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Management

Business Equipment – Lease or Buy?

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It’s the age old question, should you rent or buy equipment in your business? On the one hand, leasing can save you money in the short term. But in the long run, it could cost a lot more. There are a number of different factors that can impact this decision but before we look at these let’s assess the overall advantages and disadvantages of each option. We’ll start with leasing.

The Pros For Leasing Your Business Equipment

By leasing your equipment, you can keep your business up to date, efficient, modern and fresh. Since you haven’t committed to a purchase, you can update whenever you like. Think of this as getting a phone on a contract rather than buying one outright. On a contract, you can get a new phone once the contract expires and stay up to date with this tech. The same is true leasing equipment. Once the lease agreement expires, you can check the market to see if there’s any upgraded equipment that could be beneficial to your business.

No Charge At First

Since you’re leasing, you can avoid those heavy fixed costs of buying the equipment from day one. Let’s say that you’re using a cloud server. If you buy your own cloud server, you could be looking at thousands for installation charges alone. By leasing, you’ll only be paying around fifty dollars each month to use a server that is already set up and operational.

Go Beyond Your Means

Don’t forget, by leasing technology, you will be able to access more expensive, arguably unaffordable options. For instance, automated software is slowly trickling into every business industry, but it’s not cheap. Leasing out this tech., you can give you the upper hand over your competition without costing your company a fortune.

The Cons For Leasing

Unfortunately, leasing does tend to mean you pay more in the long run. Depending on how long you use the tech for, you could end up paying thousands for that cloud server, but it will be spread out over a longer period. You might not notice the expense, but it will be there, dragging your business down.

You might also find yourself paying for equipment that you no longer need. If your business model is flexible, it’s possible that you’ll reach the point where you no longer need the equipment you’ve leased out. But you’ll still have to keep paying for it until the lease ends.

Don’t forget, you’re also not getting any fixed advantage from the equipment. You don’t own it, so you won’t be able to sell it on and make some of the money back that you spent once you’re finished using it.

The Pros For Buying Your Business Equipment

Simple As Can Be

Buying is easy. Once you decide what equipment you want you find the supplier selling it at the right price and arrange an order. Leasing is a tad more complicated with paperwork that you need fill out and then there are the lease agreements. You’ll need to decide how long you can use it for, how you can use it and a variety of other factors that often come into play with these contracts.

Absolute Control

Since you own the tech or equipment you’re going to be using, you can do whatever you want with it. You’ll also find that repairs are a lot easier because you won’t have to worry about waiting for the leasing company to fix it for you. Instead, you can get your business back on track as soon as possible if the equipment does break down and avoid downtime.

Awesome Deductions

Since you own it, you can add your purchases to tax deductions. These can make those heavy costs we mentioned a lot easier and ensure buying equipment doesn’t drain your accounts completely.

The Cons For Buying Your Business Equipment

The disadvantages really do depend on the type of equipment we’re talking about here. For instance, there’s the cost. The cost of buying business equipment can be expensive, but it depends on how long you’re planning to use it for. If you know it’s going to be part of your business model for a few years it might be worth the high first fixed costs. But, it could still mean you need to take out an expensive loan, and that could play havoc with your credit rating.

Then there’s the issue with depreciation and outdated equipment. Certain pieces of equipment are going to depreciate faster than others. For instance, computers will lose nearly 25 percent of their value after the first year. That also means that you could be stuck using outdated equipment that cost a fortune in a couple years of time.

For this reason, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself before making this decision.

What Are The Tax Benefits?

We have already discussed the tax benefits of making deductions on any equipment that you buy. But there are also tax deductions available for leasing. For instance, you can may able to put the entire first cost as a deduction when leasing equipment. But, it does depend on the specific equipment and the lease in question. As such, you will need to investigate this carefully.

How Often Does The Tech Change?

In the computer world, tech changes every month, but in the agricultural industry, it can take years for tech to advance. As such, in the IT industry, it might be beneficial to lease equipment and keep up to date with changes. While for agricultural companies, a long-term investment could be the best decision and that’s just one example.

What Can You Afford?

On top of this, you need to consider what is the more affordable option for your business. It’s possible that you have the money in your accounts to buy the expensive equipment. Or, you could have the credit rating to easily handle a loan. On the other hand, you might not be in a strong financial position and if that’s the case leasing is always going to be the best possibility.

Which Is Best?

Ultimately, you will need to take all these factors into consideration when choosing whether to lease or buy. Think about how quickly technology changes, how much it will cost and the other benefits that leasing or buying could bring for your business.  What you don’t want to do is make a bad business decision with your liabilities especially if your business is in it’s infancy.

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Management

Getting started in business

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When you are thinking of starting a new business, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is what business model your company will adopt. Your business model is your company’s blueprint for making a profit. It explains what product or service your company plans to sell, how you will market your product or service, how much your business will cost to run, and how your business will turn a profit.

The best business plan is the one that allows you to fulfill your clients needs at a reasonable cost, while still remaining true to your company values and objectives. Three good questions to ask yourself in the business model planning stage are:

  1. Do you have a unique value proposition that makes your product or service valuable?
  2. Who is your target market, and do they have a need for your product or service?
  3. What makes you different from your competitors? Will your business model be difficult to copy?

Without these essential elements, you don’t have a way of generating revenue for your business. Some other elements to ask yourself when selecting a business model include: cost structure, key metrics, resources, problem and solution, revenue model, revenue streams and profit margin.

Some of the most popular business models include the manufacturer model, which is utilized by Dell Computers and Hewlett-Packard. This business model sees a manufacturer convert raw materials into a product. Another popular business model is the retailer model. Retailers purchase goods from distributors and then sell them to the public. Stores such as Nordstrom and Target have seen great success in this space.

Even companies that are innovating the business world tend to adopt characteristics from more traditional models. For example, Netflix has transformed the way you watch shows and movies but their company essentially runs on the subscription business model. This model asks customers to pay a monthly fee in order to utilize the product or service. In the case of Netflix, you pay a monthly fee to access their app.

You should start writing your business model in the beginning stages of your business plan. This way, you answer some of the most important questions about your business right out of the gates, rather than realizing at the end of your planning stages that profitability is not an option.

There are twelve main business models for you to choose from. Once you’ve found one that fits your business needs, you can begin to adapt it and make it your own. The right business model for you depends entirely on what you are selling, how much it costs to produce, and who you plan to market it to.

If you don’t know where to start, the visual below details the main business models explained with coffee.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Management

Hard From The Start: Which Industries Are Best For Female Entrepreneurs?

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Equality in society is something which is always improving. Rights have steadily been becoming increasingly universal as time has gone by, with more and more people being afforded the same level of living standards. Of course, though, there are still some areas which are severely lacking.

The gender pay gap has been highlighted in media very frequently over the last few years, and what we really want to know – is the wage gap between men and women shrinking?

Gender Pay Gap

The gender wage or pay gap is the average difference in pay between men and women. There are a couple of primary reasons for the gap.

Why the pay gap?

Women have chosen to work less hours, they may choose to work part-time so they can work around the school drop off and pick up times. They also take maternity leave and may extend it longer than the standard number of weeks of ‘paid maternity leave’.

There is also another reason, and it’s not voluntary, discrimination in the workplace and the value of a female worker versus a male worker doing the same job. The good news is the gap is shrinking and while it exists from the shop floor to the boardroom, women are fighting back.

Some industries are more male centric and they have been harder to win around with equal pay for equal work. The good news is there is upwards movement for women in all roles in and saying this, what about the most critical positions out there? How many female entrepreneurs make it to executive levels, and which industries are best for this half of the population?

Females In Executive Roles

In 2018, Fortune 500’s companies list only featured 23 female chief executives. Dropping 25% from the previous year, it seems as though the number of women in high levels of business is dropping, though this may not be the case. Sheryl Sandberg is an excellent example of a COO at one of the world’s largest companies; Facebook. Having been at the company for more than ten years, she is living evidence that it is possible for women to achieve positions which men have traditionally held.

To get a good idea of where women seem to do best in this field, it’s best to take a test sample. In this case, we’re going to be looking at an organization which works towards equality in a range of fields, one of which is business.

Where Are The Women Executives?

You can find Involve’s top 100 Female Executives at list link. While this list doesn’t cover all of the women in business, it offers a good range of different people.

We’ve taken each of the women on the list and put them into one of eight categories; technology, finance, retail, infrastructure, politics/activism, business, health, and manufacturing. You can find the results below.

As you can see, finance and business are the clear leaders when it comes to fields with female executives. Technology doesn’t happen too close behind, though, and it’s good to see that so many types of business make a showing. It makes sense that finance is so prevalent here.

Financial companies make up a vast amount of the world’s trade, and you don’t tend to get a small one, making them all need their executives. Some of the companies on the list are massive, while others were started by the lady in question. M62 Vincis’ Nicci Take is an excellent example of this and is someone who pushes for equality in business.

Which Field Is Best For Women?

It’s hard to say which field is best for women, especially when you break it down like this. If you look at success as working for a large company, someone like Michele Evans could be a good source of inspiration, as she heads the $21 billion giant known as Lockheed Martin. This company makes all sorts of machines, with a heavy focus on those with military applications. This isn’t the sort of work a lot of people would associate with a woman, as war is a heavily male-dominated industry, but this shows that the world is getting better at recognizing merit over gender.

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Management

Home Based eCommerce: Solving the Storage Issue

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How much do consumers spend online? According to a 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, consumers spend a third ($1 in every $3) of their discretionary income online. While Amazon steals the show for the top seller, there are thousands upon thousands of home-based entrepreneurs behind those Amazon numbers. From skincare to books to clothing and other consumer goods, sellers and resellers are not only in the sales game they’re also in the inventory shipping and storage game.

The fact of the matter is, adding storage for an eCommerce business is a common problem that many online entrepreneurs face. Are you facing this issue? If so, don’t stress about renting storage units or renting commercial space if you don’t have the budget right now. If you take the time to make a plan for adding the right type of storage space to your home, you’ll avoid facing hefty storage fees month after month.

Storage Containers, and Lots of Them

The most affordable way to add additional storage to your home is also, thankfully, the easiest: DIY storage containers. If you have a closet that you’re not utilizing, you’d be surprised by how much room you can squeeze out of it just by A) organizing everything, and B) putting everything into a large, multi-tiered plastic storage container. You can find these both on the Internet and at any home supply or container store.

Organized storage containers will enable you to fit more items in the same-sized area, and you’ll also have easier access to inventory whenever you need it. This is the perfect choice for small eCommerce products that have high turnover rates, such as make-up, crafts, or other small niche products.

Convert and Enclose a Patio

Do you have a patio area on the exterior of your home that you don’t utilize? Perfect, you’ve got the makings of a storage room right outside your door.

Get quotes from a few local construction partners to convert and enclose the patio into a usable space. If the temperature for storing your inventory is important, be sure to get a quote for adding heat and AC. If you’re concerned about aesthetics or future use of the room, add windows to give the room a bit of additional lighting.

Once the patio is enclosed, you can follow traditional inventory storage advice or treat it as a garage space and organize accordingly. If you’re keeping resale value in mind as you make changes, Forbes offers a few tips to keep in mind for home improvements that boost value. Although the article doesn’t mention storage, the Mud Room and Smart Features concepts will ensure your investment yields a return.

No Basement? Look Up

Most homes have an attic or a crawl space that is accessible through pull-down stairs or an opening with a ladder. Before you consider this option, call in a handyman or contractor to evaluate the strength of the flooring.

You may have to reinforce the attic floor before you can use it to walk around or store items. There are two main reinforcement techniques available: sistering and engineered floor joists. Sistering involves installing newer, larger floor joists side by side with your existing ones. Engineered floor joists offer an increased level of structural reliability and as a bonus, you won’t have to worry about crowning, bowing or other related problems. When in doubt, call in a professional, as attic storage without proper reinforcement can be a hazard.

If you’re going to be converting your attic into storage, it’s probably best to use it for items that aren’t temperature sensitive. If the space is too good to pass up, you can look into adding extra insulation and heating/cooling options.

Invest in a Separate Building

If you absolutely need additional storage onsite but lack the space in your home, pre-engineered metal buildings are the most affordable way to go.

Even if you’ve only got a limited amount of land, you may still have room for this option. Steel buildings come in a variety of shapes and sizes with many custom options. Prefabricated metal buildings are erected very quickly and can solve your inventory storage problems right away. As an aside, if you require storage for large items, you can also experiment with triple roof structures, carports for covered outdoor work areas, or combinations of the two, depending on your needs.

Regardless of which onsite storage option you choose to explore, it’s clear that you have many options to help you manage growing inventory without paying storage fees to a third party facility. All of these options will add value to your home should you decide to move in the future.

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