Class Reflection

This semester I took 3 business courses so a lot of the information was repetitive. I have learned a lot more about the word of business and I see it helping me in the future. I do have plans one day of hopefully owning a business of my own and after all I’ve learned in class I know it won’t be easy. The biggest problem for me I think would be getting the proper funds to even start a business. If I had the money, I have even considered even opening a franchise maybe despite the disadvantages of it.

I think when I do get a job, because I have studied business, it will help me get far in that job. I would at least like to be a manager somewhere if I never do get a chance to own my own business. I’ve also talked to friends of mine of maybe opening a business together and for me, I think I would work better in a partnership since I usually do better in a team then alone. Also having another person who will probably have other business skills would help out the business more.

After taking business courses and knowing how some of the businesses run in town, it makes me wonder how many people have even took a business course. I have found myself walking in stores and imagining myself as manager and the changes I would make.

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The Legal and Regulatory Environment of Business

When entering the business world, I would highly suggest you know all the legal terms to hopefully avoid lawsuits. Also in case of a lawsuit,whether it’s you having to sue or someone suing you,you will be able to understand what is being said.

First you should be able to distinguish between what is criminal law and what is civil law. Criminal law prohibits and punishes wrongful conduct. Civil law governs disputes between private parties. Click here for a more in-depth explanation on criminal law and civil law. There is also tort laws to be aware of.

Warranties or guarantees that a product meets certain standards of performance, should also be something to recognize. There are express warranties and implied warranties. You can also break implied warranties into implied warranties of merchantability and implied warranties of fitness for a particular purpose.

These are just a few terms to know when it comes to the legal environment of business. To learn about more terms and go more in-depth on these terms, those seeking business majors should take a class just for the legal environment of business.

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Managing Information and Technology

When running a company, you will want to collect certain data to get information you want. This is where your information system will come into play. An information system gathers and processes data into information and makes sure the people who need it, gets it. Information needs will vary depending on which level, operational unit or functional area you are in.

There are different types of information systems. The two main types are operations support systems and management support systems. Within operation support systems there are transaction processing systems, process control systems, and design and production systems. With management support systems there are management information systems, decision support systems, executive support systems, and expert systems.

Many businesses uses the internet. This is commonly referred to as e-commerce. Businesses use the internet to present information, sell products, distribute digital products and acquire goods and services. However security issues for both the company running the website and consumers using the website do come up. Malicious programs such as viruses, worms, and trojan horses can be dangerous to computers. It’s important to have anti-virus on your computer to help protect you.Risks to customers include: credit card theft, password theft, and invasion of privacy. If you want to know more on preventing credit card theft check on eHow.com’s article on it.

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Personal Finances

Many people could probably work on managing their finances. One thing many people work on, is trying to keep a good credit rating. It is important to pay bills on time, have little debt, not max out credit cards, keep a history of any borrowing, not apply for lots of loans, or borrow from a mix of lenders if you want to keep a good credit score. For a more in-depth way to keep a good credit score you can visit ehow.com. Credit cards have cause many to go in-depth which is probably why experts will say people should just cut up their credit cards and live on a cash-only basis.

When it comes to the financial planning life cycle, you can divide it into three stages. Stage one is basically focusing on building wealth. It is highly recommended you start as early as possible saving money. The time value of money even states that a dollar received in the present is worth more than a dollar received in the future. The second stage focuses on preserving and increasing the wealth you have accumulated and will continue to accumulate. Finally stage three focuses on living on the saved wealth.

The financial planning process can also be divided into three steps. Below are the steps.

  1. Create a net worth statement and a cash flow analysis to evaluate your current financial status.
  2. Set up short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term financial goals.
  3. Use a budget plan to plan your future cash inflows and outflows and to assess your financial performance.

For step one keep in mind that your net worth is the difference between your assets and your liabilities. The formula for net worth is:

Assets-Liablities=Net worth

For step two make goals that are realistic and measurable. Short-term goals are those less than 2 years, intermediate-term goals are those between 2 and 5 years and long-term goals are those more than 5 years. Goals can also be divided into primary goals, secondary goals, and third-level goals. Finally for step three, you will need to draw up a personal budget-a document the itemizes the sources of income and expenditures for a future period,which is often a year.

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Managing Financial Resources

When it comes to finance,of course money is involved. Money is a medium of exchange, a measure of value, and a store of value. Since people use money to buy the things they want, you could say they are trading their money for it.

Good financial management is important when starting up a business. First you need to develop a financial plan that will calculate the amount of funds your company will need for a certain amount of time and that will also include the strategy for getting these funds. You will then need to estimate the amount of sales you think you will make. After this, then you can figure out how to get the money you will need. People usually get money from personal assets, loans from friends and family, and also loans from banks.

If your business runs good, after a while, you may decide to expand and therefore will need more money. At this point to get more money, you can ask the bank for it, bring in more owners to invest, or seek funds from a private investor such as angels or venture capitalists. Angels are individuals who are willing to invest in start-up ventures,while venture capitalists are individuals who invest in businesses from their funds from private and institutional sources.

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Accounting

Accounting deals with interpreting financial information and communicating the findings to management and other decision makers within the company. It is important that accountants are accurate and are able to present their information in a way that whoever is receiving it, will understand what is being said. Two major fields of accounting are management accounting and financial accounting.

There are 3 financial statements prepared by accountants:

  • The income statement-Summarizes a business’s revenues(sales), expenses(cost of doing business), and net income(profit)
  • The balance sheet -Reports on a company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity;it is based on the accounting equation Assets= Liabilities+Owner’s equity
  • The statement of cash flows-Shows how much cash the business has coming in and going out

To learn more about accounting you can visit http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm

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Operations Management in Manufacturing and Service Industries

The operations management consists of all the activities involved in transforming a product idea into a finished product. An operations manager has responsibilities in production planning, production control, and quality control. There are 3 basic types of production methods: make-to-order, mass production, and mass customization.

The way a facility is laid out is important. This will help with efficiency. The different layouts are process layouts, product layouts, cellular layouts, and fixed-position layouts. Location and what technology to use is also important. Technology that is used includes computer-aided design(CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing(CAM).

 

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Product Design and Development

A product is something that can be marketed to customers since it provides a benefit and satifies a need. It can either be a physical good or a service. Four major categories of product development are, new-to-the-company, improvement of existing product, extension of product line, and new-to-the-market.

Product ideas can come from anywhere. It is important to think of product ideas that customers would want or need. Ideas can turn into a business opportunity when it has commercial potential. Products provide customers with 4 types of utility or benefit: time utility, place utility, ownership utility, and form utility.  It is also important to understand the industry your product fits in. Do some research on the industry and ask people in the industry about it. Also when it comes to research, also look up similar product sales to help forecast sales for your product idea.

Below is the product development process.

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Marketing

Marketing is more than just about advertising and selling. It includes other things such as setting a price, identifying a target market, and even delivering the product.  It is a team effort for an organization and overall everyone including consumers is involved in marketing.

With marketing you do need a strategy. You need to identify your market and then segment it. You will either have a consumer market or an industrial market or maybe even both. With segmenting the market there is demographic segmentation (age, gender, income,etc), geographic segmentation(region, climate, population), behavioral segmentation(receptiveness to technology,usage), and psychographic segmentation(lifestyle variables such as interests, activities, attitudes and values).  After this you need to develop and implement a marketing program,which involves the marketing mix(pictured below).

Pricing strategies include:

  • Skimming Pricing- Start off with the highest price that keenly interested customers are willing to pay.
  • Penetration Pricing– Charging a low price,both to discourage competition and to grab a sizable share of the market.
  • Cost-Based Pricing– Figure out how much it costs to make a product and then set a price by adding a profit to the cost.
  • Demand-Based Pricing– Set a price based off how much consumers are willing to pay
  • Target Costing– Figure out how much consumers are willing to pay and then subtract the retailer’s profit from this price.
  • Prestige Pricing– Set prices high to show they are high quality.
  • Odd-Even Pricing– Set prices such as $9.99 or $99 to make it look cheaper than $10 or $100.

 

The marketing field is extensive just like the opportunities for a person graduating with a marketing degree. Some options include advertising, brand and product management, marketing research, supply chain and logistics management, retailing, and sales.  Even if you’re not sure if you want to go into marketing,you may still want to take one or more marketing courses to see what’s all involved. Also when it comes to a job in sales, it can be helpful for any type of future career in business.

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Teamwork and Communications

The importance of teamwork is taught to people usually sometime starting in elementary school. A team is just a group of people who get together to work towards a common goal. Some characteristics of teams are that they are accountable for achieving specific common goals, the members of the team must rely on each other for information, they are stable so they can finish any assigned tasks, teams have authority, and they are assembled to do work for larger organizations.

Types of teams include:

Manager-Led Teams– The manager is the team leader and team members have little autonomy.

Self-Managing Teams– They are usually small and have considerable autonomy. Managers may determine goals but team members control the activities.

Cross-Functional Teams– Team members will come from different functional areas of the company. This way there can be people with different expertise on the team.

Virtual Teams– These type of teams interact electronically such as through videoconferencing, instant messaging, and in electronic meetings. Members can be located anywhere due to the fact all they usually need is a computer/laptop with internet connection.

Teams will either work or not work. The factors that contribute to teams working out are:

  • Team members depend or rely on each other to get the work done.
  • Team members will trust one another.
  • Team members work better as a group than individual.
  • Team members will encourage others to do their best.
  • Team members will be more committed if they enjoy being on a team.
  • If leadership roles are rotated the team will function better.

The factors that contribute to teams failing are:

  • Members fail to cooperate.
  • There is a lack of managerial support.
  • Managers fail to delegate authority.
  • Teams fail to cooperate thus affecting the success of the organization.

Communication, just like teamwork is important when it comes to business. Prospective employers want to hire people with good communication skills. Communications can either flow downward, upward, or lateral(horizontal) in a typical organization.

When it comes to communication there are some barriers. These can include noise, failure to listen, cultural barriers and functional barriers.  Cultural barriers are the differences among people of different cultures. This can include barriers among both genders, different ethnicities, different educational backgrounds, age, and experience. Functional barriers are barriers that can come up with people of the different functions in the organization, such as marketing, engineering ,management, etc.

In business there is different forms of communication. These can be through email, presentation with visuals, technical reports, formal reports, memos, and presentations without visuals. This link right here will tell you how to write a business report, a business memo and a business email. Also keep in mind of the nonverbal communication you may or may not be aware of that you use on a daily basis.

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