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A Money Plan and Your Creative Business – More Than Just Figures

If you are a creative-artistic entrepreneur – your need for a Business Money Plan (or commonly referred to as a Budget) is a necessity for your best business creative good. This isn’t just for reasons of some business advisor or accountant telling you that you need it – you should want to need and rely on it as part of your “creative stream.”

While I know it sounds like a cliché to “have a budget for your business” but all too often it is not clearly understood why a money plan for your creative business money needs to be in place.

Consider some of the more profound reasons of why a business money plan should be central to your entrepreneurial path and your creative well-being… please especially note that it goes beyond just the actual figures…

Allow yourself to experience the fulfilling aspects of your business money plan to allow yourself to:

Connect with having enhanced confidence about handling your creative business money

It is challenging to have confidence about something you know little about – right? Planning, whether personal or business is so misunderstood but it truly is one of the most important.

In order to have real, true confidence, you need to should have the business skills that will make your creative business run smoothly – your money plan is one of those facilities that you should have a basic understanding of.

Bring about command of your business destiny through understanding proper money handling practices

While many creative and artistic entrepreneur’s cringe at the idea of “bookkeeping, accounting and anything number related” it is through these systems that you keep your business on a good course. Proper money handling practices is part of this. How do you intend on dealing with a payment system in terms of accepting payments, matching them to billings and reconciling the bank every month? It sounds easy enough, but to put a system in place that is manageable, practical and that can be kept up on a regular basis, takes an awareness that needs to be learned.

What you have set-up for money systems in your business are primary to enable you to get the information out of your business that you require. This will greatly help your ability to make operational decisions, allow for the proper filing of various tax returns while placing you in a strong position to best make future (strategic) plans for your business.

Achieve better money and financial results

It is important to be able to measure how your creative business is performing financially. It is impossible to keep it in your head! In order to see if you can improve, you need to know exactly what progress the business has made over time for both the benefit of short and long term decision-making.

Become faster at making decisions in your business

You can make more expedient decisions if you know the optimal earning point for your business along with the types of spending and investments that are being made along the way. In order to assess different vendors, suppliers and other players (stakeholders) in your business, you need to know your numbers and be able to place your hands on this information at any time. Also in order to take advantage of opportunities – you need to have quick and accurate access to the financial performance of your business.

Cultivate the feeling of being in control of your money

You can’t feel in control until you are actually in control. You can’t just make believe “control “, it has to be the result of actually having a money handling plan that is tailored to your business. It must take into account your aspirations, risk tolerance and other aspects of your being in business. The money skills that you learn are instrumental in moving you along to really knowing your money and connecting with the number aspects of your business. Once you have determined that, then you are truly in control of your money and can start to gain momentum and the true feeling of control.

Have the time to create and promote your entrepreneurial offerings

As a creative-artistic entrepreneur, you have many hats to wear (oh goodness!) and to that end you need to balance your time between the management and strategic side of your business, together with working on your creative offerings and marketing and promoting what you have to offer. While this sounds exhausting, it doesn’t have to be once you have enough in place to feel at peaceful about your business and its money dealings.

Encourage your creativity through not worrying about your business finances

If you have a money plan in place for your business, then you have a course to follow. You can find peace in knowing that you have a strategy in place and this can help you creatively. How? You can relax and encourage your creativity and not be so pre-occupied with what is occurring with your business finances. If you can’t do this – then something needs to be fixed.

These are just some of the more important aspects. I don’t want to insult your intelligence by listing the obvious, however they are worth mentioning and repeating:

  • Keeping your expenses down to improve your bottom line
  • Earning to your business potential
  • Pricing strategies
  • Identifying opportunities

This is just to name a few, but these are all gleaned with your business money plan. I want you to think beyond the traditional number reasons and consider the intrinsic and in my view, ultimately more persuasive reasons for having a business money plan.

Remember, as I have said: This is not just one of those “need to haves” ideas that entrepreneurs are told by every money and business guru, it truly is one of the few important items that should be created as early as possible in your creative business.

Why You Should Outsource Logistics for Your Small Business

Running your own business requires sacrifice. It can both rewarding and stressful in equal measures. While most small business owners enjoy having control over their professional life and pursuing their passions, some major stress factors such as not having enough personal time, feeling like you can never be away from your work, and having to wear so many different hats can take a major toll. Choosing a 3PL for your companies logistics needs can help ease the burden of running a small business and provide several advantages to your company.

Outsourcing Saves You Time

One of the biggest sacrifices small business owners make is their personal time. Many business owners feel that they cannot be away from their work and miss out on valuable time with their friends and families. Outsourcing your logistics services can take a lot of tasks off your hands that may be eating your time. For example, a 3PL will handle the paperwork, billing, training, and staffing that go along with shipping your products.

Outsourcing Saves You Money

Tracking expenses can be a huge stressor for anyone who owns their own business. Outsourcing your logistics services will eliminate extra expenses such as investing in warehouse space, technology, transportation, and additional staff. Using a 3PL can also help keep small business shipping costs to a minimum by lowering transportation rates and reducing the risk of costly mistakes such as returns and lost sales.

3PLs Keep You Up-to-Date with Technology

Keeping up with the latest advances in logistics technology is a constant struggle for many small business owners. Choosing to work with a 3PL is a great way to ease this burden. 3PL’s are highly knowledgeable about the industry’s best practices and stay up to date on all the newest technologies. 3PL software is capable of handling advanced reporting, inventory maintenance, and provides visibility so the entire process can be monitored.

It Takes Responsibility off Your Shoulders

Another major issue that many small business owners face is that they have to act as a Jack of all trades and often spread themselves too thin. Outsourcing logistics can help take some of the responsibility off your hands and allow your company to focus on its core competencies. By leaving this part of the business to the experts, you can relax and have peace of mind knowing that your logistics needs are being taken care of by professionals.

You Can Trust the Professionals

Trusting your employees to run things without you can often be difficult when running a small business. When you outsource your logistics to a 3PL, you can rest assured that your freight shipping solutions are being handled by professionals. Third party providers constantly monitor performance to ensure that the risk of damage or loss is minimized and that bottlenecking does not occur. 3PL’s often produce quality service that keeps customers happy.

Running a small business can mean lots of stress and challenges. Outsourcing your logistics needs to a third-party can take some of that weight off your shoulders. Choose a 3PL today and start focusing on your company’s future.

Google’s $250 Billion Local Marketing Investment

It is estimated that in order to get the United States economy out of the recession, between 12 and 15 million new jobs need to be created. It has been argued that putting stimulus money into the cities and states, only served to help keep public employees on the payroll, rather than create new jobs. Arguably, with the amount of budget cuts in places such as New Jersey, particularly in areas such as education, the $800 billion stimulus didn’t even accomplish that.

The continued bright spots on the horizon that has everyone’s attention are the business models of Google, Facebook and the iPad. What is the missing link between the success of companies such as these, and what is necessary to translate that success into jobs? After all, everyone uses Google to search, spends plenty of time on Facebook and for the most part leaves home with a wallet, car keys and a Smartphone – so how hard could it be to create jobs with things that everyone already uses? It is not as though using these things are really that technologically challenging. Everyone uses search, Facebook and a mobile phone these days, right?

For the most part, there is widespread usage among consumers who want information and entertainment on demand, are quick to engage in social media with their friends. The problem that I found is that local business owners are not seeing the potential of internet marketing practices as they exist today.

For example: Google Places.

Google Places was the next iteration of Google’s business model that focused on local business listings. It was actually called Google Local Business listings up until last year. And there was also Google Favorites. A web based directory service that could do more than the Yellow Pages. However, given the number of businesses, and that fact that people only want local results, the Google business model had to focus on delivering geographically appropriate results based on the location of the person searching – a monumental task.

By the end of 1st Quarter 2011, it was estimated that Google had created nearly 50 million Google Places listings for businesses in the United States. This obviously created some jobs, but at this point only at Google.

You see, these were no ordinary sites – these were search engine optimized, and coordinated with Google Maps and Mobile search – and they were local. If you wanted to create one of these kinds of sites on your own, it would cost thousand of dollars to get the SEO for top ranking and also to get it to come up in properly in mobile search. Google did that for businesses listed in Google Places

Conservative estimates that the going market rate for someone to create a “Google Places Type Site” on their own – with the investment in search engine optimization, mobile functionality and compatibility, design elements to accommodate rich media and content, and the content, it would cost approximately $5,000 per site. To create Google’s 50,000,000 sites at $5,000 per site would cost $250,000,000,000 -$250 billion dollars – quite an investment on Google’s part to make sure people find what they want, from local businesses they use, whether those businesses have websites or not.

Why would Google shell out $250 billion dollars of activity, value, and capacity?

Economic uncertainty is the greatest obstacle facing employment, according to the second quarter Small Business Outlook Survey released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this month, and preventing hiring from taking place.

Google knows where things are headed, because they have been trying to compete with network broadcast TV and cable TV for some time now – and have failed. They are also looking to keep market share in social media using Google+ against Facebook and the Android OS in the Smartphone arena.

Google is competing on many, many fronts, and quite correctly Google is looking at how these things are used and therefore decided that the database of information needs to be established, verified and confirmed.

Google did this for free and it did several important things for businesses. Things that most business owners did not and still do not realize:

First, for local businesses, there was a way for customers and people looking for products and services to come up with a match that was physically related to where they were searching from – either at home or from a Smartphone.

Second, for national brand advertisers and retailers, it put the value of the brand right in front of consumers who would go from looking for information about the product to information about buying the product.

Third, it put large and small businesses on a level playing field. And it put brick and mortar stores in back in competition with online stores such as Amazon, who are now being required to collect taxes in certain states.

Consumers now can search for the lowest price for a product, find it locally and pick it up in 15 to 20 minutes, and maybe pay a little more, or pay for shipping and handling to have it sent as quickly as possible, or have it shipped “free” pay a higher price anyway – and wait a week for delivery. But the game changer is that the local business is in the mix now – the problem is that they don’t know it.

In other words, Google just pumped $250 billion of their own resources to create equity in the marketplace to make sure they stay in the game – and if you know what to do next – this is an opportunity to increase sales, profits, start new businesses, and create new jobs.