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Small business owners, executives, and managers are always being challenged to maximize performance. Yet so many strive for the all important increasing sales without considering the best way to achieve what keeps all companies in business . . . PROFIT. Profit or net income before taxes are what every business should be striving for whether you are a small Internet based company or a multi-billion revenue corporation. And while sales are relative to the size of budget, profit is the true measure of success. Even Internet IPO success stories . . . like Amazon.com will be short lived, if profitability is not achieved before investors' patience become critical. The stock price can go just so high if there is not the means to pay dividends. Eventually, the treasure chest that is being robbed to pay Peter will become empty. (BTW - I am not suggesting that Amazon will not maintain its success story. It is just a fact of business life that the bottom-line must be black more than red for any business to remain solvent.) The same applies to a small business . . . if it does not have the profits to provide salary increases and basic benefits for its employees let alone for growth. Unfortunately many good entrepreneurs fail to see how these two aspects can be so intertwined that even a very profitable small company can quickly see itself slip away when employees are not rewarded for the profits they generate. It is not just the margin of a product and/or service, but how a company might save money through vendor selection, policy development, or other means. Moreover, incentive programs, affordable benefits, and other humanistic programs can produce profits above their cost because of employees striving to do their best for the company. (Yes . . . an oversimplification that is limited by the size of the company and the financial ability to provide. However, one must start some where to build towards greater success and profits along with retaining good employees.) Educate yourself and at least your key employees . . . by keeping abreast of competitive developments; new marketing techniques; new business and Internet software programs; new business trends; possible strategic alliances, partnerships, and acquisitions; listening to your customers, and anything else, including outside assistance, that might be the difference in maximizing profits. It also means that short-term income might have to be sacrificed to achieve long-term annual net income. Strategic planning . . . is an excellent business discipline that will help even a small business to educate and guide itself. Developed and implemented properly, it becomes the road map to optimizing profit associated with the sales forecast and minimizing loss during severe economic and/or competitive situations. So never forget that while dollar sales are great, they must result in a profit. (Time does not permit my thoughts about percentage profit versus dollar profit.) Wishing you good profiting online and offline!
David Bancroft is president of FOCUS Associates (http://www.focusa.com), a business and marketing consulting firm and is the founder of the popular guide and free promotional service, AWARD SITES! (http://www.awardsites.com). He has also authored several other published articles and two mainstream action thriller fictions (http://www.focusa.com/_novels/intro.htm) waiting for a publisher.