All posts by Carl Heintz

09

Feb'19

When should a Startup Hire an Accountant?

The simple answer: the minute you need to do some accounting. That almost smart-ass answer is really pretty profound… because it focuses on something that many harried entrepreneurs fail to grasp: when you need to start looking at accounting data. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are not analytical types, and they don’t like to think about accounting or other backroom activities. As a result, they often crash and burn, because the “backroom” is just like the engine room in a boat: lots of critical stuff goes on there. Let’s put it this way: you start out on a journey to someplace you have never been. The first thing you do is consult a map. What’s the difference when you are starting a business? None. Successful business owners know that the roadmap of how they are doing is their accounting reports. They understand that looking at sales, expenses, assets, and liabilities is essential. It’s the measure of where they are and what they are doing. Sure, you can look at bits and pieces from here and there ( so called flash reports) but those have no proof of integrity. When you have an accounting system, the reports you get have a much greater …

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08

Feb'19

Priorities in Starting a Business

What are the three most important priorities in starting a business? Business planning, your business organization, and being prepared mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

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01

Feb'19

The Love of Money

What an interesting question. I think the answer is probably no. Being successful requires ambition and aptitude and perseverance. One might easily be successful without loving money. One might like the idea of personal accomplishment, recognition, and for many, the pursuit of power. Whether you love money or not is only one motivator. Money might be adopted by some as the measure of how successful they were, but not the principal motivator. To be successful requires that you have good people skills, know how to network and have reasonable technical skills. I have known many marginally successful business people who were penurious and loved money far too much, to the point that it suffocated their chances for success. On the other hand, the other day I attended the funeral of a businessman who died suddenly. He had just retired. His funeral was packed out… by people who had known him and respected him mightily. Person after person stood up to describe his leadership skills, his mentoring abilities, his integrity and compassion, his honesty in difficult situations, and the way he had helped others. This guy never earned more than $ 80,000 in his life, but he was wildly successful, loved …

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31

Jan'19

Rules for Successful Entrepreneurship

Here is what I have learned over 40 years: Business ideas are often shiny objects — they can divert your attention, have little to offer and aren’t real. Practical business concepts are often pretty dull, but they always focus on meeting a need, fulfilling a customer need. Realistic business concepts provide something that customers will pay for, either for convenience, need, or desire. Nothing happens until something is sold. Sales and marketing are crucial to success. You must identify and know your target market. You should know more about them than they do. You must constantly research, evaluate and investigate. You must constantly look for new markets, ways to refresh old markets and you must perfect the art of the recurring sale. A one time sale is a loser. You must have repeat business to survive. Cash flow, cash flow, and cash flow. You can’t survive without it, but it must come from profitable operations. Cash flow which comes from increased leverage, or volume which comes from selling below cost is like cancer: it will eat you out from within until your business collapses. Your “solution” had better be relevant, time-effective and cost effective. It will stay that way only …

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03

Jan'19

The Ten Rules of Entrepreneurship

Want to be a successful entrepreneur? Ten essential things to do in your start up. Ten essential truths that make any business successful.

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27

Nov'18

How Do I Become A Successful Business Person?

That’s a wonderful question, because on one level, all you need to do is just study business in school, get the “trade school” education, get out there and do what your boss says. You will find a successful career if you have a half-wit sense of how to deal with people. You will never rise above a certain level, and you will be stuck in the trenches. You may rise to an assistant manager someplace. On the other hand, do you want to be very successful? Do you want to rise to the top of your profession? Then you better pay attention to a lot more than just B School topics. You must learn a lot about how businesses operate, how they rise and fall, how products are developed, produced and marketed. You must understand the legal environment, the social environment, and the political environment of business. You need to take every business course you can think of. You need to be an expert in communications, marketing, operations, human resources, accounting, finance and management. But with all this education, you will still only rise to a certain staff level. You are book smart, but not completely educated. Your excellent academic …

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27

Nov'18

New business: How do I get Visibility and Customers?

Ah, the proverbial question: how do you get customers. That’s what you want. Visibility, yes, but the only visibility you need is with people that will buy what you have to sell. Any other visibility is a waste of time and effort. In fact, visibility in the wrong venue can backfire: it may alert your competition, or inspire some other business to invade your space. So, you want to target your customers. Not with a shotgun, but with a rifle — send that message to the prospect and get them to buy. Too many entrepreneurs confuse noise with message. Noise is all around, does no good, doesn’t result in anything. Message is distinct, tailored, directed, and designed to emote action. So, how will you send an appropriate message directly to your target market in the most effective, efficient way? First you have to know a lot about your target market(s). You have to understand their demographics and their psychographics. Until you have this information, you are shooting in the dark. Then, you have to figure out how to reach those people directly. There is always a way. You have to understand the pathways of communication. Is it by social media? …

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31

Oct'18

What holds back a business from Scaling UP

What prevents most businesses from scaling up? Here are a few things: A personal service business where the owner IS the business. A business which is only successful because it has a unique location A business which has a limited supply of product. A business which can’t overcome the logistics of multiple locations/ increased sales either because there aren’t enough qualified humans or the business processes can’t or shouldn’t be automated. A niche business which serves a limited niche. Inadequate, ill-defined, or unworkable business systems, especially marketing, sales and customer service. Inadequate vision – owners can’t imagine scaling or comprehend what that involves. Inadequate funding Owners who know that being “big” doesn’t mean being better, and in fact being the “right size” is the best success a business owner can achieve.

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26

Oct'18

Key Factors for Success of a New Business

What are the key factors for the success of a new business? Everything you learned in Entrepreneur and Fast Magazine is probably wrong. Those magazines are pornography for business starters. This is going to be damn hard work. Harder than you figured, by a factor of 5. You can’t go home at 5. Most people just give up, exhausted and spent. Burn-out within 15 months is common. You are going to feel a lot of pain, anxiety, fear, angst and dread. If you can’t deal with it, if you’re not tough enough, it’s all over. Flame out comes sometimes within a year, most often after the 2nd year. You are going to have to plan things out. Which means you better do your research. Most available research is rubbish. You have to dig, hard. The vast majority of business plans aren’t worth the paper they are on. Business starters have to understand the dynamics of their businesses, and the key elements to success. Nothing happens until something is sold. Having the perfect product but no sales is guaranteed failure. You must sell, sell, sell. Oh, and did I mention, sell? You have to understand the 5 factors that make any …

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21

Oct'18

How does a New Business get Customers?

How does a new business get traction, get known, get customers? The answer is it depends upon your business… each business has a “most effective” marketing strategy. No two businesses have exactly the same approach. What you are in need of is a marketing plan. What follows is just a broad overview of some elements of a good plan. How do you attract customers? That’s the key. First, you have to know who your customers are or will be? Who are your target markets? What things are on their minds? What are their problems? What do they pay attention to? What are their habits? Demographics. Psychographics. How does your product or service solve their problem or need? Exactly. For example, you might say your coffee shop satisfies their thirst for coffee. WRONG. Your coffee house provides a certain ambiance, a place to meet people, relax, and enjoy a respite from the demands of the world. Ah, it is a refuge. You provide stress relief! ( I’m just making this up as I go along, the idea is to get you to thinking beyond the simple and into the subliminal and inferential.) Now that you know, what, figure out HOW. How …

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