SBA Proposed Changes to the 8(a) Business Development Program

The Small Business Administration has announced proposals for the improvement of the 8(a) Business Development Program for disadvantaged small businesses. The first comprehensive review of the 8(a) program in several years resulted with the proposed 8 (a) regulation changes that were published in the Federal Register. The public comment period on the proposed changes is open for 60 days.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills said about the proposed changes that they will “strengthen the program and and maximize its benefits for eligible small businesses”. “The 8(a) program has a proven record as an effective program for helping disadvantaged small businesses gain access to training and contracting opportunities to help them grow, create jobs and ultimately succeed in the marketplace once they graduate from the program”, said Mills.

The 8(a) program is designed to help businesses that meet the SBA’s criteria for being socially and economically disadvantaged. In effort to help small businesses grow and motivate people to starting a small business, this program provides them with access to government contracting opportunities, specialized business training and counseling, and help with their small business marketing and high-level executive development. In fiscal 2008, small businesses received over $16 billion in 8(a) contracts.

Some of the proposed changes of the 8(a) program include:

* Economic Disadvantage: Adjustments to how assets, gross income and retirement savings are considered when determining whether the company is economically disadvantaged.
* Ownership and Control Requirements: The proposed changes would provide flexibility in admitting immediate family members of current and former 8(a) participants into the program.
* Joint Ventures: The proposal would require 8(a) firms to perform significant portion of the work on joint ventures, ensuring that they are able to build capacity.
* Business size for Primary Industry: Requiring that the firm stays small for its primary industry while participating in the 8(a) program.

Details of the proposed rule can be viewed in the Federal Register.

Online And Offline Business Development And Tips

By Business Development we mean the methods or techniques used to develop an economic or business enterprise. The first step in business development is to assess a business. Then its full potential is realized using various tools such as sales, marketing, customer service and information management. A meticulously planned strategy for expanding the business in a desirable direction is necessary every now and then. To achieve sustained growth it is necessary to be prepared to meet any unforeseen circumstances with resourcefulness. In case of large well-established firms, business development may often refer to building and running strategic associations and coalitions with other, intermediary companies.

Previously all businesses relied solely upon offline media and business development strategies to grow the business. However the internet has begun to make a large impact on the global markets. In 2007, online marketing is projected to constitute nearly 12-15% of global budgets. The internet has become a major source of revenue, information, beta testing and R&D for many of the companies. Many of the smaller firms are preparing to make use of the social media boom and grab a share of this up-and-coming market. The best way to go ahead for medium sized companies eager to increase their size rapidly while keeping the companies essentials would be to take note of these points:

The core team must work as a single unit and also be excited about forthcoming ventures. Individual skills should be developed through scrutiny and testing people. As a source to companies who seek a global approach to the internet, you must offer the best possible vertically integrated experience.

Offline Media

In offline media, marketing firms are in the forefront. There is some responsible person, who administers the overall employment of all marketing policies and tactics. The reason for this is that there are enormous sums of marketing millions to be utilized and optimized. But now the marketing dollars are moving from conventional media to a balanced synergy of online and offline strategies. Hence a lot of alterations can be estimated.

Online Media

There is an immense business prospect in understanding the big picture of the internet and how the online marketing dollars can have a serious impact. The lack of good quality, highly skilled executives in the upper levels of management is a major hindrance to India’s progress in this direction. Also transparency is a very important part of online business. Otherwise customers may not repose trust in the companies. Be ready to take smart steps whenever required, because that is the way to go in online marketing. Take your opportunity when it comes.

The right way to go would be to diversify the business using both online and offline undertakings. In comparison, perhaps the best feature of online business is the unlimited marketing scalability. Rather than depending just on local customers, it is possible to have customers from any part of the globe on the internet. The only major drawback is that direct face-to-face transactions are not possible. Hence many people still prefer to buy commodities from their local shopkeepers and businessmen. The local market and customers shouldn’t be forgotten. It is more likely that they would constitute a bigger portion of your consumer base. Each of them therefore has its own importance and the best road for any businessman would be to take the middle path of integration.

Sign Business Develops Entrepreneurs in the Computer-Aided Signmaking Industry

Sign Biz, Inc. was founded in 1989 by Teresa Young who established the business during a time when sign companies were neither retail-oriented nor computer-driven operations. Young, who anticipated the industry shift to B-to-B visual communications, opened the retail sign store concentrating on vinyl graphics and watched the industry grow into a broad advertising medium driven by computer-aided signmaking (CAS) able to offer unlimited design options for all size businesses.

By leveraging the latest technology, the CAS industry continues to grow at a rate of approximately 13% each year with companies becoming increasingly able to fulfill even the largest sign orders, including those for Fortune 500 companies. “This is a huge industry that affords almost limitless niche development – from wall murals and vehicle wraps, to gorgeous 3-dimensional branding elements and lobby video signs. Nearly everyone can find a specialty that is thrilling and profitable,” explained Young.

Today, Sign Biz has grown into the largest non-franchised retail sign chain with a network of nearly 200 store owners and is the only full-service business development company in the industry that requires no franchise fees or royalties from its store owners unlike its franchise counterparts.

According to Sign Biz, Inc. VP of Business Development, Greg Salzano, the company’s business development program provides complete training, equipment and support with an “evergreen” agreement for the life of the business. “Our non-royalty program, when combined with the lifetime of support, personalized training and comprehensive equipment package truly allows Sign Biz Network Members to be an entrepreneur, yet have the support structure available as they need it,” said Salzano.

Young believes that good prospects for joining the Sign Biz network are entrepreneurs willing to apply the company’s business model, and who also possess a positive outlook when trying new things. “We guide every new business owner through their first hire, their store design, their logo and branding elements. It is a partnership, so we look for those who want a strong partnership experience in a dynamic industry,” said Young.

“We believe Sign Biz will continue to be on cutting edge when it comes to new offerings in the signage industry. We were the first sign chain to add Large Format Digital Print equipment into our package in the 1990’s, as well as the first to add Electronic Digital Signage in 2007. Our Network will continue to grow via both new shops and new technology in a market that is nowhere near saturation,” said Salzano.

According to Salzano, new Sign Biz Network Members can be up and running within 75 to 120 days including a 30-day training period.

For more information: http://www.franchisegator.com/Sign-Biz-opportunity/

9 Ways Performance Appraisals Promote Business Development

Employee performance is an essential ingredient in any company’s ability to achieve its goals. Therefore managing employee performance is integral to business success. A well managed performance appraisal assists managers to assess and provide feedback to increase the competency of their team members. Developing skills, knowledge, attitudes and increasing team member capability are key objective of performance appraisals. For many businesses performance appraisals results in spending ‘time on the business’ to build capability.

Performance appraisals promote business development in the following ways:

1. Drive business performance

Facilitating performance appraisals means managers making an effort to communicate with their employees. Managers who care about the performance of their people and business will recognise the importance of providing feedback and assisting their team members to grow and develop. The performance appraisal is a proactive HR solution in driving business performance.

2. Improve employee productivity

Assessing employee performance against job expectations provides the opportunity to improve capability and productivity This is achieved by communicating how the person has performed and identifying key result areas (KRA’s) and behaviors s which with improvement will increase capability, productivity and profitability.

3. Identify specific areas for improvement

An effective performance review process will consist of a plan specifically aimed at improving KRA’s and behaviours that have been identified as requiring improvement.

4. Address poor performance

Conducting performance appraisals enables you to talk about performance and behaviour that has been previously identified where improvement has been required.

5. Identify future development requirements

Performance appraisals help confirm employees’ strengths and weaknesses and identify future competency requirements to perform their current or another role. Through targeted development, team members will increase their value to the business as they increase in capability.

6. Make informed employee decisions

Employee decisions regarding improvement, promotion, job changes, and termination can be achieved through the performance appraisal process. The process provides managers with the opportunity to empower and delegate responsibilities to team members.

7. Increase the organisations capability

Performed organisation wide the performance appraisal process increases the organisations overall capability resulting in a competitive advantage – your people.

8. Recognise, retain and reward high performers

Having a strong link between effort performance and reward will motivate team members. Performance appraisals provide a HR solution which can be linked with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation methods, resulting in increased team member engagement and capability.

9. Improve profitability

Having a more capable, competent and motivated team will improve communication, productivity and ultimately profitability.

Businesses that see performance appraisals as a strategic method to develop employees benefit because the added competence further develops the organisations capability, competitiveness and sustainability.