Robin’s blog for Entrepreneurs_02_25_2012

S corp status –pros and cons (Article from Small Business Trends) :

http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/02/s-corp-deadline-approaches.html

My Comment: As this article points out, there are pros and cons to S corp status, as there is with any legal construct.  Aside from the various limitations pointed out, there are three additional considerations worth noting: (a) as the business grows and, hopefully becomes profitable, the initial tax benefits from being an Scorp can become a detriment; (b) there are real tax ramifications in converting from Scorp to Ccorp status and; (c) in my experience, investors, rightly or wrongly, prefer the Ccorp form. So, the initial determination of legal form should be concerned, not only with the current position of the firm, but should involve forecasting future expectations, difficult as that may be.

About the author – Robin Beukers MBA CPA CMA CIA

I act as interim c.f.o., controller or special projects lead (for example, development and review of financial statements and internal controls, financial modeling, acquisition/funding risk assessment). Clients range from Fortune 100 level to startups.

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Robin’s blog for Entrepreneurs_02_20_2012

Should employees be rewarded for making mistakes? (Article from Inc.com (1/23))

http://www.inc.com/paul-schoemaker/how-to-make-brilliant-mistakes.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+inc%2Fheadlines+%28Inc.com+Headlines%29

My comment:  If one looks at the underlying premises of six sigma and other management efficiency methodologies, one sees that a key premise is to push down the decision making to the level most closely involved in the process in question. If one accepts this approach, then, it follows that mistakes will be made. If the underlying culture is one of fear, then employees’ willingness to try new approaches will be lost or restricted –along with the potential benefits to the company. In particular, in  early stage companies, it seems to me that flexibility, team involvement and controlled risk taking at all levels   needs to be  part of the  ‘fabric’ of the corporate culture. This article attempts to make the case for developing a culture where employees feel empowered to make mistakes (s long as they learn from them)

About the author – Robin Beukers MBA CPA CMA CIA

I act as interim c.f.o., controller or special projects lead (for example, development and review of financial statements and internal controls, financial modeling, acquisition/funding risk assessment). Clients range from Fortune 100 level to startups.

 

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Robin’s blog for Entrepreneurs_02_19_2012

1)     Great Startups Can Hook an Investor in 60 Seconds (Article from “Startup Professionals Musings blog (1/26))

http://blog.startupprofessionals.com/2012/01/great-startups-can-hook-investor-in-60.html

My comment: As I have said before, raising funds is, in part, a selling game. As with any sale, one has to have a well-honed presentation. It is critical to be able to attract the attention of possible investors in a brief period of time. This article  gives a good synopsis of how to form your presentation.

About the author – Robin Beukers MBA CPA CMA CIA

I act as interim c.f.o., controller or special projects lead (for example, development and review of financial statements and internal controls, financial modeling, acquisition/funding risk assessment). Clients range from Fortune 100 level to startups.

 

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Robin’s blog for Entrepreneurs_02_12_2012

1)     Form 1099-K  Online Sellers Brace for a New Tax Filing Requirement form (Article from Entrepreneur.com/The Daily Dose blog )

http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/222681

My Comment: Form 1099’s are confusing at the best of times: when to send one, whom to send one to etc.  Now, with the seemingly inexorable movement to taxation of online transactions, there is yet another form 1099 that business has to be aware of. This article from Entrepeneur.com gives an outline of the requirements. As always, I suggest that you talk to your tax advisor to make sure you understand the requirements. Simply ignoring the issue, while perhaps comforting in the short run, is not, in my opinion, an appropriate strategy for any decision maker as standard operating procedure.

About the author – Robin Beukers MBA CPA CMA CIA

I act as interim c.f.o., controller or special projects lead (for example, development and review of financial statements and internal controls, financial modeling, acquisition/funding risk assessment). Clients range from Fortune 100 level to startups.

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Robin’s blog for Entrepreneurs

Article from Entrepreneur Magazine: Six Steps for Dealing with Social Media Detractors

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220768

My comment:  it is inevitable, in this interconnected world that some customer is going to complain about your product, the way he/she was treated on the phone or for a myriad of other reasons, both real and imagined. It is critical that a policy be put in place as to how to deal with this sort of issue. Simply ducking and hoping that the problem will disappear has been shown not top work. This article speaks to some practical steps to take when faced with this situation.

Article from  CBS money Watch: Your work may be serious, but your business doesn’t have to be

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505143_162-57340858/your-work-may-be-serious-but-your-business-doesnt-have-to-be/

My comment: there is plenty to be serious about these days. However, an optimistic attitude and positive approach on the part of the company’s leaders both makes life more enjoyable and, by lifting morale, usually is simply good for business. This article discusses some of the benefits of a sunny environment

Why Your Team Doesn’t Care: The 4 Ways You’re Crushing Your Culture –article from Forbes Magazine

http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2011/11/23/why-your-team-doesnt-care-the-four-ways-youre-crushing-your-culture/

My comment:  Whatever the stage your company is at, having employees who are committed to  and motivated by the corporate mission  is critical to long range success. This  article puts  forward a few useful suggestions as to how to encourage your employees to ‘buy in’ to the dream

What Makes a Successful Business Plan? –article from “Up and Running” Blog

http://upandrunning.bplans.com/2011/10/03/what-makes-a-successful-business-plan/

My comment: in my opinion, preparation and regular updating of a business plan is an indispensible part of what should be an ongoing planning process. I regularly get comments, in particular from leaders of early stage  companies that whatever they put down is bound to change –so, what is the point. However, it is in answering (and re answering) the tough questions required to produce the plan that the value lies. This article speaks to some of the core element s of any well put together plan

3 Ways Remarkable Leaders Get Noticed –article by Tanveer Naseer –Business coach

http://www.tanveernaseer.com/how-remarkable-leaders-get-noticed-joel-a-garfinkle/#comments

My comment: there is a real difference, in my opinion, between a manager and a leader.  Many successful entrepreneurs do not recognize the different skill sets required and that being good at one does not always mean being good at the other. In order to lead one has to have followers. This article speaks to some ways a leader can show his/her qualities to his employees. The comment about listening particularly struck me. A good listener is a rare breed in my experience.

Secrets Of The Accidental Entrepreneur –article in Tech Crunch

http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/24/secrets-of-the-accidental-entrepreneur/

My comment: an excellent summary (slightly tongue in cheek) about all the things a would  be entrepreneur needs to be able to handle during the course of building their business. A really good sanity check for those of you thinking about making the jump to self employment

Mend Your Spend  -article from ‘CFO.com’

http://www3.cfo.com/article/2011/9/growth-strategies_improvepurchasingsmallbusiness

My comment: One cannot control the weather or the market. However, what you spend your resources on and how much you spend are, for the most part, controllable events. In particular in the early stages of a company’s development, controlling cash is critical. This article offers some common sense approaches to keeping the burn rate in check

 3 Steps to Turbo Charge Profits –article from  ‘ Business Finance’

http://businessfinancemag.com/article/3-steps-turbo-charge-profits-0929

My comment:  When I ask decision makers at companies both large  and small where their company makes its money, the answer is, with unfortunate regularity, I don’t know. Revenues and expenses are aggregated across products, thus eliminating any real chance to see  what provides the best return on investment. This article , while directed at CFO’s, offers useful insight to any executive looking to increase profits.

About the author – Robin Beukers MBA CPA CMA CIA

I act as interim c.f.o., controller or special projects lead (for example, development and review of financial statements and internal controls, financial modeling, acquisition/funding risk assessment). Clients range from Fortune 100 level to startups.

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Article on types of insurance that should be considered for any business (from “Small Business Trends”)

My comment:  There are various ways to hedge risk, with one of those being the purchase of insurance.  The important first step in deciding how to hedge is first to assess the various risks a business faces (a step that, in particular where small business are concerned, is often not looked at in any formal way)  and then choosing the most cost effective way of hedging that risk This article talks about various forms of insurance that, at the very least, should be considered

About the author – Robin Beukers MBA CPA CMA CIA

I act as interim c.f.o., controller or special projects lead (for example, development and review of financial statements and internal controls, financial modeling, acquisition/funding risk assessment). Clients range from Fortune 100 level to startups.

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Article on Communication from “SmartBlog on Leadership”

My comment:  A leader cannot lead without willing followers.  Followers will not follow, nor will they  execute the leader’s  instructions without understanding the vision and  what is expected of them.  I see, frequently, those in positions of authority thinking they have conveyed an idea clearly when, in reality, they have not done so in a manner that their audience can understand or accept. This is particularly true in this world of emails, blogs and the like which, on the one hand are effective ways to reach a broad audience and on the other can be cold and impersonal methods of transmitting ideas.

This article offers some practical tips that will enable concise, effective communication

About the author – Robin Beukers MBA CPA CMA CIA

I act as interim c.f.o., controller or special projects lead (for example, development and review of financial statements and internal controls, financial modeling, acquisition/funding risk assessment). Clients range from Fortune 100 level to startups.

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