Businesses are living entities in motion. No matter how slight or subtle, there is always movement – no matter if the movement is beneficial or not!A business owner could think of the business as the vehicle that will carry the owners and shareholders to success regardless of how success may be defined.Like any other vehicle, the business vehicle requires a driver to steer and to keep the business on the road to success. In a small business that someone behind the wheel is typically the Owner. In larger businesses, the driver will be the President, CEO, Managing Director, or one of similar title. But no matter the business size, the driver is the leader and the leader is the driver.Again, no matter the business size, the “driver” must depend on the following three business elements and components in order to steer and to lead the business properly.A clean and unobstructed Windshield in order to see clearly where the business is going.A Dashboard that provides the driver with necessary data and information on demand to assure the business continues on the move.A clean and unobstructed Rear View Mirror to show where the business has been and what may be approaching the business from behind.Obvious you say? Of course! Who would want to drive a business vehicle without these components?Sadly enough, most small business owners “drive” their business day-to-day without the full benefit of all three components. Sadder yet is that those same small business owners and operators don’t need to do without.Let’s take a look at the same three components from a business operations perspective.The clean and unobstructed Windshield represents the Forward-Looking Plans and Direction of the business. What the business leader sees out the Windshield is what the business leader Wants to Happen. It is the Vision (not Mission) of the business.The Mission of the business was established long ago, and it is not likely to change. On the other hand, the Vision of the business may change over time. Vision defines where the business wants to go and how the business wants to be perceived at a targeted time in the near future compared to where the business is now and how the business is perceived now.The essential elements and components of a clean and unobstructed Windshield include:Marketing and Sales Plans that include Goals for Revenue, Profitability, and Operational Needs such as equipment and additional staff as well as Strategies and Objectives to achieve the Goals.A Financial Operating Plan that forecasts Sales by Revenue Stream, Costs and Expenses by category, and Margin expectations. (Think of the Financial Operating Plan as a “fully loaded” Budget with all the extras.)The fully functional Dashboard provides the Immediate and Current Status of the business.The Dashboard informs the driver (leader) of the present and immediate status of all the major elements of the business. Immediate for some data could be the previous day’s results. Some information, like Cash-on-hand, available Cash, Accounts Receivable due, and Accounts Payable owed must be available immediately.Cash is the fuel of business, so the driver must always know how much fuel is in the tank? Timely Information is the most powerful tool available to business leaders. The sooner the business leader knows, the sooner the business leader can act.The essential building blocks of the Dashboard include:Cash Management Plans that project Cash In, Cash Out, and average balances on hand. Cash Management Plans that project when payments are due and project when favorable payments policies (early pay discounts) are available. In other words, full and immediate control and awareness of Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Scheduled Expenses, and Line of Credit Status.Measurements of Actual Revenues, Costs, and Expenses compared to the Financial Operating Plan. In other words, where is the business today compared to the plan?The clean and unobstructed Rear View Mirror is the historical data and information. It is the “What has gone before”. Past Performance data and information are essential tools to the business for many reasons including awareness of past successes and past shortcomings. Additionally, past performance results are the basis for Income Tax and other business taxes.The essential building blocks of the Rear View Mirror include:Accurate (Audited) Financial Statements and Reports including the Balance Sheet and Income Statement.Project or Job Completion Reports that compare actual cost and expenses incurred to the Estimate or Quote.Tax Reports including Federal, State, and Local Income Taxes, Sales Taxes, Property Taxes, and other business taxes. [These reports are prepared by the tax accounting firm or other outside agencies. While necessary reports, typically they cannot be presented soon enough to allow business leaders to make timely decisions.]As stated previously, far too many businesses (mostly small businesses) depend solely or primarily on the Rear View Mirror components. They must not and they need not.Decades ago the Drive to Success was easier in many ways. There was less traffic (competitors) and there was plenty of available fuel (profitable sales opportunities) for all. Today the Drive to Success is not so easy. The traffic is bumper-to-bumper as competitors (qualified or not) are abundant. Profitable sales opportunities are few.However, today many businesses are not just surviving, but thriving. Why? Because they have plans and they know where they are according to plan on a timely basis so they can act sooner. In other words, the leaders of these successful businesses have a Clean Windshield, a functional Dashboard as well as a Rear View Mirror.
In order to protect a business’ trade secrets, business models, and other sensitive information, a business attorney may advise a client to incorporate non-compete and non-disclosure agreements in a manner that makes sense for the particular needs of the business. Non-compete agreements and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can often create a more secure and trusted partnership between business professionals and their employees or business partners. This is especially important when trying to determine if a particular business relationship or employment relationship is in both parties’ best interests.Creating a non-compete agreement can protect a business and help establish trust and security between two parties: employer and employee. A non-compete agreement often states that, if employment ends, the former employee will not enter into or start a similar business or profession in competition with his or her former employer. The non-compete agreement must state a specific and reasonable scope of such restrictions, a timeframe for the restrictions, and a geographic area in which the restrictions apply.The motivation behind asking an employee to sign such an agreement is not to hinder his or her advancement in the business world; rather, a non-compete agreement can help clarify what the employer and employee are exchanging.From the business owner’s perspective, the non-compete is the company’s way of saying, “I really want to hire you, and I believe that we will have a great future together. When I hire you I will be revealing valuable information about our products, services, clients, trade secrets, proprietary and/or confidential information, business model and more. This information is something that our company has worked hard, and invested significant resources, to develop. So in exchange for your employment with my company, I am going to ask that for a certain period of time, that you not use the information you obtain while working with our company to go start your own business or work for another business that is in direct competition with us.”A non-compete agreement should be well written with clear and specific language. Contact a business law attorney to discuss when a non-compete agreement is appropriate, what language it must include and why.To further ensure the security of a business, a business that wishes to protect sensitive information should strongly consider implementing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). A non-disclosure agreement is a contract between two or more parties in which certain parties are going to be provided with specific information or knowledge (often proprietary or confidential information, trade secrets, business strategies and more) that the revealing party does not want to be shared with third parties.Non-disclosure agreements are often entered into by separate businesses, or by partners of the same business. A non-disclosure agreement, may be crucial to secure the trust in a new relationship between businesses. Often, one business is considering partnering with another business, but in order to vet the potential relationship, one business must reveal valuable information about its plans, business strategy, product, service or otherwise. A non-disclosure agreement can secure the confidence and trust between the parties and allow them to discuss the full details of the potential relationship.When two or more partners share ownership of a business, drafting a non-disclosure agreement can help to maintain trust between those partners. If there is no non-disclosure agreement and a partnership goes awry or the business ownership changes hands, business secrets and confidential or proprietary information may go unprotected. The consequences to the business could be devastating. A former partner might share sensitive information with competing businesses or otherwise use the information in a manner that damages the unprotected business. To avoid such consequences, consult a business contract drafting attorney business contract drafting attorney who can advise you on how to build trust among partners and protect the company’s most valuable information.
If you want to look at creating online business ideas, first take a look at what is already out there. Within this article, I will help you figure out if your business idea can work and how you can come up with other ways to make money.If you are having trouble creating ideas that will work, its ok. That is what this article will be looking at . When you think of creating online business ideas, these normally fall under a few broad categories. You can sell through online auctions such as eBay, you can sell tangible goods on the Internet, or you may sell a service to customers. You could also serve as a business to business product or service provider, otherwise known as B2B, and this might be another route you would like to take.If you are having a problem on how to get started, look at a couple of different websites to help you decide what might work. The first website to visit would be clickbank.com. This website has many different products that you can buy or choose to promote, with or without your own website, as an affiliate. When you are thinking about different ideas to promote, you can see what the hot products are currently and it may give you some ideas as to where you could improve on a product already being sold successfully. Doing this research will let you know if your idea is already out there or if there is a need for it.One internet marketing expert has said” if you can take an existing product and put a twist on it, this can allow you to be very successful.” If you find that a product that is selling very good, you can promote that product as an affiliate. You will have to understand how to drive traffic to to the affiliate page, then everything else related to the sale of the product is handled by the creator of the product. If you decide to put up a website, you do not have to worry about developing a product, unless you want to get creative, but just develop a market for the product. If you plan to do this, think of a way to trump current marketing out there for the product and putting a twist on the current product could potentially come back into play. If the affiliate product is offered with a service, this gives you a couple of ways to hook your customers.For more business creating ideas visit ebiz-direct.com. This website can prove to be very helpful too as it lists different opportunities available to those who may not have any idea what they want out of the Internet. If you are new to Internet marketing, this would be a good area for you to start.Hopefully this article on creating online business ideas has given you a place to start and some food for thought. Remember that your business idea doesn’t have to be revolutionary, just solve a problem that people already have. You can either improve on an existing idea or if you can figure out how to market an existing product better, this may allow you to share profits with the creator of the product. Remember that you do not have to create the product, but if you can create a market, you will have the opportunity to make a great deal of money.