History-Making Returns on Investment: Planning Makes Perfect

A penny saved is a penny earned. However, with proper investment planning, a penny invested can turn into two pennies, three pennies, or thousands of pennies. Therein lies the issue: “can.” Investing can yield sizable rewards or, on the other hand, major disappointment. That’s why it is crucial that you enlist the assistance of a professional financial planner. With the proper assistance, you can only hope to achieve an ROI comparable to these financial geniuses.

1. In 1972, Warren Buffet saw a delicious opportunity in See’s Candies. At the time, the family business was a locally operated candy venture, limited to serving the west coast. With a sweet $25 million and some elbow grease, Buffet was able to turn See’s Candies into a $1.35 billion return.

2. Believe it or not, there was a time when McDonald’s didn’t occupy every single street corner. That unimaginable time period was the 1930s, and it was a sad, value menu-less era. However, Ray Kroc, had a dream of a happy, burger-filled country. Kroc helped the franchise fund its earliest restaurants, eventually buying out the entire venture. What did his investment planning earn him? Oh, just a measly $1.1 billion. Just think of how many large Cokes that could buy!

3. Speaking of the soft drink, the recipe for the refreshing enterprise was concocted by a pharmacist looking to cure headaches. The pharmacist was in failing health, and with the concoction bringing little revenue; he sold off the recipe to Asa Candler for a value worth $58,000 today. This was back in 1891, but 32 years later, Candler sold the recipe for a value now comparable to $332 million. If that isn’t a large enough return, think of what he could have sold it for today!

4. There was also a dark period in our history when online shopping had not yet been invented. But Benchmark Capital decided to bid $6.7 million on this little thing called eBay. Back in the 1990s, this was risky business. However, within a couple years, the purchase proved lucrative – $6.8 billion lucrative.

5. In other online endeavors, Peter Thiel decided to throw an even $500,000 at a small website back in 2005. In just seven years, Thiel was able to sell off 80% of his investment for $400 million. Which website could generate such an ROI in less than a decade? Facebook.

Not every financial endeavor will prove so successful. In fact, without proper investment planning, a transaction can prove to be extremely unfortunate. However, if you enlist an experienced broker, you can reap the benefits of money well invested!

How to Avoid Five Financial Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Business startups are all about the bottom line — profitability is the standard by which success is measured. For many first-time entrepreneurs, “profitability” is an elusive concept. At its base, it makes perfect sense — bring in more cash than you spend, and the business will be profitable. At its core, however, there are numerous factors that keep a viable idea from ever actually turning a profit. One of the most common problems in business startups boils down to poor financial management. The fundamental mistakes that entrepreneurs make can be easily rectified with just a little effort and attention to accounting processes.

The most common financial mistakes made when starting, and how to avoid them, are:

Lack of fundamental accounting knowledge

Entrepreneurship requires a strong basis in basic business essentials, and standard accounting skills in particular. Simply purchasing an off-the-shelf accounting system is not enough — the tool is only as useful as its user. From correctly categorizing expenses to ensuring debits and credits are balanced, knowing how accounting systems work, and why they work, is not only a good idea, it is an absolute necessity.

Failure to develop accounting procedures

Every financial transaction in a business should follow a consistent, written, formalized procedure from decision-making to recording. That is, every income and expense should follow the same path from approval to data entry into the accounting software. Without standard procedures, transactions get lost, decision-making becomes inconsistent, and the numbers never seem to quite work out. Everyone involved with the company’s accounting system need to be handling transactions in the same manner, and those procedures need to reflect an understanding of financial controls.

Inaccurate data entry

Along with developing standard accounting procedures, it is essential to include steps that verify the accuracy of the data entered into the system. This may seem obvious, but every struggling business we have encountered had serious data entry errors in the books. A small error — an extra digit, transposing numbers (2521 instead of 5221) — can wreak absolute havoc in a fairly short amount of time. Establishing at least one double-check procedure can eliminate the majority of these mistakes.

Failure to review and analyze

One of the great features of every available piece of accounting software is a set of easy-to-create financial statements. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are number-phobic and do not take the time to learn how to use these crucial tools for financial management. A simple, consistent review of the numbers and running a few basic financial ratios can be extremely revealing, both in terms of potential problems and identifying exploitable opportunities. Business owners do not have the luxury of being “not-a-numbers-person” — business is all about the numbers, thus it is essential to use the available tools to keep control over your venture.

Failure to budget

It is nearly impossible to launch a successful startup without a well-researched budget, and even more difficult to survive without planning out the business’s financial future. No budget generally indicates no planning, and tends to result in throwing good money after bad, especially during lean times in the venture. Setting a budget allows a business to maintain focus on a well-developed strategy while ensuring the cash flow is sufficient to keep the business alive and growing.

It is a common but inadvisable error for first-time entrepreneurs to underestimate the importance of solid financial management. Simply ballparking expenses and taking a see-what-happens attitude with the cash flow are quick paths to failure. Doing your homework and mastering the fundamentals of accounting are not just a good idea, they are the only way to build a viable business idea into a thriving company.