All the Ws of a Business Plan

A business plan is a written description of the future of your business and more importantly, how you are going to get there. It is a document that explains what you are going to do to make your company profitable and how you are going to achieve this. It defines both your business model and your strategies to make this business model work and more importantly profitable.

Normally when a business idea arises, you know what resources and capabilities you have at the start of your business and where you want to go in a certain period, usually in 3 or 5 years. But what is the way to reach that goal? Where to start? How to arouse investor interest? Even, how to get your business off the ground? Everything seems so easy when you have the great money winning idea and concept. It is how you are going to achieve these dreams and get enough money to keep the business going for many years to come.

Writing a business plan is to build a map that will guide you to where you start making money with your initial business idea. At is very basic structure, your business plan is a mixture of strategies and plans. It involves financials, marketing, staffing and products. Think of it as the foundation to your new business.

WHAT are the reasons that I might need one?
• To look for investors.
• To apply for a loan.
• To establish the viability of your business idea.
• To make improvements to your current business.
• To expand your current business.

All of these types have different emphasises and a different structure.

WHAT is a business plan?
It is a tool or document that describes a business opportunity or idea, the work team, the operational and marketing execution strategies, the business risks and the economic viability of your business. A well written document guides you to turn an idea into a viable business.

It can also be defined in another context in that the business plan becomes a fundamental tool within the analysis of a new business opportunity, a diversification plan, an internationalisation project, the acquisition of a company or an external business unit, or even the launch of a new product or service within the current business.

To summarise, both for the development or launch of a startup and for the analysis of new business investments, the business plan becomes an indispensable tool. So even though you have an established business, you will still need a business plan as you expand and improve that business.

A business plan is never finished and should be reviewed from time to time at least annually but certainly when large changes to an existing company are anticipated. This implies that every plan must adapt effectively and efficiently to the changes, helping the project to continue.

WHAT is the point of a business plan?
Many entrepreneurs think they only need a business plan when they are seeking investment or when the bank asks for one. However the act of business planning, when completed correctly, enables the entrepreneur to carry out an extensive market study that will provide the information required to design the best possible business model that will be both profitable and efficient.

Additionally, the business plan will develop the strategic measures for all functional areas that will enable them achieve the objectives for the new business.
Once written, the business plan will serve as an internal tool to assess the management of the company and its deviations from the planned scenario. Proposing, if necessary, adaptations to the agreed business model in order to obtain updated information for the daily management of the company. This will include preparation of the required changes and processes to bring the business back on track.

So lets dive into the concepts behind business planning a bit more.

The WHY of The Business Plan
• Why do you want your business plan?
• Why are you writing the plan now?

The WHAT of the Business Plan
• What is the purpose of developing a specific plan?
• In what period do you consider it possible to carry out your projects?
• What is your business model?
• What is your Value Proposition?
• What are your products or services to be offered?
• What positioning do you plan to develop to compete?
• What are your measurements of success?
• What markets do you plan to penetrate?
• What market percentage do you estimate to obtain?
• What margins do you consider possible?
• What income do you consider you will receive?
• What are the costs of expansion?
• What are the costs of obtaining new customers?
• What do you want to do with your business?
• What strategies do you want to undertake – financial, marketing and planning

The WHERE of the Business Activity
• Where will your products be sold from? Shop, office, website, social media, road side, party planning,
• Where are you based? Locally, centrally, virtually etc.
• Where are your products produced?
• Where are your distribution channels?
• Where are they going to be sold?
• Where is your market?
• Where will your staff need to be based?

The WHEN of your business planning activities
• When will you need to start your new activities?
• When will they end?
• When will your investor need to invest?
• When will your investor get their money back?
• When will you have enough staff to carry out your new changes?
• When will your products and services be available?
• When will your products need to be updated and/or improved?
• When is the best time to attract new customers?

WHO do you present your plan to?
• Bank for loan purposes and they will take a charge over a property usually.
• Investor to join your company as a shareholder.
• Angle Investor to join as a shareholder but also be involved in the running of your company.
• Management team so they know what is expected of them.
• Suppliers who will be offering credit.
• Director level hires so that they are encouraged to join your company.
• Believe it or not the entrepreneur should also refer back on a regular basis.

As you can see there are a lot of Ws involved with a business plan – the biggest W is why should you write a business plan and the answer is – because it is such a great business tool.

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Reasons Why Odoo Is The Best ERP For Small & Medium Level Businesses

Robust technological advancements have brought about a sea of change in the IT market. Almost every company is on a run to keep in pace with these updated trends. Their main motive is to stay in the competition, get high rankings on SERPs, and manage business operations with productivity and ease. Today, an ERP for small businesses has become a must to execute their daily tasks through a single, integrated suite of applications like the ERP system.

The Odoo Enterprise Resource Planning system is one of the key tools in managing the core business functions of both small and medium-sized businesses. It does so through streamlining and automation. The modular structure of functioning takes care of every aspect – from order processing, production management, inventory and warehouse management, sales and purchase tracking, shipment tracking, managing finances, and more. It professionally supervises business resources and improves production, revenue, organises orders, sales, ROI, manufacturing capacity, employee management, etc. It also ensures that communication is maintained between all employees and across all departments.

However one of the best things about using an ERP for small business is that all these functions and tasks are done via a single dashboard control with built-in analytics and data sharing options. This further encourages collaboration and harmony across all departments of the company.

What are the numbers?

With several affordable ERP solutions available now, small businesses are also using it for their rapid and progressive business growth. The data below speaks about it all -

Approximately 53% of small businesses today prefer an ERP solution along with CRM as their priority investments.
As per research, 65% of the SMEs are already taking ERP consultation services.
96% of the emerging small businesses excelling in their respective industry verticals are found to rely on some ERP solution.
Small businesses using an ERP software solution are able to make decisions in 36% less time now.
SMEs, which are currently working with reliable ERP service providers are found to save 21% time in performing business operations.
An ERP software solution is implemented and integrated into each and every department of a business no matter what their size and category are. Implementing and integrating an ERP software solution entails strategic and careful planning to minimise the risk of work failure and to make sure that each and every business goal is adequately met.

But the process of successful ERP implementation needs the efforts and expertise of reliable ERP consultants. A successful ERP implementation is possible after a standardised integration blueprint along with the involvement of the ERP experts. Any business, no matter the small or medium level can get real-time ROI with the properly executed and strategic implementation of a feature-rich and popular ERP software solution like Odoo.

Odoo: The Ideal Choice for Small Business

Odoo is now the most preferred ERP solution for every small and medium level business. It comes with robust and intuitive features that SMEs can leverage for managing different business verticals like manufacturing, retailing, trading, and so on. Moreover, businesses do not have to pay any license fee, which makes it a cost-effective option for the SMEs as well.

Odoo ERP is open-source and flexible and also customisable as per the business requirements and workflow. Its well-structured methodology delivers upgraded software solutions to match and meet business objectives so that the ultimate productivity level can be achieved. Moreover,

small and medium level companies also need a powerful customer relationship management system and this is where Odoo comes to the rescue. With its in-built module, it upholds the capability of resolving the queries of the customers instantly tending to offer the maximum user satisfaction and user retention.

You must integrate and implement the ERP into your business system to ensure efficiency and increased productivity. An ERP like Odoo allows you to reach the highest peak of success, paving more ways for futuristic growth and expansion. The smaller businesses take one step forward with the support of this application suite, hence the advantages of the Odoo ERP is indisputable.

Odoo: The One-in-All solution

So, what makes Odoo the best choice of ERP for an SME? The answer is its modularity, affordability, ease of use, flexibility, and accessibility. Your business, even if it is a small-level one, can deploy this ERP effortlessly.

As open-source software, Odoo comes with a rarefied interface that gives you complete control over the business processes, therefore governing your business system and workflow. If you compare Odoo with the other ERP options available today, you can find that this is undoubtedly rich in features and functionalities.

Here are the key reasons why Odoo is the best ERP for small business today.

A Comprehensive and Cohesive Application
All businesses run on the basis of a distinct set of operations like accounting, customer relationship management, sales and purchase orders tracking, human resource management, warehouse management, and more. While a majority of the organisations manage these by using multiple software applications, it becomes expensive and haphazard for the company instead.
For the SME’s, being unable to afford this huge investment, they start relying on multiple vendors and software solutions to take care of these operations. But with the Odoo ERP software, these small businesses are now benefitted manifolds. With various features, functionalities, apps, and modules, it stands out as the best choice with everything under a single platform.

Odoo comes with thousands of modules and a complete suite of applications to cover all business operations. This ERP encompasses different modules like inventory module, CRM module, accounting module, human resource module, manufacturing module, and more for almost all business processes. Odoo’s application store comprises thousands of apps catering to different operations of small and medium level businesses.

Extremely cost-effective
Investment or the cost factor is always a matter of concern for every small and medium-level company. Often, because of the restricted budget, the SME ignores the need for an ERP implementation. ERP software solutions like SAP, ERPNext, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics charge a huge amount of cost. But unlike these, Odoo streamlines the business process and fulfils almost every major business requirements at affordable prices.
With Odoo ERP, you won’t have to pay any license fee. The installation charge is also very nominal. The community version is also very cost-effective. Overall, this ERP is the most affordable solution for every business today and is the perfect choice for the SMEs. It ensures maximum ROI, easy business management, and a smooth workflow.

Easy availability
Odoo is easily available and is free to download. This is again the reason to choose this ERP instead of the other models available in the market today. It is suitable for every business need, especially for the SMEs. Also, with Odoo, you can easily check the suitability and requirements of features and functionalities so that it can appropriately take care of all your vital business tasks.
Simple integration and implementation
Odoo is an API-friendly ERP software and is pretty simple to integrate and implement. Odoo reduces the probability of untimely behavioural changes that every small business goes through. In addition to this, Odoo ERP has a modular structure, which makes it a great choice for the SMEs. The small and medium-level businesses can begin with implementing the basic modules as per the requirements. Gradually they can progress with customising and including more modules for better performance results.
Highly modular
Odoo comes with thousands of modules, which can be operated and integrated according to the business requirements. It is easy to use these modules and implement the same for managing the business right from warehouse management to sales, orders, shipping, manufacturing, eCommerce, trading, finances, human resources, customer relationships, and more. And the best thing is that all these modules are fully customisable.
Open-source
Odoo is an open-source ERP software solution, which makes it easily accessible to all. Because of the open-source nature of the ERP, you can access the codes and modules any time as per your interest. This is again another significant advantage of using Odoo as the ERP for small business.
Streamlined UI
Navigation is quick and simple in the Odoo ERP because of the streamlined and robust laid out interface. As compared to the other ERP options, where the UI tends to be complex and cluttered, Odoo stands out as the best with a simple UI and allows easy execution of functions.
Maintains transparency
The transparency maintained by Odoo cuts down the need to export or re-enter data, resulting in fewer glitches, errors and leading to flawless business performance. It increases productivity, which is an important aspect of every small and medium level business. It also reduces the investment in human resources, thus automating every business operation at the same time.
Quick decision-making
Real-time data offered by an ERP like Odoo proves to be advantageous for business marketing and management, accounting, etc. It enables the business to make quick decisions on vital matters thereby reducing the overdue of deadlines.
Increase the overall productivity
One of the major reasons to choose Odoo ERP for a small or medium-level business is a huge increase in overall productivity. For every SME, this is a significant factor. An increase in productivity is the main objective of all growing ventures. And this is what Odoo guarantees to offer. With Odoo, transforming several features of the business and overcoming some major challenges faced during business growth, becomes easy.
Streamlined data
When an SME chooses to get ERP software like Odoo implemented into their business system, mainly because of the benefit of obtaining a streamlined data flow. For instance, the financial data of a business needed by the inventory department of the business can be a little tough to get hold of. But, with Odoo ERP software, it becomes easy since all the official data and info are available to every department and employees.
Improved communication and collaboration
Integrating an ERP for a small and medium level business can result in a vast change when it is all about communication and collaboration between different departments of work. Lack of collaboration and poor communication often results in unavailability and inaccessibility of data. Of course, no growing business would want this to happen. This is the reason why choosing an ERP software solution like Odoo becomes highly important.
Conclusion

So, all these reasons make it essential for small and medium-level businesses to look for an expert and reliable Odoo consultant so that they can get the ERP implemented. A streamlined and smooth workflow with increased productivity and revenue is what every SME wants and Odoo ensures the same fitting for all companies. Whether you are running small manufacturing, trading, textile, eCommerce, retail, or other business, Odoo always fits your requirement and automates the processes, therefore resulting in faster and higher ROI.

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Top Goal for Small Businesses: The Eight Most Important Checkup Questions for 2021

Setting Up A Service Based Business For Beginners

Although there are exceptions where both entities are entwined into one, most basics of the business is built around one unifying category so that the intentions and goals are clearly and visibly set.

This distinction allows the individual to then decide of the accompanying tools that should be chosen for the purpose of enhancing the business experience and also to contribute positively to the ease of running the business entity.

Most service based forays are labor intensive which the business entity revolves around. This is either packaged as the selling of expertise in a particular field or the selling of the actual “engines” that produce the desired outcome that bring in the revenue.

Either way the quality, efficiency, attention and detail that is exercised within the business are the eventual elements that are going to make or break the business foray into the revenue churning mechanism.

Basically offering the time frame required to create a particular service or to provide the content of the project itself is how the cost factor is calculated and the profits are gained in the service based business.

Therefore, the individual would have to factor in the cost of business entity by the labor intensive tool it provides, in order to provide a suitable base line for the eventual calculation of the profits and the pricing suitable to be demanded.

Alternatively the value of the service based business can be calculated on the value of the service being provided in a consultancy capacity which is evaluated against the insights the said service will bring to the company with the intention of creating a system thereby the said company is able to save or be more cost effective.

Being able to identify a suitable and good service based company is very important if the new business or existing business owner intends to hire its services to help enhance the site’s potential.

Identifying the characteristics of a particular service based company and matching them to the needs of the site in question will allow the business owner is make an informed decision of the merits of the chosen service.

Do Your Research First-

Customer perception of a company is very important to the progress and eventual success of any business endeavor, therefore it is very important to be able to identify the appropriate service based one to best suit the individual’s needs.

Being able to provide good service should always be the prime concern of any business entity especially if its revenue earning power depends on this one factor.

Market research is often the best way to identify the companies that have good track records and are capable of delivering what they promise.

This information can easily be sourced over the internet as these companies will be active in presenting their achievements for all interested parties to view.

It is also an excellent platform for potential clients and competitors alike to note the merits of the presenting service based company.

Being well-placed on the search engine rankings will allow the service based company to be more visible and thus make it easier to garner the intended customer base to ensure its consistent success.

The features of a good service based company would have to include the value added by the business entity from the input stage to the output stage where the results are then measured by its success rates.

These input stages are often regarded as the commodity phase and the processes that it is designed around have to ensure the successful output stage which is where the end desired results are more than adequately met.

Making a sale or pushing a business proposition is never an easy task to accomplish for some, therefore having the relevant assisting tools at hand should provide the individual with some encouragement to see the process to success.

Marketing Skills-

The following are some tools that can prove to be of great assistance to any individual intending to beef up their marketing skills:

Making use of as many online tools as possible to promote the business or product intended is one way to start the enhancement of the marketing skills venture.

Using blogs to create the interest and visibility for the item is something that should be considered as this is one way to get the attention of the target audience without much cost incurred.

Working together with others is another way to beef up an individual’s marketing skills. Being part of a team effort where the individual’s talents and contributions are noticed and acknowledged is definitely an encouraging factor and helps the individual to be more adventurous and keen on honing his or her skills further.

Availing one’s self to be listed on freelance job sites is also another way of beefing up the marketing skill of an individual. The fact that the visibility factor the site can bring to the individual will help the person focus more on ensuring the eventual connections made are optimized and locked in at the earliest opportunity.

Social websites are also a good platform to introduce one’s marketing skills to the masses.

Because of the competitiveness of all the participants in this particular platform the individual will subconsciously be forced to step out and ensure his or her participation leaves a positive impact on the interactions.

Showcasing all the positive skill of the marketing process will eventually earn the respect and attention of others looking for such services.

Create Your Website-

Creating a website can be a challenging feat for those not very internet savvy, however it is not altogether a task that is formidable in nature. With a little startup knowledge and tips anyone can successfully attempt to put together their own website.

The following are some guidelines that will help ease the process:

Registering the suitable domain name is the first step to take when designing a website.

The choice of this domain name should ideally take into consideration the relevance the name has to the intended site, an easy to remember reference, one that is short yet descriptive and whether it has the right extensions tagged to it such as.net,.com,.org.

The next step would be to set up a web host account and this would entail the picking one that can provide the services the individual would need for the website.

Although cost is always a factor for every business endeavor, it would be advisable to avoid using the cheaper and inexperienced ones available as this might end up costing the individual in the future.

The follow up step would be to point the domain to the web host in place.

This is a fairly simple exercise, however if the individual faces any potential problems along the way there are always assisting platforms to tap into to get the relevant help or explanations.

Getting a word press linked to the site is another important step to incorporate into the setup. This word press is a free platform that is used by bloggers and allows the individual to build the website with the minimum of effort while making it user-friendly always.

Last but by no means the least, would be for the individual to organize the website.

This process would involve the backtracking exercise to ensure there are no defaults that would cause the viewer to be put off when visiting the site.

Learning to build websites isn’t the complex technical process a lot of people think it is. All you really need to do is come to our website and get access to 300+ Tutorials that show you step by step how to build a website, and so much more, and start playing around with building your own websites.

Advertising Ideas-

In order to stay competitive it is necessary to always be able to have fresh views and ideas to present to potential customers and target audiences. Without such innovations the website will become stagnant and outdated thus eventually causing the original high volume of traffic flow to thin out. Brainstorming is one way of gathering and creating new ideas that would benefit any endeavor.

Some of the ways that can be adopted to bring forth interesting and innovative ideas at the brainstorming sessions are facilitated by encouraging the participants to simulate the mindset of the customer or the intended target audience.

By doing this the participant are more likely to anticipate the needs and wants of the customers and target audience and design any changes to fit into this discovery.

Bringing people together to discuss ideas at the same time and in the same place is also another good advantage the brainstorming sessions can facilitate.

Advertising ideas and campaigns can be discussed in “real time” as opposed to having emails flying about which is less effective and time-consuming and even confusing at times.

Brainstorming for advertising purposes, should ideally take into account the following points:

Problem definition and identification should be done at the very onset of the exercise. With this clearly outlined, other factors can then be worked on in line with the initial problem discovery information.

Custom designing can also be worked on within the brainstorming session, as the collaboration of views can contribute to finding the one idea that is going to eventually used to build the campaign around.

Customer Service-

Making a sale is only the first step is the relationship building exercise, which will eventually contribute to either the success or failure of any business endeavor. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the customer service offered to cement the success rate desired.

The following are some tips as to how to stay on top of the customer service exercise:

Taking the customer for granted is the first and most common mistake most businesses make. This is especially evident when the business has expanded to now successful and comfortable levels. Often forgotten is the customers that brought the business to such heights in the first place.

Therefore, it is very important to keep in touch with the customers so that vital information can be obtained about the current needs and wants of the customer.

In the quest to stay informed and provide optimum customer service another point to consider and exercise is the importance of being fresh and innovative with ideas that are going to keep the customer coming back for more.

When boredom sets in the customer will usually simply look elsewhere for the next new exciting thing that attracts their attention.

Therefore, in order to induce customer loyalty innovative ideas should be a constant feature within the business.

Happy Customers Are Loyal Customers-

Training staff to treat each customer with respect and individuality is well worth the effort. Sometimes this positive treatment is the defining factor that keeps the customer coming back, even if the products are not exactly the best in the market.

Having the protocols in place for quick and efficient responses to a customer’s queries or grievances, is one way of ensuring the individual stays a loyal customer and does not spread negativity about the business or product. Happy customers are loyal customers.

In most cases it is rather difficult to specifically categorize businesses into specific service based styles. This is mainly because a lot of businesses tend to incorporate different platforms and strategies into the actual blueprint of the business format.

However, there are some that can be clearly defined as service based business companies and the following are some of these examples:

Types Of Service Based Business-

Such service companies may include the likes of services provided by doctors, accounts, architects, actuaries, lawyers and other related fields.

On a more creative side one may include the likes of services provided for by fabric designers, fashion designers, color scheme artists and many more as the list of such endeavors can be quite overwhelming.

Most service type companies rarely have appreciable inventory as the purchases for usually made with the objective of facilitating a job thus the need to carry any inventory would not be necessary.

Merchandising companies can also be considered service style enterprises as they to provide a service of sort to the customer base.

However, this service is based solely on providing tangible elements rather than just the action of extending physical service. The generation of revenue is from the actual sale of the inventory rather than from the service extended.

Manufacturing companies also come under the category of providing a service to the industry and the customer needs. In this scenario the products or items are made and sold within the company’s business entity thus ensuring monetary gains are derived both from the product and the service offered by manufacturing the product.

All these different types of basic service providing entities are all in place with one goal in mind and that is to create the platform for revenue earning potential. Therefore, in order to understand and identify which would be best suited for the individual business owner, more research should be done to find the style that best suits the individual’s needs.

OK, so I hope this article gives those looking to start their own online service based business a better understanding on what it takes to set up and grow a successful online serviced based business.

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Top Goal for Small Businesses: The Eight Most Important Checkup Questions for 2021

Are you happy with your business this year? What are you going to do differently? How can you hire the right people to support your vision? Sadly, many small business owners do not spend enough time planning for the future. It’s quite understandable. Managers must keep pace with the daily demands of their businesses, including payroll, taxes, product/service delivery, and customer expectations.

Fortunately, the end of the year is the perfect time for a comprehensive evaluation of your company. Your business needs a checkup. Most people can relate to a checkup with their local doctor, depending on their background and personality characteristics (age, sex, family medical history). The doctor will conduct a variety of tests, including blood, vision, heart, and hearing.

In fact, one element like an individual’s weight is not the only indicator of overall good health. Likewise, small businesses could benefit from a good checkup too. Successful entrepreneurs think strategically when engaged in a hostile, global environment.

After 27 years of managing projects and conducting over 100 organizational evaluations of business organizations, I realize that both large and small organizations struggle in implementing their operations effectively. This article examines how small businesses need to conduct an effective checkup of their organizations.

Welcome to the New Normal! Yet, nearly a year after this pandemic, the full impact on the U.S. economy is unclear. According to recent studies, more than four million Americans have left the workforce, and nearly 10 million are now unemployed compared with last February.

In fact, the number of unemployed people continues to rise. According to a business study conducted between March 28 and April 4, 2020, small businesses have been heavily damaged by the lockdowns due to Covid-19.

In an analysis of more than 5,800 small businesses (reaching a network of 4.6 million small businesses), the research highlighted the damage caused by the pandemic. The results showed evident damage of the pandemic. At this juncture, 43% of businesses had temporarily closed, and nearly all of these closures were due to COVID-19.

Respondents stated that they had temporarily closed, largely pointed to reductions in demand and employee health concerns as the reasons for closure. In fact, the businesses, on average, reported having reduced their active employment by 39% since January.

All industries have been impacted. However, retail, arts and entertainment, personal services, food services, and hospitality businesses showed significant employment declines exceeding 50%. Some businesses hope for assistance from the government.

According to a Babson’s Goldman Sachs report, 88% of U.S. small business owners have already exhausted their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan; the Small Business Association gave these loans specifically to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic. These loans were helpful.

Yet, these successes do not diminish the fact that more than 32% of PPP loan recipients already have laid off employees or cut wages. In fact, Forty-three percent of Black small business owners reported that their businesses’ cash reserves would be depleted by year’s end due to Covid-19.

Today’s small businesses and entrepreneurs must retool themselves, given the potential impacts of Covid-19 have the necessary capacity to change their way of thinking because of their passion. However, small businesses must be willing to evaluate their current operations and make the required changes.

For example, customers have largely gone online to purchase services due to the lockdowns. If a business does not have an online presence now, this company does not exist. Internet pioneer and CEO of PSINet Bill Schrader explains the significant of online visibility: “Almost overnight, the Internet’s gone from a technical wonder to a business must.”With the appropriate diagnosis of an organization, a business can develop more sustainable success. Thus, the right checkup is critical.

Below are some critical questions to help you conduct your own self-checkup:

Do you have a clear vision for your business? What is it?
Do you know why your customers buy from you and why others do not buy from you?
What results are you getting from your marketing? Do you have an effective online presence on the web?
Are you collecting data or the right kind of data on your customers and competitors?
Are you keeping pace with your industry trends? If so, what are the key trends?
How are you measuring results (i.e., key performance indicators like cash flow and revenue)?
What are your key competitors’ marketing strategies?
Have you evaluated your strengths and weaknesses (i.e., SWOT Analysis)?
In summary, successful global businesses, like IBM and Google, have continuous systems in place to evaluate their performance. Let’s call this process an organizational checkup.
Small businesses that want to succeed in this global and technological climate must be able to conduct this self-evaluation or checkup. This article demonstrated the relevancy of a good checkup to help improve a business by asking probing questions. In many cases, small businesses do not have to take on this organizational checkup along.

There are various organizations like the Small Business Administration and local universities that can assist in this process. Have you conducted a checkup for your business this year? It’s not too late. Start the new year with a healthy business checkup.

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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