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Starting a Business

 NATURE OF BUSINESS

 

Mission Statement
 A mission statement is an important tool for your business plan. It captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business's goals and the philosophies underlying them. Equally important, the mission statement signals what your business is all about to your customers, employees, suppliers and the community.
 
The mission statement reflects every facet of your business: the range and nature of the products you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, and your relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community.

Here are some tips to make an effective mission statement:
  • Involve those connected to your business. Even if you are a sole proprietor, it helps to get at least one other person's ideas for your mission statement. Other people can help you see strengths and weaknesses that you might overlook. If you have no partners or investors to include, consider knowledgeable family members and close friends, employees or accountants. Be sure, however, to pick only positive, supportive people who truly want to see you succeed.
  • Set aside several hours- a full day, if possible to work on your statement.Mission statements are short--typically more than one sentence but rarely exceeding a page. Still, writing one is not a short process. It takes time to come up with language that simultaneously describes an organization's heart and soul and serves as an inspirational beacon to everyone involved in the business.
  • Plan a date. Set aside time to meet with people who'll be helping you. Write a list of topics to discuss or think about. Find a quiet, comfortable place away from phones and interruptions.
  • Be prepared. If you have several people involved, be equipped with refreshments, extra lists of topics, paper and pencils. Because not everyone understand what a mission statement is about, explain its meaning and purpose before you begin.
  • Brainstorm. Consider every idea, no matter how silly it sounds. Stimulate ideas by looking at sample mission statements and thinking about or discussing the questions in the previous section. If you're working with a group, use a flip chart to record responses so everyone can see them. Once you've finished brainstorming, ask everyone to write individual mission statements for your business. Read the statement, select the best bits and pieces, and fit them together.
  • Use "radiant words." Once you have the basic idea in writing, polish the language of your mission statement. "Every word counts," says Abrams. The statement should create dynamic, visual images and inspire action. Use offbeat, colorful verbs and adjectives to spice up your statements. Don't hesitate to drop in words like "kaleidoscope," "sizzle," "cheer," "outrageous" and "marvel" to add zest. If you want customers to boast about your goods and services, say so--along with the reasons why. Some businesses include a glossary that defines the terms used in the statement.
Once your mission statement is complete, start spreading the word! You need to convey your mission statement to others inside and outside the business to tell everyone you know where you are going and why. Post it in your office, where you, employees and visitors can see it every day. Print it on company materials, such as brochures and your business plan or even on the back of your business cards.
Objectives
Business objectives are specific statements that give projections about growth or development to companies. Business objectives are important to give direction to a business. If you are running a business without any business objectives, you shall not be able to grow successfully in any direction. Having business objectives, gives you a much better understanding of where you stand, how to improve and what changes in your current method of working will be required to reach your objectives. Not having business objectives leads to an un-coordinated business that has a very low probability of being successful. Some examples of Business Objective are: "Sell 1000 units of product A and 500 of product B by December 31, 2010" or "Maintain a minimum of 5% market share in the soft drinks segment in Petaling Jaya during the whole of 2011".
 
When setting business objectives, one must make sure that they are:

  • Quantitative: The business objectives should be expressed in terms of numbers. It should not be expressed vaguely like, "Our sales should go up!"
  • Time-frame specific: Time frames should be specified in the business objectives. This helps you to understand where you stand with respect to the completion of the current objective.
  • Flexible: It is very important that your business objectives are adaptable to change. If the situation in which the business is working changes, the business objectives should change to reflect these changes.
  • Understandable: The business objectives should be made in an understandable way. This helps in communicating your objectives to your investors, employees, partners etc. Without this communication of business objectives, it becomes very difficult to reach them.
  • Realistic: It is important that the business objectives are realistic, or you may end up disappointing your investors and yourself.
Key Personnel
Identifying key players for your business is important. It’s not a major problem if you are the sole proprietorship company since you will be the man who will run the entity. However, if you are doing business involving other players, then you have to identify the right man to be in your business because your future success depends to a significant degree on the skills, experience and efforts of key personnel.
You have to identify the key personnel by examining their backgrounds, their fields of expertise, and any proposed additions to the team. Knowing and understanding the vision and mission of your business will help you in looking for the right key personnel.

 


 

BUSINESS STRUCTURE

 

Sole Proprietorship
Sole proprietorship is a form of business entity which is set up solely by one person only. Everything within this kind of entity will be the responsibility of this one owner. For this entity, his liability is unlimited. Unlimited liability means that the owner will be personally liable for the debts owing by his/her Sole Proprietor business.

A further elaboration on the meaning of unlimited liability is this: if the Sole Proprietor business fails or unable to repay its debts, the creditors have the right to sue and obtain a court order to claim the debts owing by the business, against his personal assets. Personal assets mean cash savings, houses, cars and any other "cash-able" items own by him in order to repay debts created by the Sole Proprietorship.

Advantages
  • This form of business is cheap, easy to set up, with minimal documentation and paperwork.
  • There are much fewer guidelines and formalities wherein there is no requirement to appoint auditors, company secretary or tax agents.
  • You do not need to disclose your financial statements to the general public.
  • Relatively easy to change your legal structure if the business grows, or if you wish to wind things up.
Disadvantages
  • Unlimited liability which means all your personal assets is at risk if things go wrong.
  • Little opportunity for tax planning - you can't split business profits or losses made with family members and you are personally liable to pay tax on all the income derived.
Partnership
As its name suggests, this form of entity is when two or more persons come together to carry out a business. However, the maximum number of persons allowed in a partnership is 20. Same like the Sole Proprietor, liabilities for the Partnership is also unlimited
Partnership Act 1961
Unlike Sole Proprietor which does not have an Act created for it, all Partnerships are governed by the Partnership Act 1961. In the event that the partners make their own agreement, that agreement will prevail. However, for matters that are not covered within that agreement, the particular provisions in the Partnership Act will be applicable. In the Partnership Act, the main provisions spell out the following:-
  • All profits or losses are shared equally.
  • Partners are not eligible for interest on their capital injected into the partnership.
  • All partners are entitled to take part in managing the business.
  • Partners are not eligible for salary.
  • Loans or advances by partners to the business will carry an interest at the rate of 8% per year.
  • Most decisions require majority of the partners. However, change of nature of business requires consent by all partners.
  • There must be expressed agreement when a partner is required to leave the partnership.
  • All existing partners must give consent if they want to introduce new partners into the business.
  • Accounts and books must be kept at the principal place of business and be made available to all partners. All partners are allowed to keep a copy of the accounts.
Advantages
  • Simple and inexpensive to set up.
  • Minimal reporting requirements.
  • Shared management/staffing responsibilities.
  • More opportunities for tax planning (such as income splitting between family members) than that of a sole trader.
  • A partner's share of the business's tax losses may be offset against other personal income, subject to certain conditions.
  • Combined skills, experience and knowledge can provide a better product/service.
  • Relatively easy to dissolve or exit and recover your share.
  • Access to capital.
  • Partners are not employees. Superannuation contributions and workers' compensation insurance are not payable on partners’ profits or drawings.
Disadvantages
  • Potential for disputes over profit sharing, administrative control and business direction.
  • Joint and several liabilities of partners. This means that each partner is fully responsible for debts and liabilities incurred by other partners - with or without their knowledge.
  • Changes of ownership can be difficult and generally require a new partnership to be established.
Private Limited Company
In Malaysia, the most common type of limited companies is those limited by shares. These companies are incorporated and governed by the Companies Act, 1965. Companies limited by shares will carry “Sdn Bhd”, “Sendirian Berhad” behind their names according to Section 22(4) of the Act.
The meaning of private limited companies is that the liabilities of its members are limited to the amount of shares they hold in the company. For example, if Mr. Tan’s shares in a Sdn Bhd amounted to RM10,000.00, and he has fully paid for the shares, in general, he has no further liability with regards to the Sdn Bhd concerned.
A private limited company can only be incorporated if its memorandum and articles:-
Restricts the right to transfer its shares subject to the approval of its directors;
Limits the numbers of its members to not more than 50 (requires a minimum of 2 natural persons, but allow another company to wholly own 100% of its issued shares).
Prohibit any invitation to the public to subscribe for any shares or debentures of the company;
Prohibits any invitation to the public to deposit money with the company for fixed periods or payable at call, with or without interest.
Advantages
The most obvious advantage is the liability "protection" to its shareholders, limited their exposures to the amount of share capital that they subscribed for. Any amount of debts beyond their shareholdings, they are not liable but provided there is no fraud or other malpractice.
Another advantage is the simplicity to transfer existing shares or issue additional shares to new investors. Existing member can transfer his shareholding, wholly or partially, through selling of his shares (subject to directors’ approval, which is). Unlike sole proprietors or partnerships, there is no need to wind up the company in the event of death of its shareholders or directors.
Disadvantages
  • The company's financial affairs will be accessible by the public.
  • Compliance with the Companies Act, 1965. Although complying itself is not a disadvantage, the amount of effort required to comply with the Act is much more than a sole proprietor/partnership.
  • The company had to perform annual audits on its financial statements.
  • At least one company secretary is required to manage its statutory submissions and returns as well as attending and preparing minutes for board and shareholders' meetings.
  • Incorporation cost is high, and there are yearly recurring fees to be paid such as audit, accounting, company secretarial and tax fees.
Why are there still so many private limited companies being incorporated given the disadvantages?
As the business grows, revenue and business volume will increase. Customers will request for longer credit term and higher credit limit, hence an increased credit risk. In turn, the company will also request suppliers and bankers to extend their credit facilities, which means higher liabilities.
The limited liability "protection" given to the shareholders clearly outweighs all the operational and financial disadvantages listed above.
Trust
Unlike a company, a trust is not a separate legal entity. Trusts are often used in connection with running a business for the benefit of others. A trust is a structure where a trustee (an individual or company) carries out the business on behalf of the members (or beneficiaries) of the trust. Family businesses are often set up as a trust so that each family member can be made a beneficiary without having any involvement in how the business is run.
Advantages
  • Reduced liability - especially if corporate trustee.
  • Asset protection.
  • Flexibility of asset and income distribution.
Disadvantages
  • Can be expensive and complex to establish and administer.
  • Difficult to dissolve, dismantle, or make changes once established particularly where children are involved.
  • Any profits retained to reinvest into the business, will incur penalty tax rates.
  • Cannot distribute losses, only profits.
Joint Venture
A joint venture is a business agreement in which parties agrees to develop, for a finite time, a new entity and new assets by contributing equity. They both exercise control over the enterprise and consequently share revenues, expenses and assets. There are other types of companies such as JV limited by guarantee, joint ventures limited by guarantee with partners holding shares.
The venture can be for one specific project only - when the JV is referred more correctly as a consortium or a continuing business relationship. The consortium JV (also known as a cooperative agreement) is formed where one party seeks technological expertise or technical service arrangements, franchise and brand use agreements, management contracts, rental agreements, for ‘‘one-time’’ contracts. The JV is dissolved once that goal is reached.

 


 

SOURCE OF FUNDS

 

How much money do you need
How much money do you need?
It depends on your type of business and how quickly you plan to expand. You should sit down and write out how much your expected expenses will be for at least the next 24 months and how much you project to bring in as far as income on a monthly basis. There are several companies that can help you get started with funding your business.
You can refer back to your business plan or start asking yourself what type of expenses do you need the money for? Generally, for a start up business, there will be a few costs involve:
  • Cost of sales: Product inventory, raw materials, manufacturing equipment, shipping, packaging, shipping insurance, warehousing
  • Professional fees: Setting up a legal structure for your business , trademarks, copyrights, patents, drafting partnership and non-disclosure agreements, attorney fees for ongoing consultation, retaining an accountant
  • Technology costs: Computer hardware, computer software, printers, cell phones, PDAs, website development and maintenance, high-speed internet access, servers, security measures, IT consulting
  • Administrative costs: Various types of business insurance, office supplies, licenses and permits, express shipping and postage, product packaging, parking, rent, utilities, phones, copier, fax machine, desks, chairs, filing cabinets – anything else you need to have on a daily basis to operate a business
  • Sales and marketing costs: Printing of stationery, marketing materials, advertising, public relations, event or trade show attendance or sponsorship, trade association or chamber of commerce membership fees, travel and entertainment for client meetings, mailing or lead lists
  • Wages and benefits: Employee salaries, payroll taxes, benefits, workers compensation
No matter what your business type, take into account everything you will spend, from the moment you dig in to the startup process, through the time you're ready to sell a product or service.
Where to get the money
Where to get the money?
All businesses require some form of financing. The most basic rule in financing a business is to commit yourself and your savings or other resources to the business. This will ensure your whole hearted commitment to its success. This is also a strong sign of good faith and commitment for other potential lenders/investors as, if you are not seen to be willing to risk your own funds why anyone else should!
Further, for a start-up business, there may not be a wide variety of sources of funds as it is still untested. Hence, you will have to come up with the capital, from personal savings or through selling off surplus assets you may have.
Personal Saving
Personal Saving
There's nothing like having your own money saved, to put into your startup. You have the satisfaction of having saved it on your own, and the knowledge that you don't owe anyone. When using your own money to finance a business, you will feel more personally invested in the project, because it is basically your money on the line. However, there is more flexibility in using your own money. For example, if your business is having a slow start, you do not need to worry about paying back a bank loan because you used your own money.
But the risk you may face is that - It's your money, and if you're not successful, the money is gone, and with it the opportunity to do anything else with it later. It can also create another financial burden. Most people have a savings account for general purposes. In other words, the money is not saved for any particular purpose and is used whenever it is needed for whatever reason. As such, draining such an account may negatively affect your financial situation if you need to dip into that savings account for an emergency. However, if the personal savings you use to finance a business was money saved for that particular purpose, you should not have any financial troubles as a result of the draining of that account. If your savings account was set up for the purpose of opening a business, this means that you planned ahead and reserved that savings account for that purpose only, and thus, will not feel the pinch in an emergency because you will have other funds available for that purpose.
Financial with Debt
Financing with Debt
Financing a business with debt involves securing a loan. This can be in the form of either unsecured or secured debt. Unsecured debt refers to a loan taken without having to put up any specific form of security or collateral. This involves mainly borrowing from family or friends, a credit card, line of credit and other similar means.

Secured debt, on the other hand, refers to loans where you are required to put up some form of collateral in exchange for the loan, for example, mortgage on the house or refinancing your car, among others. For secured debts, you need to be able to assure the lender about your ability to meet your payments either through your business or other means. To secure such debt is some cases you will need to present a solid business plan, evidence of your experience and of your ability to repay.

Family and Friends
Raising finance from family and friends can be rewarding for both parties: you get the finance to start or expand your business, while your family and friends have the satisfaction of helping you while earning interest on their spare cash.
Family and friends may accept more flexible terms and conditions that are better suited to your business than those offered by commercial banks.

Often arrangements with family and friends are informal and based purely on trust and verbal assurances. However, a formal written agreement is strongly advised in order to minimise disputes in the future. Preserving your relationships with friends and family is as important as pursuing your business opportunity.

Personal Loan
Financing a business with personal loans means that you borrow the money personally to invest it in your business. This is typically used at start-up or early stages where the business has not established enough history or performance to be able to secure a loan on its own merit.

Mortgage Loan
Another source for financing a business is a home mortgage loan. Some banks allow you to mortgage or refinance your house. This may be a risky move as if you are unable to make the scheduled payments, you risk losing your home. It is therefore crucial that you are confident on your continued ability to make all payments scheduled.

Insurance Loan
Another source of loan could be from your insurance policy. If you have been paying for a life insurance policy that builds up a cash value you are entitled to take up a loan on the cash value amount. Many insurance companies will loan you money with the cash value as security. This is a rather expensive method of financing a business and also means reduced benefits if you are unable to clear the loan and interests accrued.

Credit Cards
Credit cards can also be a source for financing a business when you are first getting started. However, this is another expensive method as the rates charged can be high and it could also affect your credit rating, required for other sources of financing.
Goverment
Government Small Business Loans
There are a variety of government small business loans and programs that can be used in financing a business, including those specifically for Bumiputeras and micro entrepreneurs. Most of these loans are administered by the Financial Institutions like the Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) and the commercial banks. While some are directly administered by the department/agency involved. Funding from these sources may be relatively easier to secure as the government department/agency guarantees your loan, if you are approved.

Grants
There are often a variety of government grant programs for specific types of startup businesses. For more information, search online on government websites. Unless they're reputable, don't pay money to sites that tell you they'll give you a big list of where you can get grant money. The risk is that - While grants are rarely required to be paid back, accountability is higher, and you might have to work within a difficult deadline, to show your progress. If you do not achieve the progress you indicated in your proposal, there may be some sort of penalty.
Bank Loans
Banks lend money to existing businesses but for a start-up, it may be very difficult to get a bank loan as they do not have a track record. Banks require a sound business plan and must be convinced of the viability of your business before they agree to lend you money. Banks also normally need collateral as security.
If you have a solid business plan and the lender agrees, this can often be the cheapest (interest rate-wise) loan sources available. The risk is that besides the fact that it's often hard for a startup to qualify - since there's little evidence you'll be profitable - if you do get a loan, it can be like a ticking time bomb if your business isn't doing well.
Equity Financing
Equity Financing
Equity Financing is borrowing where the investor/financier becomes a part-owner of the business in the process. This could be through venture capital or issuing shares.

Venture Capital
Venture capitalists do not want to remain in your business forever. Generally, they want to see an exit strategy that will see them out in about 5 years, with a high return on their investment as their reward.
In terms of areas of interest, venture capitalists are interested in both high technology and various other industries. Normally they fund businesses which have already been launched and have probably reached profitability.
The angel investor, on the other hand, is a special type of venture capitalist. Usually an individual with substantial funds, the ‘angel’ provides capital to start-up companies and takes a personal stake in the venture. Depending on the individual ‘angel’, their requests for any form of control or a quick return on investment will differ. However, similar to regular venture capitalists, they seek high returns on their investment for the risks they take on.

 


 

PREMISES AND LOCATION

 

Choosing Your Location
Choosing your Location
One of the basic concepts taught in almost every introductory marketing course is The Four P's: Price, Product, Promotion and Place. "Place" refers generally to distribution, i.e., where your customer evaluates and ultimately receives your product or service. While this may not matter much for people who work virtually, or who run a business that drop-ships from a third party, it's critical for restaurants, retailers, and even many service businesses. Ironically, while "place" is often the most permanent of the four P's, it's also often the most overlooked.

Location is about more than just choosing a building. There are many things to consider in this process because it is costly. Location may depend on a few different factors especially the type of product and services you are trying to sell. Thus, you have to consider the following:

Know your business.
Understanding the needs of your business is the first step in finding a location. Will customers visit your location? Do you anticipate walk-in business, or will customers call for appointments? Does your business make use of natural resources? How are your goods delivered? Does your business involve chemicals or excessive noise that might fall under the zoning restrictions? Make a list of your business-specific needs.

Find your customers.
You need to identify who your customers are and how you can best meet their needs. If you are moving a business operation into a new city or rural area, find out as much as possible about population trends there. When you have gathered as much information as possible, start creating your own demographic profile. Once you know who you're trying to reach, you can determine where you're more likely to find customers. For example, if you're opening a nursery or kindergarten, you'll want to open it in an area that not only has many families, but also has a high number of two-income households. Good research will help you find such a location.

Get a flavor for the community.
Before deciding to set up shop somewhere, investigate the community. Read some of the local newspapers. Visit the library and do some research on the history of the place. Speak with other small business owners in the area. Ask them if their business is succeeding and if they think your business would do well there. Try to find out how receptive the established business community is to new businesses that come to town.

Scope out the competition.
For some businesses, this may not matter. Five Internet businesses could be in the same building and nobody would ever know it. However, if you're opening a retail business, a restaurant, or service-oriented operation, you'll want to know how many similar businesses are located nearby. In other cities and towns, you may not want any competitors in the immediate area. The key is to determine whether you can gain enough of a market share. Do a competitive analysis, and if you scope out competitors, see if you can gain a competitive edge by offering something your competition does not. If you're moving into an area with stiff competition, make sure you have enough resources to hang in there while you make a name for yourself
Once you’ve considered those listed above, you may also want to look at other important factors that will give big impact on the location that you are trying to look for. Try to ask yourself on the following elements:

State & City
Rent and other costs, availability of labor, taxes, regulations and government economic incentives can also vary greatly from city to city, even within the same state. Or maybe a small town is the perfect spot for your business. Is the state/city you live in friendly to entrepreneurship? To the specific type of business you want to run? These are the elements that will affect your pricing of your product & services.

Location relative to streets, parking, and other businesses
Do you need to be visible and/or easily accessible to pedestrian and automobile traffic? Will being close to businesses that draw a similar clientele help your business? For example, a sporting goods store or health food store might do very well next to a gym.

Cost
Most obviously, can you afford it? Also, though, consider whether your customers and employees can afford it. For example, is there free parking, or is it expensive? Will higher rent cause you to charge higher prices to your customers? That's not necessarily a bad thing, but a factor to consider.

Convenience
Is it easy to find? Is parking close by? Consider your clients. If you're dealing with pregnant mothers and the elderly, they may have a different concept of "convenient".

Safety
This is an increasingly important issue for both customers and employees. Is the parking close by? Well lit? Is there security on the premises?

Prestige
Would a downtown address add credibility? Will wealthy clients favor a business in their own neighborhood? Some places even provide virtual offices with prestigious addresses, such as Beverly Hills, Silicon Valley, or Manhattan.

Traffic
Retailers and restaurants love it, office workers don't.

Facility requirements
Do you have any special needs, such as high power consumption or specialized wiring? Do you need meeting space, but only occasionally? You might consider a shared office suite (often called executive suites) in that case.

Zoning
Many cities have very strict zoning requirements. Make sure your business is even allowed there before you sign the lease!

This process may not be as easy as it looks like. All of the factors are actually closely related to the type of location you wish to choose. If you are simply plan to move as a sole proprietor in your own home, then, you can take a short cut and ignore this process at the first place. However, if you are considering setting up a retail shop, then, location is a highly significant matter to brainstorm about.
Types of Premises and Location
Selecting the right option for accommodating your business is one of the most important decisions when getting started. The location you choose will depend on the nature of your business, for example: retail, manufacturing, or professional services. It will also depend on few circumstances where you have to consider some aspect before entering into any agreement to lease or buy the premises.
Generally, there are six (6) types of premises and locations to take into account:
  • Home Based or Small Office Home Office (SOHO)
  • Virtual Office (VO)
  • Business Incubators
  • Retail
  • Commercial Area
  • Industry Area
Small Office Home Office (SOHO)
Small Office Home Office (SOHO)
It refers to the small business or business-at-home user. They consist of free-lancers, self-employed consultants, salespeople, telecommuters, and small businesses with four or fewer employees. The small business entrepreneur generally wants the latest, greatest and fastest equipment, and this market has always benefited from high technology, allowing it to compete on a level playing ground with the bigger companies.
Part of the main reason why they choose SOHO are because of the 4Fs – Freedom, Flexibility, Fun and Financial Rewards. However, from a survey done to the SOHO business owners, there are top three (3) fears revealed:
  • Not having enough money to keep the business going
  • Long-term illness of self or key employee
  • Losing customers to a larger company
Virtual Office (VO)
Virtual Office (VO)
A virtual office or V.O. is typically a managed telephone answering or email response service that receives and routes telephone or email messages on behalf of a small business and may provide some initial scripted response to a query. The business that uses this service typically does not have fixed office premises or employ regular reception or customer contact staff - and so the V.O. provides a means of receiving and passing on calls and messages when not available to deal with a customer inquiry. The prime objective of the V.O. is to assure that customer contact is captured and able to be followed up by whomever the call is relevant or important to.
Among the reasons why some of the business people choose Virtual Office (VO) are:
  • Save Operation Cost
  • Free to work anywhere - No traffic Jam, No ‘9 - 5’ working hours
  • Low Starting cost
  • Good Cooperate Image because they operate like a proper setup office/company
Six Steps on How to Establish a Virtual Office
You need to plan systematically in order to establish a virtual office (VO) in a successful manner. Below is the step by step approach to guide you to establish a VO.
Step 1:
Identify the country or city you want to locate your new business or expand your existing business. You should have a proper plan and decision on which location you would like to penetrate after having a detailed research on the potentials of different locations. It is possible for you to set up offices in a few locations in the world at the same time with the concept of VO to meet the global needs.
Step 2:
After deciding the right location, it is time for you to look for international or local VO service providers. You may get more detailed information through online earching, word of mouth, advertisement, brochures, etc. You need to “rent” their business address as you own.
You should consult the customer service officers or the consultants to find out more about the service providers. Do comparison on the aspects of their services, location, rates, facilities, flexibility and reputation. It is important for you to select a reliable and trustworthy service provider for the good sake of your business operation.
Step 3:
Select the suitable package which offers you the facilities and professional services that suit your business most. There is a wide range of drop in services provided such as call handling, fax forwarding, emailing, document archiving, scanning documents and so on. Besides, the facilities provided include hot desks, meeting rooms, lounge, wireless broadband, LCD projectors, etc. Most of the VO providers have different packages and different rates for different features. Make sure the package you select is cost effective and you are able to enhance your professional image as well.
Step 4:
Once you have decided which service provider you prefer, you can proceed to sign the agreement with them for a certain period of duration. You are reminded to read the terms and conditions carefully in order to make sure your rights are protected. In usual circumstances, the period of leasing is about 6 months. However, it can be as short as 3 months to suit your business nature.
Step 5:
After the agreement is signed, you can put the VO address as your business address in your name cards, letterheads, rubber stamps, envelopes, mailings, greeting cards, etc. In another words, you can start your business operation right after you sign the agreement. You are able to use this address for official documentations, to open bank account and to apply for government grants. If you are using their call handling and fax forwarding services, you can also provide the contact number and fax number for your clients or suppliers in order for them to get in touch with you easily no matter where you are.
Step 6:
You can start utilizing the facilities and professional services provided by the VO provider. Fully utilize them to get optimum result in your business.
In conclusion, establishing a virtual office is indeed simple and it helps to save a lot of your time searching for office space.
Business Incubators
Many entrepreneurs don't have the space or desire to start a business out of their home, yet find renting space and setting up essential support functions is overwhelming financially and energy draining just at a time when their financial resources and energy are most needed for development of the business itself. A business incubator can be the perfect solution for such a person.
Business incubators are designed specifically to help start-up firms. They usually provide:
  • flexible space and leases, many times at very low rates
  • fee-based business support services, such as telephone answering, bookkeeping, secretarial, fax and copy machine access, libraries and meeting rooms
  • group rates for health, life and other insurance plans
  • business and technical assistance either on site or through a community referral system
  • assistance in obtaining funding
  • networking with other entrepreneurs
Besides, the objective of business incubators is to also accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services, developed and orchestrated by incubator management and offered both in the incubator and through its network of contacts. Incubators vary in the way they deliver their services, in their organizational structure, and in the types of clients they serve. The primary goal of a business incubator is to produce successful businesses that are able to operate independently and financially viable.

In Malaysia, there's a few established Business Incubators provided for SMEs. In addition, the government also offers other type of infrastructures through the existence of Halal Parks and Technology Parks
Retail
Retail
Retail is a space you lease for the selling of goods to consumers. Generally, when it comes to business, retailers have one overall goal - to sell merchandise. That's why they focus on sales floor space, adequate parking for customers, and an overall image that draws in customers. Of secondary interest to many retail operations are office space and storage requirements, since most inventory is on the sales floor. A retail operation's space is usually subdivided among display, office, and storage. As a rule of thumb, office and storage spaces take up 10 to 25 percent of the total floor area.
Here are a few of the more common types of retail locations:
  • Mall Space
From kiosks to large anchor stores,a mall has many retailers competing with each other under one roof. There are generally 3 to 5 anchor stores, or large chain stores, and then dozens of smaller retail shops. Typically the rent in a mall location is much higher than other retail locations. This is due to the high amount of customer traffic a mall generates. Before selecting this type of store location, be sure the shopper demographic matches the description of your customers. Mall retailers will have to make some sacrifices in independence and adhere to a set of rules supplied by mall management.
  • Shopping Center
Strip malls and other attached, adjoining retail locations will also have guidelines or rules for how they prefer their tenants to do business. These rules are probably more lenient than a mall, but make sure you can live with them before signing a lease. Your community probably has many shopping centers in various sizes. Some shopping centers may have as few as 3 units or as many as 20 stores. The types of retailers, and the goods or services they offer, in the strip mall will also vary. One area to investigate before choosing this type of store location is parking. Smaller shopping centers and strip malls may have a limited parking area for your customers.
  • Downtown Area
Like the mall, this type of store location may be another premium choice. However, there may be more freedom and fewer rules for the business owner. Many communities are hard at work to revitalize their downtown areas and retailers can greatly benefit from this effort. However, the lack of parking is generally a big issue for downtown retailers. You'll find many older, well-established specialty stores in a downtown area. This type of store seems to thrive in the downtown setting.
  • Free Standing Locations
This type of retail location is basically any stand-alone building. It can be tucked away in a neighborhood location or right off a busy highway. Depending on the landlord, there are generally no restrictions on how a retailer should operate his business. It will probably have ample parking and the cost per square foot will be reasonable. The price for all that freedom may be traffic. Unlike the attached retail locations where customers may wander in because they were shopping nearby, the retailer of a free standing location has to work at marketing to get the customer inside.
  • Office Building
The business park or office building may be another option for a retailer, especially when they cater to other businesses. Tenants share maintenance costs and the image of the building is usually upscale and professional.
Commercial Area
Commercial Area
Commercial property is real estate intended for use by for-profit businesses, such as office complexes, shopping malls, service stations and restaurants. It is normally in city area which can take up about 5% of a city’s land. It falls somewhere between residential and industrial property. Since most of the commercial activities including the buying and selling of goods and services in retail businesses, wholesale buying and selling, financial establishments, and wide variety of services that are broadly classified as "business" been done here, they are extremely important to a community’s economy. They provide jobs and bring money into the community. This is one of the best locations where you can ensure the infrastructures are ready for you to start a business.
Industrial Area
Industrial Area
Generally, industry area defines as aplanned industrial or technologically-based district of a city; usually intended for light manufacturing, industrial usage, research, or for warehousing. Industrial area are usually located outside the main residential area of a city and normally provided with good transportation access, including road and rail. They are usually located close to transport facilities, especially where more than one transport modes coincide: highways, railroads, airports, and ports.
This idea of setting land aside through this type of zoning is based on several concepts:
  • To be able to concentrate dedicated infrastructure in a delimited area to reduce the per-business expense of that infrastructure. Such infrastructure includes roadways, railroad sidings, ports, high-power electric supplies, high-end communications cables, large-volume water supplies, and high-volume gas lines.
  • To be able to attract new business by providing an integrated infrastructure in one location.
  • Eligibility of Industrial Parks for benefits
  • To set aside industrial uses from urban areas to try to reduce the environmental and social impact of the industrial uses.
  • To provide for localized environmental controls that is specific to the needs of an industrial area.

 

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