Financial Business Tips

Financial Business Tips

I must confess I don’t have much life experience with regards to the topic of ‘Financial Tips for Business’, considering this I decided to take some advice from those more qualified and have relied heavily on my research skills.There were many tips I came across while scouring various news articles, business columns and financial websites, too many in fact to mention in one blog.

So I decided to list those that seemed most prevalent in my research.

  • Goals: Financial goals inform what to strive for, focus on and what expectations are. Goals enable everyone to work collaboratively to achieve success, which allows companies to realize more financial achievements. It is important to keep financial goals measurable and realistic. Timeframes, values and targets are measurable components to include.
  • Budget: A budget helps keep track of cash flows, increase reserves, minimizes unnecessary spending, gives you a clear plan for all income and expenses and should be updated regularly.
  • Cash Flow: A cash flow analysis is an integral part of operating a successful business; it enables a business owner to understand gains, losses and identify financial concerns as they arise in order to resolve them early.
  • Debtors: Implement procedures to avoid late payments by Debtors. Make your credit terms and conditions obvious from the start. Issue invoices promptly that are clear and accurate. An automated credit management system will help to keep track of debtors’ accounts.
  • Creditors: It’s important that you meet your obligations; failing to meet deadlines can incur fines and interest. These are unnecessary costs that can be avoided with planning.
  • Savings: When times are tough, it is vital to have the comfort of knowing you have savings to rely on. Take the time to grow, strengthen and secure savings.
  • Support: Choose the right finance partner, establish a good relationship with them from the start and if you think your bank isn’t providing you with the best deal on your short-term borrowing, overdraft or investment facility think about alternative arrangements.

To summarize: a prosperous and profitable business needs planning and organisation in all aspects. If however, you like me are not a business owner remember as an individual we can also use many of the financial tips listed above in order to achieve our own financial freedom.

“A good financial plan is a road map that shows us exactly how the choices we make today will affect our future.” Alexa Von Tobel

Further Reading/Sources:
http://www.bbb.org/sdoc/news-events/news-releases/2015/01/financial-tips-for-your-business-in-2015/
http://www.theadviser.com.au/blog/31382-financial-tips-for-a-thriving-business-in-2015
http://www.santabanta.com/sms/quotes/business-and-finance/79/?page=3
https://www.learnvest.com

About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life

Calculated Risk

Calculated Risk

Are you a risk taker? Or do you play it safe?

I have always considered myself to be a ‘play it safe’ kind of person. The thought of bungee jumping gives me a surge of panic and I start to feel woozy, all I can think of are the indemnity forms and all those YouTube videos of ‘the bungee jump gone wrong’, so I put my feet firmly on the ground and breathe in and out and think to myself that’s for crazy people and I like the stability of this ground I’m standing on. If you are reading this and are like me you might be thinking, ‘that’s exactly me!’ but there are many things we could learn from the risk takers out there, not to mention the spectacular views we’re probably missing.

Great leaders and entrepreneurs don’t become great by being predictable and playing it safe. There are positives in being consistent and all risks should have a level of consideration but in saying that sometimes it is easy to overanalyze. Anyone can talk themselves out of something and when taking a risk you can’t let yourself be paralyzed by the details. It might never be the perfect time, with perfect circumstances, but at some point you just have to go for it. Take the risk, take the plunge.

In saying that not all risks are meant to be to be jumped at; there are two types of risks in this world – calculated and un-calculated. So what is a Calculated Risk? By definition Calculated Risk is, “A risk associated with a certain course of action which has been given full consideration prior to making the decision to pursue action. This is usually done when the potential gain is greater than any potential damage that might occur.”

For example the insurance industry is designed around calculated risk. Car insurance companies base their rates on how likely you are to file a claim in the future, and they use a number of varying factors to determine that risk such as Driving History, Demographics, Your Credit-Based Insurance Score, Occupation, Location and lastly the type of Vehicle you drive. Taking all of these factors into account and Calculating these Risks they are able to determine the quote which they provide you with.

When it comes to risks you won’t win every time even when they are calculated and avoiding risks will definitely limit your chances of success. It’s impossible to know the future and the outcome of anything unless you have supernatural powers (if only). Before you take risks, always carefully calculate everything. Outweigh the pros and cons. If the pros are extensive, it makes sense to take such a risk, especially if it means the possibility of profit or growth. If you want to take a risk then make sure that the worst outcome is bearable, minimize issues that may arise whenever possible and have a plan B. If risks aren’t for you, try them in small doses. Try a test run before taking a big leap or a hot-air balloon ride before a bungee jump. This will allow you to see the possible outcome before the impact is too monumental.

Remember that sometimes a risk may turn out to be a setback. The challenge is to move forward while actively seeking and managing your calculated risks. There are no guarantees but it pays to learn from the others who have forged paths before you like Harley-Davidson, Apple and Google to name a few, they took risks that paid off big (see further reading).

I’ll leave you with this quote: “Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk, and to act.” Maxwell Maltz

Further Reading: 8 Risky Business Investments That Paid Off Big:

http://www.onlinebusinessdegree.org/2012/06/26/8-risky-business-investments-that-paid-off-big/

Sources:

http://www.investorwords.com/19256/calculated_risk.html

http://www.dmv.org/insurance/how-auto-insurance-companies-calculate-risk.php

http://www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2014/08/27/10-startup-calculated-risks-that-lead-to-success/

About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life

Significant strikes in RSA history

posted in: General 0

Significant Strikes in South African History

In recent years it seems there has been a growth in the amount and frequency of strikes in SA causing much debate and uncertainty. In order to understand the culture of strikes in recent years and the strikes which are sure to come in the future perhaps we could look into the History surrounding strikes in SA and the significance they still have today.

 

Some early strikes in South Africa’s labour movement:

 

12 August 1946 – African Mine Workers Strike

Demand for higher wages

Duration: 1 week

Participants: 70 000

9 deceased, 1248 wounded

 

1 May 1950 – Stay at home campaign

Protest against Suppression of Communism Act

Duration: 1 Day

18 deceased

 

9 January 1973 – Durban Strikes

Protest against low wages, mounting unemployment and poverty

Participants: 60 000 to 100 000

Duration: 3 months

 

9 August 1987 – National Union of Mineworkers Strike

Protest over wage and working conditions

Participants: 360 000

Duration:  3 weeks

11 deceased, 500 injured

 

Some recent strikes in South Africa’s labour movement:

 

16 September 2004 – Public Services Workers Strike

Demanded wage increase

Participants: 800 000

Duration: 1 Day

 

4 December 2007 – Mining Industry Strike

Unsafe working conditions

Participants: 250 000

Duration 1 Day

 

17 August 2010 – Public Servants & Teachers Strike

Demand for wage increase

Participants: 1.3 million

Duration: 2 weeks

 

 

10 August 2012 – Marikana Miners’ strike

Demand for higher wages

Participants: 3 000

Duration: 6 weeks

34 deceased, 78 injured

 

23 January 2014 – Platinum Mine Workers Strike

Demand for wage increase

Participants: 70 000

Duration: 5 months

 

1 July 2014 – NUMSA Strike

Demand for wage increase

Participants: 220 000

Duration: 1 month

 

A strike by definition is ‘a refusal to work organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer’. Looking at some of the stats listed above one can see that the main reason for striking is a demand for higher wages and unsafe working conditions. But what can we learn from history?

History by definition is ‘the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.’ Does the past provide lessons for the present, guidance for the future? In addition to telling us who we are, does history help us know what to do? I suspect that not many of us still share in the confidence that through history we can make a better future.

However sceptical we may be about learning from the past, there is no doubt that we try to do it all the time. We constantly tell stories about the past to our friends, children and to ourselves that are supposed to convey moral and practical lessons. Physicians compile histories of their patients’ diseases in order to make diagnoses and determine treatments. Historical lessons are part of every political discussion and debate, our political leaders use the past to warn and inspire the public; to criticize opponents; and to justify policies. Historical analogies, comparisons and metaphors are all around us; they are a source of collective wisdom. It is unlikely that we could live without them even if we wanted to.

The idea of learning from the past so that mistakes are not repeated is one of the basic foundations for studying the past. But it should be remembered that each situation is different. The trick is to pick the correct lessons of the past and apply them to the correct situation, thus minding the wisdom of past lessons learned. So when confronting the significance of strikes in RSA history we should address their cause and work towards finding solutions in the future, not only due to the effect they have on our economy but also for a better quality of life for all.

 

I think this quote by Maya Angelou perfectly sums up what we can learn not only from the history of strikes in RSA but history in general, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life

Keep Calm and Love Technology

posted in: Life Lessons 0

Keep Calm and Love Technology

“If someone from the 1500’s came to us now and looked at what technology has enabled us to do, they’d think we were superhuman.” – Kenji Huang

 

For most of us switching on the computer, sending an email from our phones and using a GPS are part of our everyday lives but for millions around the world these tasks can seem foreign and difficult to grasp. Many people feel confused and wish they knew more, but struggle to understand technical lingo.

One of these individuals is my Dad, a 58 year old who has dismissed technology ever since I can remember, I regularly describe him as “technologically challenged”, meaning that finding the “ON” button on most electronics is difficult for him.

If I put myself in my Dad’s shoes (and thus the shoes of many others like him) and imagine what it must be like. I realise that there are also many things about technology that are foreign to me. To others who have more knowledge and wider access to tech I might also be considered “technologically challenged”.

 

Here are some “technologically challenged” scenarios I came across:

  1. ‘A woman called the help desk with a problem with her printer.  The tech asked her if she was “running it under Windows.”  The woman then responded, “No, my desk is next to the door.  But that is a good point.  The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his is working fine.”’
  2. ‘Tech Support: “Ok Bob, let’s press the control and escape keys at the same time.  That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen.  Now type the letter ‘P’ to bring up the Program Manager.” Customer: “I don’t have a ‘P’.” Tech Support: “On your keyboard, Bob.” Customer: “What do you mean?” Tech Support: “‘P’ on your keyboard, Bob.” Customer: “I’m not going to do that!”’

 

Some may ask, “how on earth scenarios like that still happen in 2014?”.

Many older people or those starting businesses are choosing today for the first time to use computers and the internet. They have realised it’s less expensive and easier to ‘keep in touch’ via email and social media and that technology can be used to keep abreast of current affairs, grow businesses, open communication channels and make everyday tasks quicker. Many new users may be defined as “technologically challenged” but this is only the start to becoming technologically capable.

So, where do you start? How can you use technology to expand your business while keeping abreast of events? And how do you find technical support that can speak to you in a way that makes sense and is helpful whether you rate yourself as a tech geek, technologically challenged or anything in between?

How about starting with a company whose ‘ethos is that of service excellence, customer relations and providing solutions to an evolving construction Industry’?

Click, Call or Email Leads 2 Business if you want to know more.

About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life

Creative ways to get your Bill of Quantities

posted in: General, How To 2

Creative Ways to Obtain a Bill of Quantity

Bills of quantities are prepared by Quantity Surveyors we all know that thanks to the previous blog post “What is a Bill of Quantities (BoQ)?”

So how does one obtain a Bill of Quantities? Let me count the legal ways…

1. Request the BoQ from the Quantity Surveyor
2. Purchase the Tender Document which contains the BoQ
3. Download off a website if it is available
4. Request the BoQ from the Client directly
5. Request the BoQ from the Architect
6. Request the BoQ from the PA of the Quantity Surveyor
7. Contact Leads 2 Business

All of these methods lead back to the Quantity Surveyor. Surely we could obtain a Bill of Quantities in a more creative way? Maybe the answer would be to become a Quantity Surveyor and draw up your own BoQ. Sounds easy right? Not so quick.
Firstly we need to understand the role a Quantity Surveyor plays in the Construction Industry.

When asked what a Quantity Surveyor does many people will say “Erm. They survey quantities”. That’s what I would have said before working at Leads 2 Business.

From the inception of the project the QS will estimate costs throughout the process based on industry knowledge, substantiating their results with previous projects in order to make estimates on how much the project will cost. A QS performs various roles including managing the costs of a project, calculating quantities (how many bricks a house will need), advice on tendering procedures and contractual arrangements to name a few. Explains why you need to study at least 4 years to obtain a degree.
Becoming a Quantity surveyor may assist you to obtain a BoQ creatively but perhaps not the most efficient way to do so and I doubt anyone would go to such lengths especially when you take into consideration that you may not be appointed on the project you might be interested in pursuing. So what is the alternative?

You could go with some of the conventional methods I listed. If however you are looking for a creative 21st Century approach to obtaining a BoQ that is legal and efficient, Leads 2 Business may be a perfect fit for you.

 

 

About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life

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