Here’s a recent article from Inc. magazine on some research which tries to identify the characteristics of successful small business.
As a small business, getting finance is always a big problem- even more so nowadays with poorer economic times. And let’s not say too much about the banks! An alternative funding source to get you off the ground might be crowd funding. What you ask? Well, the basic idea is to get a “crowd” of people to all provide a small amount of money to help start your business venture. So if you needed €2,000 to kick start you venture, could you get 200 people to “donate” €10 each – I say donate as they may not get any return from it. But where’s the crowd you ask? Well, social networking is the “in thing” nowadays it seems. You could use you business and social networking contacts as a start. If this is not sufficient, there are some websites out there you may help. Kickstarter.com is one such site ( here’s a recent piece from inc.com “How to Use Kickstarter to Launch a Business“. While such site are in their infancy and may still be more common in the US than Europe, don’t rule them out straight away. Crowd financing may be a viable answer to those smaller one-off ventures, but you know what, sometime these turn into a great and booming business.
One of the most common issues in small business today is cash flow. As sales decrease and consumers have less cash, smaller businesses are finding it difficult to get paid in some cases. I have spoken to 3 or 4 small business owners here (in Ireland) in the past week or so and while they are all “ticking over”, they all recounted difficulties in getting paid – none are cash only businesses. Some are sailing quite close to the wind with their bank overdrafts. Trying to live within the overdraft limit can become a daily task. And of course, it’s a viscous circle and both suppliers and customers are often experiencing similar cash flow issues.
To relate the kind of problems businesses are facing, and maybe you’ll get some help here, read the 5 blog posts by Paul Downs in the NYTimes. He has a small cabinet making business in Pennsylvania. Yes, ok it’s a US example, but the problems are the same as those in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe at the moment. Here’s a link to the first post from a week in Paul’s business.
Links to the other four posts follow on from the above link.
Ok, this post was written in the NYTimes Blogs on April 1st, but anyone with younger kids know’s the love Eugene Krabs (from SpongeBob Squarepants) has for cash.
As someone once said, cash is king!
I read an article recently from Inc Magazine -“How to Track Your Company’s Critical Numbers” – which a useful piece on how to watch the key numbers in your business. The article emphasises the need to achieve a balance between having a good accountant, and not being too reliant on them at the same time. You don’t need to be an accountant yourself to keep a track on key figures and ratios in your business.