Monthly Archives: July 2016

Tips for Small Business

The market investigation is the most threatening some portion of composing a strategy for success, however the part has the most potential to get your business off to a solid begin and conform to a changing commercial center not far off. You get out what you put in, so make it exhaustive.

When you’re starting a business, it’s important to take a good, hard look at the market you are trying to enter. This helps you plan your approach to marketing, pricing and general operations, and as such, should be included in your business plan. Once your business is established, periodically re-analyzing the environment in your industry can help you adapt your business to changing attitudes, economies and regulations, and help you sidestep potential roadblocks.

Although the term “market analysis” sounds technical and intimidating, it’s rather simple, if involved. You don’t need an M.B.A. to do this. It’s all about examining your industry, target demographic, pricing structure and competition.

Research your industry. Find out how it’s been doing, and where it’s going. Has it dropped off recently? Is it due to economics or new regulations? Is it projected to resume its previous levels? In how long? Is it growing, or is it stable? Get a feel for the difference between steady and stagnant – one is characterized by slow but steady growth, the other by inactivity. Find out if your industry is changing – if everyone else seems to be branching off into niche markets, positioning yourself as an all-around provider may not be the best idea.

Target Demographic
Who is your ideal customer? Know everything about them. Know who they are, where they live, how much money they have and how much money they spend. The Census is handy for this. If your business is locally-based, it behooves you to know how much of your target demographic leaves the area every year, and how many move in. Once you know the facts, start looking into the intangibles. What do they like? What do they buy? What level of customer service do they expect?

Once you know your target market inside and out, explore other potential markets – they may not be your main source of revenue, but they could prove valuable down the road when you’re trying to eke out every last drop of profit to fund expansion.

Pricing Structure
In your business plan, you’ll have to justify your prices – your market analysis helps with that. Look at your production costs, overhead, labor, etc., but don’t stop there – look around and see how much everyone else is charging, but focus on those who serve your target market. Does perceived value play a role in your industry? What else affects sales, price-wise? Do you plan to offer discounts? How will that affect your bottom line? How deep will the discounts be, and will they more than make up for themselves by effectively driving sales?

You can’t set your prices arbitrarily. If you plan to charge substantially more than everyone else, what about your product or service makes it worthwhile to the customer?

Finally, analyze your competition. Ideally, you will look at what the competition is doing throughout your market analysis, but here is where you put it all together. What makes you think your business will be superior to them? Where are they failing the market? How do you plan to fill that gap? Become intimate with the way your main competition does things – you might learn something, even if it’s what not to do.

Your market analysis can go as deep as you want it to – the deeper, the better. Be prepared to rethink some of your ideas as you find out what’s going on out there. Your business may look great in your head, but it has to survive in a real economy.

Bookkeeping Tips for Small Businesses

The market investigation is the most threatening some portion of composing a strategy for success, yet the part has the most potential to get your business off to a solid begin and conform to a changing commercial center not far off. You get out what you put in, so make it careful.

Bookkeeping is an art and science. It has a set number of established rules and yet the system can be freely modified by users as per need. Bookkeeping and accountancy are often confused to be one single discipline. However, these are two different disciplines. Bookkeeping principally involves keeping a proper record of all the transactions that take place, whereas, accountancy involves processing and analyzing the recorded transactions. The point where the two overlap is, the preparation of balance sheet, cash flow statements and other analytical, costing related statements. The preparation of these statements is basically said to be a combination of the two, as it involves both recording and interpretation of transactions. Conventionally, bookkeeping has been considered to be a part of accountancy.

When it comes to small businesses, owners in several cases, are impartial to the importance of bookkeeping and accountancy. However, the use of these two disciplines even in small businesses proves to be productive and effective, in not just keeping a track of money, but also in analysis. Here are some simple tips, tricks and guidelines which will help you to maintain very good books of accounts.

Bookkeeping Tips and Tricks

Before we start off with the tips, here’s one suggestion, make it a point to follow the double-entry system. The significant advantage of such a system is that, two entries offset and verify each other and any possibility of mistake or fraud is ruled out. Essentially, this system, which was developed by Luca Pacioli is considered to be the perfect system to maintain the books of accounts, due to the two self-verifying entries. Apart from that, it is also not that difficult to execute.

1. Proper Books, Every Day
This is the first and the most important step in the bookkeeping process. Punctually maintaining proper books of accounts is in fact the first step of bookkeeping. It is wise to pass journal entries as soon as the transaction takes place. Now, you can select two types of ‘basis’ for the entries, they can be either cash entries, that is the entry is recorded in the books of accounts as the transaction takes place. In accrual basis, the entry is made before the transaction. When you maintain books of accounts, you can pass entries in the journal and then transfer all the entries to the ledger book, before the closing of the day. To simplify matters, you can maintain 5 more books:

  • Cash Book (for cash transactions)
  • Creditor-Debtor Book (recording all transactions done on credit or debt basis)
  • Purchase Book (entries for purchase)
  • Sales Book (entries for sale)
  • Bank Book (transactions affecting bank accounts)

These books can be updated regularly, by first filling the journal and then passing the entries in the ledgers and the aforementioned books. Regularity in bookkeeping leads to enlightening accounting and further more, profit.

2. Periodic Balance Sheet
It is wise to prepare a balance sheet at short and regular intervals. One side will contain all liabilities including the current liabilities such as creditors. The second side shall contain all assets as of date and their market value. While preparing such between-the-year balance sheets, make it a point to include all accrual and market values. Such a balance sheet can be prepared at every weekend, after a quarter or after a 6-month period. Fact is, preparation of such a balance sheet always helps you to keep a better track of your financial status and that of the business.

3. Proper Record Keeping
Apart from maintaining the books of accounts regularly, make it a point to accompany them with appropriate records. For example, your purchase and sales books should contain all invoices and the creditor-debtor books should contain all bills of exchange, promissory notes, etc. Keeping such records will help you to keep a tab on the accounts and it is also a very good verification system.

4. Include Costing in the System
Now this one’s a pretty difficult one. You can include a cost sheet, which can be made at regular intervals, such as a week, month or even a quarter. The cost sheet, depending upon your business should include the following:

  • A total of all possible incomes and sales, per unit (divide the total income by the number of units sold/produced/in-stock) and the number of unsold units and the ones which are still in process (approximate monetary amounts).
  • The purchases, costs incurred, expenditure of machine hour rate, relevant depreciation and all possible expenditures, per unit or per hour (divide the total expenditure by number of units sold/produced/in-stock).
  • The third element on the costing statement is the first point minus the second point. In such circumstances, the derived figure should be positive, as it indicates profit.

5. Make Provisions of Expenses
It is advisable to make certain provisions for expenditures such as asset procurement, taxation, loans and payment to creditors. Basically, open a free of charge bank account or take up any fixed return investment in order to make appropriate provision for anticipated or planned expenditures.

6. Regular and Strict Audit
In order to ensure transparency in the financial aspects of the business, make it a point to audit the books of accounts as strictly and as frequently as possible. This will rule out the possibility of mistakes and also the possibility of frauds or late payments.

7. Reminder System
In case if you are using software and programs to keep your books of accounts, make it a point to install a reminder system in order to get alerts regarding accounts payable or receivable, along with the details of the account. This will help you to make pay-offs exactly on time.

Apart from these tips, you may also resort to modifying your own accounting system. Always bear in mind that bookkeeping is all about keeping track of money, keeping track of money spent or earned and also keeping track of the money that is yet to be spent or earned. Discipline, diligence and regularity are the 3 most important qualities, which will help you to maintain fantastic books of accounts and perfectly know the financial status of the company. Apart from that, also take into note that when you know the finances of your business well, you can run your business very, very successfully.

How to Start an Image Consultant Agency

Acting as a picture expert can help you bring anyplace between USD 50-99 60 minutes. In the event that you need to take advantage of this lucrative business, here are couple of valuable tips to begin a picture specialist office.

Get a certification from The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) to get listed in their directory, gain credibility, as well as earn more business.

If you are looking for a business that is profitable, fulfilling and requires minimum initial investment, you should start your own image consultancy. As more and more people feel the urge to improve their personal branding, the requirement for image consultant agencies has gone up drastically. Many people approach professional image consultant agencies to guide them in aspects like body language, etiquette, communication skills, attire, personal and professional presentation, etc.

These image consultant agencies also offer a complete makeover and change of personality. They help enhance your self-belief and boost your confidence. If you think you can offer your services to interested clients, to begin with, you will have to register your services or business. Remember that there are many individuals interested in improving their image, and offering consultation can be highly lucrative, provided you know how to start an image consultant agency. Here are few things to consider while starting an image consultant agency.

Education and Experience

While education in this field is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you undertake courses which will enable you to work as an established image consultant. Also, you may not command much fees initially, but as and when your client base expands, you will be able to earn better. Your experience will also matter. Hence, it is always suggested that you gain experience under an image consultant for a few years before starting your own venture.

Know Your Customers

First and foremost, you must know your target customers. While there are several niches, initially, you can choose a few categories. For example, decide whether you are going to deal with students, professionals, new moms, cancer survivors, beauty pageant hopefuls, etc. Let us assume, you choose beauty pageant hopefuls, then you will have to design your course module accordingly. It will include body language, presence, interview skills, personality development, communication skills, confidence building, dressing and grooming, etc. Likewise, you will have to design course material for other niches as well.

Know Your Services

Image consultants provide a number of services which include personality development, body language, confidence building, performance management, makeovers, etc. Not only this, they also carry out custom color analysis to understand which colors will suit an individual based on his ethnicity, complexion, personality, etc. They may also moonlight as personal shoppers and wardrobe consultants. In fact, if required, they even conduct an analysis or audit of an individual’s wardrobe, and suggest changes accordingly. Apart from that, image consultants help you hone your interview skills and overall presence. You must decide what you are willing to offer, and how you intend to charge for it. Decide after having thoroughly studied your competitors’ rates.

Decide Your Business Plan

Having a business plan is extremely essential. You must decide whether to work as a stylist, life coach, makeover expert, image consultant, business and career coach, etc. You can also undertake a mix of activities based on client requirement. Decide whether you plan to deal with individuals or groups. Apart from offering consultancy for groups and individuals, you can also conduct corporate seminars. If your clients are based in other states or countries, you can provide your services online and even conduct webinars.

Beware of Your Expenses

Though this business does not require huge initial investment, there are a few expenses which you will have to bear. Buy a video camera to record the body language of people, and help them improve it. Not only this, but getting a good virtual makeover software can help your clients select a new look for themselves. Apart from this, you will also have to invest in mirrors, books, videos, classroom setup, etc. You may also have to bear your own traveling and transportation expenses if your customer does not stay in your city/state.

Network Well

One of the best ways of promoting this business is to network and socialize with the right people. Have contacts with wedding planners, event planners, councilors, doctors, etc., so that they can recommend your name to individuals who are seeking image consultancy services. Get in touch with fashion photographers who may refer you to aspiring models who want to participate in beauty pageants or make a career in modeling.

e-presence is Essential

Having a strong e-presence is must for the kind of services you intend to offer. Have a suave and trendy website which will provide details of the services offered along with your consultancy charges. Do not forget to upload before and after photos of makeovers. In this business, seeing is believing, and your clients will definitely feel impressed with the drastic change they see. You can also add testimonials to your website. If you have testimonials from senior management people from your corporate sessions, it will add great value. Apart from this, do not forget to put up logos of all the A-list brands you cater to. Although, you will need their permission to do this. Also, feature regular pod casts, blogs and articles on your website to keep the visitors informed and interested.

Invest in Brand Identity

Invest in a good communication agency to design your brand identity. Explain the goals of your business so that they can design a smart brand identity accordingly. Design your logo, and ensure that it is visible on all your stuff, like brochures, leaflets, business cards, etc. All these collaterals are important, because they will act as the first window where your prospective clients will judge you.

Project Yourself in a Positive Light

Suppose you were looking for an image consultant agency, would you consider a consultant who does not look the part at all. In fact, if you go for a client meeting in disheveled hair, casual clothes, and do not look confident enough, you will never get the client interested enough. You represent your business, hence, you should always walk the talk. People will have a difficult time believing your business claims and offering.

Business Location Requirement

Initially, you may not require an office space in an commercial area. You can always start your office from your home. Visit the clients for consultation, this will save you the huge cost of investing in an office space. Also, you can hire space for seminars whenever and wherever you want. If you plan to offer online consultancy, you can also save on traveling time and money. Once your business is up and running, you can think about investing in your own office and workshop space.

Know About Other Business Partners

This is one business where you will have to liaison with other parties to provide excellent services to the customer. Hence, you should be able to forge business partnerships with hairstylists, fashion consultants, makeup artists, fitness trainers, voice modulation experts, etc. Apart from this, you may also require services of dentists, dietitians, and cosmetic surgeons. All these business partners will help you in offering a total makeover to your clients. However, remember to partner with reliable and experienced professionals to avoid any kind of problems to the clients.

Undertake Marketing and Self-promotion

Based on your targeted market, undertake focused marketing and advertising efforts. Have pages for your business on various social networking websites, and keep your followers engaged. Also, get paid Facebook ads and online banners to reach directly to people who are searching for image consultants. Maintain good reviews on online reference websites. Pay for online listings. Place ads in local magazines and newspapers. You can even sponsor radio slots. You must grab every single opportunity to promote your business. Remember to keep in touch with your old clients as they become a good source of word of mouth publicity.

Many people even undertake dress alterations and shoe repair assignments for their clients. As clothes and shoes are expensive, many prefer to have them repaired. Also, keep abreast with current industry knowledge and trends so that you are able to cater to your clients in a better way. After your business flourishes, you can decide to expand so that your brand or name becomes familiar. Now that you know how to start an image consultant agency, hope you design a fool-proof business plan to evolve your business further.

Tips to Write a Job Transfer Request

A vocation exchange demand can be a demand for movement or one asking for an exchange to another position that has opened in your organization. Individual reasons, for example, time and area imperatives could require you to keep in touch with one. A vocation exchange ask for must be tended to your manager making it clear why you need the exchange and it ought to persuade your boss about your reasonableness at the new position. You ought to be watchful in your demand for occupation exchange with the goal that it is conceded. Guarantee that it doesn’t resemble a weakly made demand. Likewise, it ought to likewise not have all the earmarks of being a self-important proclamation of your requirement for exchange.

Writing a Job Transfer Request
If your job transfer request is your response to a new job opening in your company, state the purpose of your request. Let a convincing reason for requesting follow the purpose. Highlight your strengths to convince your employer how well the newly opened position suits you. Make a mention of your experience and your expertise, which you will be able to utilize in the intended new position.

It may happen that your family is shifting and that you need to relocate to a new place. If you know that your company has a branch in the new place you will be moving to, you may like to request a transfer to that branch of your company. In this case, it is important to state clearly your reason to relocate. It is important to make your employer understand your urge of working with the company. State that you want to continue working in your current company and that it would be nice for you to obtain a job transfer to your place of relocation.

In any of these two cases or for any other personal reason that may lead you in requesting for a job transfer, remember to be clear and precise. Do not forget to add a few words of appreciation about the company. Do not appear to be flattering your company but make sure to mention what the company has done for you. Mention in your request how the company has helped you in your career. State your true reason for requesting a job transfer. It is always good to maintain transparency in your interaction with any of your employers.

Granting your job transfer request means that the company has to choose a new employee in your position. The company has to search for a suitable candidate and train him/her before the newly selected person can perform well at the position that was once served by you. The company may have to look out for new candidates or promote one of the candidates in the company. Your transfer can mean a lot of effort on the part of your employer. Your company needs to arrange for a suitable substitution for you. So give them that time. Make the request well in advance and wait for the stipulated period of time. There is an official notice period that gives both the parties a fair share of time to make the necessary changes. Abide by the company policies. You can provide a solution for your replacement in the company by referring a candidate or offering to train the new candidate that the employer chooses.

Your job transfer means a lot to you. It may mean an adjustment for your family or a change towards betterment. It is best to convince your company about how you will continue to benefit them. A well-drafted job transfer request can make a small contribution towards a successful career.