Peak SBC, LLC  

 

 

The SBC Small Business Newsletter

presented by the Peak Small Business Center

 

 

September 7, 2002

Table of Contents

 

Welcome

Quote of the Week

Administration

Featured Resource - TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE

Staff Article - WHAT IS YOUR EXIT STRATEGY?
Staff Article -  DE-S P A M YOUR INBOX
Parting Comments

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Welcome

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Quote of the Week

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson
 


Administration

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Featured Resource

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE

For the past seven years, anti-graft watchdog Transparency International has published a Corruptions Perceptions Index. The 2002 index has just been released.

The index ranks the world's countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.

This year, the organization ranked 102 countries, creating a composite index from 15 different polls and surveys from nine independent institutions.

You can find the rankings and details at:

http://www.transparency.org/

Can't wait to see the list? Cleanest countries on the list are (top 5 and ties) Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore and Sweden. Worst were Angola, Madagascar, Paraguay, Nigeria and Bangladesh. The U.K. ranked 10th cleanest and the U.S. was 16th.

The site also has a lot of other useful reports and information. If you do business in other countries or are anticipating doing so, you'll like this site!


Staff Article

WHAT IS YOUR EXIT STRATEGY?

by: Cary Christian

A month or so ago we published a series on developing a business plan. Doing so requires a lot of research and work on your part. When you're done, you feel a sense of accomplishment, and you should. It is a large but important task and a great tool for helping you build and run your business effectively.

But there is one thing often left out of most business plans designed for internal use, and that is an effective exit strategy. An exit strategy is just what the phrase implies: how are you going to get out of this business when the time comes?

Most people run their businesses with the implied idea in mind that they will run it until they drop dead some day. With a little further thought, almost every business owner will admit that this is not really what they have in mind. This is true no matter how large or small your business might be at this time. Most business owners want to grow their business to a certain size and then cash out on their years of hard work.

But how many PLAN for it? Actually, very few. And it's a BIG mistake.


GROWING YOUR BUSINESS WITH A PURPOSE

The primary reason people perform business planning is to grow their business. But the goal of "growing the business" is not refined or specific enough. Grow it to what size? Over what period? To what end?

Business planning without an exit strategy is really business planning without a long-term purpose. When you're a year away from retiring it's too late to change your overall business strategy to force it to fit your retirement desires. Your retirement from the business, no matter what age you choose for retirement, is a major business change that must be planned for properly. Your planning will vary depending on how you plan to exit the business.


KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

Many of you may have family members, such as sons or daughters, that you would like to see take over the business. If so, you have to do three major things:

1. Make sure they actually want to take over the business,

2. Get them trained and prepared to take over the business, and

3. Get the business ready for them.

Transferring power to a family member can be very difficult if you don't plan for these items. It will take many years to accomplish these goals and it is never too early to start planning for them. If they are not interested in the business and have not been trained, your business is going to fail very quickly after your exit. Likewise, you must have the business positioned to fit their management style and, hopefully, with some extra cash reserves to take into account the inevitable mistakes they will make as new owners.

Having a painless transfer of power will require them to be heavily involved in the management of the company well before your retirement. This is not only to make sure they are trained to handle the business, but to allow time for your employees, customers and vendors to get to know them and learn how to deal with them.

This is especially true with respect to management-level employees who are important to your business. If they resent your putting family members in charge when you leave and decide to go elsewhere, your business could fail without them.

You also need to plan what you need from the business and make arrangements to get it without bankrupting it. Do you need a lump sum up front or can you afford to take it out over time? If you take it out over time, what happens if the business doesn't do as well? Will you stay involved in the overall management of the company or do you want to make a clean break?

All of these issues should be addressed and planned for well before the time comes to transfer the reins.


GOING PUBLIC

An excellent way to cash out is take your company public. This will likely require more planning than if a family member is taking over. When leaving your business in the hands of family, you have literally open-ended options with respect to what type of business you are building. It can retain a "Mom and Pop" feel if that is your desire. If your goal is to eventually go public, your planning will have to focus on building a company that will be appealing to the market. That means more structure, a deeper executive core, sustained profitability through all types of market conditions, and a concentration on building the intangibles of your business.

You will also have to plan for the rather large expenses of going public. It's not uncommon to need to spend $500,000 or more on this process.

Assuming you want to cash out altogether upon going public, you'll need to plan to have a CEO in place well before taking the company public. If you are the CEO up to that time, your leaving will have an impact on the stock offering. Plan to turn over the day-to-day management several years before the offering in order to give your new CEO time to build a reputation and a track record.


SELLING YOUR BUSINESS

When the time comes, perhaps you just want to sell your business and completely wash your hands of it. It's a very clean way to retire. If that's the case, you're going to want to build as much value into the company as possible.

In a sense, you're going to follow a similar plan as if you were going to take the business public except that you would not have to concentrate so much on building a "corporate" structure and mindset.

If another individual buys it, he will likely be purchasing it to run it and would probably prefer a small business atmosphere.

If a corporation buys it, they're going to bring their own corporate culture to the company.

Your goal will be to build a business that can run profitably independent of your will and talents. This means training your employees, particularly management-level employees, to take over more and more responsibility as you get closer to the date you set for retirement.


WHEN DO YOU START?

Your choice of how you build your business over the next years or decades will change depending on what type of exit strategy you prefer. That is why you must start planning for it now. You can only ensure your ability to comfortably retire from your business if you build it to meet the needs you will have at that time.

Exit strategy planning is also not a one-shot deal. It is a process you will begin now and then update as often as necessary based on market conditions and your own, possibly changing, personal preferences.

Running your own business can not only be profitable; it can be enriching in so many other ways as well. Proper exit strategy planning can make your retirement years comfortable and care free!


Copyright (c) 2002
 


Guest Article

DE-S P A M YOUR INBOX: "HOW TO FIGHT THE S P A M WAR AND WIN!"
by http://www.MCPromotions.com


(EDITOR'S NOTE: Please forgive the spreading of the "S" word throughout this article wherever it appears by itself. It is necessary to keep the newsletter from being blocked. Ironic, isn't it?)

S p a m, S p a m everywhere... what's a person to do? If you're
an online entrepreneur, odds are your mailbox is filling up daily with S p a m. The longer you've been "working" the Net and the more visible you've become, the more you're probably receiving. I've been online about five years now, and one of my mailboxes alone is over 85% S p a m.

First, you need to realize that S p a m is part of doing business online and there's really no escaping it. But that doesn't mean you can't rid yourself of it by using the right tools and arming yourself for daily battle.

There are many excellent tools, some even free that will help you fight the war on S p a m and Win! Let's review some of my personal favorites:

1) S p a m Net: http://www.CloudMark.com

This excellent piece of software is a relative newcomer and free to download. It only works with Outlook and runs invisibly in the background of your mail program. The software adds 2 new buttons at the top of Outlook's interface named "block" and "unblock" and adds a "S p a m folder" where it puts all of the
S p a m it finds so you can review it if you want before deletion.

If you get a piece of junk when you download your mail, just hit the block button. This sends it and whatever the sender tries to mail you in the future straight to the S p a m folder. It also casts your vote to CloudMark and when they receive enough complaints on a sender that mail is automatically labeled as
S p a m.

If, after reviewing the S p a m folder, you find something that doesn't belong there, just highlight it and click the "unblock" button to bring the sender back in to your inbox forever more. Right now this software only works with Outlook, but there is talk about a version for Outlook Express coming soon. I've been using this software for a few months and am very pleased with
the results. Runs on Win 98/NT/2000/XP.

2) MailWasher: http://www.MailWasher.net

Another ad-supported free piece of software that works beautifully. I've been using this with my Outlook Express accounts and couldn't be happier. You run Mailwasher before downloading your mail from your server. It automatically marks mail it suspects as S p a m - then you can designate the sender as a "friend" or blacklist him with just a click. You then click
"process mail" and any "bad" email is bounced back to the sender and the good stuff is sent to your inbox.

You can upgrade Mailwasher to an ad-free version by sending a donation to its creators. Believe me, you'll love it so much you'll want to send them money for all the headaches this software will save you. It can be configured to check multiple accounts so it's great if you're managing multiple identities and boxes. It does not support web based accounts like Hotmail or Yahoo, but a version is supposedly underway for them. Runs on Win 95/98/ME/NT4/ 2000/XP

3) S p a m Buster:
http://www.Contactplus.com/products/spam/spam.htm


The free version of this software is ad-supported, which means it displays banners at the top. If you spend the 19.95 and register it, the ads are removed. Before using your POP mail account you run SpamBuster, which looks for junk and comes complete with a list of over 17,000 known spammers. It checks your email periodically for new messages and provides stats and
charts of how much S p a m you're actually receiving. Also Works with AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo! accounts. Works on Win 95/98/2000/ME/NT/XP

4) MailShell: http://www.MailShell.com

Blocks 99% of all junk mail and works with your current email address. Free 30 day trial available. Less then 3.00 a month after that.

5) SpamKiller:
http://www.mcafee.com/myapps/msk/default.asp


SpamKiller was recently purchased by Mcafee Software who makes the award winning virus software. Works with POP based email accounts and will run you 39.95. Like most S p a m filtering software, it checks for new email and possible S p a m on your server before downloading it to your email client. Filters are automatically updated and you can create your own custom filters. You can also lodge complaints with spammers and their hosts from within the interface. Supports Win 95/98/NT/
ME/2000 or XP.

6) JunkMuncher.com: http://www.JunkMuncher.com

Works with POP email accounts and includes its own email porn filtering utility. Does not support AOL or Hotmail accounts.

7) SpamWeasel:
http://www.mailgate.com/products/spamweas/sw_feat.asp

 
Free software that supports multiple email accounts. S p a m Weasel uses powerful rules to identify Spam and permits a range of user defined actions like blocking and deleting. Easy to Install and use.

8) Spamex: http://www.Spamex.com

Spamex offers disposable email addresses so you keep your real address off spammers' lists. Mail sent to the fake address is then forwarded to your real email account. As soon as the disposable account starts picking up S p a m and being abused you can delete it and create a new one. 19.95 a year.

9) ChoiceMail: http://www.digiportal.com/product4.html

A S p a m blocking system that's based on the fact that most incoming mail is S p a m unless the sender has obtained your permission to email you. You may preapprove senders from your address book. When an unauthorized email is sent to you, its sender is forced to fill out a form stating why he should be allowed to communicate with you. Then it's your choice whether or not to receive messages from him.

Supports POP accounts and runs on Windows NT, 2000, XP, 98, ME. It does not currently work with web-based email systems such as HotMail, Juno or Yahoo or with MSN or AOL's proprietary email. Currently offering a 2-week trial of their service, or buy it for 39.95.

10) S p a m Arrest: http://spamarrest.com/

Another service that blocks the junk before it can hit your inbox. All email goes through their server first, and if the sender is already a "verified source" their mail travels to you seamlessly. If they are not, you'll need to add them to your approval list to make sure you continue to receive their emails without any interruption.

S p a m Arrest works on Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape, Incredimail, and any other email program that supports the POP3 protocol. Free 30 day trial is available and if you like it the price is only 19.95 every 6 months.

For more tips and helpful S p a m resources check out:

Elsop's Anti-S p a m Page
Excellent links and resources offered here
http://www.elsop.com/wrc/nospam.htm

Info. on More Anti-S p a m Software
http://www.spamrecycle.com

JunkBusters
http://www.JunkBusters.com

More Free Anti-S p a m Software
http://www.webattack.com/freeware/comm/fwspam.shtml

Let's face it. You can't wage your own personal war on S p a m and win, but you can reclaim your own inbox by incorporating software that only allows "real" mail to come through. So choose your weapon and prepare for battle by protecting what's rightfully yours -- your Inbox.

**************************************
Merle http://www.EzineAdAuction.com

"Where some of the BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made"
Buy & Sell Ezine Ads in a live auction setting! Publishers sell off your excess inventory and Buyers pick up some Fantastic bargains. Free E-book on how to write "glowing" ezine ads.....Download Now at
http://www.ezineadauction.com/ebooks/greatezineads.pdf 
 


Parting Comments

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of the Peak Small Business Newsletter and found it useful.  Please visit our website at http://www.peakconsultinginc.com to check out all the resources we provide. 

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