Identifying Business Functions

identifying business functions

Of the many things that you can do to ensure that your company is successful in the long term, identifying business functions is among the most important.

Being able to identify business functions helps you to have a clearly-defined path to guide your company towards.  You will also be to shape the roles of your team and the other people who help you get where you want to be as an entrepreneur.  Knowing about the functions of your business involves being at least somewhat involved in every aspect of your business; whether that’s by being hands-on, acting in a supervisory role, or simply checking progress every so often.

So how do you go about identifying business functions so that you can better shape your company’s future?

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Identifying Business Structure

identifying business structure

Knowing How to Classify Your Company

As an entrepreneur, you’re probably asking yourself about identifying business structure in order to better organize your business to deliver your products and services as efficiently and effortlessly as possible.

By knowing about the organizational structure under which your company works, you’ll not only have a clear idea about who in your company is responsible for what, but what your company is capable of as far as leadership and manpower are concerned.

By having a clear structure in which everyone has a defined role that he or she performs, a job can often get done quickly and without any confusion as to who is responsible for what, but is this kind of organization always needed within a company?

Let’s take a look at the practice of identifying business structure and you’ll get a clear idea about how important it is and whether or not it’s something you’ll need to take up.

The Types of Business Structure

There is no one type of business structure that’s one size fits all.

Since businesses come in all kinds of sizes, so too do the types of structures that cater to those businesses. You wouldn’t need a board of directors for a small, locally owned grocery store anymore than you would attempt to have a single executive run a multinational conglomerate.

Because of this, there are several officially recognized types of business structures that a company can claim, but it all depends on several factors. In addition, each type of structure has its advantages and disadvantages.

So let’s take a look at each type of structure and you’ll be able to determine what’s best for your company.

  • The Sole Proprietorship – Your business is a sole proprietorship is the type of business you run when you are the only employee involved. Whether you simply want to make a little money on the side in order to supplement your full time job or you feel as though you’re enough of an expert in a given subject that you could be successful as a consultant, the sole proprietorship is the business structure you would classify your company as so long as you’re the only employee.
  • The Partnership – This is the structure you would follow if you were starting a company with another person or a small group of people. If you are identifying business structure as a partnership, then it’s important to know that all of the partners are accountable for profit, loss, and liability. Likewise, each partner has a legitimate claim to profit as they are considered joint owners of the company.
  • Corporation – This is the most complex of business structures due to all of the people involved, as well the number of laws that are in place specifically to govern corporations. This type of business structure is unique from the others in that corporations are, in a sense “people.” While a group of entrepreneurs may form a corporation, it eventually becomes a separate entity from those founders. Under law, this means that a corporation can legally do things that people like you and I can do like open bank accounts and own property. Unlike other types of structures, the owners of corporations are not responsible for things like debt and lawsuits. Any financial judgments made against a corporation are taken from its assets, not those of its share and stockholders.
  • Limited Liability Company – This is a fairly new classification of business structure that combines some of the features of both partnership and corporation. If you are identifying business structure as an LLC, then you should know that LLC status is typically granted by state statute. Within an LLC, owners may be individual members, corporations, and other LLCs and most states allow an LLC to have only one member. Identifying business structure as an LLC is advantageous because it allows you more flexibility in how you manage your business as opposed to what you can do with corporation status.

These are the basic types of business structure that you can use for classification when you begin building up your company.

It’s important to remember that each type of structure has its own setup procedures, paperwork, and red tape that you have to work through in order to make sure that you are in compliance with the law. Therefore, it pays to speak with your CPA and lawyer to make sure that everything involved with identifying business structure is in line before you actually get started.

By knowing the rules associated with each type of business structure, and just what the advantages and disadvantages are with each one, you can be well on your way to running a successful company that will be on the minds of your customers for years to come.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more interesting topics to help you successfully manage the challenges of growing your business profitably, please search our blog at our website www.portalcfo.com.

This post is a part of a series that helps you identify opportunities and problems within your small business.
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Identifying Business Strategy

identifying business strategy

Identifying business strategy is an important part of running your own company, no matter what industry you operate in.  I would say that doing this is especially true for small and medium-size businesses that are nowhere near the level of maturity that many of their competitors have reached.  When it comes down to it, being aware of your corporate strategy is very much like developing your business plan during the beginning stages of your business.  The difference here is that you could argue that business strategy planning for future development once your business is up and running is much more involved than initial business planning.

Since your company has begun establishing itself in its sector, gathering a steady customer base, and bringing in a respectable amount of revenue every quarter, it only makes sense that the stakes are higher now.

By identifying business strategy, you can make sure that your company continues to follow the path that brought from its infancy into the role of a legitimate business and continues to take it farther than that.

So let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can make sure you identify and establish the right strategies in order to achieve long-term objectives.

Analyze Your Situation

When you’re planning anything, whether it’s related to business or not, you want to look at the situation and try to consider any factors that might affect your plans.

As far as your company is concerned, this would mean making sense of your business environment. That would include factors like:

  • Knowing your industry – Is your industry currently in an upturn or downturn? Is the nature of your industry such where new developments are always emerging (i.e. technology)? Are there times of the year that are bigger for your industry than others (i.e. toys and Christmas)?

Questions like these should be on your mind all the time, but they should be especially prevalent when it comes to identifying business strategy.

  • Knowing your customers – You wouldn’t be anywhere without them, so it helps to know just who your serve so that you can further capitalize on your efforts and strengthen your reputation among consumers.
  • Assessing the viability of your ideas – While you’re analyzing your situation, it pays to know just how plausible any ideas you might come up with would be. You may want to test certain practices, seek advice from colleagues and mentors, and study any similar situations that may have occurred in the past

Testing your ideas will allow you to see how well they might thrive in the market or, conversely, how poorly they might do if rolled out on a larger scale.  By testing your ideas early, you can either generate a positive buzz and create anticipation for a future product, or kill an idea before it hurts your revenue and reputation.  Analyzing your situation is a step in the right direction but, once you’ve done that, it’s time to follow through.  After you’ve looked at the circumstances, the next step is identifying business strategy by establishing long term goals.

Key Long Term Goal Areas to Examine

Since every business is different, there is no true one-size-fits-all formula for coming up with an effective business strategy, but there are a few areas in which every business should establish goals.

Some of those can include:

  • Your standing compared to the competition – Look at what the companies you compete against do as far as business is concerned and figure out where you want to be. By knowing your standing, you can figure out if there are things that you can do better than them, capitalize on those areas, and try to take some of their market share.
  • Your employees – Not only do your employees serve as the face of your company, their skill drives it; which makes them a core part of identifying business strategy.

From providing additional training in important skill sets, to implementing policies that keep morale and productivity high, you should work to develop your employees and offer an example that other companies will want to follow.

  • Growth – This goes hand in hand with planning your business’s future, but you should clarify just what kind of growth you want to achieve.

Do you want to get a larger office? Open additional locations? Expand the variety of offerings you bring to the market? Expand the geographic area that receives your product?  Growth in business can mean many different things and part of identifying business strategy has to do with just how you want to grow.  By identifying the type of growth that you want your company to achieve, you can establish a clear path for how to get there.

In order to plan a corporate strategy effectively, you have to look to the past, the present and the future.  Only by knowing where you’ve been, where you are right now, and knowing where you want to go in the future, can you establish a strong, well-thought out plan that will help you navigate your industry and outmaneuver your competition.

By taking the right steps in identifying business strategy, you can not only avoid actions that might harm your business, but seize opportunities that will take it to great places.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more valuable articles to help you successfully manage the challenges of growing your business profitably, please click here to join my Business Brief and check out my blog at www.portalcfo.com.

This post is a part of a series that helps you identify opportunities and problems within your small business.
Click here to read more related posts.

Identifying Business Requirements

business requirements

In operating a business, you know that it’s important that everyone benefits from the products and services that you offer, right?  That is why identifying business requirements is such an important practice.  With the time, resources, and manpower that often go into developing your offerings, the last thing you want to happen is for your efforts to go to waste as the finished product doesn’t fulfill any of the needs that have to be addressed.

In order to do this effectively, it’s important to ask of your business:

  • What” are we doing?
  • Why” are we doing it?

With these questions on your mind, you will be well on your way to establishing the kinds of practices that will be beneficial to your operations in your long term.  This applies to what you do internally at face value, but it’s important to remember that the “what” and “why” are followed closely by the “how.”  How you end up doing things will directly affect not just your own team, but your customers and other stakeholders as well.

So, just how do you go about identifying business requirements?

Ask Yourself Who’s Involved

When I say that, I don’t just mean those among your personnel, but those among your customer base as well.  Every decision that you make likely affects your customers somehow. In some instances, the effects are so minute that the customers might not even notice, but you want to go into the decision-making process with the mindset that everyone is going to be impacted. This will allow you to get their input on what should be included during the development process.

By gathering input and finding out what people expect from whatever it might be that you’re developing, you can create an offering that will address as many of those needs as possible. This is an important step in the process of identifying business requirements because doing this early on will not only help you avoid potential setbacks, but any potential issues with the product can be caught and addressed early on.

Look to the Future

When it comes to running a business, it never hurts to have a plan for where you want to be within a certain time frame.  It could be month-to-month or annually.  Having some foresight about how you want things to develop could serve as a sort of road map for where you want to go.

In all likelihood, some details on your vision might change. You may find that your vision was too ambitious and you have to scale back some expectations, or you may find that you can take on more than you initially believed you could.  Either way, looking forward is a good method for identifying business requirements simply because having a plan for future development will keep you on the task of reaching that goal. Having that goal in your sights will allow you to figure out just what tools you need in order to get there.

Run Tests

Even while looking ahead is a good way of identifying business requirements, you have to remain rooted in the here and now to make sure that everything continues to go smoothly.  That’s why, when introducing a change, either internally or externally, it pays to test something out before rolling it out completely.

It happens all the time in many industries:

  • Technology firms and car companies will build prototypes
  • Restaurants may roll out a new menu item in certain regions before deciding whether or not to go national
  • Software companies often have alpha and beta tests for their products before going to retail with them

These are just a few examples where it pays to test something in order to make sure that it has viability in the market.  Running those tests is a good way of identifying business requirements.  So you should do it, no matter what your industry is.

The same practice can be applied internally as well. You may have new policies that you’re considering implementing.  Rolling them out gradually to see how people within your company adapt to them is almost always preferable to putting them in front of everyone and simply saying “this is the way it’s going to be.”

It could be that something you thought might be a morale booster ended up doing nothing of the sort or that a new policy that you put into play helped in identifying business requirements that you weren’t initially aware were necessary.

With any endeavor that has the power to change the way your company does business, whether it’s an effect on employee morale or a complete operational overhaul, cautious steps are always better than rushing into it.

Your Business Requirements Affect Everyone

At the end of the day, every step in the process of identifying business requirements should be conducted with those who are going be affected in mind.  Whatever you are doing to change your company, it has to benefit as many people as possible while still being a viable course of action.  With careful planning and the right implementation over time, you can certainly use those requirements to shape your business into something special.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more valuable articles to help you successfully manage the challenges of growing your business profitably, please search our blog at our website www.portalcfo.com.

This post is a part of a series that helps you identify opportunities and problems within your small business.
Click here to read more related posts.

Identifying Business Drivers

Identifying Business Drivers

Why Knowing What Drives Your Company is Important

As an entrepreneur, you owe it to yourself, your employees, and anyone else who has a vested interest in your company to make the business as profitable as you can. You can make sure that happens by identifying business drivers that will bring in more revenue as time goes on.

With the competition becoming more aggressive, making sure that customers continue coming through your doors can be a difficult enough task. Without growth, however, you could risk losing your market share through stagnation.

That’s why it pays to know what causes people to choose your services over what your competitors offer and to be aware of key business performance indicators/KPI’s.

Only by being fully-aware of those driving factors can you foster growth and make sure that your company is able to not just weather tough financial times, but fully-capitalize on the conditions of strong economic climates as well.

As you know, there are a number of factors that influence whether or not people come through your doors, so it isn’t as simple as pinning down a single trend, event, or practice that makes money and causes your business to thrive.

So what are some ways that you can go about identifying business drivers to help your business thrive?

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Identifying Business Problems

business growth planning

Identifying business problems is a big part of how you handle the issue of your company not making as much money as it realistically could be. Being able to quickly identify problems within your business is even more important when your company is losing money.

In many instances, a problem with a business may not be readily apparent from the start. It isn’t uncommon for a problem to go unnoticed until it’s been around long enough to cause some damage.  At that point, you and your team could find yourselves scrambling to deal with the issue, so that you minimize the impact.

Even if you manage to catch it quickly, your revenue and market share could suffer just as easily as your reputation with your customers and clients.

So how do you go about Identifying Business Problems so that you can deal with them as early as possible?

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Business Reorganization Consulting

business reorganization consulting

Going through the process of restructuring your business can be difficult enough that you should consider business reorganization consulting in order to make sure the process goes smoothly for everyone involved.  With the economy being the way it is right now, many businesses of all sizes and industries are changing the way that they operate. Some are scaling back on operations by reducing staff or changing locations to cut costs. Others are repurposing their staff and consolidating roles.

During economic times like this, it isn’t uncommon to see mergers and acquisitions occur so that a company on the brink of failure can keep its doors open. Nor is it uncommon to see a company completely rebrand itself and radically change its offerings in order to weather an economic downturn.

Regardless of the reason why your company is changing the way it does things, having business reorganization consulting can make sure that you’re able to turn your company around and get through the restructuring process without missing a step that could come back to haunt you later.

So what are some of the areas that you need to cover when you’re restructuring? Let’s take a look.

Key Areas and Characteristics

No one walks away unaffected when it comes to reorganizing a company. From the executives at the very top to the newest entry-level hires, everyone is going to feel the impact of this major event one way or another.

As a result, this fact extends to all areas of your company as well. Departments and practices like management, marketing, and accounting are all going to change in some way. Beyond those, you need to consider areas like:

  • Your Assets – How will these be affected when you reorganize?

Depending on the nature of the restructuring, some might remain intact, but others might have to be sold in order to generate revenue during the restructuring process. If some of your assets are underutilized, it might be in your best interest to dump them and keep them from becoming liabilities.

  • Basic Operations – Restructuring means taking a look at every part of your business, including the everyday practices that turn the wheels of the company.

In some instances, you’ll have to ask yourself if certain aspects of your operation can be outsourced for more efficient, more cost-effective output than what your company currently produces.

  • Your Reputation – Business reorganization consulting would, in part, advise you on how to maintain your relationship with your customers through effective public relations that assures them your restructuring will do nothing but benefit them.

As you know, customers vote with their dollars, so you want to do everything that you can to make sure that you don’t lose your base as your company changes its operations.

  • Your Plan – Without a strong business plan, you’re not going to get anywhere. That’s why it’s important to know exactly where you’re going as you work through your restructuring. You can use it to assess the current state of your business and establish goals that you want to reach, as well as a timeline for when you want to reach them.
  • Your Debt – Business reorganization consulting will help you make sense of your debt and how it relates to your plans to restructure.

It’s important that you have a strong understanding of your debt obligations at all times, and that means, among other things, carefully monitoring payments that you make on it.  It’s possible that, in analyzing this part of your business, you will have to rely on some negotiations with your creditors. It’s important to make sure that all of your affairs are in order when you’re reorganizing your company’s operations and the areas discussed on this page are just a few that you’ll need to be familiar with during the process.

With business reorganization consulting, you can make sure that each area of your business gets the attention it needs during restructuring, so that you’ll be able to adopt new business practices without any trouble.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more interesting topics to help you successfully manage the challenges of growing your business profitably, please search our blog at our website www.portalcfo.com.