Risks in International Business

Just as there are reasons to get into global markets, and benefits from global markets, there are also risks involved in locating companies in certain countries. Each country may have its potentials; it also has its woes that are associated with doing business with major companies. Some of the rogue countries may have all the natural minerals but the risks involved in doing business in those countries exceed the benefits. Some of the risks in international business are:

(1) Strategic Risk

(2) Operational Risk

(3) Political Risk

(4) Country Risk

(5) Technological Risk

(6) Environmental Risk

(7) Economic Risk

(8) Financial Risk

(9) Terrorism Risk

Strategic Risk: The ability of a firm to make a strategic decision in order to respond to the forces that are a source of risk. These forces also impact the competitiveness of a firm. Porter defines them as: threat of new entrants in the industry, threat of substitute goods and services, intensity of competition within the industry, bargaining power of suppliers, and bargaining power of consumers.

Operational Risk: This is caused by the assets and financial capital that aid in the day-to-day business operations. The breakdown of machineries, supply and demand of the resources and products, shortfall of the goods and services, lack of perfect logistic and inventory will lead to inefficiency of production. By controlling costs, unnecessary waste will be reduced, and the process improvement may enhance the lead-time, reduce variance and contribute to efficiency in globalization.

Political Risk: The political actions and instability may make it difficult for companies to operate efficiently in these countries due to negative publicity and impact created by individuals in the top government. A firm cannot effectively operate to its full capacity in order to maximize profit in such an unstable country’s political turbulence. A new and hostile government may replace the friendly one, and hence expropriate foreign assets.

Country Risk: The culture or the instability of a country may create risks that may make it difficult for multinational companies to operate safely, effectively, and efficiently. Some of the country risks come from the governments’ policies, economic conditions, security factors, and political conditions. Solving one of these problems without all of the problems (aggregate) together will not be enough in mitigating the country risk.

Technological Risk: Lack of security in electronic transactions, the cost of developing new technology, and the fact that these new technology may fail, and when all of these are coupled with the outdated existing technology, the result may create a dangerous effect in doing business in the international arena.

Environmental Risk: Air, water, and environmental pollution may affect the health of the citizens, and lead to public outcry of the citizens. These problems may also lead to damaging the reputation of the companies that do business in that area.

Economic Risk: This comes from the inability of a country to meet its financial obligations. The changing of foreign-investment or/and domestic fiscal or monetary policies. The effect of exchange-rate and interest rate make it difficult to conduct international business.

Financial Risk: This area is affected by the currency exchange rate, government flexibility in allowing the firms to repatriate profits or funds outside the country. The devaluation and inflation will also impact the firm’s ability to operate at an efficient capacity and still be stable. Most countries make it difficult for foreign firms to repatriate funds thus forcing these firms to invest its funds at a less optimal level. Sometimes, firms’ assets are confiscated and that contributes to financial losses.

Terrorism Risk: These are attacks that may stem from lack of hope; confidence; differences in culture and religious philosophy, and/or merely hate of companies by citizens of host countries. It leads to potential hostile attitudes, sabotage of foreign companies and/or kidnapping of the employers and employees. Such frustrating situations make it difficult to operate in these countries.

Although the benefits in international business exceed the risks, firms should take a risk assessment of each country and to also include intellectual property, red tape and corruption, human resource restrictions, and ownership restrictions in the analysis, in order to consider all risks involved before venturing into any of the countries.

Should You Start Your Own Electrician Business? – Pros and Cons

Just about anyone would love to start their own business. The thought of being able to call the shots and work on your own really sounds great on the surface, but becoming an electrician is a far more difficult task than most people think. It takes years of dedication and learning to become licensed and to become a credible business is a whole other struggle.

Here are the Pros of why you should start you own electrician business:

• Potential Income – Electricians can make anywhere from $40 – $100 dollars an hour and the electrician business is one of the fastest growing businesses in the United States. For you this means there is going to be plenty of money to make if you can become licensed and insured.

• Self Employed – The great thing about become an electrician is the fact you can run your own business with your own rules. You can work from your home or office as long as you have all the materials needed to perform services.

• Tax Benefits – There are a lot of tax benefits of running your own business. The government will literally give you money for start-up costs. The schooling you need will be costly and the government will help out with a portion of that as well.

Here are the Cons of why you shouldn’t start you own electrician business:

• Apprenticeship – It takes years of being an apprentice to a licensed electrician to be able to become one of your own. Some people just don’t have the drive to make it through the years of schooling and apprenticeship that it takes to become licensed in this business.

• Dangerous – Electricians have the possibility of being electrocuted and killed if the right voltage is discharged. There are stories all over the internet about electricians accidentally getting hurt or even worse, killed on jobs where something went wrong. This is a very dangerous job that has high risks of injury. Keep this in mind if you have children or people that rely on you on a regular basis.

• Competition – The competition is this field is high but if you are licensed and insured, you will set yourself apart from a high percentage of the electricians marketing themselves online or on Craigslist. Most of the electricians that you will find on Craigslist, might say they are licensed but they really aren’t. I suggest that when you get your license, you display it on your ads and website, so people know that you are licensed and insured right away.

Becoming an electrician is not an easy task but if you stay motivated, finish your schooling and apprenticeship, and get licensed and insured, it is very likely that you can become successful in this business.

Getting Into the Bulk Fuel Delivery Business

Whether you own your own gasoline business or if you own a fleet of trucks, having your own bulk fuel delivery company may be just what you need for the future success of your business. It will help you get your own fuel in large amounts at discount prices so that you can save money. There are several steps that you need to follow to get your new business up and running.

The first step that you need to do is to write a plan for your business for your lending institution of choice. This forms the backbone for your company and consists of your vision and mission for your bulk fuel delivery business. This business plan helps the lending institution determine how much risk is involved in financing your business.

It is also important to check out all the competition so that you can see what you will be up against if you get your business off the ground. You can usually get the lists of businesses on the Internet, your chamber of commerce, or your local phone book. Once you have researched the competition, do what you can that will make you stand out in your city.

Another thing to consider if you want to own your own bulk fuel delivery business is to talk to other business people in the industry. More than likely, those in your town will not talk to you because they are the competition and they are not interested in helping out someone who will compete with them. However, someone from another part of the country may be a good source of information as you will not pose as an immediate threat to him.

You do have a couple of options that you need to consider when trying to determine what direction you want your business to go. You can either start up your own from scratch or you can purchase an existing business. If you choose to start your own, you have control of what goes on, but often, lending institutions resist funding new businesses due to lack of history. On the other hand, acquiring a known business is not as big of a risk, so lenders are more willing to finance you.

A third alternative is to purchase a recognizable business franchise. You can find out what is available by searching your local business directory or checking the various websites of possible companies that may offer franchising opportunities in your area.

Doing the proper research may even lead you in a completely different direction, or even to a new town. Your own bulk fuel delivery business may be just what you need to help your fleet be more competitive and efficient.

20 Pieces Of Equipment For Your Cake Business

If you have decided that starting a cake business from home is perfect for you, then you may have some initial questions. Overall, a cake business is relatively straightforward but chocked full of options when it comes to equipment and supplies. Let’s go over some of the general products you may need for your cake business and some of the extra specialty items you may enjoy having.

1. Heavy Duty Mixer – most people own a mixer but you may want to upgrade if you are planning on starting a cake business from home.

2. Pans – As you know, these come in all shapes and sizes. Your three basic include your circular, versatile or character shaped. Tip: Don’t skimp on good quality cake pans, it does make a difference!

3. Large, heavy duty cooling racks.

4. Turntables for decorating. Make sure they are sturdy!

5. Good, quality separators for multi-layered cakes.

6. A camera to take beautiful pictures of your cakes so future clients can see your work.

7. An air brusher is definitely an item that is not necessary. But, as your business grows and your cake decorating art develops, you may want to invest in one.

8. A projector for the more serious cake business entrepreneurs. This will help you intensify the designs that go onto your specialty cakes. Again, this is not a necessity but definitely a luxury for those who want it.

9. Bowls and spatulas for mixing!

10. Food colors for coloring!

11. Obviously an oven for baking the cakes themselves.

12. Icing tubes, icing bags and accessories.

13. Rolling pins, non-stick boards and mats.

14. Brushes for painting if you are into that sort of decorating for your cake business.

15. Thermometers.

16. Dummy Cakes.

17. Knives and Cake Levelers.

18. Flower making accessories are a great investment to help add a little style to your cakes.

19. Books on cake businesses and cake decorating for new ideas and tips.

20. A couple of great web resources such as sites or forums where you can talk to other cake decorators, ask questions and share your knowledge with others!

Now, if you didn’t before, you have a great list to start from. Some of these items are less necessary than others. It is up to you how much you can invest in the start-up of your business. If you just want to begin making one-layered birthday cakes then you may not need everything on this list. But who knows, hopefully your business will boom from the beginning and then you will need every item on this list and more!

Five Characteristics of Great Business Names and Five Popular Trends to Avoid

Deciding on a name is one of the most exciting parts of starting up a business.

The only problem with choosing the name of your business is that so much rides on your business name. It’s a little like choosing a name for your baby. A little like? Make that a lot like! It’s no easier choosing a name for your business than it is choosing a name for your baby.

What’s in a business name? You want it to be everything. Sadly, many business names are nothing. Deciding on a great business name takes time. It takes thought. Moreover, getting it wrong could spell disaster for your business. Getting it right, however, will give customers a reason to hire you, connect you to your niche market, and save you thousands of marketing dollars.

You want your business name to have a big impact on people. This, in turn, will have a big effect on your market. A name that’s too far out may make it difficult to brand. A name that’s too generic and common is easily ignored. Naming your business “Sarah’s Cookies” may make all the sense in the world to you. In most cases, however, your own name means very little to your customers because it says nothing memorable or of distinction.

The key to picking a great name for your business is to make it memorable. Make it distinctive. Don’t make it silly or cute. Your name should reflect your market niche and identity and be able to reach your customer base easily. So don’t mess it up!

Top Five Characteristics of a Great Business Name

1. It’s short.

2. It’s specific and reflects a specialized business: Jiffy Lube, Home Depot.

3. It’s unique. Consider using words that are not in the dictionary: Alkamae, Google, Squidoo.

4. It’s creative. Don’t copy, borrow, or modify existing famous brand names. Got Milk? has its own branding. Leave Victoria’s Secret to Victoria.

5. It’s an easy name to say, spell, and remember. Use proper English construction so that when put in a sentence, it will work: “I just purchased a book from Amazon.”

Five Popular Business Naming Trends to Avoid

1. Don’t abbreviate your business name. Though it may make communication and correspondence easier, acronyms are sterile.

2. Avoid anything that ends in “global”, enterprise”, or “Inc.” They’re passé.

3. Avoid using your own name. Build your brand on your company, not on your name. That way, if you decide to sell your company one day, it will be easier to sell.

4. Don’t hyphenate your business name. It makes remembering and writing it difficult. Plus, a hyphenated web name is hard to read.

5. Avoid geographical names unless you’re trying to create a strong local affinity. The name “Willow Oak Center for Arts and Learning at Robertson County” works because this is a business targeted specifically for Robertson County in Tennessee.

Once you’ve found your name, consider trademarking it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and registering it through the Secretary of State offices. If your business operates on the Internet, be aware that domain names are not registered through state or local government, so just registering them at domain registration sites is not enough to protect your great business name.

There is more to naming your business than just coming up with something that sounds good, is clever, or you just happen to like. Naming your business is a serious matter. Your business name reflects your image, your brand, and your position in the marketplace. Because your business name is crucial to your overall branding success and marketing efforts, make your business name count.

Make it great!