Accounting & Finance

Business Owner's Guide to Profit Planning

Owner's Guide to Profit Planning

International BancardReal people with the right solutions that build relationships for life.

Whether your business serves 50 customers or 100,000 fans, International Bancard can help you grow by providing payment acceptance solutions, including credit and debit card processing, ACH, check, and gift cards. As a nationally recognized industry leader, businesses rely on International Bancard’s market insight, data security knowledge and client care to deliver exceptional service to more customers in more locations.

Steven Strauss: The Annual Summertime Biz Quiz

1. Who said, “You don't understand. I want to be surprised. Astonish me, sport. New info, don't care where or how you get it, just get it.”
A. Howard Hughes (The Aviator)
B. Charles Foster Kane (Citizen Kane)
C. Rod Tidwell (Jerry Maguire)
D. Gordon Gekko (Wall Street)

2. In the great James Cavell book about the beginning of trading in Hong Kong, Tai-Pan, Tai Pan means
A. Ruthless warrior
B. Supreme leader
C. Cunning trader
D. Unwanted foreigner

3. Who starred in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying?
A. Ricardo Montalbán
B. Ricky Ricardo
C. Joel Fleishman
D. Joel Grey

4. What Makes Sammy Run is a book and play about
A. Backstabbing and success on Wall Street
B. Backstabbing and success in Washington
C. Backstabbing and success in Hollywood
D. Backstabbing and success at Wal-Mart

5. Who said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”
A. Bill Gates of Microsoft in Pirates of the Silicon Valley
B. Steve Jobs of Apple in Pirates of the Silicon Valley
C. Andy Grove of Intel Pirates of the Silicon Valley
D. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook in The Social Network

6. Who said, “I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”
A. Joe Pesci in Goodfellas
B. Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver
C. Marlon Brando in The Godfather
D. Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins

7. The business book classic, Barbarians at the Gate, was about
A. The leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco
B. The feared Japanese business threat of the late ‘80s
C. How to deal with bad employees
D. Financial incompetence

8. “______ is the enemy of Great” 
A. Good
B. Laziness
C. Complacency
D. Mediocrity

9. What is the subtitle of Timothy Ferris book The 4 Hour Work Week?
A. How Anyone, Anywhere Can Live The Life Of Their Dreams
B. Work Smarter, Not Harder
C. Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
D. It’s Not Who You Know, It’s What You Do That Counts

10. What did architect Howard Roark do to begin the book The Fountainhead?
A. Kill himself
B. Give an incredibly long, boring, self-serving, one-sided, egomanical speech
C. Laugh
D. Vomit

11. Who wrote Winning?
A. Charlie Sheen
B. Jack Welch
C. Jack Black
D. Conrad Hilton

12. In what movie was this said: “You're right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in . . . 60 years.”
A. Citizen Kane
B. Wall Street
C. The Hudsucker Proxy
D. Trading Places

13. Who said, “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”
A. Bruce Wayne
B. Richie Rich
C. Tony Montana 
D. Joe Montana

14. What character did Rodney Dangerfield play in Caddyshack?
A. Millionaire Al Czervik
B. Judge Elihu Smails
C. Entrepreneur Carl Spackler
D. Wiseguy Ty Webb

15. What movie did this quote come from: “Lesson number one: Don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed.”
A. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
B. Scarface
C. Casablanca
D. There Will Be Blood

16. Speaking of There Will Be Blood, what was the name of the oilman played by Daniel Day Lewis?
A. Daniel Plainview
B. Anton Chigurh
C. Daniel Wellstone
D. Father Mulcahey

17. In It's a Wonderful Life, Banker George Bailey has four children. What is the name of the youngest?
A. Tommy Bailey
B. Janie Bailey
C. Zuzu Bailey

What does it take to succeed in a small business today?

(By David Fant, chairman of SBAM’s Strategic Communications Advisory Committee. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.)

What does it take to become a successful business? And what does it take to remain in business after the first few years? It’s an interesting question considering the fact that the SBA estimates that over 90 percent of all start up businesses fail in the first three years. I got to thinking about this fact and went back to when I started my company 22 years go. What is it that has allowed me to be a part of the 10 percent that succeed in business?

There are many reasons. Some relate to how I was raised and taught as a child. Independent, quick at problem analysis and resolution, and learning to adapt and look at problems or issues from multiple perspectives. From a business viewpoint surrounding myself with friends and advisors, vendors, clients who would help me understand what I should be doing with my business and how to become more in-tune with my customers’ needs.

What is it that allows a business exist beyond the first three years? The reality is rather simple. A successful company provides a product or service that the market needs and wants at a price they are willing to pay. Sounds simple, but with today’s competition, pricing and defining market needs and wants can be a daunting task. Interestingly enough, many businesses totally ignore outside input and totally ignore data/information that is key to the success and growth of their company. Here are some suggestions for you to consider in growing your business:

1. Set aside one day a month, no interruptions, to look at your financials, sales/expenses and research, what is happening in your industry. In which areas can you save on expenses, and what new industry trends can you implement to diversify and increase sales?

2. Subscribe to industry business magazines, and join trade associations and set aside at least one hour a week to review articles and discover new ideas that are being discussed in your industry. 

3. Once every three months, gather your staff (if you’re a company of one, go see your accountant or other business advisor) and discuss what they see may be needed or could be done to lower costs and increase sales. Remember you are not the only one in the company who see’s what’s going on in your business. Others in direct contact with clients/vendors are more in tune to what is happening than you will ever be.

4. This may be an odd suggestion, but occasionally watch TV programs such as Restaurant Impossible or Hotel Impossible. You will see so many people who didn’t pay attention to their business and who are about to lose it all if they don’t change. The key word in that last sentence is change. Always innovate, always be ready to change to meet your market needs and in order to lower costs. And most importantly, don’t quit paying attention to your customers’ comments and needs.

5. Keep an open mind and be flexible. “We can’t do that,” should never be an answer to a request for a product or service. If you can’t, find someone who can and refer the business to them. If it’s something you can do, but never have, explore this as a new product line or opportunity to pursue.

Remember, success is not an accident. It’s a well-planned journey into business that makes a company a success. Delivering high quality products and services that customers are willing to buy is the key to ANY successful business.

David Fant is the sole owner of Market Mapping plus,

Improving your access to credit! Wednesday on the free Business Next audio seminar.

Today on Business Next, hear some great insights on improving your access to credit. Molly Brogan, vice president of public affairs for the National Small Business Association, talks about the findings from the association’s recent access to capital survey; Segment two: Timothy Schuermer, business development manager for On Deck Capital, discusses financing options available to small businesses and Marilyn Landis, president and CEO of Basic Business Concepts Inc., talks about how to avoid common small business financial mistakes. Also on today’s show, Chad Lawie, owner of, talks about his Muskegon-based virtual assistants business; from the July 19 Farmers Market at the Capitol event, Business Next host Michael Rogers talks with Wee Bee Farms owner Michael Keane and finally, a presentation by Ann Arbor music promoter Matthew Altruda at the Entre-Slam event.

Listen Wednesday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.    

Mobile technology is a small business powerhouse in Michigan. Details Monday on the Business Next audio seminar!

Michael Rogers talks with Linda Daichendt of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan and Carlo Longino of the Wireless Industry Partnership about the July 30-31 Mobile Moves Michigan conference in Detroit. Also on Monday's show, more interviews with small business owners who exhibited at the  July 19 Farmers Market at the Capitol event at the State Capitol in Lansing.

Listen Monday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.   

How entrepreneurs find success selling at farm markets. Today on the free Business Next audio seminar

SBAM’s Vice President Communications Michael Rogers has interviews from the Farmers Market at the Capitol, July 19 at the State Capitol in Lansing. He talks with Emily Beautle, communications manager for the Michigan Farmers Market Association, and Julie Darnton, vice president of the board of the Association; Margo Roth, owner of JEM Fruit; Tracey Sferlazza-Macioce, owner of Tracina’s Gourmet Specialties;  Brian Droscha, owner of Droscha Sugarbush; Will Branch, co-owner of Corridor Sausage Company and Randall Fogelman, president of Detroit Spice Company.

Listen Friday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.