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Home Based Business Ethics – How to Manage a Christian Business

The book of Proverbs tell us that a liar will not go unpunished but will perish. In business, as in all other areas of our lives, this is extremely important to remember. If I am dishonest with my spouse or friend, chances are they will be angry or disappointed with me, but at some point they will forgive me and, as long as I don’t lie to them over and over again, they will probably forget about it as well. I have been lied to many times over the years, but, for the most part, I don’t remember who told what lie or when or even what the lies were. But I remember the lies told to me by those I had business dealings with. Not only did I not do business with those people anymore, I told all my friends about how exactly they lied or deceived me and encouraged them not to do business with those people. In business, honesty is of utmost importance. Even when being honest may mean disappointing or angering someone, it is better to be honest and lose a customer, perhaps only momentarily, than to lie and lose twenty forever. Honesty should permeate every aspect of your business. With your partners, associates, customers, vendors and employees; your honesty will earn their trust and respect. You will get repeat business as well as referrals.

People are very often quick to give you their opinion of you, your product or your service. Being open minded enough to consider the advice or criticism of others will help you improve your skills like nothing else. These are the people you doing business with, when they offer advise or criticism, they are telling you directly what they like or what they want. I use to be a painter. I had some customers who would point out every light spot, every drip, every imperfection of my work they could find. In the beginning I would complain about how picky they were being and groan that I had to fix every little imperfection they found just to get paid. As time went on, my clientele grew and became more impressive and I made more and more money because I was a very good painter. It occurred to me, after a couple of years, that those picky customers had made me the painter that I had become. From then on, I encouraged all my customers to look closely and carefully at all my work so that I could be sure they were happy when they paid me. My attitude totally changed when I became open minded to their constructive critique of my work.

Open mindedness is very crucial in another area for a home based business. Change. Things are changing all the time-products, techniques, needs, wants, and desires of customers, marketing practices-you name it. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people lose business because they were not open minded enough to learn or to try something new. Working from home means that you have to stay aware of and open to all the changes and new concepts, products, tools etc. that affect your business.

I find that the key to the success of any home based business is willingness. Without it your business will join the ranks of the thousands of failed businesses whose owners were not willing to get up everyday and take the necessary steps to become successful. Having a home based business does not mean that you get to stay home and somehow, someway, someone will give you money. Quite the opposite is true. The home based business owner is solely responsible for his success, and his success is solely dependent on his willingness to work at his business to the best of his ability every day. The home, based business owner must be willing to give as much time and attention as possible to that business. Whether it’s 2 hours a week, 2 hours a day or a full 40 or more hours per week, sticking to your schedule and following through on your plans to meet your goals is extremely important for your success. Allowing yourself to get side tracked too many times can lead to frustration and giving up.

Being willing to listen, to learn new things, to try something that makes you feel uncomfortable at first, will help you grow personally and professionally. Be willing to admit when you are wrong and make it right if you can. Be willing to stay focused and not let the teasing or negativity of others keep you from trying. I have to stay clear of some people sometimes when I am not feeling strong enough to handle the negativity. Be willing to get back up when you fall. Be willing to do the things you don’t want to do, those are probably the very things that will make your business the kind of success you want it to be.

I want to end this with a verse from 1 Thessalonians16 that helps me every day. I have it on the wall right next to where I work. It helps tremendously when things aren’t going the way I would like them to.

Be joyful always,

Pray continuously,

Give thanks in all circumstances,

For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Buying a Business – The First Steps

So you are thinking of buying a business? Congratulations. With redundancies still rife in the UK, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that maybe – just maybe – it’s better to head your own business instead of relying on other people to bring in the money. From that moment that you decide to buy a business, it’s just an idea. There are so many questions buzzing around your head. What are the advantages? What’s in it for me? More to the point, what are the potential problems? What you need to do is sit down and consider the following key issues:

What sort of business do you want to buy?

You will need to focus on what sort of business you would like to buy into. Draw on both your past work experiences and your interests. You may well want to buy a business that you have great knowledge of but have little or no experience of working in that sector. Make sure that you are fully capable of running the business you want to buy into. You need to be absolutely confident that you can make it a huge success.

Do you want to buy a business or a franchised business?

There is a difference. A franchised business will have several chains across the country, and will probably have a well-known brand name. This is a good advantage when it comes to buying into a franchise. People return to a business time and again if they recognise and trust a brand name. You will also have greater support. If you are going into business for the first time, then this could be a considerable plus point, since the franchisor will be there to “hold your hand” as it were. The franchisor will normally deal with training, marketing and will be able to provide you with clients the moment you begin work. There will also be other franchisees to turn to for advice and support.

However, the downside is that you are still technically working for someone else rather than running your own show. If you own your own business, it is up to you how you proceed, and if there are any changes that you wish to make, then you are free to do so. A franchisor, however, makes the decisions. The other downside, of course, is that, in very rare cases, the franchise, for whatever reason, can go out of business – whether it’s affected by management issues or other franchisees rocking the boat. As I said, these are very rare cases, but you need to take all this into account when making your decision.

Do I have enough money?

Buying a business or a franchise will, in most cases, require a hefty sum. Look at how much money you have. If you have been made redundant recently, you may have received a sizeable payoff. You may have inherited money. Or you may find that you already have the means to buy a business. If not, however, then all is not lost. You can visit your bank to apply for a loan to buy the business. You will need to draw up a convincing business plan, outlining your expectations and profit margins. In the case of a franchise or a well-established business, banks will look favourably upon this, but as long as your plan has enough credibility, then this may still work. But make sure that you have enough money to proceed – if you are buying a business, you will also need to pay for surveyors, lawyers and accountants.

Is there a risk in buying a business?

This is where you need to do considerable research. Make a shortlist of the businesses that you are interested in. When you have whittled them down, find out all you can about them. What sort of track record do they have? Have they made the business a success? Or are there any incidents or problems that may prove a problem? You need to weigh up all the pros and cons and most importantly assess the risk factor when buying a new business – in order to make sure that you don’t buy a business White Elephant.

Will I be happy with the new business?

That’s one of the most important criteria that you need to consider. Will buying a business fulfil your career dream? Will it allow you to progress and allow you to develop your skills to the point where you achieve your goal? Will your chosen business allow you to do these things? Buying a business will be one of the most important things that you do in your life, so make sure that you get your choice spot on the first time.

Should Small Businesses Start Hiring Again Or Fear the Future?

Many small business fear expansion right now, they fear hiring additional employees, and they are completely worried about the future. Should they be? We know that community banks are worried and there are not a lot of small business loans going on right now. Indeed, as a former franchisor before retirement it is my contention that I wouldn’t pour money into a small business right now, much less touch it with a ten-foot pole. Let me explain;

Why would you want to start a business where you had to hire people with all the new Obama administration rules, and this latest AFO-CIO appointment to the Department of Labor is scary too, it’s going to be really tough on small businesses. Not long ago, I was explaining all this to an acquaintance who was buying an existing business and considering the hiring of a employees to help her in her business and she asked me; “tell me more. My guess is that I would have a couple part-time women.”

So should my acquaintance start her business and hire two part-time employees? Don’t know, no one knows what was in that darn Health Care bill, small business doesn’t know, information flow sucks, the Administration hasn’t said, it’s all vague and NO Small Business Person in their right mind would risk going into business right now knowing they’d hire employees. The President got on TV and made some vague inane speech about how this would help small businesses? No details, none forthcoming, terrible communication job. Terrible – and quite frankly it’s completely and absolutely un-acceptable.

This group of leaders doesn’t know what the heck they are doing. We need a better team, and some common sense behind it. These people have never had to make a payroll in their lives, it ought to be a pre-requisite for public office, how on Earth can anyone believe they can run things without working knowledge of the realities of running a business? Now then, I was reading in some trade journals in various industries all the phase-ins for health care insurance law compliance, it’s a mess.

Worse, it’s going to be an absolute hardship on small business, and medical costs are still rising, and rising, and rising. Over the last decade these costs have outpaced inflation by 10:1 and they just keep going? Hard to say what fuel they are using but we need that for the Space Shuttle – seriously folks, this is a disaster for the business community, and it isn’t going to help anyone, only raise costs.

And people wonder why jobs are not returning? 75% – plus of our jobs are through small business in America, but the politicians are too busy coddling lobbyists of large corporations to even worry about it. It’s all a show, it’s all BS, and until things change, I’d be leery of the unknown or future business risk taking. So, you asked me to tell you more? There you have it. Am I the only person in this whole country that gets it? What the hell are they doing?

The Small Business Administration director hasn’t a clue. My god, this dog and pony show never stops, WTH is going on. And the media hasn’t helped, what small businesses are supposed to go pay an attorney and accountant to tell them the new law changes? Sure, pay the professional parasites to tell you about the “new rules” I mean, do these legislators (all lawyers) even hear themselves think? And as the economy expands and gets back to normal, which jobs come back first? Legal jobs of course, what a totally screwed up system.

So, the business people have to pay lawyers, accountants just to prepare for the law changes, scared out of their wits they might make a mistake and the big bad government is going to fine them, jail them, put them out of business? How do I know this is how it goes? Because I set up 187 franchises serving some 450 cities, I know exactly how small business works and how business people think. Meanwhile, we have a perceived “small business hater” president who never explained the comments about his “joe the plumber” gaf, and although it was blown out of proportion.

That indeed, was a definite psychological hit to small business, one we still haven’t gotten over and we must to insure small business confidence, if we truly want those jobs – I am beginning to think they don’t by the actions of the Obama Administration, but don’t doesn’t understand and Obama’s PR team there is unfortunately too “unwise” to understand, so they laugh it off, and ramrod some BS health care legislation with a 2800 page health care bill, and then Pelosi is on prime time TV and says; “Well, you’ll just have to vote for it to see what’s in the bill.” You have to be kidding me?

Why should small businesses have to contact a lawyer to explain the health care rules? And may I ask with what money are they supposed to pay the $2,000 bill to set it up properly so they don’t get fined? Small businesses have been battling this recession for 35-months now, they are barely hanging on. If you own a small business and “Need the Money” well, get in line, every small business does and there is nowhere to borrow it. No one, me included, or any bank would be foolish enough to take the risk to lend money now. And no one knows what this Administration or Congress is going to do next?

They are unpredictable, perceived unstoppable and willing to shove any 4,000 page bill down America’s throats. And don’t you dare argue with me, next could be Cap and Trade, and energy costs will skyrocket and you’ll be stuck in a business watching your energy costs go up 45%! How about that? Then you can expect shortages and mandatory “Energy Ultra Efficient” equipment which will be required, above your already efficient units, air-conditioning system, solar panels, computers, along with new lighting, above and beyond what you have.

If you don’t you will be fined or shut down. If you cannot or do not want the presence of an attorney one will be appointed, if you want to stay in business the SBA will give you loans, GREAT borrow more money, as they destroy your business, go into more debt, is their answer, interesting, that’s the problem in the first place, the government is broke, now they want all the businesses to be as broke as they are and pay for all their mistakes in higher costs, taxes, fines, and fees. Enough already!

And if you think I am blowing smoke, it could easily happen in the next six to 18-months, and I wouldn’t put anything past this Administration or Congress, they are absolutely out of control. Do you think that if your energy costs tripled in your business you could keep your prices at the current level? Of course not, and if you double your prices, 30% of your customers will not come back, and the others will come less often, easily taking at hit of 40-50% in revenues? Well, think it can’t happen?

It did in CA when the government imposed rules, raised energy costs, had shortages then black outs, and it happened twice one decade apart. Now tack on health care costs for employees, yourself – mandatory let’s say, because I don’t know, no one does yet, can you then really make money> NO, NO YOU CAN’T. And so you work harder, lay off your employees who stop shopping – no money – and other businesses suffer because unemployment is so high. See what’s happening? Where we are headed?

You want me to tell you more? Sure, I could go on for 48-hours straight, with examples in the real world of what happens when government gets a stick up their rear-ends into what is supposed to be a free market economy like the USA. End of rant, end of article.

Please consider all this.