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Busting 5 Myths About Small-Business Lending #business #loans

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Busting 5 Myths About Small-Business Lending

Co-founder and CEO, Fundera

Like your mother and your high school history teacher likely told you over and over again, you can t believe everything you read on the Internet.

With the growing accessibility of information freely available online, modern entrepreneurs in search of funding to grow their businesses have a huge leg up on generations past. Yet for every bit of accurate and genuinely helpful advice, there is an increasing prevalence of misinformation and myths surrounding the small business lending space. Unfortunately, much of that misinformation can give business owners bad information about how small business loans work, giving them a false sense of their own eligibility.

Don t miss out on opportunities to secure funding for your business due to false information. Let s separate fact from fiction and bust five of the most common small business lending myths we hear every day.

1. Approval takes forever.

Whether you re itching to move forward with a new business idea or you need cash quickly to cover an unexpected expense, one of the most common questions business owners have when applying for funding is, how fast can I get cash in hand?

You may hear from well-meaning friends and relatives that getting approved for a business loan can take weeks or even months, but that information is outdated. With new online loan applications, an organized business owner can complete her application in less than an hour, and it can be reviewed and approved within 24 hours of submission. Many lenders can even offer cash in hand in as little as two days.

While some borrowers may take additional time to gather financial statements or get their credit reports in better shape, once you hit submit, the approval practice is very efficient. Don t let the fear of a long approval process hold you back from seeking a loan.

2. New businesses never qualify.

The startup funding quandary is a difficult one. You need an established business to secure funding, but you need cash in hand to get your business off the ground. Seeking funding from venture capitalists or angel investors is certainly the most popular route for securing startup funding, but is it the only way?

Many startup entrepreneurs assume that they need to be in business for a few years and have established business credit before they can qualify for a loan. However, more and more lenders are specifically offering startup loans that require little or no business credit history to qualify.

Applying for a startup loan will involve more scrutiny into your personal finances than other types of business loans. Your personal credit score will be the most important part of the application. You may also be faced with less favorable rates than you would receive as an established business. But if you re committed to finding funding and open to the necessary conditions, securing a loan for your brand new business is possible.

3. Online lenders are con artists with unreasonable rates.

We get it. The online alternative lending market is relatively new, and people are skeptical of new things. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous online lenders and brokers have engaged in predatory and dangerous lending practices, giving the entire industry a bad rap.

But in reality, some alternative lenders operating online offer single-digit interest rates. Those offering higher rates often are working with borrowers who are considered risky. Online lenders regularly consider a wide variety of borrower credentials outside of just the traditional credit report and score. Business owners who were turned down by their bank can frequently find the funding they need online.

As with any financial transaction, it s critical that business owners do their due diligence about an online lender before signing the dotted line.

4. Loan officers only care about your credit score.

This myth, carried over from the outdated traditional bank model for loan approvals, can leave business owners with less-than-stellar credit feeling hopeless about their funding prospects. Luckily for these entrepreneurs, growth in the alternative lending sector has led to a larger spectrum of factors being considered in the loan approval process.

Many lenders will now give equal weight to your company s revenue history, cash flow statement and other financial documents in determining your loan eligibility. This information often paints a very different picture of a business and its owner s financial standing than what a credit score alone can convey.

Even so, before applying for a business loan, it is still important that you take steps to make your credit report and score the best possible reflection of your financial history. Always make debt payments on time, and manage your credit usage responsibly. Also frequently check your credit reports for accuracy. If you find errors, contact the reporting agencies to correct the mistakes.

5. Approval is determined by a heartless algorithm.

Once upon a time, entrepreneurs seeking small business funding could walk into their local community bank, build face-to-face relationships with managers and loan officers, and be confident they understood the whole picture behind their loan application, including both cold hard numbers as well as the more intangible elements of their qualifications as borrowers.

These days, technology has all but replaced those in-person banking relationships, creating the impression that loan approval decisions are controlled by nothing more than a few concrete variables and an algorithm saying yes or no.

But while you may have lost the ability to look your loan officer in the eye and strike a deal with a handshake, the modern funding process isn t actually as impersonal as this reputation suggests. In reality, lenders consider a wide variety of both objective, number-based factors as well as more subjective considerations, like your business and marketing plan.

If you re concerned about certain elements of your loan application, like your credit score, take the time to flesh out your business plan, fully explaining how the funds you are borrowing will be used and how this investment will lead to a successful business.

Ultimately, your lender s main consideration is whether or not you will make your loan payments on time, every time. Your loan application should, both through financial documents and through your written statements, paint the best possible picture of your future ability to repay the loan.

If you do your research, stay organized, and can clearly and concisely convey this information to lenders through your loan application, your chances of being quickly matched with the a loan to meet your business needs is tremendously greater.





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What You Need to About Small Business Templates #business #courses

#business templates

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What You Need to About Small Business Templates

There was a time, long ago, when the company opened a new process which was relatively unexplored. When you look back to the colonial times it was not very many businesses. The town Baker was not very competitive because it was probably the only baker around. Fast forward to today, and the small business has become a very big business. Small companies have already started so often that there are many small business templates available when starting a business or perform functions within the company.

There are templates out there today to help a person in the process of launching new businesses. If you look at the franchises available today, many of them are opening every store in a certain way. It help investors to rationalize certain functions and marginal costs. If you do not do something the same way every time you all can do it much faster and often save a lot of money at the same time.

Small shops, where the ownership remains in the hands of large corporations are well known to the following pattern. They are able to benefit even more from the individual store, because the corporation owns a very small store fronts. Many times they ensure the creation of new shop windows and buy in bulk. This saves even more money. Creating a cookie cutter store and perform the same function, and save a lot of time.








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17 Hard Truths About Owning A Business #investment #news

#owning your own business

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17 Hard Truths About Owning A Business

Columnist, American Express OPEN

Ever feel stuck? Erika Napoletano gets restless brands and the people brave enough to lead them UNstuck, shortening the distance between where they are and heck yeah. Business columnist, award-winning author, TEDx talker, nerd in a dress.

The reasons that anyone decides to venture down the path of business ownership vary. Maybe it’s the allure of setting our own hours. The chance to call fuzzy slippers and pajama pants “work clothes.” The opportunity to do business the way it should be done.

But for all of us, there’s one inarguable reason: the chance to finally put energy into building our dream instead of someone else’s.

With the decision to launch a business, however, come some pretty startling realities. Maybe some of these will be familiar. Others you might have just stumbled onto for the first time. They’re all, however, hefty reminders that this thing we do—owning and running a small business—is anything but easy.

It’s worth it—but definitely not easy.

1.Your target customer isn’t “everyone.” Not even Walmart has something for everyone. And sure—it’s easy to think that your product or service has widespread appeal (who wouldn’t want what you have to offer, right?). Skip the selling and attempts to convert. Find the people who will love what you do (and all the things you don’t do). Preach to the converted and they’ll share your brand with more people just like them.

2.What you do isn’t special. There are roughly a gazillion other people in this world who do what you do. What you do isn’t the magic. The real magic comes from a combination of why you do it, for whom you do it, and how you do it. What + Who + Why + How = Awesome.

3. Value lasts. Cheap is fleeting. Let me ask: How many “things” have you replaced since starting your business? Odds are, they’re the things you scrimped on in the name of “now.” Remind yourself of that the next time you’re tempted by a cheap solution and go for value—what’s best, what will last, and what’s best for your business and customers. Cheap and a great value sometimes happens, but it’s rare.

4. The customer isn’t always right. They’re not. Period. You can’t make a living without your customers, though. So where’s the middle ground when someone is unhappy, but definitely wrong? First, listen. Second, weigh the options—does it make sense to give a bit in exchange for appeasing someone who’s having a bad day? Finally, stick to your principles. Some people will just never be happy and are looking for a reason to complain. If we built our business around the complainers, we’d be broke in no time.

5. Trade sucks when you don’t treat it like a business transaction. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember to treat every trade agreement like a business transaction. Have a contract. Establish deliverables. Establish a value. Establish a deadline. If you don’t, someone’s always going to come out “feeling slighted.” Just because there’s no money changing hands doesn’t mean business isn’t being done.

6. Your business bank account isn’t a piggy bank. Get a CPA and a bookkeeper. Everything you buy once you start a business isn’t a business expense (shall we ask the IRS?). The day I was able to look at my business and run a real profit and loss (P L) statement was one of the happiest days of my life. The next happiest moment was knowing that I was actually profitable. You can’t fix your business finances if you don’t know what’s going on behind the banking curtain.

7. Tech won’t fix a crappy business model. I don’t care how many devices you have or if you’re using Silicon Valley’s latest and greatest app. Tech is a tool, nothing more. Upgrading your computer won’t make your business run better. When something’s not working, ask what’s not working with the business model.

8. You can’t do everything. You’re awesome. You’re talented. You’re motivated and the reason this whole business thing gets done each day. But you can’t do everything. And like me, I know you’ve tried. We’re small-business owners, a brand of superheroes of our own class. But when you do everything for so long, you’re bound to break.

9. You’re going to have to learn to outsource. Finding people you trust to help you run your business is paramount. And since you can’t do everything (and certainly don’t enjoy doing everything), find people who are great at and love doing all those things you loathe. We can’t all afford it when first starting out, but remind yourself that there are people to help you lighten the load and run leaner and meaner than you’ve ever run.

10.You are not the most important asset in your business. Shocking, right? You open the doors and foot the bills, but none of that happens without your customers’ permission. Your customers are, and always will be, the most important asset your business will ever have. Period.

11. Listening is the best business skill you’ll ever acquire. To your customers. To your employees. To your community and industry colleagues. If we listened half as much as we spoke, blogged, tweeted or Facebooked, I can only imagine where each of our businesses would be. Try counting to five before you chime in the next time someone shares a thought with you. And try listening when no one thinks you’re listening.

12.Infrastructure—it’s what’s for breakfast. Growth is the goal, right? More revenue, more sales, bigger and better customers. But what happens when the volume we crave comes along and we haven’t built a business that can support it? When making decisions to scale, always ask, “Do we have the infrastructure to support this move, and if not, how can we create it?” Less full speed ahead and more full attention to the most important business meal of the day—it will fuel and support everything you do as the day (and years) go on.

13.You need a great team. You can’t do everything alone. Find people who are committed to building your dream and vision. Some of your greatest ideas will come from people with the gift of being on the outside of your head looking in. This makes having an amazing, motivated team all the more important.

14.Don’t hire people you’d never empower. Again, since you can’t do everything, you need people on your team whom you trust to act in the best interests of your business. Hire wisely and invest in training and mentoring. Great employees all start off good, but they’ll need your guidance along the way. Don’t hire anyone whom you don’t feel you could ultimately trust to act in your business’s best interest.

15.There are no overnight successes. If you hear otherwise, it’s a lie—a damn lie. Success comes from an artful combination of humility, tenacity, failure, and opportunity. None of those things happen overnight—despite what some may say.

16.Don’t think like a business owner—think like a customer. Not much explanation required here. The greatest successes I’ve seen come from businesses that anticipate customer needs and meet them in delightful and unexpected ways.

17.You are your most important client every day. You know the story about the cobbler’s children and how they have no shoes? Well, that’s no way to run a business. Set time in your calendar every day to work on your business.You are your first client every day. Put it on a sticky note. Tape it to your bathroom mirror. Say it out loud. Repeat.

What’s your one hard truth you’ve learned as a business owner? Share with the community in the comments below.

Photo: Getty Images





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Better Business Bureau: Trump Lied About Trump University Rating #start #a #small #business

#better business bureau

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Better Business Bureau: Trump Lied About Trump University Rating

The Better Business Bureau on Tuesday briskly refuted a number of statements that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made about Trump University, the now-defunct real estate seminar provider that many students allege was a scam.

In last Thursday’s Republican debate, the candidate defended Trump University despite the multiple lawsuits brought by former students and the state of New York.

Challenged by Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly about Trump University’s D-minus rating from the Better Business Bureau, Trump said that “right now it is an A.”

During a commercial break, Trump was caught on camera presenting the debate hosts with a piece of paper that he said showed that rating. “The Better Business Bureau just sent it,” Trump can be heard telling Fox News moderator Bret Baier. “This just came in, we just got it.”

“The BBB did not send a document of any kind to the Republican debate site last Thursday evening,” the nonprofit organization said on Tuesday. “The document presented to debate moderators did not come from BBB that night.”

As to Trump’s basic claim, the watchdog group said, “Trump University does not currently have an A rating with BBB. The BBB Business Review for this company has continually been ‘No Rating’ since September 2015. Prior to that, it fluctuated between D- and A+.”

Following the debate on Thursday, Trump tweeted what he said was the official A rating for the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, a later name for Trump University.

On Tuesday, the Better Business Bureau said, “The document posted on social media on Thursday night was not a current BBB Business Review of Trump University. It appeared to be part of a Business Review from 2014.”

Furthermore, the nonprofit stated, “Trump University has never been a BBB Accredited Business. The document handed to the debate moderators on Thursday night could not have been an actual ‘Better Business Bureau accreditation notice’ for this business.”

Here’s the current review of the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.

Better Business Bureau

Not only did the Better Business Bureau refute Trump’s claims about Trump University’s current grade; it also refuted his claim that the enterprise has “a 98 percent approval rating from the people who took the course [because] people like it. many did tremendously well, and made a lot of money.”

Here’s how the bureau tells it: “During the period when Trump University appeared to be active in the marketplace, BBB received multiple customer complaints about this business. These complaints affected the Trump University BBB rating, which was as low as D- in 2010.”

How did it ever have an A rating?

The company closed in 2011, and after that, the Better Business Bureau said, “no new complaints were reported.” Complaints that are more than three years old “automatically rolled off of the Business Review, [and] over time, Trump University’s BBB rating went to an A in July 2014 and then to an A+ in January 2015.”

Trump, however, claimed the opposite was true. He said the Better Business Bureau simply hadn’t had enough information about Trump U, and that’s why it received a D-minus. “Before they had the information,” the program scored poorly, he said, but “once they had the information. it is right now an A.”

More than 5,000 people are suing Trump and Trump University in California, where a class action suit alleges that many students spent more than $30,000 on what they were told would be a real estate investment mentorship, personally designed and overseen by Trump.

Watch the real estate mogul’s promotional video for Trump University:

In fact, the former students allege that Trump played no part in designing the course, choosing the teachers or mentoring students.

A second case brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was cleared by an appeals court to move forward last week. This means voters are likely to hear a lot more about Trump University in the coming months.

The candidate tried to play down the seriousness of the allegations on Thursday, yelling, “It’s just a minor case! It’s a minor case!” over the voices of debate moderators.

On Monday, Trump also released a video (see below ) in which he singled out two people who asserted they’d been scammed by his seminar company. He accused them of saying “horrible things” and warned “we’re looking” for a third person.

A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign and a lawyer for Trump’s business both declined to comment on the Better Business Bureau’s statement.





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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About #personalized #business #cards

#small business grants

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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About

In 2014, there were close to 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, a 68 percent increase since 1997, according to The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express. This percentage increase exceeded the national average of small business growth by 1.5 times.

It also illustrated what we already know: Women entrepreneurs are having a tremendous impact on the small business landscape nationwide.

Yet to continue to be competitive and grow, these entrepreneurs have to find funding for their ventures. And, alarmingly, women entrepreneurs are increasingly being turned away by banks for small business loans. Thankfully, they still have other options, given the rise of technology-driven financial lending sources — such as online loans, peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding.

Then there are government grants. While not widely known or used, these grants are another great option for women seeking extra funding for their business ventures. They just take a little more work.

Understanding grants

Business owners often turn to grants because they are not required to pay them back; essentially, you can look at grants as free money, but they come with stipulations. Also, understanding and navigating the grant process can be complex.

First, you have to research and find a grant for which you re eligible. Then, you have to understand the strict application and compliance guidelines you must meet, to be eligible. Third, you have to compete with other businesses for the same pool of money. Fourth, if you re awarded a grant, you must report on how you used it. Finally, you must devote time and energy to the lengthy application process, then wait for approval. In a nutshell, you need to have all of your ducks in a row, up-front and afterward.

Finding federal and state grants

Many business owners think that federal grants are just a click away. We have all seen the ads promoting free federal money to start businesses. But this is a huge misconception. While there are federal grants available in the areas of medical research, science, education and technology development, no such grants exist specifically for women-owned businesses. You may find grants that fund projects that empower women, but such funding is often set aside for nonprofit corporations, not for-profit businesses.

When researching grants specifically for a woman-owned business, start at the state level. Most states offer grants for women-owned businesses in some capacity. Each state website has a business section where you can find grant and funding opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. A good example of this is the business section for the state of New York. which lists incentives and programs for businesses. Check out your state s site to find out what is available for your business.

Another great resource to use in your research is the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that assists minorities and women in establishing and growing their businesses. On its site, you can research grants and access links to state agencies that work with women-owned businesses for funding opportunities. Click here to view all of the state agencies across the country.

Private grants for women

To help in your search, we gathered information on these private grants for women entrepreneurs started:

  1. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program. Five grants are awarded annually. The businesses must be 100 percent women-owned and have founding principles of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation, plus be ready to move to the next phase of development. In 2014, the program awarded $125,000 in grants.
  2. Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants. The grant awards up to $15,000 to advance the development of innovative products inspired by the joys of motherhood. The awardees also receive resources to further develop their products and startup businesses.
  3. FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program. Applicants are encouraged to share their visions to receive a portion of the $75,000 awarded in grants. Part of the judging involves the general public voting for the finalists, so participants may promote their businesses while garnering votes.
  4. Idea Caf Small Business Grant. The Idea Caf is a free gateway that hosts different grants on its site. Its current grant is the 16 th Small Business Cash Grant. which awards one $1,000 grand prize to a business with the most innovative idea.
  5. InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge. This business challenge is sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women s Business Ownership. The challenge awards three winners $30,000 in prize money for businesses that have an impact on the lives of women. However, be aware of the recent fraud news around the SBA .
  6. Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project. Chase and Google have partnered to award $3 million in grants. In 2014, recipients were awarded $150,000 to help take their businesses to the next level. Recipients also received a trip to Google headquarters, a Google Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 coupon toward a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.
  7. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR): Eleven different federal agencies participate in this awards-based program, which incentivizes and enables small businesses to explore their technological potential.
  8. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). The STTR program reserves a specific percentage of federal research and development funding to provide funding opportunities in research and development.
  9. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition. This competition, organized by Capitol One and Count Me In for Women s Economic Independence. allows participants to present two-minute pitches for a chance to participate in a nine-month business accelerator program.
  10. Wal-Mart Women s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE). As part of a huge Wal-Mart initiative, sourcing opportunities for U.S. and international companies will increase to $40 billion over five years.
  11. Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money. This Utah-based bank s grant annually awards $3,000 across six different categories, including business.

Applying for a grant

Once you find a funding opportunity, there are steps required to apply. A few tips to assist you:

  • Make sure that your business is eligible for the grant: Read the grant synopsis guidelines and eligibility requirements.
  • Create a checklist for all of the documents required.
  • Follow the rules. Grant applications can be very technical. It wouldn t hurt to have a second (or even third) set of eyes when reviewing the application to ensure that you have provided all accompanying documents.
  • Start early. Since the application process can be long in some cases, it doesn t hurt to get a jump on things.

If you find the grant application process too daunting or lengthy for your small business, Kabbage is committed to supporting small business loans for women business owners. Because our application process is fully automated and online, we can quickly provide small business loans of up to $100,000. We use simple, meaningful revenue data from your business to approve your business — not elaborate documentation that takes extensive time to gather. To learn more, visit Kabbage.com.





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What You Need to About Small Business Templates #business #phone #system

#business templates

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What You Need to About Small Business Templates

There was a time, long ago, when the company opened a new process which was relatively unexplored. When you look back to the colonial times it was not very many businesses. The town Baker was not very competitive because it was probably the only baker around. Fast forward to today, and the small business has become a very big business. Small companies have already started so often that there are many small business templates available when starting a business or perform functions within the company.

There are templates out there today to help a person in the process of launching new businesses. If you look at the franchises available today, many of them are opening every store in a certain way. It help investors to rationalize certain functions and marginal costs. If you do not do something the same way every time you all can do it much faster and often save a lot of money at the same time.

Small shops, where the ownership remains in the hands of large corporations are well known to the following pattern. They are able to benefit even more from the individual store, because the corporation owns a very small store fronts. Many times they ensure the creation of new shop windows and buy in bulk. This saves even more money. Creating a cookie cutter store and perform the same function, and save a lot of time.








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About – Business Today #business #credit

#business today

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From the beginning, in 1968, our mission has been to create a dynamic forum for influential business leaders to interact with top undergraduate students from campuses worldwide, and to educate the leaders of tomorrow.

Business Today Magazine

Our oldest program, the Business Today Magazine, is the most widely distributed undergraduate publication in North America. With a significant direct-to-student distribution, we reach students from dozens of campuses all across America. Since our founding in 1968, we have published over 100 issues of Business Today. All of our operations are done in-house – writing, compiling, editing, designing, publishing, distributing – by our Magazine team. Remaining true to our mission, we distribute the magazine at absolutely no cost to our readers. Our content consists of exclusive executive interviews, student-written articles, and BT originals. We receive article submissions from contributors all over the world, and take care to compile those that fit best into our theme. Recent executives interviews include: Paul Volcker, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve; Michael Ostrove, CEO of Paul Stuart, Ian and Shep Murray, Co-CEOs of Vineyard Vines; Bryan Schreier, General Partner at Sequoia Capital; Martha Stewart; and Clive Brown, COO of J.P. Morgan.

Our most interactive program, our Conference Series, brings together students and executives in a meaningful, face-to-face forum twice a year. The Conferences are our second-oldest program, and certainly one of our most popular, with thousands of applicants from over 30 different countries and 6 continents. We are very proud to say that all of our Conferences are free of cost or heavily subsidized for all student attendees, following our mission of providing access to all undergraduates from different geographies or socioeconomic status.

Our International Conference is in its 42nd iteration in 2016, and will take place in New York City from November 20th – 22nd, 2016. As Business Today’s flagship program, the IC hosts 150 students from all corners of the world. With inspiring keynote speeches, intimate seminars (both on-site and at corporate headquarters), an engaging case study competition, and a new seed-funding competition, the International Conference is the hub for incredible dialogue between students and executives. Past keynote speakers include Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric; Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola; Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach for America; and Steve Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone. This year’s theme is “Rise of the Millennial Generation: Bridging the Gap.”

Women in Business Conference:

We launched our first Women in Business Conference in November 2015. Business Today’s Women in Business Conference provides female students from all backgrounds with the cost-free opportunity to attend a mentorship-focused conference that helps to develop an understanding of what challenges women face in the business world and how to overcome them. Past keynotes include Anna Sedgley, CFO of Dow Jones, Beth Comstock, Vice Chair of General Electric, and Barbara Byrne, Vice Chairman of Barclays. This year’s conference will take place in NYC in October.

For the past three years, we have partnered with Sequoia Capital to address the gap between West Coast start-ups and East Coast students. We are bringing together more than 250 of the brightest engineers and a handful of venture-backed start-ups to New York City both to learn from intimate seminars and keynotes, as well as to interview on-site for job openings. Past keynote speakers include Bryan Schreier, General Partner of Sequoia Capital; Bob Lee, CTO of Square; Vladimir Tenev, Co-Founder of Robinhood; Drew Houston, Co-Founder of Dropbox; and Patrick Collison, Co-Founder of Stripe.

One of our newest programs, the Digital Platform bears the mission of breaking down geographic barriers and creating a dynamic forum for students and executives all around the world. Furthermore, it allows us to capture and present our content from all of our programs, and make it accessible to students all over the globe. The Digital Platform was designed to be a highly interactive, content-oriented site, where students can come to read and contribute to conversations that are meaningful to them. We have exclusive executive interviews, articles written by both students and executives in response to each other, as well as exclusive content from all of our other programs.

With several outstanding programs beyond the Princeton campus, the Seminar Series looks back toward our academic community and works to connect executives with students here in Princeton. The gap we address is closer to home, creating a forum for Princeton students and corporate executives at our university, which does not have a business school. We work with companies in a wide range of industries to create a customized seminar that will be both engaging and educational for the self-selected students who attend the seminar. Our seminars strive to foster genuine discussions about a range of topics affecting today’s world. Past seminars include Howard Schultz, CEO and Chairman of Starbucks; Madeline Jacobs, CEO of the American Chemical Society; Jim Goldman, CEO of Godiva Chocolatier; Jonathan Mariner, CFO of Major League Baseball; Hiromichi Morimoto, President and CEO of Mitsubish Heavy Industries America, Inc.; Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal; and Jack Dorsey, Co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square.

Our leadership consists of over a dozen officers, all Princeton undergraduates, who have dedicated a considerable amount of their time to the organization. Each of us directs a different program of the organization, with Asst. Directors and Staff on each team. This year, our organization has more than 60 active members, making it one of the largest student organizations on campus.

Feel free to email any of us with feedback, comments, or inquiries. We are always committed to improving the organization.





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Stock market strength is about the equity risk premium #sell #your #business

#current stock prices

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This stock market rally isn’t like the others

Wikimedia Commons

The rally in stocks to all-time highs has little to do with earnings – the most important driver of stock prices – according to Deutsche Bank.

According to Dominic Konstam and team, writing in a note Friday, the rally is about the declining equity risk premium, which is simply the excess return the stock market provides over a risk-free rate like bond returns.

The premium jumped after stocks plunged in the financial crisis, with investors demanding as much as 7% more from choosing stocks over bonds. It has now fallen closer to its historical norm of 2% as bond yields also fell, implying that the return investors require to be compensated for their risky investments in stocks has fallen.

The sovereign bond yields in many developed countries are at or near record lows. Yields on benchmark bonds in Germany and Japan plunged deeper into negative territory after the rush to government-debt markets sparked by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

As nominal yields have fallen, investors have rotated into higher-yielding assets, Konstam said.

“The current cycle stands out in that earnings have played almost no role in the SPX rally. In fact, earnings were a slight drag on equities and were only offset by an aggressive multiple expansion. More than 90 percent of the rally was attributed to a collapse in equity risk premium. In sharp contrast, the equity gains in the 1980s and 2000s were all about earnings growth, and in 1990s earnings still accounted for more than half of the rally.”

The equity risk premium is still some 2% higher than its historical average over the last 30 years – so it could fall further. This gives the S P 500 room to rise another 200 points, Deutsche Bank estimates.

But earnings and expectations for them remain the biggest driver of stock prices. And because the second-quarter earnings season could mark the fourth straight decline in year-over-year S P 500 earnings, that’s a near-term risk to the rally, according to Deutsche Bank.

SEE ALSO: The most important mover of stock prices is not the one driving this rally to all-time highs





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Better Business Bureau: Trump Lied About Our Ratings #easy #business #loans

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Better Business Bureau: Trump Lied About Our Ratings

The Council of Better Business Bureaus is calling out Donald Trump for what appears to have been a brazen effort to mislead the Fox News hosts who moderated last week’s Republican presidential debate, as well as the millions of Americans who tuned in to watch last Thursday night.

During the debate, the moderators and Trump’s opponent, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, brought up the subject of Trump University, a now-defunct business that Trump established to sell supposedly educational courses and seminars on entrepreneurship. Trump University is currently being sued for fraud by numerous former students, who said that they were pressured to take on debt to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in fees and that the company did not deliver the type of educational experience it promised.

Related: Trump Numbers Are Falling – How Far Can They Go?

On stage last week, Trump angrily challenged criticism of Trump University, insisting that the organization had a “98 percent” approval rating among its students.

But it was when Rubio brought up the company’s D- grade from the Better Business Bureau that Trump really started to get creative.

He conceded that at one point the company did have a D- rating from the Better Business Bureau, but he said the rating was poor only because Trump University hadn’t bothered to submit data to the BBB. He insisted that the grade was subsequently “elevated to an A” once the data was supplied.

“The only reason that is was a D was because we didn’t care — we didn’t give them the information. ” Trump said. “When they got the information it became an A.”

Related: Here’s Why Donald Trump’s Lies May Be Good for U.S. Politics

During a commercial break, Trump was given a fax from his staff, which he handed to Fox moderator Bret Baier. He later posted the document on Facebook. It appeared to be a BBB Business Review giving Trump University (actually, Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, after a 2011 name change) an A grade.

At least one news organization reported, at the time, that the document appeared to have been faxed to the Fox News set by the BBB itself.

On Tuesday, the Council of Better Business Bureaus issued a detailed statement setting the record straight.

“BBB did not send a document of any kind to the Republican debate site last Thursday evening,” it read. “The document presented to debate moderators did not come from BBB that night.”

It continued, “Trump University does not currently have an A rating with BBB. The BBB Business Review for this company has continually been “No Rating” since September 2015. Prior to that, it fluctuated between D- and A+. The document posted on social media on Thursday night was not a current BBB Business Review of Trump University. It appeared to be part of a Business Review from 2014.”

Related: Irony Alert: Trump Is Upset that Ted Cruz Is Lying

More damning, though, was the BBB’s account of how Trump University’s rating went from a D- to an A. The BBB said that, despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, the rating was never increased as a result of new information received from the company.

What happened is that as Trump University failed as a business, it stopped attracting new students, and with no new students, there were no more complaints filed to the BBB.

“During the period when Trump University appeared to be active in the marketplace, BBB received multiple customer complaints about this business,” the statement said. “These complaints affected the Trump University BBB rating, which was as low as D- in 2010. As the company appeared to be winding down, after 2013, no new complaints were reported.

“Complaints over three years old automatically rolled off of the Business Review, according to BBB policy. As a result, over time, Trump University’s BBB rating went to an A in July 2014 and then to an A+ in January 2015.”

Related: Trump’s Net Worth Isn’t His Only Claim That’s Fake

In other words, Trump was lying about Trump University’s rating on national television, and even provided misleading documentary evidence in real time to help him make his case.

In a sane campaign season, this sort of thing would be utterly disqualifying, but whether it will have much effect on Trump’s core support is doubtful. The billionaire’s supporters have proven remarkably immune to factual arguments about Trump’s obvious deficiencies as a candidate, and uninterested in proof that he frequently lies to them .





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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About #business #names #ideas

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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About

In 2014, there were close to 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, a 68 percent increase since 1997, according to The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express. This percentage increase exceeded the national average of small business growth by 1.5 times.

It also illustrated what we already know: Women entrepreneurs are having a tremendous impact on the small business landscape nationwide.

Yet to continue to be competitive and grow, these entrepreneurs have to find funding for their ventures. And, alarmingly, women entrepreneurs are increasingly being turned away by banks for small business loans. Thankfully, they still have other options, given the rise of technology-driven financial lending sources — such as online loans, peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding.

Then there are government grants. While not widely known or used, these grants are another great option for women seeking extra funding for their business ventures. They just take a little more work.

Understanding grants

Business owners often turn to grants because they are not required to pay them back; essentially, you can look at grants as free money, but they come with stipulations. Also, understanding and navigating the grant process can be complex.

First, you have to research and find a grant for which you re eligible. Then, you have to understand the strict application and compliance guidelines you must meet, to be eligible. Third, you have to compete with other businesses for the same pool of money. Fourth, if you re awarded a grant, you must report on how you used it. Finally, you must devote time and energy to the lengthy application process, then wait for approval. In a nutshell, you need to have all of your ducks in a row, up-front and afterward.

Finding federal and state grants

Many business owners think that federal grants are just a click away. We have all seen the ads promoting free federal money to start businesses. But this is a huge misconception. While there are federal grants available in the areas of medical research, science, education and technology development, no such grants exist specifically for women-owned businesses. You may find grants that fund projects that empower women, but such funding is often set aside for nonprofit corporations, not for-profit businesses.

When researching grants specifically for a woman-owned business, start at the state level. Most states offer grants for women-owned businesses in some capacity. Each state website has a business section where you can find grant and funding opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. A good example of this is the business section for the state of New York. which lists incentives and programs for businesses. Check out your state s site to find out what is available for your business.

Another great resource to use in your research is the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that assists minorities and women in establishing and growing their businesses. On its site, you can research grants and access links to state agencies that work with women-owned businesses for funding opportunities. Click here to view all of the state agencies across the country.

Private grants for women

To help in your search, we gathered information on these private grants for women entrepreneurs started:

  1. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program. Five grants are awarded annually. The businesses must be 100 percent women-owned and have founding principles of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation, plus be ready to move to the next phase of development. In 2014, the program awarded $125,000 in grants.
  2. Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants. The grant awards up to $15,000 to advance the development of innovative products inspired by the joys of motherhood. The awardees also receive resources to further develop their products and startup businesses.
  3. FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program. Applicants are encouraged to share their visions to receive a portion of the $75,000 awarded in grants. Part of the judging involves the general public voting for the finalists, so participants may promote their businesses while garnering votes.
  4. Idea Caf Small Business Grant. The Idea Caf is a free gateway that hosts different grants on its site. Its current grant is the 16 th Small Business Cash Grant. which awards one $1,000 grand prize to a business with the most innovative idea.
  5. InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge. This business challenge is sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women s Business Ownership. The challenge awards three winners $30,000 in prize money for businesses that have an impact on the lives of women. However, be aware of the recent fraud news around the SBA .
  6. Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project. Chase and Google have partnered to award $3 million in grants. In 2014, recipients were awarded $150,000 to help take their businesses to the next level. Recipients also received a trip to Google headquarters, a Google Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 coupon toward a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.
  7. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR): Eleven different federal agencies participate in this awards-based program, which incentivizes and enables small businesses to explore their technological potential.
  8. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). The STTR program reserves a specific percentage of federal research and development funding to provide funding opportunities in research and development.
  9. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition. This competition, organized by Capitol One and Count Me In for Women s Economic Independence. allows participants to present two-minute pitches for a chance to participate in a nine-month business accelerator program.
  10. Wal-Mart Women s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE). As part of a huge Wal-Mart initiative, sourcing opportunities for U.S. and international companies will increase to $40 billion over five years.
  11. Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money. This Utah-based bank s grant annually awards $3,000 across six different categories, including business.

Applying for a grant

Once you find a funding opportunity, there are steps required to apply. A few tips to assist you:

  • Make sure that your business is eligible for the grant: Read the grant synopsis guidelines and eligibility requirements.
  • Create a checklist for all of the documents required.
  • Follow the rules. Grant applications can be very technical. It wouldn t hurt to have a second (or even third) set of eyes when reviewing the application to ensure that you have provided all accompanying documents.
  • Start early. Since the application process can be long in some cases, it doesn t hurt to get a jump on things.

If you find the grant application process too daunting or lengthy for your small business, Kabbage is committed to supporting small business loans for women business owners. Because our application process is fully automated and online, we can quickly provide small business loans of up to $100,000. We use simple, meaningful revenue data from your business to approve your business — not elaborate documentation that takes extensive time to gather. To learn more, visit Kabbage.com.





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