Introducing Small Business Management
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â As a sophomore in college my accounting professor in one of his many fits of philosophy told us promptly after an examination on which a full two-thirds of the class failed that should we choose to separate ourselves from the animals of the earth we would learn how to make order out of chaos.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In a new business in order for you to survive you must maintain order.Â To do this a business has to show a purpose in its activity, with an ability to reach an obtainable and hopefully practical goal.Â To reach this goal we must first get organized, this purposeful path is called management.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â There is a subtle difference between basic business sense and theory.Â It is your purpose as a businessperson to structure your operation to reach an end goal which is to survive and to make a profit.Â As a small business owner you must learn to become knowledgeable on many different aspects of your business.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â To administer your business, you need to learn how to properly run it, to administer to its needs and to manage it.Â To reach this administrative level in your business you must have a plan of action.Â The preparation of a business plan is of utmost importance.Â A business plan is necessary for you to have a defined approach to conduct your business.Â This business plan should include the following:
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Executive Summary
A.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Company
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Current Status
2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Near Term Objectives
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Long Term Objectives
4.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Management
a.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Management Team
b.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Basic Business Assumptions
c.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Organization Chart
5.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Professional Counsel
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Financial and Business Counsel
7.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Corporate Counsel
8.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Board of Directors
9.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Personal Objectives of Management
1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Positioning the Company to meet the Competition
B.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Market
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Definition
2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Size and Identity
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Primary Market
4.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Market Characteristics
5.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Psychological
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Secondary Market
7.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Evidence of Customer Interest
8.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Competition
9.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Market Share from Sales Projections
C. Â Â Â Â Â Â Selling
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Definition
2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Current Status
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Direct Mail Marketing
4.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yellow Page Advertising
5.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Television and Radio Advertising
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Other Methods of Advertising
7. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Pricing
B.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Subcontractor Considerations
9. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Location
D.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Financial Projections
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Overview and Assumptions
2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Capital Equipment
3. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â First Year
4.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Second Year
5.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Third Year
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Break-even Chart
7.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Profit/Loss Statement
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The business plan although only covered here in outline format is a consistent guideline that you can gauge where your business is at and where it is you plan to be at a specific time and place in your business future.Â There are several very specific books in most bookstores that Will help you to better understand an complete a business plan.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â One of the specifics youâ€™ll need to determine is what your immediate needs for your business? Are your ideas and planned activities planned in the short term?Â do you have the financial means to reach these short-term goals and if not where do you find the financing?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Planning is disciplined thinking, this thought procedure is based in the present and oriented to the future.Â Planning is some what like forecasting the weather, it is based on past events or given quotients and based on methods of making useful and theoretical information into projections for predicting future events.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â You must take into account the state of the overall economy, then access your specific market and then the state of your company itself.Â The trends in the national economy may effect jobs in your area and should jobs become lost it can directly effect the leisure income on which you depend.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Planning and organization cannot be an exact science, using any type of theory can determine only probable answers never completely right ones.Â Be as objective in planning as it is possible for you to be, and above all donâ€™t taint the process with padded figures that will artificially inflate your numbers.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Managing a small business is not unlike becoming a master juggler, you must constantly keep
all the business basics going with consistency.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The first business basic you need to familiarize yourself with is accounting, as we stated earlier you should have the services of a public accountant for the truly major year end and tax filings youâ€™ll be required to do.Â Your main job will be to see that your receivable exceed your payable this leaves you with a profit.Â You must know whether you are expending too much money and be able to account for the funds spent.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Without the advice of a competent legal counsel you may stray from a path you thought was right and end up in trouble.Â You need to be aware of the legal forms your business must take in order to legally do business and what your obligations are under the law.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In writing your Business Plan you have begun to establish what basic financing your company requires to meet certain time specific goals.Â This financing must be obtained through some means usually friends, relatives and business acquaintances are the first line of backing for a small business, lending institutions and venture capital groups then are next in line.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â These secondary avenues of funding are going to want to know how the funds are goings to be used, your method of marketing your product and the profitability and the single important aspect to them (ROI) Return on Investment – how much and within what time period.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â You need to understand the day-to-day business existence is not a get rich quick deal but systematic practices of utilizing funds to their utmost and this can become a delicate balancing act.Â The purpose here is to get pointed in the direction of doing things that will pay off for you.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The customer is always right.Â If you donâ€™t know how to advertise, you canâ€™t draw people into your business, you canâ€™t have a successful business.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â When I opened my first school more than twenty years back the cost of doing business was relatively inexpensive, rent, utilities, a heavy bag and a few mirrors.Â I had an ad in the yellow pages, I put flyers on cars in parking lots and gave demonstrations at local civic clubs and business was good in my eyes.Â I was able to meet my payments, have a few dollars every month to spend and put some away for my business.Â Sounds successful and to a point it was, but success then is as relative as it is in an operation today.Â When I began I had another job as do most teachers today so the school wasnâ€™t my sole means of support.Â If it had been I could not have met my financial obligations.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Through becoming aware of the means of advertising you can spread the word about who and what you are to your community. Youâ€™ll find that adverting cost money and you may need to budget up to 25% of your budget on this effort just to remain competitive today.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Related to advertising is promotion, which is essentially the free advertising part of marketing.Â You need to know about promotion because you can take advantage of free publicity that will bring customers through your door.Â You must be able to spot the things that makes your business unique and help to create an image for yourself.Â You must through your public relations to your community and through your advertising make your identity known.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Whether your a martial arts instructor, expert at empty hand defense or a butcher expert in selection and preparation of a fine cut of meat, being technically proficient in your field is not enough.Â You have to be able to sell yourself and your product to your prospective client.Â You donâ€™t have to be an expert but aware of the basic skills of selling that apply to your business.Â You have to develop a sense of what makes people buy and what will make them want your product.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â You canâ€™t be doing all the work in a martial arts school and it will become evident that you need someone to help you and finding that someone isnâ€™t an easy task.Â Youâ€™ll need to find a person familiar with what it is you do and also who can perform the tasks required.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Employees have to be motivated, you need to create a feeling within your business that your business is their business to. lf your employee feels that they are being able to do their part this will create a strong employee base.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Most early American business operated on the principal that employees must be either rewarded or threatened with punishment in order for them to perform their work.Â The reward being money, the punishment being the loss of their jobs.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Employers who operate successful businesses with motivated workers do it by having low pressure work environments, giving the employee a greater stake in the business.Â Pay an employee adequately for his work and treat them as you would want to be treated if roles were reversed.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you canâ€™t handle money youâ€™d better get someone to do the job for you.Â You must be aware of how the flow of money through the system works.Â Daily operation of cash flow maintain the financial stability of a company and establishing good and prompt payment habits is essential to establishing a credible financial base.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â We live in an era of increasing government regulation.Â There is an added attitude of consumer protection that directly affects businesses that deal directly with the public and our business is just that.Â This regulation affects the advertising you do, contracts you write, how you present your product and the claims you make about what you are selling.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â You must through advice of legal counsel know the doâ€™s and donâ€™ts in dealing with the consumer.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â This is simply being conscience of what the public needs.Â Business is people oriented.Â You are
giving a service to people, and you need to sense what they need.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In the martial arts it began with the strict military environment of -no pain no gain, what a foolish way of teaching that was, with astronomical attrition rates.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Todayâ€™s school must contain a family atmosphere of warmth and caring.Â Positive reinforcement based upon praise and short-term rewards.Â The students need to be constantly motivated and in doing this you create goodwill and create a self worth in the student so they love coming to class and when it comes time to renew theyâ€™re program they are so motivated they do it without a forethought.
What is Managing My Business?
Managing your business is what it is that makes you different than your competition.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Effective management is setting goals consistent with interests, values and talents.Â Your belief in your goals is the primary factor in the fulfillment of those goals.Â Successful managers learn to tolerate considerable amounts of frustration and delay in need gratification, and they spend extended time end effort to achieving goals that only yield rewards in the distant future.
Evaluation of your competition will help you understand what it is that makes them successful or not. lf a martial arts school is successful its pretty easy to tell by just driving by between 6 -8 P.M. and notice the sizes of the participating class, numbers do not lie.Â What is it they are doing right?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The schools youâ€™ll evaluate perhaps as competition may really not be, the location you choose need not be right next door to another school.Â The market place is a big factor in determining how you manage placing your business and handling your client base.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A friend who handles a martial arts school that is highly successful once told me that he treats every customer as a friend and that he determines every dissatisfied one who fails to by a program is equivalent to the loss of a thousand dollars.Â This type of thinking quickly puts the financial relationship and customer treatment into a clear no-nonsense perspective.
Self – Reliance
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Single-mindedness in pursuit of a goal is a valuable ingredient in successful business ownersâ€™ makeup.Â They realize that it is mandatory to remain focused on an important objective.Â As a business owner maintaining this single-mindedness generates persistence and dedication that do not diminish before your goal of success is reached.
Failure and Problem Solving
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Another important attribute of a successful businessperson is their attitude that mistakes and setbacks are only temporary and that they will reach their desired goals.Â This attitude allows you to better come to terms with failures by not looking for scapegoats when things go wrong.Â The heart of the matter is not how to be a success, never a failure, but how to feel about the changes youâ€™ll experience in your business life.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Problem solving requires minute attention to detail, gathering of information that will affect every facet of their business and using these facts and figures the ability to construct a feasible plan of strategy.Â They balance facts and make intuitive decisions that have flexibility for future obstacles that can and usually do occur.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In business familiarize yourself with Murphyâ€™s Law – it is a constant reminder that change is inevitable andÂ as a businessperson you must learn how to survive change, adapt to new situations and be comfortable with the changing events in economy and attitudes that are affected by that economy.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â After youâ€™ve written your business plan and organized the necessary components for your venture:
Personnel, finances, methods and procedures, materials and soon.Â What methods and procedures?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Here is an important aspect of business we must talk about.Â A method is a means by Which in the business sense is a way to get things done.Â As a business owner your business is important to you and no one will know it better.Â The ability of a good manager is knowing Men and how to relinquish some of their authority and duties to others.Â This ability is necessary especially in a martial arts school.Â You as a school owner canâ€™t be the receptionist, teacher, bookkeeper, manager and bill collector.Â Each of these function needs be addressed in some detail.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Receptionist-this is not a position alone of just answering the telephone, it is knowing how to answer the telephone, being cheerful and remaining positive.Â A telemarketing expert once told us we needed to smile into the telephone when we talk, sounded odd to me too.Â When we did this it reflected a positive side of us to the person on the other end, it put the caller at ease and made our task of conversing easier.Â This positive method of relaxation yielded a greater number of appointments.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â You as a school owner will sometimes find it necessary to speak with a caller and you as well as your staff should be well practiced on how to answer the telephone, take down information vital to setting up an appointment for the potential client to come into the school.Â Remember on the telephone this comfortable personalized approach will usually disarm a negative or skeptical person and will get them to commit to a visit on your turf more they can see the camaraderie that existsÂ and feel the positive reinforcement you extend.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Teacher- This is a most important part.Â You as a teacher of the martial arts, what is a teacher in reality but one who transfers knowledge by verbal and or physical example.Â Especially in our business the adage that those who canâ€™t do – teach.Â Are you in physical shape, do you project a professional attitude and appearance.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The entire concept of the professional martial arts instructor is a relatively new idea.Â The martial arts themselves are relatively new to the United States, with less than half a century.Â The professional aspect of teaching and operating as a business is no more than a few years old.Â The two main reasons for this difference in age is that American instructors are just now beginning to achieve significant rank, skill and knowledge necessary to understand their art.Â The concept of free enterprise is just beginning to mix with martial arts instruction.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The combination of East meets West is now more evident than ever.Â The Eastern philosophy of the martial arts combined with the Western concept of business and professionalism will give the instructor a unique balance.Â While professionalism may not be in evidence in both areas, it can be learned through time.Â The business world is the most serious place to practice your art.Â The cost of opening and operating a professional full-time school is higher than ever.Â A successful school can be rewarding, from training to teaching to obtaining the necessary security weâ€™ll all need in later life.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Learning to bring these two aspects together can be a challenge, are you up to the challenge? These can be met with confidence and assurance Men you bring these two aspects of professionalism into balance.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bookkeeping – While owing a business has its accountability side also you must become aware of the need for careful and diligent record keeping.Â Knowing when your money comes in is the first aspect so you can plan a realistic budget of income and the outflow of fixed expenses.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Being able to balance the checkbook is more than just a necessity.Â When dealing with your accountability it is advised that you hire a bookkeeper to handle the monthly checks and balances, while costing a few dollars it is funds well spent.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bill Collector -Even the sound of the word makes peoples hair stand on end and disgusts others.Â But the reality that people must pay their obligations to you in order for you to meet your financial needs is eminent.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In order to maintain a good student-instructor relationship it is a recommended policy that you utilize an outside agency to do your monthly collections.Â There is a cost of doing this transacting of between 10 -1 5%, but it is a deductible service expense.Â This outside agency or billing company and there are several in the industry catering to martial arts schools, is the most feasible alternative to keep you out of the bill collecting loop.Â You remain the good guy and let the professionals you pay for their service be the bad guys.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Manager -This might be one job you must handle single handedly early in business.Â Some managers keep a firm grasp on everything.Â They maintain bases where power, authority and tight supervisory controls are centralized.Â This tends to breakdown rather rapidly.Â Others choose to decentralize to the point where they have delegated to a capable group who in turn manages a certain aspect of the business.Â This concept of decentralization – organizing a business around self-governing profit centers – maximizes individual initiative, ensures localized decision making, and facilitates the pinpointing of responsibility.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â How do you go about delegating work?Â Its really quite simple.Â You do it slowly, giving others on your staff areas of responsibility.Â In a martial arts school their exist many areas where individual responsibility could yield higher profits: Merchandising -the ability for a person to oversee the buying and selling of uniforms, apparel, jackets, T-shirts, weapons, sparring gear, novelty items, and even refreshments for after class.
You must work to a great degree to carefully plan this merchandising program with an easy to follow checklist to control inventory reduction and replacement.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â As a business owner you must share your knowledge about how you expect your business to function, where you want these profit centers to be.Â Another and main profit center is introductory lessons.Â This is when you get a person into the school for an introductory lesson, here you motivate, praise and have fun with the prospective student.Â A certain level of confidence is achieved and if motivated correctly in a positive reinforcement mode – A SALE!
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â One of the most difficult areas of management is the ability to tolerate mistakes made by othersand the ability to adequately train others.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â After you have established the method by which youâ€™ll do business, the next thing you need to do is set a standard of controls.Â These controls must be carefully orchestrated:
l. Analysis-Study and compare, for quality, the amount of output of people.Â Examine everythingwith a careful eye to standards and decision making.
2. Setting Standards -As a result of analysis, establish acceptable standards of performance in all areas.Â In turn these become means by which you measure future performance, guidelines for projecting cost, time, and sales.
3. Monitoring – You need regular inspection and performance checks to note exceptions to thestandards youâ€™ve set and possible reasons for this deviation.
4. Securing Feedback – A foolproof system for reporting deviations from standards must beestablished so that measures can be implemented to correct these deviations.
5. Corrective Action -All exceptions to the accepted standards must be acted on.Â Adjustmentsneed to be made promptly so that contingent outcomes are brought back on target.
Controls are necessary for personnel evaluation on performance.Â For control is self-discipline.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Businesses run on communication.Â Prospective customers are located, contacted and persuaded to buy your services and products through communication.Â Communications is the oil that lubricates the various gears and cogs in the free enterprise system.
Some essential parts of the communication system:
1. Source – the sender or originator of the messages
2. Messages – information emitted by the source and directed to the receivers
3. Media – the various carriers or transmitters of the messages, such as radio, newspapers and
4. Receivers – those for whom the messages are intended
5. Customer reactions, demographic information, and other facts returned from customers to
assist management in its decision making.
To effectively manage a small business with even the minimum of personnel it is important for the
staff to be trained to be effective communicators.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The martial arts school owner in the beginning usually operates their business alone, perhaps
with the assistance of one or two family members or long time students.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Employees are the major resource of a business.Â Hiring the right people, training them well can
mean the difference between a meager living and a steady upward climb to success.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In a small business environment closeness often develops rapidly between owners and their employees. ln the martial arts environment this is especially true.Â The martial arts teacher is giving a part of themselves to the students and to the employees as well.Â They lead by personal example and impart knowledge, attitude and goals of attainable achievement through their lessons and methods of management.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In working with you personnel you need to set goals, to plan and organize.Â This management will lie with considerations such as how to allocate your human resources to maximum advantage and how to control labor costs.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â No matter the size of your business, you should outline your organization and its parties and define their job titles and descriptions.
1. Take inventory of your current staff, review and assess performance, listing both their
weaknesses and strengths.
2. Determine the organizational changes your business will require over specific periods of time.Â In a martial arts school you should set quarterly goals of sales, compare previous quarters with each new quarters sales in plans and merchandise.Â Be specific in setting aside advertising dollars to add strength to your weak areas.
3. Match positions of responsibility with the people you have on hand.
4. Anticipate some degree of employee turnover and adjust personnel position by cross training
them for other duties to cover these vacated positions during vacations, illness and when employees
5. Bear in mind that people have to be â€œphased inâ€ to new positions.Â They must be adequately
trained for some time before they can be expected to perform at a satisfactory level.
6. At all times, keep a careful watch over student recruitment, and training costs.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The training function is vital for yourself and your employees. In a martial arts school consistency between the way each of the staff perform their assigned tasks is paramount.Â When your personnel are well trained they have increased morale, increased sales, lower turnover, increased productive time and reduce operational costs.
Checklist for Your training Program
According to the Small Business Administration taking the following steps in training is highly
1. Make a needs assessment of your company.
2. Set the objectives to be accomplished through your training efforts.
3. Determine the curriculum, make sure you include product, company and customer service but not neglecting attitude training skills and role playing through training.
4. Select the types of training that will best serve your purposes.
5. Select the training methods to be used.
6. Select a timetable and schedule for your program.
7. Select the instructors.
8. Watch your costs.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A touchy subject in any business is what constitutes just compensation?Â There are laws regarding minimum compensation but most small businesses are exempt from this policy due to their small size.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â When a martial arts school business plan is evaluated the salaries portion that is defined in the spreadsheet should adequately reflect those necessary for employee compensation.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In compensating an employee in a martial arts school many types of compensation packages will work week:
l. A base hourly rate and commission structured on combined program sales, merchandise and
performance evaluation set on a quarterly system.
2. Base salary and percentage of program sales.
3. Base salary and generous portion of profits from merchandise sold.Â This may seem a little
overly generous but realize that merchandising can bring in amounts of revenue equal to those
revenues generated by service programs sold.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Merchandising to your students and to outside schools in the capacity of discounts of 10-15%
below retail rates can generate tremendous amounts of continuous and repeat business.
4. Regular salary plan-although great for you as it becomes a fixed cost it does little to give the
employee any incentive.
5. Commission Only -This is a means used to generate earning through performance and does
serve to keep employees motivated to perform.
6. Combination Plan – Guaranteed draw against commission.Â Under this method the business is willing to advance money each week to an employee as an advance against future commissions in order to meet daily expenses.Â This commission is paid monthly.Â This provides the employee with a steady income and provides some type of override that will induce the employee to try harder.
Operating for Growth and Profit
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The real success of your business is the way you think about and manage your business.Â There are good and poor management.Â Experience has shown that good management can do well in tough times and poor management will consistently fall short.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Purchasing is extremely important, it involves buying merchandise for resale in your school or for internal use.Â The goal is to but a good quality product at a low price and resell it at a higher price to create a profit.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â When buying merchandise, selections should reflect customer demands.Â Those demands should be covered and recognized at length in your business plan.Â When offering merchandise for resale in a school it is easy to buy product that is consistently used and easily replaced.Â To purchase product that will consistently show a profit you must meet customer expectations:
1. Customer Acceptance.
4. Credit Terms.
5. Discount for volume buying.
There are also two kinds of buying you must take into account:
1. Replenish buying
2. Anticipation buying
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Replenish buying is buying placement merchandise, this provides an adequate inventory.Â Anticipation buying involves mainly seasonal purchases where you believe you may have a chance of success in turning a profit.Â This is not a profitable way to do business.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The costs of doing business in resale is fairly low but good judgment in buying adequate stock to have inventory to sell and when to reorder is a matter of keeping consistent monthly purchase and sales logs.Â The profit margins are sometimes as great as 200% on uniforms and hold a consistent 135% on other items.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Be a wise buyer and donâ€™ to overstock because your getting a good deal, you might end up keeping that inventory for a longer period that is cost effective.
Uses of Money
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The uses of money are the most frequent question in a lenderâ€™s mind.Â Whether a commercial lending institution, private capital or a venture capitalist.Â The planned use for finances either lent to your enterprise in the form of a loan, known as a debt service or investment which directly becomes an equity or ownership position; the lender wants to know that the money will be repaid or in the equity position shown how and when theyâ€™ll get a Return on Investment (ROI).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In the case of a lending institution, if you cannot show some consistent credit history or longevity in your present operation, chances are youâ€™ll be denied no matter who you go to.Â The difference between a loan and equity financing is of course youâ€™ll be giving up part of your company ownership and in the case of venture capitalists, usually a substantial portion.Â Theyâ€™ll likely want to have someone on your Board of Directors whoâ€™ll have a voice in the operation of your business.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Anything that is a long term situation, that will bring profits over a period of years, can qualify for long term debt, with lower monthly payments and perhaps lower interest rates.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â To adequately plan your financial needs, you must first begin by answering a few basic questions.Â You realize your exact needs for capitalization but youâ€™ll need to show specially where the capitalization will go and the expected profit payback in your business plan.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In guessing how much money you need is usually just that a guess.Â The scheduling of financing will depend on the amount you need and the periods of time when youâ€™ll need this cash infusion.Â Youâ€™ll need to show a cash flow projection of at least three years, including the amount youâ€™ll be paying on the principal of the loan.
Methods of Raising Money
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Raising money is not an easy task, especially with the recessed economy and the failures of major lending institutions.Â The types of people youâ€™ll contact will have a wide variety of experience and they themselves will admit that many decisions they make will be on the strengths of your business plan.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â How do you go about raising capital if youâ€™ve never done it before?Â It is really simple, you have someone else raise it for you.Â If you are seeking capital from on large investor, youâ€™ll very likely end up with a much smaller piece of your company.Â The best place to start raising the initial financing youâ€™ll need as seed capital is usually from friends and business acquaintances.Â The terms youâ€™ll be able to work out are certainly more favorable.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you are not a veteran at raising capital donâ€™t be discouraged.Â There are several excellent reference books in most libraries about getting venture capital and various loans.Â It is best you avail yourself of these resources and be sure that the preparation of your business plan is complete in every aspect.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Most first time business owners will utilize their own capital to initially finance the startup of their business.Â This does not mean that once you are in business that you wonâ€™t need further capital for continued operation.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The first and most common types of getting funding is through lending institutions, here you may run into a major snag, the institution will usually require a strong credit history and collateral or an unsecured loan on the basis of your name.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â As a first time person in business you are pretty much stuck with conventional sources of raising money, relatives, friends, banks, S&Lâ€™s, finance companies or insurance companies.Â Venture capital as we discussed earlier is a strong source of financing, but obtaining venture capital involves a considerable amount of detailed documentation, which weâ€™ll cover at length later.
Liabilities, Assets and Cash
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The first step in starting a new business is to fully understand your financial position.Â Listing all of you debts or things which you owe and in turn listing all your assets, things which you own that have value.Â With this done youâ€™ll at least know where you stand.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â We can use a commonly used ratio called the acid-test ratio.Â Look at your assets that could say within thirty days be converted to cash.Â This is your current assets.Â Then take the bills that must be paid.Â These are your current liabilities.Â Use your networth to degree of indebtedness, this will tell you where you stand and how a creditor or lender will also look at you.Â Here you have taken the first step in preparing yourself for obtaining funding.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you are seeking conventional loans you banker is going to look at you projections with careful scrutiny to make sure you have the ability to pay back the loan.Â Do you have enough to cover your personal debts and still have operational capital for your business?Â The banker will very likely decline to do business with you if your asset and credit history isnâ€™t strong.
ALTERNATIVE CASH SOURCES
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â This is an alternative method of obtaining funding for your martial arts school.Â Hopefully you have been teaching somewhere else and have a following.Â These students can be used as an alternative source of capital.Â As many of your students themselves are in business or make substantial incomes you might address the situation to a few that you are planning to open a commercial venture and ask their assistance in obtaining short-term funding in order to get started.Â Very likely you can raise several thousand dollars by this means and once you get into your business establishment you can get programs sold for specific period with cash down payments.Â This cash and these contracts are valuable, the cash to meet current obligations and the contracts, because they can be factored to companies that will advance you money on the strength of the students payment histories.Â This method called factoring will give you immediate moneys but do have drawback if the student fails to pay, you are then responsible for the amount you were given on that contract.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Equity financing means dividing your business ownership among investors who provide capital yet may not participate in the day-to-day business operations.Â The equity owners are loaning money for a piece of the action, they are then befitting on your ability to make the business turn a profit and in turn over a period of time get back their principal plus a substantial piece of the profits over and above the amount of their loan.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â It is very difficult for the novice businessperson to tap this strong supply of money.Â On the mole venture capitalists only fund about 3% of the businesses they look into.Â You can increase your chances if you do your homework beforehand and find all the resource information you can at libraries.Â This resource information lists the types of businesses they invest in and They any require in the business plan and who to contact.Â Donâ€™t send a business plan cold, call first and see if their is any interest.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Venture capitalists expect two things from companies they invest in -high returns and a method of exit.Â They usually want to get back at least 10 times their investment return in three to five years.Â Depending upon the strength of your management team they will also want from 20 -70 % of your company.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Venture capital groups are usually long term investors but look for companies that show the prospects of going public within a relatively short period of years or who has great potential to be acquired by another company.
The resource book is called Guide to Venture Capital Sources, by Capital Publishing.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Where can advertising help your business? lt depends on where you are at in your market place.
lf you have done little advertising in the past it is most likely that few people really know about your
school. A well thought out program of advertising can raise your market image and give the public a
chance to learn about your business.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â First we start out at the pioneering stage: Thatâ€™s when youâ€™re brand new in the marketplace and youâ€™ve got to quickly establish your identity.Â Youâ€™ve got to enter the marketplace quickly with a substantial blitz, letting people know you exist.Â Usually this type of advertising during the grand opening stage will require greater financial commitments.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The competitive stage of advertisers begins when you have more than twenty competitors already in the marketplace.Â You have to stress the differences between you and others as well as the benefits you provide.Â The f in lay stage one that few of us ever get to is the final stage or the reminder stage, you are just letting people know youâ€™re still there.
When you do advertise you need to hit the customers â€œhot buttonsâ€; stress the benefits you offer
the customer, the service you offer.
Youâ€™ve got to keep the advertising simple, direct, and high impact.Â Use language they will
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you own a new martial arts school you must be aware of the competition within five miles distance of your location and be aware of the types of people and neighborhoods that surround your business.Â This is called knowing the demographics.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The information you seek can be gotten without having to spend a fortune.Â All major metropolitan newspapers that run national advertising have this information available to you for little or no cost.Â Just get a salesman into your school and find out what the demographics are for your area.Â This isnâ€™t an inference that your going to run an advertisement with his newspaper.Â The Chamber of Commerce for your city is another excellent place to start.Â They have current census information that list the types of information you can use to determine how youâ€™ll run your advertising campaign.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Where you intend to put those advertising dollars is what counts now.Â Besides yellow pages, a small direct mail campaign is an excellent place to start, the cost to reach a specific number of thousand households is usually very reasonable and there are companies that cover your particular area.
Another way to go is newspaper advertising, daily papers on Wednesdays and Sundays, weekly papers on a more consistent basis.Â Investigate printed media sources they usually have good readership and the response rate is usually pretty solid.
As in investigating any means of advertising, your only a telephone call away.