Monthly Archives: August 2009

Managing Accounts Receivable in a Down Market

In today’s economy one of the most challenging issues is collecting on outstanding debts. Many companies are just in survival mode, stacking one bill on top another, and yours is at the bottom of the pile. If your small business is anything like mine, you probably don’t have the resources to hire personnel for collections, short of a baseball bat. In all seriousness though, if hiring another employee is out of the question, consider deputizing an existing employee to call your customers for 3 purposes:

1) Follow ups

2) Try and get return orders

3) Collections

In a small business the efficient use of existing personnel for collections of accounts receivable can make a world of difference. A business owner I know, with a little coaching, started having his delivery runner make calls in his downtime and was amazed at some of the sales he made, and people he was able to collect from.

As a naive business owner, I was seeing my accounts receivable grow, proud of myself on the sales I had accomplished. Not realizing you haven’t made the money till you get paid and cash is king. There is a saying for this I have now come to understand “one in the hand is better than two in the bush”.

Andrew Baker

CSUF Entrepreneurship Graduate

Measuring Twitter ROI

Twitter is a waste of time.

Or, is it a an efficient tool for public relations?

Blogger and copywriter Bob Bly has created a crude metric for measuring whether Twitter is getting you results or just wasting your time—it is called Followed-to-Follow (FF) Ratio.

Check it out:

http://bly.com/blog/online-marketing/a-new-metric-for-measuring-twitter-roi/

John Bradley Jackson

Director

Center for Entrepreneurship

California State University, Fullerton

Professor Interviewed on Jason Hartman Radio Show

I was interviewed recently on the Jason Hartman Radio Show, which is syndicated across the globe; locally it is heard on KABC.

The subjects of the interview included the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial marketing, and my book “First, Best, or Different”.

Hartman is a  self-made real estate millionaire who aspires to teach others about how to achieve success.

To hear the show on podcast, visit http://www.jasonhartman.com/radioshows/.  The segment is called “#112 – Unique Financing & Loan Modification Programs and Profitable Entrepreneurial Marketing” and my interview is the second 30 minutes.

Radio interviews are one of  the more powerful public relations tools.  After this interview, I received numerous inquiries about the Center and my book.  With the podcast, the interview’s impact continues on the web.

John Bradley Jackson

P. S.  By the way, I got the interview because of a former Entrepreneurship student’s  personal endorsement. Thanks to Andrew Baker for the nod.

© Copyright 2009 All rights reserved.

Business Plan Blunders

A business plan is like a compass

Business plans are like a compass—they point the way for the company and explain the business to the investor. Yet, business plans can tell the wrong story and may even kill the deal with the investor.

Here are some examples of business plan blunders to avoid:

  • Lousy Writing: Nothing kills a plan more quickly than poor grammar, incorrect punctuation, and spelling errors. Enough said.
  • Target Market Poorly Defined– A product that fits everyone is a prescription for disaster. Don’t go there. Be very specific in your definition of your customer.
  • Incomplete Plan: Missing key elements or an incomplete plan tells the reader that the plan is half baked or not well thought out.
  • Too Technical: An obsession with technical details often is done at the expense of the business model. The investor wants to know how the business will make money.
  • Blue Sky Sales Projections: Although it is true that plans should be optimistic, a hockey stick growth curve needs to be backed up with strong assumptions and facts.
  • Risk Unaddressed: Not addressing risk in the plan is a major flaw—bankers and investors want to know what the downside risk is in the plan.
  • Ignoring the Competitive Environment: Ignoring or dismissing the competitive environment is a common blunder by business plan writers. Who is the competition and what do they do right and wrong?
  • NDAs Required. Don’t obsess about confidentiality since most investors won’t sign a Non-disclosure Agreement anyway. You need to tell your story to as many people as possible.
  • First to Market Claims: There are not many rewards for being first in a market; in fact, the opposite is generally true. Being first is very expensive and investors know this.
  • Business-Speak: Say what you mean and leave the big words for the lawyers. Be deliberate and concise. Avoid business clichés such as “think out of the box.”
  • Plan Too Long: The one inch thick business plan does not get read. Keep it below 50 pages.
  • Business Plan Services: Don’t even consider the use of cheap business plan services which outsource to India or other exotic places. Very tacky.
  • Business Plan Pre-made Templates: These templates are the pre-made plans you edit to fit your business. They are pure garbage. This is the domain of the lazy entrepreneur.
  • Business Plan Software: I am not sure why but most business plan software programs are bug ridden. Be sure to double check the financials.
  • Hidden Profits: Investors want to know how the business will make money and what the return on investment will be. Address it.
  • Unclear Valuation and Exit Strategy: What is the cost of ownership and how will the investor get their money out? This must be spelled out clearly or there is no deal. If you avoid these pitfalls, your plan will be better than 95% of the others out there.

John Bradley Jackson

Director Center for Entrepreneurship

California State University, Fullerton