Copyright 2006 Stephen FurnariOne of the best ways an entrepreneur can find the investment money he or she needs to grow their business is by finding a strategic or joint venture partner. In a good partnership, each partner will bring expertise or assets that the other party is missing, but that are necessary for the business to be successful; for instance: CASH!If done correctly, a partnership can be great a way to grow your company without implementing difficult and time-consuming changes to your business. A partnership can help you increase your market share, gain a new competitive advantage, and help you to respond and adapt more quickly to change in the marketplace.But, business partnerships can be tough, and getting out of a bad one can be worse than an ugly divorce.In my practice, entrepreneurs often come to me when its too late. In a typical scenario, communications have broken down between the partners, they have been kicked out of their business, money has been stolen, and everyone is about to sue everyone else.Let me put this into tangible terms for you. What I have found is that when I help my clients outline their relationship with their partners in writing before they get started, it will cost them between $1,500 and $7,500 for a simple partnership. When clients do not do this up-front work and hire my firm to sue their partner (or defend a lawsuit) when things go bad, it can cost up to 10 TIMES that amount in litigation!What I have found is that when future business partners hash out the terms of their relationship before they get started, they have longer and more successful partnerships, and they save a considerable amount of money on legal fees. To help future business partners get the conversation started, I have created a Business Partners Questionnaire that helps future partners begin to outline their relationship in writing. To get your FREE copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.Here are a few other suggestions to help keep you and your partners out of court!1. Go Back to the BasicsBefore you even start hunting for a potential partner or decide that a partnership is definitely the way to go, take a look at your business plan. Decide whether such a move is in line with you business goals. What are your organizational goals? Would a partnership help you achieve these goals? Is it consistent with the objectives of your company? A partnership is not a magic bandage that will solve your companys problems. If you feel that your decision to partner is a defensive move, it maybe an indication of a core problem that should be fixed within your company, not externally. Similarly, dont rush into partnership because you rely on one to start your business.2. The Deadly Es: Ego & EmotionThe deadly Es can trap you in a potentially awkward situation with your partner. Surrounded by a myriad of official documents and important decisions to be made, your ego can cause you to make claims and opinions that can come back to bite you later on. For example, by distinguishing yourself as the companys official decision maker, you become responsible for your partners decisions too. Just as dangerous are your emotions, which can lead you to form unrealistic expectations or impromptu promises or commitments.3. Dont Ignore Possible Opportunities/Stay FlexibleCash-strapped entrepreneurs have a tendency to stop their search for a partner once they find the first person who demonstrates an ability to write a check. Remain uncommitted until you sign an agreement with your potential partner. Actively cultivating your alternatives can give you a better perspective on the partnership process and allow you to ask yourself, is this partnership truly the best option? Keeping your options open can help you compare the relative advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, including that of a partnership. Not only does this prevent you from devoting excess time, money and effort on the sub-prime partner candidate, but you get the assurance that whatever decision you made was the best one.Also, consider possible opportunity costs. Along with the benefits of a partnership, you also assume liabilities, like your partners competitors. Will this fact conflict with potential opportunities in the future?4. Form an Exit Strategy Before You Get StartedBe realistic. Conflict is inevitable and you never know how severe it may get. Although it seems cynical, you should think of how youll exit from the partnershipbefore you get started. Consider it staying prepared for your next opportunity. While you and your partners are still on good terms, its crucial to determine how to allocate your business assets in case you and your partner decide not to work together anymore. You should also agree about what to do with the business or assets in case of an untimely termination, such as a partners death. Having an exit strategy will help you maintain your autonomy your fate and that of your business remains in your hands, not your partners.5. Map Out Your Mutual Expectations In WritingBefore you get started, and possibly before you meet with your lawyer, prepare a plain English roadmap of the relationship between you and your partner. Some major advantages are: it allows you to draft the partnership agreement with your lawyer before presenting it to your partners lawyer; its flexible structure enables you to experiment with different relationship configurations to see which one youre most satisfied with; youll have a clearer idea of what you want from the partnership; and most importantly, you can clearly distinguish business issues from legal issues, and use lawyers only to discuss the latter which will save you money on legal fees.This brings us to the next point.6. Get Legal Advice EarlyGet legal advice from the beginning. Let your lawyer know what your goals are and he or she will let you know what you need to do to get there. A lawyer can also assess how realistic or beneficial your aspirations are. They can help you strategize your negotiations and plan what to ask for and when. Also note that the attorney representing the other side is the one you should look out for. You and your future partner should discuss the business side of your relationship first and, if possible, only introduce lawyers later.7. Dont Do Everything YourselfA good leader knows when to delegate responsibilities. Dont try to do everything yourself. Assuming youve already taken the steps to carefully choose reliable consultants and employees, communicate with those working for you. Lawyers, accountants and managers can provide an objective, specialized perspective and a more realistic tone to what might be an overly optimistic plan. Having technical and expert advisers on hand can also help you understand financial and operational implications pertinent to both parties.8. Haste Makes (Costly) WasteIts true, time is money. But ignoring details and attempting shortcuts will likely cause delays or worse, bad decisions when forming a partnership. Remember, if your partnership blows up, it will cost you far more time, money and heartache than if you do things right from the beginning.9. Dont Overlook DetailsAs an entrepreneur, you already have a knack for seeing the big picture. Its the details, however, that will add value to your vision in the long run. Covering the following bases will help buffer you against uncontrollable changes in the market, operating costs, and even sentiments between you and your partner. Before you get started: establish the objectives and expectations of each partner; determine each partners contribution in terms of funds, skill and time; assess how much revenue will be allocated relative to the amount and type of work done; assign the roles and related tasks of each partner; for example, decide who will manage the partnership, who will get training and hire employees, etc.; form evaluation objectives and plan ways to monitor and assess performance; and determine a procedure to resolve problems when things break down; for example, mediation or arbitration.10. Trust Your GutMy present partner excluded, I have been guilty of some bad decisions about business partners. I was involved in a partnership where I owned and managed an investment property in a ski resort with two other people. My partners were social acquaintances whose company I enjoyed very much in that type of setting. However, throw money, emotions, power, and economic risk in the mix, and things quickly got tense.The first indication that the business partnership might not be a good one was in the very beginning. We were sitting in a quaint Vermont restaurant and one of the partners threw a temper tantrum about making an offer on a property we were considering. What was a very logical and arithmetic decision for me, was a very emotional one for this person. After the outburst, I had a bad feeling about the interpersonal dynamics of the partnership. I decided to go ahead anyway because the economic prospects were outstanding.Sure enough, in less than a year we were not on speaking terms. Luckily, before we got started, I insisted on an iron-clad partnership agreement that had a mechanism in it for me to get out. I ended up making money on the investment, but not enough to pay for a years worth of arguments, stress and distraction from my law practice. I didnt trust my gut and it cost me in the long-run.A business partnership is truly a marriage. As all marriages go, when things are good, theyre great, and when theyre not, look out! If you get a bad feeling about your future partner, trust you instincts, they are usually correct.
Staffing is an integral part of any company. In fact the success or the failure of a company depends on a large extent on the type of staffing a company has. It is very important to have proper people running your company if you want to see your company grow really fast. Staffing outsourcing has been very successfully used by many companies to their advantage and benefit. Many companies have ventures into the outsourcing process to help their business grow and prosper. You have been thinking of expanding your company, but dreading to employ new staff in your company? There is a very simple answer to all your worries about staffing. Simply outsource staffing for your company. You will feel the benefits to your company only after you have undertaken the actual process of outsourcing. If you are actually looking forward to hiring trained professionals then you could end up undertaking huge expenses. After all hiring trained professionals have always been expensive anywhere. However outsourcing the process enables you huge amounts of money. This is because the cost of labor in developing countries where you have outsourced the work is low. So you get professional services at a low rate. Another benefit of outsourcing accounting is that you do not have to deal with employee benefits, payroll, taxes and such other stuff. All you will have to do is keep an eye on the work done by your staff. This also helps you in reducing the role and also the work of HR in your company. You will virtually be reduced of the entire employee hiring hassles. One more benefit that you can get from staffing outsourcing is that you can actually reduce the workload of the employees in your company. Freeing up this time and resources means that you can utilize their services in other sectors of your business. Sectors which needs urgent attention for developing your business. So, on the one hand you get professional services for your company and on the other hand you get an extra hand to help you in your business. You can hire staffing for your company depending on the type of work done in your company. Suppose if you have staffing requirement for a short duration you can hire temporary services accordingly. You can also hire staffing services on a project to project basis. However it has been seen that hiring staffing on a long term basis has been more beneficial. There are many outsourcing companies who will provide you "staffing outsourcing" services. It is the best way for a company to meet working deadlines with very little cost involved. I am sure you will now be advocating outsourcing your staffing services to meet pressing business needs. Outsourcing companies are equipped to deal with any demands which you may have for your business.
With the advent of the small PLC's (programmable logic controllers), the Logo or the Pico to name just a couple, controlling pneumatic circuits can be achieved with high reliability, low complexity, and at a relatively low cost with one of the currently available, easy to program controllers.That's all well and good for the vast majority of applications that occur in a plant environment that offers electricity. But what if yours doesn't? Or, what if you would prefer to have a non-electrical compressed air circuit, one that is, perhaps, located in an explosive or fire hazard location?Years ago, there were no options but using air logic to control "compressed air" applications. For more modern applications that may need to operate without electricity, air logic still offers a viable alternative.There are commercially and readily available air logic elements that will help you design the air-only pneumatic circuit.OR GateThis device will allow an output control signal when either of two incoming air signals are present. The output air signal is continuous as long as there is an incoming air signal. This is useful when you wish to sequence a pneumatic operation, but don't want it to occur until another operation is complete.AND GateThis device will allow an output signal only when there are two input air signals received. The output air signal is continuous as long as there are two incoming air signals. This is useful when you wish to sequence a pneumatic operation, but don't want it to occur until other operations are complete.NOT GateSends an output air signal continuously when the incoming air signal is absent. This type of device is often used to ensure that a sequence cannot take place until another action is complete.PULSEThis device will allow a momentary output signal to trigger a sequence operation, and the output signal will drop after it "times out". This is useful for simplifying control circuitry eliminating the potential for conflicting control air if the pneumatic circuit hasn't been designed properly.TIMERThese devices can either generate an outgoing signal for a specific period of time or, delay an outgoing signal for a specific period of time when either receives in input air signal.INDICATORThese devices are used when there is a need to have a visual indicator that there is compressed air present. Some might change colour, others might have an indicator pin that pops up to show air is there. Of course, a pressure gauge would do the same thing, but perhaps it might be beneficial to be able to see that there is air present from a distance?POSITION SENSORSBy having an object interrupt an air flow, or have the air flow within the sensor uninterrupted, will produce an outgoing air signal.These are just a few of the many other air logic components and devices commerically available. With these items, air logic can be used to build quite complex air control circuits. Caution: the compressing of air generates a great deal of water, and air / water borne contamination in the air lines to the plant which can be a real problem for downstream air components.Air logic devices are just such downstream air components. It is critical for their reliable operation to have the air supply to these sensitive control elements clean and dry. Failure to provide air of sufficient quality will ensure that the air logic control circuit will not function to design or expectation.
For some reason I have always wondered what data entry was really like. We have all seen at least one TV show or movie with someone in it who did data entry as a living. The person was always portrayed as being massively bored with his/her job, and with a desperate desire to get out and find a better and more glamorous position. Actually didnt Chandler on friends do data entry for a while?I always thought that it seemed as if it would be a pretty tedious position and one that causes a lot of carpel tunnel and bad vision, not to mention a bad back from sitting in an invariably uncomfortable chair all day long. It also always seemed as if it was something that a trained monkey could do, not really that complicated or requiring too much brain power.I am still not 100% sure what it is like. I dont think I can actually say I know anyone who does data entry, although I must. I mean it has to be a pretty big job class right? I mean every company in the word has data and I am pretty sure most of them need it entered into something at some point in time. There must be a lot of people to do this. Surely someone I have met does this. And actually after my recent discovery that you can do data entry at home I have to say I am considering it.
It's never been easier to purchase custom vinyl decals and other types of custom signage. From custom wall lettering and magnetic signs to boat lettering and registration numbers, you can design your own signage or have a team of designers do it for you with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Here are five tips for buying vinyl graphics online:1. Look for VersatilityA good online custom sign shop should be able to fill a variety of types of orders. When it comes to custom vinyl decals, for example, they should provide everything from auto decals and bumper stickers to rear window decals and custom wall graphics. Using a full-service online sign company will enable you to get all of your signage needs met, including those for custom signs, custom banners, vehicle lettering, and digital decals. 2. Timeliness is KeyThe most reputable online sources for custom signage will make a commitment to providing the fastest on-demand printing at the best prices. An online sign shop should be able to ship your order within three days of your acceptance of the final proof. For large orders, the shop should be willing to give you a shipping date and work with you to accommodate your needs.3. Guarantees are a MustThere are many inferior products in the marketplace, so the sign shop you choose should stand behind what they sell. Although the lifespan of custom vinyl decals and other signage can shortened by adverse weather conditions, you should receive at least a limited one-year warranty against peeling, fading, or failure. 4. Simple Design StepsThe sign company you select should make it easy for you to design your own custom vinyl decals. They should have a friendly user interface that you can use to enter text and choose options like fonts, sizing, spacing, color, border, shadow, and other effects. You should also be able to upload your logo, images, and other graphic elements within the interface. As you're creating your design, you should be able to preview it to make sure it's exactly what you want. 5. Straightforward InstallationWhen you receive your custom vinyl decals, you should also receive easy-to-follow installation instructions. The best online companies provide you with some of the materials you need when your order exceeds $30 or so. Similarly, the company should provide you with instructions on how to remove custom vinyl decals, as well as how to care for your vehicle lettering. Using custom vinyl decals and other forms of signage are a terrific way to advertise your business, express your personality while accessorizing your vehicle, and give friends and family members personalized gifts. Once you find a reputable sign company, you can take advantage of the latest technology and use their online tools to create your own masterpiece from the comfort of your home or office.