How To Get Motivate Doing Business

Even disciplined people say they can’t do discipline well! What is it about self discipline that’s so scary?

Entrepreneurs tend to be motivated at least partially by self-determination, our ability to decide how our time and energy will be used. That’s a premium level perk of entrepreneurship for me. And I suspect for you too. Discipline can feel like somebody making you do something when you don’t want to.

Discipline can suggest a rigidity that is the antithesis of creativity. Where will we get our great ideas if we’re not following that shiny object?

Being free-flowing and responsive to opportunity is a good thing, but for anything to really change, for anyone to change, commitment followed by consistency of action, that is, discipline, is essential.

You probably knew that. You have probably experienced it. A time when you applied real discipline, and the results were dramatic.

So what is it about discipline that we resist?

Automaton precision comes to mind, a military-style adherence with no say in what happens. But that’s not you, is it? You get to decide what you’re disciplined about, and how.

Discipline is often confused with a lack of freedom. If anything, the opposite is true. If we’re the prisoners of our momentary whims, they are what are calling the shots, not you. Discipline is a way to create order in what can be a chaotic world.

If the D word freaks you out, think of it as a focus on what’s needed. With one of my clients (let’s call her Pat), we call it ‘focus on the basics’ instead. When Pat views it that way, she actually gets a lot done. It’s a needed change in perspective for her. Would calling it something else help you apply discipline?

Whatever you call it, discipline is a hallmark of a successful entrepreneur. Create yourself a corral, i.e., the boundaries that you’ll use to define what you will and will not do, and you can gallop around all you want inside of it. It doesn’t mean you need to create a 10 foot high wall. It just needs to be high enough to contain your wanderings, so you get done what you want to do. And you can move the corral anytime you want to find greener pastures.

One truth about discipline: The more discipline you have, the more consistent action you take, the more impact you have. You don’t get derailed easily. You make the most of the time you have.

I grew up in a German household where, as you can imagine, discipline was revered. It didn’t leave a lot of room for spontaneity, though. When I became an entrepreneur, I reveled in breaking free of all that structure. Later, though, the skills of discipline learned at my mother’s knee became useful again. I was able to get a lot done and meet deadlines, which many of my competitors didn’t do. Instant competitive advantage!

So the D word isn’t all bad. Like so many things, it’s all in how you apply it.

Overdo it, and it becomes a shackle. Under-do it, and you can start going in circles, for all your perceived freedom. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, your discipline can be just right, a harmony between focused, consistent action and the ability to adjust as needed. That kind of discipline has big rewards.

What’s your relationship with the D word? Arms-length, or a useful tool to have impact and income? As always, you get to decide.

Reasons You Should Take A Look Your Finance In The End Of The Year

Whether you have a startup, a small business or a large enterprise, chances are the year has passed at the speed of light for you. You were designing your marketing campaigns, availing opportunities of growth and looking through reports when the year-end arrived. While people dedicate this time of the year to holiday delights and festivities, this also happens to be the perfect time to do a review of your finances whether you are just an individual with a 9 to 5 job or a small business. Why should you spend your end of the year for a financial review? Here are the top reasons.

A Strong Visual of Your Financial Standing

The most important thing about a year-end financial review is that it gives you a complete visual of where your business is standing at the moment. Everything that has happened throughout the year is now on the reports before your eyes. You can look at the reports and see what has performed and what has not performed. You must have put a lot of money into marketing your products, services and the brand as a whole. You can now see which of those campaigns have yielded good results and which of them have proved to be futile.

Same goes for your account receivables. Compare your account receivables with those from the previous years and see if there has been any increase or decrease. If there is an abnormal increase, it is a telltale sign that you might need to change your payment plan or push more to receive your pending payments faster. Every activity you have done in the past year has painted a picture, which is now in front of you. Whether you grew as a business, stagnated or receded is clear at the end of the year.

The Best Time to Set New Goals

Based on how you performed in the preceding year and whether or not you have achieved your set targets and goals, you can set goals for the coming year. Your previous year’s performance should clarify how you have to set your targets for the coming year. Keep them realistic yet motivating and challenging enough to leave room for hard work, struggle and progress. Not only should you be looking at how successful you were in achieving previous year’s goals, you should also pay attention to your current financial standing.

Best Time to Apply for Loans and Credit Processing Services

Regardless of how long you have been in business for, when you go and apply for certain services, the service providers take a look at your previous year’s performance. Let’s say, for example, that you want to apply for a merchant account (maybe a high-risk one) so you can start processing credit card requests for your customers. When you approach a merchant account provider, they will ask for some history of your business activities-at least 3 months. By the end of the year, you have enough data to show to lenders and credit processing services to convince them to do business with you.
Of course, a financial review will give you a good look at whether you have done enough to impress these service providers or not. You can apply for these services with a quarterly credit history as well, but in most cases it will not be considered sufficient.

Best Time to Get Your Tax Files in Sync

Yes, you have been extra careful about your tax filing and preparation the whole year, but the overall integrity of your records still has a question mark on it. It is extremely important for you to prepare your tax files at the end of the year and calculate your liability with utmost accuracy. While tax preparation softwares have made the job much easier, complex tax files still need attention from your personal accountants to get everything in sync. Now, the important thing here is that a review does not only help you escape penalties that you might attract by putting wrong information on your file. You want to update your information at the end of the year because you want to accurately calculate your own benefits too e.g. tax credits, exemptions, standard deductions, itemized deductions, etc.

Time to Start Afresh

Your business might not have been a very successful venture. In fact, many businesses don’t make the best start and it seems in the beginning that it would be difficult for the business to survive. However, small changes in strategies and cuts in costs can prove to be greatly benefitting for businesses. The best time to start afresh and renew all your reports and files is the end of the year. While you can change your strategies and plans midway too, it is natural for most humans to feel the need for a new start at the start of a new year. For example, people can decide to lose weight at any time of the year, but it seems it makes most sense to them when they do it at the start of a new year.

If you think your business has not performed really well, but you still want to give it a shot, the end of year financial review can clear the path for you by telling you if you can afford to give it another shot or not.

Signs Of Fraud Business

Business fraud can have a monumental impact on an organization. There are many types of fraud that go by different names, such as financial statement fraud, bribery and corruption and asset misappropriation. It is often the case that fraud instigated by an employee will involve more than one type of fraud. Also, business fraud is not always easy to detect because it does not always show up in a company’s official accounts system. In general, the most typical way to detect this type of fraud is by receiving a tip from an employee, a customer, or an outside vendor.

Here is an overview of the different financial fraud in business:

Asset misappropriation

Asset misappropriation is the type of fraud that involves a member of staff who uses their position to take from their employers. This fraud is often committed by those trusted to manage the interests and assets of a company, which can include board members, employees or directors.

This type of fraud activity can include theft of company formulas, patents, or sensitive data, theft of credit notes or vouchers, inventory theft, theft of money or check forgery.

Any company that suffers from asset misappropriation will experience cash flow issues in some form. Plus, it can also have a negative impact on staff morale and the company’s reputation. It is believed that over 90% of business fraud is related to asset misappropriation which makes it by far the most common issue. On average, the lost from this type of fraud is in the region of $150,000 per case.

Bribery and corruption

Bribery and corruption is the next most common issue related to fraud in a business environment. Even though this type of fraud is less common than asset misappropriation, the average cost of a bribery scheme is significantly higher, and likely to exceed over half a million dollars per case.

The type of schemes involved in this area are quite broad and can include substitution of inferior goods, manipulation of contracts, bribes to influence decision-making, shell company schemes and kickbacks.

Financial statement fraud

Financial statement fraud takes place less frequently, but is almost certainly to be the most experience per case. On average, this type of fraud can lead to a company losing up to $2 million per case. This fraud involves an entity or individual falsifying earnings or income statements in an attempt to make a financial gain for them.

This type of fraud can include manipulating a company’s records in relation to more favorable loan terms, an improvement in year-end bonuses, or influencing the stock price.

The Ethic Seeing Your Employee Social Media Account

Recently, I’ve noticed more and more that small businesses and groups are “asking” their employees to change their cover or profile photos to the brand of the organization where they work. And, while some managers understand that this is a fine line, others have pressured their teams to help them promote the brand of the group.

You know how that happens, don’t you?

First, a request is giving by the manager of the team that goes something like this: “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we helped promote our business and all of us changed our cover photos to the brand’s image? I just so happen to have some artwork we made up and it would be terrific if each of you went ahead and uploaded it on your social media accounts. It’s a team effort! You don’t have to do it, but… ”

And then you have the first person on the team who goes ahead and changes their profile photo or cover, and next thing you hear is the manager making it a distinct point to acknowledge that team member. I’ve even seen some situations where managers have repeatedly asked, always qualifying it by saying it’s not “required,” to see if a team member who hasn’t changed their private social media settings intends to do it. You know, not so subtle pressure.

Here’s my suggestion to you if you’re a leader or manager of a team and would like to have a little esprit de corps for the team.

  • Ask once and once only and provide the artwork, if any team member ever wants to help your group get the word out.
  • Or, you can do what I do and not ask at all. Period.

Candidly, my marketing team has said to me, “Wayne, let’s ask the team to promote one of our social enterprises or companies on social media!”I’ve never warmed up to the idea, and am not sure I ever will.

I think that we should have a separation between work and personal, as much as we can. I know that some people think that it’s “old school” but the reality is that as a leader I understand that if my team has a personal life and the business world does not encroach into it all of the time, they will be happier, and the productivity will be higher.

There are also some practical and not to mention legal reasons for not asking your team to promote your business or group on social media. It’s particularly true when managers are asking them with the “subtle” pressures that can sometimes happen when they want their team members to support the organization.

  • Employers have a right to ask their employees not to be on their personal social media accounts during work hours. That’s a legitimate request to make of employees (but not contract workers, freelancers or consultants who are not salaried staff).
  • Can you require–even subtly–to have your employees support your organization? The short answer is NO. Don’t do it. Social media accounts are the personal and private property of the owners, in this instance, each of your employees. So, just like you can’t require them to give you the keys to their homes, you can’t ask (read, “expect”) them to promote the business on their accounts.

But, what if you want to make it at least an option for your team to promote your business or group on their social media accounts if they so choose. Yes, you can make social media art and images available to them, let them know it’s a resource for them if they ever would like to use it on their accounts, but that’s it. In some instances, you may even be placing yourself or employee in legal jeopardy because promoting your business on their social media accounts for commercial gain can violate social media terms.The bottom line in the age of social media is that if you want to build team spirit or have an amazing product launch and you want your team involved, you can provide the resources. But you cannot require or pressure them, or do anything other than allow it to each person to do whatever he or she would like to do, if anything, on their personal social media accounts.

How To Read Financial Statement

Audit, Review, Compilation: You know the difference. With bonding companies, you need certain financial statements (FSs) at specific times. But there is one FS you don’t know about, and it can be very helpful!

Audit: This is the highest level of CPA (Certified Public Accountant) presentation. The CPA provides a cover letter stating they have checked over the numbers and believe they are accurate.

Review: This is the middle level. The CPA does some checking, but less than an audit.

Compilation: This report has a disclaimer letter. It says the FS is the presentation of management – meaning the CPA does not vouch for the numbers.

Other than CPA prepared statements, you could run into one by a Public Accountant, or a bookkeeper.

There are also Internally Prepared statements produced directly by the customer, such as with QuickBooks.

Then there is this Secret One you probably don’t know about. It can be a strategic help and will not be suggested by the accountant. It’s up to you to ask for it! We call it a “Confirmed Internal FS.”

This document is an internal FS, such as QuickBooks, but with an important upgrade. When obtaining a Confirmed Internal Report, the president or company owner is required to sign and date the company Balance Sheet (or maybe every page of the document) and write “Confirmed.” This is an affirmative statement that the FS has been scrutinized. It is a document with greater credibility, because someone is taking responsibility for it. (Read Secret #5 about the role confidence plays in bonding.)

Here is a real life example of how beneficial the Confirmed Internal FS can be. This week we are issuing a P&P bond in excess of $8 million for an applicant with a 12/31 fiscal year-end. Obviously, the CPA report is not available yet. However, before issuing the bond, we must get a read on their financial picture. How did the year turn out?

We can’t get the CPA report yet, but an internal FS is available. Can the underwriter base a decision on this document? That depends on whether the surety has the flexibility to give an approval in the absence of a CPA Audit or Review (Many underwriters are bound by strict rules that tie their hands.)

Fortunately, we were able to proceed based on the confidence that the business owner reviewed and Confirmed the financial statement. He signed his name and went on record, “You can rely on these numbers.” To us, that makes a big difference!

Ideas For Your Corporate Event

Events are all about fun, frolic and inspiration. For the smooth execution of any corporate event it is imperative that there is a powerful idea around which the occasion needs to be organised. Once you devise a doable plan you are almost done with half the responsibility.

So here are some of the statement ideas that can transform even a boring experience to a lively one without calling for a massive effort from your side.

    • Conversation Starters –a Making the guests committed to the program is not only great idea to get them involved on the outset, but it also plays a great role in breaking the ice. You can go for an interactive wall in the front lobby itself. The guests can open the door and then put down their dreams on the wall. This can turn out to be a thoughtful and interesting conversation starter.
  • An Exciting Entrance – An interesting entrance is capable of transforming the gusts right from the commencement of the affair. You can create a range of ideas for creating an immersive experience and depict the complete transformation of the venue right from the time the guests start entering the venue. You can arrange for a customised bed for covering the reception desk while the reception area was transformed with sleep signage of neon. The pyjama clad models greeted the guests while pillow fighting.

This helps in creating a surreal experience and getting the visitors excited about what awaited them inside. You can use the spherical shape which lends the feeling of continuity that is not limited to the walls. You can give it an amicable effect by combing a butterfly moon décor with lowered ceiling to amaze the attendees.

    • Customised Lounges – Lounges are a great way for the guests to encourage networking and be comfortable. Throughout the venue, you can organise different lounges to suit the ambience of the room and themes that they are part of. For instance, you can arrange for luxurious bed for suiting the luxurious themed contact.
    • Themed Uniforms for Staff – There is a proficient team behind every successful event for organising and arranging the affair from inside. The staff actually can wear a uniform that goes with the primary theme of the event. Like if it is about the launch of a dream project, the staff can wear pyjamas and shirts so that they stand out and can be recognised as hosts. You can arrange for uniforms for the team in each room.
    • Varied Activities for Participation – Participation of the guests is hard to achieve and yet it is absolutely necessary. And that is why you should organise activities that will appeal to the different types of attendees. Ensure that they get spoiled for choices with various options. You can opt for custom-built photo opportunities and rope in 3D effects for providing memories of the evening. There were also glam stations that offer hair braiding, henna tattoos and temporary lashes for eccentric preening. Apart from that, you can also opt for peep show rooms and arrange for a listening station in there and listen to music as they watch the risqué peepshow.
  • Entertainment that is Eccentric – If the budget permits you can opt for live entertainment with drummers, dancers, duelling DJs and stilt walkers. Apart from that, you can also add up specific form entertainment that accentuates the theme of the program so that the guests can totally relate to and can have the time of their lives apart from discussing vital points.

The above are some of the ideas that you can try for ensuring that your corporate event stands out and is remembered by the attendees for all the right reasons for years to come.

Business Trends Nowadays

As you know, we live in an environment where it’s “blink,” and you missed it. Still, there’s always an urgent need to keep on top of what is happening so that you can stay ahead in business. I own several companies and, candidly, I don’t think there’s a single day I’m not thinking about how to make things better and improve our competitive advantage in our industries.

A couple of days ago I read an article about a luxury yacht company that had been in business for generations, and although they had client orders on hand, in the tens of millions of dollars, they fired everyone and shuddered their doors. They were hemorrhaging money and not paying attention to the changing winds.

The reality is that I can sit here today and write what you want to be looking for in business trends and then a year from now, write the same sort of article with different ideas to keep an eye on as business and society evolve. Still, there are some areas that I think will remain constant and you should pay attention to in your company.

Always Pay Extra Attention to Millennials

For decades and decades, the “darling” of generations were the Baby Boomers because of their sheer size and buying power. As the Boomers are now seniors, the same can be said about Millennials. They will be, and already are, a force for years to come and they are the first generation that is pure digital natives. Your products and services should be marketed to them and how they think. By 2020, Millennials will have an estimated $1.4 trillion in spending power.

Get Comfortable With AI, IoT, and ML

What used to be buzzwords such as AI, IoT, and ML, are not anymore. They are not the future; they are the present. Most of you know about AI (Artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), but maybe you have not heard about ML (Machine Learning). Machine learning is when computers do things without being programmed to do it because they are learning it for themselves. Through machine learning, we are given self-driving cars, excellent web search tools, practical speech recognition programs and a host of other platforms. As technology evolves, all of these elements will play a more substantial part in life and business.

Remote Workforce

I have a preference for my team to be onsite, but for some functions and aspects of our work, these elements are outsourced. Currently 40% plus of American workers are doing some work remotely, without having to be present at their place of business all the time. This trend creates demand for adequately training remote employees through video conferencing platforms, especially for social media and programming positions. All that is required is a computer and Internet.

Get Past the Clutter

The way you brand your business is essential. People are drowning in data and information, and you have to be able to cut to the chase immediately. Branding, which encompasses the name, logo, etc., creates instant identification. With excellent branding, you are perceived as an authority, successful and trustworthy because you pay attention to the details. Also it makes prospecting easier. Customers find you. You can hire better talent. Candidates seek you out rather than looking to apply for a position with an unknown company. Because of branding, it is easier to create more businesses under the same name.

Opportunity Exists in Buying Businesses

There are more businesses for sale due to the retirement of the Baby Boomer and Millennials will be buying them and then reinventing the companies they buy. Keep an eye out for your competition because there’s always an opportunity in looking to buy an existing competitor. For instance, you can buy their entire client base, or perhaps they’ve excelled in e-commerce, and you’re able to bring that into your portfolio. I’ve successfully purchased some of my competitors, and it’s only helped my businesses grow.

Things About Business Etiquettes

“A man without a smiling face must never open a shop” or so the Chinese proverb goes. Truly, smiling goes a long way to lighting up the mood for a friendlier, more understanding conversation. This is true in business as well, especially when trying to make a business partnership. However, there are more business etiquettes beyond smiling and demonstrating these will show others that your customers and your business are worth respecting.

* Introduce everyone, even when in doubt – There is a proper way to introduce people to each other. First, introduce the person who is the most senior, using their full name and their job title or responsibility. Next introduce that person to the person who has lower authority. Make sure to also mention his or her full name. To end, you may mention some details about each other as a topic of common interest. When being introduced to someone, always stand up if you are sitting.

* A firm handshake – The way businessmen shake hands more often than not sets the tone between them. Giving a good, firm handshake will set a good first impression as it may eventually end up in a successful business partnership. If you are the host or the senior member, you should be the one initiating the handshake.

* Admit if you forget their names – Forgetting the names of people you were recently introduced to is not uncommon. If it happens, admit it and ask for it again as this shows that you give them importance.

* Sitting down for a meeting – Whether the meeting is in a restaurant or in an office, in a group or a one-on-one, it is best not to pull out the chair for anyone. In a business setting, everyone should dismiss social gender rules and treat everyone equally. When seated, never cross your legs as it may be distracting and disrespectful.

* Meeting in a restaurant – Contrary to business instincts, do not use your knife to break bread. Tear it off with your bare hands as this signifies your openness to your potential business partner. When finished with the meal, never push your plate away nor stack the plates. Try not to have any left overs as well. If your guest orders appetizers or dessert, you should be ordering as well. This avoids the potential awkwardness of having other people in your party eating and you have nothing on your plate. If you are the host, you should pay for your guest unless he or she insists otherwise or is against their company’s gifting policy.

* Dress properly – The way someone dresses is a form of nonverbal communication. Dressing appropriately for a meeting shows an automatic sign of respect for either the guests or for the host. Additionally, always check the dress code for an event as some events may require either more or less formal attire.

* Keep cellphones in your pockets – Never place phones on the meeting table and don’t use them during the meeting. Only answer calls that are urgent and excuse yourself from the meeting and take your call outside so you don’t interrupt the meeting.

* “Please” and “Thank You” – These two phrases show politeness in any conversation and it is all the more important in a professional setting. Saying “please” can be used as much as needed. “Thank you”, however, should be used once or twice as saying it too many times may lower its impact. As much as possible, give thanks to everyone individually after a meeting.

* Stay sober – Businessmen have lost reputations and careers because drunken behavior. Although none of the things said or done while drunk were meant, it is a clear sign of disrespect towards either the host or guests. Don’t embarrass yourself or your business. Know your limits and control your pace.

* Be genuinely interested – Always make eye contact in a conversation and make sure to pay attention to every detail the guest says. Take the time to ask questions as this shows that you were listening and interested.

* Double check emails – Simple mistakes can be made to derail a meeting or blow a deal. You may have date and time wrong for a meeting, left out some paperwork to be signed, or worse, your emails were sent to the wrong person and may potentially endanger the company.

* Use professional photos – When using your or anyone’s photos for business matters, always use a proper headshot. Businesses would need to look credible to other businesses.

* Greet everyone anywhere – Regardless of seniority, always greet people. You may never know that he may actually be your next business partner. When people greet you, it is imperative that you greet back.

* Don’t forget to smile – Just like the Chinese proverb, smiling works wonders in any occasion, whether in a meeting, during introductions, or in a business social gathering.

End on a polite note – When you need to leave, make sure you exit politely with either, “It was nice to meet you” or “See you at the next meeting”.

Banner For Your Business

Getting an outdoor banner is one of the most effective ways that you can use to promote your services and products to the local people at different events. They can also be used at shops or even trade shows to inform them about your brand. You can easily reach your audience with minimal effort. When you make a careful choice, then you will definitely boost the brand and sales will go up.

The design

Designing is the most important part of it all. It is the design that determines how colorful and visible the banner is. It is also the determinant of the message that is to be used. As such, it is important to choose a design company carefully.

This method of advertising can only make the desired statement if designed in the best and most effective way. There are practices that have to be incorporated to make it the best. Some helpful tips include:

  • Define its purpose: you need to think carefully about what you want to convey to the audience. You need to think of the result that you want to accomplish by using it. This is the only way to settle the ultimate goal as well as the entire process.
  • Strategic placement: one of the most important things to do is to make a strategic placement. You need you be intelligent about the way you place them. You need to be strategic about it. That is the only way that you can make it effective. You may choose to place it somewhere where you will get most views or you can place it in an area where you can get you the targeted audience.
  • Grab the attention of your audience: regardless of where the banners are for outdoor or indoor, the design has to get people’s attention. You need to make people want to read them. Sometimes this part of designing that is overlooked. You need to make sure that they are noticed so that they can drive action.
  • Simplicity: one of the important things to consider is simplicity. You should always keep the design and the message as simple as possible. It should convey the idea effectively. Do not use too many fonts, as it may look confusing. Choose the colors very wisely. When it is colorful, then it will definitely attract the attention of your target audience. Give the message as much space as possible so that it stands out.
  • Match it with the clients and the business: you need to think carefully about what kind of business that you are running. You also need to know what the clients want. The design should allow people to understand the kind of business you are in as well as the work style.
  • Call to action: this is an important selling point. It is important to guide people on what you want them to do with the information that you display. Should they donate, sign up, apply, ask, call, book… ? You need to have a call to action that is very clear, visible, and simple.