Strategic Business Planning

Say, Just How Competitive Is Your Business Anyway?

Every business owner launches his or her company wanting to be successful. But once you get out there, it usually becomes apparent that you’re not alone. To reach any level of success, you’ve got to be competitive with other similar businesses in your market.

Use Benchmarking to Swim with the Big Fish

You may keep a wary eye on your competitors, but sometimes it helps to look just a little bit deeper. Even if you’re a big fish in your pond, someone a little bigger may be swimming up just beneath you. Being successful means not just being aware of these competitors, but also knowing their approaches and results.

Is There a Weak Link in Your Supply Chain?

In an increasingly global economy, keeping a close eye on your supply chain is imperative. Even if your company operates only locally or nationally, your suppliers could be affected by wider economic conditions and developments. So, make sure you’re regularly assessing where weak links in your supply chain may lie.

Advisory Panel: What’s One Lesson for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Their Business?

Recently, Jon Cassens took part in an advisory panel for the Upsize Minnesota Growth Challenge, in partnership with Club Entrepreneur - Minneapolis. Question asked: "what's one lesson you've learned working with small businesses that you would share with other entrepreneurs looking to grow their business? Check out this video for the panelists' response. 

Get SMART When It Comes to Setting Strategic Goals

Strategic planning is key to ensuring every company’s long-term viability, and goal setting is an indispensable step toward fulfilling those plans. Unfortunately, businesses often don’t accomplish their overall strategic plans because they’re unable to fully reach the various goals necessary to get there.

3 Keys to a Successful Accounting System Upgrade

Technology is tricky. Much of today’s software is engineered so well that it will perform adequately for years. But new and better features are being created all the time. And if you’re not getting as much out of your financial data as your competitors are, you could be at a disadvantage.

Finding a 401(K) That’s Right for Your Business

By and large, today’s employees expect employers to offer a tax-advantaged retirement plan. A 401(k) is an obvious choice to consider, but you may not be aware that there are a variety of types to choose from.

Ask the Right Questions About Your IT Strategy

Most businesses approach technology as an evolving challenge. You don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles you’ll never fully use, but you also don’t want to get left behind as competitors use the latest tech tools to operate more nimbly.

A Midyear Review Should Go Beyond Financials

Every year is a journey for a business. You begin with a set of objectives for the months ahead, probably encounter a few bumps along the way and, hopefully, reach your destination with some success and a few lessons learned.

Blockchain May Soon Drive Business Worldwide

“Blockchain” may sound like something that goes on a vehicle’s tires in icy weather or that perhaps is part of that vehicle’s engine. Indeed it is a type of technology that may help drive business worldwide at some point soon — but digitally, not physically. No matter what your industry, now’s a good time to start learning about blockchain.

Cost Control Takes a Total Team Effort

“That’s just the cost of doing business.” You’ve probably heard this expression many times. It’s true that, to invoke another cliché, you’ve got to spend money to make money. But that doesn’t mean you have to take rising operational costs sitting down.

Could a Long-Term Deal Ease Your Succession Planning Woes?

Some business owners — particularly those who founded their companies — may find it hard to give up control to a successor. Maybe you just can’t identify the right person internally to fill your shoes. While retirement isn’t in your immediate future, you know you must eventually step down.

7 Steps to Choosing a Successor for Your Family Business

There’s an old saying regarding family-owned businesses: “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” It means the first-generation owner started in shirtsleeves and built the company up from nothing but, by the third generation, the would-be owner is back in shirtsleeves with nothing because the business failed or was sold.

Top 10 Ways to Maximize Revenue in Your Medical Practice

Medical practices have long focused on improving bottom lines by reducing expenses and developing operational efficiencies, but neither initiative is the end-all-be-all. To survive in an increasingly tight market, medical practices must find ways to maximize revenue, too.

Manufacturers: 6 Strategic Steps to Help Spur Growth

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was famous for asking his constituents, "How am I doing?" Similarly, leaders in the manufacturing industry like to take the pulse of the sector from time to time, especially after the economic struggles of the last decade and a lull stretching over the past two years.

New Retainage Law | What It Means for Minnesota Subcontractors

Last year was a busy year for lawmakers at the Minnesota Legislature in regard to the construction industry. Going forward, both prime (general) contractors as well as subcontractors need to be aware of the law changes in the statute, as they can affect everything from contracts and scheduling to accounting and project timelines.

Growing Your Practice? Consider Cost Per Encounter

In an era of administrators and CFOs being asked to do more with less, is expanding your patient roster the obvious solution for growing your medical practice? Here’s why it's important to measure the impact on your bottom line.

Vetting Potential Franchises: 4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy In

When you buy into a franchise, you get more than a business—you also get a business partner. As a franchisee, this should be a good fit for you personally. And, the franchisor should add as much value as you do. But how will you know this before you sign a contract? Use the following vetting questions to choose the right franchise.

Avoiding the Avoidable – Mistakes That Derail Successful Businesses

Patrick Maloney, Director of Operations at DS+B, was recently part of a panel discussion sponsored by Club Entrepreneur and covered by Upsize Minnesota. The topic was business best practices - or rather, what mistakes business owners can avoid. The panel was made of professionals services providers with related expertise in business management, IT, finance, strategy and accounting.

Are You Ready for MACRA?

As of July 2016, studies showed that only 50 percent of nonpediatric physicians were aware of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. But with the onset of the new year, medical professionals can no longer afford to be in the dark. DS+B's healthcare advisory team can help you get a clear picture of the financial impact MACRA could have on your practice.

4 Tips for Establishing an Advisory Board

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of running a successful business. But it's important to take a step back every now and then. From afar, you can better assess where you are and where you're headed. Sharing this view with an advisory board can help to keep your business on the right track.

Federal Judge Blocks New Overtime Rule Set to Take Effect on December 1st

On Tuesday November 22nd, U.S. District Judge agreed with 21 states and a coalition of business groups and granted a preliminary injunction to the Obama administration's new overtime rules. The rule, issued by the Labor Department, was to take effect on December 1st and would have doubled the minimum salary exemption to $47,500.

Four Smart Moves for Choosing (or Changing) Your Business Structure

Choosing a business structure is a decision that should never be taken lightly. While income taxation and owner liability are the primary differences between a C corporation, S corporation, or limited liability company (LLC), there are other lesser-known variations that could significantly impact your business. The good news is business structures aren’t set in stone; … Continued

When Does a Business with Multiple Owners Need a Buy-Sell Agreement?

Unfortunately, death, divorce and disagreements happen in life. But when they happen in a business with multiple owners, the complexity can create unintended consequences for the remaining owners, families and employees. An important protection in these cases is a properly drafted and executed buy-sell agreement to assist owners, an estate and the company for an … Continued

How Business Owners Can Avoid Mistakes That Derail Successful Companies

At a recent panel discussion with other Twin Cities business advisors, Jen Verly, CPA, was asked about the top business mistakes that business owners should learn from others, and avoid. The workshop was titled "Avoid the Avoidable" and was sponsored by UPSIZE Magazine with Club Entrepreneurship and held at the Minneapolis Club.

Mergers + Acquisitions Best Practices | A Recent Panel Discussion Featured In Upsize Minnesota

On March 26th, I was part of an expert panel organized by Club Entrepreneur and Upsize Minnesota Magazine. The event was held at the Minneapolis Club where business owners and various professionals could ask the panel questions as well as participate in the discussion. The panel featured accounting, legal, broker and merger specialists as well as a business owner who shared his recent experience going through the process.

Event Recap: Total Practice Improvement

Process improvement benefits the organization because it provides a model to improve the quality and profitability in a structured, ordered and measurable way. The TPI program is designed to

Cloud Based Computer System Backup

If you have been thinking about a better way to handle you system backup you should consider cloud based backup. Cloud based backup services are a smart choice for many small businesses because they offer an easy, secure way to get backup data off site. This is a key part of any disaster recovery plan.

Work ON Your Business, Not Just IN Your Business – Why I Believe In Peer Groups

Being a trusted business advisor is more than having all the answers (or thinking you do) – it’s about connecting with other leaders and continually expanding your own knowledge base with outside perspectives. I’ve found that peer groups offer a great opportunity to make the connections that can help you grow your business.

Say Goodbye to Windows XP

It is time to start replacing your old Windows XP PCs. Microsoft will drop support for the XP operating system on April 8, 2014. While this does not mean that your XP PCs will stop working, it does mean that Microsoft will no longer provide security patches or updates for the operating system.

Business Interruption Claims May Require Financial and Legal Assistance

Business interruption insurance typically pays for income that is lost while operations are suspended after a natural or man-made disaster. However, these claims can be difficult and even contentious if there are differences of interpretation about the calculations, projections or the meaning of policy provisions.