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“Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent [sale] of whatever they may choose to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs.” - Thomas Jefferson

Our Founding Fathers had the vision, the courage, and spirit to usher in independence at a time when the accepted model of government was monarchy.  They faced enemies on all fronts, but never gave up.  They fought very hard for the principles of independence until they brought forth a new nation—one that is “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

As we celebrate Independence Day, we remember our Founding Fathers and their pioneering efforts.

Despite our relatively short 236-year history, we, the people of United States of America, enjoy a standard of living that is the envy of other nations.  The prosperity we enjoy today wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for our Founding Fathers who paved the way for a society based upon the principles of Free Enterprise and Limited Government.

How fortunate we are to have the freedom to direct our own lives and the opportunities to make our dreams come true.  Our freedom is unique and wonderful because it allows us to choose our own destiny and offer us the resources to achieve it.  It is really up to us to make it a reality.

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3 fingers.pngThe best answer to this all-important question can be found is a three-minute, sketchbook video entitled, Entrepreneurs Do Three Things from the Kauffman Foundation.  This video presentation illustrates just how important and indispensable entrepreneurs are to our economy. 

Job creation is mandatory in order for us to turn around our economy.  Entrepreneurs are crucial for stimulating economic growth because they create jobs and they are the source for new innovation.  They provide the wealth that fuels our society!

Entrepreneurs INNOVATE + CREATE + PROVIDE which translates into a healthy and robust economy!

I'm confident you will enjoy this short, yet informative video.  And, my hope is that you will share it with all of your stakeholders, friends, and fellow entrepreneurs!

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Take Advantage of Online Learning.png No business, no matter how small, is immune from the need to train employees.  If you want to provide your employees with the essential skills required to deal with changing technologies and to make them more productive, then you need to train them regularly.

The quality of employees and their skills are vital components in determining the long-term success of a business.  Focusing on your employees' skills development is a wise investment.  That’s why successful companies participate in high-quality training programs that boost their overall productivity and help them to maintain a competitive edge in market.

With the increase in competition the need to train employees has increased more than ever before.  However, training employees the conventional way can be a problem for small businesses as they cannot afford to have employees away from work even for a few days, not to mention the additional costs they incur for the actual training material and instruction.

The good news is that more and more high-quality online business training is now available through the Internet.  Online learning, often referred to as e-Learning, is not only more economical and less time consuming than conventional training, but it can also produce better results.

The following are a few of the benefits that you can derive from online e-Learning:

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Pie ChartOne of your company’s strongest assets is its ability to assemble an Annual Operating Budget and Cash Flow Estimate and to determine financial requirements for achieving revenue goals.  In order to make wise, financial decisions, it is imperative to know your breakeven point, your direct labor costs in relation to your cost of goods sold, and your monthly cash requirements. Acquiring operating performance data, on a timely basis, strengthens your ability to better manage your business. 

Reliable operational plans, budgets, and forecasts --that are accurately produced--are integral elements for growing your business.  With systematic processes in planning, budgeting, and forecasting, your staff shifts its scope from data collection to meaningful data analysis.  Planning, budgeting, and forecasting processes connect your company's budgets to your company's strategies.  The connection between budgets and strategies ensures that the financial resource requirements are available to support the anticipated future growth of your company. 

A budget is a plan of activities expressed in monetary terms of the assets, equities, revenues, and costs that will be involved in carrying out your company's plans.  A Master Budget is a set of projected or planned financial statements.  The Master Budget consists basically of a pro forma income statement, a pro forma balance sheet, and a statement of cash flows.  As a management tool, the Master Budget is used for both planning and controlling. 

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Swot AnalysisIn many ways an entrepreneur is not unlike that of the gymnast.  The act of balance is critical to the performance of each individual.  The gymnast needs to counteract the forces of weight and motion; while the entrepreneur needs to distribute their time and resources between risk and reward.  Without the ability to adequately balance the elements of weight, motion, time, and resources the entrepreneur and the gymnast would be hard-pressed to succeed in their particular endeavors.
The entrepreneur needs to seize opportunities and to minimize risk.  To accomplish these tasks the entrepreneur must clearly specify the objective of his/her business venture or project.  And identify the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective.

An effective tool to assess and identify opportunities and risks is a SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a business venture or project.  If a clear objective has been identified, SWOT analysis can be used to help in the pursuit of the objective.

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  It’s an assessment technique that paints a vivid picture of how your business stacks up when you consider these four factors.  SWOT is a simple, popular way to gather and use information in preparing or amending your business plan.  It’s also useful in solving problems, making decisions, and educating staff when change is necessary.

In brief, SWOT means identifying:

  • Strengths—internal factors such as expertise, innovation, and resources.
  • Weaknesses—internal factors such as a high level of debt, labor shortage, etc.
  • Opportunities—external advantages such as a rapidly growing market where demand outstrips supply.
  • Threats—potential external risks such as competitors undercutting your pricing, natural disasters, changes in the general business environment.
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