What Comes First: Business Strategy or Tax Strategy?

Any business advisor will tell you the answer, but what’s happening in the real world?

Here are a few examples:

VAT

When Jeanne started her exercise class business, she decided after taking advice that she wouldn’t register for VAT. It makes sense. If you want to compete with everyone else then you can’t charge 20% higher prices to include VAT. But now she’s stuck. She can’t grow the business beyond the VAT threshold because she would have to increase her prices or take a significant reduction in margin. Now she’s contemplating setting up separate businesses to boost her earnings. It’s quickly going to get complicated – she can do without all the distraction of doubling the admin work.

Five years in to running his hair salon, Scott takes a day off a week and shuts early some days just to limit his takings to keep them below the VAT threshold. But he’s living hand-to-mouth.

Which came first in these two cases: tax strategy or business strategy? The payoff of course is that both businesses reduce their tax bill, but at what cost?

I’m sure this isn’t what was intended when a VAT registration threshold was included in the VAT legislation created in 1973.

Income Tax

John runs a sole-tradership and draws money from the business as he needs it and, more importantly, when it’s available during the year. His accountant then finds the most tax efficient way at the year-end to distribute his drawings between salary, expenses and dividends. Cashflow is not managed proactively, so while John knows what’s in the bank he doesn’t keep track of every due payment or receipt so he sometimes draws too much and leaves the business short of cash. This regularly causes him to have sleepless nights.

Norman runs a limited company and runs it the same way. He takes no salary as such and reinvests most of the profits into the business to fund growth. He restricts his drawings to pay as little tax as possible. He’s looking to exit the business in 3-5 years. Unfortunately, because he’s not taking any kind of salary, let alone a market rate salary, he has no idea how profitable the business truly is and is complicating things for himself when he eventually come to sell.

Ken is looking to buy a new vehicle for his business, that he will use personally too, in order to reduce his tax bill. However, his tax savings are less than savings he’ll make obtaining a vehicle this way compared to some of the alternatives.

Which came first in these cases – business strategy or tax strategy? Again, the payoff is a lower tax bill, but at what cost in terms of business growth and equity?

These examples are not rare. Many micro-businesses and SMEs are operated in a way that minimises tax liabilities. Their business strategy is defined by their tax strategy. In the real world, it seems, tax strategy more often takes priority over business strategy.

And in every case described it is stunting the growth potential of the business. That may be OK in some cases, where the owner doesn’t want to grow. However, where they do it is holding them back. In any case, all businesses should be looking to grow at least a little just to overcome the effects of inflation!

So what’s the solution? Some say that the government should change the tax rules to benefit SMEs even more. Others might point out that accountants are well placed to help business owners put business strategy before tax strategy. However, both of these “solutions” abdicate responsibility. Governments will forever tinker with tax rules, shaving a bit here and adding a bit there. The overall result is added complexity, confusion and probably a ligher wallet. Tax advisers will prioritise minimising the tax bill because that’s their job and the tangible, immediate benefits show how good they are at it.

The solution then is for business owners to recognise that a successful business should pay taxes. That a successful person contributes to society by paying taxes. And to be successful means developing and implementing a business strategy that will achieve their goals not minimise tax.

With a business strategy in place, then a tax strategy can be applied to mimimise the tax liability of that strategy without strangling business growth.

So how do you create a business strategy? There are books written on the subject, but here are the essentials:

Define what you want to achieve, or start with the end in mind as they say. I don’t believe anyone really starts out wanting to build a sub-£78,000 turnover business. Many settle for that, but few start with that ambition. Starting with the end in mind allows you to pre-think what the business needs to look like in terms of turnover, profits, headcount, infrastructure, etc.

Look at what’s already available in the market and come up with something different. That might be a different target market, or a different way of delivering what you offer. But to avoid competing on price (like Jeanne) you must have something different to offer your target market, not just a little better, or smaller, or bigger, or faster, or whiter, but completely different.

Figure out which people would want to buy that difference and why they would buy it – why should they care enough to part with their hard-earned cash?

Figure out how to tell people about it and how they can get hold of it most easily.

Then create a plan to help you understand how the cashflow will be generated to achieve your goal. Too few business plans are written to aid understanding of the specific steps involved in achieving a goal and the risks associated with those steps. Write yours with those two things in mind.

Follow the plan step by step and adapt it regularly as you gather real world data to support or otherwise your business idea.

Discuss with your tax advisor/accountant how to minimise the tax liability of the plan and impress upon them that changing the plan is not an option.
If you’re already in business, it’s not too late to figure out a more effective strategy to achieve your goals. The best time to start is today.

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I’m Starting My Own Business: What Do I Need to Know?

Congratulations! You have taken the first big step to becoming your own boss and going out on your own.

You know your industry, how to build a brand and are very creative about the details of certain business affairs.

However, many first time small business owner’s fall short of putting systems into place to get the business moving in the right direction from the gate.

This is where the smart business owner will save time, money and avoid inevitable pitfalls that plague many entrepreneurs the first time out by hiring a business coach.

What is a business coach?

A business coach is a lot like a personal trainer at the gym: A good trainer will begin by learning your goals, strengths and weakness in what you can do well and where you need assistance. A good coach is skilled in recognizing your skills and also your fears and areas where you need to build strength.

It is important to know that there is no certification required to become a business coach, therefore you want to be sure you connect with someone who knows how to work with your business and that you communicate well. A good business coach should be eager to see you succeed and be on board with your goals.

Some questions to ask are:

How long has this person been coaching?
How long did they own their own business?
Are they will to take on a small business?
What is their success rate?
Ask for references
What can the coach do for me?
A business coach will offer guidance, expect accountability for tasks assigned and offer encouragement to help you meet the steps to success.

Many business coaches offer help in their areas of strength.

They help business owners find what they want to do in a particular field. Many call this role a “business effectiveness” approach. Business effectiveness can span a wide spectrum of sales, customer service, human resources, sales, marketing, leadership, financial management, exit strategy, and succession planning.

When working with your coach, part of the process will be to establish a safe and trusting relationship. A good way to see if the working relationship can go forward is to feel you will be heard in the exchanges. A good coach knows that business coaching is not a one-way road. As the business owner, you have a voice in the transactions.

Comfort in communication

A phrase used in the industry is “safe place,” for business owners, created by Professional Business Coaches Alliance. The expression is important. The words illustrate a supportive environment for the business owner who should feel free and comfortable voicing his or her concerns, opinions and objections to the recommendations of the coach.

While many good meaning people like to offer advice, that advice is tainted by the givers own fears and experience, however well meaning. A coach is arms-length and objective.

How do I find a coach?

Hiring a business coach is not a casual task. It is important to understand your goals first. This is not something to relinquish once you have engaged a coach. You are a team and while you are partnering with a business expert, it is still your responsibility to share your vision for success.

A good approach to finding a business coach is first to analyze your own goals. Did you clearly outline your steps to success to your business plan? Or, maybe this is where you need to begin with your coach.

A lot depends on the stage of your project. Coaches can help you in the early stages to help you get off a strong start and avoid some of the “newbie” errors that often plague the new business owner.

Talk to other business owners and ask for references
Search online for companies that offer business coaching and start a dialogue. If communication goes well, set up a conference call or Skype. You will get a good sense if there is a good connection
During the interview process, see if the person has some good business ideas to offer. Creativity in the coach is key to the nuts and bolts of setting up a strong foundation.
Understand what you want from your coach. Have your list of questions ready as you do your research and when you area ready to interview potential candidates.
Your questions should reveal, among other things, an emotional intelligence, commitment and communication levels, experience, you seek.
Decide whether you need a coach locally with close personal attention or you can work with someone more remote via phone, text and email.
Obtaining the services of the right business coach for you can make the launching of a new business less stressful. An early start in the good direction will help you gain the footing that is needed in those first critical years.

There are times when even the most savvy business person may miss some important key signals because of a laser focus in a different direction. Smart business people understand the need to look for outside perspective.

Anthony Larman is a passionate executive with 20+ years of experience in helping Fortune 500 businesses achieve their marketing and business development goals. With a firm understanding on what it takes to make small to medium size company more profitable by leveraging the core principles of marketing that make a difference. If you want to achieve predictable business growth, eliminate waste and increase your marketing ROI (return on investment). Then Leads-Locally is for you.

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Home Business Blueprint: The Building Blocks When Starting Your Home Business Blueprint

We have all been there… trying to figure out the best ways to get ahead. We are always in search of the next “big thing”… We are constantly trying to find that edge that can separate us from the competition. Why do some people achieve elite success and others, well, others just flounder? There are specific steps we all must do in order to stand high and mighty, on top of that hill. These can and will create a tremendous foundation for anyone navigating through their home business blueprint:

1. Brand Yourself!

The biggest challenge when starting your home based business is understanding that you must create & cultivate a brand… a brand of YOU! When I first started my home business (and had no idea of what the industry entails), I figured I could be that guy behind my computer, growing my business without anyone knowing me. That could not be further from the truth! Set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account, Google+, LinkedIn and start a website with YOU as the focus. People want to know who and what you stand for-the faster you can build your brand, the faster you will ascend within your home business blueprint.

2. Expose Yourself (Don’t Worry-it’s not what you think!)

While cultivating your home business in the early stages, you have to know what works, what doesn’t and where to find this information. Like any business, you need to immerse yourself in as much information in as many places as possible. The more you know, the more you succeed. If you need to read “Home Business for Beginners”, don’t be ashamed-DO IT! Sign up for various social media sites and become familiar with how they work. Read articles from every type of business within the Home Business industry… read about the people that have succeeded… and failed. Learning about this industry is a necessity with the home business blueprint.

3. Show Me the Money… I mean, Show Me How Good YOU Are!

Obviously, developing and growing your home based business is going to take some time… you will be slow, things may not look all that great, and you are going to stumble and fall a few times. As you grow, gaining more confidence and understanding the concept of what you are trying to do, you need to exhibit how great you are. What that means is, make everything that resembles you-your webpage, your articles, your blog posts, your pictures, everything needs to show professionalism. Why? Because that’s what people first see, when they come across your profile or name. No one is going to click on your information or want to know more, if it doesn’t look like you know what you’re doing and have some experience. This will constantly be changing as you trek through the home business blueprint.

4. Get in a Relationship… Hundreds of Thousands of Relationships!

Business is all about people. Period. It doesn’t matter if you own a convenience store or a rental car company, it’s all about creating relationships. Relationships with your customers. Relationships with your vendors. Relationships with your colleagues. People buy from people. Growing your network of relationships is no different with your home based business. You do this through your “brand” and what you are showing people on the web. Join forums and Facebook groups to meet new people and learn about what they have achieved with their business. Creating a large, quality network of relationships is a major component of the home business blueprint.

5. Find the Best of the Best

The home based business industry has been around a long, long time. A great way to find solutions to problems, information on a specific company or product or just flat out see how that guy is making Seven Figures of residual income every year(!!) is to find out who’s the best in the industry. Who are they? Where did they come from and how did they get there? What are they doing now? The reason this industry is booming is because of the enormous opportunity-so find out who does it best and mimic them! These leaders are the ones that laid the groundwork for the home business blueprint.

6. You Own a Business, So Act Like It!

When I started my home based business, I thought this was going to be sooo much fun. I will get to play on Facebook at night, talk with people and then they will just send me their business all day long. Didn’t happen..and it doesn’t happen. This is a business and the sooner you realize this and take it seriously, the sooner you will succeed. People tend to not grasp this, because of the fact that there is a minimal to start a home based business, they already have a day job, etc. But, if you want to create your financial freedom in the home based business industry, you need to work at it-just like any other business. This is one of the bigger obstacles when people start with their home business blueprint.

7. Take the Bull By The Horns-and Make Sure Your Team Sees You

Another huge attraction to the home based business industry is the thought that once we recruit a few new team members, we are good to go. You’ve already done your part, now just wait for your team to recruit more and you’re in hog heaven… right? WRONG. You need to work harder than everyone else and show your team this. This is not only a sign of a good leader within the home business industry, but this is how the great leaders act in all aspects of life. Work hard now and you will reap the rewards soon enough. Working hard will create exceptional team morale and it becomes contagious-something you will see during your home business blueprint.

8. Pay It Forward

To piggy back on to the previous point, when you’re working hard, recruiting your new members, you also need to make time to help your existing team members. Not everyone has the same experience, knowledge and drive that you do. Motivate your team, role play with prospecting scripts, and give them tips on ways to improve their own brand. The coolest thing about the home based business industry is that everyone has to work together. If the people below me aren’t succeeding, I’m not succeeding. Helping them grow and create their business will exponentially help you and everyone else. This is the best aspect within the home business blueprint.

There you have it, a few things everyone needs to know going forward with a new home based business. Believe me, it’s not ALL you need to know, but these tips should secure a solid foundation where you can start your journey. This industry is fun, but it does take hard work. All that hard work is totally worth it when you’re collecting on your 6 or 7 figure residual income a few months from now. One more thing: NEVER GIVE UP once your home business blueprint is set in motion!

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The Place of Entrepreneurship Competence in Business Success and National Development

The pivotal position occupied by entrepreneurship as a sustainable tool for rapid economic growth and development of a country cannot be over emphasized. This is evident in several available literatures written by scholars on the subject matter but a closer examination of these literatures show tilted emphasis and concentrations on some common areas relating to entrepreneurship.

Increasing competitions, rapid and constant changes in internal and external environment of business activities, and the significant influence of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on the economy generally have resulted in a growing interest in studying the role of factors stimulating successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

Though, entrepreneurship, have played and can play more of these positive roles, is not an easy vocation as it does not always guarantee a hundred per cent triumph. There are several critical areas of knowledge and factors that must be acquired and put in place to enable entrepreneurs achieve a measure of business success and consequently contributing to national development.

Several researches have been conducted in areas of entrepreneurship competency, entrepreneurship success and national development.

Most literatures relating to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success tend to unquestionably argue that most entrepreneurial fiascos are essentially due to inadequate financial resources (e.g. Adeyemo and Onikoyi, 2012). Such research outcomes have no doubt influenced government policy direction in many developed and developing countries of the world through the creation of financial agencies and provision of financial resources to business units for the sole purpose of boosting and sustaining entrepreneurial development for rapid national development.

The above, policy strategy unfortunately has led to the continuous negligence on the part of the government, scholars and business operators in these countries to considering other vital factors like entrepreneurial competency which equally contributes to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

The current literatures on the subject do not provide sufficient explanations to the role general and/or specific competences play in successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development. This has thus, made the relationship between entrepreneurial competence and entrepreneurship success to be important topic within organizational literatures. The above fact is evident in several available studies done by scholars on the subject matter (e.g Crook, Todd, Combs, Woehr, and Ketchen, 2011; Mitchelmore and Rowley, 2010; Inyang and Enuoh, 2009; Laguna, Wiechetek, and Talik, 2013 e.t.c).

Many of these studies identified entrepreneurship competences like communication competence, financial competence, marketing competence, business ethics competence, social responsibility competence, decision-making competence and leadership competence as catalysts to entrepreneurship success and national development. We shall be duelling on our discussion more on these entrepreneurial competences to see how they individually contribute to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

As said earlier at the beginning, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success play strategic roles in economic growth, economic transformation and development of the society. These roles are noticeable in the numbers of jobs created, the level of wealth generated and the rate of indigenous entrepreneurship promoted in several countries around the world.

There is no doubt that government of the world have put great efforts in promoting entrepreneurship development, business success and economic development through provision of financial resources directly or otherwise through various agencies and under different terms and conditions, this fact prompt one to ask a question of high concern.

Why are there still high rate of business failure around the world? Without much thinking, the failures are due mainly to entrepreneurial incompetency of those concerned with making the daily business decisions of these businesses. Many business failures can be said to be and are largely attributed to lack of entrepreneurial competence.

Most of the businesses failed unknowingly even before there are started because of lack of one of the required competence; project evaluation and management. This does not therefore; make it surprising while entrepreneurship competence has often been identified as the missing link for successful entrepreneurship, business failure and consequently crawling national development and in some instances stalled economy. What then is entrepreneurship competence?

Before we proceed to defining and explaining entrepreneurship competence and understand the contextual meaning in which it is employed in this writing with simplicity, it will be very imperative to first and foremost comprehend what entrepreneurship is.

Entrepreneurship may be defined as the process through which something new and valuable is created through the dedication and effort of someone who takes on financial, psychological, and social risks and seeks personal satisfaction and monetary rewards (Hisrich & Peters 1986).

European Commission, (2006) defined Entrepreneurship as a dynamic and social process where individuals, alone or in collaboration, identify opportunities for innovation and act upon these by transforming ideas into practical and targeted activities, whether in a social, cultural or economic context.

Critical assessment of the above two definitions summarized the concept of entrepreneurship by stressing creation processes and performance of targeted activities. Entrepreneurship as defined above is not necessarily limited to the roles and characters of entrepreneurship involving creativity, innovation and risk taking, and most importantly, the ability to plan, manage projects and to turn ideas into action in order to achieve set objectives for successful entrepreneurship. But, it requires tact, art and competency to achieve winning edge success.

Entrepreneurship success is a multidimensional phenomenon. It includes multiple criteria of financial characters like profit maximization, revenue maximization, dividend maximization as in the case of shareholders etc., and non-financial characters for example larger share of market, customer satisfaction, perpetual enterprise existence etc. To achieve success in any of the following sections, one must be competent in his/her chosen area of enterprise.

Entrepreneur competence can therefore be defined as the cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills which an entrepreneur must acquire or possess to achieve an outstanding performance and optimize the business objective(s) amidst several constraints. Every job/role has a skill and competency requirement. Every career like entrepreneurship draws on the competence of an individual. For every entrepreneurial undertaking one needs certain competencies. Entrepreneurship competence is simply the skill which an individual needs to do an allotted entrepreneurial job successfully.

Entrepreneurship competence constitutes a cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills, which an individual acquires and uses together, to produce outstanding performance in any given area of entrepreneurial responsibility. Some of these competences may be general and some peculiar to the chosen areas of enterprise. We may describe competences to mean abilities and skills, for a teacher or a performing artist, for example, it is the skill to communicate that plays a decisive role in their effectiveness besides, of course, their knowledge. For a craftsman or an artist, it is the creativity and skill in the chosen craft.

In like manner, entrepreneurial competences are critical success factors required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and of course national development. The subject thus, deserves solemn attention in entrepreneurial discourse and not to be neglected. There is no substitute for entrepreneurship competence for successful entrepreneurship, not even abundant financial resources can. There is no doubt as explained, entrepreneurial competence play important role in any successful entrepreneurial activities.

The following are some of the necessary entrepreneurial competences required for successful entrepreneurship and rapid national development. We shall be discussing below 8 of the basic essential entrepreneurial competence for successful business.

1. Time Management competence: Time is an economic good; it is an economic good worthy of effective and efficient management because of it scarce nature (Dan-Abu, 2015). Time is unique, unlike any other economic resources (input) such that it has no wing but can “fly”. Time is irreplaceable and irreversible. Time lost is lost forever and can never be recovered, and by that I it includes, time lost doing insignificant things. This is why few things are more important to an entrepreneur and for successful entrepreneurship than learning how to save and spend time wisely. One major causes of entrepreneurship failure in relation to time management is doing too many things at the same time in an inefficient manner.

To achieve more and be successful in the day to day running of an enterprise, the entrepreneur must be thoroughly equipped with time management skill. Investing and practicing effective and efficient time management skill is a profitable investment for every entrepreneur, since every efficient business act is a success in itself. It therefore means that, if every single act of entrepreneurial activity is undertaken with consistent efficient one, the enterprise as a whole must be a success.

Time management involve among others practices, commitment to work contract and taking personal pains to complete a task on schedule, this will promote confidence and loyalty on your business/organization and will thus led to winning of more contracts from clients again and again; prioritizing of task based on urgency and importance in relation to a project activities and delegating of task to subordinates.

Some common time consuming activities include slow decision making, inability to delegate, unnecessary interruptions, failed appointments, delays while traveling, poorly conducted meetings, procrastination, etc.

2. Communication competence: Communication is a two-way process characterized by sending and receiving of messages through a channel between sender and receiver. This may be verbal or non-verbal for example, telephone call and procurement proposal respectively. Good communication skill is an indispensable management tool for a successful entrepreneurship. It is through communication that procurements are made, business products/services are sold, business objectives are discussed, employees are recruited etc.

Communication competence is very important to the survival and success of every organization, this is regardless of whether the organization is a profit or non-profit making, private or public enterprise, involved in provision of services or sales of products, online or offline business etc. Communication competence is so vital to successful entrepreneurship that it goes beyond inter-personal communication; of course this too is indispensable to the success of the entrepreneur’s business.

A winning communication competence in an enterprise will help in disseminating circulars, minutes, letters and memos effectively reaching every intending individual, team or unit in an organization. It also facilitates efficiency through the saving of cost involved in sending and receiving the messages on the part of both the organization and the employees. Communication competence in enterprising organizations will facilitate large turn out and compliance when meetings are called or directives are given to be followed respectively.

Communication competence in like manner can speed up the time taken to make merchandize procurement in period of high demand; this can help the concerned firm increase profit during the period of shortages and high demand.

Developing and employing good communication skill in an organization will definitely lead to two fold success; the firm will be able to benefit from internal interactions among persons, departments and units, and externally benefit from interactions between it and the business transacting partners (outside world). We can therefore say in summary that, there is no business without communication.

3. Human Resources Management Competence: The relevance of human resources management competence to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development cannot be over stressed. Though materials and capital are of equivalent importance to the entrepreneur, they are inanimate and unemotional; they demand no understanding of human requirements and inspirations for their effective utilization unlike human resources which need good and competent human resources management skill by the entrepreneur to successfully utilize it to optimum level in productive activities.

Human resources of some enterprise are the most difficult to obtain, the most expensive to maintain and the hardest to retain. Without the acquisition and practicing of effective and efficient human resource management skills, the capital resources earlier mentioned will not be effectively used. Generally, small and medium scale enterprises often managed by an entrepreneur do not have the luxury of human resource department that can interview, hire and evaluate employees.

Most of these decisions taking regarding the above are the responsibility of the entrepreneur and perhaps one or two other key employees. This is good why human resources management competence is important for successful entrepreneurship and national development. As the firm grows, there will be need to hire new employees; entrepreneur must follow important procedures for interviewing, hiring, evaluating and preparing job description for new employees. Instituting an effective organizational culture is best implemented when an entrepreneur is competent in human resources management.

4. Marketing Management Competence: The success of every enterprise involves selling of products/services; this is largely enabled through good marketing management, it is therefore imperative for an entrepreneur to have good marketing management skills.

Ebitu (2005:196) concord, that marketing is crucial to the survival and growth of any organization. It is through marketing that revenues used for bills settlement, assets acquisition, pursuing of business diversification and expansion objectives, settlement of dividend and tax liabilities and social responsibility projects are generated. The entrepreneur in developing good marketing strategies and marketing management competence must be conversant with and employ the four marketing mix of place, promotion, price and product.

5. Adherence to Business Ethics Competence: Every business has its ethics. Ethics deals with moral ability and obligations. It can be defined as a system of rules and principles that define right and wrong, good and bad conduct and the ordering of values in undertaking business activities in society. Business ethics is sometimes called management ethics, and it is the application of ethical principles to business relationships and activities.

Business ethics is becoming a subject of intense concern for society, which is now demanding that organizations should operate responsibly and uphold very high ethical standards to improve the quality of life of the people. Entrepreneurs, in light of the above, need to be competent in dealing with different public policies, trade union’s established standards and norms and customers’ concerns for high quality work for successful entrepreneurship.

6. Financial Management Competence: Every business enterprise requires capital with which to start and continue with its operations. Capital here means two things; money (finance) needed to start and operate the business and assets representing the resources provided by owners (equity) and creditors of the business (liabilities).

Mbat (2001:3) defines financial management as the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of the firm’s financial resources. Finance is the blood at the centre of any successful business enterprise, one of the features common to successful entrepreneurs is their ability to source for funds for their enterprise. The funds mobilized internally or externally have to be properly managed to ensure that at any point in time, there is adequate funds to cater for the day to day running of the enterprise.

Most entrepreneurial failures are due to the inability of the entrepreneurs to effectively distribute and manage funds. For example, an entrepreneur needs to acquire knowledge on financial management issues like anticipation of financial needs for the enterprise, fund raising sources, cost of raising fund from external sources, acquisition of funds, allocation of funds in order to yield optimum result through identification and maintenance of correct proportion of the firm’s finances in areas of savings, insurance and investments policy of the enterprise.

The important of financial management competence to achieving entrepreneurship and business success cannot be over stressed. We have seen many at times when financially buoyant “start-ups” crumble down to pieces after successful take off because of financial management incompetence of the management, caused by tied up funds as they watch helplessly as the business dive into ocean of failure due to lack of reserve funds to successfully execute contracts or perform business operation.

Leadership Competence: leadership can be defined as the ability to influence and motivate other person or group of persons towards achieving a shared a set objective. Leadership competence is also another important single factor determining business success or failure in our competitive, turbulent, fast moving, free global market economy.

According to Ilesanmi, (2000: 187) successful entrepreneurs are successful leaders; they have power and motivate the entrepreneurial venture. The ability to produce the necessary leadership is the key determinant of achievement in all-human activities, the quality of leadership is therefore a decisive strength or weakness of any successful entrepreneurial endeavour.

Successful entrepreneurship requires creative, unique leadership qualities and personal styles. It involve seeking opportunities, initiating projects, gathering the physical, financial and human resources needed to carry out projects, setting goals for self and others, directing and guiding others to accomplish goals. Effective leadership is therefore a powerful tool required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development. Good leadership competence helps an entrepreneur to turn his/her business vision into reality.

7. Social Responsibility Competence: The establishment of every business enterprise is backed up by the profit motive. It is the profit that drives entrepreneurs to starting businesses, motivate shareholders into buying shares and private capital owners into investing their capital in a company. The profit motive though leads to the production of goods and services; the entrepreneur’s business venture also has the responsibility to embark on certain projects within and outside its operating environment as part of its social obligations.

Businesses should not only be concerned about the quality of goods and services they produce to generate profit but must also pursue policies that sell their enterprises by contributing to the quality of life in their operational environment. The business operators have responsibility to protect and improve society. Their actions during production and marketing should not in any way endanger the community or society. Entrepreneur can earn more profit by displaying high degree of corporate responsiveness, which is the ability of an organization to relate its operations and policies to the environment in ways that are mutually beneficial to the organization and the society.

The entrepreneur for example needs to make contribution to community development, product safety, employment generation, ethical business practices, and contribution towards educational activities in the community of operation. An enterprise for example can award scholarships to students, create opportunity for apprenticeship training and so on. Undertaking some of these social responsibilities may endear the entrepreneur’s enterprise to its host community; enhance his image and social standing, and consequently contributing significantly to his business success.

8. Decision making Competence: Decision making is very important to the success of an entrepreneur, this skill is at the core of every successful entrepreneurial activities. Decision making is the process of selecting a line of action from available alternatives. This selection process may be very difficult especially when the available alternatives are numerous or the decisions to be made or chosen from are risky ones.

Many potential entrepreneurs have difficulties in bringing their ideas to the market and creating a new business because making a decision is one thing and making the right decision in a given circumstance is another. The actual making of effective entrepreneurial decisions has resulted in several new businesses being started throughout the world by those having this decision making skill necessary for successful entrepreneurship.

An entrepreneur makes decision on a daily basis and therefore has to acquire adequate knowledge and skills in decision making to enable him/her make the right decisions.

Most of the entrepreneurial competences have been studied in isolation and with little effort to recognizing their mutual relationships to entrepreneurship success and business success. In a study aimed at explaining entrepreneurial competences in order to rank them according to the level of their importance to successful entrepreneurship by Edgar, Dirk and Danny, (2005) shows that, entrepreneurs on one hand considered decision making the most important competence while scholars in their different writings are in support of identifying business opportunities competence as the most important when embarking on an entrepreneurial venture.

In another study aimed at explaining how general and specific managerial competencies relate to the business success of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) by Laguna, Wiechetek, and Talik, (2013) proved that general and specific managerial competency is significant predictor of success in running a business. They further stated that specific managerial competency demonstrated to be a mediator between general competence and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) success.

In a similar study conducted by Rosária de Fatima Segger Macri Russo and Roberto Sbragia, (2010) who opined that the operational responsibilities of a project manager (planning and controlling) are in stark contrast to the characteristics of an entrepreneur. In light of the above contradictory viewpoint, their research which was directed at assessing whether managers showing entrepreneurial characteristics are associated with more successful projects or not found within their study sample an empirical evidence supported their hypothesis that the possibility of a given project having a successful outcome increases with the enterprising tendency of its manager.

After critically examining the necessary entrepreneurial competences required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and rapid national development. It will be important to quickly add here that no single or sets of entrepreneurship competence are more important to the other. It is only through the combination of the competences that an entrepreneur can achieve maximum business success.

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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