Important Manufacturing Metrics That Help in Increasing Efficiency

We may say a thousand things about business, but quite often, business is a sheer number game. Essentially, everything in a business is determined by profit and loss numbers. Revenue generated, orders fulfilled and other such data have great importance in business. Some key performance indicators become the guiding metrics for a business. Correct assessment of those metrics is very important for running a business successfully.

Manufacturing is one of the most crucial parts of a business. However, it is also a part riddled with the biggest challenges. Achieving Manufacturing Efficiency is the toughest part of this. It involves too many players and gets easily affected. Manufacturing Processes are generally complex and heavily rely on other processes too. Unplanned downtime or inefficiency even in one process will bring down the performance of the complete unit. Therefore, one Manufacturing Metric can not cover it all. From Manufacturing Downtime Tracking to monitoring OEE, everything is important.

Improving these Manufacturing Metrics can increase the profitability of the complete process. However, too many meters can take away the focus from the main concept. So, for the ease of understanding, we will be discussing only the most important metrics here.

Key Metrics for Measuring Manufacturing Efficiency

Efficiency

Manufacturing Cycle Time
This is the base metric for most of the calculations in a manufacturing unit. It measures the ideal manufacturing time of any product from the beginning to the end. If you are able to reduce this time then your plant will outperform. If you maintain it then you will remain consistent, but if this time increases your process will become inefficient.

Throughput
This Manufacturing Metric tells the average production capacity of any machine or process. It is important to note that it is an average and not the peak ability. Here, if the throughput of any plant or machinery goes down all of s sudden then it can mean some serious problems. It is easy to measure and assess. You can never ignore this metric.

Capacity Utilization
We always want to perform our best but when working in a team that's not possible all the time. Some Manufacturing Processes outshine whereas others underperform. Capacity utilization is the metric to measure the percentage difference between the potential output capacity and current output capacity of the complete process. This important metrics brings out the inefficiency in the process.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
This is a globally recognized gold standard Manufacturing Metric for assessing quality, speed, and availability. The higher the percentage of OEE in your plant, the more efficient your process will be. A better OEE score will make your Manufacturing Process more reliable and profitable.

Quality

Yield
Rework has always been one of the largest enemies of profit, time and reliability. Yet, every process produces some defective goods that require reworking. Yield measures the percentage of products produced correctly as per the specifications in the very first attempt.

Customer Rejects
This is a measure of the failure of your process in manufacturing standard products and it comes directly from the customers. The higher the number of customer rejects, the greater your loss of profit and credibility in the market will be.

Downtime
Percentage Planned vs emergency maintenance work orders
Maintenance is a critical activity in any Manufacturing Process. Machines that work will face damage and routine wear and tear. Planned maintenance helps in keeping them in shape and getting great efficiency and reliability. However, in spite of the best efforts machines can still break down all of a sudden and cause panic and chaos. But, such accidents should not be a regular scenario as then the maintenance costs can escalate multiple times. One of the most important maintenance matrics is the ratio between the planned and unplanned maintenance. The higher the difference the better your profits will be. Measuring Manufacturing Downtime and Equipment Tracking can help you in lowering such situations.

Availability Ratio
It is a simple metric showing the availability of assets. It is calculated by deducting the downtime from planned production time of any process or machinery. You will get the actual availability. It is important for assessing the potential of your plant as well as finding ways for increasing efficiency.

These Manufacturing Metrics help you in finding the key areas to work on in your plant. If you look closely you can find the missing pieces of the puzzle through these metrics which will help you in reaping higher profits.

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Your Most Precious Resource – Time – How To Manage It Better

The most valuable and precious thing you have and can give to another person is your time. Yet many small business owners struggle to manage this precious resource. So consider this critical statement in managing your time …

YOU HAVE TO MAKE CHOICES!

Successful time management is about prioritisation. The most important priorities are those that deliver on your goals and the purpose that your business is there to fulfill (the reason it exists). These priorities may not be those urgent tasks that swamp you every day. You need to consider both the short-term urgent priorities and also the longer-term important priorities.

Once you have an idea of ​​these priorities consider the following list. What resonates most for you?

1. Devote time working ON the business It is one of the most overused cliché's for small business owners yet very few actually do it and it is critical.

2. Personal wellbeing rules. If you have decided to include a few rules to improve your wellbeing, like exercise, time with family and friends, make them a high priority.

3. Be decisive. It is better to make a decision based on the best available information you have than to wait until everything is clear and the opportunity is lost.

“It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past.”

Karl Von Clausewitz

4. Do not procrastinate. Procrastinating chews up huge amounts of time, increase your stress, and will affect your business. Identify when you are doing it. If it is an unpleasant task that you are avoiding, then it will only be there tomorrow and be even less attractive!

5. Avoid interrupts. If you need to get important tasks done without interruptions, then dedicate time to complete them away from the distractions.

6. Avoid multi-tasking. We often hear people boast about being good multi-taskers. Avoid multi-tasking. There is no prize for doing a lot of tasks rather rather than one task really well.

7. Set deadlines and stick to them. Learn to set deadlines for tasks and then finish them. Sometimes simply finishing a task, irrespective of its impact, is a reward in itself.

8. Manage your emails. Emails are one of the easiest methods of communicating in business but can be overwhelming. Take action on each email. Delete them if they add no value. Act on them immediately, whenever you can. Be brief. People do not like long emails so no point writing long emails that will not be read.

9. Write things down. Some people have a gift in committing things to memory and then recalling them. Unfortunately most of us do not, especially if we are experiencing overload. So write those important and urgent things down so you remember them. This could have made your to-do list.

10. Use a calendar or weekly planner. This is important for you and any members of your small team. Calendars can be easily shared so everyone can assess what everyone is doing.

11. Be punctual and expect punctuality. If you are sloppy getting to appointments it will tell all those around you that time and discipline is not important to you.

12. Social media. Differentiate what is important time being spent on Facebook or LinkedIn for the business versus the time spent on entertaining gossip – and, therefore, a waste of time.

13. Network versus social catch-ups. Networking brings more customers or strengthens partners and is important. Likewise, a social catch up may be an important rule for your wellbeing. Know the difference and make sure your networking is helping your business, not wasting your time.

14. Control the controllable. It is important to stay informed on what is happening in the outside world. However, do not get hung up on external world issues that you can not control or even influence.

“God grant me the serenity to
Accept the things I can not change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the Wisdom to know the difference “.

Alcoholics Anonymous' version of Reinhold Niebuhr's “Serenity Prayer”

15. Build routine and habits. The more you get into habits like those above, the easier they will become. The routine and habits on the little things free you up for the important, innovative, and even fun things.

16. Be responsible. Be disciplined. Once you commit to any or all of the above points, be responsible. and stick with them. If you consider the great performers in any field, it's their attention to detail and discipline over the long term that helped them achieve their success.

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Top 3 Mistakes When Starting a Resume Business

Making the decision to go into business for yourself can be very exciting and scary at the same time (at least this was how it was for me way back when). The dream of becoming my own boss, setting my own hours, and not having anyone tell me what to do is what sold me on the idea. However, keeping that sweet dream staying sweet is a whole different story!

Mistake # 1: Letting My Business Run Me Instead of Me Run My Business

Unfortunately, I learned this hard way so if I can help you avoid this huge mistake I made, this article has served its purpose.

It was after learning my Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) certification I decided to open my doors for business. My intention was to have a home-based resume business, giving me the opportunity to raise our family. Unfortunately, I let my business get the upper hand and before I knew it, I had all three of my daughters in full-time childcare.

Although I attended (and still attend) all of their school activities and sporting events, work was continuously on my mind and the sense of overwhelm was what I took to bed several nights after burning the midnight oil.

Takeaways:

  • Family first. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
  • Time goes by WAY too fast and you do not want to have regret (speaking from experience!).
  • Plan out your day and stick to it. Carve out time for client project work only. Set boundaries around your work schedule.
  • Ensure that your clients understand your company polices and that they respect your time.
  • Do to your clients as you would have them do unto you.

Mistake # 2: Taking on Any Resume Project

When starting out, taking on any resume writing project sounds great because that means money is being made. For me, it was money coming in and a way of getting experience in different industries and career levels. But a year or two later, I found myself taking on projects that did not challenge me enough or writing for industries that really did not interest me any longer.

Not being challenged and not being interested in certain industries took away the excitation I once had when I first started my business and this was not a good thing. So, I decided to specialize and brand my company toward a targeted audience. What a world of difference it made!

Many writers think if they specialize or narrow the industries they write for that it will limit the amount of money they can make in their business. Not true at all. In fact, it can do just the opposite!

To illustrate what I mean, let's say you're having heart issues and surgery is a possibility. Who would you be more apt to make your appointments with – a general practitioner and general surgeon to perform the surgery if you need it or would you want to see a heart specialist and heart surgeon?

Now, let's apply that same rule to your resume business. If an IT person or an executive manager is seeking a resume service and they have the choice to work with a general resume writer or a writer who specializes in IT resume writing or executive management level resumes, who do you think these people would look out first ?

Takeaways:

  • Do not settle for writing just any resume to make a buck.
  • Specialize and let it be part of your branding message.
  • Determine which industry (s), and / or career level you enjoy writing for and gives you the most satisfaction.

Mistake # 3: Willing to Negotiate My Fees Just to Make the Sale

In the resume industry, we can experience seasons of floods and droughts when it comes to what money we bring in each month. The good news is that you're not alone! I experienced it as I'm sure pretty sure most of our colleagues (resume writers and career coaches) if not all have experienced really good months as well as not so good months to the point of closing only one sale for the month.

If you've positioned yourself as one who provides expertise in your industry, value, and you are confident in the results you're able to deliver, the person seeking your services will not baulk at your fees or try to talk you down. If they do, stand firm and let them go if you have to with the mindset it's their loss, not yours.

Negotiating your fees sends the message that you yourself question if what you're charging is really worth charging. If you do not believe you deserve what you're worth, why would anyone else believe it?

In the beginning and when it seemed that resume projects were coming in few and far between, I'd let clients negotiate my fees. I figured it was better than nothing and I could use the money.

The light bulb turned on for me when I had an executive level client who I let negotiate my fee that taught me a BIG lesson. I took on his project and during my conversation with him when we got to the point of going over the content of his draft, he told me how he thought things should have been written and for me to “be a good little writer writer and do my job because that's why he's paying me! ”

My client's remark with no doubt set a fire under me. It was that particular experience early on in my business that led me to make the decision to never again negotiate my fees. And, led me to reevaluate my entire business and how I ran it. Believe me, this girl was a great deal more than just “a little resume writer” and I made certain this message came across very clear.

Takeaways:

  • Have a full understanding of what you bring to the table, what you deliver, and how you serve your clients.
  • Position yourself so potential clients have a clear understanding of what value you bring to them as their skilled expert and resume writer, leaving no room for them to even think your fees are negotiable.
  • If a potential client wants to negotiate your fee, let them know your fee is firm. Do not be afraid to let them go.
  • Stand your ground. It communicates that you firmly believe you offer great value to your clients and can attest to the quality of work and service your company provides and the fee is justified.

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The Key to Small Business Success Requires an Uncomplicated Commitment

Virtually every owner or manager will agree that operating a small business requires lots of hard work on the part of both managers and employees. It's what is commonly known as “sweat equity”. Or in other words, hard work is required to bring the results desired.

Hard work alone is not enough. Additionally, the business owner must be prepared to make a commitment to building and growing the business. That translates to being on the job every day.

Unfortunately, some owners, such as those who purchase a franchise, assume that their on-the-job commitment is not necessary if they hire a manager to run the business. Sometimes that works. More often it does not work so well. Neverheless, operating a small business requires hard work by the owners and managers.

There are three fundamental steps in the process of the hard work that are not complicated, but necessary for success.

Getting work comes first. Whatever the business does, it must first promote and sell its products and services to the markets served. The business can not depend on chance. To illustrate, if the business has the cure for the common cold, it must tell the market and provide a way for potential customers to contact the business to purchase the remedy. To get work or sell products and services, the business must make the market it aware of its presence and skills as well as how to contact the business. Fortunately, there are many affordable advertising and promotion options for small businesses that will contact potential customers who are likely to buy the products and services available for purchase.

Fulfilling and delivering customer orders is the second step. Whether designing, building, assembling or delivering products or services, small businesses do of good job of getting the work done. What they do not do well well sometimes is fulfilling the order or getting the project done on time.

There may be nothing more irritating or disabling to a customer than a supplier or vendor who does not fulfill an order or complete a project on time. This happens far too often with small businesses. While it is desirable to get something done the right way even though it may take more time than originally planned, small business owners and managers must strive to meet deadlines or finish projects before the deadline if they want to be successful.

Paying bills and getting paid for the Work performed and delivered is the third step of the process.

Small businesses tend to pay bills to vendors and suppliers before the due date because they think the thinking doing so will insure a good credit status with the vendor or supplier if the bill is paid before due. Paying the bill when due is good enough.

On the other hand, they will allow their customers to pay bills beyond the due date.

At the end of the fiscal year, most small businesses will complain that while sales were good, there was little cash in the company checking account. When asked why this is the case, Accountants and Consultants will reply that the cash shortage is in Inventory or Accounts Receivable. Usually the latter is the major contributor to cash shortfalls.

Small businesses do not do a good job of getting paid in a timely manner. It does not have to be that way and it should not be that way. In fact, it is very easy to secure timely payments when a consistent and uniform Accounts Receivable Collection Procedures Program is in place.

Accounts receivable systems are a valuable asset to small businesses. The consistent application of Accounts Receivable collection activities will reduce costs which in turn improves margins and operation profits.

In closing, a professional Accounts Receivable Collection is not the dreaded last minute phone call to the customer that nobody wants to do. On the contrary, the process begins at the point of sale when buyer and seller agree to payment terms required and continues on professional and uniform communication between the buyer and the seller.

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3 Ways Bartering Is Bad for Business

Everybody wins, right? Again – wrong. Bartering or trading services may seem like a great idea, but there are reasons to be wary, and you should consider them carefully before agreeing to trading services.

Customers will continue to expect a discount

Once you have begun to give away your services for free, it is very difficult to begin to charge your client at full price. They will begin to negotiate and even expect you to continue to work for free. While it looks like a great way to introduce your services to a client, it is highly recommended that you do not offer to barter your services. Instead of offering to barter, either offer them a complementary hour of services or discount your service by 25% or less on a fixed period basis. This sets the tone that you are a business, you mean business and if they want your services, they have to support you like any other business.

It does not promote your business, goods or services

A lot of the time, we barter our services for an acknowledgment or a referral; especially if the client has status. Sadly, although the only thing you've asked for is an acknowledgment, you will often not receive it. People are glad to take your goods or services, wear it; receive compliments and never cite the business, much less mention the owner. Never give away your gifts, talents, and skills away for someone else to view it as 'free merchandise'. They will value it more once they have had to pay for it.

You will always give more than you receive

You are a business woman. You have bills to pay. You have a household to maintain. You have a business to run and operate. You can not do it on a 'favor for a favor' basis. When we barter services, we often find ourselves giving more in our time, energy and efforts than we do in the value of the received / exchated goods or services – if we have received anything at all from the other party.

If a customer values ​​your business and products, they will pay for the services. If they are not patronizing you, they are obviously patronizing another business of some sort. If they can not go into their telco and ask for a discount on their phone plan in exchange for a homemade apple pie, then they should not do the same for you.

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Booklet Tips – What Drives You?

Your motivation for sharing your knowledge in whatever formats you do is unique to you. What prompts you may be broadly similar to someone else's motivation, yet the details are yours and yours alone. Your driving force might be primarily one thing or a combination of several reasons. You could be crystal clear about what it is that actually enthuses you or maybe you never stop to think about it at all and you simply do yourself “why?”

Exploring these amongst the many possibilities may bring you clarity so you can more fully embrace and go deeper with your motivators or even discover them for the first time. If nothing on this list feels familiar to you, think about what does inspire you to share your bite size brilliance in the forms you do.

Financial Reward

You might be looking to generate revenue, enhancing your current income or as primary income. That can bridge one career to another or shift the balance in your business from services to products or products to services. You could have primary earnings you want to expand to live on or to make specific purchase or to replenish your reserves. Those and more are financial motivators.

Helping People

With the billions of people in the world in any region in any situation, your key reason to do tips booklets or audio programs or enterprise programs may be that you want to help people improve their life. The money you could make from selling your information is secondary to you or even lower on the list of why you do what you do. Giving it all away can be reward in itself for you.

Catharsis

Your information may be from a difficult time or experiences in your life – emotional, physical, financial, or something else. While personally working through it as much as possible, remnants linger on in your memories or in how you acclimated. Letting people know you got through it and they can, too, may contribute to your healing, your progress, your ability to live more fully.

Sense of Accomplishment

It has been a dream for as long as you can remember to get published, to have your name on something. You thought it would be a book, yet you notice that still has not happened. Now you've discovered you can create other information products from what you know. You have the time or you now want to make the time. The book may fall by the wayside as you create new products faster and easier.

ACTION – Examine what it is that appeals most to you about creating tips booklets, audios, card decks, classes, and anything else you can imagine for sharing your knowledge. While the above are only a few of the many possible motivators, they are frequently common ones, in one way or another. In fact, it could turn out that all four of the ones mentioned here are what drive you, in various ways and in various amounts. The most important thing of all is that you are doing what you want to do because you want to do it, for your own reasons, no matter what they are.

© 2015

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What Your Glass Storefront Window Can Do for Your Business

If you are running a brick-and-mortar store, one of your most useful promotional tools is your storefront window. With creative planning, you can make this part of your store tell people what your business is and what do you have to offer.

There are different types of glass installations, and for storefronts, you may want to install transparent frameless glass. Just be sure that you have the most durable type of glass installed to make the most of your budget.

Installing frameless glass offers you greater chance of attracting potential customers. Whether you are constructing a new outlet or renovating an old one, here are some of the advantages that glass offers you:

Enhance your store's visual appeal

Compared to “solid” storefronts, the transparency of glass can help entice passersby to take a peek on what's inside your shop. As long as you keep it cleaned, glass is also beautiful to look at. To maintain the cleanliness of your storefront window, be sure to get the services of professional window cleaners.

Capture customer's interest

As the transparent glass gives potential customers a glimpse of what's inside your shop, it also allows your displays to stand out to people walking by your promises. This strategy lets them see what you have to offer even before they enter your store.

Round-the-clock marketing

A well-designed storefront display provides an opportunity for you to give your promotional efforts a boost, regardless of the time of the day – or night. If your shop is closed for the day, people passing by will still be able to see your window display. They should see anything they like, they could just decide to come back some other time or during regular business hours.

Maximize available space

Shopfronts with framed glass designs block out the customers' complete view of the shop display or interior. On the other hand, frameless glass helps expand your customer's line of sight into your shop. This will easily get their attention and draw them inside.

Boost branding

A storefront window is useful in boosting your branding efforts. Apart from showcasing your business name, the etched glass is a good place to display your slogan. When you use etching, just be sure that the message you want to convey is permanent.

A storefront window can indeed help in marketing your business in a number of ways. With proper maintenance, it can serve you for years to come and provide great value for your money.

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Booklet Tips – Gift of Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is a simple yet powerful gesture whether you extend that to your clients, colleges, mentors, family, or friends, or you privately go inward and acknowledge to yourself how great it is to have all the experiences and things you have in your life . Although certain times of the year are designated for it, you certainly can offer your gratitude at any time and in various ways.

Imagine how your thought is enhanced when you send a piece of your bite size brilliance that helps the recipient improve their life in some way – a gift that lets the person know you are thinking of them, that you are grateful they are in your life, and that you want to share something you believe improves their life, all without asking them to buy anything from you at that moment!

And what did that cost you? It was a few moments of your time when you sent it electronically, and a slight bit more out of pocket when you sent it as a hard copy. You've made a wise investment of your time and money resources either way.

Think of how you would feel being on the receiving end of such a gift. You receive a copy of a booklet from a college who you sent a client, and you read a message in the booklet thanking you for the referral. Yes, an email or a handwritten note can serve the purpose on some level, although not in the same way or with the same impact.

How about the vendors who you frequent for your business and for your personal purchases? What would you think about getting a how-to tips booklet from them that reflects ways to improve your life in some way related to what products or services you buy from them? Plus such a booklet lives on way beyond the typical calendar many businesses and organizations distribute to their clients, customers, and prospects.

Any delivery format in hard copy or electronically for your bite size brilliance can work well, whether you are planning this for your own business or you are suggesting such a campaign to businesses and organizations who are your buyers, for them to use at any time of the year.

ACTION – Consider what formats of your information you want to use and what schedule you want to plan for expressing gratitude to people in your personal and professional life from your own business with your own content. Once you have mapped out your ideas, use that as a springboard and a model for conversations with companies and organizations to use for their purposes.The campaign can be at specific holiday seasons like Thanksgiving or at the start of the new year in January or on a quarterly basis to stay in front of people or whatever suits you and your clients' purposes best. Your buyers may come up with ways you had no reason to consider, based on something unique to them. This sincerely and honestly spreads good feelings around, differentiates you and your clients from amongst the crowd, and is likely to trigger new sales for you and your buyers.

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The Importance of Working ON Your Business – 7 Steps to Making Your Business Soar

Michael Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited , talks about the importance of working on your business, as opposed to working in your business. The working in is the delivery of your business's services or products: providing the service, fulfilling the product, writing the proposal, giving the class, hiring the vendors, firing the contractors, sending the reports to the CPA, ordering supplies. Working on your business is far different; it's looking at the big picture, designing the marketing strategy for the next year, creating new products, deciding to expand, clearing new roles and descriptions, professional development.

Honestly, most entrepreneurs do not spend enough time working on the business. They're much too caught up on the working IN side. Take a look at your to-do list; what's on it? I bet it's a lot of those Working IN tasks.

The problem is that Working ON the biz is not an item on your to-do list that you can cross off. (“Oh, thank goodness that working ON the business is done!”) It's time you need to take away from the day-to-day to focus on the bigger picture and the deeper why of your business.

What you need to do:

  1. Schedule regular Working ON the business time . Call it whatever you want. My favorite is Business Development or Business Dreaming Time.
  2. Block off at least a half day a month . A full day is better.
  3. Do not mix IN with ON . In other words, you're not going to efficiently go from ordering supplies, following up with prospective clients, and answering emails to big-picture planning and product development. Keep the activities separate. More concretely, that means when you have scheduled your business development time, do not have any other Working IN to do's for that day.
  4. Have lovely blocks of free time in your regular schedule . While this is not Working ON your business, per se, it helps replenish your fuel, center and ground you, and let your mind dream. You're priming the pump for your regularly scheduled business development time (see # 1).
  5. Have a way to record all your ideas, dreams, plans, and goals . Put them in one place. My favorite is a Sacred Space for Ideas document. That way, whenever you have a great idea, capture it, and then it's there for your Business Development time.
  6. Find one (I'm just asking for one) week a year where you do not have any Working IN the business tasks . No email to return, no client work, no marketing, no phone appointments, no networking, no meetings, no social media. And use some of that week to think REALLY BIG for your business.
  7. Delegate to a team (if you do not have one, you need one … no arguments). Get rid of as much of the Working in your business as you can so that you can bring some of those big dreams to fruition.

Imagine what your business could look like if you nurtured it with love, attention, and the business equivalent of vitamins and minerals.

It would soar.

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Starting a Minority Owned Business

Starting a business involves planning, making financial decisions and completing legal activities; minority business owners also face challenges accessing capital, marketing and resources.

However, in recent years thanks to the Minority Business Development Agency, it's now possible for minorities to become successful entrepreneurs.

The agency helps minorities secure financing, create effective marketing plans and provide other valuable resources. So, here's a basic list of what is needed before seeking help.

1. Write a Business Plan

I know what you're thinking “not the dreadful business plan”.

However, the business plan is a valuable resource to you and your business, providing a guide on how the business will operate. While writing your business plan, you will start visualizing your business and will learn and develop the characteristics of your customer; who is your customer? What does your customer look like? What's your customer's income? You will also understand the role of your competitors and vendors. When writing your business plan, think outside the box show your investors that you're serious and have the necessary data to support your vision. A well written business plan will open many doors for you.

2. Business Structure

It's important for you to know what type of business structure you will form. This will determine the taxes you will pay, the personal liabilities you will face and how you will raise money. Types of ownership –

• Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietors are the most common form of business structure. This type of business is easy to form and operate. However, the business owner is personally liable for all debts incurred by the business.

• Partnership

A partnership is when two or more people agree to give money or a skill set to a business. Both partners share the profits and losses of the business, and each partner is personally liable for the debts incurred in the business.

• Corporation

A corporation is an independent legal entity owned by shareholders. This means that the corporation is separate from its owners, and the corporation is liable for the actions and debts the business incurs.

3. Financing

Many financing options exist on the market today, and choosing the right one for your business can mean the difference between failing and succeeding. Although, you may look at certain organizations to help you with financing. Most government agencies do not provide loans directly. They guarantee the loans once you have met certain criteria.

It's a good idea to have other financing options available; bank loans, family or friends, refinancing or 401K plans.

To conclude, starting a minor owned business can be an intimidating process at times. However, following these basic steps will give you the confidence and courage on the path to entrepreneurship.

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Booklet Tips – Repeat and Then Repeat

You rarely fully learn something the first time you're introduced to it. The same is true for people coming to you for your expertise. Whatever concern you have about repeating the information you are teaching is not only unfounded; the concern is counterproductive to what you intend to accomplish of helping people improve their life in some way.

Think of the times your parent taught you something (or attempted to teach you something!), And a teacher at school or someone else's parent or a classmate or a neighbor or anyone else in your world taught you the same thing. Maybe they said it a little differently. Or maybe you were more open to it because of the relationship you had with them. Or you were more rested one day than another, or any one of an endless number of variables.

The fact is that it took multiple exposures to basically the same information before it got into your head. The first approach may have paved the way without your realizing it, and the next approaches made it through to your mind to find its home. That is the learning process.

The same is true when you are sharing your bite size brilliance, your knowledge, your expertise, your experience. The people who want to learn from you need to have multiple exposures to your information and those exposures often need to be in different formats at different times at different paces.

Starting with your most basic concepts in the smallest measures, the tips booklet delivery format is ideal for that. The manuscript of tips allows you to take individual how-to's and repeat them in writing, through listening, as a video, delivered online or offline, imprint the information on products, and introduce them in whatever ways you can discover that extremely work for you and your students.

You then have the option of changing the presentation, making it longer, putting it in different contexts, and keeping the message out there to reinforce the learning process.

Notice how the same advertising commercials are repeated on television, often for weeks on end, sometimes repeated immediately after the other. While you may find the experience annoying, the advertiser knows it takes many exposures for the audience to even notice much less pay attention to and absorb the contents of the advertisement, and then take action. Although those repetitions can become irritating, they also accomplish the goal of being noticed and extremely making sales immediately or at some point in the future.

Repeating your information provides opportunities for your audience to learn from you in ways and at times that they are ready to learn.

ACTION – Review your overall plan of how you deliver your information and determine how you can increase the need to repeat your teaching in various ways in your products and your presentations. Mixing it up in different delivery styles makes it more interested for your clients and students, for you, and for your business, bringing new and improved results for everyone.

© 2015

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6 Online Resources to Streamline Tedious Business Tasks

According to a survey of 1,200 people by Office Time, the number one time waste for entrepreneurs, business owners, freelancers and professionals is email, with meetings being a close second. You may not be able to completely eliminate tedious duties in your day-to-day work, but there are online resources to help expedite some of your most time-consuming business tasks. From project management to accounting, these online services have your business covered.

Sage One

Quickly take care of your business quotes, invoices and expenses with a free accounting software like Sage One. You do not need an accounting degree to figure out how to compile all the financial data you need. Sage One simplifies the process so you're not stuck figuring out next steps and how your numbers add up. You can also integrate with your bank and send reports to your CPA to review a crisp, clean cash flow statement you barely had to work on.

Fancy Hands

Skip the expense and hassle of hiring someone part-time to deal with random tasks, such as researching, purchasing the right office supplies and managing your appointments and calendar. With Fancy Hands, you can sign up for as few as five task requests a month and go all the way up to an unlimited plan. And Fancy Hands is not just for business. If your cable bill suddenly went up, you can submit a request to have an assistant call and resolve it for you.

Trello

Ditch the traditional to-do lists you never look at again, and manage your projects with Trello. Assign tasks a virtual card that you can quickly drag and drop to different columns to keep track of what's going on and what you need to do next. Plan your next big product launch or put together a board for your next business trip. Trello also lets you add team members to your board. They can add cards, make suggestions and check-off completed tasks.

Edgar

Use a social media scheduling site like Edgar to see sobering statistics of how little your social media reach really is. For example, the half-life for a Tweet is 24 minutes and 90 minutes for a Facebook post. That means very few people ever see your social media updates announcing your big business news or services. Like Hootsuite and other social media schedulers, Edgar has an option to schedule out your posts when you want your audience to see it. But unlike other services, Edgar lets you stock up to 5,000 posts in an online library into different category buckets. The system automatically stocks up its queue with updates from your library, and when you run out, it uses older ones so you never miss out on branding your business.

Bidsketch

Bidsketch empowers you to create better business proposals in at least half the time. Build the confidence to pitch bigger and more lucrative clients with a polished presentation. You can mix and match your content, fees and designs to pull together a professional-looking proposal. Capture your client signatures online when they approve your proposal and impress them with a customized client landing page.

GoToMeeting

You probably can not completely eliminate business meetings from your weekly schedule, but you can simplify the process with GoToMeeting. Connect with anyone from whatever device you're using, whether a tablet, smartphone or laptop, for an HD video chat and shared screen. The best part is GoToMeeting automatically records your meeting for a more thorough review later.

These are just six of the many online resources available to help increase productivity.

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Booklet Tips – What Else to Offer

You may have started by creating a tips booklet with however many tips you included. You got the booklet designed and printed, distributed the PDF and / or printed copies at no cost or for sale, and are now wondering what else you can do with that content.

There are not only endless ways to deliver that same information, there are endless things you can bundle all or parts of it to keep you and those you serve interested and interesting. And you can do it strategically, planning out what you want to do on a schedule you create now for the future.

Every month has a long list of promotional events for you to consider featuring – everything from Get Organized Month to Learn Spanish Month both in January, with many more beyond those each and every month. How can you focus your content on either of those or anything else? Can you take multiple of the tips from your bite size brilliance and present them in the context of getting organized or of learning Spanish? Can you bring that information to new industries like Professional Organizers, productivity product manufacturers, Spanish speakers, or Spanish educators?

Search on “promotional events” for the year to get you thinking. You'll find dozens of entries for every single month of the year and may even be prompted to come up with one of your own that has special meaning for you and your business.

What about taking one, three, five, seven, or ten of your tips and putting them onto a completely new product – a shirt, a cap, a mug, or a needlepoint canvass and making a limited supply of those available during one month of the year?

You can take one tip and offer an open in-depth discussion on it, at a social media site, on a conference phone line, or asking for input by email from people. Can you create a contest based on the most creative way to implement a particular tip?

Actively engaging people in somehow participating with you is a way to expand your community and increase interest in your expertise. As the newcomers get to know more about you they are likely to want more of what you offer. This is also a way to breathe new life into your interaction with those who have been longtime followers of your work.

ACTION – Consider ways to prompt participation in your business to the extent you feel it is appropriate for the audiences you serve, the topics you feature, and your personality style. Ideas are everywhere, from brainstorming with friends and groups to seeing what local community organizations are doing to observing how professional associations mark noteworthy benchmarks in their industry. Whether you take a small piece of what someone else does or modify their own campaign to suit your purposes, your bite size brilliance has more life and more depth to it than you may have ever considered when you first captured the information for a booklet or other information product to sell, to use as a marketing tool, or both.

© 2015

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How to Turn Your Pastime Into a Profitable Occupation

Nowadays, global trends suggest that there is a noticeable rise in the number of women setting up small creative businesses. They usually earn extra income from their entrepreneurial activity on the side, until they are confident enough that it can become their sole occupation.

Creative Entrepreneurship Online

Creative entrepreneurship is also preferred by mothers who want to choose the time and conditions under which they will be working in order to still be able to look after their families. Their success may spur you to create your own business to supplement your earnings by doing something you really enjoy.From cooking to web design, from writing to knitting, the possibilities are ultimately endless. Freelance creative work also becomes particularly popular in a climate of economic uncertainty experienced in various parts of the world today. With the help of the Internet, you can promote your business worldwide and reach a vast clientele; or target local customers if you feel that there will be great demand for your product in the particular area in which you are based.

Making the Right Moves When Starting Out

Above all, you should select to specialize in an area that really suits you. Only if you have the firm willingness to evolve in your creative domain will you develop a base of loyal clientele that will appreciate your work. Naturally, you need to make your creative business stand out. One of the first things to consider is finding the perfect name for your business. The online market is now arranged with dot.com companies. So you've better find something different that rings a bell for your customers, depending on the product or service offered; If you are selling home-made cosmetics for example, you can create a domain name ending in.purecream; just remember that hyphens and numbers should be avoided, as they make it difficult for customers to spot you. Then, you should design your website with the intention of making the usefulness of your products as plain as day.

Growing a Full-Fledged Business

After some time, you may feel ready to make this your full-time occupation. You may consider this quite risky. Yet, sometimes, and especially when the indications are positive, it is worth taking risks. In various inspiring publicized stories, other successful creative women relate how their road to success was beset with obstacles; their cases often prove that you can exceed hurdles even more formidable than the ones you encounter by using your resourcefulness. Practical thinking is of vital importance; whenever possible, save some money; structure your budget; and develop a back-up plan.

No one can guarantee success. It is only through persistent work and genuine commitment that you can ever establish yourself as an entrepreneur. Even if you make it, it will be difficult to maintain a thriving business in the long run; besides, unforeseen circumstances may force you to go back to square one.

So, would you consider venturing out as a creative entrepreneur and why? Voice your opinion in one of our upcoming issues http://goo.gl/qn1VkG .

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It’s Official

IT'S OFFICIAL! As of October 14, 2015, the final rule to the Woman-Owned Small Business Contract Program is effective. You are probably wondering “What does that mean for me?” Well, if you are a woman owned business, it means A LOT! In effect, this change allows agencies to issue sole source awards to ED / WOSB's. If you know anything at all about government contracting, then you know how HUGE this is. If you do not then I'll give you the “cliff notes” version of why this is so powerful.

Certificates like EDWOSB and WOSB position your business for set-over contracts in the government space. That means instead of competing with every other business out there for contracts, you are only competing against other businesses in the same category. For example, if you are an EDWOSB certified construction company, instead of competing alongside Fluor, Skanska and Turner Construction for a contract, you are competing only against the other EDWOSB certified construction firms. That's good since you, as a small business owner, could not possibly compete against those formidable, billion dollar soldiers.

The other benefit of set-asides is it limits the number of potential bidders … considerably. There are just over 32,000 WOSB certified firms registered to do business with the government. When you consider the millions of women owned businesses in the US, narrowing the field to only 32,000 increased your odds dramatically. Not only that, but each of those 32,000 companies are not competitive for the same contract. That is the beauty of set-asides in a nutshell. Now, let's talk about Sole Source.

The most important word in Sole Source Contracts is “Sole”. That means one. A sole source contract is a contract directly awarded to one company with no competition and no length procurement process. It is you negotiating with the agency buying your stuff. Sweet deal, right?

Now, this final rule – which was published by the SBA on September 14, 2015, and went into effect on October 14th – has parameters for ED / WOSB sole source awards that are now published in the Code of Federal Regulations under Title 13, Chapter I, Part 127. According to the aforementioned code, a contracting officer can issue a sole source award to an ED / WOSB firm when he / she determines that:

1. The EDWOSB is a responsible contractor with respect to performance of the requirement and the contracting officer does not have a reasonable expectation that 2 or more EDWOSBs will submit offers;

2. The anticipated award price of the contract (including options) will not exceed $ 6,500,000 in the case of a contract assigned a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for manufacturing, or $ 4,000,000 in the case of any other contract opportunity; and

3. In the estimation of the contracting officer, the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price.

I do not know if you caught the full meaning of this folks so I'll reiterate in layman's terms. If a contracting officer: 1. Knows a responsible EDWOSB or WOSB firm, 2. Does not think two or more qualified ED / WOSB firms will bid, and 3. Believes the ED / WOSB's price to be reasonable; then a sole source award can be made to that firm up to $ 4,000,000 or $ 6,500,000 for manufacturing! These are game changing numbers.

Now you are probably asking, “What do I need to do to get a piece of THAT action?” First, you have to get certified to participate in the program. Once you are certified, then the hard work begins. Unfortunately, being certified is not going to mean contracting officers are being a path to your door. You need to learn how to market yourself appropriately to the agencies you want to work with so they know:

• Who you are,
• What you do and
• How your solutions will solve all of their problems.

Like I said in the beginning, EDWOSB and WOSB Sole Source regulations are especially in place. The ball is now in your court. The question is, “What will you do with it?”

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