Business Information – SWOT it For Benefits

In most situations, business decisions are prompted by information that has come into your possession. Sometimes this information comes from the information system within your business but often it is from external sources.

An interesting thing to do is to quickly apply a swot analysis to new information. If you are not familiar with the term “swot”, this stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The idea of a swot analysis is that you objectively try to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business and also the opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are aspects of your business that are particular to your business. These are internal issues. The opportunities and threats are matters that are external forces that impact on the enterprise. It is a good idea to conduct a swot analysis from time to time.

On the assumption that you have conducted a swot analysis and therefore have objectively determined your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you can apply the results of this analysis to new information that comes to you. Let us focus on information from external sources.

For example, you visit a trade show for your industry. At that trade show you observe a new technological advancement in a particular aspect of your industry. You then apply the results of your swot analysis to this new information.

As an example, you may have identified that one of your strengths is low overheads. Due to this, your enterprise is flexible and can change quickly. Accordingly, you might conclude that you could quickly adopt the new technology and steal a march on your competitors. So, off you go to your bank or other sources of capital to get the funds to adopt the new technology – and you know that this won’t be a problem because of your low overheads.

Alternatively, you might have identified the heavy capital investment in your company as a weakness. This means that it is difficult to alter the production process without very significant cost and disruption to customer requirements. When you see the new technology and realise that your competitors might be able to adopt it faster than you, perhaps this will prompt you to the decision – albeit difficult – of reinvesting in a new production process involving the new technology.

Let’s say you have identified rapid changes in technology as an opportunity for you. This maybe because of a particular set of skills that your people have. Because of their training, experience or knowledge they are able to rapidly understand the new information and apply it in a profitable way. So, you are alert to any changes in technology. You seize on this new development and give it to your people.

And, of course, if you see advances in technology as a threat, hopefully you will take action to minimise this threat.

Applying your swot analysis to every new piece of information would be too tedious. But it is a very useful practice to apply it to important information that you come across. The more regularly that you do this, the more alert you will be to developments in your industry and the more quickly you will be able to turn new information into profits or other benefits.

Small Business Information You Should Know

What are small businesses?

Small businesses are businesses with less staff. The staff limit is different for different areas. These businesses are generally owned by individuals or are started in partnerships. Other criterion to decide small businesses are the turnover and profit. The less is the turnover or the profit, the smaller is the business. The smallest businesses are called as ‘micro businesses’ and those managed by families are called as ‘mom’s and pop’s business’. These smaller businesses generally have employees in number from 0 to 10. Many a times, the owners are the workers in these businesses.

Advantages in small business:

The basic advantage of starting a small business is that you need less capital and money to start the business. Also, one can start a small business on part time basis. The basics of a successful business are the regular modifications that one does to it. In small businesses these modifications can be easily done as one does not need to follow any trend or face any compulsions in small business unlike in big businesses. Also, a small business can give much more to its customers than a big one as they have the power to provide each and every customer the required personal attention and take into account all the suggestions and even implement some of them. Small businesses provide daily bread to many a people and thus are very important.

Marketing small businesses:

The most common methods of marketing small businesses are customer referrals, mouth publicity, radios, newspapers, internet, directories, boards, etc. Television ads can be a bit expensive for advertising small businesses. Internet marketing is considered the most cost effective and result oriented method of marketing small businesses. The ads can be placed on websites or even search engine web pages. The costs are decided on the size of the ad and thus can be easily moderated.

Small business ideas:

– Franchisee business: this is one of the extremely profitable ideas of a small business. The only things that you need to start this business are a place and some capital. The best part of this business is that the things that you sell are already quite famous in the market and thus you need to do very little expenses on the marketing.

– Event planner: if you know the knack of organizing things perfectly, then you can become an event planner. You need to plan out meetings, parties, weddings and other such get-together for your customers in the given budget. The best part of this job is that it is extremely interesting and your work does the marketing for you.

– Computer repair: if you have done any hardware or software course or have learned any computer language then you can start the work of computer repairing. You just need to sort out simple problems in computers. The best part of this job is that you get to learn a lot more than you have about computers. But, you should do only the work that you can manage and avoid doing any guess work.

Catering Business Information and Tips

Does everyone love your food? Do you create mouth-watering dishes that have people talking? Then starting a catering business may be just the breakthrough you needed. Why would a creative person like you who has that kind of talent work for someone else? This is the time to channel all your vigor and ideas into something you really love. Being your own boss can be challenging but running your own catering business will give you the opportunity of a lifetime. The only boundaries that are placed on you are those you place on yourself.

The catering business provides service for small or large parties, weddings, or even private dinner parties. A corporate event such as conferences, meetings, employee morale boosters, and grand openings looks for the services of a catering business.

The most important part of running any business is gaining clients. The ideal thing to do is to hire a sales person with a great personality in the catering business. If you are not the sales type and you are dealing with different clients including corporate executives, party planners, and nervous brides a sale person may very well be accommodating. The main ingredient to close the sale is to convince the client that the occasion will be memorable, the food will be presented appealingly and served quickly and discreetly. Networking with similar business will prove well to create a referral network to increase business. Successful caterers introduce themselves to other people and businesses that are involved in party and event planning as well. Good business in which to network are bridal boutiques, pastry chefs, wedding planners, florists, party supply, card and shop keepers.

Build a relationship with these businesses. Make sure they have your business cards and brochures. Check in with them often by dropping in with some tasty desserts or some hors d’oeuvres. They will remember you for that and may even result in some referrals. Create sales letters and brochure and send them to corporate offices requesting an appointment to talk about your services.

Follow it up with a phone call. Your accomplishment with catering will be directly linked to the strength of your planning, and the execution of that plan. Thirty percent in the catering business is food while the rest goes to delivery, transporting the food, lining up rental equipment, and juggling personnel. You will need to understand exactly, in writing, what your client wants, and deliver that in a way that reflects upon the client positively. Your organizational skills really count here.

To succeed in this business you must prioritize the tasks and devote your best effort to completing each task successfully. Show enthusiasm, discipline, and always aim to keep the clients happy. Have patience and understanding at all times to make the best out of any situation.

Keep Your Business Information Quiet: Loose Lips Sink Companies

We have this idea that computer hackers are ingeniously bright people. We hear stories, true or otherwise, as to how they seem to finagle valuable information from us, using the most sophisticated social engineering techniques. In reality, they often use such tricky questions as, “I’m calling from the IT Department. We’re doing some system checks on your T-3 line. I’ll need to reprogram your current password with a new one. You’re using the one that’s all letters, right?”

And so we dutifully comply with what seems to be a reasonable and logical request from some resident authority figure who surely has our best interests in mind. Often within minutes, we will reveal confidential company or personal information, over the phone, or through an email reply to a complete stranger who talks or writes a good line.

Reading all this and reflecting on your own sense of eternal security vigilance, you’ll swear that you’d never give out a byte of confidential or important data, over the phone, across cyberspace, or even face-to-face. Your motto is: “Hang me up by my thumbs for a week and I still wouldn’t even tell you my first name.”

And all this may be true when you believe the information requester may be a wolf in sheep’s leggings, but how about when the asker-to-be is from your local or national news media? Are you still tight-lipped and careful, or do you get caught up in the glow of the First Amendment’s pad and pen, the video camera, or the microphone? It’s hard for even savvy security professionals not to spill some beans when faced with the often flattering request for information and a chance to demonstrate subject matter expertise.

But just as loose lips sink ships, the desire to provide information to the media must be measured by the impact, or more accurately, the harms a few words or figures can betray.

Several years ago, the Business section of the Orange County (Calif.) Register, featured a two-page photo spread on the history of the Southland Corporation’s reason for being: the 7-11 store. Along with a history of the Big Gulp business, the piece featured an interview with Anaheim 7-11 franchisee Herb Domeño, owner of nine stores, including the site at Katella and Harbor. For those not familiar with southern California real estate, this prime property is directly adjacent to an Enchanted Kingdom knows as Disneyland.

Back then, Mr. Domeño’s stone’s throw-to-Disneyland convenience store boasted the highest sales volume in the country – an average of $3 million per year, clearly above the national sales-per-store average of about $1.3 million per year.

Taking out our trusty calculators, we could have determined that, give or take some up or down days in the boom-boom 1990’s, Mr. Domeño’s enterprise took in about $8,000 per day.

And how did we discern this figure? It’s easy to uncover, especially when the $3 million sales amount is featured boldly in the photo caption of Mr. Domeño in his cash-cow store. (By the way, the new national sales record for one 7-11 convenience store belongs to the folks running the show in Southampton, NY.

So what has the Orange County Register just told every enterprising convenience store robber who can read? This place is full of cash and even if they aren’t cleaning up like they did before Disneyland closed a nearby parking lot to make room for its California Adventure addition, Mr. Stickup Artist has to believe it’s worth a shot.

Even if the daily revenue figure is adjusted for slow days and customers who pay with debit or credit cards, it’s still a substantial amount of cash that is either on the premises or being moved, via some safe means we hope, to the bank.

In times of organizational crisis, it’s wise to have a designated member of the executive team speak to the print or TV media. This person will have the training, experience, and savvy to say the right things, at the right times. News gatherers, on the other hand, won’t always seek out your Director of Corporate Communications (or similarly-titled representative). If they want the juicy details, any gossip, or the “inside story,” they might go to any executive or manager they can find, or worse, to an employee, who gives an opinion as if it was a fact.

In a perfect world, the security professional would also be part of the discussion and review of any press release, placed article, or editorial coming from the organization that has any security-related content. “Facts and figures” statements tossed out like: “Our security system is so sophisticated it only takes one guard per eight-hour shift to operate it,” or “Our jewelry store revenues have never been higher” might be great PR, but they can turn your business into a new target, by people or groups who never considered it as one before.

If you’re tasked with speaking to a media member about any aspect of your business operations or performance, choose your words carefully. Use the technique every politician is trained in from birth: bridging. Bridging simply requires you to “bridge over” to the question you want to answer versus the question you’re asked.

This approach works best when you’re asked the question you don’t really want to answer, i.e. Reporter: “Isn’t it true that your firm’s movement to stricter access control has created a `prison camp environment’ for your employees and customers?” Security Professional: “As you know, our approach has always been to put the safety and security needs of our people and our customers first. As such, we believe in creating the best working environment possible…”

Get the idea? You don’t answer a direct, confrontive question with a direct, assertive answer on point. You vary the response to make sure you cover your points, not theirs.
When in doubt, choose to be bland, especially with any information that hints of having a financial, proprietary, or trade-secret connection. “We’ve got a good handle on our inventory” sounds so much better than, “We’ve got a ton of expensive stuff laying around our warehouse.”

The old adage all publicity is good publicity has its exceptions. Better for people to read about your firm and have to make assumptions about your security, than to know too much detail.