10 tips for getting more out of meetings

MeetingWhether you love them or hate them, effective meetings are critical to the success of most businesses. The trouble is that not all meetings are as effective as they could be.

The biggest problem with unproductive meetings is they lack structure and control, and they often result in wasted time and missed opportunities.

Here are 10 tips to keep your meetings on track and ensure they remain as effective as possible:

  • Is a meeting necessary? – It’s important to establish whether a meeting is actually necessary or whether the information can be distributed by some other means. You should ask yourself some key questions like “Can this be done via email?”, “Am I expecting participation?” and importantly “If a meeting is necessary, does it really need to be an hour?” Click here to read more »

Why do businesses need a blog?

Man Announcing BlogBlogs are an asset to a company’s online presence. Since the boom of weblogs in 1999 there has been a vast development in their function. Whilst there are over 100 million blogs that have been released in to the ether, don’t let that deter you, there are still great benefits to blogging.

As a small business operating on the internet, or a larger company hosting a site to support their products and services, a blog can be a great corporate tool ideal for communicating with customers. Not only can a blog be a great way of sharing the expertise and knowledge of your industry with your client base, but they also help market your business. If a business utilises blogging as a tool then it has the potential to be found through search engines, enticing readers with great content.

 

If you’ve not already heard: ‘Content is King’.

Writing a blog with content that imparts interesting, helpful information results in readers regarding you as relevant and trustworthy – not only to subscribers but to search engines too. In turn that trust leads to interest in your business and ultimately converts to sales. I’m sure you already know, but site traffic leads to sales whether converted online or off. Therefore, the more hits you have on your site, the more likely a visitor will click through and result in a sale.

Hosting a blog on your website is the most efficient form of marketing for a business. If you can create content that can be considered quality, relevant and contextual then you’re on to a winner. Fresh content is essential when it comes to SEO and your businesses online presence.

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6 Steps that make stocktaking easier.

Female StocktakerOne of the most important sets of figures that need to be obtained when buying or selling a business is the quantity, location, composition, condition and value of the business’s inventory. Buyers want to know what they are buying and sellers need to be able to put a value on their inventory, so as to justify their asking price.

There’s one catch though.

Stocktaking has to be one of the most boring undertakings you’re ever likely to undertake. It’s up there with watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you’re anything like me then it’s also inevitable that you’ll lose count at some point and will need to parts of the count over again. Hmm very frustrating!

But stocktaking doesn’t have to be torture. Here are some steps you can take to make the process more accurate and less time consuming:

1.      Identify who owns it and where it’s located.

Before starting your stocktake it’s important to differentiate between stock owned by you, stock on hand that is waiting to be dispatched, and stock that may be in your possession but is not owned by you, like consignment stock.

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When is the right time to sell a business?

Cowboy sunset.Running a business can be a thankless undertaking, often requiring long hours and excessive stress levels as the daily norm. I know because I have firsthand experience at it.

But why do it then? Some do it because they love what they do, others have been doing for so long they don’t know what else they would do, and some just love the fact that they don’t have to answer to a boss.

I can identify with some of these points, but one of the reasons I do what I do is that one day I will be able to sell my hard earned business for a tidy amount and ride off into the sunset like some character out of a Clint Eastwood movie.

That’s where timing comes in. Timing the sale of my business correctly means more money in my pocket. I’ve spent years building my business as I’m sure you have too and I want what I’m owed (hmm that sounds like a line out a Clint Eastwood movie already). The more I get from the sale, the more options I have and surely that can only be a good thing.

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Why solicitors are a ‘must have’ when buying a business.

Man signing contract.

It seems quite obvious really.  Handing over large sums of money for a business you’re not 100% familiar with. Surely you need some legal representation to look out for your interests? We certainly think so and that’s why we put together this refresher post to show why solicitors are a ‘must have’ for buyers and indeed all parties involved in the sale and purchase of a business.

If you’re buying a business and you’re thinking of going it alone, take a look at the following points to see just how valuable a solicitor can be during the business purchase process:

Share/Asset Sale

There are two main methods for structuring the sale of a business. The Asset Sale, which involves you selling the assets of your business to another business or person. And the Share Sale which involves you selling shares in your business to the new owner.

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5 mistakes to avoid when selling your business.

Erasing mistake on paper.Selling a business is often the culmination of years, if not a lifetime’s work, but poor decision making during the sale process could leave you worse off or worse still, you could lose it all.

Now I know at this point there’s likely to be one or two of you reading this thinking, “Come on Ross, why did you have to go scare us with the whole ‘Loosing it all’ speech?” Yes I suppose it doesn’t happen all that often provided you have the right legal advice during the sale and you don’t get distracted by the sale process, but it has happened to others and it’s your job to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Here are 5 simple tips to help you avoid short changing yourself when it comes to selling your business:
1.) The most successful sales happen when they are planned.
Before advertising your business, it’s wise to start refining the aspects of your business that are likely to get buyers excited, and correct the ones that will turn buyers off. Long term planning is essential if you hope to realise the best return, as some short comings in your business may take months if not years to correct. Take a look at our previous posts to see what gets buyers excited and what turns them off.

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Selling a business: What turns buyers off?

Businessman running away.A few weeks ago I raised a number of points about the factors that get business buyers excited when it comes to buying a business. This week I decided to show the other side of the coin and highlight a few points that turn buyers off. Hopefully I can give you some food for thought before you advertise the sale of your business and help you keep more buyers interested in what you have to offer.

If you read my last post you’ll remember that we divided buyers into two groups: Milkers and Builders. At this point some of you may be scratching your head asking “What is he on about?”, so here is a recap from my post a few weeks ago.

Builders buy businesses because they want to stamp their mark on the business and are after opportunities that represent growth potential. Milkers on the other hand are looking to purchase a business that generates a desired level of income and factors like stability and predictability take precedence over other attributes like growth potential and risk.

 
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Legal aspects relating to the business sale process.

Two business men counter signing documents.Buying a business is an exhilarating and potentially life-changing experience and the law affects the whole process. Understanding the legal issues will help you achieve a smooth sale and future success for your business. Here we summarise the legal process and some of the main points to consider.

Negotiations

When you express an interest in buying a business the seller may give you a pack (sales memorandum) with key information like the business assets, finances, operations and future projections. They might ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement to prevent staff, clients and rival business finding out they are selling the business. You might then make an “indicative offer” – a non-binding agreement subject to ongoing negotiations and checks.

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Selling a business: What gets buyers excited?

Cow bragging.Before we get to grips with what get’s buyers excited, it’s worth pointing out that not all buyers are created equally. Business buyers in my experience come in two flavours, milkers and builders. They have different objectives when it comes to buying a business and knowing which one is more likely to buy your business is critical to planning your sales pitch. So let me first explain the difference between milkers and builders.

Milkers want a cash cow, something that will deliver a certain level of income or degree of return on investment. They normally have an exact figure in mind and are working towards buying something that will generate that magic number. On the risk scale they tend to gravitate towards the less risky end.

Builders on the other hand are looking for something they can build up, something that’s not quite the finished article and has room for them to stamp their mark on. They are normally more active business owners and tend to position themselves a bit further along the risk scale towards the riskier end.

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The Decline Of Pubs in the UK(Free Infographic)

UK Pubs Infographic Image

Pubs have long been the heart of communities up and down the land. They’ve brought communities together to celebrate the highs and lament the lows that have been a part of everyday life for centuries. One could argue that they are as much a part of Great Britain as Her Majesty the Queen, and form the foundation upon which countless friendships, business ideas and relationships have been build.

As the world changes, competition increases and taxation on beer soars, some pubs are finding it difficult to cope. This doesn’t mean that the entire industry is on the way out, but it does mean that fewer pubs will remain open for business in the coming years, and this can only be a bad thing for communities all across Britain.
Recent changes in legislation, regulating minimum price charged per unit of alcohol, will help to limit the damage caused by supermarkets who, despite providing savings and convenience to consumers, have contributed to the decline in retail businesses and jobs wherever they appear.

It’s also worth mentioning that many pubs with prosper with fewer competitors and pub owners who want a piece of this pie must evolve like most modern businesses today to take advantage of these opportunities.

We think information is the best weapon against further closures, and that’s why we’ve put together an infographic to highlight just what could happen to the pub industry if left unchecked.

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