Retail Industry Statistics Favorable for March 2012

Strategy Plan One

April 18, 2012 

Retail Industry

The retail industry is potentially on the rebound with some of the most current data out for public consumption.  This is good news for businesses and entrepreneurs around the country who are all desperately looking for signs of recovery.

The latest advance report is out by the US Census Bureau on retail statistics estimates for March 2012.  The report, including the statistics for the combined retail and food industry, cites that the industry total revenue for March 2012 was $411.1 Billion.  This represented an increase of 0.8% over February 2012 and a 6.5% increase over March 2011 figures.

 

retail industry

 

Retail industry sales alone increased by 0.8% from February 2012 and consistent with the 6.5% increase above March 2011 data.  The biggest sector jump in the retail industry occurred in building material and garden retail sector, with a 14.1% increase over March 2011 statistics.

Business owners and the industry will cautiously analyze the next few months to determine if this pattern will continue and if it is solid signs of recovery.

 

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media Sites – Pushing Over Valuation (Infographic)

Strategy Plan One

April 17, 2012 

Social Media Sites

We have all heard the hype and buzz around the valuations of social media sites.  These sites have gained massive users quickly and before you blink, now are worth billions.  With Facebook on the verge of an Initial Public Offering (IPO), the estimated value puts Facebook near $100 Billion, 50 times revenue value!

Here is an interesting look at timelines, revenues and valuations of social media sites, courtesy of gplus.com.  Statistics and valuation highlights of this infographic on social media site valuation:

  • Facebook: $3.7 Billion in revenue (2011), 1 Billion users, $100 Billion valuation (50 times revenue)
  • Twitter: $150M Revenue, 300 M users, $7.7B value (50 times revenue)
  • Linkedin: $200M in revenue, $9B valuation (45 times revenue)
  • Groupon:  $760M in revenue, $25B valuation (32 times revenue) 

social media sites

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Revenue Forecast – Factors and Projection Models

Strategy Plan One

April 12, 2012 

 

revenue forecastRevenue Forecast – Overview

In one of your key business planning activities you will need to accurately project revenue streams. As part of revenue management, the information on your revenue forecast would be your strongest indicator in your business plan.

 

Your revenue forecast will illustrate how successful your financial situation is projected to be.  Investors, partners and bankers will be reviewing how you arrived at your numbers, at how you justified revenue and sales levels.  Your forecasting will need to be more than just an educated guess, however, an educated, experienced background is essential to forecasting.

 

Everything in your financial and business planning will be centered on revenue numbers, from estimating variable and fixed expenditures, to determining the amount of debt that can be serviced with the projected revenue levels.  So many factors, differing in various industries, need to be included in revenue projections.  Integral to forecasting revenue, your marketing plan will include some factors and will need to incorporate market potential information.

 

Revenue Forecast – Tools

Spreadsheets and calculators can assist in a formula based approach, but some are generic and do not take into account industry specific factors and differing revenue projection models.  In essence, you will need to incorporate specific factors into your calculations and run differing simulations to capture all potential circumstances.

 

The following describes some of the various factors and models to determine your revenue forecast:

 

revenue forecastRevenue Forecast – Based on Historical Financial Data

If you are forecasting revenue for an existing business, revenue projection may not be as difficult as you may think.  There is a historical track record of data for existing businesses to build on.  In reviewing revenue and sales trends in the historical financial data, you can estimate the ongoing continuous trend forward.

 

When reviewing and analyzing financial trends, pay attention to the rate of growth or rate of change in revenue and expense categories.  The rate of change must be taken into consideration, and don’t rely on a calculation of straight-line revenue projections.  If negative growth or declining trends are showing, differing strategies may need to be developed to get trends back on the right track.

 

Using Intelligence for Your Revenue Forecast

As an experienced entrepreneur you may carry some intelligence from past employment, from operational and management experience.  If your experience was industry specific and applicable to your start-up or existing business, you may have the intelligence to develop some close to accurate projections.

 

You may also be able to surround yourself with professionals that also have this intelligence.  We are not suggesting that you steal information from a competitor, but acquire professionals that are well-versed in a certain applicable industry, that have an innate ability to complete an accurate revenue forecast.  Accountants also specialize in this area but will need access to information and intelligence on the industry and markets.

 

Revenue Forecast – Industry Standards Data

Revenue models can be generated from using the industry standards data.  Loads of generic industry data has been compiled for decades.  The US Census Bureau is also a good source for industry data to base your projections on.  In Canada, you may want to search through Statistics Canada for general industry data.  Note that utilizing this data is more along the lines of a theoretical, averaging approach and may not take into consideration the factors of your specific business circumstances, area and markets.

 

Marketing Information for Your Revenue Forecast

Good potential sales data can be obtained from surveying your potential customers and potential markets.  You can base your revenue forecast on the total market and on your estimated market share.  If you have excellent relationships with your potential customers and there is a mutual agreement to supply products or services you may be able to sign into a preliminary agreement, or Letter of Intent (LOI) for future sales.  You can definitely extrapolate more solid information from this for your projected revenue and sales.

 

In addition to your own surveying efforts, you can obtain the services of a marketing company to do the work for you or to provide you will more specific market information for you to base your projections on.  Depending on the firm used and type of information obtained, this would be an additional reliable source of information, and more valuable to your revenue forecasting.

 

Tips to Assist in a More Accurate Revenue Forecast

  • Be realistic, and plan modestly
  • Generate projection scenarios, from conservative to optimistic
  • Back all projections with information to make it more objective
  • Use multiple information sources in developing projections
  • List your assumptions and justification for your numbers
  • Seek advice and feedback on your information
  • Develop strong relationships to build in LOI, MOUs with potential customers to assist in revenue projections
  • Adjust wherever needed and frequently; the more effort you put in the better the forecasting will get.
  • Remember this is not a perfect science but are tools for estimating

 

Using a fusion of models and factors indicated above may result in more comprehensive, more accurate revenue forecast.  Ensure you complete the due diligence required on detailed business planning, including using revenue projection models to minimize risk, and you will experience actual results closer to your financial projections and goals in the future years.

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

History of NHL Stanley Cup Winners [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

April 10, 2012 

Stanley Cup Winners

We (the small market NHL fans) are about to tune in to the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, cheering for our favorite of the top 16 teams.  The playoffs are big big business for NHL franchise owners and for the surrounding businesses in each of the playoff cities. And it’s massive profit for the Stanley Cup winners.

Here is a brilliant infographic from Hockey-community.com illustrating the history of NHL Stanley Cup Winners from 1893 to date.  To note:

  • Stanley Cup winners Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Detroit Red Wings have won the most cups (23, 13, and 11 respectively)
  • Since 1918, Canadian teams have won 49 times, while US Teams have won 43 Cups
  • US Teams coming on strong – have won 22 out of the last 30 Stanley Cups and the last 17 Cups
Who will raise the Stanley Cup this year?

  • Stanley Cup Winners

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

How do you like those Apps? App Sales [infographic]

Strategy Plan One                                                                                                                     

April 9, 2012 

App Sales

It is interesting to observe the app sales war play itself out across the top platforms, with the notable Blackberry, iPhone and Android companies and developers jockeying for customer revenue.  Even though Blackberry (BB) reports have not been favorable of late, take note of the impressive sales data around BB app sales.  Where BB lacks in volume of apps for its platform, it makes massive ground in the sales per app & return on investment per app.

This infographic from BlogBerry.de highlights data from the three most popular platforms:

  • BB: 70,000+ Apps; Over 6 Million downloads per day
  • iPhone: 500,000 Apps; 66.2% are paid apps; 4 times the Android app sales
  • Android: Over 400,000 Apps available; 79.3% of Apps have been downloaded less than 100 times

App sales - RIM, Apple, Android How they Compare

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Trends in the Growing Online Wine Sales Industry (infographic)

Strategy Plan One

March 30, 2012 

Here are some interesting statistics and trends in the online wine sales industry in this infographic, courtesy of  Neo Mammalian Studios.  Tapping into the growing online wine sales market can be very lucrative.  One company, Garagiste, with sales of $30M per year, started on an initial investment of $500.

Statistics and Trends:

  • Lot 18 – over half a million members
  • Average range of prices for a bottle of wine online:  $20 – 37
  • Average range of discounts for wine online: 30 – 51% 
  • Page views for at least two online wine sales companies: over 600,000 per month (Jan 2012)

wine trends - online wine sales

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media – Business to Business (B2B) [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

March 27, 2012 

Are you using social media for business to business dealings, to promote products and services and/or to generate more business to business sales leads?  Are you using Social Media as one of your business to business marketing strategies in messaging about your business, product or service?  Here  is an interesting infographic developed by Nowsourcing.com and presented by Insideview.com.

Of interest:

  • 90 % of business 2 business companies use Facebook
  • 67% more leads/sales per month for companies with an active blog
  • IBM reported a 400% increase in one quarter when using social media sales strategy
  • in a survey, 75% of the respondent (global buyers) said that they would use social media in the buying process in the future

Social media strategies - business 2 business

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

Infographic – Social Media Money Makers

Strategy Plan One

March 14, 2012 

Check out this interesting, colorful infographic from USBundles.com illustrating how social media sites make their piles of money.  To note, the ad-based revenue has been strong and is projected to continuing growing.

Infographic courtesy of USBundles.com

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

 

March Madness – How to Manage March Fiscal Year End Madness

Strategy Plan One

March 13, 2012 

March madness - fiscal year endMarch Madness – Fiscal Year End

In countries such as the UK(April 5th), Canada, India and Japan, many businesses are tied to their own Federal government fiscal year end of March 31st.  In the US, the fiscal year end is September 30th (so you have some time to plan here).  Whether you rely on government services and resources, or if you are a supplier or contractor to government, these fiscal boundaries can have significant impacts on your operations.

Most government agencies have financial mechanisms in place to only allow goods and services to be acquired and received in the fiscal year that the resources occur in.  This means any delay in services or goods through the fiscal year must then be concentrated in the last quarter, and most likely the last month of the government fiscal – September or March in cases of the countries listed above.  Marching madly into March madness would be an understatement.

March madness - fiscal year endMarch Madness – Relying on Government Services & Resources

The first suggestion if you rely on government services and resources, would be to avoid delays and proceed early on in the fiscal year… don’t wait until March or fiscal year end.  Government programs such as business contribution and grant programs have money dedicated to fiscal years, and must provide these amounts to the recipients before fiscal year end.  The trickle effect is that the end eligible recipient must also acquire the business goods and services within the fiscal year boundaries to be within the conditions of the grant and contribution agreement.

If you are a legal recipient of a government service or financial resource, work with your government agency early on in the fiscal year to activate agreements, to enable you to implement your project and spend the money in an adequate time frame.  This will allow you to plan and manage your project around any wrinkles that may occur.  Reporting back on fiscal year activities and spending is critically important to government agencies.

March Madness – Supplier or Contractor to Government

As we all know, government programs and procedures are ripe with problems, and public servants are left scrambling to implement poorly designed public programs.  With poorly designed programs, weak procedures around the government procurement of good and services raise their ugly heads.  These challenges in government agencies give way to significant deviation is budgetary spending.  Some government departments are left scrambling to spend at fiscal year end instead of reporting back that less than the budgeted was spent.

Suppliers and contractors experience an extreme high volume of requests for goods and services at fiscal year end.  In addition to this, the public service demands cost effective and timely services from lists of pre-approved suppliers and contractors.  Those contractors who know the system have adapted to this March madness and will be geared up to adequately supply government with their needs.

March Madness Example

In one example, a small business supplier was asked to fulfill 400 office furniture requests to fully outfit 400 offices, within the last week of the fiscal, across many Federal government branches.  This constituted 60% of the small firm’s annual business.  You can imagine the logistics behind 400 purchase orders, the staff, transportation, etc… all to be delivered to and received by government by March 31st at11:59pm at the latest.

Helpful hints to Alleviate March Madness Pressures

  • Work early on in the fiscal year and integrate operations around the fiscal year end boundaries
  • Be part of the solution and offer suggestions to improving government year end procedures
  • Be a specialist in procurement (firms actually train government agents on streamlined procurement procedures, as government has a higher turn-over rate of employees)

Fiscal year end deadlines are quickly approaching for some countries; US firms take note (you have half of a year to jump on it).

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Tax Preparation & Filing Time – Short Burst of Info, Tips and Tools

Strategy Plan One

March 8, 2012 

Tax Return Tax PreparationTax Returns

Dreadful as it may seem, just around the corner is the tax filing deadlines.  Here is a quick burst of information, helpful tips, tools and resources to help you with effective and efficient tax filing.

 

 

Tax Preparation and Filing Tips

  • Take advantage of current year tax savings initiatives; regulations and rules tend to vary on a year by year basis
  • File on time to avoid any late submission penalties
  • Pay your taxes due immediately to avoid interest penalties
  • If you can’t pay the full amount, make arrangements with your local tax filing office for installment payments, deferred payments, etc; the more you keep them informed, the more information and tools they may have to help you through the process
  • Throughout the whole business year, keep accurate track of your expenditures, and be prepared to back any claims with detailed records
  • Be open, fair and transparent about all information and claims in your tax filing
  • Follow the rules and regulations of each taxing authority
  • Tax filing may be difficult for some business, corporate or other type of entities; acquire the services of an accountant to assist you in preparation of your tax return
  • Several tax preparation & filing software packages exist that are user friendly, have easy to follow manuals, and have features such as electronic online submissions

 

Websites with Useful Tax Preparation & Filing Information

Here are some of the websites that provide some information on taxes.  Many more exist out there too, so it is worthy to do some further research.

 

US

 

 

Canada

 

Tax Preparation and Filing Software Packages

Here are a couple of options for tax preparation software packages, with many more out there for you to choose from.

 

Whatever method you use to file your taxes, ensure you submit on a timely basis and that your submission is fair and consistent with taxation authorities and those regulations.  You will feel more at ease if you have kept good records and can back any claim if an auditor comes knocking and asking.

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One