Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sources of Funding

Almost daily, there is a constant flow of people seeking funding for their businesses. These funds are often needed for start ups and expansions. Many are fed up with the banking systems for various reasons. Others just want to go with the investors who are serious. So here's one for you.

There are sites that you can seek your own investment. Develop your own business plans, independently or with help from people who offer similar services to ours.

Here's the thing. You now know where you can go. You can go there directly. What you don't know is what tools and strategies to use and when. Does that matter?  You don't seem to think so, since many people think that people in my line of work just sit and write documents and charge large fees.

So cheers to your success. Have a go at it yourselves and you must be honest in letting us know how well you do and the time it took you to get it done. Share your successes, your failures, and your set backs. What makes you frustrated with the process will also be useful. Many readers would love to read of your stories.

Check out these links. I must warn you of the following though:

  • The print may be fine
  • There may be no pictures 
  • There's a lot of reading to go through to find exactly what you require. 
Without further ado, let's get started. 

  • Go 4 Funding - Here you'll learn about venture capitalist and angel investors for starters. Hope you like their requirements. 
  • The Angel Investment Network is another you may wish to consider. 
  • For those who love The Grants - money that you don't have to pay back. I wish you the best of luck. Here's another one you may check out to see if you qualify. It's by the UNDP. 
  • For sources of funding larger than your immediate requirements see think link
There are many others. However what's gone before should more than keep you busy for some time. You already know the commercial banks in your jurisdictions. You know, the ones many people constantly complain about but are always able to offer the support when you really need it. The true success in dealing with the banks comes from managing your financial information properly so that they will offer the assistance you require. STOP TRYING TO HIDE INFORMATION from those who you are hoping will trust you enough to grant you access to their funds. YOU MUST OPERATE IN A TRUST WORTHY MANNER!

Here's hoping that as you wade through the aforementioned sites, you will think about how you attorneys, accountants, and business advisory specialist really offer you value; that permits you to focus on your core business skills and activities.

Check you later on. Until next time...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Changes in Customer Circumstances

Our trying economic environment is having a severe impact across the globe. The market place is so affected that once reliable customers are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their payment obligations where once before it would not have been a challenge.

As business owners, there needs to be a plan in plan in place as to how we will handle customer who fall upon misfortune. Challenges facing customers include, but are not limited to, burdens on financial security, health care, employment, inflation, increased taxation, and the list goes on.

More and more businesses are feeling the brunt of accounts receivable, NSF cheques, increasingly crafty customers, and those who tug at the emotional heartstrings.

As a business, will we resort to:

  • compliance 
    • using the legality of verbal agreements, documentation, and contracts
  • embarrassment
    • harrassment
    • violence
    • emotional abuse
  • compassion and understanding
    • a listening to understand the customer's perspective while being discerning
Your use or abuse of the above methods which have been stated in the broadest measure possible will determine the success or failure of your business in the long and short term. 

Examine your strategy if you have one. Is it working in today's environment? If you don't have one, what will you do to develop approaches so that you are not caught out in the cold reacting to knee-jerk emotional situations?

Why not tell us about yourselves? We may be able to assist you in developing your customer service approaches. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Potential in People

There's something about sharing business information with people that's exciting.  At least I find so. When participants arrive they have all kinds of expectations, their needs for information are quite varied and numerous.

Over the years, I have been rewarded with success stories from programs that we have conducted. In some cases the results were fast. Here are a few:

  • Learning what I did from this program, I went out and implemented some of what I learnt with tremendous results. I'm here again to see what else I may have missed. 
  • When you said what you did about handling objections in the sales process and that we should never allow the same answer to stump us more than once, you got me listening. When you suggested some of the responses, I tried them and got significant results. Thank you. 
  • Treating my work colleagues as customers has made a difference to my work day. Our environment is so much more friendly and productive. We get more done in less time and with little stress. Please come again. 
  • Richie B. I have done programs with you that included customer service, sales, business planning,  and they have all yielded fruit. Whatever you put on in the future, and I can make it, I'll be there. 
Comments like these warm the heart. I remember stopping the use of reviews in our training since I once got graded 11's with 10 being the top end of the scale outlining excellence. My reasoning was that it may have caused me to lose my edge by becoming complacent. 

Sometimes, we would be there to do just one training program. Especially having been told that there were budget constraints. When the organization realized the effectiveness of the program, the changes in the participants, and the speed with which they saw results (sometimes as quickly as 24 - 48 hours); we would be called back for further programs often within weeks of completion. 

There was one client in the early days that we prospected for five (5) years before we closed the deal for us to do one program. Within weeks of completing that program on customer service, we went back on multiple occasions within that said year to do sales, and then team building. We were then subsequently booked almost yearly since that time. 

Within the last couple of years we have been conducting training in business planning, complete with the final sessions being to have meetings with investors and financiers. The participants loved the process, so did those with the money. Since they were getting people who were at least prepared in so many ways to do business. 

There are too many stories to share in this short article. I would love to hear yours too. Perhaps we can do business sometime. Check us out. We just love to see other people realize their potential. 

It's not always collateral

Barbados is a lovely island with some phenomenal properties. Some time ago, a client was referred to me who had a major challenge. They were facing foreclosure on their properties. Over time, they had acquired properties, fixed them up, and rented them out to long term tenants. The rents that they charged were, for this day and age, through the floor - nominal figures inclusive of all the utilities. Without any formal business structure in place, they were making money and keeping under the radar, until when it happened.

The was a major collapse of some sewage infrastructure at one property. It sucked up the majority of the saved funds and then it started happening. The owners were put in a system of catch up - the funds coming in were insufficient to pay current and past commitments. Over time it resulted in a downward spiral where loss of one property would mean the loss of the others.

When we reviewed the case we found:

  • that the properties within the portfolio were quite good
  • the were under producing from the standpoint of revenue
  • no contracts were in place with the tenants 
  • tenants were tardy in their payments 
  • some were doing trade offs in terms of fixing aspects of the property and deducting it from the rent
  • the insurances were pending renewal
  • the owners needed financing fast as foreclosure on three of the properties were pending
  • one property actually began foreclosure procedures as the bank sought to recover 
  • the owners were already cashed strapped, they were doing this as a means of helping less fortunate people

Thankfully this worked out well

  • We were able to assist the client in the formation of their property management entity. 
  • All tenants were met and new leases were drawn up
  • The new leases in had with new terms and conditions guaranteed a positive cash flow for the period of years for which we sought financing for them
  • Through obtaining the financing we were able to get back the property which had begun the foreclosure procedures and actually went through the auction process. 
  • The system for operating such an entity was taught to the owners who now have the templates for not only operating their current stock of inventory, but also expanding their portfolio to include others
Why not visit our website to check us out in full. We just may be able to help you. Just in case you see anything you can tell us a bit about yourself and we'll take you through the processes  from there to ensure you have the correct resources for your needed solutions. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

No Experience Required...

Throughout working life, there is always an emphasis on experience. Never mind the rush for qualifications, experience always seems to win in the end. We've often heard of the stories where experience and qualifications are played off against each other.

Thinking, as I often do, I realized that there are some things that require no experience to be successful. People advance in their careers almost daily with these attributes and they often stay within these careers for a long time.

What am I writing about? Here are a couple examples:

  • Bad manners
  • Disgusting attitudes 
  • Poor work ethic
  • Inappropriate behavior 
  • Poor deportment 
  • No dedication and commitment 
  • Lack of hygiene 
  • Unhealthy practices 
  • No ethics
  • The list can be endless
Yet even though these qualities are often discussed, they still find a way into our organizations though they are never shown on the workers' CV. We have highly advanced management education, still the ability to detect these characteristics before they enter the organization is elusive or these attributes have upgraded their stealth. 

It then brings into question, how these unwanted characteristics infiltrate our organizations so easily. Would love to get your thoughts and feedback. 

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