Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tech Review: Dell Widescreen Monitors

In past posts have focused on laptops and desktops - figured it was past time to deal with items like the screen

Link to
Dell Monitor page

Reciprocity and Joint Ventures

We call this so many things depending on one's regilous belief - Karma, What goes around comes around, reaping what you sow, the golden rule and yet at its core it is a simple concept - we get back for beter or worse what we give - good for good and evil for evil. The concept revolves around what some would call a comic balance - you cannot drink water from a glass until you first do the work to pick up the glass, turn on the faucet and fill it. In modern coutries this involves paying your water bill that helps to employ others who provide the water. In less developed countires digging a well and installing a pump or a pucket to houst the water up. Point is you must put in the work to get something back.

This is the nature of successful business - you provide a good or service which in turn you are compensated for your efforts - you give your time and knowledge to receive compensation.

Business Ethics and Profitability (Happy Birthday Lyn)

Before I start let me wish my sister Lyn a Happy Birthday. Family is and remains very import and so often we forget this simple truth. We also forget we care about and respect those who bring us value and what greater value is there than family? 

Would it surprise you to know that you can be ethical and successful? Would it surprise you that it is almost impossible to not be ethical and maintain long term business success. Am reflecting on a conversation with my friend and some of the things he told me on this venture we are pursuing. The long and short of it are as follows – over a 10 year period you have shown yourself to be honest, reliable, dependable and your actions align with your words. You do what you say when you say it and make no excuses and blame no one. You focus on results and remove unproductive distractions. In addition you actually do care about people. 

This causes me to wonder – with everything going on in the news and the financial meltdown when did customer service, integrity, character, and other base values become obsolete? When did we buy into you cannot be moral and ethical and run a business? When did we confuse cons and exploitation with legitimate business? 

The other day on my twitter feed I asked this simple question: “Why is it we killed Dr. King whose message at its core was here are our guiding documents we should live up to them and yet allow a man who exploited friend, family and clients out of millions and billions on a scam to roam free on the street?” 

Also I wonder why when people do exactly what they say they will do all along are they surprised? 

Just some thoughts to ponder as you watch these videos – hope they provoke some thoughts. This is the stuff my friends and family discuss often.

Strategic Planning

Many people and business think operating with time sensitive goals is not import and yet jusy like drive a car with out a destination in mind and an ETA the business can flounder around aimlessly arriving no where and wasting time and resources. Shure you can operation with short term goals only yet that too will eventually lead to demise because you will deplete your resources without provisions for things like refueling and you will often find yourself going incircles wasting effort. Also the plan truth of the matter is so often short term thinking conflicts with long term thinking.

Consider this material as you think about your business

Friday, February 27, 2009

DailyOM: Staying Conscious - February 13, 2009

Staying Grounded in a Big City or Busy World

1. Live simply and live deliberately. By choosing not to get caught up in the details of this fast-paced world, you are doing your part to slow down the . You will also discover that you have more time to enjoy being alive. 

2. Stay in touch with yourself. Soul searching, meditation, and journaling are just a few of the many activities you can take part in to stay aware and learn as much as you can about your emotions, reactions, likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Having a solid sense of self gives you a firm foundation for living in this world. 

3. Support or teach others as often as you can. This can help you form connections with people while also giving you an opportunity to make the world a better place. 

4. Consciously choose what you will allow into your being. The media bombards us with visions of hate, war, and pain. Be judicious about what you read, watch, and listen to. 

5. Acknowledge the beauty that resides around you. Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis or a stereotypical suburb, there are natural and man-made wonders just waiting to be discovered by you. 

6. Nurture your ties to your tribe. If you don’t have one, create a community that you can belong to. Modern life can be isolating. When you have a tribe, you have a circle that you are a part of. Its members – loved ones, friends, or neighbors - can be a source of support, caring, guidance, and companionship. 

7. See the larger picture. Remember that the way that you choose to live is not the only way to live. Widen your perspective by exploring other modes of being through research, travel, and discussion. 

8. Embrace the challenges that life presents to you, and challenge yourself often. After a time, even the most exciting jobs or lifestyles can seem routine. Never stop assimilating new knowledge about whatever you are doing, and your life will never seem dull. 

9. Move your body. In this busy world, it can be easy to live a sedentary life. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies and connects us to the earth in a visceral way. It also restores our vitality. 

10. Make time for stillness, silence, and solitude. The world can be noisy, and we are subject to all kinds of noises nearly every waking hour. We are also often "on the go" and unable to relax. Being alone in a peaceful place and making time for quiet can help you stay in touch with yourself.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Understanding How Cash Flow Works

In its simplest form, cash flow is the movement of money in and out of your business. It could be described as the process in which your business uses cash to generate goods or services for the sale to your customers, collects the cash from the sales, and then completes this cycle all over again.

Inflows. Inflows are the movement of money into your cash flow. Inflows are most likely from the sale of your goods or services to your customers. If you extend credit to your customers and allow them to charge the sale of the goods or services to their account, then an inflow occurs as you collect on the customers' accounts. The proceeds from a bank loan is also a cash inflow.

Outflows. Outflows are the movement of money out of your business. Outflows are generally the result of paying expenses. If your business involves reselling goods, then your largest outflow is most likely to be for the purchase of retail inventory. A manufacturing business's largest outflows will mostly likely be for the purchases of raw materials and other components needed for the manufacturing of the final product. Purchasing fixed assets, paying back loans, and paying accounts payableare also cash outflows.

It is important to manage your cash flow because:

  • Smart cash flow management is vital to the health of your business. Hopefully, each time through the cycle, a little more money is put back into the cash flow cycle than flows out.
  • Our case study illustrates what can happen to your business if you don't carefully monitor your cash flow, and take corrective action when necessary.
  • Your profit is not the same as your cash flow. It's possible to show a healthy profit at the end of the year, and yet face a significant money squeeze at various points during the year.

What Is Cash Flow Management?

If you were able to do business in a perfect world, you'd probably like to have a cash inflow (a cash sale) occur every time you experience a cash outflow (pay an expense). But you know all too well that business takes place in the real world, and things just don't happen like that.

Instead, cash outflows and inflows occur at different times, and never actually occur together. More often than not, cash inflows lag behind your cash outflows, leaving your business short of money. Think of this money shortage as your cash flow gap. The cash flow gap represents an excessive outflow of cash that may not be covered by a cash inflow for weeks, months, or even years.

Managing your cash flow allows you to narrow or completely close your cash flow gap. It does this by examining the different items that affect the cash flow of your business. Examining your cash inflows and outflows, and looking at the different components that have a direct effect on your cash flow, allows you to answer the following questions:

  • How much cash does my business have?
  • How much cash does my business need to operate, and when is it needed?
  • Where does my business get its cash, and spend its cash?
  • How do my income and expenses affect the amount of cash I need to expand my business?

If you can answer these questions, you're managing your cash flow!

If you need any more convincing that cash flow management deserves your utmost attention, consider our case study illustrating what can happen if you have a cash flow gap.

Case Study: The Cash Flow Gap

This example shows how easily a cash flow gap can occur in a small business. A cash flow gap is a shortage of cash caused by the mismatching of cash outflows and cash inflows.

John makes custom furniture for professional decorators and furniture retail shops. In addition to himself, John has two other employees. John pays himself and his employees every other week (bi-weekly). When a customer places an order for a piece of furniture, John receives a 10 percent down payment of the total sales price. The customer is then billed for the remainder of the sale after the furniture is completed and delivered.

The total sales price of a recently ordered dining room set is $10,000. The material needed for this job is priced at $2,500 and will come from one supplier. This supplier offers a 2 percent discount if John pays for the supplies within 10 days after receiving them. John always takes advantage of early payment discounts.

The following graphic, illustrating the cash flow effects of the sale from start to finish, will help you identify John's cash flow gap. (Click on each of the blue or yellow bars to see a detailed explanation of business events affecting John's cash flow each week.)

Breaking down the sale of the dining room set, and tracing it step-by-step through the cash flow, identifies John's cash flow gap. In John's case, a cash flow gap starts on day 13 and continues to grow, reaching $4,450 just prior to collecting the customer's account. Although this example has been simplified, it's typical of the cash flow gap that occurs in many small businesses.

The cash flow gap creates the need for effective cash flow management. Effective cash flow management can help reduce the amount of time between John's cash inflows and cash outflows. This in turn, will help reduce or close John's cash flow gaps.

Profit vs. Cash Flow

A good way to learn respect for the concept of cash flow is to compare it to the idea of profit. As a business owner, you understand and strive to make a profit. If a retail business is able to buy a retail item for $1,000 and sell it for $2,000, then it has made a $1,000 profit. But what if the buyer of the retail item is slow to pay his or her bill, and six months pass before the bill is paid? Using accrual accounting, the retail business still shows a profit, but what about the bills it has to pay during the six months that pass? It will not have the cash to pay them, despite the profit earned on the sale.

As you can see, profit and cash flow are two entirely different concepts, each with entirely different results. The concept of profit is somewhat narrow, and only looks at income and expenses at a certain point in time. Cash flow, on the other hand, is more dynamic. It is concerned with the movement of money in and out of a business. More importantly, it is concerned with the time at which the movement of the money takes place. You might even say the concept of cash flow is more in line with reality! If you use the accrual accounting method, it is helpful to know how to convert your accrual profit to your cash flow profit.

To fully understand the difference, you need to become familiar with:

Tech Review: Dell Mini 12

Mini Laptops are the new trend - light and portable. These laptops also have the option to be loaded with Ubuntu Linux which is a popular option and a stable operating system.

Intel®  AtomTM  Z520 Processor (1.33GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
Intel®  AtomTM  Z530 Processor (1.60GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
  Operating System
Genuine Windows Vista®  Home Basic
Ubuntu Linux version 8.04.1
Intel®  US15W chipset

Intel®  Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 500
  LCD Display
Glossy 12.1 inch WXGA display (1280X800)
  Audio and Speakers
One external speaker
  Hard Drives
Up to 80GB4 4200RPM Hard Drive.

  Optical Drives
USB 2.0 (3)
Integrated 10/100 LAN (RJ45)
15-pin VGA video connector
Audio jacks (1-line out, 1 mic-in)
3-in-1 Media Card Reader
AC adapter connector
3-cell 24WHr Li-Ion Battery
6 cell 48 WHr Li-Ion Battery
Standard 1.3MP webcam
802.11g mini-card

Bluetooth®  Internal (2.0) mini-card
  Ports, Slots, Chassis
Externally Accessible
(3) USB 2.0
Integrated 10/100 LAN (RJ45)
15-pin VGA video connector
Audio jacks (1-line out, 1 Mic-in)
3-in-1 Media Card Reader
AC adapter connector
Dimensions & Weight
Width: 11.77" (299mm)
Height: 0.92" (23.31mm) front / 1.09" (27.61mm) back
Depth: 9.02" (229mm)
Weight: Starting weight of 2.72 lbs. (1.236 kg)1(12.1" display, 3 cell battery). Weights will vary depending on configurations and manufacturing variability.
  Regulatory and Environmental Compliance
Regulatory Model: PP40S

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