Organize Business Data Efficiently

It can be used for so many different purposes and it makes it easier to share information within the company structure at any point in time.

Network data integration is used in:

Retail operations

Healthcare industries

Construction industries

Big corporations

Factories

Real Estate Companies

And many more businesses

The Data Software

A wide variety of reports are generated within company data from various sources of software. The software is usually customized for the business that uses it, with ongoing tweaks and updates to improve operation and functionality.

Data integration software is often used for:

Sales data and reporting

Customer data and reporting

Financial management

Inventory management and reports

Employee performance data

And a whole lot more

Uses for Data Integration Software

The main uses of data integration software in company structures is to review past information, see current information, and forecast future information. Predictions can be a scary thing, but software helps make it a little more accurate. This is mainly because the software reviews the past, sees the present, and determines the potential future for sales, profits, inventory, employee performance, etc.

Data integration software is used for:

Analytics

Comparisons

Projections

History

Etc.

The Analytics

Analytics utilize various data to pull up reports and information for various purposes.

This includes:

Profit and loss

Sales volume averaging

Daily, weekly, monthly inventory counts per product

Etc.

Comparisons

Comparison functionality is used to see differences and make predictions with various data, depending on the business’s needs.

Example uses include:

Sku by sku data comparisons

Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly sales comparing

Employee productivity comparisons by day, week, month, year, etc.

Investment or stock comparisons within the company

Projections

A business needs insight into the future through the creation of prediction reports, generated by software that handles data analysis and mathematical calculations. Predicting is important in order to make preparations for success, whether it is for sales, employee expenses, profit and loss, or any other purpose.

Projections are used for:

Sales forecasting

Inventory preparation

Customer counting or data

History

In order for a business to succeed, it needs to look backwards, as well as forwards. Analyzing the past is a great way to identify issues, adjust budgets, predict future employment needs, and so much more.

Historical Analysis and Reporting is used for:

Sales number retrieval based on day, week, or month

Profits for a specific period of time

Employee performance data for a specified period of time

Inventory data from specific periods, such as month, week, holidays, etc.

Sku data such as sales history, inventory history, product movement, etc. for specific periods

And many other uses

Small Business Vendors

Try and treat vendors like your favorite customers treat you. Do you remember recently when you went out of your way for a customer, the whole time knowing you weren’t going to make any extra money by doing so; yet you did, simply because you liked that particular customer. That customer; whether you know it or not, probably told five friends of your gallant effort; something you may not even have thought about. This type of extra concern and effort is hard to come by these days from local business people. You will, from time to time, need this type of gallant service from your vendors, so start now by being extremely pleasant to those you do business with. Remember, also to refer your customers to your vendors whenever the opportunity arises.

Please be nice to your support staff if you own a franchise. Be nice to government code enforcement, even if you suspect they may be the next BTK, as we all know there are many more government workers like that hiding in broad daylight. The people in the local government, your vendors or even at a franchise head quarter’s office always have favorites businesses, customers and franchisees. If you ever need something out of the ordinary, and you will, it will be comforting for you to know that they will go out of their way, even though they don’t have to, to solve your problem or fulfill your request. So be nice to them. They are doing their best, well for the government workers maybe that is pushing it a bit (okay a lot). If you have an emergency, don’t yell at them; especially if you want them to put you at the top of their pile of work. Generally, they will try, but if you yell, don’t be surprised if you get placed on the bottom.

Business or Pleasure

The subject springs to mind because, well, that is what we are in the process of doing right now. My husband, Michael, was offered a one month job with hourly pay that we couldn’t turn down. The client offered to pay for fuel, hotels, and $25/day for food, along with paying for the work to be done. How could we turn that down? We packed our bags and left town for the next month.

We are in an intriguing position because we are subcontracting to his business, rather than simply making a bid for a job. The difference, of course, is that generally as a small business owner, you are expected to pay for your own accommodations, travel, and food, though your bill may reflect accordingly. Still, the basic plot twist remains the same. As a small business owner, you are given more flexibility in your contacts and your hours.

For instance, suppose you legitimately – and I stress legitimately – wanted to expand your business to Hawaii. You needed to go out and make the appropriate contacts (I stress ‘needed’, as well). The opportunity arises in your work schedule for you to stay an extra day or two, or perhaps conduct your business in the daytime and make the most of the evenings (or even, vacation in the daytime and attend various social functions at night). By the same token, I know a man who attended a national conference each year in Las Vegas. He took the opportunity to fly his family there, as well, and made the most of the time away from home.

There is good reason to stress the ‘legitimately’ portion of the statement. As a small business owner, you will be more likely already to attract your friendly neighborhood IRS auditor to your accounts. You want to make sure that all of the numbers come up squeaky clean.

Some things that might pass the muster

  • Flying yourself and your employees on a trip to a conference or meeting of some sort
  • Limited food allowance – the IRS no longer allows you to deduct full meals and sets limits. Make sure you check the updated information
  • Billing long distance calls made to your office
  • Reasonable trips that are necessary to the life and growth of your company

Things that will most likely upset the IRS

  • Listing your wife and your 3 month old child as an employee. If they really are (perhaps your baby models for ads for your company?), make sure that position needs to attend said meeting. If you are using it to shoot more ads and need your baby model, fine. If you’re not, and just want to bring the kids, don’t try to deduct them.
  • Lobster and cavier every night
  • Phone calls made to your parents
  • A trip to Aculpoco in which you talk to one ‘potential client’ briefly at the pool for three minutes

Participative Strategy

Shift the strategic-leadership role of the top executives team from ‘all-knowing decision-makers’ to ‘social architects’.

The starting point is an honest assessment of the readiness of the organisation to open up which then leads to determining the best way to stimulate engagement. Once the process for interacting with employees is set-up, leaders have to constantly fine-tune it while continuously reaffirm the open culture and the vital importance of the contribution of their employees. As part of this, they need to demonstrate some vulnerability to match the exposure that their employees might feel when expressing themselves openly. This approach requires a more direct, personal, and empathetic exchange with employees than traditional town hall meeting allows. Red Hat experience shows that making this shift does not imply an abdication of strategic leadership. Its CEO and other top executives still have the responsibility to step in if things go awry and to make the difficult trade-offs that are the essence of good strategy.

Build a culture of openness, transparency, collaboration and peer review.

The best way to increase the quality of insights is through variety. To participate to a more open strategy development, employees from across the company need to believe that the environment they work in is capable of metabolizing their diversity of opinions. Red Hat’s wanted to be more systematic about how they analysed the market, customers and prospects as an input into their strategy. They initiated an idea generation process (that would ultimately last five months) and created a cross-functional ‘engagement team’ charged with inventing ever-new ways to maintain transparency and expand the conversation. Those included the use wikis, blogs as well as company-wide online chats with the CEO who could be asked any question about the strategy process (or about anything else). In parallel, the strategy team posted status updates to the wiki and replied to comments on their team’s internal blog. This openness and access to variety of ideas enabled the thinking to evolve as part of the process. For instance, one of the conversations started about the need for a defensive differentiation strategy that would halt competitors’ progress. However, as ideas were shared and discussed openly, it became clear that creating more value for customers through the products and services would yield more compelling results.

Involve employees throughout the process strategic planning – from idea generation to the execution.

The best ideas from Red Hat’s idea generation phase coalesced into 9 strategic priorities, each with their devoted ‘exploration’ team sponsored by a member of the executive team such as the CIO or VP of Operations for instance. To execute more efficiently on the opportunities, the company headed up each team with leaders one level or two removed from the senior leadership team. Those, in turn, tapped the people with the most knowledge and the most interesting ideas to take charge of actually developing the strategy and the actionable plans in each area. In most strategic planning projects, these teams would be asked to present the strategies and plans they had built back to the leadership team to make decisions. But at Red Hat, the accountability and responsibility was left in the hands of the people who knew the most i.e. those who were doing the work. They were trusted to execute the plans without further approvals.

Create an open approach to communication and engagement.

To keep a large number of people communicating, informed and involved at all levels in the company, Red Hat set-up a specific cross-functional team that included representatives from the human resources, branding, internal communication and information technology teams. Regular updates on progress and deep dives on strategy became a part of most company’s manager meeting. This kept the momentum behind the strategy strong and ensured that Red Hat stayed focused on executing it. In addition, strategy became a continuous process – updated and evaluated on an ongoing basis instead of once year on a fixed calendar. Initiative leaders communicated via town hall-style meetings, internet chat sessions, and frequent blog posts. Evolving funding needs of the initiatives were directly fed into the company’s annual budget process. The pillar of the communication about the strategy process was an iconic diagram that worked like a “You Are Here” map. It would show people where any discussion might fit into the overall strategy to ensure that everyone understood how his or her work fit into a larger vision.

About Corporate Strategy And Marketing

Strategy, within a business context, is commonly confused with strategic planning. Strategy is about the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of intended goals and objectives to reach, whereas strategic planning is about the ‘how’ to achieve them through tactics, campaigns and actions.

Strategy is all about the choices we make in utilising our resources within a competitive environment and relative to our customers, which give our organisation the distinct advantage at a point in time. Therefore, strategy is identifying the next ‘big thing’ before others do, and gaining a competitive edge in it to be able to take full advantage.

Business strategy is rapidly changing with the ever emerging trends and shifting developments within the modern, very connected world. In the past, the business concept and plan was set in stone and only changed yearly (if that). However, this is not flexible enough any more and will result in a poorly performing, stagnate organisation, lacking in innovation. This is why most of the top performing companies in years past, such as Kodak, are now nowhere to be seen today. Businesses must treat strategy as a living, evolving entity, ensuring that emerging trends, opportunities, threats and new information are all taken into account and integrated into it accordingly.

Every industry today alters and evolves so rapidly that an organisation which fails to update and adapt their strategic objectives and plan regularly will soon discover that the goal posts it set for itself twelve months prior will quickly become completely irrelevant or in the wrong direction. Most organisations don’t know they’re going out of business until it’s too late! They’re the ones that fail to recognise vital elements within the industry their involved in and then, when the consumer no longer sees their product offering as valuable, it’s often too late to react and update the strategy.

Additionally, in the past (and too commonly now too, unfortunately), strategy was built around a set budget, rather than the other way around. Using a budget as a cornerstone to build strategy is a very short-sighted and limiting method as it results in the organisation having to negotiate and water down the essential goals necessary to remain strong, relevant and competitive.

Obviously there are limited resources with any business, however strategy should be set first so that all goals are established initially, and then budget can be allocated in order to prioritise them and develop the best action plans associated with each with the resources at hand.

With the rapid shifting of market demographics and trends, strategy is more crucial than ever before and absolutely no organisation can afford to ignore it or become complacent. There are too many inevitable pathways for competitors to join the market and do something innovatively different which threatens a currently established business. And, on the other side, a new business entering a new market must have a comprehensive strategy to capitalise on their niche and fully utilise their strengths to take on the well-established players in the industry.

A solid, flexible strategy will focus and grow the organisation, while strengthening its position against potential threats.

Marketing has a key role in updating and enacting strategy, as it’s responsible for the revenue generating marketing mix and external communications, and is the only business function looking outward toward the market, alongside the sales force, obviously. Other internal functions, such as operations, accounting, I.T. and so on, are ‘supply-side’ biased, entirely focused on keeping the internal core operating.

Through the gathering of marketing intelligence, the marketing department can keep a close eye on fluctuations and changes that will directly impact on the organisation’s overall strategy and develop ways to address these. These can include, for example, regulatory and legal updates that impact on how business is conducted domestically and internationally. Remaining ignorant to significant changes in the marketplace is a guaranteed way to hinder progress and risk the health of an organisation.

Outgoing demographic shifts need to be monitored, and not simply taken for granted. With the rise of social media and technology, the consumer is far more informed and possesses far more power than ever before. Marketing must appreciate these fluctuations and rise to the challenge of developing strategy and tactics which best capitalise on new and rising niches.

Marketing must also come to always expect and defend against new competition, who see the opportunity within change and approach the market differently, not playing by the traditional paradigms or rules. They are desperate to ‘eat the big fish’ and can quickly eat away at market share simply by thinking outside of the well-established square.

Business Tax Service

The first step in finding the best tax services for your needs is deciding what level of help you require. Perhaps you simply need someone who can file a simple tax return but has to wade through your slightly disorganised accounting documents, or maybe you have a number of employees and need
assistance sorting out their tax withholdings or you may even want all of these tax services, and more. The size of the tax services company may also be an issue. You may want one person to be able to perform all of your tax work, especially if you are only a small business owner or you may want a team of tax professionals and you want to find tax services that have a number of specialists available. Once you have identified the type of tax services then you can begin your search more easily. Your available tax services budget is obviously going to be an issue but you should try to allocate as much money as possible to ensure that you can afford the best possible tax services. Remember that you can incur heavy fines if you have incorrectly filed your tax return or are late paying any type of tax that your business is liable for.

Apart from professional qualifications and references one of the most important points to consider when assessing which of the tax services companies you want to use is whether you feel comfortable with the person you are dealing with. At the end of the day you are going to trust them with your financial records and it is essential that you feel that you can depend upon the person.

Every business, at some time, needs the help of some type of tax services at some stage. Large organisations usually have their own tax services department with accountants and tax lawyers but small companies often have to hire tax services on a regular basis to help keep their tax returns and other issues in order. It is important to know how to find the best tax services, no matter what type of business you are involved with.

Ways to Sell Your Small Business

  • Friends: Your first stop for picking up any business should always be friends and colleagues. Remember these are the people who helped you get to where you are today–and more often than not, you’ll find them willing and eager to help. Always keep them posted of changes in stock, new promotions and special events where they can show you support.
  • Family: Of course your family has to help, right? Well, not necessarily–but if you ask them nicely and make sure there’s something in it for them, you’ll be amazed how many volunteers you have the next time some grunt work needs doing. Your family is the first rung in your extended network, so make sure you keep them posted of any upcoming specials or promotions.
  • Trade Shows: No matter what your business, there’s a trade show out there for you. These are usually weekend affairs that attract interested buyers from far and wide to browse over what venders have to offer. The registration fee will vary from one show to the next, but for that cost you get a dedicated space in which to display products and information.
  • Television Ads: Of course if you have the money, advertising is the easiest and most effective way to sell your business. Television ads will work if you’re in a large market with one or more local television stations. Remember to choose your time wisely: prime time commercial slots will always cost more, but make sure before you spend the extra money that that’s the right demographic for you and your business.
  • Radio Ads: Slightly less expensive than television, radio ads can often be just as effective. Again, the key here is making the most out of the money you spend. Research stations in your area and don’t choose based on price alone. Like TV, you’ll want to make sure your radio ads are getting to the people you want as customers.
  • Print Ads: If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but want to saturate the market with your business’ name, print ads are going to be your best bet. Spending advertising money is tricky–you want to make sure your investment pays off in more store traffic and new customers–but print ads tend to be a safe bet.
  • Cross-Marketing: Along the road to success you meet a lot of people, many of them small business owners just like you trying to meet a niche need and make ends meet. You can both be more successful when you join forces and take advantage of each other’s customer base: see what kind of cross-promotions you can come up with.
  • Targeted Marketing: Take the time to really understand just who would be interested in your business. From there you can decide just how to reach those people. For instance, if your business appeals to home owners, you should try passing out flyers in a new subdivision.
  • Internet: Don’t be afraid of the internet! An up-to-date website with email and other contact information is absolutely essential in today’s market. If you’re no wiz on the computer, ask around–you’re sure to find a friend, family member or colleague who knows their way around HTML.
  • Donations and Sponsorships: It costs money to make money, right? But if you spend it wisely, you can make a name for yourself and your business that customers will know and trust. Be creative when you choose the kinds of events or promotions you could sponsor and you’re sure to see a return on your investment.

Invoicing Mistakes Small Businesses Must Avoid

Procrastination

As a business owner, it can get awfully difficult to manage so many various tasks on time. It is not uncommon for a small task such as invoicing to slip your mind, or you may think that a regular client or customer will make the payment anyway and push the task ahead.

But you need to remember, that invoicing is your responsibility. One must make it a priority and send an invoice as soon as the job is complete. According to a survey, when you invoice on the same day of the work completion, you are 1.5 times more likely to get paid on time.

Pending Invoices

Now that you have made a priority to send invoices, it is also very much possible that the client misses their due date, misplaces the invoice, or simply forgets about it. You and your team have to take responsibility to get paid on time, so be proactive in sending reminders and contact the client immediately if they miss their payment date.

In a rare case where you are dealing with a terribly unresponsive client, extreme measures can be taken. A case can be filed in small claims court, or if matters get worse, you can hire a collection agency to get your payment.

Undefined Terms

Business dealings must always have clearly specified conditions which come in use, in case of any discrepancies. Never use vague language in an invoice, specify your terms and resulting consequences if those terms aren’t met. But do not define lengthy and unrealistic terms that can hamper business relations.

To create an ideal situation, sign a simple contract with your clients that will protect the interests of both parties. Bring this into practice and you will ease up a lot of your workload. Ask your lawyers to record your agreement and make it official.

Ways To Reduce Your Business Costs

  • Barter. If you have a business you should be bartering goods and services with other businesses. You should try to trade for something before you buy it. Barter deals usually require little or no money.
  • Network. Try networking your business with other businesses. You could trade leads or mailing lists. This will cut down on your marketing and advertising costs. You may also try bartering goods and services with them.
  • Wholesale/Bulk. You’ll save money buying your business supplies in bulk quantities. You could get a membership at a wholesale warehouse or buy them through a mail order wholesaler. Buy the supplies you are always running out of.
  • Free Stuff. You should try visiting the thousands of freebie sites on the internet before buying your business supplies. You can find free software, graphics, backgrounds, online business services etc.
  • Borrow/Rent Have you ever purchased business equipment you only needed for a small period of time? You could have just borrowed the equipment from someone else or rented the equipment from a “rent-all” store.
  • Online/Offline Auctions. You can find lower prices on business supplies and equipment at online and offline auctions. I’m not saying all the time, but before you go pay retail for these items try bidding on them first.
  • Plan Ahead. Make a list of business supplies or equipment you’ll need in the future. Keep an eye out for stores that have big sales. Purchase the supplies when they go on sale before you need them.
  • Used Stuff. If your business equipment and supplies don’t need to be new, buy them used. You can find used items at yard and garage sales, used stores, used stuff for sale message boards and newsgroups etc.
  • Negotiate. You should always try negotiate a lower price for any business equipment or supplies. It doesn’t hurt to try. Pretend you are talking to a salesman at a car lot.
  • Search. You can always be searching for new suppliers for your business supplies and equipment. Look for suppliers with lower prices and better quality. Don’t just be satisfied with a few.

Finally, you need have tracking method to find out how your money is spent and where your money goes to. Do it monthly. You can easily identify that what money is wasted so you can avoid that happen again in the future. You can buy some softwares like Quicken or Microsoft Money to help you for tracking.

Internet Marketing For Small Businesses

Marketing planning is the interface between the enterprise and its market/customers. Internet marketing places the consumer at both the beginning and the end of the business process and that any firm practicing marketing in the proper sense has to identify correctly the needs of the consumer, translate the needs into suitable products and services, deliver those products and services to the total satisfaction of the consumer and through this process generate profits for the firm.

Marketing planning is the instrument through which all these tasks get accomplished. The quality of marketing planning is revealed in the success of all marketing activities. Obviously, considerable thought, expertise and effort have to go into the process of marketing planning.

The marketing planner first scans the environment followed by an internal scanning of his unit, its strength and weaknesses and assesses to what extent his marketing organization is equipped to pursue the various opportunities emerging in the environment. Then he formulates the marketing objectives and marketing strategies. And finally, he formulates the detailed functional plans in each aspect of the total marketing task.

As the first step in the marketing planning process, the firm scans its marketing environment. The main purpose of this exercise is to find out the favorable and unfavorable factors prevailing in the environment and the specific business opportunities available to the business unit and their relative attractiveness. In the case of marketing planning, environmental scanning focuses on the environment of the business unit in question and its scope is limited to the business in question.