Are you developing a strategy for the 'digital disruption' of your business?

Deloitte's report on digital disruption - short-fuse, big bang?
Further proof that we need to develop strategies to ensure that the forecast change in the way we do business over the next 2½ years is minimised as much as possible.

The report stresses the importance of each business looking at the issues raised, in fine detail, before developing a specific, pragmatic and proportionate response. The report also indicates that digital opens up unprecedented possibilities, "These innovations are changing economies and markets and reinventing relationships between organisations, suppliers and customers. They are changing society".

At Collins Hume our challenge is to enhance our services to assist businesses operating in our locale to combat issues like 'digital disruption'. As a result, we are developing extensive services to assist local business meet the marketplace challenges, including:
  • Stepping up our capability in the areas of strategic business advice and consulting, tailored specifically for the Northern Rivers region;
  • Tapping into the benefits that government grant funding can bring - with an estimated total business grant market in Australia in excess of $5 billion annually, we help business owners by identifying grants for which they might be eligible in order to consolidate and then grow from their current position;  Read more…

Are you one of the Gen Xers potentially sabotaging your retirement?

Interesting article by personal finance expert who shares insights as to how Gen Xers are potentially 'sabotaging' their retirement
Growing up, Carmen Wong Ulrich's father was an 'IT guy' who paid a lot of attention to finance and investing, even though money was tight.

Today, she is a respected author, journalist and the president of a wealth management firm who shares the biggest mistakes Gen Xers make in their retirement planning:
  • They put too much money into further education. With student loan debt hitting $26 billion in Australia in early 2013, this is obviously one of the biggest concerns. But not every student graduates in 3-4 years, so parents need to stop thinking they have to foot the whole bill. Consider tailoring the experience for each child, so that you only invest in the ones truly committed to their tertiary education. 
  • They don't plan for supporting ageing parents. Sit down with your parents and have the talk sooner rather than later (or not at all) as, once they get older, a lot can go wrong and they can wind up being deprived and you being stressed.
  • They invest with emotion. Investors rarely behave rationally, especially when they perceive a threat to their nest egg. The problem is, you shouldn't just set it and forget it, nor should you make changes every time you get scared. You also shouldn't depend on your employer to fund your retirement.  Read more…

Made sure your business is ready to sell, regardless of timing?

8 ways to tell if your business is ready to sell
We follow with interest business author John Warrillow, famed for his book Built to Sell.

Our Marketing Manager has had the pleasure of meeting him so is a total groupie. So when another Warrillow-esque article appeared in the US business press recently, we were eager to share it.

Of course, the idea of having a sale-ready business has been around for a long time, by the likes of Michael Gerber in the 80s.

If you've not had the pleasure of reading Warrillow's publications, here are some salient points to consider, whether or not the sale of your business is on your immediate horizon:
  1. Financial performance: Someone could buy your business for strategic reasons, but most acquisitions are for financial reasons. Business value and its saleability are directly related to the size of the business' expected future earnings and the risk that those potential earnings will materialise.
  2. Growth potential: If the future stream of revenue is going up every year, it significantly increases the business' value.
  3. Dependency: If a business is overly-dependent on one customer, one employee or one vendor, it's less attractive to a buyer. 
  4. Valuation see-saw: Operations that require a large investment of cash with a lag in earning it back can depress the value of the business.  Read more…

What is good debt and how do you use it to your advantage?

Often in business the concept of debt sends shivers down owners' spines
And can cause opportunities to be missed for the over-cautious so, understandably, creates negative connotations for many.

However, contrary to common belief, not all debt is bad and incurring 'good debt' can be a viable strategy to allow your business to grow, not stagnate.

  • 'Good debt' is any debt invested into income-producing assets that will allow your business to increase revenue or create deductions as a result. Purchases of real estate, equipment, additional resources and other assets are all examples of good debt because they contribute to the overall growth and net profit of your business. 
  • By contrast, bad debt is any debt incurred that will cost you money in the future. For example, requiring a $5,000 loan to meet outstanding expenses for the month is classified as bad debt. One of the most common accumulators of bad debt is depreciating assets and especially motor vehicles. It's common for business owners to try and preserve their assets, but often it is the small business finances that suffer as a result. Such decisions can cost the business more than financially, as often they miss the opportunity to invest their money into a stronger income-producing asset.  Read more…

Work-life scales balanced or tipping?

Work-life balance tipping the scales the wrong way for business owners
New research in Australia has found a lack of work-life balance is proving a major issue for half of small to medium business owners.

With 88% of respondents experiencing significant challenges in running their business, and 49% citing balance being a key problem between work and home.


And the research of more than 1,000 Australian small to medium businesses found that, whilst 55% of Gen-Y respondents found the balance difficult, 44% of the baby boomer generation were battling to manage both:
  • One quarter of respondents listed completing tax forms correctly to avoid fines as a key concern
  • 24% were worried about keeping on top of debtors and creditors
  • Lack of flexibility to work at a pace and style that suits them was concerning for 10% of respondents, perhaps due to the 'wearing of many hats'
  • Approximately 75% wanted the ability to access work files out of the office
Researchers at Intuit Australia who conducted the survey suggested that the struggle of Gen-Y business owners to achieve a healthy work-life balance could be due to their level of engagement with the internet.

With customer engagement being 24-7, there is constant pressure to stay plugged in and connected to business partners, vendors and customers in order to stay on top of an increasingly competitive landscape.  Read more…
Collins Hume
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