Sunday, October 21, 2018

Business Management

Succession Planning Tips for Small Business

Many small-business owners know what it is like to take risks, work long hours and juggle multiple priorities. Even many successful ones drag their feet when it comes to succession planning, but there are steps they can take to cut down on succession headaches.

It's not hard to understand why. Succession planning can be complex, expensive, time-consuming and emotionally wrenching. But business owners who don't have a succession plan are putting a lot at risk if they hope to someday cash out at a fair price and/or ensure that their companies survive them.
Succession planning isn't a cookie-cutter process. The amount of time it takes is often dictated by the size of a business and the particular issues involved, as well as the approach of the advisor or other professional overseeing the process. Yet successful planning hinges on some of the following considerations:

1. Don't wait too long to begin
It can take as long as a year to put together a succession plan, and plans are often implemented over the course of many years. Succession planning can involve wrestling with emotionally difficult issues, such as deciding whether a relative or longtime employee is most qualified to eventually take over.

2. Shop around for the right advisor
Advisors may collaborate with other types of professionals, including lawyers, accountants and those who specialize in valuing businesses. Valuations prepared by objective third parties tend to be viewed more favorably by potential buyers, including internal successors, than those calculated by business owners themselves.
There are estate-planning issues, tax-related concerns and money-management considerations involved in succession planning. Nobody is an expert at all of those things.

3. Evaluate your own retirement savings and insurance.
As part of the succession planning process, business owners may want to consider whether they have sufficient retirement savings and life and disability insurance. Some owners opt to buy a "key" person insurance policy, which generally compensates a business for financial losses arising from the death or extended incapacity of a critical member of the company.

4. Discuss succession plans and update
A good succession plan should clearly delineate the individuals responsible for  management, governance and ownership positions. The players involved in all three areas are likely to change over time, as will tax laws and other important matters. Therefore, succession plans should be revisited periodically and updated when necessary.

I hope this provides some ideas of the importance and necessity of business owners having a well developed Succession Plan. Please be sure to work proactively with key expert professional to develop a plan. The business may be at risk without a plan.
Please let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Business Management

Effective Cash Management Tips

As a small business owner, one of the key focus areas that determines your success is effective cash management. In fact, the interest rate and loan amounts from banks and lending institutions are primarily based on how well your business is able to manage cash.

If you are floating money and creating bad debt other businesses know about it. Managing cash is not just about perennial success. Having a healthy cash balance in your balance sheet will also help demonstrate effective management to potential investors by helping secure a better valuation of your business.  … no one wants to buy an unstable company.

Here are a few tips for better cash management.

1. Track cash flow monthly.
Use a budget to track anticipated cash inflows and outflows so you can assess your situation and react to problems such as the loss of a key sale. Cash flow forecasts and variance analysis against actual should be performed monthly in order to identify improvement opportunities. This frequent monitoring allows you to delay discretionary payments if necessary.

2. Protect capital expenditure.
It is important to preserve the cash that your business generates. One way to do this is by slashing your capital expenditure. While you’re in a growth phase, slashing capital expenditure may not always be feasible. However, you should perform your due diligence on expenses and ensure they are backed by a thorough return on investment (ROI) analysis.
If cash is tight don’t pay cash for long term investments in equipment. It is better to use debt or leasing to finance these projects. Debt can be used to re-finance fixed assets to free up capital. 

3. Build in a culture of cash consciousness.
This is especially important if you have separate teams handling sales and finances.    Typically the sales team would consider cash management to be the responsibility of the finance team and would offer liberal credit terms in the hope of increasing sales numbers to make quota or get that bonus.
One way to overcome this hurdle is to incentivize cash conscious behavior. Instead of sales incentives based on sales figures, you can offer sales incentives based on collections. This will ensure that your sales team focuses on not just achieving the numbers, but in the quality of sales.

4. Be aware of incentives.
No matter which part of the world you are operating in, there are typically a lot of   incentives available for small businesses operating in specific industries.

Take time to research available incentives at a federal, provincial or municipal level. Some of the programs may help improve your company’s cash flow and profit margins.

Ultimately, where cash flow becomes an issue is when small business is operated like “small business.” You can’t arbitrarily spend money on things that may be working or go months without analyzing your expenditures.
Being your own boss is great but there’s much to learn from “big business” management. 

I hope these ideas help. Please let me know: