Archive for

Home-Based Business Entrepreneur Working At Home

Being an entrepreneur is very appealing but not everyone can become one. One of the quickest and easiest ways to become a successful entrepreneur is by working at home through a home-based entrepreneur business.

Firstly, you need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. After the evaluation, you can now determine if you can manage your own online business.

Aside from the evaluation process, you must know how to plan, put to work your organizational skills, appoint staff, and exercise control. These are your responsibilities as an entrepreneur. You should be able to work alone because now you’re the boss and all business decisions will be made by you.

Some say that online businesses can be run without many problems. Well, they are very wrong because even with an online business, you have to deal with certain business problems and risks. You can’t eliminate such risks because that goes hand in hand with any business undertaking, both for online and offline businesses.

However, you can reduce the risks that you’re bound to deal with in the future by choosing the best home-based entrepreneur business that will work for you.

Entrepreneurs are known to be self-starters. Organizing your time is a difficult task but if you want to run a home-based online business, you should be able to do it. Remember, you don’t have a boss that you can rely on. This is your business and you have to be responsible for it at all times.

Running your own business would also mean that you have to deal with different kinds of persons. You will surely encounter demanding customers, moody vendors, and potentially unreliable staff. To become a successful home-based business entrepreneur, you should know how to deal with them individually.

You should know the quirks of every person that you encounter so that you can address them and the situation correctly.

Running an online business is all about your attitude and character. According to some experts who conducted research about the characteristics of entrepreneurs, there are certain traits that an entrepreneur should possess. As mentioned earlier, entrepreneurs are risk-takers, self-starters, and they know how to deal with different kinds of people.

Those traits and characteristics are not enough. You have to have more than that. Another trait that you should possess is being an excellent decision maker. Since you’re the boss, you should be able to make quick yet effective decisions. Some situations are filled with pressures but despite the pressures, you still need to make an informed and wise decision. As owner of your online business, you have no one else to rely on when it comes to business related decisions.

To be an effective online business entrepreneur, you must have lots of energy and an excellent work ethic. Owning an online business, depending on the projects to be completed, may mean working late hours and on the weekends.

However, you must not be pressurized by your tasks. View them as challenges and strive even harder. Your efforts will be rewarded once you see the profits rolling in.

If you already know the responsibilities of an entrepreneur, then you can assess if you can become successful in an online business. Working at home through a home-based entrepreneur business requires dedication and hard work. You must be able to monitor your finances, tasks, inventory, work schedules, and many others.

Good luck and may your chosen home-based business become a success.

Anchor and Nooses: Two Big Drains on Your Business

Business is a tough game. Continually we need to operate in three areas to ensure we produce consistent outcomes. The businesses we work with are challenged to:

  • Tend to the business. We operate our business daily, tend to the issues and the pressing needs as they arise.
  • Prune the business. At times we all need to prune. Whether it is a process, a product or a person, this is a needed part of ensuring that you obtain the best result and investment is made in what is best in your business.
  • Grow the business. We continually need to look for ways to grow our business. This can be growing your core business or sowing new seeds.

To work these areas, our owners progress through a process to reflect and review. We take them “out of their business” to work on their business. We acknowledge that we all need to be in the business, but we need to have time ongoing to work on the business.

All businesses are unique, however, we find a few things in common. We find most businesses have anchors and nooses. Let me explain.

Anchors

Anchors hold businesses (and people) back. They are wide and varied but the common ones are listed here.

  • A business relationship that takes too much resources relative to the level of business.
  • A product line that the business has emotional investment in, but is now not providing the return for it’s current level of investment.
  • A team that is failing to see the link between sustainable business and their positions.

These are the main three, although we do see more. On every occasion we create a strategy to release the anchor and start the business moving again.

The biggest part is to be able to identify the anchor and work through a process to cut the chain.

Nooses

Nooses are, similarly, an impediment to business growth, but this time the business is impacted by a tightening pressure. Often this is due to the following:

  • Unreasonable supplier or customer terms creating unnecessary pressure on cash flow.
  • Inadequate planning, be it business, financial or marketing which pressure ongoing investment in these areas.
  • Constant complaints from customers on service or product quality.
  • Pro-bono or special consideration business taking resources away from your best customers.

The key, again, is to identify it, and then work to achieve a strategy to reduce the pressure and then eliminate.

Strategy

We work with clients to build strategy to help them gain control and bring growth back to their business. Once awareness is gained from the business owner, the strategy starts to form. Having a fresh set of eyes helping you through this maze.

Some businesses simply don’t ask for help. Often it’s a lack of awareness of the situation and of a feeling of normality, as they have become comfortable with the situation.

It is important to gauge the situation, once you have become aware of it, with a set of fresh eyes. In the words of Einstein:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We do see pride get in the way with some businesses. Don’t be the proudest person in the morgue.

What Comes First: Business Strategy or Tax Strategy?

Any business advisor will tell you the answer, but what’s happening in the real world?

Here are a few examples:

VAT

When Jeanne started her exercise class business, she decided after taking advice that she wouldn’t register for VAT. It makes sense. If you want to compete with everyone else then you can’t charge 20% higher prices to include VAT. But now she’s stuck. She can’t grow the business beyond the VAT threshold because she would have to increase her prices or take a significant reduction in margin. Now she’s contemplating setting up separate businesses to boost her earnings. It’s quickly going to get complicated – she can do without all the distraction of doubling the admin work.

Five years in to running his hair salon, Scott takes a day off a week and shuts early some days just to limit his takings to keep them below the VAT threshold. But he’s living hand-to-mouth.

Which came first in these two cases: tax strategy or business strategy? The payoff of course is that both businesses reduce their tax bill, but at what cost?

I’m sure this isn’t what was intended when a VAT registration threshold was included in the VAT legislation created in 1973.

Income Tax

John runs a sole-tradership and draws money from the business as he needs it and, more importantly, when it’s available during the year. His accountant then finds the most tax efficient way at the year-end to distribute his drawings between salary, expenses and dividends. Cashflow is not managed proactively, so while John knows what’s in the bank he doesn’t keep track of every due payment or receipt so he sometimes draws too much and leaves the business short of cash. This regularly causes him to have sleepless nights.

Norman runs a limited company and runs it the same way. He takes no salary as such and reinvests most of the profits into the business to fund growth. He restricts his drawings to pay as little tax as possible. He’s looking to exit the business in 3-5 years. Unfortunately, because he’s not taking any kind of salary, let alone a market rate salary, he has no idea how profitable the business truly is and is complicating things for himself when he eventually come to sell.

Ken is looking to buy a new vehicle for his business, that he will use personally too, in order to reduce his tax bill. However, his tax savings are less than savings he’ll make obtaining a vehicle this way compared to some of the alternatives.

Which came first in these cases – business strategy or tax strategy? Again, the payoff is a lower tax bill, but at what cost in terms of business growth and equity?

These examples are not rare. Many micro-businesses and SMEs are operated in a way that minimises tax liabilities. Their business strategy is defined by their tax strategy. In the real world, it seems, tax strategy more often takes priority over business strategy.

And in every case described it is stunting the growth potential of the business. That may be OK in some cases, where the owner doesn’t want to grow. However, where they do it is holding them back. In any case, all businesses should be looking to grow at least a little just to overcome the effects of inflation!

So what’s the solution? Some say that the government should change the tax rules to benefit SMEs even more. Others might point out that accountants are well placed to help business owners put business strategy before tax strategy. However, both of these “solutions” abdicate responsibility. Governments will forever tinker with tax rules, shaving a bit here and adding a bit there. The overall result is added complexity, confusion and probably a ligher wallet. Tax advisers will prioritise minimising the tax bill because that’s their job and the tangible, immediate benefits show how good they are at it.

The solution then is for business owners to recognise that a successful business should pay taxes. That a successful person contributes to society by paying taxes. And to be successful means developing and implementing a business strategy that will achieve their goals not minimise tax.

With a business strategy in place, then a tax strategy can be applied to mimimise the tax liability of that strategy without strangling business growth.

So how do you create a business strategy? There are books written on the subject, but here are the essentials:

  1. Define what you want to achieve, or start with the end in mind as they say. I don’t believe anyone really starts out wanting to build a sub-£78,000 turnover business. Many settle for that, but few start with that ambition. Starting with the end in mind allows you to pre-think what the business needs to look like in terms of turnover, profits, headcount, infrastructure, etc.
  2. Look at what’s already available in the market and come up with something different. That might be a different target market, or a different way of delivering what you offer. But to avoid competing on price (like Jeanne) you must have something different to offer your target market, not just a little better, or smaller, or bigger, or faster, or whiter, but completely different.
  3. Figure out which people would want to buy that difference and why they would buy it – why should they care enough to part with their hard-earned cash?
  4. Figure out how to tell people about it and how they can get hold of it most easily.
  5. Then create a plan to help you understand how the cashflow will be generated to achieve your goal. Too few business plans are written to aid understanding of the specific steps involved in achieving a goal and the risks associated with those steps. Write yours with those two things in mind.
  6. Follow the plan step by step and adapt it regularly as you gather real world data to support or otherwise your business idea.
  7. Discuss with your tax advisor/accountant how to minimise the tax liability of the plan and impress upon them that changing the plan is not an option.

If you’re already in business, it’s not too late to figure out a more effective strategy to achieve your goals. The best time to start is today.