How to Calculate Free Cash Flow for your Business Health

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Free cash flow is one of the key indicators used to show the health of the business, particularly its profitability. Typically, it demonstrates the amount of money any business for other purposes after all the capital expenditures that may include equipment, buildings and various other necessary expenses that help businesses sustain their operations.

Although calculating cash flow is a complicated process, there are many ways you can do it. According to experts, it is always better to use all methods correctly. If they all generate the same result, it provides you a reliable way to cross-check your operations.

It is worth noting here that cash flow doesn’t relate to all businesses. It is precisely a measuring tool that non-financial firms use rather than professional associations and investment firms.  If you own a non-financial enterprise, you can calculate the cash flow for free with these three equations.

Equations to Calculate Free Cash Flow

1.       Free Cash flow:  Subtract operation taxes and costs from Sales revenues then subtract required investments for operation capital

The equation is one of the easiest ways to calculate free cash flow. Business owners take sales revenues, including taxes and operating costs from their income statement. The fixed assets show an increase when you invest in new operating capita. The balance sheet shows everything from investments and revenue details.

For example, if your business has earned revenues of $500,000, the amount is reduced to $300,000 because of taxes due and operating costs. If your business requires an investment of $150, 000, it will have the free cash flow of $30,000 to $50, 000.

2.      Free Cash flow:  Subtract net investments in operating capital from net operating profits NOPAT (after taxes)

 NOPAT refers to the same figure we used in the previous equation: subtract operating taxes and costs from sales revenues. Net investment of operating capital uses the same figure that is used in the third term of first calculations. For calculating free cash flow through this equation, it is better to use the increased fixed assets on your balance sheet.

That means, your NOPAT will remain at the same amount of $30,000. You just need to exchange the required investment of your business in operating capital for your net investments in operating capital.  If you assume the same figures, your free cash flow will remain the same.

3.      Free Cash flow:  Subtract capital expenditure from the net cash flow of operations

 You can also calculate free cash flow by subtracting the capital expenditure from the net cash flow that comes from operations.  Net cash flow in this equation comes from the cash flow statement, while capital expenditure is taken from the increase in the business’s fixed assets.  For instance, if your operation’s net cash flow is around $200,000, the figure might be reduced by your capital expenditures.

Interestingly, all these free cash flow calculation methods will give you the same answers when you work with these equations. You might feel like approaching the same information and data from three different angles.

How does Free Cash Flow Calculation Affect Your Business?

As mentioned earlier, free cash flow is useful for the health of your business. Firms with healthy free cash flow are financially stable to meet the bills and investments every month. Plus, they also have leftover funds that they usually distribute among dividends and shareholders. Man firms use this extra fund to seize opportunities to help them generate more revenues through acquisitions of innovative products.

That is to say, if your business is booming and has high free cash flow, it is an indication that it is doing well and you should consider expanding it. Conversely, if it fails to generate good free cash flow, you might need to consider restructuring it as there are remaining funds after the basic expenses.

However, it is important to understand that poor free cash flow doesn’t always indicate a failing business. It might be expected even when your business is pursuing growth. Development and acquisition of new products are temporarily subtracted from the main capital. That is the reason why most of the investors tend to work with the businesses that have high free cash flow. These businesses are generally considered healthy with bright prospects. If an investor finds a business that has rising free cash flow with an undervalued share cost, it may be a great investment bet.

How can you Benefit from the Free Cash Flow

Since you understand how positive free cash flow may benefit you by indicating the healthy financial status of your business, it is better to use this understanding to your advantage. It is always better to look beyond the figures. Know that established firms have relatively consistent and healthy free cash flow. New businesses, on the other hand, are in a state where they need to pour money into growth and stabilization.

Although it depends on the business owners how they use the free cash flow, using the funds to expand the operations, pay shareholders and dividends, invest in new products, research or to reduce debt is beneficial for the business.

Always remember that companies that have surging free cash flow due to debt elimination, dividend distributions, cost reductions, efficiency improvements, or revenue growth can reward their investors in the future.

In other scenarios, when free cash flow is shrinking, businesses fail to sustain their growth earnings. Not only this, insufficient free cash flow for growth forces a business to boost debt levels. In a worse scenario, a business without enough free cash flow may not even have the liquidity to sustain.

Final Thoughts

All in all, it is important to find an all-purpose tool that can help you test the fundamentals of your business that seem elusive. Free cash flow calculation is like a performance metric they provide entrepreneurs an opportunity to guard up if their business is not generating enough revenues.

Access our network of Investors, get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

Ways To Secure Venture Capital for Your Business Startup

For most business startup owners, one of the most difficult aspects of their job is the task of securing venture capital. And while there are many available sources of funds out there, we have to realize that there are also a huge number of business startups that are competing for the money.

So what elements of businesses guarantee financial support from investors? Actually, there isn’t. Most of the time, the chances of securing a venture capital greatly depends on the situation, in addition to the characteristics of the business and the venture capitalist. However, despite this reality, there are some things that a business owner can do to increase his or her chances of securing financial support from venture capitalists.

Among the most important pointers that a business startup owner must remember is the need for him or her to be prepared with what’s going to happen.

Establishing a business is not as easy as coming up with an idea that will entice a large market. In addition to passion and dedication, a business owner is expected to be knowledgeable with every single aspect of his or her business. Thus, before approaching a venture capitalist, it’s important for owners to know their businesses.

This is important because it would prepare them for all sorts of questions that may arise during a presentation for potential investors. Likewise, a full understanding of the business would enhance the viability of the business plan, therefore increasing the chances of getting financial support.

Aside from being prepared with all the questions that a potential investor may ask, business owners must also have some knowledge on the people that would be the receiving end of their pitches.

Sometimes, owners tend to contact every single venture capitalist in the country. And while this increases your chances of securing investments, this also increases the amount of time that you spend looking for money. As they say, time is gold. So why spend a lot of time when you can do something much better?

Instead of calling every single venture capitalist in the planet, try to look into the list and study your chances of getting support from every single person in it. Doing this would make you realize that more than half of the people in your list would not even read your request because they are not interested on the concept of your business.

There’s no single advice that will boost your chances of securing venture capital. Nevertheless, like in any other field, being a little bit smarter will increase the possibility of getting financial support.

 

Access our network of Angel Investors, Venture Capital or get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

Ideal Approaches to Achieve Business Growth

Business GrowthThe business world is always adapting to changing consumer behavior and varying needs. Competition is growing, consumers are becoming ever-demanding, and more brands are entering the market.

To stay a float, it’s necessary that small businesses achieve more growth this year by employing the right strategies. This means that your ultimate goals should include having a bigger base of loyal customers. Higher rates of customer acquisition, and a productive marketing strategy.

Here are some great approaches to help you achieve business growth.

Set Key Performance Indicators

Start measuring performance via objectively measurable indicators. Whether you’re trying to assess your employees’ performance, marketing campaign, or customer satisfaction, KPIs can take you a long way. It takes the guesswork out of the equation.

It’ll help you measure how close you’re getting to achieving business goals. Another benefit of introducing KPIs to your organization is that you can report them to project shareholders conveniently.

Improve Customer Service

Customers need attention and if you don’t provide it, they’ll find a brand that does. Research proves that customers are growing impatient and frustrated when a brand’s customer service fails to meet the mark.

This year, you need to step up and improve your customer service by implementing live chat systems, updating FAQ pages on your websites, and responding to feedback with customized replies.

Nowadays, consumers prefer to do their own research at their convenience, rather than having to call a customer care rep during normal hours, when they’re busy too. This means that they’ll look up your website, and if they have any queries, the FAQ page is the first place they’ll look. To stay ahead of the competition, upgrade your customer service strategy.

Make User Experience a High Priority

UX is becoming a critical aspect of branding, now that a business’ role is no longer limited to just selling; consumers want to know everything about you. No matter how amazing your product or services are, they aren’t the only things that determine how a customer experiences your brand.

Now, they evaluate everything; whether your website is easily accessible if your customer care representatives respond quickly enough, and if your app is user-friendly. To ensure your customers get the best user experience, you’ll need to optimize your landing page, make your website easy to navigate through, and allow your audience to reach out conveniently. Once you hit the mark with all these aspects, that’s when consumers will start considering your products.

Enhance Your Content and Marketing Strategy

They say ‘Content is king’, but is your strategy up to the mark? Now, businesses don’t just sell services and commodities, and they’re generous with information and content. Consumers love to read about products and your specialty, so rely on your expertise to create engaging content that consumers will love reading.

Sharing knowledge only shows how your brand has the skills to cater to their needs, so it’s beneficial in the long term. Content is a part of your ongoing marketing strategy, and thanks to different social media platforms, you can be more flexible with the kind of content you create.

Develop Collaborations and Partnerships

Partnering with other brands can give you a boost, especially if it’s a company that can complement your services and products. By releasing special edition products, ranges, and combinations, you grasp the audience’s attention and induce the urgency to shop and spend money.

However, your collaborations shouldn’t be limited to releasing new products; you should also make sure to affiliate with influencers to market your brand in a transparent and consumer-friendly way.

Influencers are established experts in the niche, so having them on your side can increase customer engagement.

Take a Risk and Try Expanding

Although it isn’t necessary that your business expands over time, it’s always beneficial to venture beyond your range and enter a different domain. Taking risks is always a part of running a business, so you might as well expand your range of expertise while you’re at it.

If you’re a retail brand, consider releasing your own line of makeup, home decor, or artsy products. All ideas have their own unique charm, but it’s best that you listen to your customers first.

Start by experimenting with a pilot test and analyzing how your audience responds to new products. Based on pilot tests, you’ll know whether a potential business venture will turn out to be profitable or not.

Talk Data

Data analytics are changing the business perspective from a blur to a crystal-clear view. Now, it’s much easier to understand consumer spending habits and trends that are garnering the most attention. Relying on big data to help you make well-informed decisions and investments is no longer just a great option, it’s a necessity.

Deriving trends from numbers and statistics used to be a tiring and cumbersome task, but with the help of analytics and AI, you can get insights far more quickly.

Not to mention, they’ll also be accurate, when compared to insights derived by humans. The best part? Machine learning means that your analytics software will only keep getting better at what it does, so you won’t have an excuse to make a fluke.

Try Drop Shipping Services

Drop shipping is the newest trend for e-commerce websites when it comes to delivering merchandise to their customers. It gives you the benefit of not having to hold onto any stock; any order that your customer makes goes directly from a drop shipper to them.

The product will be complete with your brand’s label and name tag, so it won’t lack customization. In addition, it offers your brand greater flexibility to operate from anywhere.

Conclusion

Some of the best ways that your business can achieve growth by focusing on customer service, marketing, collaborations, and making an impression. While it’s necessary to take one step at a time, you need to be more productive in order to satisfy a demanding audience that is always waiting for something new.

Access our network of Angel Investors, Venture Capital or get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

How Do You Know Your Business Idea is Good?

Investors want to fund good business ideas. That’s a broad statement because what seems like a good idea to me may be different from what seems like a good idea to you. So many ideas never seem to go anywhere. Some are just so uninspiring that they can’t seem to get the attention of anyone, much less investors. You can even write a whole business plan around a bad idea, leading to great disappointment when investors spot the fact it’s bad.

A good business idea is much more than just an idea. You can sit there all day and come up with ideas, but that doesn’t make them good. Good business ideas have certain qualities that differentiate them from other ideas. For one thing, a good business idea fulfills an unmet customer need, and it is often a need the consumer doesn’t even recognize yet. That may sound odd, but great ideas are often not great until someone invents a product or service.

Determining if a business idea is a good one requires more than just knowing the market will appreciate products or services. The idea must be feasible and realistic in terms of production costs, the time from funding to sales, profitability and safety. A good business idea is also one that can be brought to fruition because the entrepreneurs have the knowledge and skills needed.

There are more qualities associated with good business ideas, but one of the most important is related to innovation. Good business ideas offer a new twist on products or represent creative and innovative new products. The new twist or innovation should represent something that matters to people which means it brings some kind of satisfaction.

There are no hard and fast rules or magic formula to define a good business idea. Instead, investors will consider all of the qualities of the idea coupled with the marketing, competitive and financial factors.

  • More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept. If you need to access a network of angel investors or business plans for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Angel Investors Offer More Than Money

Angel investors are known for investing billions of dollars investing in start-ups and have funded tens of thousands of small businesses. So it’s reasonable that entrepreneurs developing business plans will associate angel investors with money first. Yet angel investors have a lot more to offer business than just financing. They also have entrepreneurial skills, market knowledge and business savvy, which are all assets that new businesses can and should use to their benefit.

Angels spent considerable amount of time in a process called due diligence. They use their knowledge and business analysis skills evaluating business plans with two goals in mind: earn a designated return of investment and limit risk of loss. Investors consult with a number of professionals and get expert advice from a network of attorneys, accountants, business analysts and investor associates. For every entrepreneur initial rejection of funding by potential investor can also be an opportunity. Opportunity to learn from the reason of rejection, the business plan can be perfected for future requests using the information gleaned from the review process.

If the business plan is accepted, many angel investors offer time and advice as well as money. It’s not a case of interfering in the business or its management but rather a case of providing insight based on management and business experience. Most business owners welcome this insight as having enormous value. Angel investors giving feedback, mentoring entrepreneurs and promoting business growth are giving entrepreneurs assets that are at least as valuable as money for business growth. For some businesses, they are more valuable.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept. If you need to access a network of angel investors or business plans for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Top 5 Most Profitable Industries

Top 5 Most Profitable Industries

The capability of entrepreneurs to effectively and efficiently manage their own businesses is among the requirements to succeed in this field. However, there are other factors that contribute to the actual results of a venture.

One of these, apparently, is the general performance of the sector in which the entrepreneurs establish their businesses. According to a new report, healthcare and the real estate sectors remain the most profitable sectors, comprising almost half of the list.

Despite this, what topped the list is something that is not surprising as deals with money – accounting and other related services. These are some of the most profitable sectors are as follows:

Accounting and related services

There is no denying that proving accounting and related services, such as bookkeeping and payroll services, top the list of most profitable industries at the moment. According to latest reports, the sector has a net profit margin of 19.8 percent – primarily due to high demand and low equipment overhead and equipment costs.

Legal service

Next to accounting, which is also not a surprise, is legal services. With the rise of legal issues arising both between individuals and companies, there is nothing new with reports that among the sectors that reap a big margin is the field legal service. The only surprise, perhaps, is that it did not top the list this year contrary to the last.

Oil extraction; Machinery rental

Tied on the third place are sectors concerned with oil extraction and the leasing/rental of industrial and commercial machinery equipment.

The high ranking of these two is primarily on the current policy that focuses on increased production of crude oil and the rising number of constructions and industrial development in the country in recent years.

Dental services

The fifth on the list, dental services, is quite a surprise. Who would have thought that a specialized sector would be able to compete with, for instance, industries dealing with oil extraction? On another thought, however, the number of people requiring tooth extraction – not to mention other related dental services – will remain a demand so long as the humanity survives.

Real estate leasing; Brokers; Medical service

Tied on the sixth to eighth places are the real estate leasing, real estate brokerage, and the medical profession.

According to latest reports, the improvement of the economy has resulted in the better performance of the housing market, thus the good profit margin of real estate brokers. Moreover, however, this has also pushed the profits of those engaged in rental services, the prices of which have shot up in recent months.

Meanwhile, doctors, as expected, are in the list – primarily due to the increasing population, and partly due to the issues on health and lifestyle that is affecting the new generation.

Other health practitioners; Management companies

Tied for the ninth and tenth spots are other health practitioners and management companies.

Dentists and doctors are not the only ones reaping the increase in profit margin in the past months. Expected to join them are other health practitioners, who are very much needed just like the doctors and dentists in this part of the world.

With the growing trend of businesses outsourcing management strategies to experts, those who have management backgrounds have jumped at the bandwagon and established their own companies that provide the current demand – for a profit, of course.

These ten industries are just some of the most profitable sectors that those who consider establishing businesses – or even just applying for a job – should think about. Runner-up include outpatient care services, schools, real-estate related activities, death care services, and mining support.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.Funded.com
Copyright 2014 Funded.com LLC

How to Prepare Business Startups for Disasters?

How to Prepare Business Startups for Disasters

Disaster preparedness should always be on the priority list of business start-up owners. Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs out there seem to understand that everything can disappear in a matter of seconds during the onslaught of a powerful hurricane or tornado or floods.

The latest Small Business Disaster Survey showed that 74 percent of small businesses in the United States do not have recovery plans in case disasters damage a portion of the company. What’s more surprising is that 84 percent of small businesses do not have natural disaster insurances, and that 71 percent of these companies do not even have generators.

The possible cause of this phenomenon is the fact that around 76 percent of small business owners in the United States have never been affected by a major natural disaster. And while it is reassuring that not everyone is going to be devastated by a hurricane or tornado in the next few years, the reality is that the number of major weather events that hit the country is continuously going up.

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration showed major weather events (those inflicting damage of at least $1 billion) has increased from around two per in the 1980s to around 10 per year in 2010. More alarming is the data showing that 65 percent of businesses operating in the US are located in areas that have a high risk of getting ravaged by a natural disaster.

With this, it is only fitting for small and large business owners to invest in good disaster recovery plans to mitigate the possible harsh effects of natural weather disturbances to the companies. Some believe that “disaster recovery plans” are unnecessary expenses for businesses that need to limit its financial burden in order for it to survive. This is not a true claim.

Creating a plan does not need a lot of money. In fact, business owners can develop their own using information that they can get from the Internet or other sources. Planning does not have to be very extensive, but rather a concrete precaution in case of disasters.

Such plans should include the creation of back-up files in strategic locations in case a disaster destroys the original ones in the main office. Having a back-up power source is also a good idea, especially for businesses that rely on technology and machinery.

An alternative “home base” must also be established or conceived in case the main office becomes unavailable due to disasters. The plan should also talk about basic evacuation plan for employees in case an abrupt disaster strikes while everyone is in the middle of production.

No one wants to experience a disaster destroying his or her business. However, having a plan to address this issue is always better than having nothing at all.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website. Funded.com

 

Copyright2013 Funded.com LLC

Ten Important Elements of an Effective Business Plan

Business plans are important for every business startup. Entrepreneurs often spend time creating these documents, which often spell the difference between the success and failure of a venture. Business plans often serve as the framework of the startup and sets the realistic short-term and long-term goals of the company.

There are various ways to create a business plan. Most of the time, their format vary depending on the group of people who will utilize them. A business plan meant for the employees is usually different from a business plan for potential investors.

For instance, a business plan for investors or mentors would contain more detail as compared to the business plan for the personal use of the owner and his or her business partners. After all, it is expected for the latter to be more knowledgeable of the particulars of the company, therefore eliminating the need for a more detailed plan.

Despite the differences, it must be emphasized that all business plans have a lot of elements in common. Failure to include any of these ten important business plan component would mean disaster for they contribute to the overall effectiveness of the document:

  1.  A mission and vision statement that highlights the goals and objectives of the company and its owner;
  2. A detailed description of the business startup and an introduction of the products or services that it offer;
  3. A detailed description of the products or services and a discussion on how the differ from the rest that are currently offered in the market;
  4. An analysis of the market in which the company would enter, including a detailed description of the possible competitors;
  5. A description of the key officials of the company, as well as the rest of the management team;
  6. A detailed discussion of the game plan on how to market the product or service and encourage potential customers;
  7. An analysis of the company’s strengths and weaknesses, including viable opportunities and challenges that could improve or affect its performance;
  8. A segment on the financial statement which will show the owner’s understanding of the cash flow of the business and its importance to the growth of the company;
  9. A description of the projected revenues of the business; and
  10. A summary to conclude the business plan

Including these things would ensure that the business plan would be effective in fulfilling its roles as the framework of the business. The owner may decide to include other information, depending on the people who will utilize the document.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website. Funded.com
Copyright 2013 Funded.com LLC

Available Corporate Venture Funds for Business Startups

In recent years, the number of available venture capital funds for business startups that are coming from traditional sources has started to go down. Fortunately, there is a viable alternative – corporate venture funds.

It can be noted that a several multinational corporations have started to allot some of their funds for business startups. Latest data show that roughly around 900 corporate venture funds are currently available for new businesses. Last year, around 16 percent of companies have acquired corporate venture capital, a number that is expected to increase this year.

Corporate venture funds have been available for more than two decades now. But recently, corporations have started to embrace this trend even if it would disrupt the status quo. The reason, they can’t afford not to anything about it.

Several companies have recently declared bankruptcy or have started to vanish because it failed to recognize the changing landscape of the market. For instance, rental company Blockbuster would still be a major player if it recognized startups such as Netflix. This is similar to the case of Kodak. If only it recognized newbies Shutterfly and Instagram, it might have averted declaring bankruptcy.

Fortunately for some companies, they still have time to catch up with the situation. Nielsen, for instance, has already allotted money to fund small investments. Dell is doing the same, maintaining that it will continue investing in startups even with plans for it to be taken private.

Corporate venture capital allows public company to focus on the long term. For instance, American Express Ventures will participate in merger of e-commerce and payments industries. It is also looking for new technologies that could be utilized for the next decade.

If you are an owner of a business startup who is in need of capital, then it is a good idea to look for venture funds from corporations. Securing one would be a good thing, especially since big companies could assure a successful future for your business startup.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website. Funded.com

 

 

Copyright Funded.com LLC 2013

3 common pitching mistakes of business startup owners

Securing funds from venture capitalists or angel investors is one of the most difficult tasks of business startup owners. Not only do they need to convince potential investors that they will benefit from the deal, they are also tasked to convince them to believe in the potential of their ideas.

Venture capitalists and angel investors are experienced when it comes to choosing which startups to fund. Most of the time, they know how to separate the entrepreneurs who lack the ability to run a viable business to those who are made to be successful. In order to avoid falling into the first category, business startup owners should avoid committing these obvious pitching mistakes:

Asking for a non-disclosure agreement

While it is understandable that you wanted to protect your ideas, asking your potential investor to sign an NDA on your first meeting is a major turn-off. Unless you have patented algorithms or formula that could be considered as your intellectual property, you have to realize that NDAs do not have much value in the business startup world. Keep in mind there are hundreds of other people out there who might have been thinking the same way as you do.

Asking your potential investor to sign an NDA is a sure way to shoo them away as it inserts a level of untrust worthiness in your supposed partnership.

Talking about equity splits

Opening your pitch with the idea of equity splits at early stage may turn away a lot of potential investors. Of course, it’s important to deal with agreements and percentage points, among others. However, talking about this too much instead of focusing on the product and other more relevant things would surely upset your potential investor.

Determining who will be the CEO is important, but spending all your time arguing the pros and cons of appointing one is futile, especially for business startups that have yet to establish a name for itself.

Failing to present a financial plan

Investors want to know how they will benefit from a deal. So a good business startup owner is expected to present a financial plan detailing how is he or she planning to gain revenue. Be realistic, a business without a detailed financial plan is not a business.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.Funded.com