Friday, January 28, 2011

Are You Thinking Too Small and Dooming Your Small Business To Failure?

One problem that many small business owners run into is simply thinking too small. I often have readers writing to me asking for helping getting their business ideas off the ground. I also often hear from folks who have run their small businesses into the ground. There are five key areas where you can think too small -- and doom your business to failure.

Niche Too Small

Is your niche too small? Finding a small market to target with your business is key to success, but sometimes people narrow their niche too much. While doggy dental products could be a wonderful niche (as almost any dog owner can attest) you could even narrow your focus down to a certain type of dog (such as lap dogs) but going for one specific breed would be taking it too far.

Target Market Too Small

Is your target market too small? If you are looking only at one community or small geographic region then you may well doom your product to failure. It is far too easy to saturate a small market and it is far too easy for any marketing mistakes to end your campaign before it gets off the ground. In today's economy with the availability of global marketing you need to think big when you are planning your target market.

Budget Too Small

Is your budget too small? You don't need a million dollar advertising budget but you should have some seed money to get your business and its marketing campaign off the ground. It is possible to build a business from nothing but it is also a lot more difficult and you might find yourself making some mistakes that cost you a lot more down the road than putting a little money up front.

Schedule Too Small

Is your schedule too small? Do you have enough time to devote to your business? Starting, running, and growing a business takes time. Some people get swept up in the planning and dreaming stages and never really start their business. Other people start before they have completely planned everything out and quickly get mired down by unexpected difficulties. While others do everything right in the planning and startup but once the business is running they get overwhelmed by day-to-day business and never think aobut ways to improve and grow their business.

Mind Too Small

Is your mind too small? You need to open up your mind's eye to continually seek new opportunities to find new customers, to find new potential partners, to find new ideas for products, and to find new opportunities for marketing. Flexibility and adaptability are key to surival in today's business climate and you always need to have new ideas cooking to grow and expand your market and your business. This means raising your head up out of the trenches once in a while. Yes, you might need to dodge the occasional missile lobbed your way but this is the only way to see those opportunities heading your way.

If you do your best to avoid these five not-so-small mistakes then you will be on your way to small business success.

Deanna Mascle is happy to help you with your Small Business and offer her recommended Internet Business Tools as well as advice about Doing Business Online.

Think Big Partners and Angel Capital Group Partner for Nationwide...

Kansas City, MO (Vocus/PRWEB) January 20, 2011

Last Wednesday, Think Big Partners announced its new partnership with nationwide angel capital organization, Angel Capital Group (ACG), and their plans to provide capital-raising opportunities and vital startup resources to entrepreneurs throughout the nation.

Angel Capital Group, originating in Nashville, Tennessee with five current locations nationwide, is an angel network of investors that links together its networks so that entrepreneurial resources, such as startup and seed capital, can be effectively utilized to best aid entrepreneurs. In addition, ACG provides education and support to various communities in order to establish even more angel investor networks.

Think Big Partners is a mentorship-based business incubator and startup accelerator that opened in the Crossroads District of downtown Kansas City in September of 2010. Also known as TBP, this company provides startup resources, a wide variety of entrepreneurial services, a downtown business incubator, and a hands-on staff of seasoned entrepreneurs. These qualities have Rachael Qualls, founder of Angel Capital Group, believing that the partnership is a match made in, well…heaven.

“ACG has learned that once you fund a company, that company needs help,” she said. “They need to be connected with other entrepreneurs; they need resources. That’s why we’re so excited to work with Think Big Partners, because they provide all of the services that we don’t, which makes for a great partnership.”

By combining ACG’s funding platform with Think Big Partners’ national conference for entrepreneurs, investors and startups, this partnership can effectively help entrepreneurs locate capital, assist investors with finding more businesses worth funding, and place more ideas in the right home anywhere in the country. This is the first collaboration of its kind, all in the name of building startups, serving entrepreneurs, and strengthening entrepreneurial communities.

“We’ve listened to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors from Kansas City and across the country and almost without exception, they have voiced their concerns about the difficulty in attracting startup capital,” said Tyler Prochnow, co-founder of Think Big Partners. “We are excited to be able to bring another important resource to early stage businesses. This seed capital, combined with the other vital services provided by Think Big Partners, will provide a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.”

Think Big Partners and Angel Capital Group hope for at least fifteen TBP-ACG locations to develop within the year. ACG’s current locations include Nashville, Tennessee; Knoxville, Tennessee; Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi and they are looking to open more locations in Louisiana and Kentucky in addition to Kansas City.

Think Big Partners’ collaboration with Angel Capital Group is not the first of its efforts to expand nationally. In addition to this partnership, TBP has also announced Think Big Baltimore, which follows a similar agenda of the highly-anticipated May 24th event, Think Big Kansas City. Think Big Partners is continuing to expand this conference to more cities throughout the nation through local partnerships in order to establish more entrepreneurial communities and provide more resources, better services, and accessible funding. Think Big Partners is inviting other organizations to partner with them in order to build a strong nationwide, entrepreneurial network.

“We are here to change the world,” said Qualls of the partnership with Think Big Partners. “It’s about bringing together all of these people, all of these communities, and all of these entrepreneurs and connecting them.”

To learn more about the partnership between Think Big Partners and Angel Capital Group or to get involved, please contact Herb Sih at herb(at)thinkbigpartners(dot)com. The creation of a strong entrepreneur network starts with partnerships from every corner, so please call 816-842-5244 for more information about getting involved with Think Big Partners.

For further information about Think Big Baltimore, please contact Tighe Greenhalgh at mtgreenhalgh(at)gmail(dot)com or 866-THNK-BIG.

Think Big Partners is an early-stage business incubator, startup accelerator and mentorship-based collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs, innovators, founders, and visionaries located in downtown Kansas City.


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Filing for Tax Extensions Can Come at a Price

Houston, TX (PRWEB) January 19, 2011

Although small businesses and individual taxpayers have an extra three days to file their federal tax returns this year, preparing paperwork now is essential to avoid filing for an extension in April. While useful in some situations, extensions can lead to a downward spiral of IRS penalties and interest and long-term compliance issues, according to Patrick Cox, CEO of TaxMasters.

According to Cox, “Most taxpayers and small businesses do not realize that you are still vulnerable to IRS penalties and interest if you file an extension. What most people fail to understand—and the IRS doesn’t always do a great job of communicating—is that if you owe a tax liability, an extension does not exempt you from paying what you owe in April. Too many of our clients feel tricked by the IRS, because they thought they followed the rules and instead are being harassed by IRS agents for thousands of dollars in interest and penalties.”

According to Cox, whose company is a leading provider of tax compliance and repayment services, truancy often begins with an extension.

“A large portion of our clients—both individuals and small businesses—are in tax trouble because years ago they didn’t prepare their paperwork in advance, had to file for an extension and never did the necessary work to make the October extension deadline,” Cox said. “If you do not prepare now for April’s filing deadline, you are starting to dig a hole that will be very difficult to get out of come October when you still have to file and pay your taxes but now owe the IRS hundreds or even thousands of dollars in penalties and interest.”

According to Cox, to avoid having to file for an extension, get your personal and business documents organized now. Businesses should be preparing at least two months prior to April’s deadline and speaking with a CPA to ensure their filings are in order. If you are self-employed, hire a licensed tax preparer. The IRS knows that certified tax preparers are likely to ask the right questions and make sure the taxpayer is handling their taxes properly, so they tend to audit returns prepared by professionals less often than self-prepared returns.

About TaxMasters, Inc.
TaxMasters, Inc. (OTCBB: TAXS) is the first publicly traded tax representation firm in the United States. Started by Patrick R. Cox in 2001, TaxMasters offers a full suite of compliance and repayment services to taxpayers across the country facing seemingly insurmountable tax problems and substantial federal tax debt. Tax services from TaxMasters include IRS consultations, tax return preparation, settlement analysis, and assistance with IRS automated collections, Revenue Officer involvement and collection due process.

Employing over 300 people, TaxMasters leverages the expertise of ex-IRS agents, enrolled agents, attorneys, CPAs, and seasoned consultants ready to counsel and assist the US taxpayer with their specific tax problems today.

For more information about TaxMasters, Inc. and its commitment to help taxpayers in the United States solve tax problems, please visit

Follow TaxMasters on Twitter at

Visit TaxMasters’ blog at

Forward-Looking Statements
Any forward-looking statements, as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, in this release (often identified by such words as "believes," "expects," "beginning," "intended," "planned") regarding future expectations, objectives, and plans for TaxMasters, Inc. are based on opinions and estimates of management at the time the statement was made. Various known and unknown factors may cause actual results to be materially different from the expected outcomes. TaxMasters, Inc. does not, as a matter of policy, update or revise forward-looking statements. Actual results may vary materially.

Media: Trey Ditto—212.896.1248
Investors: Rob Fink—212.896.1206

# # #

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Starting Small Businesses Has Never Been Easier

I believe that it's easier to succeed with small businesses than ever before. There are more opportunities for entrepreneurs to start small businesses today than at any previous time.

Here are some good reasons for why I believe this is true.

A) With the increase in population comes an increase in opportunities for small businesses.

Generally, a sparse population requires a small business owner to provide a wide variety of goods or services to survive. With a denser population, the small businesses can still survive by providing a very narrow range of products or services.

For example, in a smaller population a small business which provides gardening services would probably need to offer many things. Services could include general garden maintenance, planning, tree felling, lawn cutting, vermin control, pond planning and maintenance, hard landscaping etc.

With a bigger population a small business could thrive perfectly well by providing just one of these services, as there are more people who will need it.

B) The costs involved in starting and running small businesses has never been so low in proportion to income.

Technology has replaced many of the things which people used to do, and technology does the job a lot more cheaply.

Today it's possible to reach literally millions of potential customers around the world very cheaply.

For example, only a few decades ago the cost of mailing to thousands of households was prohibitively high. Unless you had a very good product or service which sold well, a small business just wouldn't risk it.

Another example, business premises security used to involve security guards walking around checking that all was well. Now a good security system can be bought for less than 1 week's pay for that security guard, and it will work 24 hrs per day for years, for no pay.

C) Because modern life is so complex today, small businesses and individuals are open to new ideas, products and services like never before.

This creates a huge market for training courses, information provision services, educational aids, specialised products and services, novelties, etc.

With this great diversity come great opportunities to combine different products and technologies, thus making whole new areas of business possible.

For example, you can combine a low-light camera with wireless communications and a bird box. This means a nest may be watched remotely on a television or personal computer screen.

Another example would be to combine voice-chip technology with passive infrared technology to make it sound as though you have a huge dog indoors whenever anyone approaches your house.

In our recent history, these opportunities just didn't exist.

D) It may not feel like it, but many people today have a lot more leisure time and a higher disposable income than in any previous age.

This spare income (and with the current attitudes to loans, a little more besides) tends to get spent on sports, games, hobbies, crafts, amusements, entertainments, holidays and weekend breaks etc.

This creates many opportunities for the entrepreneur to start up small businesses to satisfy all this extra demand.

E) To thrive in a modern society you need to have a lot of different skills.

Nowadays people cope with a variety of complex tasks. They buy and use a wide range of consumer equipment, fill out many forms, and communicate with all kinds of people from all walks of life (often from different countries and cultures). They also do difficult transactions like house purchasing, and so on.

All this is a long way from the average people who were around just a few hundred years ago. Many were farm labourers who could barely read or write and never travelled more than a few miles from home.

So now, the pool of potential business people is far greater than ever before. If a person can live well in a modern society, they already have the abilities they need to start up a small business enterprise and succeed.

The good news also is that if you lack a certain skill which your small business needs, then you can probably employ someone with that skill far more easily than ever before.

F) More people have access to money than ever before.

Until the late 1960s, most people were paid weekly and spent money as they earned it.

It was normal among manual workers to run right out of money around the time of their next pay packet, which often contained notes and coins!

Today most people have many bank accounts (with overdrafts) and access to credit cards, which alone have spending limits equal to a half or full year's income.

Savings and share holdings are greater than ever before. A large proportion of the population can raise money on their house and if they don't mind paying a high interest percentage, they can borrow with no security at all.

A great variety of people and institutions are now willing to lend money for good small businesses proposals.

With access to credit, you can buy the product, ship it to the customer and get paid before you have to pay for the goods which you sold. This just wasn't possible until very recently.

G) Advice, courses and books about starting small businesses are within easy reach of everyone.

Researching your chosen business area has never been easier with the Internet so readily available.

Not so long ago, you would have needed to buy many books and read them all to get the specific information you required. Now you can ask a search engine very specific questions and get very specific answers, almost immediately.

This frees up small businesses and enables them to be far more productive and enterprising.

H) If you start a small business today you have an immense amount of technology available to you.

Computers, printers, copiers, audio and video recording and playback equipment, telephony and the internet are all easily available to any entrepreneur wanting to get started in a new small business enterprise.

Not long ago, the average multi-national company lacked the computing, communicating and printing power available to the ordinary person today.

You can probably think of at least 6 different ways to get a simple message to someone on the other side of the world. 5 of those messages would typically arrive less than 1 minute after you sent them.

Just 100 years ago, (and remember mankind has been around for about 3 million years) this same message would have involved horses and steam ships and would have taken months.

This massive improvement in technology (especially in communications and information) has really opened up the field to the individual who wants to go ahead with a new small business venture.

I) Small businesses starting up today have far more choices available to them.

In previous times, it was quite common for there to be only a few companies that they could go to, to buy business supplies. Whatever business you care to name, you would not find many suppliers of the materials needed to conduct that business.

Unless your business is in a very specialist area, you will now find you can source your supplies from a great many firms. This in turn drives your costs down, as you can shop around for the best deals.

For example, there used to be very few ways to get your goods delivered to your customers. Nowadays you could chose from literally hundreds of different carriers.

New companies can chose anywhere in the world to set up their small businesses, or indeed where to place any part of their business.

I know of a successful paintball company, which operates in the UK in summer. But when the business falls off due to the cold winter, they find new customers by simply moving the company to Brazil, and then return the following spring.

They also take advantage of the cheaper labour in Brazil to manufacture the paint balling equipment, and when back in the UK use the greater expertise in the UK to program their systems.

Not so long ago this flexibility of operating a small business would have been totally impractical.


There are far more opportunities to start small businesses than ever before and entrepreneurs who do start new small businesses at home are more likely to succeed.

There are more potential customers, it costs less to start up and you have more choice over the kind of business to go into. Other benefits are a more skilled and educated workforce, and easy access to financial support.

If you do want your own enterprise, you can also use the power of the Internet to carry out good and fast research, and to support your business in many ways. I believe there has never been a better time to start up new small businesses.

Laurence Abbott brings to you an abundance of experience of starting and running small businesses. From hundreds of ideas for small businesses to recommendations for many services, small businesses will profit by visiting 4-Small-Businesses.Co.UK

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mastermind Your Small Business Success

Mastermind Your Small Business Success

Although it had been a dream of my husband’s for decades, the thought of starting a business on my own was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. After some careful thought and discussion, my husband Gerard and I cashed in our NY chips and moved to Maine in 2003 to birth Gerard’s “baby”, his jewelry store, Porte4.

For all of you self-employed, small business owners reading this, you know what I mean about the exhilarating / terrifying contrasting emotions that occur in the course of running your own business don’t you? In fact, the exhilaration can turn to terror in the blink of an eye, feeling like the two emotions are inseparable.

But get here, we did and I found the resources available to small business owners and entrepreneurs overwhelming. If you are thinking about starting a business, want to buy a business or want to grow the business you already have, there’s no shortage of information here: SCORE, SBA, ASBDC [], http://www.Business.Gov, Small Business Assistance Center at These are just a few; the list goes on & on. Two other great sources of information are and the small business section on ( Happy researching!!

Gathering the information wasn’t the problem. What I found the most difficult was converting all the information I found into usable and practical ‘how-to’ data. It was data overload and I needed to talk to someone about the real-world of starting the business, not the academics of it. Things like:

How do you balance the needs of everyone: customers, employees, family, self?

When and how do you make the decision to hire your first employee?

...and then how do you recruit and keep great people?

What is the right mix for marketing your small business? – Multi-media advertising, PR, speaking, event sponsorship, direct and e-mailing; networking; community involvement …Argh!

Growth Strategies – How do you balance the need for growth & innovation yet keep the core of your business steady and strong?

Well? Who can you turn to for help in making critical decisions? Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to someone on a regular basis who 1) you could trust and 2) could give you feedback based on their experience?

Consider joining a small business mastermind forum. Mastermind forums or peer advisory groups provide small business owners and entrepreneurs a confidential environment to share with each other, helping each other by leveraging each other’s experience and knowledge, and so much more.

The benefits of a good group will FAR exceed the investment.

Among them are:

Reduce Costs: Small business owners often don’t have the budget to "re-invent the wheel". By learning what other businesses have successfully done, you can save time and money.

Avoid Mistakes: Solving business problems on your own can result in costly delays and errors. Learning what others have done can help keep you moving forward.

Find New Ideas: Get outside your own paradigm and see through the eyes of other business owners. They may give you a perspective that leads you to a far greater outcome than you could have achieved on your own.

Improve Performance: When you look for best practices outside your own business, a wonderful thing happens. You raise the bar of performance and set new standards of excellence to propel your company forward.

There are a number of executive / CEO forum groups you can consider. Most are franchised and target the executives of larger companies (those with $10 million in sales or more). From personal experience I know the challenges small business owners and solo-preneurs have are every bit as plentiful and just as frustrating and complex as those of larger organizations. However, the smaller the business the more the professional can benefit from participating in a small business mastermind forum.

Larger organizations have their boards of directors and big budgets. Small business owners and entrepreneurs should have their own advisory support. Grow your small business success through a small business mastermind group.

Until next time, BE BOLD, Do Bold Business. Remember, it all starts with a Vision.

Bold Vision Consulting helps small business owners and entrepreneurs perform to their full potential and get the results they need. Bold Vision’s mastermind small business forum, Ocular Forum [], is customized for the entrepreneur and small business owner. Ocular Forum provides small business owners and entrepreneurs a confidential environment, the system and the support to grow their business with the greatest possibility for success.

Lynnelle Bianco, President, has over 25 years experience as a leader in sales, marketing, client service and in the effective planning and execution of strategic plans and projects. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Lynnelle moved to Portland, Maine from New York City in 2003 after a successful career as Vice President in JPMorgan’s Global Investor Services Division. In Portland, Lynnelle also owns Porte4 with her husband Gerard.

How NOT to be a Small Business Failure Statistic

There were about 146,000 business startups a year, and an average of 12,000 business bankruptcies per year from 1994 to 2004 in Canada. A 2004 Statistics Canada study on small business failure rates "Key Small Business Statistics - January 2005: How Long Do Small Businesses Survive?" found that the first few years were critical. While almost three quarters of small business startups survive the first year, less than one third of micro companies (less than five employees) were in business after five years.

These statistics by themselves may be of little value to you directly. We know how many small businesses survive and for how long, but it's far more important to know why some survive and others do not. There are a lot of studies on small business failure. Searching "reasons for small business failure" with quotations on Google will give you almost 700 results (about 38 million without!). "Why small businesses fail" will give you almost a thousand.

The 1997 study by Statistics Canada "Failing Concerns: Business Bankruptcies in Canada found major internal factors of small business failure was management deficiency, financial management problems and poor marketing.

The Small Business Administration study "Financial Difficulties of Small Businesses and Reasons for Their Failure" in 1998 found several causes of small business bankruptcy: outside business conditions (38.5%), financing (28%), inside business conditions (27.1%), taxes (20%), disputes (18.8%), personal calamities and other (32.9%)

There is a wealth of information on this subject, but what are the common factors? There are four basic areas:

External factors

External factors include new competition, your major client moving out of town, poor weather if you're a seasonal business, or economic downturns. They're often largely out of our control, and may be unique to your particular company, but there are often ways to mitigate them. For example, if you have a seasonal business, such as a landscaping company (at least up here in the cold north it's seasonal) you could buy a bobcat to provide income during your off-season with snow removal. The bottom line is, have a contingency plan for external factors that could have a negative impact on your small business success.

Lack of management

Big companies have the luxury of being able to hire several people to get all the jobs done that need to be done, but chances are you're going to have to do it all yourself, at least for awhile. That means you're not only going to have to develop your product or service, you're also going to have to make financial, accounting, legal, marketing, human resources, and purchasing decisions.

You may do some of these tasks very well, but it's unlikely that you do all these tasks well, and even if you do, you might want to contact a lawyer and an accountant at the very least. And, research, research, and research some more, and when you're done researching, find an expert or two bounce ideas off and give you solid advice.

Lack of planning

Small businesses often fail because of lack of planning. Let me make a bold statement: the single-most vital part of your business success is your business plan. Why? Simply put, your business plan specifically and concretely lists your goals for the next few years. It spells out, step by step, how you're going to meet those goals, and gives you something to measure your performance against at the end of your business year.

Finally, a complete business plan helps you get financing and includes a marketing plan, which addresses lack of marketing and insufficient financing, two more often cited reasons for small business failure.

I have one more thing to say about business plans. It does very little good to write a business plan, put it in a drawer and never look at it again. That same 1997 Statistics Canada study we talked about earlier found that successful small business owners refer to and revise their business plans often.

Lack of marketing

Most small businesses seem to think it takes a lot of money to market their product or service effectively. That's simply not true. There are many ways to market inexpensively. You could use direct mail marketing which is as cheap as a stamp, or email marketing, which costs nothing. The point is, you need to get your product or service "out there" somehow. You may have the best product or service out there, something completely unique from anything else, but what good does that do if nobody knows about it?

So there you have it--my thoughts on the main reasons why small businesses fail, and how you can avoid becoming a small business failure statistic by developing a contingency plan, consulting with experts, and developing and using a business and marketing plan.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, I'm most certainly not trying to discourage you. I sincerely believe being in business for yourself may possibly be the most rewarding career there is, but a little knowledge can go a long way towards arming you against small business failure.

Eve Jackson owns and operates Details Small Business Solutions. . Details SBS is dedicated to helping small business do big business with communication and image consulting. We write small business business plans and direct mail sales letters, and we design company identity packages, websites and press kits, including all the copy.

ReachForce and Televerde Create Partnership to Clean, Grow and Enrich...

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) January 20, 2011

Televerde, a leading B2B outsourced demand creation agency, and premiere CRM Data Services provider ReachForce, have announced a partnership that will add database cleansing, growth and enrichment services to Televerde’s portfolio of dialogue, digital and data solutions, and will enhance the accuracy and recency of ReachForce’s database of millions of rich contact records. The partnership creates a win-win-win scenario for Televerde, ReachForce and clients of both organizations.

Under the agreement, Televerde will OEM and resell the combined services of ReachForce’s cloud-based marketing contact data management platform through Televerde’s Exactus™ line of data products and services which enables marketers to embed highly accurate data into their demand creation and nurture programs. ReachForce will leverage Televerde’s vast dialogue-based marketing resources to validate its data to ensure recency, completeness and accuracy for data ReachForce licenses to clients.

The mutually beneficial partnership creates a massive segmented database of millions of highly accurate, current and enriched B2B contacts across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC that allow marketers to sharpen their focus in order to pinpoint more prospects, identify better qualified opportunities, accelerate revenue growth, and increase demand creation program ROI.

“We have always recognized the critical role of accurate data in demand creation programs,” says James H. Hooker, Televerde’s President and CEO. “Data impacts all stages of the sales pipeline, with the biggest impact at the early ‘top of the funnel’ stages of demand discovery and lead generation. The data must be pristine at this stage in order to achieve the ultimate downstream objectives of top-line revenue growth and maximum marketing ROI. Televerde’s strategic partnership with ReachForce creates opportunities for all marketers to develop, integrate and execute data-driven demand creation programs that are optimized with an expansive array of accurate, recent and complete contacts records and that are designed specifically to meet measurable revenue objectives. We are thrilled to be able to go to market with this ‘Televerde powered by ReachForce’ data solution.”

"Partnering with Televerde allows marketers to have a one-stop shop where they can go to execute full lifecycle marketing campaigns that drive revenue," said Bob Riazzi, CEO of ReachForce. "Companies work with Televerde when high growth demand creation and accelerating revenue are strategic priorities. They have proven themselves to be masters of demand generation through their experience in producing qualified leads that cost only a fraction of the revenue they produce as a result. Adding ReachForce’s contact data cleaning and enrichment services inside Televerde’s marketing cycle and adding Televerde’s contact validation services into ReachForce’s data remediation process is a unique one-two punch. It’s an exciting relationship and will continue to prove to be very valuable to our marketing customers.

With the data enrichment programs well underway, both companies say additional joint development opportunities are being designed that will enable a tighter interaction between Televerde’s demand creation and nurture offerings and the ReachForce’s Marketing Data Cloud platform.

ReachForce is a proven provider of full lifecycle contact data management services that ensures your customer and prospect data is always sales and marketing ready. From cleansing and enriching existing records, to growing the database with highly targeted and validated net-new prospects, ReachForce’s extensive range of offerings is the key to successful B2B marketing and sales execution. ReachForce is able to ensure the ongoing quality and completeness of customers’ data, resulting in shorter sales cycles and ultimately increased sales revenues. With over 300 customers, ReachForce is partnered with top CRM, Marketing Automation, and Demand Generation Services vendors. More information can be found at

Televerde is a B2B outsourced demand creation agency that helps high-tech companies to identify new customers, accelerate sales opportunities, and discover fresh, actionable market insight. We use an integrated “3D” dialogue-based, digital-based and data-based approach to achieve improved performance of sales pipelines, increased top-line revenue growth, and measurable return on marketing spend. Unlike other outsourced providers and even some internal demand creation teams, we offer a disciplined approach to optimizing demand creation that meets the need for comprehensive management of the lifecycle of sales opportunities and, ultimately, a higher volume of better qualified leads delivered faster. Learn more at or call +1 888-787-2829.


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Oakbrook Solutions Has Developed a Cost Basis Reporting Solution to...

Winston-Salem, NC (Vocus/PRWEB) January 19, 2011

As the new cost basis legislation becomes effective in 2011, it is critically important to understand the final requirements and meet all deadlines to ensure compliance. The cost basis reporting law enacted in 2008 contains provisions designed to ensure more accurate reporting of gains and losses on investor tax returns.

Beginning January 1, 2011, any custodian recordkeeping assets producing 1099-B’s will need to complete accurate tax lot accounting. Certain tax forms issued beginning in 2012 needs to report accurate gain loss data, not just gross proceeds. These new rules have staggered effective dates and will apply to:

o Equities acquired on or after January 1, 2011;

o Mutual fund and dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) shares acquired on or after January 1, 2012; and

o All other financial instruments, including fixed income securities and derivatives, acquired on or after January 1, 2013.

All major broker/dealer (BD) applications are being enhanced to handle tax lot accounting. Trust accounting applications have had tax lot accounting in place for decades, however, this means that BD’s must also gather accurate tax lot information when bringing on new accounts.

Oakbrook Solutions has designed and developed an Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS) and Cost Basis Reporting Service (CBRS) industry solution for its clients to assist with requirements of the new cost basis reporting legislation. Oakbrook worked with clients to define business requirements, build functional design, and now offers a DB2 based ACATS-CBRS solution that can integrate with a client’s security movement and control application. The ACATS component allows participating institutions to exchange new account data related to asset holdings in a cost effective manner. The CBRS element utilizes the ACATS infrastructure to deliver tax cost data on new accounts.

“We have been monitoring the impact of this legislation for some time and are excited to provide needed business functionality to our clients,” stated Craig Cook, President of Oakbrook Solutions. “This technology should enable clients to efficiently handle and control the additional workload brought on by the legislation."

The solution will be integrated with the bank’s security movement and custody application. Data feeds and formats (both inbound and outbound) are handled by new online screens and batch functions that assist with controlling and monitoring the status of ACATS and CBRS work in progress. Feeds can be accepted as many times a day as needed. Once the appropriate status is reached, new security transactions are generated to handle the security movement and corresponding accounting events. The online screens are supported by DB2 databases, which allow for ease of integration with workflow applications as needed to facilitate better process management.

Once installed, the product will allow companies to quickly integrate and communicate effectively with the participants via ACATS. This will save institutions time related to new account processing and account closing.

Oakbrook’s solution provides an effective and efficient process for handling the holdings and cost data and integrating it into new accounts. Both services are now available for installation and will assist with company efforts to establish compliance with the new cost basis legislation.

About Oakbrook Solutions Inc.: Established in 1999, Oakbrook Solutions solves problems faced by firms in the Wealth Management Industry. Oakbrook possesses a unique blend of technology, business and management expertise that helps their clients implement change, integrate applications and improve operational efficiency. This is accomplished by understanding our customer’s business and delivering solutions that solve their problems from both a technology and business perspective. For more information, please visit


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Applying For a Small Business Loan

When you have ideas, plans, and desires in place, the anticipation of moving forward in operation a small business is extremely exciting. Only one thing can hold you back - money. Working with a lender and applying for a small business loan can be easy or difficult, depending on how much preparation you've put into the process.

The lender will ask for a variety of items when applying for a small business loan

1. Business Plan.

If you don't already have one, write one. Virtually no lender will consider you for a small business loan without the organization, detail, and direction you have for your business, and all of this is stated in a business plan. For information on how to write a business plan, visit - Don't be afraid to hire a professional writer to write or proofread the plan for you if you're not confident in doing it yourself.

2. Loan Proposal.

Nearly all lenders require a loan proposal if you are applying for a small business loan. After you've written a detailed business plan, your loan proposal can be written. The information in a loan proposal includes details on who you are, including your experience and business desires; how much money you need and what it will be used to purchase or fund; how you intend to pay back the loan; and what your plans are if you cannot pay the loan back in full.

3. Completed Lender's Application.

Most lenders will also require that you complete a business loan application when applying for a small business loan. Your application should be very organized and presented in a professional manner. Don't omit any details, and be completely honest about your credit history, even if you don't have an excellent credit rating, when applying for a small business loan. Some lenders base their loans on the character of the person applying for a small business loan, and if you're "borderline" for qualifying for the loan, your honest application can prove to the lender that you are indeed trustworthy for receiving a small business loan.

4. Financial Statements.

If your business is already in existence, visit the lender for your interview with two years of tax records, as well as two years of business and personal bank statements when applying for a small business loan. Not all of that information may be required immediately when applying for a small business loan, but it's better to be prepared with the information on hand, rather than have to tell them that you'll have to bring that in at a later date. Your tax records will show the profitability of the business, as well as detail its expenditures. Your bank statements will prove that money is coming in, and that the business is already established. If your business is yet to be launched, you still need to go to the meeting prepared with both two years of tax forms and two years of personal bank statements when applying for a small business loan. This will show the lender that you are a responsible, reliable individual, that you pay your bills, and that you file your taxes in an honest, timely, and fair manner.

5. Resume

While not required for a meeting with a lender, it's probably a good idea for you to have a current resume with you for the interview with the lender when applying for a small business loan. As mentioned, there will be some judgment of your character made at your loan interview. If this should come into play during the interview, you can easily present your resume to show your work experience when applying for a small business loan. This is especially important if you've worked in the field in which your business will be based. It's also important in the instance that you have experience in a business-related area, such as management, marketing, or accounting, to show that you are capable of succeeding in business due to your experience in working with other businesses.

The bottom line is to be prepared when applying for a small business loan:

- Visit the lender with all files neatly presented and very organized.

- Present information as requested during the application process and interview when applying for a small business loan.

- Dress for success. Don't show up at your meeting in jeans and a sweatshirt when applying for a small business loan.

- Don't worry if you've forgotten anything, and don't get flustered. Offer to drop off or fax the requested information as soon as you leave the meeting. Offer to provide any additional information that could possibly play a role in your loan's approval.

If your business loan is not approved, don't become frustrated. Many small businesses are declined on small business loans. Look into alternative loan sources, and don't give up.

Rebecca Game is a 30 year entrepreneur who founded the online community for women in business at It provides resources and tools for women starting a business of their own. Please visit her site: Digital Women - Loans for Women

This article may be freely used when author/resource box is totally intact with live link.

Small Business Loans Can Help You Write Your Success Story

Scene one: you are sitting on your office desk surrounded with files and work overload, you are thoroughly frustrated. You work hard and get paid. But somewhere something is lacking.

Scene two: you work for yourself; you do what you want to do. You work hard and you are satisfied. You go home a better person each day cause you work for yourself. And you definitely earn more.

You don't even have to look at the results; votes for Scene two are definitely more. You want a life like that. But every business entails capital. Small business loans can accrue the capital you need to start a small business. With so many online sources for small business loans, you don't need to rely on family or relatives for capital.

Homework! Yes, it is not meant for school kids only. You too have to do it, to find the right resource of your small business loans. There are a few points, the loans lender will be looking at, when he is contemplating providing you small business loans. A lender will be paying attention on your education, experience, business plan and its feasibility. Other things that are crucial are repaying ability, credit history, equity, presence of collateral.

The first things will be your ability to repay. Every loan is meant to be repaid. Loan lender wants his money back. They will look for a business that has existed for some years now. If you are starting a new business, prepare an application that will prove to them that you will repay the loan. If your business is low risk proposal, you are getting a small business loans.

Presence of collateral would provide a positive boost to your small business loan application. The financial institution would be looking for an alternative source to payback the loan. Without collateral, you would need a cosigner who can pledge collateral. Collateral can be any business or personal assets that can be sold to pay for the small business loan. The market value of collateral is not taken into account but the value which results after negating the valued lost when the collateral is liquidated.

Equity is also significant. The equity will be in the form of money you invest in your business. The loan lender will be very pleased to know, if you have invested your money in the business. If there is enough equity in your business to payback the loan, the small business loan will be yours.

The next crucial thing will be called a credit report. If your credit report is good, your small business loan application will be reaching the top of the application pile. If you have no idea what your history reveal for you - get a copy of credit report. Make sure the details given there are correct. In case there is an error, get it corrected before you apply for small business loans. Pay all the pending debts and get going.

The question that you will be facing with small business loans is what you are going to do with the money. Give concrete answers. Convince the lender that you will repay the small business loan with long term profitability that your plan ensures. Your confidence will be a key to unlocking small business loans.

Small business loans are available in three forms -

Short term loans will solve funds problem for immediate business starting. Their term is usually one year or less.

Intermediate loans are meant for large initial expenses with loan term between one to three years

Long term loans supply for initial costs of a start up business and extends from three to seven years.

Documentation! Yes, just get ready with your file of documents and make sure it has - proof of ownership, letters of reference, contracts, tax returns, financial statements, credit references, Incorporation or LLC organizational documents. The loan lender might ask for any other documentation for Small business loans.

Read the small business loan agreement carefully and have your lawyer review it. Some terms can be negotiated with the loan lender. If your circumstances are favourble, you can even manage to waive some terms. Obtain terms which you are comfortable especially with regard to repayment process and interest rates.

You can have a great idea, great people to work with, a well written business plan - everything, almost everything. All you need is a small business loan to make it a success. So, how do we begin writing the success story? With writing small business loans application.

Amanda Thompson holds a Bachelor?s degree in Commerce from CPIT and has completed her master?s in Business Administration from IGNOU. She is as cautious about her finances as any person reading this is. She is working as financial consultant for chanceforloans .To find a Personal loans,bad credit loans,Debt consolidation,home equity loans at cheap rates that best suits your needs visit

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

General Appliance of Berkeley Announces New 2011 Cambria Countertop...

Berkeley, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) January 19, 2011

General Appliance of Berkeley, a leading Bay Area kitchen appliance supplier, cabinet store, and design center, is now offering the new 2011 Cambria product line. Cambria’s 2011 Color Collection includes 21 new colors and three new collections.

“Cambria has a 60 year legacy of quality manufacturing and exemplary customer service,” said Ife Collins, Marketing Director at General Appliance. “Their rigorous focus on quality control and attention to every detail during the entire manufacturing process has given them a well deserved reputation among Bay Area kitchen remodel professionals.”

Cambria’s natural quartz surfaces are stronger than granite. They do not require sealing, polishing, or reconditioning. Unlike granite and marble, Cambria’s surfaces are nonporous and prevent food and moisture from penetrating the surface, which can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria. Cambria also resists stains from common food items such as wine, coffee, and tea.

Unlike granite, Cambria has been certified by NSF International as a safe food preparation surface. NSF International is a World Health Organization collaborating center for food and water safety and indoor environments. NSF supports companies in over 100 countries.

Cambria also offers distinct advantages in the areas of environmental health, safety, and sustainability. Cambria recycles and recovers 100 percent of the water used in its production processes by employing unique setting and filtering techniques. They make products that have a big impact on customers, not the environment.

For more information about Cabria’s products, call General Appliance at (510) 984-3719 or visit their website at .

About General Appliance of Berkeley
General Appliance of Berkeley is a San Francisco Bay Area cabinet design and appliance and cabinet retailer that specializes in kitchen designs and remodels, kitchen appliances, bathroom and kitchen cabinets, and countertops sales. General Appliance has served the San Francisco Bay Area for 40 years, and each of their kitchen appliance professionals and cabinet designers have at least ten years of experience at their location.

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Small Business Computer Consulting: the Sweet Spot

If you've previously delivered your service B2C (Business to Consumer) and now want to switch to B2B (Business to Business), you may think that you're ready to run out there and just get some small business clients. It's not that simple. In this article, you'll learn how to define the "small" in small business computer consulting.

If you focus too much on home-based businesses and micro small businesses, you'll have a tough time selling a lot of services. While "micro" small businesses (under 5-10 employees) are technically small businesses, micro small businesses may not be a good fit for your small business computer consulting company. Why not?

The Five Reasons to Avoid Targeting Micro and Home Businesses

1. Lots of consumer grade PC's

2. Pirated software

3. Reluctance for paying for services. A lot of micro small businesses want to look for volunteers to help them with their computer problems like someone's niece, brother or friend. You can't compete against free! You'll also have a tough time competing against moonlighters; these people are on someone else's payroll during the day and don't have to fund their own certifications and benefits. They can undercut your price tremendously.

4. IT isn't that important to their company, so they don't need a great response time.

5. Too small to afford a "real" dedicated server and "real" network.

These five reasons are why most computer consulting firms doing really well with services are looking at prospect companies that have at least eight or ten PCs. At that point, it becomes really difficult for these companies to continue running a peer-to-peer setup, or wait for the sometimes glacier-like response time of volunteers and moonlighters.

When a small business is "big" enough

Usually small businesses with more than 8-10 PC's start to get serious about putting in a real client server network, putting in a real tight back up solution, putting in a real UPS, and a real firewall. In order to do these things correctly, small business decision makers typically understand that the systems need to be designed by a more sophisticated IT services or network integrator firm.

In other words, as a small business goes through growth spurts, the stakes go up. And these businesses generally recognize the need to use IT more strategically. Also, typically the small businesses have made the decision that IT is actually important to the company, and that they can't afford a lot of downtime. So they need someone to coordinate everything computer-related. These small businesses want someone to take ownership of the whole problem, and that's where your small business computer consulting comes in.

The Bottom Line about Small Business Computer Consulting

In this article, you've learned which size business you should target for small business computer consulting. To learn more about small business computer consulting, click here now> to get access to a free one-hour audio training program on 5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Computer Consulting Business.

Joshua Feinberg has helped thousands of computer consultants around the World get more steady, high-paying clients. Learn how you can too get more steady, high-paying clients. Sign-up now for Joshua's free Computer Consultants Secrets audio training.

Reality Vs Myths - SBA Changes Small Business Reporting Standards

The SBA recently made some changes to how small businesses can compete in the federal marketplace, leading to some false beliefs. An examination which clears up some of the false beliefs about the change in Small Business Association guidelines and how it affects businesses trying to do work with the government.

Myth: Small Businesses can't compete in the federal marketplace because large companies are getting contracts specifically written for smaller businesses.

Reality: Though it is true this has happened in the past, large businesses taking contracts set aside for smaller businesses is not a real factor anymore in the federal contracting arena. A minuscule percentage of contracts get awarded to companies whose size is later challenged - the companies are almost universally on the edge of what is defined as a 'small business' rather than the large multi-national corporations. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has adopted regulations which keep such contracts from being considered as small business contracts, helping to make the available figures and statistics more accurately reflect reality.

Myth: Large and multinational corporations are listed in the GSA's database with small business contracts because they were awarded them.

Reality: There are two explanations for this. The first is that size status is determined at the time a contract is awarded, and is retained for the duration of the contract. In recent times, agencies have increasingly been awarding long-term contracts which can extend for as much as twenty years. During that period it is quite possible that these businesses become larger and no longer fit the small business size standard for their commodities. Small businesses are becoming large businesses during the period of their contracts, making size reporting difficult to implement effectively. Secondly, many large companies have a strategy of purchasing small businesses with long-term contracts, meaning that a contract awarded to a small business may then become owned as a subsidiary of a large business. Until recently, agencies were allowed to count those contracts toward their small business goals despite this fact.

Myth: Nothing has been done to stop such misrepresentation of small business awards, and the SBA has not made it more difficult for larger businesses to attain long-term small business contracts and misrepresent themselves.

Reality: Many steps have been taken to resolve this issue. The SBA implemented a ruling in June that requires companies, large or small, to recertify their size status at the end of the initial contract term (generally five years) and again at every exercising of a contract term extension option, usually between one and five years. Additionally, whenever a small business is bought out by or merges with another business (of any size), it must recertify its size status for all of its contracts, regardless of where they are in the term. Thus, from now on all contracts will be reported as held by large companies if the business holding them has grown past small business size standards or has been acquired by a large company. The SBA has also taken other steps, including increasing its staff working on finding small business contracting opportunities, requiring federal agencies to review any issues or discrepancies with their reported contracting statistics, and starting a "Small Business Procurement Scorecard," which will monitor and score agencies on their performance on a variety of small business goals.

Myth: This five year recertification allows agencies to report the tens of billions of dollars set aside for small businesses for large businesses until 2012.

Reality: The new SBA policy explicitly prohibits this. It forbids small businesses that merge or are acquired by large businesses from claiming small size status for all future work, even on existing contracts. This means that as soon as a business is no longer legally considered 'small,' all of the dollars used must be reported according to the appropriate size standard. It also limits the time that a small business that expands beyond small standards can report as small to no more than five years - and most to within one year. All of the new SBA policies apply to all existing and future contracts of any term length, so that whenever any event that triggers a recertification need occurs - merger, acquisition, end of a contract term, or exercise of a contract option - the business must recertify itself to whatever size standard is appropriate at that time.

Myth: Small business can be forced to compete alongside large businesses because of the new recertification policies.

Reality: A contract that is set aside for small businesses MUST be given to a business that is certifiable as small at the time of bid submission. These new policies actually protect small business owners from having to compete with larger businesses, because there is now no way for them to acquire small businesses in order to certify small business status.

Myth: There is no enforcement and there are no penalties, fines, or consequences for large businesses that get small business contracts.

Reality: If the SBA determines that a businesses has misrepresented itself about the size standard, they have the right to disqualify a bid and deny the contract. If a business is found to have intentionally misrepresented itself regarding size status in order to get a contract, under Section 16(d) of the Small Business Act the owners are subject to fines and imprisonment. Companies that lost out on the bid may challenge the size of the winning companies and also file civil suits under the False Claims Act. Additionally, there is proposed legislation that would delay awarding of any contracts that have size standards attached over a certain dollar amount until the size status of the winning bidder is determined and verified by the SBA.

Myth: The SBA will not release information on small businesses awarded government contracts.

Reality: Information and data relating to federal contract awards is readily available to the public through the Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation. Any person - small business owner or otherwise - may request information or reports through the database operator, the General Services Administration (GSA), if they have difficult finding data or navigating the site.

Myth: The recertification procedures will change the size standards for small businesses and how they are classified as 'small,' much like the 2004 proposal.

Reality: This is simply not the case. Small businesses are still determined to be so by the same regulations. The rules regarding size standards have not changed and are still determined by industry - some are based around maximum number of employees, some are on revenues in recent years, and some are a combination of the two. The 2004 proposal, which did not go into effect, was a broad restructuring agenda that would have made all size standards determined by the number of employees.

Myth: More than a dozen federal investigations in the last six years have reported finding that billions of dollars were diverted from small businesses to Fortune 1000 companies and their subsidiaries across the country.

Reality: There reports almost universally raised issues regarding the accurate reporting of contract dollars that were originally awarded to small businesses - just the sort of thing the new rules were put into place to prevent. This meant that small businesses were the original winners of the contracts, but then were bought up by larger companies. Although there are a very few occasions where large businesses won federal contracts that had been set aside for small businesses, generally this was because of a misunderstanding or of a small business not realizing it had grown beyond the size standard. None of the studies suggested that large, multinational corporations competed against small businesses for contracts. The dollars went to the larger companies because the business that originally won the contract was small. The new rules and guidelines that have been put into effect as of June 30, 2007 should prevent any further such problems of misreporting.

Jason Istvan
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The Basics of Buying a Small Business

A Small Business Is Bought and Sold

Is there a small-business owner who has never considered selling his business? Probably not. Is there an individual with some money, talent, or an urge for independence (often only the last) who hasn't thought about owning his own business?

The number of small businesses actually bought and sold, however, represents only a small fraction of those who have felt these urges. To many people, the desire to buy or sell is only a passing thought. Others find various ways to solve their problems or satisfy their ambitions. But sometimes an individual doesn't follow through because he finds the prospect of buying or selling a business too baffling.

The Flow of Decisions in a Buy-Sell Transaction

BUYERS AND SELLERS both seek answers to the same question: "What is this business worth?" Most people see the worth of a business as the total value of equipment and fixtures, inventory, and buildings and land. Important, certainly, but the sum of these values does not equal the value of the business.

For both buyer and seller finding the answer to this question is the most difficult and at the same time the most important step in the buy-sell process. But this final decision reflects many other decisions made while the transaction is being considered. In other words, the buy-sell process is a flow of decisions. It would be impossible to point out every decision that must be made, but the basic ones are as follows:

o Motivation: a decision to attempt the sale or purchase of a business.

o Contact: a decision on how to find a buyer (or seller) for a business with specified characteristics.

o Information: a decision on what information must be gathered or given to buy or sell a business.

o Sources: a decision on how, where, and at what cost the needed information can be obtained.

o Analysis: a decision on the meaning, importance, and reliability of the information gathered.

o Value: a decision on what the business is worth. Price: a decision on how much money to take or give for the business.

o Financing: a decision on how to pay or receive the purchase price.

o Contract: a decision on the form and content of the contractual relation.

o Implementation: a decision on how and when to effect transfer of ownership.

How important is management ability in this business?

Occasionally, a business that is unique and very simple almost manages itself. But if the business is in a competitive field, management ability is probably the most important requirement for success.

Does the prospective owner have the ability to manage successfully?

Effectiveness with people (customers and employees), eagerness to tackle difficult problems and make decisions, and intelligence about general business operations are key ingredients in management ability.

Can he/she learn how to manage this business?

Most people can learn to manage if they recognize the need. This requires room to make mistakes, however, and the self-discipline to undertake self-improvement programs.


A business has a purpose. That purpose is to provide a satisfactory return on the owner's investment. Consequently, determining value involves measuring the future profit of the business being sold.

A seller often thinks of value as representing the money he has invested through his years of ownership. A buyer is tempted to consider value as a fair price for tangible items such as equipment and inventory. These factors are important, but they have value only to the extent that they contribute to future profits. An owner may have invested $40,000, the tangible assets may have a current worth of $20,000, but it is the profit potential that establishes the value of the total business.

Assuming that a reliable estimate of future profit is made, how much is to be paid for each dollar of profit potential?

What am I buying (or selling)? Is it a business or a building full of equipment and inventory?

What return would I get if I invested my money elsewhere--in stocks, bonds, or other business opportunities?

What return should I get from an investment in this business?


It might seem that the price to be paid or received for a business would simply be equal to the value. However, value refers to what a business is worth; price refers to the amount of money for which ownership is transferred. There is usually a difference between price and value because the buyer and seller differ as to how much the business is worth. The price will represent negotiation and compromise.

Here are two suggestions for fruitful negotiation:

o Discussion between buyer and seller should focus on the future profit performance of the firm. Since expected profit is basic to determining value, it can be a valuable point for negotiation.

o Every profit projection includes some assumptions and risks. Generally, the less firmly based the assumption and the more apparent the risk, the less value an expected profit can support. Consequently, identifying and analyzing risks involved in future operations can make discussions between buyer and seller more significant.

These two points will help bring negotiations about value toward a mutually acceptable price.

Sources of Financial Information

BOTH BUYER AND SELLER are interested in financial information, affecting the buy-sell transaction. However, since the seller already has this information, it is a major requirement for the buyer to get and make use of as much of it as possible.

The buyer can usually find financial information in the following places: (1) financial statements, (2) income-tax returns, (3) other internal records, and (4) other external sources.

Financial Statements

The results of the financial transactions of every company should be reflected in its periodic financial statements. These statements are extremely important in buying or selling a small business. They were prepared for the seller, of course, and their contents are available to him. But the buyer, too, should be aware during the early stages of a buy-sell transaction of the information contained in financial statements.

Balance sheet and income statement. The balance sheet is a statement of the financial position of the business at a given moment in time. The income statement is a summary of the revenue and expenses of the business during a specified period of time. These financial statements show only the past results of the company's transactions. The results of future operations may or may not be similar.

Balance sheets and income statements in themselves contain important information, but they are most useful when a professional accountant makes a detailed analysis of them. A complete analysis includes a review of the manner in which the statements were prepared, and perhaps also a review of the records and control features of the accounting system. This is especially important in a small business buy-sell transaction because the financial statements of smaller companies are not usually as professionally prepared as the statements for larger companies.

Audited statements. In many buy-sell transactions, the statements are supplied by the seller, but the buyer reserves the right to conduct an audit of the seller's records. Or the buyer insists that the seller "warrant" his financial statements. Warranty of financial statements by the seller should be accepted with caution, however, because there does not seem to be any uniform definition of the term warranty.

If the seller's financial statements are prepared by an independent accountant, the statements should show whether they were (1) prepared after an audit of the seller's accounts, or (2) prepared from the seller's records without verification by audit. If they were prepared without verification by audit, they may be quite similar or even identical to statements that would have been prepared by the seller's own bookkeeper. If they were prepared after an audit, they should include a statement of the accountant's opinion.

Financial statements prepared without such an audit may or may not reflect the financial position or results of operation of the company. Most small companies do not have their records audited annually, but without an audit it is impossible to tell how accurate the statements really are.

Another point the buyer should consider is the cutoff period for the financial statements. The statements may have been cut off during the low period of the sales cycle or during the high period. This has some bearing on the financial position reflected in the statements.

Risk and Return on Investment

If a buyer wants to invest money in a business that is being sold, he should be concerned about receiving a fair return on his investment. Many businesses can make a profit for a short time (1 to 5 years); not so many operate profitably over a longer period of time.

From the buyer's point of view, what is a fair rate of return from an investment in a small business? The rate of return is usually related to the risk factor--the higher the risk, the higher the return should be. United States Government bonds are the safest investment--the rate of return ranges from 5-1/2 to 6 percent. Blue-chip stocks and corporate bonds usually give the investor a return of 4 to 10 percent if both dividends or interest and increase in market value are considered. Speculative stocks may have a higher return, but they also have a higher risk factor.

The buyer of a small business should try to determine the risk factor of the new business, though this is difficult at best and in many cases impossible. In attempting to assess the risk factor, the buyer should project the profits of the business as far into the future as possible. He should ask himself how high the risk should be normally and look for conditions that would be likely to affect the sales and profit-making capability of the business.

Financing and Implementing the Transaction

THE BUYER AND SELLER have a number of important matters to attend to before the transaction can be closed. The seller will be thinking about instruments of transfer that must be delivered at the closing, about compliance with the bulk sale act, and possibly about making financial arrangements if the buyer can't raise the purchase price. The buyer's attention will be focused on financing arrangements, organizing his business-to-be, overseeing the seller's operation of the business in the meantime, and becoming familiar with the details of the business operation.

Compliance With the Bulk Sale Act

Most States require the seller of a business to furnish a sworn list of his creditors to the buyer and the buyer to give notice to the creditors of the pending sale. The purpose of such a "bulk sale" act is to make certain that the seller doesn't sell out his stock in trade and fixtures, pocket the proceeds, and disappear, leaving his creditors unpaid. Compliance with the statute gives creditors an opportunity to impound the proceeds of the sale if they think it necessary.

Noncompliance or inadequate compliance may result in attachment of the property after the sale by creditors of the seller and voiding of the buy-sell transaction. The buyer should not close the transaction until he has made sure that all statutory requirements have been met.

Financing the Buy-Sell Transaction

In general, the buyer has two options regarding the financing of the business. The first basic method of financing is person investment of the future owner or owners of the business. The buyer may pay cash for the business out of personal resources, establish a partnership, or sell stock. These forms of financing are commonly referred to as the use of equity or investment capital.

The other basic form of financing is through borrowing or the establishment of credit. This method of financing may or may not require the payment of interest, but it does require the borrower to repay the principal, usually over a stipulated period of time or on a specific date. This method of financing is commonly referred to as the use of debt capital. Often the purchase is made through a combination of equity and debt capital.

Equity capital. In the simplest form of purchase, the buyer pays the full purchase price in cash. The buyer's investment in the business, at least initially, is full and complete. Whether the funds come from one person or more than one, the financial nature of the transaction does not change.

The sources of equity capital are many and varied. Generally, they are in the form of bank savings. Or cash may be obtained from liquidating certain assets the buyer may own, such as surrendering life insurance policies for cash value or selling real estate, stocks and bonds, or other assets.

Before disposing of assets, however, the buyer should ask himself this question: "Do I want to buy the business more than I want to keep these assets, considering both present and future values?" For instance, if the buyer cases $16,000 worth of government bonds, there may be a possibility of his making a higher profit, but the risk of losing his investment entirely will be greater. He should be as certain as possible that the expected return is worth the risk.

An equally important question is how much the buyer should invest in the business. In general, the more he invests himself, the better chance he will have of borrowing at least part of the purchase price.

A buyer may not have the capital, however, nor perhaps the inclination, to purchase the business outright with his own personal funds. How far he goes in this respect depends on his own cash resources, his confidence in the business, and his ability to borrow money or establish credit with others.

Debt capital. In most cases, the buyer of a small business will have to borrow money or establish credit to purchase the business. Several factors will affect the use of debt capital for this purpose: the source of capital, the amount that can be borrowed, and the length of time for which the capital can be borrowed.

Commercial lending institutions are the sources to which the buyer will probably turn first. The availability of financing through these sources depends on the security that can be pledged to the loan, the profit potential of the business, the prospect of repayment of principal and interest, and the general availability of credit.

One of the major difficulties facing the buyer at this point concerns the collateral that can be pledged as security. The physical assets of the business--particularly fixtures, equipment, and land and buildings--will not be available for security unless they are free of other financial obligations. The buyer may be forced to look to his own personal assets, such as cash value of life insurance, stocks and bonds, mortgages on real property, and so on.

Less formal sources of debt capital may be open to the buyer, such as loans from friends, relatives, business associates, and the like. Many small businesses have been financed through such means.

The seller as lender. A common source of debt capital is that supplied by the seller when he lets the buyer pay for the business over time. Why should the seller finance the buyer? Probably because the desire to sell is strong enough so that the seller is willing to assume part of the risk.

As in financing from other sources, the seller usually demands that the buyer pay interest on the amount being financed and repay the principal and interest at stipulated periods. The seller usually establishes his security on the more certain assets, such as fixtures and equipment. However, he may also assume the inventory as acceptable security without placing it in a bonded warehouse.

The seller's philosophy toward financing the buyer seems to be that if the buyer should fail, the seller can take back the business. The major problem in this form of financing is that it is harder for the buyer to get additional financing from other sources when the seller has first claim on the assets of the business.

How much to borrow. As the first step toward financing the purchase of a business, the buyer has to find answers to two questions:

1) How much do I need to borrow?"

2) "How much can I afford to borrow?"

The answer to the first question depends partly on how much money the buyer has and how much he is willing to invest in the business himself. The less equity capital he has, the more debt capital he needs.

How much he can afford to borrow depends on his ability to keep up principal and interest payments. If a buyer borrows from a number of sources, he may find himself committed to a repayment schedule that the profits from the business will not support. His borrowing plans should be related to the projected income statement prepared during his study of the business under consideration.

Operating capital. In addition to funds for purchasing the business, the buyer must have enough working capital to cover the cost of operation until the business itself produces enough cash. In other words, the buyer must think in terms of cash requirements and cash flow for weeks and months ahead. A common mistake in buying a business is failure to provide adequate working capital.

If sales and business costs after purchase of the business are expected to follow the pattern of the immediate past, the need for short term working capital should not be hard to estimate.

Putting a Value on Goodwill

Goodwill, when it exists, is a valuable asset. It may result from a good reputation, a convenient location, efficient and courteous treatment of customers, or other causes. However, because it is intangible and difficult to measure, goodwill is sometimes recorded when it does not exist.

From the accountants' standpoint, goodwill should be recorded only when it is purchased. It should not be recorded otherwise, they believe, because of the difficulty of placing a fair value on it.

As a practical matter, above-average earnings are normally considered the best evidence of the existence of goodwill, and the value placed on the goodwill at the time of its sale is often determined by capitalizing these extra earnings. Take, for example, a business in a field in which the normal return on investment is 10 percent. Suppose the business has a capital investment of $200,000 and an annual return of about $24,000. The average return on $200,000 for this type of business would be $20,000 a year. Therefore, the business has above-average earnings of $4,000 yearly.

Capitalizing these above-average earnings at 10 percent ($4,000 div. by .10) gives $40,000 as the investment needed to earn the $4,000. Therefore $40,000 may be taken as the value of the goodwill of this firm.

Many people feel that unless a business has above-average earnings, it does not have goodwill. Thus, a business might appear to have an excellent location, enlightened customer policies, and a superb product; yet this business will not have goodwill attaching to it unless its earnings exceed the normal earnings for that type of business.

The measurement of goodwill has many pitfalls. To begin with, a decision must be made as to what normal earnings are. (Industry averages will probably be available, but average earnings for the industry aren't necessarily normal earnings.) And once this decision has been made, the percent at which the above-normal earnings will be capitalized must be decided. In the example given, 10 percent was used. This means that the buyer should recover his investment in 10 years. If he wants to recover his investment more quickly, he will want to use a higher percent, which will give a lower capitalized value. If he is willing to wait longer, he will accept a lower percent, which will raise the capitalized value.

Goodwill is simply a bookkeeping device to represent the value of one part of a business when that business is valued as a whole. In most cases, the total value of the business is decided without a detailed calculation of the goodwill figure--in many cases, without even detailed consideration of the value of the other assets.

In the ensuing chapters, we will develop an in-dept strategy to find, value and acquire a business using as little of our cash as possible. This is not a book that you read and put down. This is a workbook, a work-in-progress type manual. We recommend that the reader takes action as he/she goes through the information enclosed. That is the only way to successfully become a small business owner. And by duplicating your efforts, you can repeat the process outlined in this book to build a small empire.

For more information on how to buy and flip small businesses for profit, visit You can also visit our blog at

Life Coaching 2.0: New Site for Life Coaches Revolutionizes Client...

Corte Madera, CA (PRWEB) January 19, 2011

Coaching Sanctuary (—an interactive online life coaching 2.0 application—has launched a new site for life coaches to work with clients online, offer advanced growth tools, and streamline coach-client file sharing and storage. Life coaches can use the product with their clients for free until February 28.

The new site provides a secure, personalized workspace where a coach and client can go to share session recaps, workbooks, exercises, homework assignments, filed information, and more. Coaches can simplify client documentation and filing by using pre-designed workbooks and templates, customizing templates per client, and creating client folders where all information can be stored.

In addition, the site supports clients’ growth with a host of online personal transformation tools: a self-assessment tool; personal journal; vision board and goal setting; community board; and other tools.

“This product is designed to add a new dimension to life coaching, it’s Life Coaching 2.0, one that supports growth, and builds deeper personalization and connection into the coach-client relationship,” says Coaching Sanctuary founder Bettina Jetter.

Coaches and clients can access the site independently, whenever they want, either to share information between sessions or to take advantage of growth tools.
The site helps coaches interact with clients, improve between-session productivity, and simplify organization through:
    A sophisticated, easy-to-navigate center for formatting and storing clients’ information and communications in convenient workbooks     A library with sets of templates for assigning exercises, affirmations, and inspirations; and for creating customized templates    The ability to create individual client folders to store a client’s information    The ability to email clients from the site to notify them of new contentCoaches can also support clients with advanced personal growth tools:
    The Journal, providing an attractive, well-organized private place for clients to journal their thoughts, feelings, aspirations, and more    The Vision Board, reinforcing intention with personalized photos and images related to short, mid and long-term goals.     The Compass, keeping clients on path to their true inner-selves with self-directives toward values, strengths, energy, gratitude, aspirations and more    The Community Board, connecting clients to other like-minded members in a private setting to share experiences, insight, and support    A Progress Notebook, helping clients see, feel good about, and reinforce their transformation by setting goals and listing accomplishments

In addition to supporting growth, these tools are also a major convenience to clients: They don’t need to create their own versions and can maintain work in one well-organized location.

After February the product will be available as subscription, monthly pricing starts at $25 for up to 5 clients. For more information, contact Bettina Jetter (Bettina at coachingsanctuary dot com) at Coaching Sanctuary, or visit the site:

About Coaching Sanctuary

Coaching Sanctuary is the creation of Bettina and Mike Jetter, and came to fruition as part of a series of projects resulting from Mike’s diagnosis of Leukemia and the couple’s realization that life is finite and time is precious. Throughout the process of Mike’s illness and recovery and experiencing numerous life transitions, the Jetters discovered that positive change must come from within and decided they wanted to create meaningful products that positively impact people’s lives. Coaching Sanctuary is a space where people can experience that change in the way they work, think and live day-to-day. It has been awarded the 2010 Webaward for Outstanding Website in the category of Health Care and Outstanding Achievement in Website Development by the 2010 Interactive Media Awards.

Prior to creating Coaching Sanctuary, the Jetters invented Mindjet, a technology company designed to make a significant difference in the way people use their computers to produce results, along with its flagship product MindManager, the leading application for mind-mapping and visual collaboration worldwide. Following Mindjet's launch and successful growth, the Jetters co-authored an inspirational book, The Cancer Code - How a Journey Through Leukemia Led to a Software that Changed the Way People Work. Their story has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times among other press. In 2004, the Jetters received Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Information Technology in Germany.


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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Small Business CRM Is Here To Stay

If you ask most small business owners what priority CRM has in their short-term business plans, chances are you'll get more than one blank stare. The fact is that most small business owners don't even know what CRM is not to mention how significantly it can benefit their growing company. This prevailing ignorance of small business CRM (customer relationship management) usually stems from just a few basic causes.

Excuses not to invest in small business CRM

The first and most common reason for disinterest in small business CRM is the very nature of small business. With limited financial and personnel resources at their disposal, business owners believe they can't afford the money or time that a small business CRM system would require to show a significant ROI. Often times the chief concern is just staying afloat long enough to sign that big contract or receive a large product order.

Still other owners of new businesses believe that they can build and maintain quality customer relations simply by the virtue of the their cordial personality or particular market niche. They see small business CRM as an unessential luxury to be enjoyed exclusively by their larger competitors. What these owners often find is that without sufficient small business CRM support their business will never expand beyond the number of customer names they can remember. The problem is compounded when the company expands into internet sales (an essential move by any growing company) and suddenly finds its present customer tracking system overwhelmed by the sheer amount of incoming customer information.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line, as all successful small business owners have learned, is that it takes more than one good idea to build long-term business growth and stability. You may be great at attracting new customers to your business, but if you fail to care for, track, and understand your customer base, not only will you hemorrhage your hard-won clientele, you will also fail to capitalize on future opportunities by not anticipating future market trends.

The Solution

The good news about small business CRM is that there is an increasing number of automated systems available at prices that most smaller companies can afford without too much difficulty, usually around $2000 a year. Some CRM companies, effectively eliminating the need for small business owners to micromanage their CRM system, largely manage newer small business CRM systems. Now small business owners can reap the benefits of a smooth running CRM system with a minimal time/financial investment.

Features to look for in a small business CRM system

There are many features available to small business CRM users designed to not only track sales, but also cause sales. Here are some features to look for.

· Power Dialing-This feature allows your outbound sales agents to place 300%-400% as many sales calls, effectively quadrupling your workforce.

· Voice Messaging System-Allows you to automatically record and send sales calls designed to elicit a customer call back.

· Custom Fax and Email-Following up on leads with timely fax and email can mean the difference between closing sales and missing out on potential revenue.

Other 'must-have' features include:

· Calendaring

· Marketing management

· Sales management

· Order and quote management

· Service management

With the ability to outsource these business functions, small business owners can concentrate on implementing strategies that they've had to hold off on due to lack of customer information and/or time.

Cameron Brown is an internet marketer specializing in phone sales. For more information on small business CRM, please visit Inside Sales.

Actionable Intelligence Launches News and Analysis Site for Digital...

Franklin, MA (PRWEB) January 20, 2011

Now over 25 years old, the markets for digital printers and copiers and the supplies used in these machines continue to evolve. Competition for market share has never been fiercer than it is right now. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) vie for hardware placements, while OEMs and third-party supplies vendors jockey for a bigger share of the lucrative consumables market. Likewise, the battle rages in distribution channels, where tactics are always in flux.

“It’s been said that the only constant is change and nowhere is that more true than in the digital imaging space,” says industry analyst Charles Brewer, president of Actionable Intelligence, a market research firm based in the suburbs of Boston, MA. “With a tough economy and a growing number of electronic media choices, the value of hard copy is being challenged,” he explains. “That's having a profound impact on the industry. Never has access to comprehensive industry news and market analysis been more critical to a firm's success.”

The new Actionable Intelligence website provides executives with the industry reporting they need to gain a competitive edge in today’s unforgiving business environment. provides in-depth coverage of the latest hardware releases from leading printer and copier manufacturers such as Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Kodak, Konica Minolta, Kyocera Mita, Lexmark, Oki, Panasonic, Ricoh, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Xerox, and others. The website also follows news from the myriad of companies that make up the diverse third-party digital supplies industry—firms like American Ink Jet, Cartridge World, Clover Technologies, Future Graphics, InkCycle, Micro Solutions Enterprises (MSE), Ninestar, Print-Rite, Static Control Components, Uninet Imaging, XPS, and dozens of others. is set up in three sections. News Briefings examine the competitive strengths and weaknesses of new products and technologies and analyze topical issues such as recent legal actions, strategic alliances, and ongoing initiatives like the move by many firms to provide value-added solutions such as managed print services (MPS). The Actionable Briefings section consists of in-depth analytical pieces on key developments such as Memjet’s move to market high-speed inkjet machines or the growing availability of new “bio-toners” based on plant oils. Research Briefs distill recent findings from firms such as Gartner, IDC, and InfoTrends and examine how those results align with real-world market trends.

Based in Franklin, Massachusetts, Actionable Intelligence, Inc. was established in 2009 and is committed to providing unparalleled research into the markets for digital imaging hardware and consumables. Our team delivers practical, accurate market analysis that clients can use to succeed in a maturing market.


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