How Some Retailers Make More Money than Others

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The Right Choice

At the laundromat, people using cards rather than coins wash more, smaller loads. Nor are big spenders simply opting for cards over cash. Controlled experiments show that the form of payment can actually cause people to increase spending. When you hand over cash or a check, you part with something of value. Yet after you swipe a credit or debit card, you put the same object back in your wallet. Paying feels less real, which encourages more spending. New forms of payment may do even more to dull the mental connection between spending and having less money.

The average response: When she asked about Apple Pay, the average was Another study by Avni Shah, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Toronto, offers the first experimental look at the effects of paying by smartphone. People primed to pay with a phone reported even less pain of payment than those paying with a card. That said, some people are more susceptible than others. Tightwads feel the pain of payment more—and are less likely to splurge, even when using a card. Whatever your temperament may be, there are steps you can take to limit how payment form influences spending:.

Make a shopping list ahead of time, set a budget and stick to it , and, of course, pay with cash. Not remembering dollar amounts goes hand in hand with reduced pain of payment. Signing up for transaction alerts from your card company or budgeting software can also make spending more salient.

Slow down the shopping process.

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Splitting up shopping across multiple trips may help spending sink in. Generating a little extra pain of payment may be worth it for another reason, too. Become a Member. Sign In. Remember Me. Not a member? Need further assistance? Please call Member Services at Join Consumer Reports. You should know the status of inventory, what's on hand at present, and what was on hand at the end of the last fiscal year and the one preceding that. You should also have the inventory appraised.

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After all, this is a hard asset and you need to know what dollar value to assign it. Also, check the inventory for salability. How old is it? What is its quality? What condition is it in? Keep in mind that you don't have to accept the value of this inventory: it is subject to negotiation. If you feel it is not in line with what you would like to sell, or if it is not compatible with your target market, then by all means bring those points up in negotiations. Furniture, fixtures, equipment and building. This includes all products, office equipment and assets of the business.

Get a list from the seller that includes the name and model number of each piece of equipment. Then determine its present condition, market value when purchased versus present market value, and whether the equipment was purchased or leased.

Step 1: Stop Unnecessary Shopping.

Find out how much the seller has invested in leasehold improvements and maintenance in order to keep the facility in good condition. Determine what modifications you'll have to make to the building or layout in order for it to suit your needs. Copies of all contracts and legal documents. Contracts would include all lease and purchase agreements, distribution agreements, subcontractor agreements, sales contracts, union contracts, employment agreements and any other instruments used to legally bind the business.


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Also, evaluate all other legal documents such as fictitious business name statements, articles of incorporation, registered trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc. If you're considering a business with valuable intellectual property, have an attorney evaluate it. In the case of a real-estate lease, you need to find out if it is transferable, how long it runs, its terms, and if the landlord needs to give his or her permission for assignment of the lease.

If the company is a corporation, check to see what state it's registered in and whether it's operating as a foreign corporation within its own state.

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Tax returns for the past five years. Many small business owners make use of the business for personal needs. They may buy products they personally use and charge them to the business or take vacations using company funds, go to trade shows with their spouses, etc. You have to use your analytical skills and those of your accountant, to determine what the actual financial net worth of the company is.

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Financial statements for the past five years. Evaluate these statements, including all books and financial records, and compare them to their tax returns. This is especially important for determining the earning power of the business. The sales and operating ratios should be examined with the help of an accountant familiar with the type of business you are considering. Sales records.


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Although sales will be logged in the financial statements, you should also evaluate the monthly sales records for the past 36 months or more. Break sales down by product categories if several products are involved, as well as by cash and credit sales. This is a valuable indicator of current business activity and provides some understanding of cycles that the business may go through.

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Compare the industry norms of seasonal patterns with what you see in the business. Also, obtain the sales figures of the 10 largest accounts for the past 12 months. If the seller doesn't want to release his or her largest accounts by name, it's fine to assign them a code. You're only interested in the sales pattern. Complete list of liabilities. Consult an independent attorney and accountant to examine the list of liabilities to determine potential costs and legal ramifications. Find out if the owner has used assets such as capital equipment or accounts receivable as collateral to secure short-term loans, if there are liens by creditors against assets, lawsuits, or other claims.

Your accountant should also check for unrecorded liabilities such as employee benefit claims, out-of-court settlements being paid off, etc. All accounts receivable. Break them down by 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and beyond. Checking the age of receivables is important because the longer the period they are outstanding, the lower the value of the account. You should also make a list of the top 10 accounts and check their creditworthiness. If the clientele is creditworthy and the majority of the accounts are outstanding beyond 60 days, a stricter credit collections policy may speed up the collection of receivables.

All accounts payable. Like accounts receivable, accounts payable should be broken down by 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. This is important in determining how well cash flows through the company. On payables more than 90 days old, you should check to see if any creditors have placed a lien on the company's assets.

Debt disclosure. This includes all outstanding notes, loans and any other debt to which the business has agreed.

See, too, if there are any business investments on the books that may have taken place outside of the normal area. Look at the level of loans to customers as well.