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January 09, 2017 Canada – Business Outlook Survey

Canada – Business Outlook Survey

Source: Bank of Canada

The results of the winter Business Outlook Survey indicate that business prospects have improved following two years of overall modest activity. The responses reflect building domestic demand, a supportive export outlook and an expected

Overview

  • Forward-looking measures of business activity have improved as domestic sales growth gains momentum. The drag from the oil price shock and related spillovers is gradually dissipating, and demand growth remains steady in less-affected regions. Foreign demand continues to support export prospects.
  • Both investment and employment intentions recovered and are more broad-based, driven by stronger demand and, in some cases, the need to catch up following a period of anemic investments and layoffs.
  • Capacity pressures are unchanged, but responses point to some firming ahead, albeit from low levels in regions tied to energy. Indicators of labor shortages continue to move up from their recent weak levels, although they still diverge between resource-intensive regions and others.
  • Input and output price growth are expected to accelerate, owing to the combination of anticipated stronger commodity prices, pass-through of exchange rate depreciation and signs of firming demand, allowing firms to begin restoring profit margins.
  • Inflation expectations edged up from a low level and remain concentrated in the lower half of the Bank’s inflation-control range.
  • Credit conditions are roughly unchanged, and most firms characterize credit as easy or relatively easy to obtain  recovery in energy-related activity.

For the full report, click here

December 27, 2016 Marketing Strategies for 2017

Marketing Strategies for 2017

Source: Small Business Trends

Written By: Andrew Gazdecki

Any good marketer knows to keep an eye on the future to stay ahead of the curve on new trends, emerging marketing channels, and other fresh ideas to deliver brand messages. With 2016 in the rear-view mirror and 2017 flying down the pipeline, now is the time to start examining what the New Year is going to mean for marketing.

Here are six marketing growth strategies to help your small business succeed in 2017.

1. Mobile-Centric is the Name of the Game

Over the past couple years, we’ve seen mobile overtake desktop in usage and search. As a result, there was a big push in 2016 for small businesses to ensure that their web pages were optimized for mobile browsing. This mobile friendly attitude was the first step towards being mobile-centric, but that journey is not over.

Mobile-centric involves a lot of technologies and platforms, some of which are still emerging and only now being utilized for small business marketing purposes. The following are all mobile technologies that a small business should begin implementing into their content-based strategies.

Mobile Apps: If you do anything mobile-related in 2017, then get a mobile app. Small businesses have been slow to build apps for their brands because of the high price point of mobile development. However, there are now a lot of inexpensive, yet effective, options that can allow your company to propel itself into the mobile-centric world of 2017.

Mobile Payment Services: Consumers are increasingly adopting mobile pay services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. They want to be able to pay with a simple tap on their mobile device, whether they are in your store or shopping online. From a marketing standpoint, you not only want to offer this service (or risk missing out on possible revenue), but also advertise that it is a viable payment option.

Mobile Only Apps: Many of the top downloaded apps are what are known as mobile only apps, meaning they aren’t available on desktop computers like Facebook and Twitter. Apps like Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat and others are rapidly growing in popularity. They present an exciting and new channels for small and large businesses alike to market themselves on. 2017 will undoubtedly offer more of these mobile-only apps, so keep an eye out.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is by no means a new trend, but it makes the list because of the severely misguided viewpoint that it is an “old school” tactic and no longer relevant. The data shows the exact opposite; email marketing is one of the most ROI-positive strategies out there.

The people that make the false claim that email marketing isn’t effective are the ones that aren’t using it correctly. This tactic is all about providing audiences with relevant, valuable and helpful information (think DIY guides, links to blog content, industry news, etc.). It is not designed for jamming sales pitches down consumers’ throats.

3. Data Informed Decision Making

A lot of people refer to this trend as a push to become data-driven. But, there is a lot wrong with that concept. It suggests that companies should plop their big data / analytics tools at the helm of the ship and let it steer all of the decisions. Most organizations, especially small ones, lack the high-end, sophisticated big data tools and existing data culture that make a real data-driven approach possible.

Even with these tools, the risks are very high. Data doesn’t always know best. Companies should be pairing their data-born insights with the existing knowledge and opinions of their team members. This approach yields the safety and best results that doesn’t require you to overhaul your IT department.

4. Video Content

It is easy to understand why consumers prefer to receive content-based marketing messages over ad-based ones. Advertisements are often interruptive while marketing through content is informational, entertaining and engaging. When you consider that approximately 60 percent of consumers prefer to watch content, instead of reading it, then the power of video marketing becomes immediately apparent. Video content will continue to build momentum and audiences will be looking for it more in 2017.

5. Expert Blogging

Your small business may already have blog content that is regularly published, but how good is that content? Blog content for marketing became a popular means to get noticed on search engines thanks to SEO practices. In this quest to be seen, a lot of organizations became more concerned with their SEO than the actual quality of their content.

Now, audiences are starting to take notice that there is a difference between valuable blog content and not so important writing. If your content isn’t informative and exciting to read, people aren’t going to stick around. 2017 is poised to be the year that brands invest in bringing their digital writing to the next level, which may mean hiring an “industry expert” to create higher caliber blogs.

6. Better Social Media Practices

This trend is in the same realm as blogging in that it is something that almost everyone is doing, but very few are doing well. Specifically, they aren’t getting the most out of their social media data. Even if you are creating high-quality content and regularly responding to comments, questions and complaints, you may be missing out on a lot of valuable information.

Social media platforms are a significant contributor to big data because there are a lot of engagements on these services. Customers are practically handing you a road map to running your business more efficiently and providing a better customer experience. Thus, you should be actively listening and collecting social media based data.

Conclusions

There’s a reason that the biggest section is about becoming mobile-centric. That’s the premier trend for 2017; everything that comes after mobile is just icing on the small business marketing cake. Not to mention that many of the following patterns are hugely affected by mobile (think about how often you check your email, watch videos and check social media on your phone). When it comes to providing value to consumers and retaining them as long-term, brand loyal customers, it all starts with how mobile-centric your small business is. (find article here)

June 29, 2016 U.S. economic outlook lowered after Brexit

U.S. economic outlook lowered after Brexit

Source: CNNMoney

Written By: Patrick Gillespie

The Brexit hangover could create headaches for the U.S. economy.

A handful of economists are already downgrading their outlook for U.S. growth this year after Britons voted to leave the European Union. The vote sparked severe volatility in stock markets and a rally in the dollar. For America, that’s a one-two punch.

Experts at Goldman Sachs (GS), Barclays and Bank of America (BAC) lowered their forecast for U.S. economic growth. Other economists told CNNMoney they anticipate reducing their outlook later this week but requested not to be named since the forecasts weren’t public yet.

The reductions are minor for now. However, the huge uncertainties unleashed by the vote, along with the stock market selloff, are the key reasons behind the volume being turned down on U.S. growth.

Related: How Brexit impacts the U.S. economy

“We expect only a small net drag on U.S. growth from the Brexit vote, with the caveat that the outlook could change significantly if the equity markets keep falling,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, a research firm that slightly lowered its outlook too.

The last thing America needs is another headwind. Growth so far this year has been anemic: the U.S. economy only grew 1.1% between January and March on an annual basis, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That’s higher than the initial estimate of 0.5%, but still very low.

Beyond weak economic growth, job gains have started to slow this spring and American employers are very tepid about investing in their own businesses. Better growth was already an uphill battle, before Brexit.

American trade with the U.K. makes up less than 1% of U.S. economic activity. Nor is the U.S. directly affected if U.K. economy sinks into recession as a result of leaving the EU.

However, Brexit could hurt the U.S. economy in two key ways: volatile stock markets and a strong dollar.

June 07, 2016 5 Steps to Selling Your Small Business at Good Terms

5 Steps to Selling Your Small Business at Good Terms

Source: Business 2 Community

Written By: Tahir Akbar

If we look at the post-recession business-for-sale market, it has generally favored the buying side for various reasons. However, the recent trends and statistics indicate that the market is re-shifting its balance in favor of sellers, which means it’s turning into a more balanced market. The recent uptick in the small business listings gives us an idea about owners’ growing trust in the market.

Generally speaking, there are at least 3 key factors that shows improvement in the market’s overall financial health and balanced equilibrium.

  • In the first quarter of 2016, the median revenue of a small business sold has increased to $459,740 as compared to $450,000 in early 2015. Average of asking price to revenue stood at 0.85 with a median cash flow of over $106,000. This is an increase from $100,000 a year ago. This improved financials give entrepreneurs the leverage to sell their business at a better price. Businesses have not only increased their revenue but also improved profitability; as a result, the asking and sales prices have soared further.
  • The number of businesses-for-sale is showing a robust growth, not seen since 2009. Data obtained from BizBuySell.com’s quarterly insight shows that the number of small businesses listed for-sale has grown by over 12% in last one year. The increase in listings is result of many factors, like; growth in SME sector, better financial performance of SMEs and the volume of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age.
  • Growing supply and demand is also leading to market growth. In this regards, the retiring baby boomers section has played a very major role as they account for many of the new sellers. Survey revealed that 78% of business brokers attribute one quarter of their closed transaction to baby boomer sellers. Conversely, majority of the buyers in the market are from younger generation.
    75% of business brokers in the aforementioned survey told pointed the average age of buyer to be between 30 and 49, while sellers were in the age group of between 50 and 64 years old.
Now, we got the idea about the market’s balanced outlook, the prospect buyer and seller side, and financial health; lets come back to our core point and discuss how to sell a business at good terms and price?  click the link for a simple and relational process of selling your business. It will help you bargain better price and earn decent revenue.
Read more by clicking here
April 26, 2016 Survey: Most marine businesses have no exit strategy

Survey: Most marine businesses have no exit strategy

Source: Boating Industry

By: Jonathan Sweet

Just less than half of marine industry companies have a succession plan or exit strategy for their business.

That’s according to the latest survey of Boating Industry print and digital subscribers, conducted by email in March and April. Respondents were a mix of boat dealers, manufacturers, marina owners and others working in the industry.
The full results of the survey will appear in the May issue of Boating Industry.

While only 46 percent of readers reported having a current plan in place, that puts the industry well ahead of most family-owned small businesses. According to the 2014 Family Business Survey from PwC, only 16 percent of family firms have a succession plan in place.The succession issue can be especially challenging for family businesses, leading to a high failure rate. According to a 2012 Harvard study, 30 percent of family businesses successfully transition to a second generation. Only 12 percent make it to a third generation and just 3 percent survive to a fourth generation.

 

 

WHO WILL BUY?

Many respondents expressed concerns about who the future owners of their business will be, noting the increased cost of doing business and higher property values, especially for waterfront dealerships or marinas. There is also concern about the interest and ability of the next generation or current employees. Of those companies that do have an exit strategy, about half are planning to transition the business to a family member or employee – 36 percent to family and 17 percent to one or more employees. Thirty-nine percent plan to sell the business to an outside buyer.

Of the companies we surveyed, 79 percent had been through an ownership transition in the last 10 years. Of those companies, 66 percent described the transition as very successful and 23 percent said it was somewhat successful. Only 11 percent said it was “neutral” or unsuccessful. Those companies that had problems cited issues with keeping good employees and the wrong person being put in charge of the company.
Of those companies that had completed a sale, 48 percent transitioned to family members, 33 percent sold to a third-party buyer and 19 percent had employees take over ownership.

Click here for article 

March 14, 2016 NSBA Reports Uptick in Small Business Growth

NSBA Reports Uptick in Small Business Growth

Source: Small Business Trends
Written By: Jonha Richman

A full half of small business owners see growth opportunities in the next six months, while 17 percent say they are already seeing that growth. Only 33 percent say they see no immediately growth opportunities ahead. That’s according to the most recent survey by the National Small Business Association.

According to the National Small Business Association’s 2015 economic report (PDF), nearly 75 percent of small business owners surveyed are confident in their businesses — the highest percentage recorded in the last four years. However, there was a relatively less positive outlook among the small business owners on the overall economy than even six months ago. About 32 percent of the respondents in the NSBA economic report said that the economy, as compared to six months ago, is worse; whereas in July 2015, that number was 28 percent, when asked to compare it with the previous year. The survey also highlighted that 58 percent of business owners were projecting a flat economy in the next 12 months.

Interestingly, when these small business owners were asked if they thought that the present-day national economy was better off than what it was 5 years ago, around 53 percent gave a positive response.
When asked in the NSBA economic report what they would see as the most imminent challenge to future growth, 49 percent cited economic uncertainty, closely followed by cost of health insurance, decline in customer spending and regulatory burdens. The volatile stock market is being seen as one of the major reasons of the slight negative outlook among these small business owners.

NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken says, “While small-business owners are more concerned with the economy, we’re seeing modest improvements in hiring, employee compensation and access to financing. This dichotomy is not surprising giving the recent stock market volatility and rhetoric surrounding the 2016 election.”
Certainly, problems remain.

Although there is an increase in small business access to capital, one in four small firms are still unable to to access the capital they need, the report says. However, the percentage of firms with access to capital is still pretty high at 73 percent. About 57 percent of these firms were able to improve employee compensation over the last 12 months. And 60 percent plan to do so in the coming year. Both these percentages are at an 8-year high.

February 18, 2016 3 Reasons You Absolutely Must Move Your Business to the Cloud

3 Reasons You Absolutely Must Move Your Business to the Cloud

Source: Inc.com

Written By: Russ Fujioka

The small business landscape is constantly transforming alongside technology developments. By 2020, more than 78 percent of U.S. small businesses will have fully adopted cloud computing into their business practices. Many nascent and fast-growing companies are quickly beginning to realize that a cloud computing-centric solution helps in many, many ways: cutting costs, freeing up capital, and providing flexibility to meet ever-evolving operational needs.

With new and emerging opportunities, businesses are always looking for ways to avoid roadblocks, like high costs of raw materials, maintaining inventory and looming global competition.Much like the way the Dotcom explosion revolutionized the ease with which entrepreneurs established their businesses; cloud-computing looks to transform how these businesses can run in an efficient, safe, and cost-effective way.However, nearly half of the small businesses in the U.S. still don’t leverage the capabilities of cloud storage.

Those that do, boast the benefits of enhanced collaboration, improved accessibility, and a quick and cost-effective way to backup files.More than anything else, there’s a knowledge gap here: people fear what they do not understand. But really, we’ve known for a while that there’s nothing to fear.It’s 2016 and there are still various misconceptions about cloud computing technology. Businesses that let fear and misinformation get the better of them, risk falling behind in the race. Here are three big reasons why moving to the cloud in 2016 shouldn’t just be an option, but a requirement for any successful business:

1. Security

This is a big one. Security is an important consideration for any business looking to move to the cloud today. However, many people seem to take the metaphor perhaps a bit too seriously – implying that their data would simply be floating in cyber space, available for anyone to grab. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, 85 percent of current small business Cloud users say they are confident in their provider’s’ capability to ensure a secure environment.

For many small businesses, maintaining and protecting data often slips lower in the list of priorities. Many businesses focus their energies in accomplishing their primary business goals.

For cloud storage providers, keeping data secure is part of the job description. This results in a far higher level of security – from better tech experts, to enhanced encryption protocols, to surveillance cameras and biometric locks. Many people don’t understand that security entails more than simply protection from hacking. If a business were still using onsite servers, it would only take a single mishap to set all the progress back. Cloud computing is truly built for the business of today, where restoration and maintenance of data is never compromised.

2. Mobility

Technology is also changing how we work. Communication tools are radically transforming the definition of a traditional office – and cloud technology is at the forefront of this shift.

In the cloud, businesses can truly tap into the power of mobility. All you need is an Internet connection and you’re set. Unlike with on-site storage and computing options, you can easily access, share, and work on files on the go. By leveraging the power of the cloud – where all your information is up-to-date and in arm’s reach – small businesses will have far fewer infrastructure barriers in competing with larger companies.

3. Efficiency

If there is anything that will drive more businesses towards the cloud, it’s efficiency. According to a recent report, cloud applications deliver 1.7 times more return on investment compared to on-premises applications. 

Companies that use the cloud spend 40 percent less on consulting and 25 percent less on support personnel. Cloud deployments are also much faster and don’t need as much of an investment in upgrading infrastructure. By freeing up expenses that would otherwise funnel into implementing and maintaining on-premises alternatives, businesses have much more capital available to support other growth activities and initiatives.  

As we’re slowly ushered into a new era of doing business, those that embrace the cloud only stand to benefit from everything it has to offer. As small businesses continue to become increasingly complex institutions, migrating to the cloud will provide an economical, efficient, and secure way of avoiding obstacles and give rise to a much smoother and more seamless way of doing business.

For more information and read other articles on Inc.com click here

October 01, 2015 7 Reasons to Plan for Succession in Your Family Business Today

7 Reasons to Plan for Succession in Your Family Business Today

Source: Huffington Post

Written By: Shuly Oletzky

When transitioning to President of Frigibar Industries, Inc., our family business for over 40 years, there was no succession plan. Instead of being able to jump into the position and begin working on building the company, several months were spent putting processes into place, organizing documents, and learning how things were done in the past — all of which could’ve been done months or years earlier.

With Frigibar, I was lucky to have an excellent team of employees willing to help me learn and run the business, but waiting to plan for succession doesn’t always work out. Here are seven reasons to start planning for succession in your family business starting today.

1. Clearly State Intentions

Creating a succession plan makes the future of your business and your intentions clear to everyone involved. Understanding intentions seems simple and of little impact, but the importance of knowing what the current president or CEO wants cannot be stressed enough. Disaster can happen when everyone is left in the dark and no one knows what to expect or what to do.

Although I had begun to help out around the office months before taking over for my father, we hadn’t discussed what he actually wanted. I found out nearly a year after he had passed from a family friend that my father did in fact want me to take over the business. I missed out on a lot of opportunities to pick his brain and discuss the future of the business because I didn’t know what his plans or intentions were.

Looking back, I realize he tried to hint around the idea about me moving “closer to home,” and that may have been the way he shared his interest in me taking over the business. However, I had an established life and career path and the hints just weren’t direct enough. Finding out later it was what he wanted was heart breaking and sad. What a wonderful experience it would have been to have had that time to learn the business from him.

While I understand my father wanted my involvement in the business to be my decision, a more direct expression of his desire to have me involved would have gone a long way. If you have children and may be interested in having them succeed you in the family business, I strongly encourage you to have a serious, direct discussion about it. It will be their decision either way, but the encouragement and time together learning the process will be priceless.

2. Put Important Processes in Writing

Whether planning for succession or not, every position within your company should have processes outlined and a reference manual created. Even simple tasks can have a big impact on the business and be difficult for someone to learn how to do from scratch without a guide. By putting each process in writing, any new employee or leader can understand what was done in the past and how to perform necessary tasks.

While we all hope succession happens as a natural part of a family business, tragedy does happen. Planning is of significant importance when the unexpected occurs. As my family experienced when Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) struck my father, his swift decline left little time to plan what to do with the business and little comfort for my father in how our business might provide for us in the future.

The value in having a plan and knowing how to proceed during this unfortunate event would have provided the resources for my family to spend the remaining time with my father in the ways it mattered most: sharing love and caring for him. Dealing with an untimely illness or death is hard enough; succession planning will remove some of the stress experienced in these situations. As Warren Buffet has said “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long time ago.”

To read the remaining 5 reasons click here

September 17, 2015 How Start-Ups Get Funded

How Start-Ups Get Funded

Source: CNBC,com 

Written By: Anita Balakrishnan

Over the past year, the unicorn club—a Silicon Valley moniker for start-ups with a valuation of $1 billion or more—has expanded at an unprecedented rate. The second quarter of 2015 was the sixth-consecutive quarter of more than $10 billion of venture capital invested in a single quarter, according to the MoneyTree report, a collaboration between Thomson Reuters, Pricewaterhousecoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. 

Here’s how it works: Bootstrapped companies—funded out of the founder’s pockets—start by seeking out early-stage investments, and move toward late-stage investments over time. As the company grows and evolves, the type of investors, and the metrics that matter to investors, evolve too, said Tyler Willis.

Willis teaches a class in which he mentors aspiring angel investors, who donate small amounts of their own wealth (usually less than $50,000) into very early-stage start-ups. When entrepreneurs pitch Willis with their “deck”—a presentation that pitches their company to potential investors—he’s looking to be convinced that a company will get what he calls “traction.” 

For him, that could be a really great team that’s done well in the past, social proof that other reputable investors believe in the company, a product that would appeal to consumers, or some sort of “proof of concept,” showing that the company has been able to execute and grow a key metric, like number of users, on a small scale.

But early on, an entrepreneur may have a very limited scope to prove himself. More than anything, an angel investor makes a bet on the person making the pitch. That was certainly the experience of Ajay Yadav, founder of roommate-matching app Roomi, which just received its second round of early-stage or “seed” funding.

“Initially when you have a dream, you want people passionate about your company and usually that’s angels,” Yadav said. “They bet on your company when the risk is very high. It’s small checks, but they will be your advocates. They will be proud to back you up when you become big.” 

To read the rest of the article click here

May 01, 2015 Do consumers think products are better when companies donate to charity?

Do consumers think products are better when companies donate to charity?

By Alexander Chernev and Sean Blair, Phys.org, March 31, 2015

Does hearing about a company’s charitable donations raise your opinion of their products? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, corporate social responsibility leads consumers to believe products are better quality.

“Corporate social responsibility can lead consumers to believe that the products of companies engaged in socially responsible activities are better performing. We attribute this to a ‘benevolent ‘ where positive attitudes toward a company translate into positive beliefs about the company’s products,” write authors Alexander Chernev and Sean Blair (both Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University).

In four studies, the authors tested the impact of on consumer perceptions of product quality. In one study, consumers rated red wine as tasting better when told about a winery’s charitable donation to the American Heart Association. In other studies, consumers thought various products such as running shoes, tooth whiteners, and hair loss treatments performed better when told the companies donated to charity.

However, the benevolent halo effect was diminished when a company advertised its corporate social responsibility efforts. Advertising may not be the best approach for companies to inform customers about their charitable activities. Social media and public relations may be more effective in convincing of the benevolent nature of a company’s actions and thereby increase the positive impact of corporate social responsibility on the perceived performance of a company’s products.

“Doing good can indeed translate into doing well. Contrary to the popular view among many executives that corporate social responsibility is unlikely to benefit their company, our findings suggest that in addition to benefiting society, corporate social responsibility can contribute to a company’s bottom line by improving consumer evaluations of their ,” the authors conclude.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-03-consumers-products-companies-donate-charity.html#jCp

April 23, 2015 Most small-business owners aren’t planning ahead: Poll

Most small-business owners aren’t planning ahead: Poll

CNBC News, by Anna Robaton

Starting and growing a business usually involves a fair amount of sweat and sacrifice. Yet many entrepreneurs who have spent years building successful businesses would rather have a root canal than undertake the often-painstaking process of succession planning.

A succession plan is essentially an exit strategy, ideally one that ensures that the current owner of a business, or that person’s heirs, will be able to cash out at a fair value under certain circumstances.

In many cases, succession plans are also designed to ensure that businesses survive and prosper when their current leaders are no longer in charge—because they either retired, met an untimely death or suddenly became unable to work.

“A succession plan helps to ensure the orderly transfer of a business from the current owners and founders to the next generation,” said Richard Kahler, a certified financial planner and president of Kahler Financial Group.

“A business owner should consider having a succession plan if monetizing their investment and the continuation of the business are important, although it’s not a given that these issues are important to every owner,” he added.

A small business is often the largest asset belonging to its owner. Yet many owners procrastinate when it comes to succession planning, if they bother to do it at all.

Some avoid succession planning because they don’t ever expect to fully retire or, like many people, haven’t come to terms with their own mortality.

Too busy, too fearful

Having devoted a good chunk of their lives to building a business from scratch, some founders are reluctant to face the fact that they will eventually have to hand over the reins if their companies are to go on without them. Others may be loath to make certain hard choices, such as whether to pick a grown child or a long-time employee who is not related as their successor.

“If a business owner and his advisors do a really good job with succession planning, they may determine that the most-qualified successor is not a blood relative,” said Martin Durbin, a certified public accountant and president of Gateway Financial Designs.

To read more: click here

 

March 10, 2015 U.S. Small Business Confidence Ticks Up In February

U.S. Small Business Confidence Ticks Up In February

(Reuters)

U.S. small business optimism edged up in February amid signs of tightening labor market conditions, bolstering the view that a recent slowdown in economic activity will be temporary. The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index gained 0.1 point to 98 last month, the third highest reading since early 2007.

The survey of 716 small business owners found 29 percent could not fill open positions, the highest level since April, 2006. Fourteen percent of them cited the shortage of skilled labor as their top problem, the highest since September, 2007. “There are fundamental domestic economic currents leading owners to add workers and these should bubble up in the official statistics and support stronger growth in domestic output,” said William Dunkelberg, chief economist at the NFIB.

The government reported on Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased 295,000 in February, marking the 12th straight month of job gains above 200,000, which is the longest such stretch since 1994. Economic growth in recent months has been chilled by harsh winter weather as well as a now-settled labor dispute at West Coast ports and softer growth in Asia and Europe. First-quarter growth estimates for the U.S. economy are currently running below a 2 percent annualized pace.

The NFIB survey found a modest increase in the number of small businesses increasing inventories, a good omen for growth. Businesses were slightly downbeat on prospects for the next six months and the outlook for sales. There was little change in business owners’ perceptions of earnings and expansion plans.

 

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

February 27, 2015 Canada Forecast to See Two Years of Tame Economic Growth Amid Oil Shock

Canada Forecast to See Two Years of Tame Economic Growth Amid Oil Shock

Source: The Globe and Mail

Written By: MICHAEL BABAD

A new forecast suggests Canada is in for two years of just moderate economic growth amid the oil shock. Bank of Nova Scotia projects the economy will eke out average growth of 1.9 per cent this year and 2 per cent in 2016, lagging countries such as the United States, Britain and Mexico, but faring much better than the big European economies.

The forecasts released late yesterday, however, show a widening gap between economic growth in Canada and the United States. And where the Canadian provinces are concerned, of course, there’s a complete change of fortunes. Alberta, the heart of the energy sector and Canada’s economic leader of late, is projected to see growth of just 0.6 per cent this year and 1.6 per cent in 2016.

Ontario, a laggard of late, will lead the nation with growth of 2.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent. And the jobless rate in Alberta will spike to 5 per cent this year before easing just slightly to 4.9 per cent, according to the forecast. “I think it’s moderate growth,” deputy chief economist Aron Gampel said of the overall projection for Canada, adding that the global economy should start to “regain traction” amid exceptional stimulus from central banks. We just haven’t seen that yet.

“A sharp retrenchment in energy-related investment should be partially offset by strengthening non-energy exports, with manufacturers benefiting from U.S. demand and a more competitive currency,” Scotiabank said. “Meanwhile, lacklustre employment and wage gains are expected to restrain retail and housing activity, particularly in oil-producing regions.”

Unemployment, Scotiabank projected, will remain elevated at 6.7 per cent for the next two years, though down from 2014’s 6.9 per cent, even as the economy churns out 140,000 jobs in each of 2015 and 2016. The bank hasn’t changed its base forecasts for gross domestic product in Canada and the U.S., but the report comes amid gathering gloom for Canada’s oil-producing regions. Indeed, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz warned that “we are not in a position to engineer the perfect outcome.” Early next week, economists expect Statistics Canada to report that the economy expanded at an annual pace of about 2 per cent – possibly a shade above or below – in the fourth quarter of last year.

Today, the U.S. Commerce Department revised its earlier estimate of economic growth in the fourth quarter of last year down to an annual pace of 2.2 per cent, from its first reading of 2.6 per cent. “Over all, while the economy ended the year with less momentum than in the summer and fall, average annual growth of 2.9 per cent in the past six quarters still denotes a meaningful upward shift from 2.1 per cent in the first four years of the recovery,” senior economist Sal Guatieri of BMO Nesbitt Burns said of the U.S. economy. “We look for 2.3-per-cent growth in Q1 and near 3-per-cent growth for the rest of the year, powered by more financially-fit consumers, but also supported by solid growth in business spending (outside the oil patch.)”

To Read More Click Here

December 30, 2014 Which Tech Start-Ups Got The Most Ink In 2014?

Which Tech Start-Ups Got The Most Ink In 2014?

Source: CNBC.com

Written By: Ari Levy

As 2014 wraps up, there’s one thing we can agree on: It was a wild year for tech start-ups.

Trends included the sharing economy, crowdfunding, wearables, mobile payments, the enterprise space with big data and flash storage. And investors chased valuations into the stratosphere. Through the first three quarters of 2014, venture capitalists poured more money into U.S. start-ups than in any full year since 2001, according to the National Venture Capital Association. And we had controversy. Plenty of juicy controversy. 

There have been numerous lists showing start-ups that raised the most cash, while other upstarts joined the billion-dollar club. So we at CNBC.com decided to take a different approach. We asked this question: Which tech start-ups got the most ink in 2014—in terms of just a passing mention, as well as more intense coverage? We got some help from AirPR, a San Francisco-based start-up that provides data and analytics to public relations professionals.

AirPR compiled two lists: The first scanned the company’s vast database of English-language articles from across the globe to determine which start-ups, founded after 1999, got the most mentions.

For the second list, AirPR put its algorithms to work to find stories that dug a little deeper and were about start-ups—instead of just references, indicating which companies got the most meaningful coverage. Here’s the rundown of the two lists based on AirPR analysis.

10 tech start-ups that received the most press mentions in 2014

  1. Pinterest
  2. Kickstarter
  3. Medium
  4. Path
  5. Dropbox
  6. Spotify
  7. Uber
  8. Fab
  9. Snapchat
  10. Etsy

While the online bulletin board Pinterest has long been a Silicon Valley darling—valued at $1.5 billion way back in mid-2012—it was only the eighth most-popular subject of stories among start-ups. Pinterest’s name pops up with frequency because it’s become among the most trafficked sites in the world, and was the 41st most popular U.S. web property in March, according to comScore. Pinterest is a favored place consumers turn to see what’s fashionable, to find a great salad recipe or to discover new ways to decorate kids’ bedrooms. 

To read more click here


December 03, 2014 Kiplinger’s Economic Outlook for 2015 – looks good!!

Kiplinger’s Economic Outlook for 2015 – looks good!!

Source: Kiplinger   By: David Payne

Looking ahead, there are plenty of positives on the horizon: Hiring is on the rise, job openings are at a near-record level, and layoffs are scarce (indicated by a very low rate of initial unemployment claims since May). Spending on consumer services, such as recreation, is likely to strengthen as incomes rise. Odds are health care spending also will pick up as consumers and providers get used to the new rules. And spending on utilities will stabilize once energy prices stop falling.

Chalk up the softer gains at the end of this year to a variety of factors specific to the fourth quarter; they are not a signal of what’s to come in 2015. For example, motor vehicle production, which grew by double-digit rates in Q2 and Q3, isn’t likely to repeat that performance for a third consecutive quarter. But it is still on an upward trend and will contribute to solid growth next year. And the flat spending on defense that’s likely in Q4 is more of the natural pendulum swing following a whopping 16% pickup in the third quarter than anything else.

Moreover, continued job growth and consumers who feel more secure may trigger more-robust income and spending increases, pushing growth over the 3% mark — if not in 2015, then in 2016. And though there’s a possibility that rising interest rates next year will have a depressive effect, knocking up to half a percentage point off growth, we don’t anticipate that.

To read more: http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/business/T019-S000-kiplinger-s-economic-outlooks

Put your running shoes on it looks like 2015 will pick up and get you moving!

November 24, 2014 What is strategic implementation?

What is strategic implementation?

Source: Houston Chronicle    Written By: Kristie Lorette, Demand Media                                  

Strategic implementation put simply is the process that puts plans and strategies into action to reach goals. A strategic plan is a written document that lays out the plans of the business to reach goals, but will sit forgotten without strategic implementation. The implementation makes the company’s plans happen.

Facts

Strategic implementation is critical to a company’s success, addressing the who, where, when, and how of reaching the desired goals and objectives. It focuses on the entire organization. Implementation occurs after environmental scans, SWOT analyses, and identifying strategic issues and goals. Implementation involves assigning individuals to tasks and timelines that will help an organization reach its goals.

Features

A successful implementation plan will have a very visible leader, such as the CEO, as he communicates the vision, excitement and behaviors necessary for achievement. Everyone in the organization should be engaged in the plan. Performance measurement tools are helpful to provide motivation and allow for followup. Implementation often includes a strategic map, which identifies and maps the key ingredients that will direct performance. Such ingredients include finances, market, work environment, operations, people and partners.

Common Mistakes

A very common mistake in strategic implementation is not developing ownership in the process. Also, a lack of communication and a plan that involves too much are common pitfalls. Often a strategic implementation is too fluffy, with little concrete meaning and potential, or it is offered with no way of tracking its progress. Companies will often only address the implementation annually, allowing management and employees to become caught up in the day-to-day operations and neglecting the long-term goals. Another pitfall is not making employees accountable for various aspects of the plan or powerful enough to authoritatively make changes.

To read more follow the link: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/strategic-implementation-5044.html

 

 

 

 

November 02, 2014 How to steer clear of franchise financial disasters

How to steer clear of franchise financial disasters

Source: CNBC.com

Written By: Zac Bissonnette

Investing in a marque franchise brand is no guarantee of success. Big national chains can get into trouble as easily as small independent businesses due to a wide range of missteps—from overexpansion to excessive debt. In March, Quiznos, the Denver-based sub chain with 1,600 locations in the U.S. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The same month Radio Shack announced plans to shut 20 percent of its 4,000 stores, including 900 that were operated as franchises.

Unfortunately, this is not unusual. History is littered with franchise companies that have hit the skids, including Dial-A-Mattress, Benningan’s and Bally’s Total Fitness. So what happens to the entrepreneur who is heavily invested in a failing franchise brand that’s going broke? Often, the small-business owner feels the trickle-down effect right away but has to soldier on.

A Quiznos franchisee that spoke to CNBC.com on the condition of anonymity summed up his experience: “There has been a decline in support. The corporate and field office support staff has shrunk. We are having a lot of issues with food quality and consistency.”

But even as the operational help at Quiznos has taken a dive, the entrepreneur is still required to pay his royalties as usual. That is taking a toll on his bottom line, since sales are plummeting as Quiznos reduces its national marketing efforts. “I think it would be safe to say that the majority of the franchisees would like to leave if they had a decent exit strategy,” the franchisee admitted.

For its part, Quiznos’ corporate office told CNBC that it has moved to shore up franchises with various lifelines since emerging from bankruptcy, “and we’ve seen immediate results.” In a statement, Quiznos said that it was “pleased with the support and initiatives to date and look forward to more success as franchisees better realize results of these changes.” Franchise experts say that too many franchisees go into business without doing enough research into the company they’re getting involved with. Here are some tips for avoiding franchise disaster.

For the 4 keys to avoid a franchise mistake click here

October 13, 2014 Another Successful Business Sale with the Help of ROCG

Another Successful Business Sale with the Help of ROCG

After helping this company grow and increase its value over the past 4 years, we finished our work with Advance Furniture Testing (Holland, Michigan) by assisting the owner with the sale to United Laboratories (UL) over the summer. Our intimate knowledge of the company over the years and the desire to always do what is best for the company and its owner were instrumental in preparing this business for sale and bringing it to a successful transition & exit.

Below is the official Press Release:

UL Acquires Advanced Furniture Testing

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Oct. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – UL, a global safety science leader, acquired today Advanced Furniture Testing, a Holland, Mich.-based privately held firm that provides performance and durability furniture testing services to many of the largest North American commercial furniture manufacturers. The acquisition enables UL to combine its safety certification and chemical emissions testing services with Advanced Furniture Testing’s expertise in performance and durability testing to offer a broader portfolio of services to office furniture manufacturers.

“As a known market innovator, Advanced Furniture Testing brings to the office furniture industry high-quality testing and machine-building services specifically designed for furniture testing,” said Alberto Uggetti, UL general manager for UL’s Furniture Division. “This acquisition establishes UL as a leader in the furniture testing business and provides us with an opportunity to build a furniture center of excellence with an expanded service portfolio, as well as add capabilities in children’s furniture.”

As the way in which people work continues to evolve, furniture design innovation has led to new functions, new materials and new products driving greater employee collaboration and connectivity.  Expanding its furniture testing capabilities to meet this market growth is a strategic imperative for UL.

UL plans to retain Advanced Furniture Testing’s Holland, Mich., headquarters and its Jasper, Ind., testing facility, both of which are located in key furniture manufacturing regions. In addition, Advanced Furniture Testing will tap UL’s global resources in Italy, China and the United States to develop and expand market opportunities with furniture retailers and manufacturers.

Advanced Furniture Testing’s founder, Doug Woodard, and its 12 employees will transfer to UL and remain with the company. Woodward, previously employed by Herman Miller and KI, has designed and built nearly 30 test machines and devices.

The transaction was signed and closed on Sept. 30, 2014. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit http://www.UL.com.

October 12, 2014 Hacking a Big Danger for Small Businesses

Hacking a Big Danger for Small Businesses

Source: Associated Press

Written By: Joyce M. Rosenberg

It’s not just big businesses like JPMorgan Chase, Target and Home Depot that get hacked. Small companies suffer from intrusions into their computer systems, too.

The costs associated with computer and website attacks can run well into the thousands and even millions of dollars for a small company. Many small businesses have been attacked — 44%, according to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association, an advocacy group. Those companies had costs averaging $8,700.

JPMorgan Chase  said the attack on its computer servers this summer compromised customer information from about 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. Target, Michaels Stores and Neiman Marcus have also reported breaches of their computer systems in the past year, as did Home Depot, whose customers include small contracting companies.

Typically, businesses must have a computer expert find the source of the attack and systems have to be purged of harmful software like viruses. When websites are shut down revenue can be lost. Making matters worse, if customer data was breached, companies often must pay to notify each person or business affected. In some states, they’re encouraged to pay for credit report monitoring for customers, says Matt Donovan, head of technology insurance underwriting for the insurer Hiscox USA.

Making matters worse, if customer data was breached, companies often must pay to notify each person or business affected. In some states, they’re encouraged to pay for credit report monitoring for customers, says Matt Donovan, head of technology insurance underwriting for the insurer Hiscox USA.

In almost every state, companies must notify people when information has been breached, says Samuel Cornish, a commercial law attorney with Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster in Newark, New Jersey. Companies can also be liable for damages in lawsuits brought by customers, he says.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to attacks because many owners believe they don’t have the time and money to invest in software programs or consulting services to make systems more secure.

Many businesses are ignorant of risks they face or possible solutions, says Jeff Foresman, a consultant with Rook Security, an Indianapolis-based computer security company. They may not realize an attack can happen from a seemingly harmless source. For example, a perfectly normal-looking email from a friend’s computer that was attacked without the owner’s knowledge could lead to trouble.

“They don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t understand the sophistication of these attacks,” Foresman says.

Berkeley Varitronic Systems’ bank account was hacked earlier this year and $50,000 was taken, CEO Scott Schober says. He got the money back, but considers the incident a lesson. He had already invested $50,000 in security for his own systems and plans to add another $20,000.

Schober believes his Metuchen, New Jersey-based company was attacked via its bank because its business is computer security.

“We are a target. Thieves like to send that message,” he says.

No system is hacker-proof, but there steps, some of them inexpensive, businesses can take to shore up defenses and mitigate damage from attacks that get through:

— Hire computer security consultants to evaluate computers and websites and suggest ways to protect them.

— Buy insurance to cover financial losses. Premiums can be as low as $1,000 a year for $1 million in coverage.

— Install free antivirus and anti-malware software available online. Also add firewalls, which block attempts to access, says Joe Caruso, CEO of Global Digital Forensics, a computer security company based in New York.

— Make sure email is secure by using an email provider that has proper security systems, Caruso says.

—Avoid having customers’ credit card information stolen by using a separate company to process orders. The company should guarantee that its systems are secure.

— Use a service that helps weed out fraudulent credit card transactions, says Jason Opdyke, director of online commerce for Berkeley, California-based BearExtender, which sells Wi-Fi equipment. It uses such a service to try to avoid becoming a victim of attempted fraud.

July 24, 2014 Crowdfunding: The new business incubator?

Crowdfunding: The new business incubator?

Source: CNBC.com

Written By: Chris Morris

Many Kickstarter projects reach or exceed their funding goal, ship their product and build the business from there. But for some, the end of that campaign is just the beginning of the true funding process.

As more and more crowdfunding projects go viral, they’re capturing the attention of the venture capital community, along with other equity investors. Of course, there’s no Kickstarter success story that rivals that of Oculus, which was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in March. It was a Cinderella story that’s unlikely to be matched anytime soon. The now 2-year old venture was able to raise $4.2 million on Kickstarter in 2012 to fund the Rift, an advanced virtual reality headset. That helped it gain the attention of Mark Zuckerberg.

Oculus and others are proof that even after the crowdfunding process ends, money continues to change hands. Last month, for example, LIFX, whose Wi-Fi enabled multicolor LED lightbulbs raised $1.3 million from backers in November 2012, secured a $12 million Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital (bringing the company’s total equity funding to $16.6 million).

To read more click here

 

June 11, 2014 Selling Your Business at Your Price

Selling Your Business at Your Price

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Written by: Jesse Torres

It doesn’t matter if a business makes widgets, wine or Worcestershire sauce, many business owners envision an exit before even opening the doors the first time.

For some, the goal is to own a business that provides a comfortable living and that one day will be passed down the family line. For many, however, the goal is more straightforward: Build a business, sell it, make a reasonable return and do it all over again. Now that the economy has stabilized somewhat, many longtime business owners who survived the Great Recession are thinking of cashing out. Yet they are dismayed to discover that their companies are not worth what they thought.

Exploring valuation methods. There are many ways to value a company. There is asset valuation, liquidation value (how much would be obtained in a fire sale), market value (the amount that similar companies have received) and income capitalization (how much the company is expected to earn in the future). And then there is the most common method: the income multiplier approach (what the company makes multiplied by some industry factor).  

 

To read more click here

May 12, 2014 More businesses exporting ‘Made in USA’ again

More businesses exporting ‘Made in USA’ again

Source: CNBC.com

Written By: Heesun Wee

One bet on the economy is that American manufacturing is staging a comeback. With labor costs rising in China, U.S. companies are taking a second look at operations and incorporating more domestic production.

Now in a twist on “Made in USA” and the larger reshoring movement, more small to mid-sized U.S. businesses are making and exporting goods as part of their growth strategy. Six years after the recession began, the U.S. recovery is patchy. A measure of Americans working, and those seeking jobs—the labor force participation rate—has tumbled to near 35-year lows.

More business owners are canvassing this new normal and thinking: We need to export…

To read the rest of the article click here

April 17, 2014 Your Retirement Exit Strategy is Just as Important as Your Savings Plan

Your Retirement Exit Strategy is Just as Important as Your Savings Plan

Source: FoxBusiness.com
Written By:

When it comes to creating a properly-funded nest egg, it’s all about setting and achieving savings goals. But when it comes time to retire, a well-crafted exit strategy is key to preserving a retirement fund.

Investors that establish a true ‘sell discipline’ before they invest stand to maintain their portfolios, while those making rash or stubborn decisions to stay in the market are often crippled the most,” says Certified Financial Planner Ken Moraif. Fox business had a chance to get tips for boomers from Moraif on how to invest for the long haul and know the difference between investor performance and market performance, here’s what he had to say… Click here for the transcript from this interview

March 10, 2014 Small business, big mistake: Going into business without an exit plan

Small business, big mistake: Going into business without an exit plan

Source: Washington Post

Written By: Melinda Lynam  

Welcome to “Small business, Big Mistake” where small-business owners face up to their biggest mistakes and share advice to help your company avoid the same fate. 

I wasn’t looking for a new job — let alone a new business.  I was an at-home mom taking care of my youngest child, a sophomore in high school, and I had a home-based business making clothing for children. Over the past decade, I had on occasion sewn for Monday’s Child, a small children’s boutique in Old Town Alexandria. So when I heard that the owner’s husband was retiring and that she wanted to sell the shop, I was intrigued. I had always been interested in owning and running my own business.

Click here to read the rest of the article

February 21, 2014 ROCG mourns the death of one of its founding partners Steve Wilber

ROCG mourns the death of one of its founding partners Steve Wilber

Steve Wilber, one of the founding principals of ROCG, passed away sadly on February 14, 2014.  Steve will be remembered for his dedication to the organization and the small to medium-sized companies he consulted with, particularly for providing his expertise in business valuation, transition strategies and transaction management.  Steve’s infectious laughter and smile will be remembered by all who knew him.  The ROCG family extends its heartfelt sympathy to Steve’s family: his wife, Delores, his four children and six grandchildren.

February 10, 2014 Delayed: Obamacare’s employer mandate for small businesses

Delayed: Obamacare’s employer mandate for small businesses

Source: www.cnbc.com 
Written By: Dan Mangan | Health Care Reporter

The federal government announced yet another delay in ObamaCare’s rules for employers on Monday, and also weakened requirements for complying with the law.

  The government will now exempt companies employing between 50 and 100 full-time workers from complying with the mandate that they offer employees affordable health insurance by another year, until 2016.   Companies that have 100 or more full-time workers, defined as employees who work more than 30 hours per week, still will have to begin complying with the mandate to offer such coverage in 2015 or face financial penalties of at least $2,000 and up to $3,000 per worker.

Officials said that any business claiming they are eligible for the new one-year delay because they have fewer than 100 workers must certify, under penalty of perjury, that it had not reduced its workforce merely to qualify for that exemption.

Click here to read more

 

October 25, 2013 Selling Shares Through Crowd-Funding Inches Closer to Reality

Selling Shares Through Crowd-Funding Inches Closer to Reality

Source: Business Week

written by: Patrick Clark

Entrepreneurs who have been chomping at the bit to launch equity crowd-funding campaigns since President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law in April 2012 should regard news of a Securities and Exchange Commission vote on the subject this week with measured optimism.

Yes, the agency agreed on a proposal outlining how private ventures can use the online fundraising model to sell shares to individual investors. No, the final rules won’t likely take effect for a while.

That’s a good thing. To be successful, the rules need to make crowd-funding useful to businesses hoping to raise money, while preventing investors from chasing the crowd-funding craze all the way to financial ruin. For 80 years, private companies selling shares have had to limit themselves to raising money from accredited investors—people who are assumed to be wealthy enough to weather losses and sophisticated enough to know what they’re getting into. Equity crowd-funding will let anyone buy shares in a private offering, regardless of his or her wealth. It’s no wonder the framework of rules the SEC published today runs 585 pages.

One proposed protection: limiting the amounts investors can put into a crowd-funding campaign to between $2,000 and $100,000, depending on annual income or net worth. That’s important, not just to protect investors from getting ripped off, but also because investing in startups is hard, even for the pros. Notably, today’s proposal doesn’t count the value of an investor’s primary residence toward net worth thresholds. “No senior citizen living off of a modest, fixed income should be at risk of losing her home to a crowd-funding venture,” says Commissioner Kara Stein in her prepared comment.

to read more and for links to the proposal, click here

June 14, 2013 The Myths and Realities of Succession Planning

The Myths and Realities of Succession Planning

Source: Wealth Management.com                                                                             Written By: David Scott

When successful business owners reach a certain age, it becomes imperative that they address the issue of succession planning.  Many of them may have been dodging this particular conversation for years, yet they often come to their advisors with seemingly ironclad convictions about how they’d like the succession to play out.

That doesn’t mean that they actually know what they want…

Often, a business owner meets with a financial advisor who has only cursory knowledge of the tools related to transfer of ownership or assets and effective strategies to minimize or avoid future or current tax liabilities related to ownership changes. They also come to the advisor fully devoted to a set of myths, beliefs and emotions that are almost always counterproductive in the early stages of the process. The first step by any qualified advisor should not be a discussion of strategies or tools.  It should be a frank discussion of what the client really wants.

That discussion requires breaking down some myths that are almost universal amongst small business owners and confronting not only the realities of succession planning, but also the emotions and family dynamics that are powerful forces in many small businesses.

to read more about the five myths, please click here 

April 25, 2013 Published Article in the Cape Business Journal

Published Article in the Cape Business Journal

Boomer business owners beware … A shot across the bow

Written by: Terry Shepherd                                                                   Published: Cape Business Journal

Baby boomers – the generation born between 1945 to 1964 – were originally defined because of the peak birth rates that resulted from the men returning home from WWII after their long absence. Since their birth, they have supercharged the economy with their unprecedented sheer numbers, creating huge waves of demand and opportunity. From the baby years of diapers, baby furniture and toys, through childhood needs for bicycles, school clothes and new school facilities, to young adulthood demands of automobiles, college enrollment and new home construction, each age cycle brought new demands and new business opportunities. In the aftermath of their wake, however, they also leave a trail of excess supply, as the generation that follows them is significantly smaller…

…So it is with his warning that I want to reach out to the Boomer Business Owners. As with every cycle before, B.B.Os will all be heading to the exit gate from their business at relatively the same time. Think about it: There will be lots of sellers hitting the marketplace at the same time, with a small pool of potential buyers from the generation that follows.

To read the full article click here

April 01, 2013 Canada: The Next Start-up Frontier?

Canada: The Next Start-up Frontier?

Source: Inc. Magazine

With its new Startup Visa program, Canada’s hoping to lure foreign entrepreneurs. But what do start-ups stand to gain by heading north?

Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration, and multiculturalism, says he has the United States Congress to thank for Canada’s new start-up visa program. “There’s been a bill sitting on the order paper in Congress for several years to create a start-up visa,” Kenney says. “We thought it was a brilliant idea, and we wanted to beat the U.S. to the punch.”

Those, in case you were wondering, are fighting words…

Canada’s Startup Visa Program, which kicked off Monday, is awarding permanent residence visas to foreign entrepreneurs who are able to secure Canadian venture capital or angel funding. Now in its pilot phase, the country is freeing up 2,750 visas this year, a number that should grow once the pilot phase is over. As the U.S. Congress deliberates over the many pieces of start-up visa legislation that have been put in front of it in recent years, Canada’s program is a tempting proposition, especially for foreign-born entrepreneurs who can’t afford to let their businesses languish.

To read the rest of the article click here

March 11, 2013 Exit Strategies for Your Business

Exit Strategies for Your Business

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

Entrepreneurs live for the struggle of launching their businesses. But one thing they often forget is that decisions made on day one can have huge implications down the road. You see, it’s not enough to build a business worth a fortune; you have to make sure you have an exit strategy, a way to get the money back out.

For those of you who like to plan ahead–and for those of you who don’t but should–here are the five primary exit strategies available to most entrepreneurs:

The Modified Nike Maneuver: Just Take It

The Liquidation

Selling to a Friendly Buyer

The Acquisition

The IPO

to read more click here

 

 

March 04, 2013 Recovery in U.S. Lifting Profits, Not Adding Jobs

Recovery in U.S. Lifting Profits, Not Adding Jobs

Source: New York Time

With the Dow Jones industrial Averageflirting with a record high, the split between American workers and the companies that employ them is widening and could worsen in the next few months as federal budget cuts take hold. That gulf helps explain why stock markets are thriving even as the economy is barely growing and unemployment remains stubbornly high.

With millions still out of work, companies face little pressure to raise salaries, while productivity gains allow them to increase sales without adding workers. “So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.”

To read full article click here

February 25, 2013 Five influential CEOs weigh in what makes a good leader

Five influential CEOs weigh in what makes a good leader

Entrepreneur Magazine asked the eternal question this week: What makes a good leader? For most there is no definitive answer. But one thing is certain: As business technologies and processes evolve, hot industries come and go and employee demographics shift, the best leaders are those who can change with the times. They’re the ones with foresight and adaptability, who don’t rule from a manual but rather customize a culture that’s specific to each company, its mission and the personality of its work force.

Entrepreneur staffers have taken a look at the new trends in leadership, eyeing the shift in thinking that’s necessary to nurture the modern labor pool–in particular, that smart, finicky, outspoken group known as the Millennials. Additionally, they checked in with some bigwigs who have taken their companies to new heights through skillful command with a dynamic, collaborative approach. Click here to read the online article

December 15, 2012 90% of business owners fail to get their price on sale

90% of business owners fail to get their price on sale

In an effort to call attention to the urgent need for business owners to attend to the critically-important business transition planning process, ROCG surveyed 502 owners of privately-owned businesses across numerous industries, predominantly in the United States and Canada.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 34 percent of those 60 years of age or older still believe it is too early for them to plan for succession or transition.
  • 63 percent think proceeds from the business’ sale will be very important for their retirement.
  • The three most important components of a sale are: maximizing the business’ value; minimizing taxes; controlling how and when to exit.
  • The three top barriers to succession or transition are: finding a buyer and suitable lender; properly valuing the business; having the business too dependent on them, the owner.
  • Nearly 7 of 10 owners do not plan to offer financing to a buyer.

The report provides analysis and insights from the survey data; it also provides guidance on how to be successful in your own business transition process, including the planning and implementation.

WHAT’S A RISK

Without proper planning, you may:

  • not be in a position to maximize your personal finances upon a sale
  • be forced to sell at a discount
  • risk a business closure
  • have a current business primed to fail
  • damage or destroy family relationships

After all your years of dedication and hard work, successfully transitioning your business is the crown jewel. We hope the report is a useful tool for you as you begin thinking about your own business transition plan.

Download a free copy

Read over the data in the report and when you are ready to discuss your own personal situation, please call a ROCG advisor to guide you through the process.

November 15, 2012 BIZ West Michigan’s interviews of ROCG Americas’ CEO

BIZ West Michigan’s interviews of ROCG Americas’ CEO

Rob Trube from Biz West Michigna interviewed Ronen Shefer, CEO of of ROCG Americas.

Business requires insight and experience, and that is where ROCG Americas comes in.  Ronen has helped grow ROCG to become a leader in the small and mid market consulting marketplace, helping organizations with critical decisions on topics like succession planning, strategic planning, and helping to diagnose what he calls “Acute Business Issues”.

Rob commented on the interview by detailing that “Ronen honestly shared what has allowed the organization to grow, who they work with, and what they do.  Working with companies from start -up all the way through to exit strategies and succession planning, as well as working with other “trusted advisors” to get businesses where they need (and want) to be, ROCG is positioned to be a tremendous resource to organizations at any stage!”

To check out the interview please click here.

Read Morehttp://bizwestmichigan.com/393/interview-ronen-shefer-ceo-rocg-americas-llc/

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