Business Partnerships – Getting Into Bed With a New Business Partner

Finding the right person to help build your business idea into a successful company is harder than you may at first suppose. Many of us decide to take on a business partner for a variety of reasons; most of which seem valid and justified at the time – even crucial to the successful birth and growth of the business. Few of us have the foresight to pause and consider the long-term implications of our decisions and choices – until it is too late.

What is an Ideal Business Partner?

An ideal business partner must not only share your vision and enthusiasm for the new venture, but should also add expertise in the areas in which you lack business skill or experience. An ideal business partner should be someone who understands the legal and financial responsibilities that come with sharing a business. But most importantly, an ideal business partner must be someone with whom you get along; someone who understands and shares your vision; someone who is on your ‘wavelength’ when it comes to making crucial business decisions in the future.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you really need a business partner? If the answer is a resounding yes, then consider the following carefully: by taking on a partner you are in fact inviting a complete stranger into your life and entrusting them to share the closest details of your finances and your trust. You are handing over the keys to your business to that person. You are entering into a legal and binding agreement that holds far reaching consequences for yourself, your business and your life.

Before you invite someone to join you as a partner, consider these questions:

o Do you like this person?
o Do you have the same vision when it comes to business ideas?
o Can you trust this person – is this person ethical, moral and honest?
o Is this person essential to the success of your business – is this person qualified to assist you?
o What skills, financial backing or other contributions will this person bring to the table?
o Can you envision a long-term relationship with this person – will you still get on in six months or six years from now?

Before entering into a partnership, consider the advantages and disadvantages:

The obvious advantages of a business partnership are that, ideally, you will have someone to share the financial burden as well as the workload. You will also have the input of a fresh perspective on ideas, a sounding board to bounce new concepts off, and support when the going gets tough.
The main disadvantage of having a partner is that you can be held personally liable for your partner’s negligence or bad business decisions. This means that if your partnership is unable to meet its financial obligations, you may have to use your personal assets to pay off debts, even though you, personally, may not be at fault. If the partnership defaults on a loan, for example, the bank has the right to collect the debt from both partners. Another disadvantage of a partnership is that if one partner decides to leave the business, then the business may suffer, or even end.

A partnership is like a marriage in many important ways, requiring a high level of trust; and, as in marriages, divorce is common. Here are some tips on what to look out for in a choosing a suitable business partner:

o Observe the behaviour of your potential partner; research their business history, particularly regarding a trail of litigation, financial problems or fallouts with previous partners.
o Ask yourself whether you are compatible in temperament. Do you see ‘eye-to-eye’ on most issues? Do you have a similar business vision for your new company, or do you have radically different ideas on how things should be done?
o A potential partner should bring something of substantial value to the table – for example financial backing, special skills, or industry connections. Choose someone who complements, rather than duplicates, your own skills.
o Never underestimate the importance of actually liking your partner. Remember, it’s likely that, in future, you will be spending more time with your business partner than with your spouse or significant other.

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Identifying a Good Equipment Lease Business Partner

Time and again, many business owners bravely face the challenge of financing the business, particularly with regards to purchasing equipment. Although banks offer business loans that can be used for financing equipment, getting approved is generally not that easy, especially if you have just started the business. It is a relief to know that that there are leasing companies that offer equipment lease financing, a wonderful option for big and small businesses in the industry. In this article, let us discuss pointers on how you can find a reliable business equipment lease company.

Not All Equipment Leasing Companies Are the Same

Different leasing companies offer different types of lease services. Some lessors exclusively provide service to certain types of industries. There are lease companies that offer leasing for specialized machines only while there are lease companies that act as a one-stop shop for businesses that need any kind of lease.

Lessors also have different standards in approving leases. Some leasing firms actually have more rigid standards than others, primarily when evaluating the client’s credit history. Then there are other lessors that offer special lease programs for new and start-up businesses. Thus, even without business credit, it still possible to get a lease.

The amount of lease financing offered varies from one lessor to another. Some leasing companies may provide a low lease (under $100,000) and some may provide a higher amount of lease financing ($100,000 and above).

A business owner must make sure that your chosen leasing company does provide service to the same type and scale of business that you manage prior to submitting application. It is important to look for a business equipment lease provider that offers flexible programs.

Searching for the Right Business Equipment Lease Partner

One way to find the right business equipment lease partner is to ask for help. Request for referrals from your personal contacts such as your business attorney, suppliers, banks and friends in the industry. Gather a list of potential leasing firms and be prepared to investigate what each firm has to offer. Make sure that you understand the specific lease programs offered as well as the list of requirements that you need to prepare.

The internet is also a great tool in finding an equipment lease provider. Check out websites of major equipment leasing trade associations in your State or country and find a list of recommended lessors that provide service to businesses in the same industry and scale as yours.

Choose your top three potential leasing companies and be prepared to do further evaluation. Don’t forget to check the leasing company’s background and reputation, the specific services it offers, the company’s ability to deliver, its relationship with customers and the prerequisites in applying for a lease.

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Business Acumen – Buying Out a Small Business Partner

Looking for buying out a partner generally refers to businesses searching for information on how to purchase the shares of another partner. Partners may decide to leave a business if they are retiring, relocating, or otherwise can no longer take part in the business’s activities.

The first step in buying out a partner is to determine how much the partner’s shares are worth. This can be determined a number of ways. Value could be based on the market value of the company, the amount invested by the partner, or a pre-determined price detailed in a partnership agreement.

The next step when looking to buy out a partner is to find capital to finance the buy out. Though most lending institutions do not provide loans specifically for buying out a partner, they do offer loan programs that can be used towards any general business purpose. Most buyouts require large sums of money, and to apply for a large loan, lenders usually require personal and company financial documents, a business plan, and credit reports. Collateral is also required for secured loans, which can provide lower interest rates than unsecured loans.

If a business is looking to replace a partner, it may be able to obtain funding from an investor. Partner investors contribute large sums of capital in exchange for a portion of the business’s profits and a voice in the business’s decisions. In the case of buying out a partner, an investor could purchase the shares of the leaving partner and become part of the business.

Small business buying out partner usually refers to small business owners searching for information regarding buying out another business partner. Partners may wish to sell their shares of a company when they retire, relocate, or otherwise can no longer take part in the business’s activities.

The first step in buying out a partner in a small business is determining the value of the partner’s shares of the business. To resolve this problem, many businesses with two or more owners create and sign a partnership agreement that predetermines the value of every owner’s share of the business. For partnerships that do not have an agreement like this, the value can be determined by looking at how much the partner invested in the business or how much the business is currently worth on the market.

Once all partners have agreed on a selling price, the owner buying out must find financing. Most lenders don’t offer loans specifically for buyouts, but their loans can usually be used for any business purpose. Buyouts typically require large sums of money, and lenders have more extensive requirements for large loans. To get a lowered interest rate, many borrowers use personal or business assets to secure the loan.

Another source of financing for a small business buying out a partner is another investor. If a business owner can find an investor who is willing to purchase the other partner’s shares, then the owner will not have to take out another loan. The business owner simply gets a new partner to work with.

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Human Resources – Strategic Business Partner

Human Resources, with its diverse internal and external customer base, the ability to touch all levels of the organization and the legendary understanding of the organization’s environment could not be more suited for the critical role of a strategic business partner.

In General Electric’s recently published 2008 annual letter to shareholders, the CEO Jeff Immelt stated the following: “…..The secret to all of these dimensions of developing leaders is to have a great team of human resource professionals. Enduring companies must have a passion for people. GE has a great HR team that protects our valuable human assets. I want to give them special recognition this year….” For years, GE has acknowledged the success of Bill Conaty, their Senior Vice President of Corporate Human Resources. Bill Conaty is highly valued for his continued contribution to the organization. His insight and input have been invaluable. In a 2004 article written by Anne Freedman, Conaty himself stated: “I consider my real core competency and my value to the organization as being a human resource leader, but without having the business grounding, I don’t think I would be an effective HR partner.”

Organizations that consider their employees to be the most valuable asset cannot afford to not have human resources functioning in a true strategic business partner role. Human Resource professionals are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities, the talent to partner with senior leadership to not only be involved in the strategic management of the organization but drive the implementation of it. As stated in “The 8 Practices of Exceptional Companies, How Great Organizations Make the Most of Their Human Assets” by Jac Fitz-Enz, “Strategic plans must be laid on a core strategy, a solid wall of values. Core strategies lead to strategic plans, organizational charts, operating plans, quantitative objectives, and ultimately, to specific human behavior and task performance.” Business oriented HR professionals can help design a strategic plan that balances the needs of the organization, its employees, and other stakeholders. It can help align the efforts of the various functions in the organization with the plan’s strategic goals, and it can support those functions by ensuring that they can recruit, develop, and retain the necessary company team members. HR, as strategic business partners should be the drivers of the organizations values thus the drivers of the strategic plan.

HR should be made responsible for owning the leadership and employee development, as well as direct all communication efforts, especially as it relates to the pulse of the employee population. Succession planning is an area that a strategic HR business partner should be involved in. As discussed in “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, having the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats is the key element to the success of any organization – who better than to manage the people process than a strategic HR business partner.

To fulfill a strategic business partner role, HR leaders must understand the organization’s business. In addition to fully understanding the business, HR must understand the environment in which it operates, the competition, and the circumstances that could influence the progress of the organization. HR can no longer focus on its own internal tasks. It must be responsible for ensuring that HR’s strategy, goals and priorities are driven by and aligned with the overall business needs. It must establish key business partnerships with senior management, as well as key figures in other functions within the organization. Although the operational role of HR, the day-to-day tasks required to run an organization are not strategic in nature, the responsibilities must mirror the goals of the organization. There needs to be a more integrated global company-wide process that considers how each of the HR programs can help move the entire organization in the right direction.

In addition to HR increasing its own knowledge of the organization and creating solid partnerships through collaborative communication efforts, increasing its knowledge in other areas is extremely important to being a successful strategic business partner. HR must increase its knowledge of Finance and Accounting, Marketing and Sales, Operations, and Information Technology and hone in on key business skills. Almost every activity in an organization can be referred to as a project. That is why it is important for professionals in HR to improve their project management skills. In addition to project management skills, strategic HR business partners must fully understand the strategic planning process. HR must be able to manage change, perform environmental scanning, and understand the importance of outsourcing and the process associated with outsourcing. Being able to manage technology and measure the effectiveness of all company-wide programs and efforts are equally important. HR should also be playing a vital role in leadership coaching, should be responsible for implementing strategies to become an employer of choice, and should be responsible for leading programs to safe guard your company performance from external elements.

To summarize, Human Resource professionals touch every level and every department in the organization. Due to the involvement across the company, employees at all levels get to know and trust the members of the HR team. Because of HR’s familiarity with the change management process and human capital development, successful companies benefit from having HR fully functioning in a strategic business partner role. If your company is not already doing so, allow Human Resources to be represented in meetings along side other senior leaders. There is not a more suitable functional group within the company to be responsible for leading the development of strategic plans, implementing key tactics, and measuring the organizations success in executing its plan than Human Resources.

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Choose The Vital Business Partner – Merchant Account Services

If you own a business, you most likely know the significance of accommodating credit cards as a type of fee and may be trying to evaluate merchant account services. Customers expect to be able to buy with a credit card. Having credit cards as a form of payment is useful to business since studies recommend that the standard label will rise by up to twenty-seven percent if a credit card is utilized. Although starting the service may appear to cause a hassle, it will put in convenience and protection to your daily process.

When you start to shop and evaluate account services include as much information likely regarding your industry readily offered. If you already know what type of description you will want and offer the idea that you know precisely what you desire or require you will be less expected to be sold on something that you didn’t plan to purchase.

There are some unusual types of accounts and you should know what group your business falls into prior to making any calls to any merchant services provider. There are the primary retail accounts that are described as a normal brick and “mortar store” that would swipe the most of the credit cards. This kind of account poses the slightest threat of fraud so the rates ought to be comparatively low.

A MOTO account, mail order or telephone order is a form of business that takes the most of the credit card dealings through phone or through the mail. This kind of operation holds a high chance of fraud and will hold an advanced rate than a swiped operation.

There are also internet merchant accounts. This form of account will be essential if the company sells goods on an internet site with a shopping cart interface. Clearly this kind of operation poses a considerable risk of fraud so advanced rates is to be anticipated.

Among any kind of high-risk account, the processor will wish to defend their greatest interests when approving to course these dealings on their guidelines. Commonly known as a “Chargeback Reserve”, this is would need a reserve of finances that will be used in covering chargeback claims which the merchant cannot cover.

The majority of merchant services will be able to offer an account that suits your wants.

Rates are always open to discussion. Always ask for a lower rate and have your application charge waived. Some of the bill are compulsory and non negotiable, but most of them can be bargained. When you contrast account services, you should not make rates the set by which you select providers. Although the rates are significant, the merchant service provider must be a Corporation you trust. They don’t need to be the leading in the industry to give merchants with a high point of service. By choosing the right merchant services, you can earn later on.

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The Benefits of Stainless Steel Roller Chains

Typically, roller chains can be found in a lot of mechanically powered systems. For instance, you can find them in a number of environments like automotive industries and agriculture systems. Examples of automotive industries they are used in are bicycles and motorcycles. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of the common benefits of roller chains made of stainless steel. Read on to find out more.

Rollers chains are also commonly used in conveyor belts and many other industrial assembly environments. Aside from this, you can find these systems in many other environments too.

Advantages of Stainless Steel Roller Chains

Although these products are made of other metals as well, stainless steel is the most common one. This is because this metal offers a lot of benefits. Some of them are listed below. Please note that this list doesn’t talk about all the benefits the unit offers.

Food Applications

Stainless steel roller chains are quite popular in the food industry for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that the steel offers immense strength unlike other metal types you can find and use.

Therefore, products made of this metal can withstand even extreme conditions. Another good thing is that it’s much easier to clean. For instance, in an environment where food packaging, processing and handling is done, you may need to clean the chain more frequently. This is what makes these roller chains a great choice.

Temperature Resistance

Another great thing about these roller chains is that they can work fine even if you place them in an environment where temperature exceeds 400 Celsius. In the same way, they won’t stop working even if you use them in a place where temperature drops below -20 Celsius. This is what makes it an ideal choice in environments that are not good for other metals.

Corrosion Resistance

They are also corrosion resistant even if used in acidic or alkaline environments. In many industries, these roller chains are used either in alkaline or acidic settings. This is why they are preferred in a lot of industries. Aside from this, it offers quite low magnetic permeability. Therefore, we suggest that you opt for them instead of other options out there.

Heat-Treated

Another good thing about these chains is that they are heat treated for a lot better temperature resistance. Plus, they are put under a lot of stress for testing purposes to reduce the chances of stretching issues or premature leakage. So, as far as safety is concerned, this is the best choice you can take. They can save you a lot of money due to their long lifespan.

Long story short, these are some of the most common reasons why these roller chains are quite popular these days. Although they can’t be the best option for all types of applications, they can work well in many environments. Therefore, if you want to opt for them, we suggest that you give them a go. You won’t regret your choice.

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