Many small businesses struggle with cash flow problems. For some businesses, it is the number one problem of concern. Cash flow can be described various ways. One way is this: how cash moves or “flows” from the time the business pays for the expense of cost of goods or service (cash out) until the time it is collected by the business from the customer (cash in). The length of this process can determine the extent of the problem a business has with its cash flow. The longer the period of time from expense to collection, the larger the cash flow problems the business may have. The longer it takes the more cash a business will require to cover cash needs. What causes cash flow issues? Your cash may be tied up in your customer’s “pockets” through aging of accounts receivable or tied up in inventory that is not moving fast enough. In addition, your prices may be too low causing your gross profit dollars to be less than they should. Gross profit dollars are used to cover overhead expenses. Finally, your overhead expenses may be too high. It could be one of these reasons or it could be a combination of these reasons causing cash flow problems.
Attention all Entrepreneurs!
In an effort to further business development in San Angelo, The Business Factory, ASU Small Business Development Center, and the ASU College of Business are bringing back the San Angelo Business Plan Competition for new ventures. Winners will be rewarded with cash and other in-kind services.
The goal of the competition is to give startup entrepreneurs and existing business owners an opportunity to build new ventures in San Angelo. Contestants will develop viable business plans and compete for first and second place prizes.
The initial entry will cost nothing more than time to put together a two page overview of their proposed business venture. The overview should briefly address the essential elements of the business plan as outlined in the competition guidelines. If selected for advancement to Phase II, there will be a $50 entry fee. Phase II is drafting a business plan and Phase III is the finalization of the business plan and a formal presentation of the business plan to the judges.
One of the things that small business owners have told us they like is networking with each other in order to learn about and implement new and better ways of running their business. At the ASU Small Business Development Center, we are good sounding boards for our small business clients. Besides helping them with various technical business issues, we share ideas we have learned from our business ownership and management experience, as well as things we have learned over the years. Clients have told us many times this is a valuable part of our services that help them expand or start their businesses.
Networking events are important and lead to valuable resources, connections, and opportunities. Small business owners want to meet with other owners, to share ideas and learn new and better ways of solving their business problems, and to take advantage of opportunities. These opportunities can mean working together as business owners. They can also mean coaching and mentoring each other.
Services now make up a majority of our nation’s economy and service industry employment accounts for over 84% of all private sector jobs according to 2010 numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most would agree ours is a service economy. Marketing your service business is necessary because of increased competition for services.Before you embark on marketing your service business, it is important to understand how a service business differs from a tangible product-based business. The factors that make a service business different are: services sell intangibles, employees and the business are inseparable, services are variable, and services are perishable. Below is a brief discussion of these four factors.
For long term business success, you know customer satisfaction is key. But do your employees? Many managers make the mistake of assuming their employees understand good customer service and how to deliver. But too often, employees have never been trained, or they don’t understand the long term effects. Here, Dave Erickson explains a few tips for training your employees to deliver better customer service.
Business is good in San Angelo for most firms. The influx of companies and workers related to the oilfield have created a lot of demand for goods and services, more so with some than others. This same increase in business will attract competitors who want to take advantage of this growth. We have seen this in restaurants, hotels and other areas…
Health care reform is an area of concern and uncertainty for many employers.As it unfolds in the coming years, there may be confusion about how it applies to certain sized businesses.To help answer some of the questions about health care reform, Angelo State University and Wells Fargo are hosting a forum, “Understanding the Implications of Health Care Reform on Employers,” on Wednesday.
As we approach the New Year, it is important to take a look at the industry and environment in which we operate. These days, due to technology, a business can pop up that quickly changes the way an industry operates. We need to keep reviewing the environment and better understand how new business, products, services, and technology can affect our businesses.