Current Tips and Trends in Family Owned Businesses

With numbers between 1.2 and 1.3 million in the United States and steadily rising it seems that the modern family owned businesses are no longer fitly described by the old “Mom and Pop” colloquialism.

In her 2006 book, “Couplepreneurs: Prosperity Through Partnership,” business coach and entrepreneur Jean R. Charles writes that “the fastest-growing family owned businesses today are new businesses started by couples who jointly share ownership, commitment, and responsibility.” “Couplepreneurs” or “copreneurs” are quickly becoming buzz words in the family owned business world, referring to partnerships between spouses. Blurring the lines between work and play, the boom of the business couple is re-inventing the workplace, requiring today’s power duo to be both business and relationship savvy at the same time. Follow along for the latest on how couplepreneurs are shaping family owned business trends as well as practical tips for maintaining a successful partnership, both at work and at home.

Trend: The spouse is the family owned businesses most trusted adviser

Although in 2002 the business accountant ranked at the top of the list, according to the 2007 American Family Business Survey conducted by MassMutual and the Family Firm Institute, the typical family business owner designates his or her spouse as most trusted advisor, above family members like parents or siblings as well as other important partners like the lawyer, banker or non-related colleague. Perhaps the rise of the family owned businesses explain the shift in survey results.

Family Owned Businesses Tip: Place an extra emphasis on clear communication

Dr. Alice Bledig, and her husband Albert Bledig, M.D. grew their family medical practice together from the ground up, often juggling multiple roles and responsibilities in the absence of a fuller staff. Without hesitation, Alice points to Albert as her most trusted advisor. And their secret to 47 years of successful couplepreneurship? “I think communication is very important and I think trust is very important. I trust him and he trusts me to the best thing for our practice.” The 2010 MassMutual study, FamilyPreneurship: What Every Entrepreneur Wants to Know About Being in Business With a Family Member, confirms the importance of communication in the family-owned business world: “According to our research, communication is the most common factor cited as being necessary for maintaining good relationships with family – both inside and outside of work.”

MLM Business Plan – Why You Need One, and 3 Things That Must Be Included in the One You Create!

Do you have an MLM business plan, or are you like most others in this industry who seem to let this pass by without notice?

Well if you haven’t created a business plan for your MLM home business, then what you really have is an MLM hobby?

Here’s how to go from hobby to legitimate business in 3 easy steps…

Why You Need to Create an MLM business plan….

First let’s get real. You would never open a business on Main St. USA (anywhere) without first having a business plan. In fact business plans are so important that you can’t even get a business loan without one.

So why would you treat your MLM business inferiorly to a normal everyday brick and mortar business?

After all it is a solid business right? If you don’t think so then you may be in the wrong industry. MLM is as much, if not more of a viable business as any other business out there and the faster you get this in through your mind, the better you’ll be. But you truly don’t have an actually business until you have an actual plan to run that business, and a plan to make that business successful.

How to Create an MLM Business Plan Starting Today…

Now I realize that you’re probably not looking for funding for your MLM business from a bank or angel investor, so your business plan may not have to be as professional and/or as thorough as they would like for it to be (although it can’t hurt), but nonetheless your MLM business plan should be clear in certain areas and I’m going to lay those out for you now.

1) Clear Goals… Every business has a goal. On the large scale that goal is to succeed and grow. But that isn’t enough. To plan for that success you need to spell out those goals in a clear and specified manner. Moreover, those goals need to be specified and broken down into timeframes.

So if your goal is to make $100,000 a year with your MLM home business, then you should break that down into milestones for reaching that $100,000. Obviously you can’t just start a business and start making a hundred grand a year right from the get-go, so your goal may be to make just 20,000 your first year, and then 50,000 your next and after 3 years be making 100,000 per year with your MLM business.

2) Operations… Every business has an operations side to it, and your multi level marketing business is no different. So therefore this section of your business plan will lay out what you’ll do in your business on a daily basis.

So basically a schedule… This can also intertwine with your goals, and actually set deadlines to which you want certain things to be done. For instance working online will certainly be a part of your business and therefore you’ll want to set goals to get certain things taken care of like setting up a website, a blog, a social media system, an auto-responder etc. And then you’ll schedule how many hours per day you’ll work on this stuff, and how much time spent on each one individually.

3) Expenses… Of course no business can exist without expenses, even if it is one that you work from home. With MLM you’ll have your set up expense right off the get-go for your business pack, and then monthly you’ll have your auto-ship etc.

The Engineering Business Plan and the Business Model

Separate from a Business Plan is the Business Model. The Business Model is nothing more then a description of the means and methods the firm will employ to earn revenues projected by the Business Plan. The Business Plan describes what the business wants to accomplish and what resources it will use to reach those objectives. The model represents the business as a system of a series of steps (actions) to generate revenue and make a profit. The model includes the components and functions of the business, as well as the revenues it will generate and the expenses it incurs.

The traditional Civil Engineering Business Model is as simple as the engineering company and the customers within a key market like Land Development. The engineering company provides the services that the customer needs and wants, and in return the client pays a fess for those services. Once the engineering company has paid all of its expenses including salaries, the company is left with its profit.

This model although simplistic works well if there is very little or no competition and there is plenty of demand for your services. But rarely is this the situation especially in a declining market. The model in most cases needs to be more robust. One needs to see the “bigger picture.” In order to support the Business Plan the Model needs to address the four main components of the business; Framework, Financial, Client, and the Offer.

Business Framework (Infrastructure):

Key Resources – What are the company’s capabilities necessary to make the Business Plan possible?
Key Activities – What company activities are necessary to implement the Business Plan?
Key Partners – What company partners are motivated to participate in the Business Plan?
Client (Current and Prospective Clients):

Segment(s) of Clients – What is (are) the targeted audience for the company’s products and services?
Communication and Distribution Channels (Marketing) – What are the means the company will utilize to reach the customer and offer them those products and services? What marketing campaigns will the company utilize to reach its targeted clients?
Client Relationship – What are the processes the company will establish to maintain its relationship with the clients?

How to Build Business Credit Now and Later

People are always asking me for tips on how to build business credit. The joy of building credit for your business is there is no exact steps that need to be followed. Don’t get it twisted, though, because obtaining proper credit does require a process. Some steps need to be completed as soon as possible as others can be done at any time. You should be building credit at all times because you never know when you are going to need it.

Let’s take a look at how to build business credit now and later!

Create A Plan

The first thing I tell people when they ask me how to build credit is to make a marketing plan for credit for your business. That plan should be reviewed and revised on a monthly basis.

If monthly time frames do not work for you, try having a weekly plan instead. A good goal per week is to find one avenue in business that will build you credit. How to build business credit starts with an organized plan and finishes with you completing the plan.

Find Lines Of Credit That Work For You

You may feel that you are asking how to build business credit because of all the stories you heard. You are not sure what is right, wrong, legit, etc. My best piece of advice is to consider what you want you business to be about and go from there.

Let’s say you have a bad credit score for your business, you will probably want to look for credit specifically for people with poor credit. Obviously, regular credit cards will not work if lenders will not grant you one in fear you are not going to pay them back.

There are many types of credit lines that can work for your specific situation; take advantage of them. Do not be afraid to ask your lender for help in choosing the right type of credit for your business. It really will help you in the future.

How To Build Business Credit After Your Business Is Established

I have talked about how to build business credit from the beginning of your business. The most important thing is to register your business, and create a business address and phone number. However, you may be wondering how to build business credit after your business is established.

The easy answer, again, is talk to a lender. A lender will be able to tell you your business score, credit cards that are right for your business, loans that are right for your business, refer you to credible vendors, etc. They work with individualizing credit for business owners everyday. You can trust their suggestions.

The basic thing I tell business owners on how to build business credit is to never stop building it! You may read in a business magazine a year from now about a new topic in credit for a business. Give it a try! You may earn a little bit of credit from it, but isn’t it worth it?

Nike Running Shoes – Technologies Leading Innovation

A long time ago Nike revolutionized the shoe industry with their Nike Air. The Nike Air technology often featured a section of see through material that acted as a cushion on the rear outsole of the shoe. Since its release in the 1970s this technology has spawned a high-tech running shoes industry.

With several other brands competing in the same space Nike has led the way in developing technology for running shoes since the Nike Air.

We will go through the most popular technologies that Nike has developed some thirty-years after the original Nike Air.

Shox Technology

All road cars have shock absorbers meant to give a smooth ride. Nike took this concept and applied shock-absorber-like columns on the heel area of their shoes featuring this technology. This gives the runner something very similar to an independent suspension of a road car. The effect is more traction and cushioning that adapts to where it is needed.

LunarLite

The Nike Lunarlite foam that has just gained popularity is Nike’s inner material of choice among their top running shoes. The Lunarlite material was meant to give an experience very unique to Nike running shoes.

Zoom Air

The Nike Zoom Air is a thin material that provides cushioning inside the midsole of the shoe. Depending on the application this can be segmented into the heel and toe, lay flat on the entire stretch of the shoe, or even just be present in the forefoot portion of the running shoe. Nike developed this technology to provide cushioning while maintaining extreme responsiveness.

Flywire

This is one of the newer technologies introduced by Nike. The Flywire technology tries to eliminate slippage of foot during running. It does this by using fibers placed around the shoe to ensure that the foot is kept in place.

Is Technology Destroying Our Relationships?

Our ability to connect more easily to the rest of the world seems to have left many people less connected in their real life relationships. I’m always amazed at how many people I see ignoring the person next to them while they talk or text on cell phones or check emails on BlackBerries. I also notice how many people post problems to LuvemOrLeavem that are centered around technology invading their homes in the form of FaceBook, chatrooms, and even video games.

I have written before about the many problems that come from using technology for any type of cybersex relationship, and most people do seem to recognize just how destructive this behavior can be to a relationship. When it comes to what most people view as “normal” uses of technology; however, many people do not notice the problems that an overuse of technology can cause. In fact, most people view many of the most overused technical devices as harmless and even a “natural” part of everyday life. The problem is that they often take away precious time that we should be spending with our loved ones. With that said, there are some basic rules that are rooted in common courtesy, that can eliminate letting technology destroy our relationships.

Cell Phones- If you are out with a real live person, enjoy their company and forget about the phone. Unless it’s your child, or some dire emergency call, just let it go to voice mail and call them back later. In any case, there is never a reason to be on a long phone call while you are out with someone. The most offensive thing is when I see people that are on a cell phone while they are out having dinner with someone. The other person looks bored to tears. To add insult to injury, when you catch a bit of their conversation you will often hear the person say into their phone “nothing, what are you doing?” The rules for texting and mobile email are the same as for talking-emergency use only.

“Socializing” on the Internet- This includes FaceBook, Twitter, chatrooms, or any other form of socializing on the internet. If the time you spend with friends online takes away from time that you can spend with real live people, then there is a problem. I hear complaints all the time from men and women about how their partner will ignore them and sit in front of the computer for hours updating Twitter and FaceBook. As a general rule, I don’t think that you should be socializing on the internet when there are people around you that you can socialize with. I also think it’s a problem if you turn down opportunities to socialize in person in favor of staying home and “socializing” on your computer.

Video Games- Until recently, I thought that video game addiction was strictly a problem that only affected kids. Of course video games have been around for quite some time now. So these kids have had a chance to grow into adults that may never have broken this addiction.

I read about one very sad case where a woman was struggling with how to manage her husband’s video game addiction. He was ignoring her as well as many of his responsibilities in favor of playing these games. She tried learning the games to turn this into something that they could do together, but it consumed too much time. Setting limits on the time spent playing was another thing that she tried, but the addiction almost seemed like that of an alcoholic. Even the smallest amount of playing seemed to turn into hours. After reading her story I really felt that it sounded like he needed to go “cold turkey” when it came to playing video games.

So whether the problem is cell phones, the internet or video games, technology is something that should make our lives simpler. When technology starts to complicate our lives by harming our personal relationships, then it’s time to make some changes in our behavior. If you find that you have trouble setting and sticking to limits on your use of technology, then you may need to seek professional help. It may seem strange to think about seeking help for a technology addiction but it’s better to address it rather than reaching the point where you are more comfortable interacting through technology rather than having face to face conversations.

Online Bachelor Degrees in Information Technology

A bachelor degree in Information technology is an undergraduate degree that is three to five years in duration. The bachelor’s degree in IT focuses on computers and technology unlike the computer science degree where students are also required to study management and information theory. It also concentrates on business and communication applications of computing and there is added emphasis on areas such as e – commerce, e – business computing for business and business information technology undergraduate courses. Bachelor of Science in IT abbreviated as BSc. IT is usually conferred after a period of three to four years of undergraduate course of study in IT. Bachelor degrees in Information Technology are abbreviated as BIT, BinfTech, BinfoTech or B.ICT.

In Australia, the bachelor of information technology is a three year under graduate degree while in Canada; it’s a four year under graduate degree. In Malaysia, most of the private and public universities offer BIT degrees. In Netherlands and U.S, BIT degrees are awarded after four years with specialization in a certain field. In India, the bachelor of IT is a three year undergraduate degree course e.g. a degree program in IT is offered by Indira Gandhi National Open University, IGNOU at New Delhi in collaboration with a leading UK vocational qualification provider Edexcel.

The four year course is divided into nine trimesters and in the first two years, curriculum is provided by Edexcel. The successful completion of 2 years leads to the procurement of an award of BTEC HND (Higher National Diploma) in computing or computing and multimedia from Edexcel which is then followed by the IGNOU’S award of bachelor of IT degree.

Bachelor’s degree in information technology is designed such that it will develop your technical and business skills which are highly valued by employers today. The specialization can be done on networking, web development, project management; information security etc. Students can specialize on any of the three basic areas such as programming, computer support, and network administration.

The “New” Physician Enterprise – Leveraging Technology to Enable the Cash Medical Practice

There is an increasing trend towards cash-based medical practices. Some are the high end “Anti-Aging” or “Age Management” practices that consider aging as a treatable condition that can be delayed substantially through the application of hormone replacement, nutritional supplementation and other non-conventional medical modalities. Other cash practices are typical family practices that have become frustrated with the insurance model and have embarked upon the new paradigm of cash-based medicine. All of them share the basic tenet that they do not maintain contracts with insurance companies and instead requires patients to pay cash for medical services rendered.

To be successful and profitable in the insurance model, practices have to have very high daily patient volumes (35 – 40 for a single practitioner family practice) in order to generate the revenue necessary to earn just a “professional” level of income. Along with the high volume comes a lot of overhead including a large office and multiple supporting staff just for starters. Due to the volume combined with a number of logistical factors (patients coming late, office inefficiency, etc.), patients typically have to wait 30 – 60 minutes or more from their scheduled appointment time, all of this just to spend an average of 6 minutes with the physician. The inefficiency of this model is at least partly responsible for the relatively low overall effectiveness of health care in the US when compared with other industrialized nations.

The “New” Physician Enterprise

The “new” physician enterprise is all about prevention, new revenue streams, operating in a “cash” model, maintaining a high-quality physician/patient relationship yet operating with corporate-like efficiency. Technology is the enabler of the new Physician Enterprise and the right technology needs to be fast to implement, easy to use, accessible 24×7 for patients and staff and be very cost-effective.

In the new paradigm, physicians see as few as 7 – 10 patients per day, have a much smaller staff, significantly lower overhead and have the capability of truly participating in wellness, identifying root causes of diseases rather than just focusing on symptoms and therefore positively impacting outcomes. The patient pays the physician in cash bypassing the insurance model and all of the accompanying reimbursement rules that many believe interferes with effective patient care and favorable outcomes.

But without effective technology to enable the practice, the cash practice will still suffer from a higher than necessary staffing and overhead costs just like the insurance model practices, thus impacting the long term viability of this model. The primary enabling technology for cash practices can be broadly categorized as “self service” technology. For example, rather than having a staff person scheduling appointments for patients, the practice could implement a web-based self-service appointment scheduling system. There are several low cost systems on the market today that offer a high level of configurability to accommodate physician schedules, multiple appointment types and pretty much any scheduling complexity that a human can manage. Further, since many of the practices operating in the new paradigm offer nutritional supplements for sale, an internet shopping cart is the natural solution for this rather than having a staff person taking orders. Once again, there are multiple commercially available tools that can meet this need. Broadly then, the needs of cash practices can be summarized by the following list of requirements:

Patient Management Database (profiles, demographics, inquiries)
Electronic Medical Records
Appointment Scheduling
Marketing and Communications for prospective patients and patients
Shopping cart
Accounting/Financial Management

Home Improvements That Almost Anyone Could Do

There are many different ways that you are going to be able to save a little bit of money around the house. You should understand that not everything that happens to go wrong around the house is necessarily something that is out of your realm of being able to fix. In fact, there are all kinds of home improvements that everyday people can do on their own.

This article is going to give you a few ideas towards home improvement ideas that you are going to be able accomplish on your own. While this short list will not give you all the ideas that are out there to fix up your place, it might inspire you to consider just what is actually possible.

You should understand that for the most part, you should be able to handle most of the plumbing/piping issues that are happening. There are several different great substances that can eat away clogs and slow drains with ease. Not to mention that most of tightening and the torquing that you might have to do involves the purchase of one single wrench for your tool box.

Another thing that you might be able to accomplish on your own without the outside help of others would be simple structure building. If you need to replace some stairs that lead off the porch and onto the ground or something like this, you should be able to accomplish it. Consider how it looked before, measure and get precise cuts. You should be able to easily piece the new steps together.

One more thing that you might be able to handle on your own would be laying down flooring of some sort or another. You might not realize this, but for the most part the various flooring options available at different stores are relatively simple for people to install on their own, they just doubt themselves and opt for professionals to handle it.

Summertime Home Improvement

It’s summer and home improvement opportunities are ripe. We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but fixing up your home shouldn’t stop when the calendar turns to June or July. There are still plenty of chances to improve your home so that it maintains its aesthetic appeal year round and for years to come.

Beginning with your home’s appearance, a fresh coat of paint is a great way to spruce things up. The outward appearance of your home is how your neighbors, family and, most importantly, you judge your home. An old, poor paint job may make your home appear dull and boring, while a fresh coat of paint can liven things up; even if you use the same color!

Maintaining your lawn and landscaping is also a great home improvement project for the summertime. Planting new trees, flowers and shrubbery can have a profound effect on your home’s aesthetic appeal. A bare yard is rarely an appealing prospect for homeowners.

That being said, simplicity can go a long way. You don’t need a juggle to achieve a good look for your
home, although some enjoy an abundance of greenery in the yard, but adding or adjusting a few well-placed trees, flowers, etc. may be a nice touch for your home.

And then there are always the practical home improvement projects that you may choose to tackle during the summertime. For those in areas affected by the hurricane season, installing hurricane-proof windows is a popular choice these days. Getting hurricane shutters ready to go before a storm is looming is also a great way to save time so you can focus on other things when that storm does begin to approach.

Making sure that you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way, whether it be hurricanes or rain storms in the summer or blizzards in the winter, is a responsible choice. The warm summer weather brings the focus for many to saving energy, so simple energy saving projects like weatherproofing doors and windows can be a productive way to spend a summer
afternoon.

Whatever project you decide to tackle this summer, always make sure that you take the proper safety precautions to make sure you’re around to enjoy your handiwork.