businesses perform differently in other countries?

Justin Craig, PhD states,

“Interestingly, in many aspects family businesses as a sector do not vary much from country to country. There are obvious cultural differences but a business with family involvement is challenging in every country. It is also more rewarding than the ‘corporates’, let’s not forget that. Of course, there are older businesses in Europe, for example, than in Australia and New Zealand and the United States, and the mind-sets of companies in Europe will differ than in the later developed countries. But day to day the differences are not noticeable. Older businesses have more at stake and lots more to lose but they also have advantages. Family leaders still have to manage three independent and interdependent systems being the family, the business and the ownership group”.

Appointing the right Senior Executives is crucial to any company and is a costly acquisition. There are many reasons why hiring at this level goes wrong but getting it right can make a huge difference to your company.

To answer one of my questions, can a ‘C’ Level person work in any type of Business, Family or Non-Family?

Yes, but only if they are armed with the knowledge of the differences of the two. What they must also be sure of is the type of business that they are going to work in as sometimes this can be a cloudy issue, making it difficult for them to decide which one it is. Look at those mighty corporate companies of Porsche, Tata and Walmart to name a few.

Finding the right ‘C’ Level Executive is a lengthy process and shouldn’t be rushed, if you need to rush you are better to go down the Executive Leasing Route in the short term which will allow you to take a breath and get the right permanent person in place. Work with your inside team or your outside partners to establish a good process, so the firm can articulate the process to the Senior Executives. Everyone appreciates the fact that there is a well thought-out plan in place.

For me, I decided a long time ago not to build a Family Business. I wanted to give my children the best in life, but wanted them to make their own way in life too. My children might disagree but as one is studying to be a Barrister and one is settled in a corporate I will wait and see if I need to step in? I have however, always agreed with Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett who said, “He would give his kids just enough so that they could do anything, but not so much as they did nothing”.

Business Loans – Getting a Term Loan

The Reality of the Small Business

This seems to be the age of the entrepreneur, with small startups such as Facebook and Twitter proving that small businesses can grow – potentially exponentially with the right resources. Unfortunately, success stories like Facebook are rare in the small business world, with over half of small businesses failing within five years of their startup, mainly due to lack of funding.

As any small business or entrepreneur knows, funding is one of the most difficult parts of starting a business. Banks are especially hesitant in giving out business loans to small and start-up companies, especially with the economical downslide of 2008. Crowdfunding is a great idea, but is only successful part of the time. Getting a business credit card is a great option… until the debt costs outweigh the business income.

The fact of the matter is, it is nearly impossible to get a business started without money, and it is nearly impossible to get the funding needed without an established business. This catch-22 is what sets most businesses down the path to financial hardship. However, there is now a new way to fund smaller businesses in the form of a microloan.

The SBA Microloan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun a program which provides funds to intermediary non-profit community oriented lenders to administer microloans to eligible businesses. Unlike a bank loan, which can range anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000, microloans range from $10,000 to $50,000, providing small businesses enough funding to cover basic costs for their start-up without the risk of crushing debt.

An SBA micro business loan cannot be used to pay off existing debt or purchase new real estate, but it can be used toward the purchase of supplies and machinery, working capital, inventory and supplies, and furniture and fixtures for the space. The payback plan of the micro business loan also varies in regards to the business’ planned use of the funds, the loan amount, and the needs of the business owner. Unlike large bank loans, a microloan is tailored specifically for the small business owner to succeed.

Micro business loans can make a macro-difference for your small or start-up business. These loans are designed to help you launch and expand your small business with a maximum six year payback plan, and interest rates spanning between eight and thirteen percent. Money lenders who offer microloans are beginning to become more prominent, making entrepreneurial start-ups less financially daunting.

In Conclusion

If you are a small company interested in a micro business loan, there is a comprehensive list of SBA approved lenders on their website. The list is broken down by state, so no matter where your business is located, you can speak to a local microloan lender here to get your business financed. There are also online lenders such as trustleaf.com and PayPal’s Working Capital program. However, it is important that you do significant research and ensure you are getting the best microloan offer from these companies.

If you have been turned down by different banks for a business loan, consider the microloan process Here. It could be just the right amount of money to make your start-up a recognized business. visit site

Developing a Cash Flow Plan For Your Business

I have run several businesses since I was 12 years old, from watering lawns, network marketing, and real estate. I succeeded when I had a cash flow plan. What is a cash f low plan? It’s your business budget. Most people find the word budget limiting. So I use the term cash flow plan which I learned from taking a Financial Peace University (FPU) class.

Even with a sound business plan, clear goals, and loads of ambition, I see new entrepreneurs fail at making a budget. Especially home business owners who don’t realize that even if it is a online business or affiliate marketing business a budget needs to be created.

Business Budget

A successful business runs on a budget. An owner knows the cost of running his business. He knows the recurring cost, how much it will cost to finance a purchase, and the average monthly sales. Is there a need for expansion? Is there a need to add an independent contractor or employee? The numbers tell him where he is and where he needs to go.

It’s time for you to create your business budget. There are tons of personal finance books that can help you with your money. The best book I ever read was The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey. I also took his Financial Peace University Class.

I schedule a meeting with my new team members and the first thing we work on is cash flow planning. We do a 90-day budget. For some reason newbies are shocked that they have to invest every month into their business. When they make their first $1000 I enroll them in to FPU free of charge. Here are 6.5 steps I learned that you can implement today.

6.5 Quick Cash Flow Plan Steps:

1. Separate your Personal and Business Finances - This may come as a shock. But you are an entrepreneur. Yes, those lotions, potions, and magic notions you sell makes you a legitimate business owner. Financially act like a business. Open up a separate business account and don’t comingle your funds.

2. Go Through Your Bank Statements - I tell my team members to go through their last three bank statements, credit card statements, and receipts. If you have accounting software this will be easy. Separate your business and personal expenses. Now you have a snapshot of your income and spending.

3. Get Budgeting Software - There are several programs you can use. I use Quicken Home Business. It’s simple. Plus I can use it on my smart phone and it is automatically updated with my bank and PayPal accounts. Find what best works for you.

4. Name Every Dollar – This is where you start planning your monthly budget. You need to name every dollar. What do I mean by that? What ever income that is coming in… you need to spend that money. I am not advocating going broke. Every dollar needs to be spent somewhere. Every dollar needs it’s place in your cash flow plan.

It takes the average person about 90 days to become an expert and projecting a budget. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it right the first month. Unexpected expenses come up: you will forget about the car registration; the kids soccer games or a school event. Practice is the key.

I see newbies fail to name every dollar. When money is not assigned to a specific duty it magically disappears. That $600 surplus was just stolen by the kids, pizza man, late night snacking, the movies, or that new product launch. Money not managed disappears quickly.

Failure to do cash flow planning leaves new business owners broke and in debt. Naming every dollar gives you control of your money. Money needs to be invested in your business.

5. Business Emergency Fund – I did an interview with Dave Ramsey. He mentioned that every business needs an emergency fund. Just like you need a personal emergency fund the same rules apply for your business. I recommend starting off with $1000. One thousand dollars seems to keep Murphy’s Law away most of the time.

6. Opportunity Fund - This is really not a cash flow plan technique. But you do need to invest in your education and be ready when opportunities arrive. Designate a percentage of your income to a Opportunity Fund. I know of a colleague who had a chance to spend a weekend with a marketing expert. She had poor financial planning skills and missed the opportunity. The people who went increased their income by 25% that year. Create a opportunity fund so you won’t miss out.

6.5 90-Day Game Plan - Do a 90-day plan for your business. Then move on to doing a monthly cash flow plan. Name every dollar. Spend all of your money. You should not have any money left over for the month. Open up a separate account and keep your receipts.

Start thinking and acting like a business. Know where all of your money is going and you will succeed in business.