Category Archives: Business Management


Hiring Out of State Movers – Do’s and Don’ts

When relocating and hiring a moving company to take you across the country, keep these do’s and don’t’s in mind. Something as simple as having a pen and paper ready to check off items as they’re unloaded from the truck will save you a lot of time and aggravation later on.



  • Research the company before you sign the agreement or contract and look for companies that provide quality services. You wouldn’t go wrong with US Border Movers company.
  • Ask to see the company’s credentials and past references.
  • Make sure you know how the company calculated all the costs. Ask that it’s explained to you completely.
  • Ask to see a copy of the moving company’s tariffs. This will outline the maximum costs and how the costs are calculated according to weight and distance.
  • Ask about insurance. New federal rules state that a mover must offer you the option of purchasing insurance from moving companies, out of state movers and moving out of state companies.
  • Most insurance policies are based on weight, not value. Make sure you’re fully protected.
  • Ask that your moving charges be based on weight, not volume. Most long-distance hauls are automatically weighed than calculated per pound. Volume moves leave too much room for dispute. It’s easier for a moving company to expand the truck space required than to add extra weight.
  • Ask upfront if your mover is a broker, Florida movers, California movers, Washington movers, Oregon movers, (interstate movers) or moving company. If your moving company is a broker, find out who will actually be moving your things. Research and investigate both companies. The law states the company has to tell you whether they’re hiring another company to actually do the move.
  • Make sure the company isn’t charging you for the weight of the truck. Ask to see a weight ticket after your goods have been removed or before they start loading. Deduct this from the total weight when your items have been loaded.
  • Review all the documents the company provides and make sure you understand everything. If you don’t, ask the mover to clarify. If you’re still not satisfied, take it to an outside party such as a lawyer.
  • Have someone at your old home for when the movers pick up your stuff, and someone at the new home for when they are delivered. Everything that goes on and off of the truck should be recorded and checked off.


  • Don’t hire a company that will only take cash.
  • Don’t pay for the move until all your belongings have been unloaded into your new home. If there are any boxes or items missing, don’t sign the paperwork. The move must be completed before you sign.
  • Don’t sign anything that you don’t understand. Read everything thoroughly and ask questions when you need clarification.
  • Don’t pack items that are of high value, such as important documents, jewelry or account records. Take these items with you.
  • Don’t wait until a few days or weeks have gone by before you make a claim for damaged goods. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove mover fault.


Recession Proof Your Small Business


Recession Proof Your Small Business

Will your small business survive should a global economic downturn happen again? Will it thrive when the economy dips?

Reconnecting with the Customer

When things are tight, companies should be reappraising their markets and really looking at who they are selling to. Businesses owners should be reconnecting with their consumers and figuring out how to add value to the customer experience.

Small businesses cannot compete with large and overseas companies on price so they need to think of ways that they can add value in other ways. This could include diversifying their product range or streamlining the way that they deliver their goods. Customer loyalty schemes are also an effective way of adding value without cutting prices.

Getting to Grips with Cash Flow

small business accounting and bookkeepingCash flow is something that many small business owners have problems with, even when the economy is booming. However, when the economy is struggling, it is even more vital that business owners get to grips with this aspect of business management.

Business owners can regain control of their cash flow by ensuring that their invoicing process is quick and efficient and by requesting deposits for bigger jobs. There are also a lot of extremely cost effective services available, which can assist businesses with tasks such as managing their debtors’ ledgers.

Looking after Employees

It is not only the financial side of things that can cause headaches when markets are cooling. Deterioration in employee motivation, largely due to job uncertainty, can also have serious repercussions for a company’s productivity.

Firstly, employers should think long and hard before slashing personnel numbers. Companies may find it much harder to hire quality staff after the economic slump is over if they become known for having a high turnover. Layoffs will also affect the motivation and morale of the remaining employees.

Keeping the lines of communication open with employees is also recommended. Being as honest and transparent as possible will reassure staff members, who may be feeling insecure, and will put a stop to any rumours flying around the workplace.

In addition to this, business owners should make sure that they give employees positive feedback. Verbal acknowledgment for a job well done, along with non-cash incentives for more senior staff members can make a huge difference to employee motivation. Alternatively, if employees are not performing to their full potential, a good and simple performance appraisal, encouraging input from both employer and staff member, can be useful.

The Key to Surviving an Economic Downturn

Periods of economic decline can be stressful and challenging for small business owners. However, there are many things that can be done to ensure that companies remain intact and profitable during these times. If business owners stick their heads in the sand and consider themselves too busy to make improvements, it is unlikely that they will survive a significant slump in the economy. However, if the head of a company takes the time to review and improve every aspect of their business, from the operations to the advertising, they will give themselves a fighting chance and may even come out of the downturn a better and stronger company than they were before.

Lessons About Value and Today’s Customer

What do customers really find valuable? Where is the assurance they will know a good deal when they see one?

It wasn’t too long ago that historical relationships dominated. In business, trusted brands always prevailed. People typically went for brands they have known for years. When it came time to buying something, they always went back to the same old stores without considering other alternatives. Today, these historical relationships have diminished dramatically. Instead of historical relationships, what is driving success today is the ability to demonstrate superior value.

Clear Value at the Source is Not Necessarily Clear Value to Customers.

There are numerous examples of companies that invest substantial time, resources, and effort to provide their customers with what they see as premium quality and service. Often though they see their customers yawn in response. The only value that counts is value that customers are prepared to pay for.

In the retail book industry the business was once populated by independent bookstores that were generally owned and run by people with a passion for books. They selected books they thought their customers would appreciate and provided a high degree of personalized advice and attention.

This worked until lower priced and more convenient alternatives presented themselves such as The independents were providing value in their own eyes but not value that their customers were prepared to pay for. When lower cost alternatives presented themselves, they fled.

In the Absence of Apparent Value, Price Prevails.

The domination of Amazon and retail chains have had corresponding effects. In each case, customers took a very hard look at the value they were getting from who they were doing business with and, in the absence of a clear reason to pay a premium, shifted allegiance to new, lower cost relationships. If it was cheaper, they would go there.

Value Winners Today can be Value Losers Tomorrow.

In the past, independent financial advisors were very successful. The share of mutual funds held by the banks declined though and during the same time period, the mutual funds sold by independent financial advisors who were not limited by their firm and free to sell any fund they chose to rose. Much of that change arose from the fact that the banks offered little or no advice with only marginally competitive products.

Despite the advantage of incumbency, customers moved away from banks as advisors who went after their business attracted them. These new players offered them superior advice and service and better performing alternatives.

Today these banks are going after these clients. They have introduced dedicated financial advisors who are well qualified and trained. They now have the ability to sell outside funds as well as the banks’ internal solutions, which, in response, have become more competitive.

Only Concrete Value is Seen as Real.

Customers are increasingly resistant to paying for value unless it is clearly visible. Even with all kinds of systems in place to provide high standards of service there will be no benefit unless customers notice them clearly.

Lessons About Value and Today’s Customer

The first step to having customers perceive value is to actually deliver value. Once that’s done, the next step is to communicate that value in an understandable way. The customer needs to be very clear about the value being provided.

Ten Business Mistakes that Kill Companies

Ten Business Mistakes That Kill Companies

About half of all small businesses fail within the first five years.

The U.S Dept. of Commerce tells us that about half of all new employer firms survive five years. The half that don’t survive often fail because of business mistakes caused by their owners.

Each of the errors discussed here has been the cause of business failures, but thankfully there are ways to avoid every one of them.

Poor Cash Flow Management

No matter what a business makes ‘on paper’ it takes real cash to pay the bills. Income and expenditure cash flows don’t often coincide, and there can be times when a business doesn’t have enough cash on hand to meet its commitments.

Ensure the business can always access enough cash to meet regular outflows like salaries, loan repayments and taxes that must be made on predetermined dates. Arrange a source of finance for those times when extra cash is needed.

Ignoring Employee Concerns

Ten Business Mistakes that Kill Companies - ignoring employee concernsThere is a legal framework within which every company operates. Employee concerns about issues such as sexual harassment, safe working conditions or discrimination of any kind have the potential for disaster.

Resolve HR issues without delay, and get expert advice if needed. It might seem expensive, but the cost of ignoring employee concerns can be a lot higher.

Sloppy Recordkeeping

Good records are a useful decision-making tool. Some key records include equipment maintenance histories, personnel information, and details of income and business expenditures.

Without these a small business owner has no way of knowing how the business is performing or what needs attention. Every business needs to keep relevant, timely and accurate records.

Too Much Inventory

Inventory is an expense. It’s a common business mistake to have too much stock on hand. Inventory levels should be high enough to meet anticipated demand, but know suppliers’ lead times and keep stock at minimum levels.

Not Collecting Outstanding Debts

Without a systematic plan for collecting outstanding amounts a business can amass debts that are too old or too expensive to collect.

Successful businesses have a firm credit policy and make sure their customers understand it. Initiate collection efforts as soon as a payment deadline is missed, moving from diplomacy to demands the longer the debt remains unpaid.

Offering What the Market Doesn’t Want

Make sure that the business is offering what the market wants. This is especially critical when developing or considering new product lines. Too many resources can be invested in a ‘loser’ and the company never recovers.

Market research is vital, even if it’s conducted informally. Trade publications, business magazines and even lunches with suppliers and major customers can be sources of valuable market information.

Allowing Costs to Blow Out

Too often the focus is on increasing income and not enough attention is paid to costs. Costs have to be controlled regardless of how much money the business is bringing in.

Successful small businesses know what their costs are and don’t have to tap into profits to meet unexpected expenses.

Being Unwise with Marketing Dollars

Create an integrated and ongoing marketing plan and work to it. Marketing is not successful if it’s done in an unplanned, haphazard fashion.

Have a marketing plan that’s affordable and stick to it. Trying to ‘make a splash’ is a common error that can leave a business with inadequate marketing support the rest of the year.

Not Delegating

en Business Mistakes that Kill Companies - not delegatingSmall business owners can’t and shouldn’t do everything in the company, including making all the decisions. Turn some of the work over to staff members and let them get on with the job.

It’s an old maxim but a true one – business owners need time to work ON their businesses. If they spend too much time working IN them there’s not going to be enough time directed to developing the business and making it grow.

Not Planning for Emergencies

Every business needs financial resources to keep it going if disaster strikes. This can be a natural disaster, the failure of a key supplier, or some other unforeseen event.

A source of funds should be available that will cover the expenses of staying in business when something happens that stops the company from trading.

The right kind of insurance can provide the money needed to keep a small business going but only if it covers the exact circumstances that have closed the doors.

Comprehensive Planning for your Business

Planning for a successful business has distinct dimensions and you can do a better job if you tackle each of these separately.

Strategic Business Planning

Firstly, you have to develop your general business idea into a viable business proposal. Secondly, you have to add specifics to the proposal by crystallizing and describing the details of what, where, who, when and why. Finally, you have to get ready to implement the proposal through scheduling the implementation steps with details of resource and time requirements, and setting milestones to measure progress.

The Business Model

Business modeling involves developing your initial business idea into a complete business proposal that can make money. During this process, you answer critical business questions such as:

  • What value will the business deliver to its customers?
  • Which specific segment(s) of the population constitute the ideal target group for this value?
  • How will the business be organized to create, market and deliver the value? This involves deciding upon your specific role in the network of suppliers, partners and distributors, and identifying the processes and activities that you will focus upon
  • What resources in terms of know-how, people and physical facilities will you need to function effectively in the selected role and carry out the processes and activities?
  • What will be the costs involved, and what significance will the cost structure have on business operations?
  • How will the business generate revenues sufficient to recover all costs and generate a surplus?

In addition to the above money-making questions, businesses these days have also to consider the social costs and benefits of the proposed business. Issues such as the impact on environment, employment and regional development can affect the operations of a business. Government regulations and public opinion have begun to restrict the unfettered freedom businesses had.

The Business Plan

Comprehensive Business Plan

Once you have clarified the basic issues involved for the success of a business proposal, you start making specific plans. The business plan answers the What, Who, How, Where, When and Why questions such as:

  • Who are the persons who will manage the business?
  • Where will it be located and what are the advantages of this location?
  • What specific products and/or services will the business deliver?
  • How will the business create, market and deliver the products/services?
  • What will be the costs of organizing and operating the business?
  • How will the money be raised to meet the costs?
  • What revenues and costs can be expected during, say, the first three years of operations?
  • When will operations turn profitable, and what profits can be expected?
  • What government regulations apply to the business and how are these being attended to?
  • What will be the impact on environment, employment and other social issues?
  • What progress have you made in implementing your plans?

The business plan is an essential document if you plan to raise funds from external agencies such as venture capital investors and lending institutions. The document will show to these outsiders that your plans are concrete and realistic, and have a good potential for generating returns. A business model by itself is usually insufficient to convince this hard-headed group.

The Project Management Plan

Once the essential requirements of the proposed business, particularly funds requirements, have been arranged for, the business plan is translated into a project schedule. The project schedule is a specific and practicable action programme that lists:

  • A sequence of activities developed after considering the need to complete certain activities before starting others (you can’t start on the superstructure until the foundation is in place, for example)
  • Resource and time requirements for the activities, including people, equipment and materials
  • Specific milestones that can be used to measure the progress of the project and ensure that it is moving at desired speed

Tools such as the Critical Path Method and PERT are used to create project schedules. Project management software has made it easier even for non-experts to use these complex scheduling techniques.

To Summarize:

A business model ensures that your business idea has been developed into a complete business proposal that can make money. The business plan converts the model into a specific and detailed action program that can convince investors and financiers. The project schedule converts the business plan into a series of correctly sequenced activities with details of resource and time requirements and milestones to measure implementation progress.

The total planning process has the potential to translate your vague business idea into a successfully operating business on the ground.