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Top 10 Business Plan Templates You Can Download Free #business #from #home #ideas

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Writing your business plan. Ughhhh.

It’s definitely not the most exciting part of starting a business. In fact, if you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you’re probably going to find yourself pulling a few all-nighters to get one done before heading into your first pitch for funding. Because that’s the thing–your business plan is a pretty important.

Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. Recently, I shared 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups. an infographic created by Mark Vital over at Funders and Founders.

A lot of those mistakes (most of them, in fact) are the result of poor planning. Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money–all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning.

Creating your business plan is more than just getting your ideas down on paper for potential funders to see. It’s an exploratory process in which you can evaluate your options, test your assumptions about your idea, and even discover new opportunities. It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business before investing too much time or money in them.

That doesn’t mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch. A template is great–you probably aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized. Check out these comprehensive business plan templates you can download for free to get you started:

1. Score’s Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground. Its template, available as a PDF or Word download, asks a whopping 150 questions and is generic enough to customize for most types of businesses. The Refining the Plan resource that comes with it is helpful, especially if this is your first crack at writing a business plan.

Editor’s Note: Looking for loan solutions for your business? If you would like information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

2. U.S. Small Business Administration Business Plan Engine

The SBA’s template is available to fill out online and then download as a PDF. You can go back in and edit it as needed, so don’t worry about having everything ready the first time you sit down to tackle it. Even broken into sections, it’s a long document and a bit of a slog to get through, but it produces a professional-looking and useful business plan. This is particularly helpful if your idea isn’t fully fleshed out and you know you have homework to do–it prompts you for information.

3. The $100 Startup’s One-Page Business Plan

Who said a business plan has to be a long, complicated document? Some funders are going to want to see a lot of detail, but you can provide that in appendices. The $100 Startup, the website for the best-selling book of the same name, has a ton of stripped-down resources for entrepreneurs, including this super simplified business plan template.

4. LawDepot’s WYSIWYG Business Plan Template

This one says you just have to answer a few simple questions and will be “done before you know it!” Don’t believe it. A business plan should take time and a lot of homework, but if you’ve already done that, LawDepot’s template is a decent choice. It walks you through getting started, marketing, product, competitive analysis, SWOT, and more, with a window below the input fields to show you the plan as you work away at it. You can download it free with a trial subscription, but you’ll have to remember to cancel it within the week if you don’t plan to continue using it.

5. SME Toolkit Business Plan Samples

The SME Toolkit, jointly offered by IFC and IBM, offers a simple two-page outline of what should be included in your business plan to meet the minimum requirements of funders and tax authorities (in the U.S.). It contains 10 broad sections, including market analysis, management and organization, etc. with a one-paragraph explanation of each. A second download on the same page is an Excel file to help with your financial projections.

6. Office Online Templates Galore

Of course, Microsoft offers a ton of business plan templates for Office users (you can get birthday invitations while you’re at it). If you’d rather do a business plan presentation than a Word doc, you can download one of Microsoft Office’s half a dozen or so PowerPoint templates for just that purpose. You’ll want to customize it with your company branding (you have your branding down, right?), but it’s easier than starting from a blank PPT.

7. vFinance Inc. Business Plan Template and Guide

Global financial services firm vFinance offers a basic, 30-page business plan template to download from its website–one the company says has been downloaded more than a quarter of a million times. No, it won’t be completely unique, but vFinance knows what it’s doing and the template is pretty comprehensive. VFinance is the creator of the massive Venture Capital Directory and has tailored the plan to appeal to funders. If that’s your goal, definitely check this one out.

8. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

U.K. online invoicing software brand Invoiceberry offers free business plan templates in .docx. odt. xlsx, and .pptx formats. Each one also contains a marketing plan and executive summary template. There’s a catch, though–the company asks you to take one of the following three actions before you can download the template: like it on Facebook, give it a +1 on Google+, or give it your email address. If you don’t mind doing that, it’s a good deal. Kudos to Invoiceberry for figuring out this effective lead-gen tactic too!

9. Santa Clara University’s My Own Business Institute Plans

Santa Clara U’s MOBI is an initiative of its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Leavey School of Business. On the site, you can download each of the 15 business plan sections individually as Word documents, or grab all 15 together in one doc. There’s a ton of other helpful resources as well, including guidelines for evaluating your potential sites, a list of key people to review your plan, and sample financial sheets.

10. RocketLawyer’s Business Plan Templates by State

Like some of the others, you fill out RocketLawyer’s form and download the business plan when you’re done–but its template allows you to choose your state before getting started. These plans are tailored to meet your financing requirements in your state, which is a huge bonus for those seeking funding through banks. It’s also heavily geared toward financing, making it a good choice if that’s a priority for you.

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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.





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10 greatest entrepreneurs of all time – Business – Small business #business #tax #software

#top entrepreneurs

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History s 10 greatest entrepreneurs

By Philipp Harper

Special to msnbc.com

How many entrepreneurs have there been in the history of the world? Millions, certainly, probably even billions. These are the men and women who take capital — their own or somebody else’s — and use it to beget more capital. Some fail, some succeed, some excel.

With so many candidates to choose from, any list of the 10 greatest entrepreneurs of all time will necessarily be somewhat arbitrary. It will also be top-heavy with Americans, just as a list of great chefs would be disproportionately French or of great eccentrics dominated by the British.

Business is what America does. If that sounds chauvinistic, get over it.

Here, without further ado but with tongue occasionally in cheek, are history’s 10 greatest entrepreneurs.

1.King Croesus. A pick by our veterans committee, Croesus, who ruled the Asia Minor kingdom of Lydia in the sixth century B.C. is owed a huge debt of gratitude for minting the world’s first coinage, thereby creating in a single stroke the lifeblood of every business: liquidity and cash flow. Moreover, his opulent lifestyle has given entrepreneurs throughout history something to shoot for. Is there a greater distinction for the commercially inclined than to be deemed “as rich as Croesus”?

2.Pope Sixtus IV. Sixtus gets the nod for realizing that the “wages of sin” meant more than unpleasant repercussions. There was money to be made in damnation, and Sixtus mined it by opening up a new market — the dead — for the indulgences the church had been selling for years. Relatives of the deceased quickly filled the Vatican’s coffers with payments intended to lessen the time their loved ones spent in purgatory. In 1478 Sixtus “grew his market” by authorizing the Spanish Inquisition, which swelled purgatory’s ranks by 100,000 souls in 15 years. He also was the first pope to license brothels.

3.Benjamin Franklin. In a real sense, Franklin was America’s first entrepreneur. Unlike other of the Founding Fathers — the hypermoral Washington, the prodigiously intellectual Jefferson — whose virtues and attainments are seen today as anachronisms, Franklin truly was a model of what many of us would become. Beneath the statesman’s mantle resided a popular author, a printer, an inventor (the lightning rod, bifocals) and a very savvy businessman who knew how to commercialize the fruits of his fertile mind.

4. P.T. Barnum. Americans have always loved a good scam and Phineas Taylor Barnum took the art to new heights. He played on our fascination with the bizarre and freakish with sideshow acts ranging from the midget Tom Thumb to Jumbo the giant elephant. In between was a host of more dubious curiosities. He created the Barnum and Bailey Circus as a showcase for all this wonderment, and dubbed it “the Greatest Show on Earth.” Along the way he invented modern advertising and became rich. For the record, he never said “There’s a sucker born every five minutes,” but he left behind plenty of other bon mots. Among them: “Every crowd has a silver lining.”

5.Thomas Edison. What do you say about the man who gave the world the electric light, the phonograph, talking motion pictures and more than 1,300 other patented inventions? That he was the world’s greatest inventor, certainly. But he was also able to exploit the profit potential in his creations, an entrepreneurial bent that asserted itself when Edison was a teen-ager, printing a newspaper in the baggage car of a rolling train and then selling copies to passengers. His impact on the way people live was and is pervasive. As a combination of inventive genius and entrepreneurial flair, he stands alone.

6.Henry Ford. Ford also fundamentally changed human lifestyles by making available a vehicle, the Model T, that vastly extended people’s range of movement. The automobile would allow America’s masses to fulfill their Manifest Destiny to populate every corner of the continent. But his more profound impact was on industry. The moving assembly line he designed to build his cars was the signal breakthrough of the Industrial Age. Appropriately, Ford earned the seed capital for his enterprise by working as an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit.

7.Benjamin Siegel. Known as “Bugsy” to his friends, Siegel was a notorious mobster with a touch of the visionary. Legend has it that he single-handedly invented Las Vegas, and that’s a stretch. But he was the first to see what the town could become: a lush oasis of pleasure where gambling was just one of the attractions. He also proved adept at attracting other people’s money to build his iconic resort, The Flamingo. Trouble was, some of those other people belonged to an outfit called Murder Inc. and Siegel was gunned down in 1947 amid rumors he had stolen from his partners. But give the devil his due: Before there was the Bellagio, there was Bugsy.

8.Ray Kroc. Nothing says entrepreneur like persistence, and nothings says persistence like Ray Kroc, the kitchen wares salesman who in 1954, at age 52 and in poor health, had his imagination hijacked by a family-run restaurant in the desert outside Los Angeles. Once he had bought out the McDonald brothers, Kroc proceeded to take their concept of a limited menu, fast service and low prices and expand it nationally, in the process creating the fast-food industry and dramatically affecting America’s lifestyle and, sadly, collective health.

9.H. Ross Perot. Within every entrepreneur lurks a touch of the cowboy, and there’s no better example of the strain than Perot, the diminutive Texan who has become best known in recent years as a political gadfly. Before that, though, he was all business, using a $1,000 loan from his wife in 1962 to launch Electronic Data Systems. Perot’s winning idea was that large corporations and organizations needed data-processing help if they were to take full advantage of computer technology. When in the mid-’60s he won contracts with two new federal health-care programs — Medicare and Medicaid — EDS was off and running and Perot was on his way to being one of America’s richest citizens.

10.Jobs & Wozniak. Apple Computer’s two Steves weren’t the first Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to launch a billion-dollar business from a Palo Alto garage — Hewlett and Packard were there before them — but they were the first to democratize computing by creating a machine whose use was so wonderfully intuitive that even technophobes embraced it. Combine the elegance of Wozniak’s operating system design with Jobs’ marketing savvy (remember Apple’s “1984” ad?) and the result was a true phenomenon. Yes, the Apple was eclipsed by the PC, but only after Microsoft (behind the vision of two other notable entrepreneurs, Bill Gates and Paul Allen) developed Windows to ape its rival’s ease of use.

Philipp Harper is a freelance journalist living in south Georgia.





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10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner #work #from #home #business

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10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner

Like a marriage, a business partnership often begins with enthusiasm and high expectations — only to end in acrimony and legal proceedings. It s important to know as much as possible about a potential partner, including how his or her finances and family life may affect the business, before signing on the dotted line.

Here are some questions to ask before deciding if partnering is a good idea:

1. What do I need from a business partner?
You should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. If you re creative, maybe you need a more detail-oriented partner. If you have money to invest in the business, you may want to look for a partner with access to a market, or with great connections. Or if you re shy, you might need a good people person to balance the equation. If they re similar to you, it might be more comfortable, but it may not be what you need, says William M. Moore, founder of the Moore Firm in San Diego, a law firm that serves entrepreneurs. You need someone who complements your skills and personality.

2. What is your potential partner s financial situation?
It is important to have an understanding of someone s financial status and commitments before getting into a venture together. It is tough to ask what they are currently spending on a house or in payments to an ex-spouse, but someone s prior financial commitments shape the decisions they will make in the short term, says Gregory Kratofil, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo. who specializes in small business interests. If he has large outstanding obligations, but says he can get by on $35,000 salary, it is a red flag.

3. What are the potential partner s expectations on the time involved?
Partners don t have to spend the same amount of time, but it is important that they are on the same page as to each other s expected time commitments. How many hours a day does your partner expect to put into the venture, and do his expectations meet yours? It is equally important to level set your partner s expectations on your time commitments, Kratofil says. The age old adage that it s better to under-promise and over-deliver applies here.

4. Is your potential partner s commitment to the business as strong as yours?
I don t care if it s a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner s commitment has to equal yours, says Bob Phibbs, consultant and CEO of The Retail Doctor. a site that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses. A partnership — especially one between friends — can start off with fun and excitement, but within a short time, the slog of every day catches up with you. If they re not as committed to the business as you, they may lose their enthusiasm and may actually be damaging the brand every time you open your doors.

5. Is there something in your potential partner s family life that might make the business a secondary interest?
If your potential partner has a pregnant wife or is taking care of an elderly parent, he may be distracted from the business. That s why you have to be brutally honest when thinking of forming a partnership. The partner can say, My wife is behind me 100 percent. But I want to talk to the wife, Phibbs says. If they re too distracted by a family issue or their family isn t behind them, the business may be doomed from the start.

6. How would he or she handle a tough situation?
It s important to know what your potential business partner will do if he has his back up against the wall — and it will happen, Phibbs says. The best way to discover this is to look at what he s done in past business ventures. If he couldn t meet payroll, for example: Did he do the right thing and dip into savings or borrow from a credit card or a friend? Or did he pay employees late, or not at all? Or worse, did he skip paying payroll taxes? It all comes down to character issue, Phibbs says, adding, Payroll taxes are a federal obligation. If that s negotiable, you can bet your partnership is also negotiable.

7. What questions do they have for me?
If a potential employee doesn t ask any questions in a job interview, you might be less likely to hire him because of a perceived lack of interest. The same applies to a potential business partner, who should want to know about your character, reliability and expectations. I want them to ask me the same tough questions I ask them. If they say it doesn t really matter, it could mean two things: their expectations are too high or they might be kind of flighty, Phibbs says. Things may be fine now, but in a month or two, they may want to change things or even get out of the deal.

8. What is the potential partner s standing in the community?
A lot of people seem good at first, but that may be their skill — seeming good at first, Moore says. Once they get their foot in the door, it may be difficult to get them out. Talk to former employees to see what they were like to work with, or for. If you re looking for someone with money connections, verify that they have money. If they say they have great connections, see if those connections go beyond just being recognized and given a slap on the back. A business partnership is not a marriage, but there should be some sort of courtship process that you can verify that they are who they say they are, Moore says.

9. Are they willing to put everything in writing?
Many partnerships are cemented with a handshake, but this can be a recipe for disaster. It s crucial to put it on paper — not only what is expected of each partner, but the consequences if expectations aren t met. There s something about actually putting it in writing that exposes the potential problem areas in the partnership, Moore says. If someone has a family emergency and disappears the first six months of the business — even though it may not be through any fault of his own — are you still expected to give that person a certain percentage of the business? If someone simply isn t pulling his or her weight, you need to be able to get them out without destroying the business, he adds. And if it s in writing, there s no arguing it.

10. Do I really need a partner?
If you can get someone to do something without giving them a stake in your business, it s always better, Moore says. People get wrapped up in the idea of needing to work with someone, but it s not always a good idea. Sometimes you need somebody to show up from 9-5, work hard and go home, he says, adding. If you re cash poor, or it s a startup and you don t expect to make money right away, taking on a partner might be the better option. But if you can just pay somebody to show up and work, it s generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company.

And now a bonus question.

What happens if we can t work it out?
Most people don t envision the rough times ahead for a new venture, so this question is probably the hardest to remember to ask and the beginning. Yet, the best time to address potential problems with your partner is at the beginning before emotions run high. You can t predict every potential problem, but a good startup lawyer can help you work through some of the common problems and put a framework in place to help address unforeseen circumstances, Kratofil says.





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Business Degree: 10 Best Colleges for Business – Management #business #internet

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10 Great Colleges for Business Majors

All offer an excellent education, affordable prices, and substantial salaries for their graduates.

Business is the single most popular major for college students today. But one of the first lessons future business leaders have to learn is buyer beware. Some colleges business programs seem to provide little in the way of an earnings boost for graduates, while other schools names help get their grads r sum s to the top of job recruiters lists.

Here are 10 high-value colleges where alumni with bachelor s degrees in business tend to out-earn their counterparts from most other schools.

These colleges scored the best overall when we combined MONEY s measures of each institution s educational quality and affordability. including graduation rates and student and parent debt loads, with the earnings reported to Payscale.com by alumni who earned a bachelor s in business and didn t go on to earn an MBA or other graduate degree.

Each of those main factors educational quality, affordability, and post-graduate success was given an equal weight of 1/3.

For more business-savvy advice, see our companion article Find Your Best College for Majoring in Business .

10. University of California–San Diego

Location: La Jolla, Calif.

Estimated net price of a degree: $125,593

Average annual early career earnings for business majors: $52,100

MONEY Best Colleges overall ranking: 32

9. Cornell University

Estimated net price of a degree: $201,768

Average annual early career earnings for business majors: $60,300

MONEY Best Colleges overall ranking: 34

8. Brigham Young University–Provo

Location: Provo, Utah

Estimated net price of a degree: $80,988

Average annual early career earnings for business majors: $56,300

MONEY Best Colleges overall ranking: 15

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Small-Business Grants for Women: 10 Go-To Spots #www.business.com

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Small-Business Grants for Women: 10 Go-To Spots

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here’s how we make money .

If you’re starting a business and need outside financing, it’s natural to be wary of small-business loans. Why take on debt if you can get a grant that you won’t have to repay?

But small-business grants for women — or men, for that matter — can be hard to come by. “There’s not a pot of free money,” says Michelle Somes-Booher, a business consultant at the Small Business Development Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

If you need business financing, two more likely options are business credit cards and small-business loans for women. The competition is fierce for small-business grants, and it takes a lot of time and effort to find them and complete the applications. However, if you’re up for the challenge, the payoff can be worth it. Here are 10 places women entrepreneurs can look for small-business grants.

Federal small-business grants for women

The federal government offers some grants for small-business owners, but they’re designated for very specific purposes, such as certain research and development projects or for businesses in rural areas. Government grants can’t be used to cover startup costs or day-to-day expenses, and most aren’t earmarked specifically for women.

Grants.gov is a database of all federally sponsored grants. You can search for small-business grants here — just make sure you filter the results on the left side of the page to view grants specifically for small businesses.

2. InnovateHER Challenge

The U.S. Small Business Administration hosts an annual competition for businesses with a marketable product or service that positively affects women s lives. To participate, you must first enter and win a local InnovateHER Challenge to advance to the national semifinal round. The top three national finalists will win $40,000, $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

3. Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs

The SBA facilitates these two competitive programs, which ultimately provide grants to small businesses that contribute to federal research and development. Eleven federal agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Health and Human Services, post grant opportunities on their websites. You can search all grant opportunities on the SBIR website.

State and local small-business grants

Because federal small-business grants are limited in number and often very competitive, you may have better luck looking for grants at the state and municipal levels. You’ll have to do your own research to pinpoint specific grant programs in your area, but here are some places to look:

4. Women’s Business Centers

The SBA sponsors about 100 Women’s Business Centers nationwide, designed to help women entrepreneurs with business development and access to capital. Some, such as the California Capital Financial Development Corp. lend money directly, while others simply help you find small-business grants and loans that you may qualify for.

5. Economic development agencies

Every state and many cities have economic development agencies focused on promoting a strong local economy. Even if the agency itself doesn’t offer a small-business grant, it will likely be able to point you in the right direction.

6. Small Business Development Centers

There are hundreds of these SBA-sponsored centers around the country, typically housed at colleges and universities. SBDCs offer free, one-on-one business consulting. Set up a meeting with your local SBDC advisor, who will be able to tell you about grants and other business financing opportunities in your area.

Private small-business grants for women

Some private organizations and businesses have created national grant programs for women small-business owners. Here are two to look into:

The Amber Grant Foundation awards $500 to a different women-owned business every month. At the end of each year, one of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $2,000. The application is relatively simple: Explain what your business is, describe what you’d do with the grant money and pay a $7 application fee. The foundation’s advisory board chooses the winners, looking for women with passion and a good story.

8. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

Eileen Fisher, a women’s clothing retailer, awards $100,000 to up to 10 women business owners each year. To be eligible, women must make up at least 51% of your business s ownership and leadership, your business must have been in operation for at least three years, it must not exceed $1 million in annual revenue, and it must be focused on environmental or social change.

Two other good possibilities for grants

These options aren’t specifically for women, but they’re good small-business grants to consider:

9. FedEx Small Business Grant

FedEx awards up to $25,000 apiece to 10 small businesses annually. The application requires an explanation of your business, how you’d use the money, photos of your business and — this part is optional — a short video explaining your business. You don’t need a FedEx account to apply.

10. Mission Main Street Grants

Chase Bank gives $150,000 to 20 small businesses each year through its Mission Main Street Grants program. To be eligible, you must have been in business at least two years and have fewer than 100 employees, and the application includes answering five essay questions.

Find and compare small-business loans

NerdWallet has come up with a list of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness, market scope and user experience, among other factors, and arranged them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

To get more information about funding options and compare them for your small business, visit NerdWallet ssmall-business loanspage. For free, personalized answers to questions about financing your business, visit theSmall Businesssection of NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor page.

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Top 10 best business desktop PCs (August 2016) #government #grants #for #small #businesses

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TechRadar pro

Top 10 best business desktop PCs (August 2016)

Plus a handy buying guide

While workforces have become far more mobile, there is still a need for the traditional office desktop PC. It remains the most cost-effective computing device as it’s easily maintained and has the most powerful solutions available on the market.

Despite the drop in laptop prices and increase in mobile processor power, there are still distinct advantages to running desktop systems in an office environment, which is why the desktop remains the most popular form-factor for computer systems.

Speaking of form factors, the desktop PC has evolved significantly over the past three years beyond the monoliths that mid or mini-towers are.

The range of available desktop systems is as wide and varied as business needs themselves, ranging from a few off-the-shelf units for an SMB to the deployment of thousands of basic desktop PCs and everything in between.

The types of desktop PCs

A recent development in the desktop PC world has been a modest diversification of the system case. The typical business PC comes in a mini-tower box, which is probably best sited under or next to your desk.

But if space is at a premium, a smaller case would be a better choice. Dell, for example, delivers its Optiplex models in mini tower, ‘thin’ desktop and ‘compact’ small form factor sizes, each model offering the same computing power but in a different case.

Three other formats that have grown in popularity are:

[1] All-in-one. otherwise known as AIO, which combine the monitor with the base unit. The move to power-efficient components, the falling price of LCD panels and the ubiquity of touch functionality make AIO an increasingly popular choice for businesses. The all-in-one PC essentially resembles a slightly larger than normal LCD display that contains the processor, hard drive and memory built-in to the screen casing. The end result is a very elegant, clutter-free desktop PC.

[2] Ultra-small form factors. otherwise known as net tops or mini PCs, which borrow a lot of their designs (and components) from laptops. They are essentially laptops without a screen, input peripherals and a battery.

[3] HDMI dongles which have been inspired by tablets and smartphones and often share parts with the latter. These are usually used for display signage or in niche markets. They are usually not powerful enough for most tasks but things are likely to improve by the end of 2016.

Top 10 best business desktop PCs in the UK

To help narrow down your search for the ideal system for your business, here are Techradar Pro’s top 10 business desktop PCs in no particular order.

1. Zoostorm 7260-3041

The cheapest desktop PC going

CPU: Intel Celeron 1037U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 18 x 40 x 36cm





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10 Best Stock Market Investment News, Analysis – Research Sites #business #advertising

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10 Best Stock Market Investment News, Analysis Research Sites

Ah, investing a word that can strike fear into the hearts of even the most burly and masculine of men. A subject with such a broad and potentially confusing scope of choices, it can bewilder even the most savvy of businessmen.

Even though I consider myself well-versed in general investment information, there is a world of knowledge, terminology, and strategy that is just beyond my comprehension, and will likely always be.

So where should I, the layman, turn to when I seek competent and comprehensive stock market investment research and analysis ?

Top 10 Stock Market Investment Research Websites

Keep in mind that the main focus of these sites, above all else, is equities. So if you are looking to research ETFs. mutual funds. hedge funds, or any other diversified investment type. many of these websites may not have what you are looking for.

1. Investopedia
If you are just beginning to learn about the world of investments, Investopedia is your one-stop shop for anything and everything. Here, you can look up definitions of terms, register for newsletters with valuable information, use their stock simulator to see how much an investment earns or loses over time, and much more. You can research stocks by company name or ticker symbol and get quite a bit of information about a desired company. They also have a neat Financial Edge section, which can help you with some of the important fundamental principles of personal finance and the markets.

2. Yahoo! Finance
As much as I would like to skip this one over for some of the lesser-known research portals, Yahoo! Finance is just too good. Aside from the myriad of company reports, which you are required to pay for, all of the information at Yahoo finance is free for the taking.

3. Motley Fool
Don t let the name bother you these guys are all business. Whether you are looking to do your own research, or prefer the advice of a seasoned veteran, The Motley Fool has it all. I tend to prefer to follow my own (sometimes idiotic) investment decisions, but if you need help, or want to see what the experts recommend, there are pay services at Motley Fool that may be a good option for you. I have not used them myself, but the few people that I know who have followed their advice have had nothing but positive things to say, and a good amount of success to boot.

4. The Street
If you pay any attention to the world of investing. you know the name Jim Cramer. Personally, I think he is little more than a caricature, but some people swear by him. Mr. Cramer is one of the big name contributors at The Street. That not withstanding, The Street is, in my humble opinion, the best website for investing related articles. The writers have vast knowledge and fantastic insight, without losing focus on what is important the investors for whom they write.

5. Wall Street Journal
For decades, the Wall Street Journal newspaper has been a staple for information and research for investors. Although most of us have done away with the daily black and white delivery method, the Wall Street Journal online delivers even more valuable information than its nearly obsolete predecessor. Nowadays, the Journal s online presence includes The Wall Street Journal. MarketWatch. Barron s. and SmartMoney. among others. All of these sites are valuable resources for investing information, especially when seeking out company-specific news.

6. MSN Money
Microsoft tends to be a pretty self-serving company, at least in my opinion. Even so, once you learn to glance over all of the Microsoft related news at MSN Money, what you get is another fantastic avenue for portfolio boosting. The one complaint I have with MSN Money is the formatting. When looking at stock quotes, there are no lines distinguishing ads from news or charts, which occasionally will take you off-course by clicking an advertisement by mistake.

7. Zacks Investment Research
Zack s does require a membership in order to get to the juicy stuff, but the membership is free and well worth the three minutes it takes to sign up. Here, you will be able to do in-depth research on both stocks and funds. You will also have access to many public and independent reports that will assist you on your quest for the perfect personal investment portfolio .

8. Investor Guide
Investor Guide has many of the same features you ll notice on other sites on this list, so why does it make my top ten? The stock helper tool. First, this tool helps you to determine an optimal investing strategy and style. Then, it provides a list of companies for you to research. Once your list is complete, you will see what others think of each company on your research list. Investor Guide does a great job of aggregating this information from many different sites for you. You will then evaluate the company s competition, decide what to buy, and reap the benefits.

9. Seeking Alpha
Seeking Alpha is amazing. My one complaint is that there is actually too much information packed into one page, which at times can make it difficult to navigate. If it weren t for the massive amount of content on Seeking Alpha, it would be much higher on this list. Company news is the main focus of the site, so if you have a list of companies to research, this is a pretty good place to start.

10. Online Brokerages
Personally, my account has been housed at Sharebuilder for years now, and their research tools are very good. In the beginning, they had a clumsy interface that was slow and filled with glitches. Since then, they have done an amazing job of streamlining and improving content to the point of near perfection. No matter who you invest with online, be sure to use their research tools, as most of them have easy to use interfaces with plenty of information to sort through. Some of the more popular online stock brokers include E*TRADE. TradeKing. Scottrade. and OptionsHouse .

Final Word

When you are looking to conduct your own investment research, closely monitor where you go online. It is very easy to end up on hot stock pick sites, penny stock investing sites, or poorly executed attempts at legitimacy. Many of these sites are fronts for someone to sell you their foolproof system or something similar. Everything I have provided above is free of charge, though a few of them offer paid services above and beyond what most of us need.

Do you have a preferred investment research site? Tell us about them and what features you like most in the comments below.

You are looking at Matthew Breed. He is a 30 year old sports nerd who lives in North Florida with his fiancee, Sarah. Originally in school for a Business degree that did not work out due to capricious youth and irresponsibility, he is currently “getting past” his Peter Pan syndrome and attends classes for a degree in Information Technology while working full time. His care for personal finance stems from a modest upbringing with fiscally responsible parents who highly value education and frown upon frivolity.

heyyy . Nice post you have been shared here. I would like to look forward to the next post. Thanks for sharing .will be waiting for the next post. It helps me a lot.

There s just so much tripe on Seeking Alpha that I ve stopped going there. Anyone can be a self-appointed expert on the site and there is a lot of pumping that goes on in the guise of analysis. Don t know how you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

http://www.dividendinvestor.com/ Richard Gere

Hi, some great sites. Google’s Finance can also be included. Thoughts?

I honestly can t imagine how you consider SeekingAlpha to be an informational site. Journalistically bankrupt. Opinions, not facts. The same useless opinions cycled over and over. Surely you can do better?

None of your business

Would the author of this site mind putting a DATE on his article? Or is not putting a date on it a sleazy way of milking more hits out of the page?

I agree. Investopedia is a great resource for learning stock trading.

Best online analysis is in INVESTOOLS at TD Ameritrade. They are now Number 1 in the industry.

Stock Rover is a great tool for individual investors, all the data in one dashboard. And its free! Premium version isnt too expensive either

As FatMan points out below, Seeking Alpha is garbage. Ask any CFA level analyst and you will get the same response. So much of it is agenda driven content/amateur hour content.





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The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup #business #grants

#start up business grants

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The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup

One of the most frequent questions I get as a mentor to entrepreneurs is How do I find the money to start my business? I always answer that there isn t any magic, and contrary to popular myth, nobody is waiting in the wings to throw money at you just because you have a new and exciting business idea.

On the other hand, there are many additional creative options available for starting a business that you might not find when buying a car, home or other major consumer item. If you have the urge to be an entrepreneur, I encourage you to think seriously about each of these, before you zero in on one or two, and get totally discouraged if those don t work for you.

Of course, every alternative has advantages and disadvantages, so any given one may not be available or attractive to you. For example, professional investors put great priority on your previous experience in building a business, and they expect to own a portion of the business equity and control for the funds they do provide. These are tough for a first-time entrepreneur.

Thus it is always a question of what you qualify for, and what you are willing to give up, to turn your dream idea into a viable business. Here is my list of the 10 most common sources of funding today, in reverse priority sequence, with some rules of thumb to channel your focus:

10. Seek a bank loan or credit-card line of credit.

In general, this won t happen for a new startup unless you have a good credit history or existing assets that you are willing to put at risk for collateral. In the U.S. you may find that the Small Business Administration (SBA) can get you infusions of cash without normal backup requirements.

9. Trade equity or services for startup help.

This is most often called bartering your skills or something you have for something you need. An example would be negotiating free office space by agreeing to support the computer systems for all the other office tenants. Another common example is exchanging equity for legal and accounting support.

8. Negotiate an advance from a strategic partner or customer.

Find a major customer, or a complimentary business, who sees such value in your idea that they are willing to give you an advance on royalty payments to complete your development. Variations on this theme include early licensing or white-labeling agreements.

7. Join a startup incubator or accelerator.

These organizations, such as Y Combinator. are very popular these days, and are often associated with major universities, community development organizations, or even large companies. Most provide free resources to startups, including office facilities and consulting, but many provide seed funding as well.

6. Solicit venture-capital investors.

These are professional investors, such as Accel Partners. who invest institutional money in qualified startups, usually with a proven business model, ready to scale. They typically look for big opportunities, needing a couple of million dollars or more, with a proven team. Look for a warm introduction to make this work.

5. Apply to local angel-investor groups.

Most metropolitan areas have groups of local high-net-worth individuals interested in supporting startups, and willing to syndicate amounts up to a million dollars for qualified startups. Use online platforms such as Gust to find them, and local networking to find ones that relate to your industry and passion.

4. Start a crowdfunding campaign online.

This newest source of funding, where anyone can participate per the JOBS Act. is exemplified by online sites such as Kickstarter. Here people make online pledges to your startup during a campaign, to pre-buy the product for later delivery, give donations or qualify for a reward, such as a T-shirt.

3. Request a small-business grant.

These are government funds allocated to support new technologies and important causes, such as education, medicine and social needs. A good place to start looking is Grants.gov. which is a searchable directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs. The process is long, but it doesn t cost you any equity.

2. Pitch your needs to friends and family.

As a general rule, professional investors will expect that you have already have commitments from this source to show your credibility. If your friends and family don t believe in you, don t expect outsiders to jump in. This is the primary source of non-personal funds for very early-stage startups.

1. Fund your startup yourself.

These days, the costs to start a business are at an all-time low, and over 90 percent of startups are self funded (also called bootstrapping). It may take a bit longer to save some money before you start and grow organically, but the advantage is that you don t have to give up any equity or control. Your business is yours alone.

You can see that all of these options require work and commitment on your part, so there is no magic or free money. Every funding decision is a complex tradeoff between near-term and longer-term costs and paybacks, as well as overall ownership and control.

With the many options available, there is no excuse for not living your dream, rather than dreaming about living.





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10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #business #attire

#sell my business

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10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?





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Top 10 Online Business Opportunities to Make Money #small #business #development #center

#online business opportunities

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Top 10 Online Business Opportunities to Make Money

Great ways to increase your income directly from your private computer

Money makes the web go around. Whether you’re on a mission to find a new source of income or just looking to increase your paycheck with a side gig, the internet can offer a variety of solutions for you to choose from.

With such a great selection it’s easy to get lost. And although trial and error is a method we usually would recommend, it’s probably not a good idea to invest time and resources on experimentation when something so crucial as your income is at stake.

The solution? Research, and fortunately for you we can save you time with that. Below is a list of 10 online business opportunities that have a high potential for generating profit. Read through and consider which of these options might work for you.

1. Teach Online Classes:
Your expertise and knowledge can be very useful to you when you start your online business. Whether you’re a certified chemistry teacher or a knitting master, you can create an online course and charge students for access to the study material.

2. Do Affiliate Marketing:
On the web, affiliate marketers are people who promote various online services and receive a commission for making sales. Many online services have an affiliate program Wix.com has one as well! This type of business is especially worthwhile if you already have a blog or a website set up and can simply start working on promoting your affiliate goods.

3. Write for Pay:
If you happen to be a gifted writer, your skills could be valuable to a huge variety of target audiences, from companies that need tech manuals, to college applicants who need help writing their resumes, or small businesses looking for good newsletter content.

4. Design Wix Websites:
You have no idea how many times we’ve seen this pattern a person in need of a website creates one using Wix’s web publishing platform, is very pleased with the process and the outcome, publishes the website and then receives offers from friends and acquaintances to design a site for them as well. The idea behind Wix is that everyone can create websites, but not everyone has the time or the will to do it, so why don’t you step in and fill the need? Check out WixEd. our very own online course where Wix users can become certified web designers and start their own business in web design.

5. Open an Online Consulting Agency:
Provide professional and specialized observations based on your field of expertise health and wellness, finances, law and more. Here you can choose whether you want to work solely online or combine face-to-face service with your digital one.

6. Use Your Research Skills:
The internet created a neverending source of data. Companies searching for business intel, an individual interested in family genealogy or an author in need of background material do not always have the ability to search this vast pool of knowledge with a fine-tooth comb. In these examples and others, they would prefer to hire someone to perform online research. Might that someone be yourself?

7. Get with the Retail Program:
With online sales continuously on the rise, selling products to web shoppers is definitely a worthwhile path to follow for business purposes. Using Wix to create your own online store. you can set up a retail business with minimum effort and costs. We even have a guide that can help you choose the best products for your online store.

8. Offer Text Editing Translation Services:
It’s the most straightforward process you can imagine. A customer sends you a text for proofreading, literary editing or translation purposes, you do your work and send them a document back. This kind of hassle-free operation will leave you plenty of time to focus on promoting your service.

9. Become a Social Media Marketer:
Small business brands and professional freelancers often require help with promoting their work on social media platforms. You can train yourself to understand the fine art of social media marketing and offer to either take over their social marketing efforts or to provide consulting services on the matter. The Wix Blog will provide you with an abundance of reading material on how to market on social media .

10. Create Custom-Made Art or Music:
If you want to support yourself as an independent artist without having to take on an office job or wait tables, why don’t you use your talent to make extra money? You can offer people from all over the world the option to commission illustrations, caricatures, sculptures, video art, designed candles, custom-ordered songs or anything that your creative force is able to produce.

Other Cool Stuff





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