Business Acquisition Opportunities in 2014

The M&A market has now had a few years of stability. Companies continue to make money and the underlying macroeconomic trends support higher levels of business confidence. Despite new healthcare regulations and calls for higher taxation in Washington, most business owners are heading into 2014 with a few good years under their belts and increasing optimism. Many companies are ramping up business acquisition opportunities in 2014 as a way to increase their growth. There are a number of reasons why companies are doing this. Firstly, interest rates continue to be at historically low levels and loans are widely available. Strategic business acquisition can be easily financed at low rates. Acquisitions continue to represent the best way to jump start organic growth at most middle market companies. They provide valuable assets such as customer portfolios and new product sets they can take years to accumulate on their own. They also bring teams of quality employees that have special skills not easily sourced in the labor markets.The best business acquisition opportunities in 2014 can be found in old line businesses, such as distribution and service companies who are not fully monetizing the value of their customer accounts or product portfolios. For example, many companies have strong customer relationships selling a single service or product but are unable to expand their offerings to provide a fuller spectrum of product offerings. These companies lack innovation capability and more than likely lack visionary product design leadership in their organization. Some companies have hard to assemble product lines and offerings but lack the ability to bring these products into new channels such as federal government channels, new territories and online marketplaces. These companies often are steeped in product knowledge and customer service but lack the channel development vision. When a company’s revenue levels off and an owner reaches a certain age, the probability of future growth diminishes.

The best sectors for business acquisition opportunity today are in the IT Consulting, Direct sales distribution and Healthcare service sectors. All of these sectors have experienced significant change over the past several years due. IT has gone from a localized consulting model to a cloud based offshore model. With the cloud becoming omnipresent, IT delivery channels have been structurally upended. Distribution companies that have historically used direct sales to drive growth are now dealing with adoption of new technologically based sales and marketing tools. Customer’s today want to deal with fewer suppliers and are organizing managed purchasing platforms that may cut out certain suppliers. Most direct sales based distributors need to adopt new technologies such as skype, video conferencing and hand held tablets into their sales process to keep their sales force on the cutting edge. Health care companies particularly in the service side are under attack from technology and regulatory changes. Most health care service companies such as home care or outpatient practices have been run as lifestyle businesses. They are not equipped to deal with changes in reimbursement let alone large scale industry reorganization into accountable care organizations. While these sectors are all different, they all are wrestling with the same issue – how to become more efficient in a technology dominated world where the old fashioned way of doing things is no longer good enough. These sectors present the best business acquisition opportunities in 2014.

Consider Four Factors When Creating An International Small Business Expansion Plan

Many multinational companies begun as small privately owned businesses. Today they are international organizations with multiple branches and employees. Do you know that you can build a global business empire as well? Perhaps you think this is impossible but it is not. First you should create a business expansion plan that will help you grow your small company beyond your national border. There are many factors you should consider when drafting your international expansion plan. Four of these factors are described as shown below.Foreign market research – There are over one hundred and ninety countries in the world. Even so your business idea cannot flourish in every country. A thorough market research will reveal suitable foreign markets. If you live in USA, you can make use of the U.S commercial Service Market Research Library. It contains market research about different countries and industries. Their website gives access to the Market Research Library. MRL possesses over one hundred thousand market research findings, trade directory lists, Country Commercial Guides and so on. In the CCGs you will locate country-specific commercial data. This includes government contacts, import and export sectors, future trade events, travel guides, trade laws, political situations and economic conditions among others. The internet is also a great resource for every small-scale entrepreneur who wants to transact business abroad.

Cultural and language barriers – If you speak fluent and flawless English, do not expect the same from people of other countries. They speak and write English only as a second language. When you open a branch in their country, you must adapt to their manner of talking to do well. There are cultures that speak French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Arabic or Germany as their national language. If you want to make them your customers, you must learn their language or employ local people. Besides the manner of speaking, global countries have unique cultural behaviors and activities. It will take you time to learn their cultures and so you should be patient.

Currency – Each nation has its currency. So if you are used to a US dollar you will have to be flexible when you finally set up a branch abroad. Fortunately there are online currency calculators you can use when setting your product prices. Besides understanding how currencies of other nations work you should decide whether getting paid or paying for something in your currency is more advantageous. Competitors’ currency choice can guide you. Consider that your international customers have a right to pay for goods in their currency or yours. It will be a negotiation between you and them. Foreign currency exchange rates can fluctuate any time. This should be considered before accepting to use overseas currencies. One way you can avoid losing money due to these fluctuations is to speedup your payables cycle. The hedging technique can work as well.

Recruitment – When drafting your international growth and expansion strategy you must reflect on recruitment. Will you send some of your current employees abroad or will you hire new workers from there? The best way to appreciate and embrace new cultures is to hire local workers. They already understand local business laws, people, markets and currency among other things.

Utilising Intelligent Business Technologies for Successful Networking Across Multi-Site Businesses

Locating a business across multiple sites is a popular option for a variety of reasons, such as moving into new geographical areas, optimising the local talent pool or simply expanding the company to facilitate further growth. However, developing the network of both IT and telecoms across more than one site may be perceived as a headache. Fortunately, the latest intelligent business solutions mean there are many options available at a reasonable cost, which can be installed by specialists for minimum hassle.Two main solutions that work best for businesses include data cabling and wireless/Wi-Fi – the latter gives an instant solution but the benefits of data cabling are longer term.

Data cabling

A data cabling infrastructure is the most reliable method of networking and can be ideal for companies wanting to build a system that can be added to over time. It sounds like a huge undertaking, but actually it can be managed on a small scale initially and holds the benefit of future expansion. A variety of cabling installations can be carried out.

Network cabling can be installed in a new build as part of the construction process, or added to existing buildings in a special communication room, where all the network cabling can be installed in one location. It can be added to or updated, meaning a system that will stand the test of time can be created. Fibre optics is the most commonly utilised system as it is gives the quickest and most efficient way of improving the network.

Telecoms cabling can be implemented as above, but for optimum results it is advisable to choose a provider that can offer both telecoms and network cabling at the same time. Not only is the installation process easier, but it avoids most of the teething problems that can otherwise occur. A good data cabling specialist will be able to handle all aspects, including the procurement of hardware, making the process even simpler. Security cabling can also be integrated into the data and telecoms system.

Wireless and Wi-Fi

This offers a fast and cost-effective networking solution and may be a good option for hard-to-cable buildings and temporary locations. However, it wouldn’t be advisable to utilise this alone as the primary networking method, although it can work well as a back-up method to cabling.

The advances in technology now facilitate multi-site networking that can work for businesses of all sizes. Ultimately, business owners should consider both their immediate and future needs, in order to assess where to start, but needn’t be afraid of the bigger picture. Having a cabling infrastructure installed isn’t as scary as it may seem and a reputable specialist will be able to advise, procure, install and provide aftercare service, giving peace of mind.

A provider of intelligent business technology, the Remark Group, boasts an impressive portfolio of national blue chip clients and has an established reputation for building smarter connections in schools, offices and industrial premises.

Innovations Are Coming Faster – But Can We Predict Disruptive Technology Time Tables

For good or not innovation and disruption will occur anytime human begin thinking, creating and cross-pollinating to solve problems – and that, at least to me is a given. We often read somewhere that the rate of change, and disruption is coming in at a faster pace than ever before, but are those claims true? I’d like to briefly discuss this with you if I might.

You see, there was an interesting article in Wired Magazine – November of 2013 titled; “Is Innovation Predictable?” by Abhijan Rej which stated;

“There are four major arguments that are made by Arthur in TNT that are directly relevant in answering our Gorilla-in-the-Room question: (1) Technologies have a recursive structure, (2) there is a generative grammar for each technology, (3) technologies group together as domains, and finally, (4) there are ecological mechanisms for selection of one technology over the other and a given technology might be mode-locked into a path of further and further demand and eventually arise as the ‘victor’ in the ecology of technologies.”

Okay, that is one way to see it, but there are many more bits of wisdom to this, from Kurzweil’s tracking of Moore’s Law in the technology sectors – to a theory of mine I’d like to share with you.

You see, for the last 3.5 decades I’ve subscribed to as many Trade Journals in as many industries as I could get my hands on. At one time I can remember subscribing to something like 76 magazines. As the Internet got popular fewer were published, but I certainly learned a lot. It seemed like every industry had at least 2 to 3 major disrupting innovations per decade, often bunched together, usually the product of a non-industry entrant and a new company not entrenched in the industry association.

Now then, I do believe that innovation is predictable and you can usually tell about when it will happen, and mind you, I am basing my finding by observations in tracking so many industries and being involved in them as a service company to industry. In the end there is one thing that is true, innovation is best predictable by those engaged in some part of the innovative supply chain – from Science Fiction thinker to engineer, and from inventor to entrepreneur – to industry R&D departments of sector main-stay multi-national conglomerate incumbents and government lobbyist greasing the skids for the next new thing to plow into our lives – like it or not. Okay so, I’d like you to consider all this and think on it from a philosophical perspective.