Tag : Encyclopedia

Search Engine Optimization – Small Business Encyclopedia #low #investment #business #ideas


#business search engines

#

Search Engine Optimization

Definition:The process of increasing the amount of visitors to a website by ranking high in the search results of a search engine .

If you want your online business to be successful, it’s a good idea to optimize your site on a regular basis to make sure it’s got a good position in the web’s top search engines. And it’s important to keep on top of the latest developments in the search engine industry and what key tactics you should–and shouldn’t–use to optimize your site to make sure it gets a high ranking with all the major search engines.

For the past few years, the major search engines have been preparing to square off against each other and battle it out for the industry’s top spot. Google has been No. 1 for a while now, with Yahoo! and MSN coming in at numbers two and three. Keep in mind, however, that Google and Yahoo! power many of the smaller search engines. For example, Google powers the free listings featured on AOL and Netscape, plus the paid listings featured on AOL, Netscape, Ask Jeeves, HotBot, Teoma and Lycos. Yahoo! powers free listings featured on AltaVista, AllTheWeb and HotBot, plus the paid listings on MSN, AltaVista and AllTheWeb.

Search engines frequently change the algorithms they use to rank sites. They don’t want unscrupulous site owners manipulating their indexing methods in order to get high rankings. By doing so, they damage the integrity of free search. As soon as the search engines become aware of a trick being used by “search engine spammers” to boost their site ranking, they figure out a way to catch them.

The search engines don’t want to be manipulated by marketers. They want to provide the best unbiased results possible for any given search–or they’ll lose users. That’s why they need to change their algorithms so frequently-to stay ahead of the tricks people use to get top rankings.

So be careful! You don’t want to catch yourself employing a great strategy promoted by a marketing “expert,” only to find out it’s a tactic the search engines hate! That could get you booted off their listings in no time flat. Let’s take a look at what exactly the search engines are looking for when indexing sites–and what they’ll punish you for.

The Dos
There are still a lot of legitimate ways you can optimize your site to generate or maintain a high ranking without angering the search engines and causing them to drop you from their list. Here are some of the best things you can to do ensure your site has a high ranking:

1. Ask relevant sites to link to your site. In the past, scoring a high ranking with a search engine was all about positioning your keywords in “prime real estate” positions in your text and site coding. All that has changed, however, because these days, links are king.

Search engines place a huge amount of importance on the number of sites that link to yours. But it’s not just the quantity of links that matter, it’s also the quality. Search engines look at how relevant the links are, that is, how much the content of the linking site has in common with the content on your site. The more relevant, the better.

Search engines also look at how important the linking site is. What kind of online presence does it have? How much traffic does it get? For example, your site will get a higher ranking if it’s linked to by sites such as BBC.com or nationalgeographic.com instead of, say, the personal homepage of your friend’s neighbor’s kid.

2. Pay attention to keyword inclusion and placement. Keywords may no longer be the sole determining factor of a site’s ranking, but they’re still pretty important. The most useful places to include them are:

  • In your domain name–only make sure your keywords are in the root of your URL, not the stem. For example, if your main keyword phrase is “cell phones,” try to get a domain name such as “www.cell-phones.com” instead of “www.mobileusa.com/cell-phones.” Some search engines will actually penalize sites for including key words in the stem of a URL.
  • In the title tags in your source code
  • In the meta description of your site. This is much less important than it used to be, but it can’t hurt.
  • In your meta keyword tags

And be sure you only include relevant keywords. Search engines will penalize you if you try to sneak in keywords that have nothing to do with the content of your site.

3. Create content-rich information pages to direct traffic to your site. An easy way to boost the number of pages that link to your site is to create some pages yourself. However, you have to make sure these pages contain valuable content that provides people with useful information. Search engines hate “pointer pages” that have no content and exist only to add to the number of links pointing to a site.

Be sure the information relates to the content on your site and has your keywords placed in advantageous positions. This will boost the ranking of your pages with the search engines and ensure they get lots of traffic-which they can then redirect to your site.

4. Submit your site to online directories. Be sure to submit your site to important directories such as Yahoo. the Open Directory Project and About.com, as well as smaller directories. Your listing on these directories will help your ranking with the major search engines.

5. Multiply and conquer. Create a community of related sites that link to each other. Why stop at only one information page? The more content-rich sites that point to your site, the better.

You can also boost the number of links that point to your site by dividing it into several separate sites that all link to each other. This works especially well if you sell a number of different products or services. If you build a different site to focus on each of your products and services, then you can also concentrate the use of specific keyword phrases on each site. That’s another great way to boost your search engine ranking.

The Don’ts
Now that we’ve covered the dos, here come the don’ts. Although these questionable tactics have worked well in the past, the search engines absolutely hate them. If they catch you using any of these tricks, they may go so far as to drop you from their listings.

1. Beware of irrelevant links. Yes, it’s a good idea to get a lot of different links pointing to your site, but the search engines only like relevant links. If they find sites that have nothing in common with the content on your site linked to your Web site, they’ll lower your relevancy rating.

2. Beware of irrelevant keywords. Search engines hate finding irrelevant keywords on your site-especially in your meta tags. If they catch you using keywords that have nothing to do with the actual content of your site, they’ll penalize you for it.

3. Don’t “keyword stuff” your meta tags. In the past, people used to repeat their keywords in their meta tags over and over again. This used to get them a high ranking with the search engines-but not any more. Search engines are on to this trick and will punish you for it by dropping your ranking.

4. Don’t create “link farms.” Link farms are the evil cousins of the information pages we discussed above. In the past, some spammers used to build multiple “doorway” sites that existed only to multiply the number of links pointing to their sites. Unlike content-rich information pages, these doorway pages would usually only include a string of keyword terms that would earn them a high ranking with the search engines. The search engines have caught on to this tactic, however, and will drop you from their listings if they find you using it.

5. Avoid “free for all” link pages. Don’t bother placing links to your site on pages where everyone and their cousin is invited to put up a link. Such sites have extremely low relevancy ratings and will cost you points with the search engines.

The following resources are good to check out to keep you on top of the changing world of SEO:

Search Engine News. Planet Ocean’s online resource, “The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars,” is updated monthly and provides excellent optimization tips and information on the search engine industry.

Search Engine Watch. This free site is another rich source of tips and information on the search engine industry. Paid memberships are available for more advanced content.

Search Engine Guide. This free site contains a lot of useful information about the smaller search engines on the Web and who you should submit your site to in order to get a better ranking with the bigger search engines.



Business Broker – Small Business Encyclopedia #cheap #business #ideas


#business broker

#

Business Broker

Definition:A professional who assists in the buying and selling of businesses .

The principal value of a business broker is to act as a buffer between the buyer and the seller. A broker can say certain things to a buyer and certain things to a seller and wind up with a productive discussion. The broker can tell the owner the price is too high, relay what has to be done to make a deal–very openly and candidly–and discuss how the differences in viewpoint can be ironed out effectively.

If you’re in the market to buy an existing business, a broker can help you find businesses for sale that fit your parameters, including location, industry and size. The broker will typically charge you a commission of 5 to 10 percent of the purchase price, but the assistance brokers can offer, especially for first-time buyers, is often worth the cost. However, if you’re trying to save money, you might want to consider hiring a broker only when you’re near the final negotiating phase. Brokers can offer assistance in several ways:

  • Prescreening businesses for you. Good brokers turn down many of the businesses they’re asked to sell, either because the seller won’t provide full financial disclosure or because the business is overpriced. Going through a broker helps you avoid these bad risks.
  • Helping you pinpoint your interests. A good broker starts by finding out about your skills and interests, then helps you select the right business for you. With the help of a broker, you may discover that an industry you had never considered is the ideal one for you.
  • Negotiating. During the negotiating process is when brokers really earn their keep. They help both parties stay focused on the ultimate goal and smooth over problems.
  • Assisting with paperwork. Brokers know the latest laws and regulations affecting everything from licenses and permits to financing and escrow. They also know the most efficient ways to cut through red tape, which can slash months off the purchase process. Working with a broker reduces the risk that you’ll neglect some crucial form, fee or step in the process.

When it comes to selling your business, finding the right buyer can be time-consuming and daunting if you try to do it yourself. A seasoned business broker can read the market, knows who’s buying what and who’s got resources, and can weed out the so-called “tire kickers” from serious buyers with sufficient financial resources who are well-suited to run a business like yours. They will also ensure that news of the sale remains confidential, that loyal customers, staff, vendors and suppliers find out only when you’re ready to let them know.

Then there are administrative issues. An experienced business broker knows what paperwork to file, and when. They also coordinate efforts between lawyers, CPAs, bankers, insurance agents and others.

While it costs money to contract with a broker to sell your business, think of the commission you’d pay him or her as a kind of insurance. Your broker will protect your investment in the business by placing the proper value on your business, finding the right buyer, getting you the best price possible, protecting the confidentiality of the sale, handling all negotiations, ensuring that all transactions are legal, and seeing that the transition to new ownership is as wrinkle-free as possible.

Brokers’ fees generally range anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of the selling price of the business, depending on negotiations with the broker, state laws and other factors. This is usually money well spend, because the broker can usually get more money for the business, make negotiations run smoothly, handle a lot of clerical and other details, and make a sale possible, whereas an individual business seller might not be able to accomplish all these things.

One of the key functions of a business broker is to act as a cushion between the buyer and the

seller and negotiate the details of the deal at a time when emotions can, and do, run high. A small business is often one of the biggest assets a business owner has, one which he or she has spent considerable time and money building. An experienced broker knows how to price a business and can toot the business’s horn in a way you might not be able to. The buyer can ask the broker pointed questions that might be difficult to ask you directly and get the answers he or she needs. The broker can also help answer any questions or resolve any problems that develop during the course of the sale.

When it comes to choosing a business broker, make sure there’s good chemistry between you and your broker and that the two of you communicate well. You’re paying your broker to look out for your interests, negotiate successfully on your behalf, and complete the transaction in a timely and professional manner.

To find a business broker to help you sell your business, take these steps:

  • Check newspaper ads under “Business Opportunities.” Look in your local and regional papers, as well as in The Wall Street Journal. You’ll frequently see businesses for sale under this heading, and just as prospective buyers are invited to inquire about these businesses, prospective sellers should also check out who’s facilitating these sales.
  • Look in the Yellow Pages under “Real Estate” or “Business Brokers.” Be sure to find a broker who specializes in selling businesses, not simply real estate. Don’t let the broker list your business on a realtor’s multiple listing service. Any broker who wants to do this isn’t willing to devote the time and work necessary to sell your business.
  • Ask for referrals. Ask other business owners who’ve sold businesses who they worked with. Your local chamber of commerce can also provide referrals to business brokers, as can your banker, CPA, attorney, and financial planner.

Once you find a broker to work with, sign a contract that specifies what kind of advertising your broker will do and that the name of the business will not appear in any ads or other promotion.



Doing Business As (DBA) – Small Business Encyclopedia #business #week


#doing business as

#

Doing Business As (DBA)

Definition:The operating name of a company, as opposed to the legal name of the company. Some states require DBA or fictitious business name filings to be made for the protection of consumers conducting business with the entity.

A company is said to be “doing business as” when the name under which they operate their business differs from its legal, registered name. Some states require dba or fictitious business name filings to be made for the protection of consumers conducting business with the entity.

If you’re starting a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you have the option of choosing a business name or dba (“doing business as”) for your business. If you want to operate your business under a name other than your own (for instance, Carol Axelrod doing business as “Darling Donut Shoppe”), you may be required by the county, city or state to register your fictitious name. (Note: No fictitious business name may include the words “corporation,” “Inc.,” “incorporation” or “Corp.” unless it’s a corporation registered with the Secretary of State.)

Procedures for filing for a fictitious name vary among states. In many states, all you have to do is go to the county offices and pay a registration fee to the county clerk. In other states, you also have to place a fictitious name ad in a local newspaper for a certain amount of time. The cost of filing a fictitious name notice ranges from $10 to $100. Your local bank may also require a fictitious name certificate to open a business account for you; if so, they can tell you where to go to register.

In most states, corporations don’t have to file fictitious business names unless the corporations do business under names other than their own. Incorporation documents have the same effect for corporate businesses as fictitious name filings do for sole proprietorships and partnerships.

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Search Engine Optimization – Small Business Encyclopedia #international #business #news


#business search engines

#

Search Engine Optimization

Definition:The process of increasing the amount of visitors to a website by ranking high in the search results of a search engine .

If you want your online business to be successful, it’s a good idea to optimize your site on a regular basis to make sure it’s got a good position in the web’s top search engines. And it’s important to keep on top of the latest developments in the search engine industry and what key tactics you should–and shouldn’t–use to optimize your site to make sure it gets a high ranking with all the major search engines.

For the past few years, the major search engines have been preparing to square off against each other and battle it out for the industry’s top spot. Google has been No. 1 for a while now, with Yahoo! and MSN coming in at numbers two and three. Keep in mind, however, that Google and Yahoo! power many of the smaller search engines. For example, Google powers the free listings featured on AOL and Netscape, plus the paid listings featured on AOL, Netscape, Ask Jeeves, HotBot, Teoma and Lycos. Yahoo! powers free listings featured on AltaVista, AllTheWeb and HotBot, plus the paid listings on MSN, AltaVista and AllTheWeb.

Search engines frequently change the algorithms they use to rank sites. They don’t want unscrupulous site owners manipulating their indexing methods in order to get high rankings. By doing so, they damage the integrity of free search. As soon as the search engines become aware of a trick being used by “search engine spammers” to boost their site ranking, they figure out a way to catch them.

The search engines don’t want to be manipulated by marketers. They want to provide the best unbiased results possible for any given search–or they’ll lose users. That’s why they need to change their algorithms so frequently-to stay ahead of the tricks people use to get top rankings.

So be careful! You don’t want to catch yourself employing a great strategy promoted by a marketing “expert,” only to find out it’s a tactic the search engines hate! That could get you booted off their listings in no time flat. Let’s take a look at what exactly the search engines are looking for when indexing sites–and what they’ll punish you for.

The Dos
There are still a lot of legitimate ways you can optimize your site to generate or maintain a high ranking without angering the search engines and causing them to drop you from their list. Here are some of the best things you can to do ensure your site has a high ranking:

1. Ask relevant sites to link to your site. In the past, scoring a high ranking with a search engine was all about positioning your keywords in “prime real estate” positions in your text and site coding. All that has changed, however, because these days, links are king.

Search engines place a huge amount of importance on the number of sites that link to yours. But it’s not just the quantity of links that matter, it’s also the quality. Search engines look at how relevant the links are, that is, how much the content of the linking site has in common with the content on your site. The more relevant, the better.

Search engines also look at how important the linking site is. What kind of online presence does it have? How much traffic does it get? For example, your site will get a higher ranking if it’s linked to by sites such as BBC.com or nationalgeographic.com instead of, say, the personal homepage of your friend’s neighbor’s kid.

2. Pay attention to keyword inclusion and placement. Keywords may no longer be the sole determining factor of a site’s ranking, but they’re still pretty important. The most useful places to include them are:

  • In your domain name–only make sure your keywords are in the root of your URL, not the stem. For example, if your main keyword phrase is “cell phones,” try to get a domain name such as “www.cell-phones.com” instead of “www.mobileusa.com/cell-phones.” Some search engines will actually penalize sites for including key words in the stem of a URL.
  • In the title tags in your source code
  • In the meta description of your site. This is much less important than it used to be, but it can’t hurt.
  • In your meta keyword tags

And be sure you only include relevant keywords. Search engines will penalize you if you try to sneak in keywords that have nothing to do with the content of your site.

3. Create content-rich information pages to direct traffic to your site. An easy way to boost the number of pages that link to your site is to create some pages yourself. However, you have to make sure these pages contain valuable content that provides people with useful information. Search engines hate “pointer pages” that have no content and exist only to add to the number of links pointing to a site.

Be sure the information relates to the content on your site and has your keywords placed in advantageous positions. This will boost the ranking of your pages with the search engines and ensure they get lots of traffic-which they can then redirect to your site.

4. Submit your site to online directories. Be sure to submit your site to important directories such as Yahoo. the Open Directory Project and About.com, as well as smaller directories. Your listing on these directories will help your ranking with the major search engines.

5. Multiply and conquer. Create a community of related sites that link to each other. Why stop at only one information page? The more content-rich sites that point to your site, the better.

You can also boost the number of links that point to your site by dividing it into several separate sites that all link to each other. This works especially well if you sell a number of different products or services. If you build a different site to focus on each of your products and services, then you can also concentrate the use of specific keyword phrases on each site. That’s another great way to boost your search engine ranking.

The Don’ts
Now that we’ve covered the dos, here come the don’ts. Although these questionable tactics have worked well in the past, the search engines absolutely hate them. If they catch you using any of these tricks, they may go so far as to drop you from their listings.

1. Beware of irrelevant links. Yes, it’s a good idea to get a lot of different links pointing to your site, but the search engines only like relevant links. If they find sites that have nothing in common with the content on your site linked to your Web site, they’ll lower your relevancy rating.

2. Beware of irrelevant keywords. Search engines hate finding irrelevant keywords on your site-especially in your meta tags. If they catch you using keywords that have nothing to do with the actual content of your site, they’ll penalize you for it.

3. Don’t “keyword stuff” your meta tags. In the past, people used to repeat their keywords in their meta tags over and over again. This used to get them a high ranking with the search engines-but not any more. Search engines are on to this trick and will punish you for it by dropping your ranking.

4. Don’t create “link farms.” Link farms are the evil cousins of the information pages we discussed above. In the past, some spammers used to build multiple “doorway” sites that existed only to multiply the number of links pointing to their sites. Unlike content-rich information pages, these doorway pages would usually only include a string of keyword terms that would earn them a high ranking with the search engines. The search engines have caught on to this tactic, however, and will drop you from their listings if they find you using it.

5. Avoid “free for all” link pages. Don’t bother placing links to your site on pages where everyone and their cousin is invited to put up a link. Such sites have extremely low relevancy ratings and will cost you points with the search engines.

The following resources are good to check out to keep you on top of the changing world of SEO:

Search Engine News. Planet Ocean’s online resource, “The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars,” is updated monthly and provides excellent optimization tips and information on the search engine industry.

Search Engine Watch. This free site is another rich source of tips and information on the search engine industry. Paid memberships are available for more advanced content.

Search Engine Guide. This free site contains a lot of useful information about the smaller search engines on the Web and who you should submit your site to in order to get a better ranking with the bigger search engines.



Partnership Agreement – Encyclopedia – Business Terms #good #small #business #ideas


#business partnership agreement

#

Partnership agreements are written documents that explicitly detail the relationship between the business partners and their individual obligations and contributions to the partnership. Since partnership agreements should cover all possible business situations that could arise during the partnership’s life, the documents are often complex; legal counsel in drafting and reviewing the finished contract is generally recommended. If a partnership does not have a partnership agreement in place when it dissolves, the guidelines of the Uniform Partnership Act and various state laws will determine how the assets and debts of the partnership are distributed.

RECOMMENDED ELEMENTS OF THE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

  1. Name and address of partnership.
  2. Duration of partnership Partners can point to a specific termination date or include a general clause explaining that the partnership will exist until all partners agree to dissolve it or a partner dies.
  3. Business purpose Some consultants recommend that partners keep this section somewhat vague in case opportunities for expansion arise, while others emphasize clear-cut and unambiguous entrepreneurial goals.
  4. Bank account information This section should note which bank accounts are to be used for partnership purposes, and which partners have check-signing privileges.
  5. Partners’ contributions Valuation of all contributions, whether in cash, property or services.
  6. Partners’ compensation Determine in detail how and when profits (and salaries, if applicable) will be distributed.
  7. Management authority What are the operational responsibilities of each partner? Will partners be able to make some decisions on their own? Which decisions will require the unanimous consent of all partners? What are the voting rights of each partner? How will tie votes be resolved?
  8. Circumstances under which new partners might be admitted into the partnership.
  9. Work hours and vacation.
  10. Kinds of outside business activities that will be allowed for partners.
  11. Disposition of partnership’s name if a partner leaves.
  12. Dispute resolution Stipulates what kinds of mediation or arbitration will be utilized in the case of disputes that cannot be resolved amongst the partners. This is a way to avoid costly litigation.
  13. Miscellaneous provisions This portion of the agreement might delineate the circumstances under which the agreement could be amended, for example.
  14. Buy-Sell Agreement.

The Buy-Sell

Agreement The buy-sell agreement is one of the most important elements of any partnership agreement. Lance Wallach summarized the problem in an article for Accounting Today: “Large problems can result from the death, incapacity, resignation, etc. of one of the owners,” Wallach wrote. “How would the decedent’s heirs liquidate the business interest to pay expenses and taxes? What would happen if an heir or an unknown outside buyer of the decedent’s share decides to interfere with the business? Could the business or other owners afford to buy back the decedent’s ownership interests?”

A buy-sell agreement is intended to forestall all such problems. In essence, it specifies the terms of a buyout in the event of death, divorce, disability, or retirement. The buy-sell agreement has become a “must” in many instances in which a partnership is seeking financing a loan or a lease. Lenders want to see the agreement and study its provisions.

The two primary structures for buy/sell agreements are cross-purchase agreements, in which the remaining partnership owners buy the departing partner’s stock or partnership interest, and the stock-redemption agreement, in which the company buys the stock of the departing owner. Life insurance policies are the more typical technique employed to ensure that funds are available for cross-purchase transactions. With two partners in a business, the solution is very straightforward but requires more ingenuity to set up with multiple shareholders. With stock redemption agreements, on the other hand, the insurance would be written in favor of the company. One of the benefits of a buy-sell agreement is that, with the partners able to reach agreement, more innovative methods of solving the problem can be worked out and codified.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bentley, Ross. “Live in Peace with Your Contract.” Caterer & Hotelkeeper. 11 August 2005.

Blaydon, Colin, and Fred Wainwright. “Survey: GPs and LPs Support Idea for Model LP Agreement.” Venture Capital Journal. 1 July 2004.

Dunn, Ross. “Ye of Little Faith.” People Management. 27 April 2000.

Spandaccini, Michael. “The Legal Ins and Outs of Forming a Partnership.” Entrepreneur. 2 June 2005.

Wallach, Lance. “Buy-Sell Agreements Can Help Protect Your Business.” Accounting Today. 7 November 2005.

Weisz, Richard L. “Breakup of Business Partnership isn’t Easy Thing to Do.” Business First-Columbus. 1 December 2000.

Zaritsky, Howard M. Structuring Buy-Sell Agreements. Warren Gorham Lamont, 2005.



Cash Flow – Small Business Encyclopedia #small #business #payroll


#cash flow business

#

Cash Flow

Definition:The difference between the available cash at the beginning of an accounting period and that at the end of the period. Cash comes in from sales, loan proceeds, investments and the sale of assets and goes out to pay for operating and direct expenses, principal debt service, and the purchase of asset .

Cash comes in from sales, loan proceeds, investments and the sale of assets and goes out to pay for operating and direct expenses, principal debt service, and the purchase of assets. A cash flow budget highlights the following figures:

  • Sales/revenue
  • Development expenses
  • Cost of goods
  • Capital requirements
  • Operating expenses

Your cash flow projections are based on the past performance of your business. To project your cash flow, start by breaking down projected sales over the next year according to the percentage of business volume generated each month. Divide each month’s sales according to cash sales and credit sales. Cash sales can be logged into the cash flow statement in the same month they’re generated. Credit sales aren’t credit card sales, which are treated as cash, but rather invoiced sales with agreed-upon terms. Refer to your accounts receivable records and determine your average collection period. If it’s 30 days, then sales made by credit can’t be logged into cash until 35 to 40 days after they’re made. (Although the collection period is 30 days, you still have to deposit the money and draw on another bank to receive payment.)

The next line item on a cash flow statement is “other income.” Other income refers to any revenue derived from investments, interest on loans that have been extended, and the liquidation of any assets. Total income is the sum of cash sales, receivables and other income. In the first month of your cash budget, it will usually consist of cash sales, other income and any receivables from the previous budget that have aged to a point of collection during the first month of the current budget.

Also tied to the breakdown of sales is cost of goods and direct labor. To sell the product, you must first produce it. Since you’ve already broken down sales by month, you need to determine the cost in material and labor to produce those sales. Refer to your cost of goods table in your business plan. Determine how much direct labor will be for the year to produce your product. Divide that number by the percentage breakdown of sales. Direct labor can be logged into cash flow during the same month in which it is accrued.

Material costs, on the other hand, are a little different. You need to include the material cost in cash flow using a time frame that allows you to convert the cost of raw material in cash flow into finished goods for sale. Therefore, if it requires 60 days to convert raw material to finished goods, and your payable period is 30 days after delivery, then enter the cost of goods under material in cash flow 30 days before sales are logged.

Working capital can be determined from operating expenses. All personnel and overhead costs are tied to sales. You can figure out your working capital and payroll requirements by dividing marketing and sales, general and administrative, and overhead expenses by the total projected operating expenses. Divide that total by the percentage breakdown of sales for each month and apply that amount to the appropriate line items in the cash flow statement.

Capital equipment costs are accounted for under the heading “capital.” If you can service additional debt or purchase the equipment from operating expenses, then it’s best to have the equipment purchased and installed at the beginning of the business year or quarter closest to the time when you’ll actually need the equipment. If your cash flow is tight, then you might want to wait and purchase and install the needed equipment at a point during the year where additional volume warrants the expenditure, thereby assuring sufficient cash flow to handle the additional debt service or the outright purchase of the equipment.

In addition to the preceding costs, include your tax obligations and any long-term debt or loans. These figures are readily available on loan schedules and tax charts used to project these costs.

Once all these costs have been entered in the cash flow budget, add them up to produce total expenses. When total expenses are subtracted from total income, the result is your cash flow–either a surplus or deficit. If it’s a deficit, determine the minimum cash balance you wish to maintain, then calculate the difference between the minimum cash balance and the cash-flow deficit. This result is the amount required for financing purposes.

When forming a cash-flow budget, any amounts financed within a given month need to be included in the cash flow under a projected repayment schedule. Consult with your accountant or banker when developing this repayment schedule.



What is Online Backup? Webopedia Definition #storage, #backup, #archive, #internet, #web, #disaster

#

online backup

Related Terms

In storage technology, online backup means to back up data from your hard drive to a remote server or computer using a network connection. Online backup technology leverages the Internet and cloud computing to create an attractive off-site storage solution with little hardware requirements for any business of any size.

This type of off-site storage is typically part of a business disaster recovery plan. as the data remains safe should your office be at risk from disasters such as fires, flood or employee theft.

How Online Backup Works

Using a high-speed Internet connection. specific files or the entire contents of a hard drive are backed up to the online storage provider’s system using a Web browser interface. In some cases the service provider may require software to be installed on your computer, but in either scenario, the files are automatically saved to the online backup on a regular basis (you have the option to schedule the backups at a specific time) or files are automatically backed up when changes are made.

Online backup services typically provide a Web-based admin console to access the data and to monitor the health of your backups. The backed up files are encrypted and stored in the provider’s data centers. A business can download and use the data backup or browse the archived file system hierarchy directly from any computer or device.

Most online backup services are subscription-based. and pricing depends on the amount of space required to store your backup. Service providers employ a number of techniques to reduce the required storage capacity for your backups, including deduplication. where identical files are copied only once, and incremental backups, in which only changes to a file are backed up rather than storing multiple complete copies.

Online Backup for Servers and Apps

In recent years, online backup technology has moved beyond simply replicating business files to backing up your entire infrastructure, including network-attached storage (NAS) devices, multiple workstations and business servers. This allows you to have access to a remote online backup of your entire business from any computer that’s connected to the Internet.

Online server backup enables critical business services to be secured off-site and can eliminate some on-site backup equipment such as tape drives and media. Typically, service providers will offer business or enterprise-class plans that allow your IT department to manage multiple machines and perform centralized online server backup.

Pricing for this type of online backup service may be based on per-user license fees or be a flat rate, and is usually not a fluctuating monthly per-usage fee. Also, capacity is for one or more terabytes of storage, compared to gigabyte plans offered for online backups suited to archiving hard drives or specific files.

Choosing Appropriate Service Levels

When choosing an online backup service, a business has to consider its recovery needs and choose an appropriate service level. Many providers offer data replication services that will safeguard your business data in an off-site location, but additional services many be required to mirror your entire infrastructure, including the systems that data resides in. This includes operating systems, applications and user settings all of which are required if your business needs to rebuild servers and databases .

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Partnership – Small Business Encyclopedia #small #business #assistance


#partnership business

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Partnership

Definition:A legal form of business operation between two or more individuals who share management and profits. The federal government recognizes several types of partnerships. The two most common are general and limited partnerships.

If your business will be owned and operated by several individuals, you’ll want to take a look at structuring your business as a partnership. Partnerships come in two varieties: general partnerships and limited partnerships. In a general partnership, the partners manage the company and assume responsibility for the partnership’s debts and other obligations. A limited partnership has both general and limited partners. The general partners own and operate the business and assume liability for the partnership, while the limited partners serve as investors only; they have no control over the company and are not subject to the same liabilities as the general partners.

Unless you expect to have many passive investors, limited partnerships are generally not the best choice for a new business because of all the required filings and administrative complexities. If you have two or more partners who want to be actively involved, a general partnership would be much easier to form.

One of the major advantages of a partnership is the tax treatment it enjoys. A partnership doesn’t pay tax on its income but “passes through” any profits or losses to the individual partners. At tax time, the partnership must file a tax return (Form 1065) that reports its income and loss to the IRS. In addition, each partner reports his or her share of income and loss on Schedule K-1 of Form 1065.

Personal liability is a major concern if you use a general partnership to structure your business. Like sole proprietors, general partners are personally liable for the partnership’s obligations and debts. Each general partner can act on behalf of the partnership, take out loans and make decisions that will affect and be binding on all the partners (if the partnership agreement permits). Keep in mind that partnerships are also more expensive to establish than sole proprietorships because they require more legal and accounting services.

If you decide to organize your business as a partnership, be sure you draft a partnership agreement that details how business decisions are made, how disputes are resolved and how to handle a buyout. You’ll be glad you have this agreement if for some reason you run into difficulties with one of the partners or if someone wants out of the arrangement.

The agreement should address the purpose of the business and the authority and responsibility of each partner. It’s a good idea to consult an attorney experienced with small businesses for help in drafting the agreement. Here are some other issues you’ll want the agreement to address:

  • How will the ownership interest be shared? It’s not necessary, for example, for two owners to equally share ownership and authority. However, if you decide to do it, make sure the proportion is stated clearly in the agreement.
  • How will decisions be made? It’s a good idea to establish voting rights in case a major disagreement arises. When just two partners own the business 50-50, there’s the possibility of a deadlock. To avoid this, some businesses provide in advance for a third partner, a trusted associate who may own only 1 percent of the business but whose vote can break a tie.
  • When one partner withdraws, how will the purchase price be determined? One possibility is to agree on a neutral third party, such as your banker or accountant, to find an appraiser to determine the price of the partnership interest.
  • If a partner withdraws from the partnership, when will the money be paid? Depending on the partnership agreement, you can agree that the money be paid over three, five or 10 years, with interest. You don’t want to be hit with a cash-flow crisis if the entire price has to be paid on the spot on one lump sum.


What Is a Security Vulnerabity? Webopedia Definition #security #vulnerability, #vulnerability, #security #exploit,

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security vulnerability

Related Terms

An unintended flaw in software code or a system that leaves it open to the potential for exploitation in the form of unauthorized access or malicious behavior such as viruses. worms. Trojan horses and other forms of malware .

Also referred to as security exploits. security vulnerabilities can result from software bugs, weak passwords or software that s already been infected by a computer virus or script code injection, and these security vulnerabilities require patches, or fixes, in order to prevent the potential for compromised integrity by hackers or malware.

Also seevulnerability scanningandThe Difference Between a Virus, Worm and Trojan Horsein theDid You Know?section of Webopedia.

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Search Engine Optimization – Small Business Encyclopedia #business #card #magnets


#business search engines

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Search Engine Optimization

Definition:The process of increasing the amount of visitors to a website by ranking high in the search results of a search engine .

If you want your online business to be successful, it’s a good idea to optimize your site on a regular basis to make sure it’s got a good position in the web’s top search engines. And it’s important to keep on top of the latest developments in the search engine industry and what key tactics you should–and shouldn’t–use to optimize your site to make sure it gets a high ranking with all the major search engines.

For the past few years, the major search engines have been preparing to square off against each other and battle it out for the industry’s top spot. Google has been No. 1 for a while now, with Yahoo! and MSN coming in at numbers two and three. Keep in mind, however, that Google and Yahoo! power many of the smaller search engines. For example, Google powers the free listings featured on AOL and Netscape, plus the paid listings featured on AOL, Netscape, Ask Jeeves, HotBot, Teoma and Lycos. Yahoo! powers free listings featured on AltaVista, AllTheWeb and HotBot, plus the paid listings on MSN, AltaVista and AllTheWeb.

Search engines frequently change the algorithms they use to rank sites. They don’t want unscrupulous site owners manipulating their indexing methods in order to get high rankings. By doing so, they damage the integrity of free search. As soon as the search engines become aware of a trick being used by “search engine spammers” to boost their site ranking, they figure out a way to catch them.

The search engines don’t want to be manipulated by marketers. They want to provide the best unbiased results possible for any given search–or they’ll lose users. That’s why they need to change their algorithms so frequently-to stay ahead of the tricks people use to get top rankings.

So be careful! You don’t want to catch yourself employing a great strategy promoted by a marketing “expert,” only to find out it’s a tactic the search engines hate! That could get you booted off their listings in no time flat. Let’s take a look at what exactly the search engines are looking for when indexing sites–and what they’ll punish you for.

The Dos
There are still a lot of legitimate ways you can optimize your site to generate or maintain a high ranking without angering the search engines and causing them to drop you from their list. Here are some of the best things you can to do ensure your site has a high ranking:

1. Ask relevant sites to link to your site. In the past, scoring a high ranking with a search engine was all about positioning your keywords in “prime real estate” positions in your text and site coding. All that has changed, however, because these days, links are king.

Search engines place a huge amount of importance on the number of sites that link to yours. But it’s not just the quantity of links that matter, it’s also the quality. Search engines look at how relevant the links are, that is, how much the content of the linking site has in common with the content on your site. The more relevant, the better.

Search engines also look at how important the linking site is. What kind of online presence does it have? How much traffic does it get? For example, your site will get a higher ranking if it’s linked to by sites such as BBC.com or nationalgeographic.com instead of, say, the personal homepage of your friend’s neighbor’s kid.

2. Pay attention to keyword inclusion and placement. Keywords may no longer be the sole determining factor of a site’s ranking, but they’re still pretty important. The most useful places to include them are:

  • In your domain name–only make sure your keywords are in the root of your URL, not the stem. For example, if your main keyword phrase is “cell phones,” try to get a domain name such as “www.cell-phones.com” instead of “www.mobileusa.com/cell-phones.” Some search engines will actually penalize sites for including key words in the stem of a URL.
  • In the title tags in your source code
  • In the meta description of your site. This is much less important than it used to be, but it can’t hurt.
  • In your meta keyword tags

And be sure you only include relevant keywords. Search engines will penalize you if you try to sneak in keywords that have nothing to do with the content of your site.

3. Create content-rich information pages to direct traffic to your site. An easy way to boost the number of pages that link to your site is to create some pages yourself. However, you have to make sure these pages contain valuable content that provides people with useful information. Search engines hate “pointer pages” that have no content and exist only to add to the number of links pointing to a site.

Be sure the information relates to the content on your site and has your keywords placed in advantageous positions. This will boost the ranking of your pages with the search engines and ensure they get lots of traffic-which they can then redirect to your site.

4. Submit your site to online directories. Be sure to submit your site to important directories such as Yahoo. the Open Directory Project and About.com, as well as smaller directories. Your listing on these directories will help your ranking with the major search engines.

5. Multiply and conquer. Create a community of related sites that link to each other. Why stop at only one information page? The more content-rich sites that point to your site, the better.

You can also boost the number of links that point to your site by dividing it into several separate sites that all link to each other. This works especially well if you sell a number of different products or services. If you build a different site to focus on each of your products and services, then you can also concentrate the use of specific keyword phrases on each site. That’s another great way to boost your search engine ranking.

The Don’ts
Now that we’ve covered the dos, here come the don’ts. Although these questionable tactics have worked well in the past, the search engines absolutely hate them. If they catch you using any of these tricks, they may go so far as to drop you from their listings.

1. Beware of irrelevant links. Yes, it’s a good idea to get a lot of different links pointing to your site, but the search engines only like relevant links. If they find sites that have nothing in common with the content on your site linked to your Web site, they’ll lower your relevancy rating.

2. Beware of irrelevant keywords. Search engines hate finding irrelevant keywords on your site-especially in your meta tags. If they catch you using keywords that have nothing to do with the actual content of your site, they’ll penalize you for it.

3. Don’t “keyword stuff” your meta tags. In the past, people used to repeat their keywords in their meta tags over and over again. This used to get them a high ranking with the search engines-but not any more. Search engines are on to this trick and will punish you for it by dropping your ranking.

4. Don’t create “link farms.” Link farms are the evil cousins of the information pages we discussed above. In the past, some spammers used to build multiple “doorway” sites that existed only to multiply the number of links pointing to their sites. Unlike content-rich information pages, these doorway pages would usually only include a string of keyword terms that would earn them a high ranking with the search engines. The search engines have caught on to this tactic, however, and will drop you from their listings if they find you using it.

5. Avoid “free for all” link pages. Don’t bother placing links to your site on pages where everyone and their cousin is invited to put up a link. Such sites have extremely low relevancy ratings and will cost you points with the search engines.

The following resources are good to check out to keep you on top of the changing world of SEO:

Search Engine News. Planet Ocean’s online resource, “The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars,” is updated monthly and provides excellent optimization tips and information on the search engine industry.

Search Engine Watch. This free site is another rich source of tips and information on the search engine industry. Paid memberships are available for more advanced content.

Search Engine Guide. This free site contains a lot of useful information about the smaller search engines on the Web and who you should submit your site to in order to get a better ranking with the bigger search engines.