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By Megan McRainey
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, AND you're probably making resolutions to lose weight , get more exercise or break a bad habit. But let's face it, you're probably not going to stick to any of them -- so why not create some realistic goals to help your business start the year off on the right foot instead?
January is a good time for small and medium businesses to take a look at how their company did last year and where they'd like it to head this year. And with the economy improving, many businesses may need to switch gears and refocus their yearly goals to take full advantage.
Here's a list of several beginning-of-the-year goals that can steer your business in the right direction:
.Revise your business plan: Updating your business plan should be a regular process, but if your business hasn't revisited its plan since last year, the beginning of the year is a good time to start, said Jaunta Rudison, owner of business consulting firm Rudison's Enterprises Inc. in Buford.
The marketing and financial portions of the plan are the most important and need to be followed, she said.
.Set a budget -- and follow it: Included in the business plan, the budget is a key tool in a smoothly run and profitable business, Rudison said.
But the budget is not something to be created only to ignore it later in the year.
"If they are not following their budget or haven't followed it the prior year, businesses will probably have a lot of problems with their accounting and profit and loss," Rudison said.
Each time your business spends money that was not planned for in the budget, those funds will come out of profits or income, she said
.Keep in touch: If your business deals with vendors, the beginning of the year is an excellent time to revisit your vendor list, said Jerry Hardiman, president of Archway Solutions Inc., a business consulting firm in Tucker.
"Obviously, if there are vendors that you only hear from in a personal way once a year when you get a Christmas card, you may want to think about that." Hardiman said.
And just as vendor connections can dry up, customer relationships can also wilt if they are not tended to regularly.
Don't wait until a problem arises to call a client, Hardiman said. Good customer service depends on keeping in touch with customers throughout the year.
Update your technology:
A smoothly running business needs up-to-date equipment, hardware and software to run efficiently.
Be sure to replace or upgrade equipment that may be holding your business back, Rudison said. The time lost to a slow printer may be costing your business more than a new printer would have.
.Tune up your sales force: January is a good time for businesses with a sales force to review last year's sales figures, Rudison said.
Reviewing sales figures can reveal many things about how sales are going, from how an individual salesperson is performing to what products or services may need to be phased out due to poor sales, she said.
.Look for way to grow: If your business is humming along, it can be easy to get into a rut.
But as you plan for the year, be sure to take a long, hard look at customers your business could be serving or products and services that your business could offer to increase sales, Rudison said.
Technologies and industries can turn on a dime, and your business's core focus could be thrown off target.
.Get your taxes in order: While most businesses should have finished up their tax planning for the new year by January, it's never too early to plan for the next year, Hardiman said. But if you still haven't drawn up a tax plan for 2004, get to it, he added.
.Upgrade your Web site: As a business shifts its focus, marketing or product and service offerings, the Web site should reflect any changes the business is making during the new year.
"There's nothing worse than a Web site that's out of date. If it's not up to date, you're better off not having one," Hardiman said.
.Take stock of your staff: While many businesses have cut back workers or held staff sizes steady, some businesses may be ready to beef up their staff this year, Hardiman said. Assess how much you expect your business to grow or improve this year, and then find temporary or permanent staff to handle the growth, he said.
.Get involved in your community: Many business owners belong to business and trade organizations and networking groups, but many overlook the value of business-free community activities, Rudison said.
Join the board of a non-profit organization or get involved in charity and civic organizations, she said. In addition to doing some good in your neighborhood, you can also develop enriching personal relationships with other people in your community that can become the strongest kind of business lead.
Rudison's Enterprises Gives Companies Professional Image, Organization and Management
Are you looking to improve your current management strategies in order to increase profitability? Are you looking for more time to work in your field of expertise?
You are not alone...help is available.
Many entrepreneurs have drive and determination. They are specialized in their areas of expertise but they lack knowledge and experience for structuring a business.
Rudison's Enterprises can review your overall operation and provide you with the technical support you require to establish controls, implement essential changes and design a specific program, which will improve organization within your business structure.
"Your daily struggles can be eliminated by use of good management strategies," as stated by Jaunta Rudison, head of Rudison's Enterprises.
"We are capable of providing training
and development for your entire staff.
Jaunta J. Rudison, President of Rudison's Enterprises
Staff development is the key to success for all businesses," she said.
"Use good business practices and you can keep most fires from burning.
I once had a manager that religiously utilized the 'shirk and dive' theory of management. He shirked his responsibilities and dived when the fire got hot!"
Jaunta began her career in management in the early 70's. She became quite proficient as a manager and developed her skills in planning, organizing and directing all phases of departmental operations.
Her background includes management positions in several leading banks where she utilized staff motivational techniques and performed as troubleshooter in various departments.
In 1986 Jaunta decided to put her entrepreneurial spirit, communications skills and sales ability to work. She founded Rudison's Typing Service. Realizing that typing is a seasonal business, she developed Rudison's Enterprises, which now provides management consulting services. This division of the company supports an expert management team which offers marketing approaches, computerized record keeping services, and training in building a business plan.
"Many businesses are started without a plan. You must have an idea of where you're going, and how to get there," she said. Her firm offers consultation on how to do research, feasibility studies, demographic studies, comparative analysis and financial projections; something most small business owners need but don't know where to start.
Communication is very important in business, "Managers should not expect their employees to be clairvoyant," she said, "Clear and concise instructions and employee manuals should always be available."
"Rudison's Enterprises is specialized in management consulting and the professional aspects of business and they are interested in promoting this philosophy while encouraging beginning, struggling and ambitious entrepreneurs.
The "Prestigious Awards Gala" was developed from this concept.
It is my belief that this affair will create a network for vendors while providing
them the opportunity to benefit directly from a raffle. To my knowledge this concept has not been utilized before,"she said. "This affair will also encourage vendors to participate in other trade shows to expose themselves. Meeting other successful people is a plus as well."
"We can help you develop methods for your business that will provide you the time to generate business in your field of expertise," she said.
"Prestigious Awards Gala"
Honoring Bernadinc C. Washington
A Networking, Fashion Show and Entertainment Extravaganza
Win Shopping Sprees: $150.00, $100.00, and $75.00 from Chicago's Leading Designers and Vendor Tables
Advance Tickets $15 . With Plugger
$15 . At the door $17.50
Meet Trisha Mann, Miss Black Chicago, Featured Entertainer
Thomas A. Dorsey, Lifetime Honoree Award Nominee
The premier "Prestigious Awards Gala" will be held June 23 at 4:00 p.m. at Mareva's Restaurant, 1250 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The ceremony will honor Bernadine C. Washing with the Prestigious Award; Thomas A. Dorsey, Lifetime Honoree Award; and Trisha Mann, the Recognition Award. The event is sponsored by Rudison's Enterprises, Jaunta Rudison, CEO.
The organization is a successful management and secretarial service.
The "Prestigious Awards Gala" was structured specifically to give recognition
and appreciation to those who have given a great deal back to their community and have obtained successful business careers.
The award-presenters feel it is important all entrepreneurs understand successful business people are appreciated and respected. It is equally important successful business people be given the opportunity to review their past to see how they have touched the lives of others. In addition, Jaunta Rudison
an affair of this caliber will give struggling individuals and entrepreneurs the opportunity to look forward to success instead of looking back and accepting failure.
An award official recently stated, "Bernadine C. Washington has certainly paid her dues in our society and she is the ideal person to be honored."
"Rudison's Enterprises specializes in management Trisha Mann
consulting and the professional aspects of business and we are interested in promoting this philosophy while encouraging beginning, struggling and ambitious entrepreneurs to develop their business concepts from people such as our honorees. It is my belief this affair will create a network for vendors while providing them the opportunity to benefit directly from a raffle."
In today's society small businesses are growing by leaps and bounds and business owners are doing everything possible to get products and services to the marketplace. Untested marketing strategies are being used on a frequent basis.
Business owners are trying everything including email, flyers, networking, word of mouth, sales teams, and internet marketing without the benefit of prosperous results.
The excitement of becoming a business owner sometimes overlooks the need for developing effective marketing strategies. Nonetheless, efficient market planning is the key to having a successful business.
The purpose of market planning and analysis is to become thoroughly acquainted with all aspects of the market so that an effective plan can be developed to capture a market share. The Market analysis is also needed to assess whether an organization can solve customer problems with more ease than the competition. This is done by analyzing and comparing techniques used in similar organizations.
Furthermore, this provides a business the opportunity to develop a competitive edge by producing better merchandise, recognizing customer demands, and maintaining competitive pricing and superior product knowledge.
There are several categories in a marketing plan that must be developed before a marketing strategy can become effective. However new business owners can begin by doing a demographic study to determine their marketing area, a competitive analysis to determine who is their competition, marketing milestones to focus on major events that will meet company objectives and doing a SWOT analysis.
A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis is a marketing assessment that can be performed to provide an overview of the company situation within the marketplace. It should show whether the company is in an excellent position to take advantage, or if the company is faced with challenges that may be impossible to overcome.
When identifying Strengths a business should be able to cover areas such as reputation, communication, quality, expertise/knowledge and other outstanding strengths prevalent within the company.
When identifying Weaknesses challenges that the company may face such as limited size, limited growth capability, lagging reputation, etc. should be covered. However, along with identifying these weaknesses, each business should pinpoint a strategy to overcome the weakness, i.e., the company may be limited in size, however, it will service a more concentrated market.
Opportunities should cover the advantages a company may have within the marketplace, i.e., the market is extremely suitable for small companies to exist with excellent margins.
Threats should cover disadvantages the company may have, i.e., competition, single location, limited product line, etc.
Once the analysis is completed, competitors can be identified, and strategies can be developed on how to capture the market.
The marketing plan determines the success or failure of a business.
Implementing marketing techniques without a developed strategy will eventually place a business in the position of becoming a failing statistic. For more information visit our website at www.rudisons.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaunta J. Rudison Spends Three Years Away from Business to Raise Late Brother's Children
Jaunta J. Rudison, owner of Rudison's Enterprises, loves her work as a business consultant. However, when her brother died in 2005, she didn't hesitate to take three years off to provide the critical time needed to get the children acclimated to a new way of life.
"I wanted them to have a better life since the first five years of their lives were spent in difficult circumstances. I knew that they were talented children who needed direction to become the best they could be. They needed to understand … your environment doesn't shape you; you shape your environment."
Jaunta speaks from experience. She faced her own challenges growing up in low income housing and later worked in a transitional school with troubled teens. Her experiences prepared her to help the children adjust from a tough Chicago neighborhood to the quiet suburbs in Georgia. The sacrifices have paid off. Her niece is graduating high school this year with honors and she is looking at colleges to attend. Her nephew is looking toward becoming an "A" student, elevating to his senior year, and doing extremely well on the football team.
She helps her clients find the same kind of success as they face their own challenges and stresses that come with change. "Many people are facing losing a job or financial struggles and most are starting over in an economy and market that has deep-sixth," she explains.
Jaunta enjoys teaching clients to create successful business plans and budgets. She also instructs them on attaining financing and grants, making intelligent decisions about their businesses, and stepping up to the next level.
Pulling strength from her spiritual commitment, she is able to give her clients encouragement and a desire to succeed. Businesses are able to create jobs which are good for the economy, good for families, and good for the future.
Honor Received for Training Program
This Business Development training program was presented as an honor’s thesis project to a committee consisting of Ph.D.’s, MBA’s, business professionals and was rated highly.
Other Honors Include:
- Honors Graduate
- Taught Business Plan Development Class for Adult Education Department at North Gwinnett High School.
- Six Sigma Trained
- Management Certification, Effective Management Through Delegation and Success Strategies. American Management Associations.
- Conducted Entrepreneurship seminars for Department of Family and Children's Services (DFACS)