Summary: Taking a look at your business model and revamping it may be the solution to any financial woes you may be harboring.
How much time has passed since you’ve taken a good look at every aspect of your car rental business? You might be thinking back to when you first started drafting your business plan. Well, how is it doing now? Are your goals clear? Are you working towards these goals, and actually improving along the way? Is it where you want it to be?
By asking yourself these questions, you’ll stay involved in every angle of your rental business. You have to be obsessed with crunching numbers and stay focused on the end goal. How well you perform these things will correlate to how well your business runs in the future.
Revisit Your Business Model
Take the time to look at the vehicles you’re offering, the customers you’re doing business with, and the market. Consider all of the possibilities and find ways to challenge your business model so you can exceed what you originally planned. After all, every business wants to thrive and grow into a successful company. Perhaps you could extend a service that provides a car lease to Abu Dhabi, Asia or other areas in the world that are high in tourism. Or, you could offer a variety of different packages that allow customers to take advantage of reasonable prices. The opportunities are endless.
Know Your Customer Base and Adapt
While you might be obsessed with making the most money that you can, you have to let your customer base dictate how you make the next business move. For instance, say you have a customer claiming that they found a lower rate at Monte Carlo Rent a Car, LLC and wants to know if you can price match it. There are two options you have here. You can either tell the customer off and lose business, or you can work with him and come to a mutually beneficial agreement that still brings in some money to your business. Little choices like this tend to stray from the ordinary business model and rely on instinct.
Finance needs to play a big role in any business enterprise as a strong finance team will help to build a strong, healthy business. Here are some key tips that will help management get the most from their finance team.
Training and development – The role of the finance team have moved from traditional governance like accounting, auditing, and budgeting to include areas like advanced analytics, demand planning, pricing, etc. Therefore, finance teams will need the right training and development with the right software and hardware to provide the information that is needed to make key decisions. Start by analyzing the knowledge gap that exists within your department and then look at suitable training plans to bridge this gap.
Finance transformation – Finance transformation are strategic initiatives that improve the service provided by the finance department. Tasks can include shortening a budget cycle, reducing overheads to implementing new accounting software. The general goal is to align finance to the overall strategy of the company. Start with the core responsibilities of finance like governance, scale, and services before looking into other areas.
Avoid broad goals – It is best to avoid broad goals like being a world-class finance team and instead look at reducing costs and increasing services offered. However, make sure that the cost reductions are realistic and that the company follows standard industry benchmarks. Allow sufficient time for a finance team to add new services and to get accustomed to the process. Sufficient time will help to smoothen out any issues and help to build a standard process that can be followed by everyone.
Businesses pay for every transaction they process, and usually a penalty for chargebacks. Chargebacks are not good, they amount to a dispute between the credit card company, and whoever is trying to collect from the customer. Too many of these, and your account could be revoked or put in the “high risk” category. In this guide, you’ll learn how to reduce your odds of facing one.
Let Customers Know Your Policies
Major retailers print out their return statements on the back of a receipt because they know that customers will need that information sooner or later. Not every store has that option, so put a page up on your website in addition to having something at the register. Reminder your employees to tell customers your return policy. Don’t be afraid of returns, they are a marginal part of doing business, and customers will usually buy something else from you to replace the return.
Some store owners think refunds are bad, so they offer store credit only. On some items, it’s unavoidable, but refunds are good for the customer and your business because they avoid chargebacks. If you decline a refund, and the customer disputes the charge, then you’ve lost a customer and taken a ding on your merchant account.
Trust but verify. Ask your customers to present ID for any transaction involving their card, make sure you check the ID and that you check the CVV or CVV2 code to complete the transaction. Some of these measures can be taken periodically, others should be done every transaction.
When you’re shipping to customers, make sure your fulfillment is as soon as possible. It’s important to send packages to customers before they decide to chargeback. If you can, include a tracking number and email the customer updates on his or her order.
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An effective manager will have to communicate with his/her accounting and finance professionals team to ensure daily business activities and projects are completed as per the plan. Here are six tips that will help a manager effectively communicate with his/her finance department.
Ask them to speak up – Ask your finance team to be more vocal and request for their feedback, questions, and concerns.
Check in often – Often remind your accounting team that you value their input and need their expertise to ensure that the business runs smoothly.
Don’t catch people off guard – Avoid waiting till an annual appraisal to give your team feedback, as this will give no time for a staff member or team to improve. Look at informally offering regular performance reviews.
Give it to them straight – Accounting professionals will value a communication style that is honest, reliable and direct.
Be specific – Accounting professionals will focus on data, so if you want them to work on something ensure that you are precise, accurate and technical. Avoid being general and request for numbers that will help you understand the situation better.
Ward off rumors – Office gossip can confuse employees and create misinformation and half truths. When you’re speaking to the finance team, request for information in numbers as this will provide a more accurate picture of a problem.
Training – Adding training programs to help employees communicate better is a good way to help departments and managers communicate more effectively.
Small businesses are often tight on budgets and therefore should include energy saving methods to reduce their utility bills. Here are seven tools and tips for small businesses to save money on energy.
Increase the efficiency of your boiler – Upgrading and cleaning your boiler will improve its efficiency. Look at removing soot, scale and fixing leaks to reduce costs at your facility.
Insulate piping and ductwork – Pipping and ductwork done properly will reduce heat losses, saving energy and costs.
Replace inefficient lighting – Look at energy efficient lighting that will reduce your energy consumption and produce less heat.
Upgrade your AC – New air conditioners will use less than 50% less electricity than those used in the 1970s. Therefore, upgrading your AC can reduce your electricity costs by at least 30%.
Reduce fan speeds – Reducing your fan speed by one notch will reduce your energy consumption by as much as 30%.
Disconnect non-essential loads – If you have appliances like coffee makers, water coolers, vending machines and registers that are not in use, it is best to switch them on when needed or sell them to reduce your energy load.
Maintain your electrical distribution system – Look at a well-maintained electrical system that will distribute, protect electrical usage and reduce electrical energy usage. You will need a qualified electrician to assess your business to rectify any issues.
A start-up’s finance team is the key to ensuring a start-up stays a float. Building a finance team from scratch can be difficult. Here are some tips that can help you get started.
When should I add finance staff? – Your finance team should be hired as soon as possible, instead of expecting key players to take on this role. Avoid failing in this area as it can have serious
What positions should I fill first? – If the organization is a forward thinking one, it is best to look at a financial analyst first. However, if someone on your team is handling this area, look at investing in someone to manage payables and receivables. You could also start by hiring a CFO and then look at an accountant to handle day-to-day tasks. Afterward look at filling middle management positions like an accounting manager or a controller.
Previous startup experience needed? – Your candidates don’t necessarily have to have previous start-up experience, but they should be able to fill a role that will involve a lot of multi-tasking.
Contract or permanent staff? – The choice of selecting contract or permanent staff will depend on the market and the specific skills you are after. A combination of both is advisable to ensure you get the right resources you require. Start off by hiring for your immediate needs and then look at what areas need improvement.
Warren Buffett is one of the richest people in the world, and he has been an inspiration to many. Here are some wise words that will help anyone in business.
- “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago” – The lesson here is to look at the future and see what methods of investing, saving or spending can help you lead a more comfortable life or one that achieves your goals or dreams.
- “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for ten years” – Invest in businesses that are stable but look at holding your investment for the long-term. As your investment matures, keep an eye on it to ensure that it is still valuable and your original reasons to buy still apply.
- “Price is what you pay; value is what you get” – The price you pay for something and the value you receive from it are quite different. Therefore, it is important to buy stock that you believe is more valuable than the share price in the market
“Cash … is to business as oxygen is to an individual: never thought about when it is present, the only thing in mind when it is absent” – This lesson is an important one, Buffett understands the importance of keeping an “Emergency fund.” Your emergency fund will help you face financial challenges with ease and eventually when you come out of it; your business will be stronger.
Summary: Global money transfers are relied on more than ever in today’s economy. Here’s how it’s done.
One of the most pivotal components of today’s modern economy is the global money transfer system. As large-scaled businesses are continue to shift their focus on cutting costs by outsourcing work to contractors overseas, there’s a substantial increase in the amount of global transfers.
The Utilization of Online Wallets
One unique way of transferring money online is through the use of an online wallet. For some individuals, the wallet is either a checking or savings accounts. This allows the consumer to maintain a fair currency exchange rate when spending around the globe – essentially when one works with any merchant service that will accept credit cards online. Also, for businesses that send their employees to various countries, it’s also a significant factor in cutting costs.
Bitcoin: The Currency of the Future
Bitcoin is considered the most popular forms of crypto currencies. Furthermore, it’s also being utilized across the globe as we speak. With a complex algorithm system, money is safely transferred from country to country without duplication concerns. This is done similar to that of a merchant credit card processing system, but varies in the amount of keys that are assigned to each transaction. Already, the economy is witnessing a substantial increase in digital currency, and it’s only the beginning. It may become a universally accepted means of money transfer, but only time will tell.
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Starting a new business can be difficult and involve many financial mistakes. Here are six financial tips for entrepreneurs launching a startup.
Manage your cash flow – It is important that new startups are aware of where their money is coming in from and going. Manage your cash flow by hiring an experienced accountant or by taking a few courses in accounting basics to understand your financial position.
Monitor spending – Understanding how your business is spending its money is important as it will give you a good idea about how to manage your business and maintain growth.
Limit your fixed expenses in the beginning – Avoid investing in an elaborate office and furnishings and instead concentrate on how you can grow your business and generate revenue.
Remain optimistic but prepare for the worst – Business environments are ever changing, therefore stay alert and prepare for the worst. Make sure that your business has grown before you decide to quit your current job and eliminate your main source of income.
Reserves – It is important that you have personal and business reserves that you can tap into when bad situations arise. Remember that as an entrepreneur, you have to take control of your retirement fund to ensure that you have something to fall back on when you are unable to work anymore.
Every minute has monetary value – Small businesses revolve around the owner and therefore your time is very valuable. Schedule your daily activities to ensure that you have sufficient time to look into all aspects of your business.
Summary: Passive income has become a popular market for those that want to earn money without putting forth much effort.
Passive income can be defined as money that flows in on a regular basis without requiring a substantial amount of effort to be put in. Now, the idea behind this is to make an initial investment and allow everything to fall into place. Afterwards, there’s minimal maintenance involved and one reaps the benefits. That being said, not all passive income opportunities are beneficial for you. For investors, you’ll want to build a solid portfolio, which means understanding which passive investing strategies are worth pursuing.
Real Estate Investments
The real estate market, despite its ups and downs, remains to be a preferred choice for investors that want long-term returns. Investing in rental property can provide a solid source of regular income that comes in on a monthly basis. On the other hand, the investor has to put a 20% down payment to purchase the property, but that may not be an option for those that aren’t saving regularly. Once the tenants are installed, there’s little to do but wait for the rent checks to start flowing in.
The P2P industry is barely a decade old, and the market has grown substantially within that time frame. Investors that want to help other while adding passive income to their portfolio tend to look to P2P lending for a golden opportunity.
There are fewer barriers to enter this market as opposed to other types of investments. Some P2P platforms will allow investors to fund loans with as little as $25. The road to success with P2P however, lies with diversification. Remember, you’re funding individuals that you don’t know. You’ll have to rely on their credit score and other information that’s made available to you. If they end up defaulting on their loan, your initial investment will be lost. This is why investors will strategize and invest in multiple loans to minimize their losses.
Bio: An entrepreneur by trade, Omar Amanat is a successful investor that has seen his fair share in the technology and finance industry.