Newsclips Featured

9:43am EDT July 22, 2002
How deep is your talent pool?

Suzanne Dibble’s top five factors in attracting, keeping and losing talent are:

Top five attractors

1. Benefits

2. All around good employer

3. Flexibility in hours

4. Co-workers are good

5. Salary

Top five preventers of leaving

1. Waiting to finish my education

2. Benefits

3. Loyalty

4. Do not believe I can match my pay

5. Lose seniority

Top five reasons for leaving

1. Lack of career opportunities

2. No opportunity to move up

3. Dead-end job

4. Was not paid what I was worth

5. Better offer

From the book ”Keeping Your Valuable Employees: Retention Strategies for Your Organization’s Most Important Resource,” published by John Wiley & Sons.

I pay them in bits and bytes

Available through Powerpay.com is Powerpay Internet Payroll Services, a pure Internet-delivered payroll system accessible from anywhere, anytime, with same-day payroll processing, reporting and tax filing; background checks and drug screening; optional employee benefits programs available through deductions; full retirement plan administration; and premium only, Section 125 plans for employees.

Powerpay, a service of Ceridian Corp., is targeted exclusively at small businesses.

Where did my cash flow go?

The small business experts at American Express recommend the following step-by-step plan to guide small business owners preparing a cash flow projection.

1) Cash on hand. Count your cash at the beginning of the first month of your projection. This amount is your cash on hand. In succeeding months, the ending cash balance from one month will be carried over as the beginning cash balance of the next month.

2) Cash receipts. Record cash sales, credit card sales, collections from credit accounts and any interest income. The key is recording receipts in the months the money is paid, not the month the sale is made.

3) Account receivable. Record anticipated receivables in the months they are to be paid. If there are no records that show how long it takes individual customers to pay, calculate an average collection period by dividing total sales from the previous year by 365. Then divide by the dollar value of current accounts receivable. That number is the average number of days it takes to collect on a bill and should be used as a guide to forecast payments over the next year.

4) Miscellaneous cash. Account for anticipated miscellaneous cash infusions, including new loans from banks or family members, or stock offerings.

5) Total cash available. For each month in your projection, add the amounts in steps one through four. This figure shows the total cash available to you each month.

6) Cash paid out. Calculate spending in each month. First, assess operating expenses. Note every expense in the month it will be paid, not the month it is incurred, and be sure to include the following:

  • Wages and benefits.

  • Monthly stipends to owners.

  • Subcontracting and outside services, including cost of labor materials.

  • Purchases of materials for use in making a product or service.

  • Supplies for use in the business.

  • Repairs and maintenance.

  • Packaging, shipping and delivery costs.

  • Travel, car and parking costs.

  • Advertising and promotion.

  • Professional services.

  • Regular monthly payments such as rent, phone and utilities.

  • Insurance.

  • Taxes, including sales and payroll.

  • Interest due on loans.

  • Miscellaneous.

    22) Other costs. Calculate the ongoing costs of doing business, including the following:

  • Loan principal payments.

  • Capital expenditures.

  • Start-up costs.

  • Reserve or escrow monies.

  • Owner’s withdrawal — payment of owner’s income tax, Social Security taxes, health insurance etc.

28) Total cash paid out. Add the costs of doing business to the subtotal for operating expenses. This figure is the total cash paid out, and reflects estimates for the total cash needed every month.

29) Determine monthly cash flow. Subtract total cash paid out (Step 8) from total cash available (Step 5). The difference is a firm’s monthly cash position — or cash flow. Cash flow projections should be updated monthly.

SBA, changing with the times?

“Through our new emphasis on oversight and risk management, we are expanding our recent efforts to hold our business resource partners more accountable for prudently delivering effective and efficient help to the small business community,” according to the recently released SBA plan.

The SBA says it’s changing with the times.

It is now serving a more diverse small business sector, using the Internet and e-commerce to be more productive, and recognizing that small businesses will increasingly do business internationally.

The number of minority-owned businesses has increased by 168 percent over the past decade and their revenues have grown by 343 percent, according to the SBA. Women-owned businesses grew by 89 percent over the past decade, about twice as fast as businesses in general.

The agency will now place a greater focus on rural and inner city firms, Native American and veteran-owned companies and small exporters.

What kind of boss are you?

Onvia.com offers the following tips on determining whether you are a good boss:

  • Are you confident? You need to be comfortable making decisions based on your skill, knowledge and experience.

  • Are you visible? Circulating through the work area makes you seem more approachable, increases your familiarity with your employees and encourages them to be more productive.

  • Are you a good listener? Employees love to be heard.

  • Are you honest? Your success depends on whether your subordinates can trust your word.

  • Are you interested? Asking questions not only increases your knowledge, it also shows you care.

  • Are you genuine? Simply being yourself is the best way to gain trust.

  • Are you generous? Sharing credit for your success builds loyalty.

  • Are you consistent? Don’t be a tyrant one day and a pussycat the next. Flip-flopping between styles confuses employees.

  • Are you responsible? No one respects a boss who blames others when something goes wrong.

  • Are you compassionate? Employees appreciate knowing they can go to their boss if they have a problem.

Net assets

Ninety-five percent of banks responding to a recent survey said they increasingly use the Internet to acquire and serve small business customers, The American Banker reports.

Banks consider their online small business customers more profitable and more loyal than those using traditional channels, according to the Consumer Bankers Association study.

But despite the proliferation of the Internet, a dedicated sales force is still the most important delivery channel for small business banking, the study concludes.

That is true “not only today, but looking into the future as well,” said the study’s author, Kathleen McClave.

Though 82 percent of responding banks said they provide information and some customer service on their Web sites, “site functionality is still fairly limited, as less than half can really offer loan and deposit applications,” McClave said.

Going once, going twice

Ever consider listing your goods on an online auction site? You might want to. Forty-six percent of Internet users participate in online auctions, reports research firm Greenfield Online, and bidders outnumber sellers 3-to-1.

However, auctions aren’t fail-safe. Both sellers and buyers can be stung by deals that go awry, although buyers — who often send money for products, sight unseen — shoulder the most risk. In the last two years, there has been a 100 percent increase in auction-fraud reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

To help you sell ethically and successfully through auctions, the FTC offers these guidelines:

  • Provide an accurate description of the item you’re selling, including all terms of the sale and who will pay shipping costs.

  • Respond quickly to questions bidders raise during the auction.

  • Contact the high bidder as soon as possible after the auction closes to confirm details of the sale.

  • Ship the merchandise as soon as you receive payment.

Psychological success

Pitney Bowes recently sponsored a survey of more than 1,400 small-business owners to identify the psychological traits and attitudes that lead to success. The results: Five types of potentially prosperous small business owners. Which best describes you?

Idealist (24 percent of respondents)

Idealists start businesses because they have a great idea or want to work on something special — not because they enjoy managing the financial details of running a company. This group is the most willing to work for someone else.

Optimizer (21 percent)

Optimizers enjoy running a business and would never con

sider working for someone else. They focus on maximizing profits, not necessarily expanding the size of their company. They are savvy about technology and financial matters, which allows them to generate more revenue per employee than many other businesses.

Hard worker (20 percent)

These business owners love what they do and crave growth. The successful ones develop long-term growth plans and stick with them. They exercise broad personal control and concern themselves with every detail.

Juggler (20 percent)

There are never enough hours in the day for jugglers. They are intimately involved with every aspect of their business and reluctant to relinquish control to staff. They take pride in their ability to coordinate all the elements of their operation and are always looking for ways to improve their business.

Sustainer (15 percent)

Sustainers are likely to have inherited their business or bought it. They are the most conservative of small business owners and the least likely to incur additional debt. They enjoy their work and have little interest in expanding their business.