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Microsoft Great Plains implementation, customization, report design, integration and software development notes. Illinois MRP customers needs and solutions highlights
Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains is very robust mid-size ERP platform. With Microsoft Dynamics project trends, GP is now integrating with Microsoft Office product stack and exposed through such tools as eConnect and Microsoft Dexterity to Microsoft developers community. In this small article we would like to highlight Illinois businesses specifically and how Microsoft Dynamics GP fits
o Distribution & Logistics. The city of Chicago is one of the largest railway hubs, plus the west suburbs we see flourishing warehouses with light manufacturing & assembly with following delivery across the Midwest, US nationwide and Canada. Microsoft Dynamics GP could be integrated with legacy cargo tracking system through eConnect or SQL stored procedures integration. Considering XML Web Services interface option and MS SQL Server linked server mechanism – such an integration could work in cross-platform environment: Oracle, Sybase, IBM DBII data migration to GP on MS SQL Server
o Chicago downtown service businesses. Such businesses as advertisement & publishing usually needs robust collection management functionality, allowing to assign collection calls to regional and product collection officers. In recruiting & staffing you could consider deployment of some features of GP Project Accounting, where your customers are your projects and you have your temps log time & expenses against these project to be accurately billed out.
o Food Processing. This is typically referred as process manufacturing, when you can not exactly predict what will be the outcome from one unit of incoming ingredient (opposite to discrete manufacturing). Process manufacturing requires such third parties or custom modules, which allows you to catch random weight items, store them in units in your inventory and then sell by pounds to retail or small wholesale customers – this is classical Dexterity customization realm
o Agriculture. When we are talking about farmers cooperation, good example would be repair crews, serving elevators and farm machinery – Service Management Suite fits this scenario with possible customization and extended reporting
Before putting up that sign and opening for business, there is a significant amount of work you will need to do. The following paragraphs include some of the things you will need to complete before you can open your business.
Assess The Need
Is there really a need for the goods or services you are going to offer? Many new business owners overlook this very important point. People will often go into business offering a product or service they are good at producing but never really considered if the product or service would be useful to other people. The easiest way to find out is to ask people what they want or need.
Research The Competition
Now that you have determined that there is indeed a need for what you are offering, it is time to find out who else offers the same goods or services. Find out who your serious competitors are. You want to know what makes people want to do business with them. You also need to know what it is about your competitor that people don’t like. Be sure to not imitate the competitor’s faults. Also, you will need to determine if your market will support another business like the one you are opening. Do not assume that you will “steal” your competition’s customers. People are creatures of habit and it may be difficult for them to change to an unknown business.
Will You Make A Profit
This one is a tricky one because there are so many variables that affect the profitability of a business. But, you have to analyze everything you know (and don’t know) about the business you are starting. Everyone says it is great owning a business doing something you “love”, but how long do you think you will be doing that thing you love if you don’t make money? You are at a point in your venture where you need to create a “Break Even Analysis”.
A break even analysis is just a document where you list your projected expenses for a 12 month period to determine the dollar amount your business needs to generate just to pay the bills. You then need to look at your projected sales for the same period of time and try to make a determination if this is worth it. The first 2 or 3 years you will probably show a loss, but after that 5th year you should see decent profits if the business is viable. If you can’t show a profit after year 4 on paper, it is probably not a good idea to start that business. You will need to be honest about sales and expenses, avoid the temptation of being overly optimistic.
Seek Professional Help
Now is not the time to start cutting corners. A good accountant, lawyer, and any other business or financial professional is worth their weight in gold. If you don’t currently have these people as a part of your business team, you need to find them fast. Ask friends and relatives if they have any recommendations and be sure to check references. Don’t hire a family law attorney when you need a corporate lawyer just because it is your 3rd cousin. Good professionals (notice the emphasis on good) can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your business by helping you to avoid pitfalls and obstacles. An attorney should review every scrap of paper before you sign your name.
Location, Location, Location
You will need to find a few locations they may work for your business. Before you sign that lease, ask yourself if your type of business needs to be in a “high profile” area to succeed or can you do just as well off the main strip. This is important because the high profile areas usually mean high rent. But if your business will depend on high profile, then high rent is going to be a cost of doing successful business. You may want to consider purchasing over renting, be sure you factor this into your startup costs as it may cost you a considerable amount more to buy, but it may save you thousands in the future. Be sure to have a lawyer review any lease or contract in advance.
Your Gonna Need Money, Lots of Money
Be sure you determine your capital needs before open your business. In their optimism about owning a business, new business owners tend to under estimate the amount of money they will need to open and operate their business. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes new business owners make. In my opinion, you should determine your financial needs by listing your startup costs, then list your monthly operational costs. Now pretend that your first customer will not make a purchase until your 3rd month of business. If I were you, I would be sure to have enough capital to operate my business without 1 cent in sales for at least 3 months, you never know what will happen.
Now You Need A Good Plan
Once you have completed the previous steps, you are ready to complete the most important step, your business plan. A good business plan is like a map, it helps you find the path you need to take to get you to your destination. Also, if you plan to seek financing for your business, most banks and investors will require a business plan. Even if you don’t plan to borrow money, you should create a business plan. And you should make it a point to review the business plan frequently. This practice helps keep you on track and will help get your business to the next level. A lot of the information you will need for your plan will come from the previous steps discussed on this webpage. I have provided a link to the right on how to write a good business plan.
Located in the northwest corner of Illinois, Galena is a thriving community. Main Street is bustling and features over 100 shops and restaurants. Galena attracts visitors from Chicago and other parts of Illinois, as well as Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Why start a business here? It has a small town atmosphere (3,500 population) that provides a good quality of life. Crime is low, schools are great and housing is affordable. Many residents are from Chicago (about 3 hours away), visited here and then decided to re-locate. Housing costs much less than Chicago and traffic is not a problem in Galena.
What type of businesses do well? Any type that caters to both residents and visitors. Unique and hand-made items are very attractive. There a number of local artists. Some have their own galleries. Others have space in either the Galena Artist Guild Gallery or the Hello Galena Shop. Still others have their work on consignment in some of the retail stores. Other “made in Galena” items include cheese cakes, purses and handbags, candles, furniture, pottery, candies, jewelry. Galena boasts both a winery and a brewery.
High speed internet, so additional avenues of opportunity are opened. You can either work from home or use an inexpensive office location.
What personal qualities are important? Galena is a “word of mouth” town. Good news spreads fast – bad news even faster. Customer service is key. Food service is particularly vulnerable. Guests must be properly greeted, Service must be good, food and drinks above average. Prices must represent value. Retail shops must acknowledge customers but allow some “adjustment” time. Upon immediately entering a shop, questions such as “where are you from” or ‘what are you looking for” should be held for the proper moment.
Illinois is the Midwest’s most economically productive state, and it has the largest population as well. In addition, while Springfield is its capital, the vast city of Chicago provides most of the state’s economic base, and Champaign, Peoria and Rockford play a role there as well.
Since Illinois is located in the center of the country and provides access to both the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan, it is also a natural transportation hub for industry. This is readily acknowledged by the commercial sector because the state has the world’s greatest concentration of air, land water transportation facilities.
Two states in one
If you are considering relocating here and buying an Illinois business for sale, it may surprise you to know that the state is made up of two major contrasting components. The first being a vibrant metropolis and the second being a slower-paced rural sector.
That is why Illinois has become a leading producer of soybeans and corn. It is also the site of O’Hare airport, which serves as a major transportation center as well.
Doing business here
If you would like to buy an Illinois business for sale, you will be interested to know that an established business that is also profitable is usually able to obtain financing from a small-business lender or a financial institution.
This means that it will be easier for you to operate and expand an existing business than it would be to do with a start-up venture.
Note also that Illinois businesses reap the benefits of a first class workforce, abundant resources for energy, an infrastructure that is unparalleled, essential industries, an enviable lifestyle and vast array of business incentives.
Finding the right business model
Limited partnership, sole proprietorship and limited liability company are the most common corporate structures for small businesses in the state. They also have other choices such as S corporation, C corporation general partnership and limited liability partnership.
If you need help in determining which option is the right one in your situation the Illinois Entrepreneurship Network and the Small Business Administration are ready to discuss the details with you and assist you in making the right decision.
Getting the help you need
Under the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Office of Business Development offers entrepreneurs a wide range of services and programs to help their business succeed in today’s complex economy.
They provide technology support services, incentives for expansion, expertise in global marketing, workforce development and job training.
At the same time the Illinois small business tax credit for job creation provides an additional incentive to investors for growing their business.