2ps.com step into New Zealand.September 13, 2017 | Markus Schwarzer

2ps.com, a revolutionary consulting firm started in Canada, step into New Zealand.

2ps.com logoMONTREAL, August 23rd, 2017. 2ps announces the appointment of Markus Schwarzer, as the first Ambassador in New Zealand

The seasoned Finance Professional with a strong background in operations and management in the manufacturing industry, will run the first 2ps League in Oceania.

Hands-On Experience

“Markus is not only a real expert, but he is also an amazing person. He has a multifaceted personality from its European origins and International business experience.
His impressive experience with businesses of all sizes, while always remaining very accessible and humble, is a proof of real seniority.” confesses Yann Rousselot-Pailley, 2ps CEO, “He advocates for a more humane vision of consulting, and entirely embodies 2ps values”.

Play Nice MottoPlay Nice

“I do like the concept of expert consultants collaborating, sharing expertise and skills across the globe.
The “Play Nice” motto is also appealing as we are living in a world that is ever more challenging for each to gain an edge at someone else expense. The fair-play message is an important one. ” says Markus.

2ps.com

After only a year, the 2PS concept is a great success and is now established in more than 18 different countries, “We are delighted to expand our community to Oceania, it means more opportunities for our network members. Collaboration is borderless!” tells Yann Rousselot-Pailley, 2PS CEO.

About 2ps.com

2ps believes that independent consultants are collectively a viable alternative to large consulting firms. We collaborate thanks to a decentralized and gamified platform that provides trust and security.

Our collective is a global network of vetted management advisors in the field of strategy, technology finance and marketing. As entrepreneurs our experts bring creativity and customized services to their customers, but are accountable and results oriented, delivering a fair and ethical approach of the consulting.

Sources:
Juliette Rolland – PR and Marketing +1 855-907-0735. juliette.rolland@2ps.com
Yann Rousselot-Pailley – CEO +1 855-907-0735 ext 1001. y@2ps.com
Markus Schwarzer – 2PS Ambassador +64 27 9732236. markus.schwarzer@2ps.com
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Do you wanna pimp your Business?August 23, 2017 | Markus Schwarzer

The Train Trip

On a recent train trip I got talking with a fellow passenger.

After the usual introduction, her name was Conchita, she asked me: “I would like to sell my current business and then buy a new one, that is better suited to my interests.  But how do I value my business?

“ Well” I responded,” good question indeed. The answer torments business sellers and buyers for some time. There isn’t one precise method that establishes a valuation beyond argument.”

Company Value

“Conchita, “ I said “the value of a company can vary greatly. Depending on the respective viewpoint of the parties involved.”

Conchita kept persisting: “ok, understood, but how easy (or complicated) is it to estimate the true value of a business?”

Company Valuation Reasons

A company valuation can have different purposes. The most common one are:

  • purchase and sale of a company due to retirement or health reasons
  • attracting new investors, eg for expansion
  • takeover or merger
  • adding or changing shareholders
  • compulsory part calculations in inheritance division

Value not equal Selling Priceprice value diagram

The company valuation serves as a basis for decision-making for both:

  • the Seller (which maximum amount can I demand?)
  • the Purchaser  (which minimum amount should I offer?)

In my experience, Seller and Purchaser are generally colliding with their respective views between the value of a company and its (selling) price.

  • As with every commodity, the price is determined supply and demand.
  • A starting point for negotiating the sale or the takeover price.
  • Both parties should (ideally target) a company value that is as realistic as possible.

Many Valuation Methods

There are many valuation methods. Most can lead to different results. There is no binding method. 

I said to Conchita: “Choose the method that best suits the size of the company. Your capital and asset structure as well as your specific industry.  Then test the result with at least two methods.”

Typically, Seller and Purchaser regard the financial side from different angles.

Seller is…

  • often emotionally connected to their company and
  • most of the time their evaluation is based on the past.

Purchaser…

  • approach the valuation more rationally and
  • are interested in the growth potential
  • ultimately, they want to pay as little as possible.

Overvaluation

It is not uncommon for the seller, and also their consultant or accountant, not to know how to determine a realistic price for the company.

In the case of an overvaluation, there is a risk that the seller party will ‘overplay its hand’. The search for potential purchasers interest or indeed the subsequent negotiations could be at risk or fail completely.

Non-operating factors influence pricing

Although the company value is ideally determined according to objective criteria, other factors are often decisive for price determination. These can be:

  • Personal influence of the current owner in his/her company
  • Anticipated (but not realized) sales and profit development
  • Degree of innovation of products or services (niche)
  • Size of the company and competence of the internal organization
  • Strength or presence of Competition
  • Number of takeover offers and purchasing candidates
  • Age of successor
  • Financial and family situation of both parties

More than just A Selling Price (just like the song ‘It’s more than a feeling?’)

I said to Conchita: “Involve your banking partner in the valuation. 
The value of your company is also a reflection of the company’s creditworthiness.
Which in turn leads to favorable credit rating and favorable credit conditions such as interest rates.”

Several methods are available for determining the company value. For simplification  I am just listing the following:

The Asset Value Method
net asset diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the most commonly used valuation method. It determines the Net Assets= Owners Equity.

Pro:

  • Relative easy to carry out
  • Based on current data that can be accessed easily

Contra:

  • Purely based on current information
  • Disregards external factors, eg economic environment
  • Does not take into account future growth (potential)

Discounted Cash Flow Analysis (DCF)

The DCF analysis is one the most thorough method to value a company.
This method is used to calculate the value of a company from the discounting of future cash flows.

Pro:

  • High degree of recognition internationally
  • Used by most financial practitioners
  • Based on future data

Contra:

  • Involves some guesswork of future cash flows
  • Requires Excel and Financial Analysis skills

Pimping your Business

I don’t know what you, the reader, would recommend to Conchita.

My final comments, before I disembarked at the Hauptbahnhof: “Conchita, keep in mind that getting a company ready for sale or indeed its valuation is not a straight forward thing. 

The price which an investor would be willing to pay for your company’s equity depends on supply and demand. And also a number of Emotional Factors.”

The Author

Markus is a Financial Professional, specialising in Process Improvement and Financial Reporting.

 

 

 

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Queues of refugees in BerlinDuring a recent visit to Berlin, Germany, I came face to face with the sheer size of the refugee situation. Over the last two years, more than 1 million people entered Germany as refugees. 

People are on the move. Fleeing from their homelands from persecution, violence and poverty.
In the hope of a better life, they also come to Germany.

Many people who are now coming to Germany have a legitimate claim to political asylum. They are also likely to remain in the long term in Germany. Fast solutions for the conflicts are not in sight. This is especially true for people from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.

Millions seek Asylum

Make up of Asylum Seekers_2016In 2016, almost 500k sought asylum. The majority of countries with vastly different cultural values. 

At the turn of 2015/16 more than 1,000 people a day, arrived in Berlin. This is now down to 20-30 per day.

Nowadays, the ultra long queues outside the National Office of Health and Social Affairs in Berlin-Moabit are a thing of the past.
Nevertheless, there are still significant numbers of 
refugees lining up and hope for asylum.

Administrative Challenges

This increasingly challenges the local and federal government authorities. Often pushed to capacity limits.
Again and again, employees complain about overloading.

The language and cultural barriers are significant. The two biggest hurdles for successful integration.

Refugees_level of educationAccess to Labour Market

In addition, most refugees are poorly educated in order to compete on equal terms in the German labour market. Close to 2/3rd have no high school or uni education. 

The recognition of qualification often takes a long time or not at all. Gaining access to records in war-torn and corrupt countries tends to be very difficult.

Huge Costs

Whether it is 17 billion Euros, 20 or even 23, does not really matter. In any case, It’s a huge amount spent in 2016 for the reception, housing and care of refugees.

A large number of measures are available for immigrants in the areas of language teaching, education, and work.

German Language

To learn the German language is the first step into integration. This begins with language support measures:

  • in daycare centers such as the “Language Kitas” program are supported by the Federal Government over the program period from 2016 to 2019 with up to Euros 100 million annually.
  • This is followed by school-based language support in German, which is aimed at children whose knowledge of German is not sufficient. The formats vary according to the age of the children.

Integration programs

The state sponsored integration programs are at the core of the integration measures for adult immigrants.

In addition to the general integration programs (600 hours of language course, 100 hours of orientation course), there are additional programs with the focus on literacy, women, parents, young people and young adults.

attendance integration programRoughly 340,00 people attended the Integration Programs in 2016 (2015: 180,000). Syrian refugees making up the largest contingent.

The integration of refugees will become an important social and political task in the coming years in Germany. Central to this is the integration into the labor market, which enables people to live independently.

Integration Coaching

German authorities are providing funding for more ‘Integration Coaches’. The training program for integration coaches is aimed at professionals who are active in the areas of career preparation, career counselling, and job placement for refugees and migrants.

Integration at the Coal Face

Many refugees are not only physically but also mentally exhausted. It is often the memories of experiences or the current circumstances when everything is unfamiliar. A view of the future is difficult and perhaps part of the family is not there. But regardless of this, many refugees can already be helped with simple, fast-acting methods. 

The introduction of an active policy of integration in Germany was carried out very late. Failures in early phases of life are reflected:

  • in a lower level of education,
  • which in turn reduces chances on the labor market.

The shortcomings in the integration are therefore difficult and can only be corrected with great effort.

One particular poor example that Germany does not wish to replicate is France. France failed majorly in integrating its North African citizens and migrants. 

The Challenge

The integration of migrants in Germany poses major challenges. The Germans as people who are hosts, helpers, supporters, sometimes also critics. The authorities, the state and, of course, the migrants themselves, who have to find their way first. This will take time. And Patience. Lots of it.

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Thinking like Jack Reacher improves Cash FlowJuly 2, 2017 | Markus Schwarzer

Jack Reacher drawingDo you know Jack Reacher?

The 6.5”, 250 lbs, hands like coal shovels, protagonist in Lee Child’s bestselling books.

Reacher’s main chareteristics are an unorthodox investigative style. And his ability to rile his opponents.

He solves problems in , shall we say, unusual ways. Often with significant body counts. And Reacher thinks outside the box.

Is a 20% Reduction in Outgoing $ Cash in 60 Days possible?

Yes it is.

                                                                                  How so?

20% cash flow savingsThink outside the box. Think like Jack Reacher.

Be determined. Be focused.

Fire bullets like Reacher.

 

 

 

Example: Paying Suppliers

3 Steps cost reduction

 

In Summary

The Reacher Bullet approach works. Take the time to really focus on Supplier Costs:

1 Get organised. It does not take much.

2 Do it. Don’t delay and start. Document and review.

3 Get the Benefits. Notice the cash outflow improvements

⇒20% cash outflow reduction in 6 months. Or better.

⇒It works. I have seen the Cash Flow Grin. 😀 

I want the Cash Flow Grin too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cash Flow Killer strikes again!June 16, 2017 | Markus Schwarzer

Poor Cash Flow is killing businesses worldwide – mercilessly.

Business failures chart

Did you know that worldwide business studies agree that poor Cash Flow is the main reason for businesses to fail?

Indeed, 90% of small businesses fall victim to poor Cash Flow. Sooner or later.

It wrings the lifeblood out of them.

Human Costs

Add the human cost. Disappointment, Frustration, Partnership breakups, Bankruptcy. Plus significant Heath issues and the Social Stigma of perceived Failure. In Business and Life.

I always expel a sigh of relief if a client of mine shows me their cash flow statement. Then I know they have a basis for better decision making.

Some argue it is an Art to Balance cash going out with cash coming in. Well, it is not.

 

Why is this Business Killer so prolific?

It happens for 2 main reasons:

A. Businesses run out of money because they struggled to find a viable business model.
Simply, the business does not make enough money. Not generating sufficient income.

B. Businesses run out of money because they don’t plan their Cash Flows.

Cash-flow-forecasting

Cash Flow Forecasting is the elixir to business survival. Essential like breathing for humans.
I am a strong believer in a rolling 12 months cash flow forecast. Perhaps even 18-24 months.

And I still have a preference using the old Excel spreadsheet method.

Why Cash Flow Forecasting Excel?
Because it forces one to think and manually enter every possible future transaction: Sales, Expense, Tax.

Simple is Best

No need to get fancy. Keeping it simple and meaningful.

Optimism is good. Pipe dreams are dangerous

Optimism is a key trait of being human and small business owners in particular.

After all, what realistic person would persevere in the face of so many obstacles, so many naysayers and so much stress?

Whilst optimism is critical for a new business owner, letting it compromise your objectivity can be dangerous to your Cash Flow.

You may be playing into the hands of the Silent Assassin.

Set Realistic Sales Forecast

  • An objective and realistic Sales Forecast.
  • Based on historical Evidence and Real numbers.
  • Use Actual past sales data from your own business
  • or other businesses in your industry as a basis for tracking trends and predicting future sales.

This information, along with some objective feedback from people around you, will help you come up with a realistic future sales projections.

Sales Forecasting can be especially difficult for the first few years of business because you don’t have past sales figures or as much experience to draw from.

Mentoring

This is where working with a mentor from within your own industry may be extremely useful.
A good business mentor can offer their own experience to help you project future sales, and even offer historical sales figures from personal experience to help you predict upcoming sales volumes.

Expenditure

The old saying: ‘It takes money to make money’ remains valid.
But, unfortunately, this common belief can make many a rookie entrepreneur fall prey to gross overspending. Especially in the first few months of business.

Spend wisely

The reality is that while, yes, it does take money to make money, not all startup expenses are created equal.
Starting or growing a business involves plenty of clearly beneficial expenses — costs that will benefit your company’s profitability in measurable ways.

Keep eye on the ball

If you want your business to make money, keep your eye on the Ball = Expenditure.

Review the benefit of every single expense. After all, every dollar you spend on your business is a dollar that is ultimately taken away from your profit margin.

Budgeting

Along with your Sales Forecast, create a realistic and meaningful itemised Budget. And stick to it.

Break Even Point

  • Calculate when you plan for your business to break even.
  • Keep in mind unexpected expenses or opportunities.
  • Go back to your projections and calculate how those purchases will delay your break-even point.

Keep the Assassin at Bay

  • So, you’ve set realistic expectations for future sales.
  • You’ve prepared spending budget, and
  • you’re doing everything possible to make your clients pay up.

These three changes alone will do wonders for your company’s long-term cash flow. But without tracking your day-to-day cash flow, you may still find your business in a tight spot.

Tight Spots

For retail companies, the months just before the holidays are a time when cash flow can be particularly tight. You need more inventory from your suppliers to prepare for an influx of sales, but if those supplier payments come due before your sales actually happen, you may have trouble paying bills on time.

Cash Flow Forecast Statement

Using a Cash Flow Forecast Statement will help you track your inflow of sales and outflow of expenses and tax during a specific time period (e.g.12 months).

This will help to anticipate ‘dry periods’ when you’ll have more money going out than coming in, so you can plan ahead for those difficult periods.

Without one, you’re just guessing at whether you’ll have the money you need when you need it, and you’ll increase your chances of facing late payments and other penalties on past due invoices.

The Cash Flow Killer loves Guessing Games. This gives him the upper hand.

Safety Buffer

No matter how many safeguards you have in place to protect your company’s cash, hiccups in cash flow are a business reality. This may be no big deal if you have a cushion of savings on hand. But if your company is working with a zero account balance, one slow sales month could mean instant disaster.

To safeguard your business from cash-flow issues, maintain an account balance equivalent to at least two months of operating expenses. That way, even if you experience unexpected stalls to Cash Flow, you have reserves in place to protect yourself.

Learnings

Cash Flow issues are one of the greatest challenges of business ownership. But if you stay objective about your business, rein in unnecessary spending and stay alert to potential pitfalls, you’ll be head and shoulders above your business peers in your potential for long-term business success

Review, Review, Review

Because Cash Flow Forecasting is so vital go over it again, and again. Test assumptions and review with someone you trust: Mentor, another business manager, your accountant or bank manger. 

Don’t be upset if someone points out flaws in your forecast.

Surplus or Deficit diagrammeDecision points

Cash Flow Forecasting flags in which months you can expect to see a cash deficit, and which months you can expect a surplus.

More importantly, you’ll also get an idea of how much cash your business is going to require over the next year or so to survive.

 

Cash Flow Forecasting is also useful for decision making regarding the next capital project. Growing usually requires investment.

Benefit of Cash Flow Forecasting

  • (Good) Cash Flow planning is the lifeline for business survival.
  • It puts the business in good stead with attracting investment or joint venture partners.
  • It silences the Cash Flow Killer.
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