Who needs a business plan?
Wednesday 28th of October 2009 09:16 PM
The only person who doesn’t need a plan is the person who doesn’t have or want to have a business.
We have seen all different types of business plans from 200 page books to notes written on a napkin. Both are acceptable types of business plans.
What is a business plan? Always a work in progress. A tool used for three purposes:
What does a business plan do?
- Defines biz
- Identifies goals
- Serves as a company’s resume
- Financial portion helps allocate resources properly
Elements of a good plan
- Executive summary – Provides concise overview of the company along with the history (should be brief, bullet points)
- Market analysis
- Company description – high level look at how the different elements of biz fit together
- Organization and management
o Company organizational structure
o Details about ownership
o Profiles of management team
- Marketing and sales strategies
o Marketing penetration (how to get your product to market)
o Growth strategy
o Communication – how to reach your customers and communicate your message
o Sales strategy
o Product or service line – what are you selling
o Funding request
Summary – if you don’t have a plan on paper, get one even if it’s only one page of bullet points!
Equine Disease Tracking: Kentucky's New System
Monday 19th of October 2009 01:05 PM
The University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center made a long-awaited switch to a new online file-keeping system known as Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) in early August.
LIMS will serve as an integrated online system for farmers to report incidence of disease by county, and it will correlate with the technology used by the state veterinarian’s office. It will link incoming information from the state veterinarian's office, the Breathitt Veterinary Center at Murray State University, and the LDDC.
The system will help the LDDC track disease reports in near real time--a feature that has not been available before--and prepare for infectious outbreaks or other disease situations, particularly those affecting the state’s equine population. The goal of the new system is to avoid pandemics similar to the mare reproductive loss syndrome occurrences in 2001. While not a contagious disease, MRLS resulted in losses to Kentucky's horse industry of an estimated $340 million and about 30 percent of that season’s Thoroughbred foal crop. By organizing disease incidences by geographic location, scientists and veterinarians can predict trends and get a jump-start on treatments for seasonal illness (such as MRLS was). The system makes information available to farm managers and private practitioners, so they can administer appropriate vaccinations and implement necessary protocols to keep up with any predicted rise in diseases.
LDDC Director Craig Carter, DVM, PhD, Dip. ACVPM, said, "In the short term, it helps to get diagnostic test results down to the farm level in an accurate, timely fashion (to) help the local vet manage single outbreaks. In the long term, it's part of a statewide animal health information network that will give us a broad awareness of what's happening all across the state."
LIMS also will aid in maintaining agricultural biosecurity by detecting potential outbreaks of diseases caused by any previously unidentified pathogens.
The new system will simplify recordkeeping for LDDC and its clients by delivering lab reports and invoices electronically. Carter asks clients to be patient and report any problems they experience as they adjust to the new technology.
For more information contact LDDC at 859/253-0571 or visit www.lddc.uky.edu/.
Natalie Voss is a UK equine intern and undergraduate student in equine science.
Jennifer Foster, President of EQ Bookkeeping...virtual bookkeeping services for the equine industry.
QuickBooks Error #2
Thursday 15th of October 2009 08:54 PM
Can’t get your bank account to reconcile correctly?
If you're having a problem reconciling your latest bank statement, the problem might be with outstanding bank account transactions.
When you entered the opening balance for your bank account into QuickBooks, you most likely used the last bank statement dated previous to your start date. If there was any lag time between the date of your statement and your start date in QuickBooks, make sure that you also entered any checks or deposits that happened in between.
For example, if your QuickBooks start date was 01/01/06, you'd use the ending balance on your December 2005 bank statement as your opening bank account balance. Let's say the end date of that statement was December 20th, which means that all the deposits and payments you made from December 21st until December 31st are "outstanding," or accounted for in your bank statement's balance, but not in QuickBooks. To fix the problem in this example, you'd go back to your January 2006 bank statement, and enter into QuickBooks all the transactions that occurred between December 21st and 31st
To help you avoid this and many other common mistakes, Foster Results LLC offers professional training on your Quickbooks software.
QuickBooks Mistake #1
Tuesday 13th of October 2009 07:15 PM
Don't deposit your money twice.
Many users group their payments to deposit them all at once through the "Undeposited Funds" account. A mistake that some users make is that they also enter each payment as a single deposit. The result is two deposits for one payment. (You think you have more money than you actually have.)When you use the Sales Receipt or Receive Payments forms to track money coming in to your business, you have the option to put payment into the "Undeposited Funds" account, which is like a cash drawer where you keep checks and currency in between trips to the bank. If you select this option on either form, QuickBooks won't recognize the money into your bank account until you tell it that you've actually taken your money to the bank.
When you do go to the bank, tell QuickBooks by using the Make Deposits window, and select the payments you've just deposited. Do not enter a separate deposit into your bank account register to show this money.
For questions about this and other common mistakes, contact EQ Bookkeeping at (877) 399-8920
Tips to Avoid IRS Audit
Monday 5th of October 2009 10:15 AM
Congress recognized a long time ago that taxpayers will try to claim federal income tax losses for activities at which the taxpayer has no genuine intent to create profit. The so called Hobby Loss provisions are found at section 183 of the Internal Revenue Code. Horse owners are a prime target of IRS "hobby loss" challenges, reflecting, of course, the fact that it is very difficult to actually make money in horses, yet many engage in the pursuit for the sheer enjoyment of it anyway. Here are seven tips that will make it easier to survive a so called "Hobby Loss" audit.
Tax courts are concerned with the steps that the taxpayer took to make the business profitable. So, along with the education about the horses themselves, the taxpayer needs to engage experts in the field of making that particular equine business a profitable one. Even if the taxpayer hired experts, if they were the kind of experts that advised the taxpayer about what kind of horses were best and how to become proficient at breeding them, and not necessarily how to make money at that business, then the court may not count that. That is, at least one court has ruled against the taxpayer overall, noting that the professionals hired were the same kind that the taxpayer would have hired if she was just engaged in a hobby (e.g. trainers.)
- In the planning stages, consult with experts, self educate, and hire professionals in the area of financial acumen and in helping the business to become profitable.
Self education is an important aspect of this; going to seminars, buying books and periodicals, attending shows, and engaging professionals for advice on particular issues, all of which will show a profit motive for the court. Also, get involved in the trade organizations, as this is usually a positive factor mentioned by the court. Using a trade organization to retain an expert that will help demonstrably change behavior in order to generate profits, is one way to help produce the profit motive ruling.
More tips to come...Jennifer Foster, President of EQ Bookkeeping, providing bookkeeping and accounting services for horse businesses