New Start Up Business Guide to Bookkeeping

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

By Bob Mason, Tax Buzz

When you embark on a new business venture, your focus is likely on the service or product that you’re providing, and not on the record-keeping responsibilities that come with the territory. Still, as nice as it would be to set aside things like general ledgers and accounting, they are an essential element of making your business a success, so it is important that you have a good grasp of the bookkeeping that needs to be done.

What Bookkeeping Tasks Need to be Completed?

Keeping good records serves a number of purposes. It lets you keep track of the health of your business at a glance. It also provides you with the data that you need to submit to the federal and state government every year at tax time. The more accurate and complete your financial records are, the better the information that will be available for both purposes.

Comprehensive bookkeeping will contain information about your revenues, your profits, and how much money is flowing out of your business for expenses, wages and other transactions.  Being able to easily extract this information will definitely prove to be a benefit – you just have to decide how to go about it. It is a responsibility that can be outsourced to a small business accountant, or you can take it on yourself. There are advantages to both strategies – it can take some time to learn the process, but keeping your own books will ensure that you are always aware of your business’ health. By the same token, letting a professional do the job will free you up to concentrate on what you do best and are most interested in.

Read more … 

New Manufacturing Resource Available at the South Centers

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

The Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) was recently awarded a contract from the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to support the growth of small and medium sized manufacturing companies in the southeast region of Ohio. The contract establishes CDME as a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate for the State of Ohio in support of Ohio companies. CDME will partner with the Ohio State University South Centers Business Development team to implement services in the Southeast Ohio region.

The MEP at Ohio State will focus on providing value added CDME has a full-time engineering staff and is led by a team of former entrepreneurs and business owners who have successfully grown manufacturing and product innovation companies. The MEP program has access to CDME’s 40,000 square foot manufacturing space on the main Columbus campus, as well as most of the equipment in the broader Ohio State University landscape.

CDME MEP is primarily focused on new product development, product improvement, innovation, business development, lean manufacturing, and supply chain management.  The program assists companies in the central and southeast Ohio regions in the following manner:

  • Providing value-added engineering support for product development and innovation with an emphasis on design for manufacturing.
  • Commercialization support and partner opportunities with commercial OEMs.
  • Professional program management and industry-friendly contracts.
  • Proposal identification and development support for federal, state and commercial funding programs.
  • Access to the research capabilities and facilities of The Ohio State University and other State of Ohio research universities and federal laboratories.
  • Introduction to support partners in the CDME network (incubators, venture capital, supply chain partners, fortune 100 OEMS, etc).
  • Prototyping and small scale manufacturing of new products.
  • Access to highly motivated students with experiential learning looking to join innovative manufacturing companies upon graduation.

For more information, log onto https://cdme.osu.edu/

4 Steps To Creating A Vision For Your Business

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Posted by a Contributor on 3/21/17
at Youngupstarts.com
by Rich Allen, author of “The Ultimate Business Tune Up: A Simple Yet Powerful Business Model That Will Transform the Lives of Small Business Owners“

Running a business takes more than a day-by-day approach. You need a clear idea of where you want your business to be ten years from now — your own North Star that not only inspires you, it inspires your team as well. Essentially, if you want to get somewhere and you want people to follow you there, you have to visualize it first: you can’t be a leader without vision.

The problem is, most of us are too busy tackling the everyday challenges to sit back and look at what we’re doing and where we want to be. Buried under the daily pressures of running a business, most small business owners can barely think six months ahead, let alone ten years.

Here are four simple steps to picture your business in ten years, and chart the best course to get there and inspire your people to get behind you and come along for the ride:

1. Start with the mountaintop.

Imagine it’s ten years from now. Write down all the particulars you can of what your business looks like. There are no right or wrong answers here. The point is to focus on learning your vision of your business in the future: where you want to go, and what you want it to look like. Don’t worry about whether it will actually turn out this way.

Include:
•How many team members you’ll have
•What locations you’ll have
•What products and services you offer
•How your business is structured
•What your ideal customer or client looks like
•What kind of volume you’re doing
•What your own life is like, and how involved you are in the daily goings on of your business.
•And if you’re not involved any more, what are you doing instead?

2. Back up five years.

Once you have the ten-year vision down in writing, back up halfway. In five years, where do you need to be in order to be on track to hit that ten-year point? Cover the same details, and write them down. For instance:
•How many people are on your team?
•Do you have half the locations as in ten years?
•Are you offering the same products as services as now, or the same as in ten years?
•Have you found your ideal customers yet?
•Are you doing half the volume you’re doing in ten years?
•Are you still going into work every day? What’s your own life like in five years?

3. Back up two more years.

Now that you have your five-year vision, take it back to the three-year version of your business. Ask the same questions, and think about whether or not your three-year vision backs up your five-year vision: are you on the right course? Where do you have to be in here years in order to achieve your five-year goals?

4. Back up to next year.

Finally, flip the script entirely: You need to take a sharp look at the next year — and now you have a ten-year perspective to do it in. So ask yourself: where do I need to be next year to be on track to reach my three-year vision? Use the same criteria, and make sure it’s as specific as possible.

By starting at the top and working your way back, you’ve already set up your goalposts. And with a very specific outline of your one-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year vision, you can start to create a plan and structure for your business that will get you to each benchmark. You can share this vision, and its structure, with your people, inspiring them to follow your lead. You can also check in periodically, and see if you are on pace to make what you need to make happen. If not, you have a good idea of what needs to be modified or adjusted — without losing focus.

The truth is, if you just go on about your daily activities and hope you’ll one day end up where you want to be, changes are, it won’t happen. Eighty percent of new businesses will not survive the first five years — and much of them fall prey to their own functional nearsightedness. Instead, plan out where you want to be and use a vision to guide you. Time flies when you’ve set a course.

Original Article

4 Ways to work smarter, not harder

(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Updated July 22, 2017
Published on February 19, 2014
By Gillian Davis
Entrepreneur Handbook

You’re contemplating taking the dive and setting up your own business, or perhaps you have already. It’s no more 9 to 5, you’re setting your own timelines, you are your own performance review. Your days now vary from being highly productive to highly disruptive. If you’re like me, the thought of doing anything non-work related between 9 to 5 makes you anxious, yet you then end up working all day and throughout the weekend. I’ve come to realize that not only is this ridiculous, it’s also unsustainable!

So what’s the key to settling into the lifestyle of an entrepreneur? Here are some tips I’ve used to help me.

1. Create a project plan

To get somewhere, you have to know where you are going. Your mind is probably running a mile a minute, and you have to lay out a plan to make sure how, and when, you can make those dreams possible.

As a business owner, you should be pretty clear as to what you are going to offer and to whom. You must be very clear on your vision, especially in year one, as to what the product offering is, and an in-depth insight into who your ideal customers are. What do you need to accomplish to get there? Laying out a 12 month, top-level plan will help you see what your year looks like (is it realistic?), the lead time needed for projects, and will allow you to figure out what your priorities are i.e.,. when you need to start planning trips, conferences, vacations, etc. Being clear on your vision and why you’re taking this leap will be the light at the end of the tunnel when days are a bit dark.

Read More …

Reasons Why “The Customer is Always Right” is Wrong

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

THE BLOG 04/15/2014 11:53 am ET | Updated Jun 15, 2014
By Alexander Kjerulf

The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, and is typically used by businesses to convince customers that they will get good service at this company and convince employees to give customers good service.

However, I think businesses should abandon this phrase once and for all — ironically, because it leads to worse customer service.

Here are the top five reasons why “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong.

1: It Makes Employees Unhappy
Read more…

Three Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You In School

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

This short article explores three areas in which any business owner or entrepreneur can improve to make a positive impact on daily management tasks and operations.

Three Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You In School:
Communicating, Multitasking and Paying Attention to Small Details.

Originally posted on March 3, 2016
on entrepreneur.com
Written by guest writer:
Ken Dunn, CEO and Founder of ReadersLegacy.com, Author, Speaker and Publishing Industry Advocate

Understand the Different Components of Marketing

(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Marketing, Advertising, Branding and Public Relations are not the same. It is very important as a business owner to understand the concepts and differences of the terms.

presentation-1311169_1920Marketing begins as early as the research and development stage and involves market research, product development, pricing, sales strategies, distribution, advertising and public relations. A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s marketing efforts for the coming year. It describes business activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame. The purpose of a marketing plan is to clearly show what steps or actions will be taken to achieve company goals.

Advertising is a means of communication with the users of a product or service. This is a strategy or component of the overall marketing plan. Advertisements are messages paid for by those who send them and are intended to inform or influence people who receive them. Advertising is only one part of the marketing process.

Branding is a concept that extends far beyond the marketing of “brand name” products. A company’s brand represents their market identity such as who they are, what they do, and what kind of quality they provide. A company’s brand can be directly influenced by the company’s mission and vision statements and should always be consistent with the marketing process.

Public relation is about selling the company or brand through positively managing the communication channels between a company and its stakeholders. Overall, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while public relation is a continuous process to drive and maintain a positive company reputation.

Endeavor Center Classrooms and Computer Lab

(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Does your business need meeting space or availability to a computer lab? Consider the OSU Endeavor Center when planning your next business event. The Endeavor Center has 3 meeting rooms and a 16 station computer lab available for lease.

The varying sizes of the space allows us to accommodate most requests and each room can be rented for ½ or whole days. Our largest classroom (160) has capacity to seat 72 with tables and chairs and our medium classroom (165) has capacity to seat 30 with tables and chairs. We also have a smaller board room style meeting space (112) that can seat 12. The computer lab is furnished with 16 work stations running Windows 7.

These stations can also be preloaded with necessary training software with the assistance of the OSU IT staff. All rooms are equipped with built in projectors (with the exception of 112) and large white boards. Catering and varying room setup options are available for an additional charge.

Endeavor Center Rm 160 Endeavor Center Rm 165 Endeavor Center Conf. Rm.

Please contact Jennifer Dunn or Ryan Mapes at (740) 289-1605 for pricing and availability.

Visit our website to view the rooms online.

This is the Biggest Mistake Made in Forecasting

(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

business-idea-1240825_1920 (2)

I can put today’s tip in a few words. Having reviewed many business plans, there is one common error that leads to disaster if not addressed. It starts with overly optimistic forecasting. That leads to bad budgeting which quickly ends in negative cash flow. Why are so many projections wrong? Read on…

Let’s look at data for an imaginary industry. We’ll call it the widget industry. A new study says the industry is expected to grow by 50% per year over the next 5 years! Wow! We are in the right business. But because we are smart operators, we’ll take a closer look at this data.

Digging deeper, we find that the widget business in our region is expected grow at a rate slightly larger than the national average. It gets better and better!

We can start the expansion plans. Business is going to be good for the next 5 years. If we are just average, we’ll see a 50% increase! Time to start saving those yacht brochures.

But there’s a problem.

When an industry is projected to grow, remember that will attract more businesses into the industry. Everyone wants in on a 50% year over year boom. In an expanding universe, everything expands, not just sales.

You’ll face at least 50% more competition. 50% more price pressure. 50% more pressure on margin and profit. 50% more pressure from your own customer base. And, experience shows that those pressures will expand at a rate greater than the projected increase in sales. Why? The more attractive it sounds, the more new players rush in.

Boom periods are always followed by shake-outs. Look at any industry that experienced rapid growth and you’ll see a lot of failure approaching the peak of the growth phase. New businesses start that are over-capitalized because they have no fear of risk. They soon find the huge start-up costs to be more than they can cover.

Those established in an industry projected to boom will often expand more than prudent. Better to have too much capacity than too little, right? Wrong. It is far easier and cheaper to add capacity than to get out from under excess capacity.

When the bust starts, and it will, there are buying opportunities everywhere you look. The boom starts with real estate skyrocketing in price. The bust is always marked by the availability of cheap buildings.

Here’s the take away. When projecting into the future, keep in mind that the entire system will expand. When you read that your industry is poised for growth over the coming years, plan for increased competition and market stress.

Do that and your business will survive the correction that always follows.

“Chris Reich, TeachU.com“.