IBN Lokmat News – Bringing the Business News For the People, by the People

Business news updates are extremely important and serve as a handy tool that keeps interested persons updated with the latest happenings in the business world at almost every given second. Of course, the significance of staying updated with the latest happenings in the world of finance is something that nobody can deny. However, thanks to the country’s pro-active media domain, there has been a flood of channels, Online channels, and daily magazines which primarily look to satisfy the appetite of the news-hungry people almost every second.

Channels like IBN7, CNBC Awaz and IBN Lokmat news channel are leading the league of those media bodies which are competing in this rat race to provide the audience with the best and the latest business news.

Speaking honestly, IBN Lokmat is one of the channel that has been leading this race from quite some time. Needless to say, the quality of news made live by this channel is above excellent. Owing to its sky-rocketing popularity, the channel has now ventured into the virtual world territory where it has added an extra tinge of dynamism to its over-all outlook.

IBN Lokmat is backed by an excellent team of dedicated professionals who slog-out day and night to simplify the very complex term ‘finance’ for their audience. That’s not all, people who can’t afford to spent a significant part of their time in front of the idiot boxes owing to their responsibilities both professional and personal, can now watch it from their workplace without letting the viewing alter their professional schedule and hindering their work pace. Moreover, it only value-adds to their work methodology and educates them the entire 360 about the business world.

Be it about stock market, banking world or plain news updates, Lokmat news channel is something that people can bank upon at any point of time. What more, the quality of news is authentic, be it On-TV or Online (where quotient of unpredictability increases manifold) thus, making it extremely dependable.

The Online platform of Lokmat news frequently invites experts and analysts well-versed with the given situation who in turn hand-out potent solutions to the audience. This help them cope with the present situation in an extremely easy way and cash on to these easy situations.

Finance has already been a trouble-maker for the laymen but with the inception of Lokmat news in the news portal scene, people have started to believe that there actually exists a portal that broadcasts news of substance and that too in the due time.

What more several finance portals provide the live streaming of channels like these, thus, making sure that viewers do watch them but at their own convenience. This streaming is a kind of deferred live signal that is received by viewers through the means of Internet. Quality-wise, the picture clarity is crystal-clear while the sound and other viewing aspects are also on place thus, making the Lokmat news viewing, a truly mesmerising experience on Internet.

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The Real Estate Market And The New President

One of the few sectors that surprised us was the energy sector. The US actively reduced its exposure to energy, which has been very eventful for real estate markets. Due to the broad decrease in energy prices in 2015, the corresponding increase in the real estate valuations has been significant. The new president will have his or her hands full dealing with the oil-producing countries because of the recent 911 decision.Many real estate investors are starting to reduce risks by decreasing their exposure. During the last two months of 2016, the Feds have been hinting to increase interest rates. The outlook for growth had been reasonable before these talks. However, current growth indicators suggested the economy would be flat after a weak start in the new year, The outcome of rate increases will result in a significant setback to the outlook for the real estate market. How will the new president work with the Feds regarding any interest rate changes?Real Estate investors might decide to reduce as much related risk as possible. Assessing the impact on the economy remains difficult. So far, investors have relied on the interpretation of leading indicators, but no one knows how the next president will affect them. Monthly retail sales figures, growth rates and other market indicators have been interpreted as pointing to future growth. Keep in mind, our economy has a high exposure to China. How the new president will handle tariffs and trade is still up in the air.Trump claimed his tax plan would cut taxes for working and middle-class Americans. Independent reports have shown that under Trump’s proposals, all income groups would see a tax cut on average. Nevertheless “average” doesn’t mean everyone. A new analysis estimates that his plan would actually raise the tax burden on millions of low- and middle-income families. This might result in an increase for low-income rentals.By contrast, Clinton’s plan would provide some new tax subsidies for middle-income households with specific financial challenges, such as high medical or education costs. However, these subsidies wouldn’t do very much to boost the economy, at least in the short run. Moreover, her tax increases on businesses and high-income households would likely reduce their incentives to save and invest. This could result in a greater demand for middle-income rentals.We do not think that the current state of the real estate market can be accurately projected into the future. Clear discussions on the interest rate and what the new president will do have not yet been assessed. Therefore, the consequences for the real estate market still cannot be evaluated adequately. Uncertainty regarding the future and effects on the US economy could lead to a significant halt in real estate investments. Such large risks could result in a contraction in investments, and ultimately affect wealth and employment levels and consumer confidence. A decrease in earnings could be a further implication. Even though there will be a “new” government we see a significant probability of political instability. The US will face economic uncertainty for several years.

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When Do You Need or Not Need Life Insurance?

Do You Need Life Insurance?The whole idea behind life insurance is to have obligations covered off in the event of your death. The old adage about death and taxes is the reason life insurance is considered by many people. When death and taxes come together, life insurance is one potential cure for the combined effects.What is the premise behind life insurance? What the insurance company hopes to do is to take the money you give them as a premium, invest it over a long period of time, and then repay some of it back to you on death, while keeping a portion of it as a return. The easier it is for them to do this, the cheaper your premium will be. This is possible through the idea of compound interest. To understand how an insurance policy would pay you, you would need a calculator that tabulates interest for an annuity. These formulas are similar to what you saw in elementary school math class. In terms of the concept, the two biggest drivers behind why your money grows over time are the interest rate and the time factor. The higher the interest rate, the faster your money grows. The longer the time you can work with, the faster your money grows. One thing to note is that how fast your money grows will accelerate the more time you give it. The accumulation of money will occur fastest in the last years of the time period in question. This is why you see those advertisements saying: if you contribute $100 per year to an RRSP for 30 years, versus $200 per year for 20 years, you will get more money at the end of the period in the first case with less money contributed. The reason why is if you start sooner, you will get more time for the compounding to do its work.This compound interest concept shows up in all forms of debt, interest bearing investments, bank accounts, and annuities like life insurance. The word annuity just means a bunch of payments going into an account over time, followed by a bunch of payments coming out from the same account at a later time, usually at a set frequency like monthly or quarterly. Typically, you pay money for a period of time at a set frequency, and then receive money either as a lump sum or over another period of time at another set frequency. These terms are spelled out in the contract – i.e. the life insurance policy.When You Should Consider Life InsuranceDo you need life insurance? The famous answer to this question is “it depends”. The first questions to ask are: why do I want life insurance? Who do I want the money to protect?The first common scenario is: “If I die, I want my kids to be provided for because they are too young to look after themselves.” This is fair enough – make sure that when your kids can take care of themselves that this strategy is revisited. This would usually mean a “term policy” which is insurance that lasts for a set number of years. If you have other motives as per the other scenarios below, you want to get a “universal life policy” which will cover you until your death.The second scenario is “When I die, my estate will get hit with a massive tax bill, and I don’t want my kids having to deal with that reality.” Again, this is a good reason to consider life insurance. The real issue is “how do I minimize the massive tax bill?” Life insurance is one attractive method of doing it, but there are others. You could divide up your estate while you are still alive to avoid the “deemed disposition” that triggers the massive tax bill. Deemed disposition means that something is considered automatically sold because of an event (like death), which means any capital gains taxes are due in the next tax year. This does not apply to principal residences, so if your house is all you own, the tax problem is solved in most cases. If you have assets that would get taxed at a later date (tax deferral), like investments that would produce a capital gain, maybe these can be sold at an opportune time prior to your death to minimize tax consequences? There is also the use of a corporation, where the corporation would be paying the taxes instead, or where beneficiaries can be paid salary, dividends or shares in the company over a longer period of time instead of all at once at the time of death. If you only have RRSPs, and you have a spouse, the RRSP proceeds can be rolled over tax free to the spouse, which would also defer the tax bill beyond your death.The third scenario is: “I want the insurance to be an investment as well as an insurance policy.” This is also a good reason to consider life insurance. You would also need to consider the investment return versus alternatives, tax implications (these policies tend to tax exempt, but tax rules can change if too many people start taking advantage of them), and restrictions on access to your money.Considerations For Buying Life InsuranceWhat do you need to consider when making the decision on buying life insurance?The first thing to consider is your age. The older you are, the more expensive your life insurance will be, because there is less time for the compounding to accumulate money.The second thing to consider is your health. Generally speaking, the higher the odds that you will die earlier, the more expensive your life insurance premium will be. Again, this is because there would be less time for the compounding to work. If you know you want life insurance, get it when you are younger and when you are at your optimum health.This brings me to the third thing: can you simulate life insurance by making an achievable return? If you can generate a return as well as the insurance company can, and you have a long period of time to do it, and you have no issues with early death (such as a situation where you have no dependents and no tax issues), you might want to simulate a life insurance payout by putting a certain dollar amount in a separate account each month, investing it, and at the end of a long time period, you will accumulate a large sum of money. How do you know what return the insurance is giving you? Use one of the annuity calculators below and input how many years you are paying the premium, the monthly or annual premium amount and the final value of the proposed insurance company lump sum payout if it is known. You should be able to get an interest rate. Compare this rate with what you typically earn on your investments and see if you can beat it consistently. Take into account taxes and expenses. There are tax issues with this simulation, as well as risk in generating returns, so this method is for people who are knowledgable about investing. This method also requires discipline in funding the account.The fourth thing is the assets being protected. If you only have a house, and you have no dependents, you will likely have no extra taxes upon death. You likely don’t need life insurance. If you don’t have assets, but need to protect your children, you would likely need life insurance if there are no other avenues of protecting them. If you have investments that will generate a huge tax bill, and there aren’t many other options, life insurance may be useful.Combined with this fourth thing is whether you have a financial plan, and whether you have a complex tax situation. This would be if you have complicated investments, a corporation, multiple companies, assets offshore etc. This scenario will need specific professional help from your financial planner, lawyer, accountant and maybe some other specialists for various needs.The earlier you do your succession planning, the better. There are personal considerations like “I don’t believe my kids can manage the money” or “If I divide my estate before I die there may be family squabbles”. These are very important considerations. Most often, decisions are driven by your feelings more that your reason. If a consideration like this is preventing you from doing a succession plan, this needs to be examined before you do anything financial, like buying life insurance. If you are in denial of an issue like this – be aware of the limitations that it creates for your plan – and likely extra costs as well to your estate. The more harmonious you are with your money on all levels, the easier it will be to make these decisions like life insurance or estate planning.The point is that life insurance is not needed by everyone – it depends what would happen to your finances upon death.

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Art Definitions Clarified

Are you confused about the terminology of the art processes? Don’t know what a giclee or a serigraph is? Artist proof versus signed and numbered? If you don’t, you’re not alone. A few pointers can help you determine that you are getting what you want. Whether a print is a limited edition or not does matter. It determines it’s worth and whether or not it is likely to hold or appreciate in value.Limited Edition is a common term in art galleries not dealing exclusively with originals. Only so many of each edition will be made. Some publishers offer different sizes of a particular image, each with it’s own limited amount. Others offer one size only. When these are no longer available you will only be able to obtain the artwork though a dealer that still has one, a collector, or on the secondary market. The cost will usually be higher, sometimes substantially higher, depending on supply and demand. The artist’s signature as well as the number of the piece, along with the amount in the edition, e.g. 14/165 will be found toward the bottom of the artwork. A Certificate of Authenticity will be given to you with your purchase.Artist Proofs.
A percentage (usually 10%) reserved for the artist and publisher for their use. They are highly valued by collectors as they are more difficult to obtain. They will be consecutively numbered and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and will not be a part of the Signed and Numbered Edition. Artist Proofs almost always cost more and should be more likely to hold or increase their value. It will read AP 2/15 or whatever the numbers of your particular edition are and, of course, will have the artist’s signature.Open Edition
The number of copies made are unlimited. They usually do not have much monetary value and may or may not be of good quality. They can be paper or canvas, sometimes they have the artist’s signature.Poster
A poster is mass produced with commercial inks and are prone to fading. They can usually be purchased very inexpensively and hold little or no monetary value in most cases, however, some of the older posters have a great deal of value as they are collector’s items and need to be framed accordingly. Or if it is just simply special to you, by all means, frame it with conservation methods the same as you would any other valued piece of art. At the very least, put conservation glass on it (glass should never touch the art) to help keep it from fading.Giclee
(Zshee-clay) It comes from a French term meaning to spray. Drawing information from the original painting the printer sprays incredibly tiny amounts of color on to fine art paper or canvas. The giclee is usually more vibrant, full bodied in color and more desirable to obtain. Typically, they cost more than the standard processes but also hold their value better. Giclee is said to be as close to the original as you can get without it being one.Offset Lithography
Offset lithography is a digital process whereby the colors are taken from the original work and using the offset printing process transfers the image onto the final paper or canvas. It will be an exact match to the original.Serigraph/Silk-screening
A stencil is created for each color needed which, in turn, is adhered to a silk or nylon mesh screen. The paint (or ink) is forced through the screen onto the paper and each color must be allowed to thoroughly dry before the next color is applied. The image is almost luminous and often has a texture to it.With this information you will be able to determine what is important to you and whether or not you are getting it. Deal with reputable, authorized dealers and always buy art because you love it. If it appreciates in value then it’s an extra benefit, if not, you haven’t lost anything because you will always enjoy the artwork.By June Johnston


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Why This Girl Will Never Buy a Kindle (Or Digital Book)

Imagine this: you love books and the whole experience of “books.” Going to the book store, picking out a crisp, clean book off the shelf (or ordering from a discounted price on-line), cracking the cover open, the smell of the page, a special bookmark, the whole happy experience. Then, the Kindle arrives. None of the above happens. Nothing. Sure there are many positives about the Kindle or an iPad (reading a book on-line), which I can see, but imagine a life (or a home), without books? Digital books only? Dull and flat. Either way, the Kindle is NOT for me, or countless friends and associates I speak with. I am not alone here.Why the backlash? It’s not exactly a backlash vs. a “not even an option” for me. The catch is simple yet complex: I live for and love books and being an artist and fashion person, I buy tons of art and fashion type books, big books with big colorful illustrations! Therefore how could this be captured in a *gasp* Kindle or digital book that you cannot touch, smell, feeling that cracking when you first open it? Whether it be a novel or a big colorful art book, nothing about a digital book can capture all the joy a real book brings. The internet and all the on-line everything is good for many things, BUT NOT ALL. You can take away the cd for me, I get it I supposed, gone goes the collecting of that too. But this girl will never buy a Kindle!First, I’m not worried about the space saving aspect of books on my book shelf or coffee table. I welcome it and put them even on the bathroom vanity and nightstand. They are part of my home décor, and show who I am and what I like. I’m not a digital machine therefore I don’t wish to be reflected like that in any way shape or form. (You took my cds; you’re not taking my books!) Books are a classic and make you look and feel chic and classic. Once they are read and upon a shelf, you almost feel a sense of accomplishment. I do. That’s gone with a *gulp* digital-anything.Then there’s the true book experience; meeting the author. I absolutely love going to book signings in New York City or wherever I happen to be. I thrive on the many authors I have met and would never part with my collection. They don’t read a short excerpt from a Kindle, they read to you from a book! Is an author going to sign the back of your Kindle? No. It’s an honor to have met them, show my friends and proudly display these on my bookshelves. Being a magazine-addict; the collecting, or light collecting (not a pack rat here!) and the proud display and feeling of accomplishment of reading them all is beyond wonderful. Having them signed by the author; priceless.What happens if your library when the Kindle crashes? Books don’t “crash.” Or, if it breaks. Books don’t break either. I guess it doesn’t matter if you have already read the book. And, how do you pass it on to a friend to also enjoy? How do you see and enjoy the big colorful illustrations? How do you see Andy Warhol’s prints or deKoonings images on a Kindle? How on earth can you capture Alexander McQueen’s fashion icon book with the cover holograph of the skull on a machine? The novels…I love the page turning (not sliding), and bending a rabbit ears on my old Twilight novels. Granted it’s the digital era and for the most part it’s fabulous, but digital books to I guess, save space. No way Jose!In conclusion, (for now); the bookshelves, the accomplishment, the signings, the smell and feel, not to mention the big colorful artistic and fashionable illustrations in the books and so much more — this is just the beginning of my rant “for” books. Not “against” digital books, per say. I try to find the positives in life, usually. I find a ton in real books, fewer in Kindles or digital books. Books are classic and iconic and have so much to offer. Again saving space and packing 2,000 books on a tiny machine is not thrilling for me. Nothing beats cracking open a real book and proudly displaying it on my coffee table, signed.

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There is an excessive amount of traffic coming from your Region.


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Measuring Your Billing Collection Rate

How are your collections?  This question is posed to doctors repeatedly by their accountants, coaches, students, partners, prospective billing companies, spouses, and everyone else with an interest in the success of the practice.  Most doctors respond with a ratio, say 90%.  The higher the number, the better the collection rate.   But, what does this number mean, and does it really determine how successful the practice is at collecting? Posted Collection RatioUsually, the posted collection ratio is simply the total amount of money posted in a given month divided by the total amount of charges posted by the practice in that month.  For example, a practice bills $100,000 in January.  They collect $75,000 in January.  The collection rate is 75%.  Easy to understand and simple to compute.The problem with this approach is that on average (according to the MGMA), medical practices can wait up to 73 days to receive payments on services rendered.  The $75,000 collected in January was actually billed out in November and December, and the services may have been rendered in October and November.  So what happens if the practice had been generating $200,000 per month until Jan 1, and suddenly dropped to $100,000 per month?  The $75,000 collected in January looks poor.  On the other hand, if the practice was billing $75,000 per month until Jan 1, then the $75,000 collected in January looks like 100% of the billed amount.But there are more complications.  What if the practice had an NPI issue in December, or EOBs were being mailed to the wrong address?  In that case, part of the $75,000 that was posted in January was actually paid in the previous months.  This means the actual collections ratio is quite a bit lower than 75%.So with all these problems, why do practices measure their billing performance using the collections ratio?  The answer, all too often, is that they do not have a choice.  Many practice management systems readily supply monthly reports that show posted charges and posted collections in a given month, but few alternative ways of viewing the collections performance data.   The posted amounts are important because practices need to know how much money came in during a certain month.  They must reconcile this with their bank accounts to make sure all the money is accounted for.  From there, it’s easy to divide the two numbers and get the collections ratio.  Unfortunately, as we’ve seen above, this number is meaningless if the practice wants to measure their billing performance.The Alternative: Tie Everything Back to Service DatesFor billing performance monitoring, we need to compare apples to apples.  We would like to see how much of the services rendered in a given month were actually paid.  For example, if the office saw 500 patients in October and generated $100,000 worth of charges for those visits, we would like to know how much of the $100,000 was paid so far, regardless of when the money was posted.The key is to compare the charges to the payments according to the service date on the claims, and not to the dates in which they were posted.  It’s not so easy to do.  While practices can add up checks that were received in a month or look at their bank statements to see how much money came in during a given month, it’s very time-consuming to look through each EOB and compare the service dates so you can see how much was paid on October’s services.To do this effectively, a practice needs to invest in software that has this functionality built in.  For example, in Vericle, you can use the $-Stats report.  This report can show you a breakdown of charges vs collections for a given service date range across providers, treatment codes, insurance companies, and other criteria.Slice, Dice, and Drill-inOnce you have a high-level view of the data, you need to make sense of it.  To do this, it is helpful if the software allows you to sort and filter the report dynamically.  For example, if we’re looking at a breakdown by CPT code, you should be able to sort by the percentage paid and filter out anything with a total billed amount less than $1,000.  This eliminates the “noise” and allows you to focus in on problem areas.Once you have the problem area in sight, it’s time to look at individual examples.  This is called “Drilling In”, and the software should make it easy to do this.  In Vericle, you can click on any line to drill into that line and view the claims that make up that particular bucket.  The list of claims also includes pertinent information about the status of the claim, the total amount billed and paid, and an excerpt of the audit log so you can easily see how the follow-up team handled the claim.Effect on Practice ProfitabilityReviewing a service-date collections report as described above can have a significant positive impact on your practice.  By comparing apples to apples, you can more accurately gauge your billing team’s performance, then quickly pin-point collection problem areas and easily see example claims.  Then, take action to rectify the problem and increase collections.

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Affordable Health Care Insurance Policy – How to Choose

A Matter of ChoiceDeciding which Health Care Insurance is right for you and your family is an important choice.Know Where You AreBroadly, the process towards making a decision to pick the right choice involves understanding what your present needs are, your financial standing, the current state of health for people who need cover, the types of health-related insurance plans and insurers available.Challenge of Long Term NeedsThe decision gets tricky when the need for long-term care is a near-future possibility. This is to be expected since the cost of nursing home stay-in or in-home care is rising so rapidly to make such options more and more expensive.Know What You NeedWhich type of policy suits you best will depend on a range of considerations like who needs health coverage, how many people need that coverage, whether there is need for long term care, and so on. Also, the extent of flexibility in the choice of doctors and medication usage as well as if medical claims submissions are to be done automatically by the care provider, must all be taken into account when deciding the type of Health-Related Insurance Policy that one should buy.Health Insurer TypesIn terms of the insurer type, there is also difference when dealing with network based medical insurance providers when compared with that of a single, non-network insurer. Generally the former, operating as a service provider group, is more likely able to offer more reasonable healthcare-related services to those who are insured under the network health plan. Such plans, typically known as Managed Healthcare Plans, include HMOs, PPOs and POS’s.What Makes a Good PolicyIn short, a good Health Care Insurance Policy is one that is capable of offering you adequate health coverage within budget while providing Affordable Health Care without making you pay for what you don’t need.

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Today’s SBA Loan Rates

We are going to break down the current SBA loan rates, into two categories, 1. on SBA 7a loans and 2. on SBA 504 loans. Both are very different so we will describe what the current rates are separately, and give a brief description of the programs themselves.SBA 7A RatesThe vast majority of banks tie their 7A loans to Prime Rate, which is currently at 3.25%. The banks margin is normally 2.75%, so the Effective Rate for the borrower is currently at 6%. It is very uncommon in this market for a bank to offer an effective rate less than 6%. Most banks are reluctant to lend, so if they do they are currently maxing out their margin.Also, the SBA 7A loan is used for the purchase or refinance of commercial real estate, business goodwill, equipment, debt consolidation (limited) and working capital. The loan is almost always amortized over 25 years and the rate floats with Prime, adjusting quarterly. Prepayment penalty is 5% year one, 3% year 2, 1% year 3, gone thereafter. Loan amounts can go up to $5,000,000.SBA 504 RatesThe SBA 504 loan, has two different loans and therefore 2 different rates. The first lien position loan is a conventional bank loan, so its terms and rates vary from one lender to the next. By the most common loan would be a 5 year fixed on either a 20 or 25 year amortization schedule. For example, our 504 loans are tied to the LIBOR 5 Year Swap, which is currently at 2.15%. The margin depends on the financial strength of the borrower as well as the loan size, but the Effective Rate is currently between 5.8% and 6.2%, on a 25 year amortization schedule. These loans also come in a 1, 3 or 10 year fixed rates, on a 15, 20 or 25 year amortization schedules.The second lien loan is the SBA loan also referred to as the CDC loan, is a 20 year fixed on a 20 year amortization schedule. The current debenture rate is 5.79%.Go here to see the most updated commercial loan rates, including the 504 debenture rates, conventional commercial mortgage and SBA loan rates.

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How NOT to be a Small Business Failure Statistic

There were about 146,000 business startups a year, and an average of 12,000 business bankruptcies per year from 1994 to 2004 in Canada. A 2004 Statistics Canada study on small business failure rates “Key Small Business Statistics – January 2005: How Long Do Small Businesses Survive?” found that the first few years were critical. While almost three quarters of small business startups survive the first year, less than one third of micro companies (less than five employees) were in business after five years.These statistics by themselves may be of little value to you directly. We know how many small businesses survive and for how long, but it’s far more important to know why some survive and others do not. There are a lot of studies on small business failure. Searching “reasons for small business failure” with quotations on Google will give you almost 700 results (about 38 million without!). “Why small businesses fail” will give you almost a thousand.The 1997 study by Statistics Canada “Failing Concerns: Business Bankruptcies in Canada found major internal factors of small business failure was management deficiency, financial management problems and poor marketing.The Small Business Administration study “Financial Difficulties of Small Businesses and Reasons for Their Failure” in 1998 found several causes of small business bankruptcy: outside business conditions (38.5%), financing (28%), inside business conditions (27.1%), taxes (20%), disputes (18.8%), personal calamities and other (32.9%)There is a wealth of information on this subject, but what are the common factors? There are four basic areas:External factorsExternal factors include new competition, your major client moving out of town, poor weather if you’re a seasonal business, or economic downturns. They’re often largely out of our control, and may be unique to your particular company, but there are often ways to mitigate them. For example, if you have a seasonal business, such as a landscaping company (at least up here in the cold north it’s seasonal) you could buy a bobcat to provide income during your off-season with snow removal. The bottom line is, have a contingency plan for external factors that could have a negative impact on your small business success.Lack of managementBig companies have the luxury of being able to hire several people to get all the jobs done that need to be done, but chances are you’re going to have to do it all yourself, at least for awhile. That means you’re not only going to have to develop your product or service, you’re also going to have to make financial, accounting, legal, marketing, human resources, and purchasing decisions.You may do some of these tasks very well, but it’s unlikely that you do all these tasks well, and even if you do, you might want to contact a lawyer and an accountant at the very least. And, research, research, and research some more, and when you’re done researching, find an expert or two bounce ideas off and give you solid advice.Lack of planningSmall businesses often fail because of lack of planning. Let me make a bold statement: the single-most vital part of your business success is your business plan. Why? Simply put, your business plan specifically and concretely lists your goals for the next few years. It spells out, step by step, how you’re going to meet those goals, and gives you something to measure your performance against at the end of your business year.Finally, a complete business plan helps you get financing and includes a marketing plan, which addresses lack of marketing and insufficient financing, two more often cited reasons for small business failure.I have one more thing to say about business plans. It does very little good to write a business plan, put it in a drawer and never look at it again. That same 1997 Statistics Canada study we talked about earlier found that successful small business owners refer to and revise their business plans often.Lack of marketingMost small businesses seem to think it takes a lot of money to market their product or service effectively. That’s simply not true. There are many ways to market inexpensively. You could use direct mail marketing which is as cheap as a stamp, or email marketing, which costs nothing. The point is, you need to get your product or service “out there” somehow. You may have the best product or service out there, something completely unique from anything else, but what good does that do if nobody knows about it?So there you have it–my thoughts on the main reasons why small businesses fail, and how you can avoid becoming a small business failure statistic by developing a contingency plan, consulting with experts, and developing and using a business and marketing plan.If you are thinking of starting a small business, I’m most certainly not trying to discourage you. I sincerely believe being in business for yourself may possibly be the most rewarding career there is, but a little knowledge can go a long way towards arming you against small business failure.

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