Ideas to Improve Your Business Acumen
We surveyed Heads of Communications asked them: in what competency does your team need the most improvement? The resounding answer (63% of all respondents) = business acumen. It s the foundation of business acumen that helps communicators dissect business partner needs into successful communications support and it serves as a prerequisite to getting that coveted seat at the table.
However, as someone who has business acumen as a performance criteria in my annual review, I often struggle to quantify WHAT it actually means and HOW I can get better at it. On our Competency Framework (access the entire Modern Communicator s Skill Set here ), we ve defined business acumen as:
An understanding of my company s strategy and ecosystem, including global trends, macroeconomic shifts, and regulatory changes.
My common approaches to improve my own business acumen have been to (try to) read dense articles in the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times and, more recently, to watch the film, Too Big To Fail on HBO (which I HIGHLY recommend).
While these tactics help, I think the onus is on us as individuals to constantly look for ways to get more exposure and business education. I ve provided a few ideas below based on research conversations with CEC members.
1) Educate Yourself. Do you know the difference between net worth, net income, profit, revenue, capital, and equity? How about the definitions of: options, swaps, futures, derivatives, multiples, and value investing?
You can start speaking the language of your business partners by at least knowing the definition and application of these and other business terms. Get comfortable with the components of a balance sheet. (FYI: If anyone wants a short cheat sheet of business vocabulary, I m currently studying for Pre-MBA tests before I head to school this fall and would be happy to share!).
Complement this fluency with regular skims of the WSJ, FT, and NYTimes. And it s cheating if you re only reading the Sports or Dining sections.
2) Learn from Others. Shadow others and learn from leaders in other functions. Here s a great lesson from one of your CEC peers, Craig Rothenberg at Johnson Johnson. During a recent CEC webinar. he shared the following advice:
About a dozen years ago, I was given one of the best pieces of professional advice from a former manager as I was moving into my first operating company management role.
I was told to take the first six months or so in my role and to develop a mentorship relationship with the CFO of that operating unit. I would meet routinely with the CFO of that business and we would dive deep into the P L of that business. I then branched out and did the same with our supply chain leader in that business. It really helped me to get grounded in the business, the various pressure points in the business. Seek someone out a coach, a mentor, a colleague who can teach you a part of the business that you haven t been exposed to before.
And it didn t take me much time before I could actively participate in boardroom discussions. I could talk about the P L, the pressure points, the cost of goods, etc. I could bring that knowledge through a communications lens and see the communications implications. And that s where you start blending the business acumen with the ability to act as a trusted advisor in Communciations.
You ve got to roll up your sleeves. There are no shortcuts.
3) Practice. Another recommendation offered during a past CEC guru meeting was to get yourself or your team involved in rotations in other parts of the organization to broaden your business acumen. Popular destinations for rotations include Investor Relations or Financial Communications. Others have done rotations in other geographies to fine-tune their business savvy.
Eileen Lehmann says:
One of the most valuable experiences I had was a manager training course provided by a previous employer. The course was designed for people ascending into senior leadership, not communicators per se. I had the good fortune to have a boss who hoped I would succeed him and pushed the CEO to let me go.
The course forced me not only to learn the same things the future CEOs were, but to interact with these people on those topics. It was a great opportunity to practice having important business conversations in a safe environment.
My advice is to pursue you communications career as any other business leader would with the hard, cold practical business principles along side the business leaders themselves.
Rebecca Canan says:
John, I ll email it now!
Eileen, thanks for your thoughtful comment and what a valuable experience.
Barbara Duroselle says:
I thought your article was full of tips I can use. Thanks. Could I also have a copy of the balance sheet tips as well?
Rebecca Canan says:
Thanks so much, Barbara. I ll send the business vocab document your way.
We re also building out additional recommendations and resources as a follow-up to our online skills assessment which I see that your team participated in! More to come!
Kristen Cardillo says:
A little late to the conversation, but I d love to take a look at the business vocab document/balance sheet tips you referenced. Thanks!
BIG RED DOG named to the Fast 50 by Austin Business Journal #online #home
#austin business journal
BIG RED DOG Named to the Fast 50 by Austin Business Journal
August 31, 2016 by Will Schnier P.E.
BIG RED DOG Engineering and Consulting was again named one of the 50 Fastest Growing Private Companies in central Texas by Austin Business Journal for the 2015 fiscal year. This award is a testament to our amazing clients and team members.
To qualify, companies must have experienced dramatic revenue growth during the past three years. Financial data is submitted by the companies, verified by a third party and then we rank the top 50 according to compounded revenue growth.
We were also honored with the same award in 2013 and 2014 .
Read more on the Austin Business Journal website .
- BIG RED DOG Named to ABJ s Fast 50!
- BIG RED DOG Enters MEP Engineering Business Acquires Johnson Consulting Engineers
- 2014 San Antonio Business Journal Best in Commercial Real Estate Awards
- Amy Hageman Wins SMPS Member of the Year
- BIG RED DOG Celebrates our First 5 Years
- Award Winning BIG RED Blog Award From www.civilengineeringschools.org
Written by Will Schnier P.E.
Will Schnier is the Chief Executive Officer of BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting. Will received his BSCE from Purdue University and co-founded BIG RED DOG Engineering and Consulting in 2009. Since starting the firm in 2009, BIG RED DOG has grown to over 100 team members with offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. BIG RED DOG has garnered awards for being one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Texas (Business Journal’s Fast 50 in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and an ENR top 100 Design Firm in Texas and Louisiana (2012, 2103, 2014, 2015). Mr. Schnier is very well versed in the project review and development permitting process having worked closely and very successfully with City and County review staff, neighborhood associations, environmental groups, and public boards and councils. He has been responsible for the project management, engineering design, and regulatory permitting of hundreds of single family subdivision projects, mixed use and multifamily residential developments, industrial facilities and oil and gas development projects throughout Texas. He is the author of two publications: “Land Subdivision – A Practical Guide for Central Texas” and “The Book on License Agreements in the City of Austin”. Will was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) in 2014 and served as Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s appointment to the City of Austin Zoning Board of Adjustment from 2011 to 2015.
Penny Stocks to Watch for September 2016 (BGI)
Trading and investing in penny stocks requires special skills attuned to unique price action at the low-end of the market’s value spectrum. The SEC defines penny stocks as stocks that trade for less than $5, so when trading penny stocks, aggressive risk management is needed because many of these low-priced equities have descended from much higher levels for good reasons that include declining earnings, sector headwinds, and accounting blow-ups. (For further reading, see: How to Invest in Penny Stocks . )
That said, not all low-priced stocks are bad. It’s a different story for up-and-coming companies listed at low prices on national exchanges because they often go public with limited revenues, but excellent growth potential, or at least a bullish story that will attract healthy speculation. Even so, there are no guarantees they’ll prosper in the competitive marketplace so aggressive risk management is needed to avoid significant or unexpected losses. While low-priced stocks are risky, they can produce handsome yields. Below are five penny stocks to watch this September.
1. Birks Group Inc. ( BGI )
Montreal-based Birks Group Inc. (BGI ) sells jewelry and other luxury products through 26 retail outfits in Canada and the United States. This is an old company founded in 1879, but it just listed on the NYSE in 2006. A quick rally into 2007 posted an all-time high at 9.13, ahead of a steep plunge that finally came to rest at 20-cents in March 2009. A recovery wave into 2010 stalled above 2.00, yielding sideways action ahead of a successful test at the bear market low in February 2016.
The stock took off in a high volume rally after the company reported an unexpected profit in July, rising more than 300% in a single session and dropping into a consolidation pattern that just broke support at the .618 Fibonacci rally retracement at 2.20. On Balance Volume (OBV) indicates shareholders are hanging tough, raising odds for renewed buying interest when price nears the confluence of the rising 200-day exponential moving average(EMA ) and .786 retracement at 1.42.
2. MGT Capital Investments Inc. ( MGT )
MGT Capital Investments Inc. ( MGT ) develops mobile and online gaming technology. It came public in 2006 at 167 (post a 15 for 1 stock split in 2012) and entered an immediate downtrend that lasted for more than ten years, dropping the stock to 15-cents in January 2016. It ground sideways into May and took off in a vertical rally that added more than 5 points into a three-year high at 5.58.
A quick decline to 2.27 got bought, with that level offering support in the last three months. The sideways action has drawn the outline of a symmetrical triangle that could yield a fresh rally wave into double digits. The stock is now trading in the dead center of the pattern and needs to rally above the August 5 high at 3.74 to set a breakout into motion. A September 8 shareholder meeting could offer a catalyst for that buying wave.
3. Gold Standard Ventures Corp. ( GSV )
Canadian junior miner, Gold Standard Ventures Corp. (GSV ) ended a strong uptrend at 3.05 in May 2012 and entered a steep downtrend that finally ended at 26-cents in July 2015, well ahead of the December low posted by the gold futures contract. The subsequent uptick eased into a rising channel in November, with price gains continuing into July when dropped into a pullback that tested the 50-day EMA. Aggressive buyers emerged, lifting the stock 15-cents above the 2012 high, to 3.20 and its highest high since listing on the U.S. exchanges in 2010.
This level marks major resistance, predicting a consolidation period before a breakout drives the stock to much higher ground. Watch the rising 50-day EMA for buying interest just above 2.00, with that level now aligned closely with the August 10 gap between 1.96 and 2.06. It may take a gap fill to bring prospective shareholders off the sidelines.
4. Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ( NAK )
Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ( NAK ). also based in Vancouver, Canada has been listed on the NYSE since October 2003, when it came public at 2.83. A rally into 2007 posted a top at 15.61, ahead of a steep decline during the 2008 to 2009 bear market. It bottomed out at 1.69, with the bounce finally reaching 2007 resistance in 2012, ahead of a breakout that posted an all-time high at 21.76 in 2011.
The subsequent downtrend may have finally ended at 20-cents in January 2016, with price action since that time carving an Elliott 5-wave pattern that’s lifted price to a two-year high at 1.16. It’s been pulling back for the last week and could drop as low as the 50-day EMA, currently rising from 61-cents, before gathering the buying interest needed to test the high and start the next leg of the trend advance.
5. TOP Ships, Inc. ( TOPS )
Greek shipper, TOP Ships, Inc. (TOPS ) has struggled since coming public on U.S. exchanges in 2004, posting four reverse splits that now set its first-day value at an astounding 14238. It entered a massive downtrend just four months after public listing, falling to an all-time low at 13-cents in January 2016. It ground sideways into February and went vertical, rising from 21-cents to 3.00 in a single session, after completing another reverse split.
A sideways pattern gave way to an early August breakout above the March high at 4.44, with the stock rising above 8 and then reversing sharply. It’s now filling the August 1 gap, which is located just under the breakout level at 4.44. The 50-day EMA is rising toward falling price and could provide the support needed to generate a strong bounce that sets the stage for a rally into double digits.
The Bottom Line
The low-priced, penny stock universe includes both beaten down entries and newly-minted start-ups hoping to become the next Microsoft Corp. ( MSFT ) or Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL ). It’s important to keep in mind that secondary offerings, warrants. and other financing games pose a significant risk with stocks under $5.00. Since low revenues force many of these companies to issue stock repeatedly or enter sweetheart deals with big investors, who will get paid before public investors when the company finally grows, and the stock’s valuation expands. (For tips on how to avoid being scammed, read: The Risks and Rewards of Penny Stocks ). The most successful strategy at this end of the pricing spectrum treats each candidate according to its unique risk profile, taking extra care with new uptrends forced to navigate multiple resistance levels put into place by long downtrends. The above-mentioned stocks are key penny stocks to watch this fall.
Business-to-Business Sales Jobs
Join the business-to-business sales force of Staples Business Advantage. a division of Staples. We are the world s largest office products delivery business, serving everyone from the twenty-person office up to and including the Fortune 500.
The business-to-business sales team works with mid-size businesses to large companies to develop customized programs with specialized pricing, dedicated account management, and a complete assortment of products and services at the lowest total delivered cost. We know businesses don’t just run on office supplies, so we offer tech, cleaning supplies, breakroom essentials, furniture and much more. And since every office is different, our sales team customizes product selections to our customers specific needs. Our commitment to serving customers is embodied in our brand promise: We make buying office products easy.
Our Business-to-Business Sales Consultants and Business-to-Business Account Consultants work to develop customized programs, pricing, and provide a complete assortment of products and services based on the individual need of each customer. For our Copy Print business, our Account Managers focus on sourcing and developing relationships with new small to medium size businesses customers.
Together, we can make more happen.
At the very core of Staples is the entrepreneurial spirit that founded our company over 25 years ago – which means we live and breathe the energy of an ever-changing, positive-thinking, fast-moving company. Every Staples associate is given the opportunity to contribute, innovate and share. It’s this excitement, and passion for great ideas and new thinking, that inspires us to be the best we can be every day.
Ready to make more happen? Take a look at our current Business-to-Business sales openings!
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#new business names
How to Choose a Great Name for Your New Business
February 5, 2015
In their book Start Your Own Business , the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer smart tips to help you choose a name that really works for your new business.
When choosing a name for your business, start by deciding what you want it to communicate. To be most effective, your company name should reinforce the key elements of your business. So the first and most important step in choosing a name is deciding what your business is knowing what makes your business unique will help you choose a name that communicates that.
Remember, the more your name communicates to consumers, the less effort you must exert to explain it. According to naming experts, you should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words because people prefer words they can relate to and understand.
Naming experts also caution about choosing a name that s too narrowly defined. Common pitfalls are geographic names or generic names. Take the hypothetical name San Pablo Disk Drives for example. What if the company expands beyond the city of San Pablo, California? Or what if it diversifies beyond disk drives into software or computer instruction manuals?
Specific names make sense if you intend to stay in a narrow niche forever. If you have any ambitions of growing or expanding, however, you should find a name that s broad enough to accommodate your growth.
Before you start thinking up names for your new business, try to define the qualities you want your business to be identified with. If you re starting a hearth-baked bread shop, you might want a name that conveys freshness, warmth and a homespun atmosphere. Immediately, you can see that names like Kathy s Bread Shop or Arlington Breads would communicate none of these qualities. But consider the name Open Hearth Breads. The bread sounds homemade, hot and just out of the oven. Moreover, if you diversified your product line, you could alter the name to Open Hearth Bakery. This change would enable you to hold on to your suggestive name without totally mystifying your established clientele.
Begin your brainstorming search for a business name by looking in dictionaries, books and magazines to generate ideas. Get friends and relatives to help if you like; the more minds, the merrier. Think of as many workable names as you can during this creative phase.
The trials you put your names through will vary depending on your concerns. Some considerations are fairly universal. For instance, your name should be easy to pronounce, especially if you plan to rely heavily on print ads or signs. If people can t pronounce your business name, they ll avoid saying it. And nothing could be more counterproductive to a young company than to strangle its potential for word-of-mouth advertising.
Other considerations depend on more individual factors. For instance, if you re thinking about marketing your business globally or if you re located in a multilingual area, you should make sure your new name has no negative connotations in other languages. On another note, if your primary means of advertising will be in the telephone directory, you might favor names that are closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Finally, make sure that your name is in no way embarrassing. Put on the mind of a child and tinker with the letters a little. If none of your doodling makes you snicker, it s probably OK.
Naming firm Interbrand advises name seekers to take a close look at their competition: The major function of a name is to distinguish your business from others. You have to weigh who s out there already, what type of branding approaches they have taken, and how you can use a name to separate yourself. If any of your potential names is too close to that of your competitors , you should probably eliminate it.
After you ve narrowed the field to, say, four or five names that are memorable, expressive, and can be read by the average grade-schooler, you re ready to do a trademark search. Must every name be trademarked? No. Many small businesses don t register their business names. As long as your state government gives you the go-ahead, you may operate under an unregistered business name for as long as you like assuming, of course, that you aren t infringing on anyone else s trade name.
But what if you are? Imagine either of these two scenarios: You are a brand-new manufacturing business just about to ship your first orders. An obscure little company in Ogunquit, Maine, considers the name of your business an infringement on their trademark and engages you in a legal battle that bankrupts your company. Or envision your business in five years. It s a thriving, growing concern, and you are contemplating expansion. But just as you are about to launch your franchise program, you learn that a small competitor in Modesto, California, has the same name, rendering your name unusable.
Enlisting the help of a trademark attorney or at least a trademark search firm before you decide on a name for your business is highly advisable. After all, the extra money you spend now could save you countless hassles and expenses further down the road.
If you re lucky, you ll end up with three to five names that pass all your tests. How do you make your final decision? First, recall all your initial criteria. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind? Which name do you like the best?
You could just go with your gut. Or you could do consumer research or testing with focus groups to see how the names are perceived. You could ask other people s opinions. Or you could doodle an idea of what each name will look like on a sign or on business stationery. Read each name aloud, paying attention to the way it sounds if you foresee radio advertising or telemarketing in your future.
Once your decision is made, start building your enthusiasm for the new name immediately. Your name is your first step toward building a strong company identity, one that should last as long as you re in business.
#cottage industry ideas
Small Green Business Ideas to Jumpstart Your Cottage Industry
Going home-based can have a lot of benefits, not the least of which is the chance to turn it into a small green business. When someone says green, there are often a lot of misconceptions. The perception is that it would be expensive or large-scale, something better suited for a large corporation. However, the reality is that there are a number of small green business ideas that don t require multi-million dollar starting capital or big business performance capability.
The big players when it comes to making soaps are large manufacturers that have the resources to spend heavily on manufacturing and advertising. However, that doesn t mean that a home-based small green business dedicated to it can t find a niche to succeed in. Eco-friendly soap-making is relatively simple to do from the average home and has the potential to generate a decent income.
Crucial to succeeding at this are the following:
* A niche product that matches a niche clientele
* Creative approaches, such as shaping soap like animal characters or using bright colors
* Starting locally before slowly expanding both production and operations over time
This doesn t come up often when talk of small green business ideas happens, but it should. Business will pay money for the advice of an expert, even if they don t want to have the expert under their formal employ. Consultancy is basically the art of selling experience and know-how to companies that need it. People who know a trade or field better than anyone else can make a good income from being a consultant while also having very little actual environmental impact.
Old Tire Recycling
This small green business idea requires a bit of creativity. The number of tires that cars around the world go through every year is staggering. Some of them can end up being recycled, but a lot of them are just going to end up somewhere unused and ignored. A business focused on making all sorts of creations out of old tires needs creativity, but it can appeal to people and grab a market for itself. Here are a few examples on the creative uses for old tires.
Custom Lamps and Lampshades
This is another potential small green business idea that requires creativity. The basic idea is to turn random trinkets and items into a lamp or other light fixture. A creative eye and a touch for designing things are part and parcel of this type of business. For the most part, all that s needed in terms of materials are a little capital and simple tools.
For this small green business idea, all that s needed are creativity, a sewing machine and some old clothes to work with. Torn jeans, old rags, shirt that don t fit anymore all of that can be recycled and turned into something new with a little elbow grease and a lot of creativity.
Small green business ideas aren t something that everyone comes up with, but that doesn t mean there s a shortage of them. Green business ideas also aren t as expensive as most people think. In many ways, they can be very cost-effective and have as much potential to be profitable as anything else.
Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers. and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises B-Corporations on SEO, SEM Social Media marketing.
Latest posts by Lorna Li (see all )
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Tara Kekaha from Oakland was about to launch a new online business promoting sustainable tourism and accommodation. She trying to determine what kind of website she needed to power her business, in addition to the best way to name it. I can t say enough about Lorna s expertise in this field. So many options and routes to take when you re starting out. I m starting my new business and have questions about choosing a domain name Do hyphenated names work? How do I choose what domains to purchase? What types of names are going to be successful for SEO? Does .co work as well as .com? She clearly has a lot of experience and (I m sure) has saved me a lot of time, work, and worry. It s good to know there s someone there who cares about changing the world, being green, and has all that experience to boot.
Tara Kehaka Consultant at Mountain Sobek Travel
As a business coach, Lorna demonstrated not only utmost dedication to our interaction but an exceptional capability to envision equitable scenarios with a critical mind for realisable solutions and a fine sensibility to my needs and concerns. She acts, works and lives according to the best and most honorable principles I have encountered in humans to date.
Dominic Thiffault https://www.facebook.com/partime.dreamer
Working with Lorna has been an excellent experience! The level of detail and information that she has is enormous. As a speaker in the Green Business Entrepreneurs Summit I was amazed at the quality and the amount of information that Lorna has about the green economy and the green social media scene.
Lorna hired me as a blogger to assist in a link building campaign for a top national solar company. Lorna manged the remote team with deft efficiency. I was very impressed to see that within 90 days, the client ranked #1 for a highly competitive solar keyword.
Beth Buczynski Writer, Editor, & Green Brand Advocate See Beth Write LLC
Lorna is adept at creating media that tells the story of social entrepreneurs, in a way that not only promotes the business, but inspires other entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps. Her insightful videos, audio podcasts, and digital products provide detailed, step by step guidance on how to become a profitable, purpose driven business.
Tyler Gage President & Co-Founder of Runa Amazon Guayusa Tea
Lorna is a master at both online and traditional green marketing. Her website is consistently at the top of search rankings as a result of her persistant hard work, as are various articles and sections of TriplePundit.com which she has contributed to from time to time.
Nick Aster Founder & Publisher Triple Pundit
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Entrepreneurs for a Change is a podcast, community, and resource for entrepreneurs who are changing the world and the way we do business. We are about business for good, not business as usual. We are about making impact, while making profit. We are about loving our work, rather than hating our jobs. We area bout designing a business that supports our lifestyle rather than work that takes over our lives. We are here to show you how you can have passionate work and adventure in life, though the mentorship of entrepreneurs who are already doing it
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#candle making business
How to Start a Candle Making Business
Decide what type of candle you would like to make. When you’re first starting out, it’s best to stick with one or two products. In candles, making container candles is probably the simplest, but you can also make mold candles or taper candles. 
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Pick a wax to work with. Waxes come in several main groups. Which group you choose is mostly based on preference.
- One group is paraffin, which is a by-product of petroleum. You can find it in a variety of melting points, depending on what type of candles you are making. For instance, you need a higher melting point for tapers than you do for container candles. 
- Another type of wax is beeswax. Beeswax is a product that bees make, so it has a natural, light honey smell. Some people prefer this wax because it is all-natural, though others will mix beeswax with other waxes for their candles. 
- A third category of waxes is vegetable waxes, where soy is probably the most popular. One benefit of soy wax is it is pure white, and it also doesn’t shrink up when you pour it, which means you don’t have to pour wax more than once. Bayberry wax is also in this category. 
Learn the technique. One of the simplest ways to learn how to make candles is to take a class in your community. You may be able to find one with your local parks and recreation department or even at your local community college. However, you can also find a wide variety of tutorials online. In fact, you’ll likely be able to find all you need to know online if that is your preference. 
- You can also check out books from your local library about candle-making.
Practice the technique. Before you start selling, you need to take time to build up your skill. Try working a little bit each day on your business, starting with practicing a bit each day.
#how to finance a business
How to Finance Your Start-up Business
Making Your Dream a Reality: Finance Your Start-up With the Right Mix of Capital
If you’re planning on starting a business, chances are you’ll need some form of capital, which simply refers to the money that finances your business.
One reason for the failure of many small businesses is that they undercapitalize their business. Therefore, it is important that you know how much money you will actually need to start and to run your business until you reach your break-even point—the point when your sales revenue equals your total expenses.
- How much money is required to start this business ?
- How much of your own money do you have for this business?
- Do you already own any of the assets needed to start this business?
- Do you have family, friends, acquaintances, or others who are willing and able to invest in this business?
- Do you have a strong personal credit rating or lines of credit available?
Equity means ownership. With equity investment, an investor makes money available for use in exchange for an ownership share in the business. If you use equity investment, be sure to consider how much ownership you’re willing to give up, and at what price. Once you sell 51 percent of your shares, you lose control of your company.
Equity investment includes any money from individuals, including yourself, or other companies in your business. This money may be from personal savings, inheritance, personal loans, friends or relatives, business partners, or stockholders. These funds are not secured on any of your business assets.
But, before going down this road, it is important to know the BC laws that apply to any company or other entity that raises money from investors. To find our more read our article: Seeking Equity Investment? Know the Rules
Personal Savings: The Most Common Form of Equity Investment
You’ll likely get most of your start-up funding from your personal savings, inheritances, friends, or family. In fact, according to Statistics Canada’s Survey of Financing of Small and Medium Enterprises 2007, 76% of small businesses in British Columbia financed their business with personal savings.
Aim to fund 25% to 50% of your business from your own pocket. This shows prospective lenders and investors that you are personally assuming some risk, and are committed to your business success. It’s also a requirement for many small business loans, which are usually secured (i.e. backed by assets).
Throughout the course of your business, try to keep a personal investment of at least 25% in your business to increase your equity position and leverage. The more equity your business has, the more attractive it makes you to banks that can loan you up to three times your equity.
1. Government Funding
Typically, the most sought-after type of financing is government grants because it’s free money that you don t have to pay back. Unfortunately, a grant might not be an option for your business because not only are there very few grants available, most are geared towards specific industries or groups of people such as youth, women, or aboriginal owners.
The majority of government funding programs are typically loans, for which you ll be required to repay the principal amount plus interest.
In 2007, only 2% of businesses obtained some sort of government funding or assistance. You can find information about government funding programs for free:
- Search the Canada Business Grants and Finances section. which lists available government programs across Canada.
- Contact your industry association to find out if they know of any grants you might be eligible to receive.
Since the application process varies from program to program, you should contact the coordinator of the program that you’re interested in to find out what the specific application requirements and process are.
2. Commercial Loans
Commercial or personal loans from financial institutions account for the second most common form of financing at 44%.
- Long-term loans. Use long-term loans for larger expenses or for fixed assets that you expect to use for more than one year, such as property, buildings, vehicles, machinery, and equipment. These loans are generally secured by new assets, other unencumbered physical business assets, and/or additional stakeholder funds or personal guarantees.
- Short-term loans. Short-term loans are usually for a one-year term or less, and can include revolving lines of credit or credit cards. These are generally used to finance day-to-day expenses such as inventory, payroll, and unexpected or emergency items, and can be subject to a higher base interest rate.
Getting Your Loan Approved: What do Potential Lenders Look For?
Many lenders will look for the four “C’s of Lending” when evaluating a loan application:
- Cash flow. Your ability to repay the cash you are borrowing. This is measured using the cash flow forecast that you created for your business plan.
- Collateral. The value of assets that you are willing to pledge for assurance that you will repay your loan. A dollar amount will be placed on these assets and that will be compared to the amount of the loan you requested.
- Commitment. The amount of money that you re committing to your business. You can’t expect to obtain a loan without contributing a fair share yourself.
- Character. Your personal credit score and history with the financial institution. Your credit rating or score is calculated from your history of borrowing and repaying bank loans, credit cards, and personal lines of credit. Without a good credit rating, your loan prospects decrease significantly.
A lender might determine how much to lend you by evaluating your cash flow, collateral, and commitment. They will then subtract your existing debt to arrive at a final amount. Note that lenders look at the limit on your credit cards, not the amount you re currently using.
Typically, start-ups are not rich in assets so you may be required to secure your business loans with personal collateral such as your house or vehicle(s).
The difference between a private lender and a government program is the relative importance of these four C’s. A bank might place more importance on “collateral” and “commitment”, whereas a government program can often decrease the need for these by providing a government guarantee to the lender.
Make a Good Impression With Your Lenders
You can increase your chances of securing a loan by:
- Having strong management and staff
- Showing steady business growth potential
- Showing reliable projected cash flow
- Offering collateral
- Having a strong personal credit rating
- Always making your loan and interest payments on time, and never missing a payment
How to Become a Crime Lab Technician: Step-by-Step Career Guide #crime #lab #tech, #how
How to Become a Crime Lab Technician: Step-by-Step Career Guide
Should I Become a Crime Lab Technician?
Also called forensic science technicians, crime lab technicians assist with criminal investigations by studying physical evidence in laboratories. They are distinct from other forensic science technicians who specialize in crime scene investigations and collect evidence on site. Crime lab technicians perform laboratory analyses on evidence including bodily fluids, guns, fibers, bullets, and hairs. They may specialize in a particular type of analysis, such as fingerprints, DNA, or handwriting. Job duties involve utilizing scientific equipment, chemicals, and computer databases to study evidence that other professionals collect at crime scenes.
Individuals seeking careers as crime lab technicians need a bachelor’s degree plus on-the-job training. They should be able to pass a background check and drug test. Optional professional certifications are also available. In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual salary of $60,090 for forensic science technicians.
Forensic science, chemistry, molecular biology, biology, or biochemistry
Optional certifications awarded by professional associations are available
Work experience is usually not required, but some employers prefer to avoid job training and hire experienced workers
Verbal and written communication skills; attention to detail; critical-thinking skills; familiarity with laws and court procedures; proficiency with relevant software, including Combined DNA Index System, National Crime Information Center database, and DesignWare 3D EyeWitness
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Society of Crime Lab Directors, Forensic science professional associations, O*NET OnLine
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Corrections Admin
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- Criminal Science
- Forensic Science
- Juvenile Corrections
- Law Enforcement Administration
- Police Science and Law Enforcement
- Securities Services Mgmt
- Security and Theft Prevention Services
Steps to Become a Crime Lab Technician
Let’s see what steps have to be taken to become a crime lab technician.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Crime lab technicians typically hold a bachelor’s degree in forensic science or another scientific field, including chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry, and biology. Forensic science students should choose coursework that helps them attain skills in the area in which they want to specialize. For example, students should take natural science classes if they plan to specialize in latent prints or select biology courses to specialize in DNA analysis.
Forensic science bachelor’s degree programs include courses and laboratory work. Programs with a heavy emphasis on math, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biology may provide the best preparation for a crime lab technician career. Students also study topics in anthropology. They learn about the criminal justice system, evidence rules, and professional ethics. Specific classes in forensic science degree programs may include murder investigations, cell biology, forensic microscopy, bloodstain evidence, science statistics, and genetics.
Step 2: Get Hired at a Crime Lab
Most crime lab technicians work for local and state agencies, including law enforcement departments, morgues, and medical examiners. A non-criminal background is essential due to security precautions and because a crime lab technician’s credibility may be scrutinized in a courtroom. Many employers require job applicants to take and pass polygraph exams, substance abuse screenings, and background checks.
Check forensic science websites for job postings: Aspiring crime lab technicians will find many job vacancies announced online. Examples of organizations that post job listings include the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Local and state government agencies that hire crime lab technicians also post job openings on their websites. The ASCLD recommends that new graduates spend approximately 15-25 hours weekly on job-search tasks, including sending letters and resumes and making telephone contacts.
Step 3: Complete a Job Training Program
In addition to a formal education, crime lab technicians typically receive on-the-job training to master the necessary skills. Job training programs range from just months to as long as two or three years. The time it takes to complete lab training depends upon the complexity of the specialty. Proficiency testing is needed before crime lab technicians can analyze cases on their own or give testimony in a courtroom.
Step 4: Obtain Optional Certification
Many professional forensic science associations award certification to qualified members. Examples include the American Board of Criminalistics and the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners. To be eligible for voluntary certification, applicants generally must pass exams, hold a bachelor’s degree and meet requirements for training and experience. Continuing education and proficiency testing are typically required to maintain certification.
To become a crime lab technician, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree along with on-the-job training.
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#running a small business
5 Things Not to Do Running a Small Business
January 12, 2016
I ve been a creative entrepreneur since 2005. My first design company was a partnership with my significant other. It was largely a freestyle experiment in running a business, conducted live over the course of five years. As a business, it was marginally successful. As a learning experience, it was my equivalent of a masters of business administration.
So, by the time I had started my second and current company, I had a pretty good blueprint of don t s for running a small business. I had been fortunate enough to make the mistakes that have yielded five valuable lessons learned — lessons that have truly paid off the second time around.
1. Don t rush into partnerships.
It was only after my original partner and I parted ways did I recognize that we should never have had a professional partnership in the first place. Just because someone is your best friend, long-time coworker and / or significant other hardly qualifies them as the perfect candidate for maintaining a business. I say maintaining because it s far easier to get excited about the prospect starting a company than being able to handle the day-to-day reality of running it efficiently.
The best partner is typically someone whose skills and approach are the polar opposite of yours. The first ensures the you are able to cover a lot more ground without additional employees. The second may create conflict, but it ll force you both to defend your business instincts and weed out lesser ideas before you waste resources.
2. Don t get discouraged.
Running a company isn t a goal — it s a long, winding road. Enjoy the process! Unless your goal is to cash out, and you ve got some built-in exit strategy, chances are you want a long-term entrepreneurial career. You will have ups, and you will have downs — possibly in the same week or even day. You will gain amazing clients and lose others for reasons fair and unfair. That s all part of having a business.
I ve yet to encounter a single business owner who s reached some grand, stable plateau beyond failure, disappointment and doubt. We all experience it. Instead of discouragement, focus on becoming more resilient, on learning how to handle stress productively.
3. Don t forget why you wanted to start a business in the first place.
Whether it s following a passion or having more control over your time to devote to family, always remember why you started down this road in the first place. It s easy to get carried away and forget what it was you wanted from your own business. I, for example, was driven by quality-of-life factors, especially time off for my other passion — travel. At times, temporary sacrifice may be truly necessary, but it pays to be conscious of when you re in danger of permanently shelving the very thing you wanted most.
4. Don t try to do everything yourself.
I started my first company with $500 — barely enough to cover the costs of incorporation. So, right away, I developed an addiction to doing everything myself. My partner was only capable, willing and able to do so much, and I found myself doing a lot of admin tasks I never anticipated. Those tasks came with learning curves, and they took up valuable time and energy — energy that could have been directed at helping the business grow.
I didn t make this mistake twice. With my second, far more successful attempt, I contracted my business half just a couple of months in. Although my expenses grew, now I could focus on doing better work as well as devote time to business development. Both actions helped to grow the company far quicker than my former money-saving attempts at being my own bookkeeper.
So, resist the urge to cover all the ground alone. Saving financial resources is important, but don t let your task list undermine your big goals.
5. Don t stop evolving.
Your strategy, your marketing plan, your target market — nothing is set in stone. The world is changing more and more rapidly each day. Your industry will likely experience a shift, whether slight or monumental, at some point. As a small business, you are at a disadvantage, because your resources are a lot more limited. But you have a priceless advantage in ability to change course and adapt far quicker than a larger organization.
The best way to remain relevant is keeping your eyes open for changing tides, your mind open to new ideas and staying flexible.
And, of course, don t be too afraid of making your own mistakes!