Streamline your company’s work flow – and reap the rewards

Feel like you are being run by your business, instead of the other way around? When your company gets to a certain size, organizing its work flow so that you can work on your business instead of in it is of paramount importance.

Here’s how you can make it happen…

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Track your work habits and performance over the course of a week

To drive improvements in your own efficiency, note how you use your time on a day to day basis.

Resist the temptation to step up your game during this period, as it is important to get an accurate picture of what you do and how well you perform on certain days of the week.

Once you know where you stand, the task of making changes becomes an easier one. After a week or two of completing the above activity, the 20% of activities that burn up 80% or more of your day should stand out like a sore thumb.

By cutting out habits that contribute little or no value to your core business, you’ll free up more time to focus on what will earn you more profit.

Kill the giant while it’s little

When it comes to work that needs to be completed to allow the gears of your company to turn, the most difficult, boring and unpleasant tasks are usually the ones that make the difference between a day that is productive and one that isn’t.

By getting complex work assignments, tedious reports, and uncomfortable phone calls out of the way first thing in the morning, you’ll clear the mental clutter in your head, allowing you to focus intently on tasks later in the day that can help grow your business, and in turn increase its value.

Farm out time consuming tasks

Just because you are good at something does not mean you need to be the one doing it. If you are in a position where it serves you better to be focusing on high value projects, don’t clutter your schedule with low value busywork.

Outsource or delegate tasks that take up a lot of time, but need to be addressed to ensure the continued operation of your business.

You did the books yourself when you were in your startup phase; now is the time to hand the reins to an accountant.

You don’t need to be the superhero in your business

As your business grows, demands on your time will increase, and not just from employees from within your company.

Media interview requests, other entrepreneurs seeking advice, and community organizations seeking out a partnership with you are just a few of the things that will compete for a slot in your day planner.

Knowing when to say “no” is not just vital for your productivity, but for your physical and mental health as well.

You are a human being, just like anyone else in your company; don’t feel like you have to do it all.

Three Ways To Keep Your Staff Engaged

Landing a position at a new job is a big deal for most people, as the constant learning and challenges that goes on in these professions is enough to keep them engaged in the beginning.

As time goes by though, a variety of issues can cause some employees to drift, reducing their productivity.

Below, we’ll go over a few ways you can successfully engage your staff so that they keep producing positive results for your business, and keep them on board if you decide to sell your business.

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1) Keep lines of communication open

While it’s tempting to keep things simple and apply similar strategies across your business, it’s a fact that different people are motivated by different aspects of their job. The best way to figure out what gets various individuals in your team going is to foster a culture of open communication within your organization.

If you actively listen to what your team members are saying, you’ll have the knowledge required to provide them with what they need to excel in their positions.

2) Offset sacrifices with rewards

Often, policies are put into place that ensure that your portion of the company is operating efficiently. However, some of these edicts might rub certain employees the wrong way, which can have the opposite intended effect in the long run.

Negative outcomes can be averted in this situation by rewarding employees that accept these operating procedures.

If you have instituted short lunches to keep business performance levels high, providing food like pizza, gourmet meats and cheese, or sub sandwiches periodically is a great way to keep them in good spirits.

While their colleagues in other companies might have longer breaks available to them, the high quality snacks you might provide your employees on offer whenever they are hungry will keep them happy and productive. This is especially true with millennials.

3) Offer those bored with their position the chance to advance and grow

Over time, even the most interesting jobs can become monotonous, as standard procedures can cause your A players to become restless. Their productivity will begin to decrease, and they might seek opportunities for growth and development outside your company by moving laterally.

This can be combated by offering them the chance to learn more about their field through professional development courses. In addition to refreshing their mindset towards their job, it can help pave the way towards advancing them into a position with added responsibilities, which can only increase their overall value to the organization.

A quality, productive and reliable team is a huge asset for any business owner, and especially one in the market to sell a business. Any investor interested in buying a business is going to be much more attracted if a star team comes along with the deal, and one that will stay loyal.

Meet The Team – Frank Arcoleo: Central Pennsylvania and Central New York

Frank Arcoleo, Business Broker in Pennsylvania and Business Broker in New York

  1. Frank, where did you grow up? I grew up in New Orleans and lived there until I was 28. New Orleans is a unique city. It’s Southern in a sense, but is more like a European city, given the Spanish and French influence.
  1. Where did you study for college? Although I had a hunger to see the world, I stayed pretty close to home by going to college at Tulane. I did live on-campus, though, so I had the best of both worlds. I was on my own all week but could use the car and see my friends on weekends! I did get to travel, and I spent my Junior year at the University of Southampton in England.
  1. What was the first job you had out of college? What was the most important lesson you learned there that has stuck with you for your entire professional career? I graduated with a liberal arts degree, which qualified me to do – well, nothing. But I had worked summers doing bookkeeping/rudimentary accounting, so I got a job at a small landfill/clearing contractor as their bookkeeper/admin guy. That gave me the best possible view into the struggles of being a small business entrepreneur – the long days, the stress, and the leadership. As a result, I’ve always appreciated what it takes to be a small business owner. It’s not easy!
  1. What drew you to working with A Neumann and Associates? After starting out doing bookkeeping at the contractor, I ultimately got my CPA certificate, a Wharton MBA, and worked in Manhattan for KPMG and other firms as a management consultant, eventually going on my own in 1999. I met Achim through a fellow Wharton Club member and quickly learned that ANA would allow me to apply my consulting skills, but aimed at business transition. I would remain independent in many ways, but with a team of professionals behind me and alongside. The best of both worlds!
  1. What counties and states do you represent? I am the Managing Director for Central Pennsylvania (Lancaster, Dauphin, Cumberland, York, and Lebanon counties) and for Central New York (counties surrounding Rochester, Syracuse, Corning, Binghamton, etc.). I am also assisting in covering the Maryland regions as we recruit Managing Directors for those territories.
  1. What do you feel makes your region unique compared to others? (tax benefits, special laws, etc) While there are some large firms in my region, the vast majority of employment is through small business – many of them in the $1 million to $50 million revenue range, which is the “sweet spot” for providing our services for people looking to sell a business in Pennsylvania, sell a business in Pennsylvania and offering business valuations in Pennsylvania. It is thoroughly a small business economy.
  1. What do you find is the biggest challenge in your region compared to others? While the region is heavily weighted to small business, it is also heavily weighted towards family business. In my region, our biggest competitors are not other M&A advisors in Pennsylvania. Instead, our biggest competitors are the kids – the sons and daughters of today’s business owners.
  1. What do you find is the biggest advantage working in your regions compared to others? A Neumann & Associates is clearly the strongest and most professional organization serving our client base in my region. There are larger firms, but they tend to focus on clients with more revenues. Most of the firms in our market space are sole practitioners or very small groups. They don’t have the bench strength, the strong processes, or the back-office organization that we do.
  1. What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had working in your regions? Knowing that I’ve served my clients well. I’ve had lots of people come to me not really understanding what their businesses were worth, how to go about assessing and adding to that value, and how to harvest the value that they had created to fund their retirement and their legacy. In a short period, I have helped these people put a plan in place that addresses all these issues. They’re very thankful for that.
  1. Best advice for someone considering selling a business in Pennsylvania or selling a business in New York? Start planning early by getting a business valuation in Pennsylvania or business valuation in New York now. If the valuation is promising, then we can craft an exit strategy that captures the value and provides for a smooth transition. If the valuation isn’t enough, we’ll have enough time for you to increase the value to what it needs to be. If you wait till the last minute, you may be sorry.
  1. Best advice for someone considering buying a business in Pennsylvania or buying a business in New York? There are a lot of really good businesses that have weathered the recession (and slow recovery) and come out stronger and more profitable than ever. And because of the recession, there is a backlog of baby boomer business owners who are interested in retiring soon. Keep looking as more and more opportunities become available!

Meet The Team – Aaron Soury: New York and Southern Connecticut Regions

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Aaron, Where did you grow up?

I was born in the Bronx, NY in 1958. When I was one year old my family moved to New Rochelle, NY. I was raised there throughout my schooling and into my twenties.

Where did you study for college?

I went to Pace University and received a BBA with major concentrations in marketing and management.

What was the first job you had out of college? What was the most important lesson you learned there that has stuck with you for your entire professional career?

My first job out of college was in retail at Macy’s Executive Training Program. During my four years in college, I worked part time in one of the local stores. As I was approaching graduation, I had conversations with store management and selected Macy’s after exploring many options. After my retail experience, I went to the wholesale side and worked in the apparel industry for 10 years. I had an opportunity to put together a plan and run a food concession in an office building. It was a great experience writing and executing the business plan. I sold that business and went into the banking industry. I was in the banking field for 20 years, starting in the mortgage division and rising through the ranks to the last 12 years as Branch Manager. Throughout my career, I learned to work to the best of my ability.

What drew you to working with A Neumann and Associates?

I decided to join A Neumann & Associates after doing extensive research. The company has an established solid track record. The team has a lot of experience and has been helping clients sell their businesses and investors looking to buy a business in New York and Connecticut for decades. The back office support is second to none. The company’s straight forward approach is the way I like to conduct business.

What counties and states do you represent?

I help my clients sell a business in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Bronx counties in NY, and Southern CT, including Fairfield County as well as the buying side and consulting on a multitude of fronts.

What do you feel makes your region unique compared to others? (tax benefits, special laws, etc.)

My region includes small, medium, and large businesses. These businesses sectors include service, distribution, retail, manufacturing, construction, and, in some areas, farming. Just about any type and size of business exists in my region.

What do you find is the biggest challenge in your region compared to others?

I don’t know that there is any bigger challenge in my region. I believe the process we use for aiding in the transitions of mergers & acquisitions at A Neumann & Associates, which has been refined over decades of experiences, helps minimize challenges.

What do you find is the biggest advantage working in New York and Connecticut compared to other states?

Having been raised and living in my region for most of my life. I understand the differences, opportunities, and economics in the various communities throughout New York and Connecticut.

What do you think is the most underrated opportunity in your region?I don’t see an underrated opportunity – just opportunities!

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had working in NY and CT?

I find getting out and meeting business owners to be the most rewarding. Each business story is unique. I admire every owner’s entrepreneurial vision and drive.

Best advice for someone considering selling a business in New York or Selling a Business in Connecticut?

Don’t go it alone. At A Neumann & Associates we are professionals that work as a team dedicated to marketing your business for sale with the utmost confidentiality throughout the entire process. We also advise having the right legal and accounting professionals in the mix as well. Call us today to set up your appointment for a business valuation in New York or a business valuation in Connecticut.

Best advice for someone considering buying a business in New York or Buying a Business in Connecticut?

A buyer should engage professionals in their search for a business. The A Neumann & Associates confidential approach is best for a buyer as well as a seller.

Can Your Business Survive A Disaster?

You might not think about it from day to day, as life can lull you into a false state of security, but natural disasters can happen at any time, in a variety of ways. Being caught without a plan to keep your business afloat can put its survival in doubt, making it vital to take the steps necessary to protect your assets before the unexpected happens. Having a plan will help restore it to full health despite any circumstances that might beset you in the wake of a disruptive event.

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Which types of disasters are most likely to occur in your region?

Your first task is to assess what natural threats pose the biggest risk to your assets. What plans can you draft, or infrastructure can you purchase that will counteract these threats? For example, if you live in an area that is prone to severe storms, having a generator on site at your retail food store may be a worthwhile investment, as it will keep frozen perishables viable while you wait several days for your power to be restored.

Review your insurance cover

Are you adequately protected for the partial or complete destruction of your assets? Are there clauses in your current policy that exclude or limit coverage for disasters that have a realistic chance of happening in your area? Review it line by line (with your attorney if possible) to make sure you are covered for everything you need to be protected against. It is always a good idea to get periodic business valuations to ensure you know what your business and assets are actually worth, and especially for insurance purposes.

Mirror copies of important documents, and back up vital data to the cloud

Go through your files and identify every document that would damage your business if it were to be lost in a fire, and photocopy it multiple times. Take these copies and store them in various secure places (e.g. safety deposit boxes, a safe in your home, etc). Additionally, you will want to scan them and upload their digitized forms to a secure cloud storage site along with all the vital electronic files that are present on your company servers.

What will your employees do in the aftermath of a disaster?

Disasters may create communication challenges that will make contacting employees difficult in the wake of a natural disturbance. With telecommunications likely to be unreliable or offline, it is important that people in various positions know what their responsibilities are after an event before it happens. This way, there will be less confusion among your rank and file with regards to their duties when the unexpected occurs.

What government relief programs are you eligible for in the wake of a declared disaster?

Sometimes, the forces of nature wreak destruction on a scale that may require you to reach out for government assistance. Do you know the protocol that you will you have to go through to receive the capital you need to get your business back on its feet? If you don’t, researching federal and state programs that are set up to help individuals and businesses get level after a disaster will prove to be a worthwhile investment of your time on a quiet afternoon.