#drop shipping business
Best Drop Shipping Companies (September 2016)
The world of dropshipping is often considered the easiest way to sell products online. Although dropshipping comes with various difficulties, it is a viable way to start an online business without much upfront capital. The basic idea behind dropshipping companies is that you contact a manufacturer or wholesaler who might be willing to partner with you. After that, you build an ecommerce shop and start selling some items that fall in a niche, like electronics or glow in the dark items. The more niche the categories the better.
The key with dropshipping is that you don t carry any inventory. The wholesaler makes the products for you, stores them in their warehouses and ships them to the customers when you submit the orders. So, in a sense, you don t even have to see the items in order to make money. Downsides to dropshipping include less product control, less shipping control, trouble with returns, slower deliveries and smaller margins.
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However, if you re on a tight budget and you generate a quality strategy, dropshipping might just work well for you. One of the toughest parts of dropshipping is to find a company that would provide products. So, we put together a list of killer places to find products to dropship and sell on your store. Enjoy!
The primary feature you get from Oberlo is the importing from AliExpress. Since so many dropshippers use AliExpress to find and sell products, it’s a wonder as to why a tool like this hasn’t come around sooner. Not only do you gain access to thousands of suppliers on AliExpress, but the product images, details and prices are all situated right there for you.
Drop Shipping Companies: Doba
Doba is one of the more comprehensive dropshipping companies, since it not only provides a detailed directory of manufacturers and wholesalers, but offers an interface for simply grabbing the products you want without having to partner with multiple dropshippers.
Generally, you may have to partner with and communicate with ten or twenty dropshippers. With Doba, you simply find a product you want to sell, list it on your website and process the sale with Doba. The Doba company contacts the dropshipper and sends the product to the customer, cutting out the tedious dropshipper management process.
Salehoo is similar to Doba, but it has more of a focus on presenting a detailed directory for companies you can partner with for your business. The website has beautiful category tools for you to filter and search based on the products you re trying to sell, along with a market research lab to decide on the most popular products to sell on your store. The best part is that Salehoo manages a consistent blog and forum so you can learn and chat with others who are in the same boat as you.
Alibaba is one of the largest websites in the world, and one of the best parts of the site is that you can find manufacturers for your products, at relatively low costs. Keep in mind that you shouldn t just type in the product you want to sell and contact the manufacturer. You must go to the search bar, type in dropshipper, then filter down to the desired product.
The Alibaba platform has thousands of manufacturers, and many of them don t offer dropshipping.
When you complete a Google search for finding dropshippers, you may notice that many of the directories are filled with spam or non-existent companies. This is a huge problem, since you don t want to waste time and money finding a viable dropshipping partner.
With World Wide Brands, every dropshipper in the directory is certified, so you can expect a response from each one. The World Wide Brands site sets you up with the manufacturer s contact info after you find a suitable match. After that, you can contact them whenever you want and build a relationship.
The WholeSale Central company doesn t have the best website, but it s a decent tool for filtering through categories like apparel, electronics and leather. The dropshippers are then listed with details for you to click on and view. When you click through to one of the dropshippers it sends you to the manufacturer s website, meaning there are no middle men to work though.
Feel free to contact certain dropshippers, and use the WholeSale Central page to find options that are closer to you geographically. Traditionally, this can lead to a more reliable business partnership.
Dropship Direct lets you create a free account, giving you access to its huge inventory of products. This solution works similar to Doba, in that you choose your product first, then you can request to have that item shipped to your customer. This way, you don t necessarily have to be in contact with the dropshipper. However, that option is available if needed.
Sunrise Wholesale is a service that dropships products directly to your customers. You gain access to over 15,000 brand name products, and you can search for these products through the Sunrise Wholesale site. Profit from the site by selling through places like Amazon and eBay, or consider setting up your own website for a better online presence. Not to mention, this solution also helps you connect with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce.
Wholesale 2b requires you to sign up for a plan, but you don t get charged a dime for simply browsing the product database. Search for certain items and categories, and when you find something to sell, post it on your site for people to buy from you. After that, the Wholesale 2b site takes a commission, but it also sends out the product to your customer.
Contact Relevant Businesses and Go to Trade Shows
Quite often the best way to find a long-term partner for you dropshipping business is to start locating businesses in your area, or around the world, with a simple Google search. Cold call the companies and ask for someone who might be able to help you with dropshipping. The goal is to locate manufacturers who may be willing to take orders from you and ship upon request.
You can also check out trade shows, which puts in some face time with the wholesalers, improving your chances of building a relationship with them.
Over to You
Have you ever had the chance to take on dropshipping as a business? Share your story, or let us know if you have any questions about getting a dropshipping company up and running.
#business website design
Think of your company’s website as a first impression for potential future clients. Is it easy to navigate, and does it clearly convey your business’s products and services? If not, visitors may lose interest and abandon your site, which will not add up to repeat customers.
Scott Prindle, VP/Executive Creative Technology Director, and Winston Binch, Partner/Managing Director of Interactive at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the famed Miami-based advertising and design agency, offer their advice to small business owners on how to design the best website for their small business, and ensure that visitors keep coming back.
Small Business Website Design: Make It Clear to Visitors What Business You Are In
Since you only have a few seconds to engage your visitors and keep them on your site, it’s important that your value proposition and intent be clear the instant customers hit your homepage, says Binch. Great visual design, animation, and pretty pictures can always enhance a website, but you need to take your business’s message into consideration, too.
‘Don’t underestimate the expressive power of simple language,’ Binch says. ‘For example, take a look at Facebook’s homepage; they do a really good job of making their service obvious the moment you arrive. Since the first text you see on the login page proclaims, Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. it’s pretty hard to confuse what they’re selling.’
Small Business Website Design: Make Your Website Easy to Use
If you’re building something from scratch, the first step is to ensure you have the right minds working on the project. Most importantly, it’s crucial you have both information architects and technical developers front and center of the creative development process. They will be there not only to contribute conceptual ideas but also to help you present users with an experience that is efficient and pleasant from a user flow, navigation, and technical perspective.
‘The Internet is cluttered with bad websites,’ Binch says. Make yours one of the most usable, and you’ll attract an audience and form lasting relationships with your customers.’ He recommends that your website focus on easy-to-use site navigation and on creating pages that achieve quick download times. Readable text throughout, and share functionality (which will allow a user to post something from your site on Twitter or Facebook) is a helpful addition, too, he adds.
Dig Deeper: Has Your Business Outgrown Its Web Developer?
Small Business Website Design: Don’t Underestimate SEO
According to Prindle, if you’re site is not search-engine optimized, you’re basically cutting off almost all possibility for organic traffic or chance encounters with your brand. If you let your idea ultimately guide the technology solution, that’s a start, but you’ll want to make sure it works well with leading search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. At a minimum, be sure that you’ve generated a site map, and your title tags, heading titles, and site description are filled out appropriately.
‘If your budget allows for it, get an SEO company or a consultant to do a quick audit of your site,’ Prindle advises. ‘There are always optimizations to be made, and you should always be looking at ways to improve your search ranking.’ Additionally, if you are a new company, you should consider buying sponsored link placements through popular search engines. ‘It’s a good way to attract new users right out of the gates,’ he says.
Dip Deeper: How to Improve Your Website’s Search Ranking
Small Business Website Design: Give Your Brand A Soul
Many corporate websites lack soul. They tend to use stock imagery, business jargon, static content, and generic web design – all of which undermines the user experience. That’s a serious problem, Binch says, because your site plays a crucial branding role, serving as the digital interface between your customers and your company, product, and services. The best way to create a positive branding experience is to be yourself: Be transparent, speak to your customers on a real-time basis, and let them connect with each other through your brand.
‘A company like Zappos is not just selling a solid e-commerce product,” Binch says. “It is also selling a culture of innovation and exceptional customer service, and the team at Zappos use the their digital presence as the primary means to do that. Luckily, with social technology, like Twitter and Facebook, it has become pretty easy to make your Web presence interactive and collaborative.
Small Business Website Design: Don’t Forget the Mobile Web
Not too long ago, we considered mobile sites a nice-to-have add on. That is no longer the case. At present, approximately 5 percent of traffic to CP +B’s site comes via mobile phone, Prindle says. And over the next year, as more smart phones hit the market, and carriers continue to enhance the capability of cellular wireless standards, Pindle says he expects that number to dramatically increase.
‘What that means is that you and your company need to be there,’ Prindle says. ‘Our mobile web strategy centers around creating designs for three screen sizes: PC, smart phone, and the basic (or WAP) phone. Once you’ve covered the basics, monitor your site metrics, and if you have a growing and engaged mobile audience, think about getting into the application game.’
Small Business Website Design: Use Analytics to Track Everything
According to Binch, your website redesign should never be over. ‘Make sure you identify clear and realistic brand and business goals for your site so that you have numbers to optimize against after you go live,’ he says. ‘Then, you’ll want to think about the different parts of the experience you want to track in order to support your company goals.’
If you’re challenged from a budget perspective, Binch suggests using the free Google analytics package: ‘In addition to the more expensive solutions, such as Omniture and WebTrends, we use [Google analytics] across all of our client work.’ Once you’ve confirmed that all of your tags are working, make sure you pull weekly reports and start looking critically at how people are using your site. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to observe trends, but it’s still important to be relentless in your pursuit of delivering an optimal user experience, he says.
Dig Deeper: Improving Your Sense of Site
Internet Based Businesses
The maximum turnkey opportunities exist in the realm of internet businesses. In all such opportunities, the turnkey or franchisee provider offers fully functional websites and internet marketing instead of a fully functional brick and mortar store and traditional marketing.
The most popular turnkey internet business opportunities include:
#1. Online Gaming Websites: DFC Intelligence forecasts the worldwide online game market at over $13 billion in 2012. While competition is intense, the high growth rate and wide market provides everyone with opportunities.
#2. Online Training: Development of technology and learning content represents a strong business opportunity. Online training options include online tutoring for students, online universities and certificate courses, tie-up with industries to equip their employees with the required competencies, training for certifications such as Six Sigma online training. and much more
#3. Travel Guides: Destination specific websites such as aguide2.com, containing comprehensive information and stand-alone packages for the destination. Income streams come from listings of accommodation, restaurants, shops, events and much more from the area.
#4. Online Shops: Stores in popular e-commerce websites such as e-bay and Amazon, complete with profiles, stocks, and selling strategies rank among the most popular turnkey opportunities.
#5. Internet Marketing: Internet marketing entails offering search engine optimization services, pay per click advertisement services, website advertising services, article and blog marketing services and much more. Much of the existing services in this sector are scams or unethical. Finding a professional turnkey provider to offer legitimate services in such areas is an opportunity that has good demand.
Turnkey providers offer comprehensive website with all features such as template, content, shopping cart, ad revenue streams, and a complete website management suite including full control panel and technical support, making it possible for entrepreneurs with no programming or technical experience to excel in such online businesses. Most such websites have search engine optimization.
The main advantage of an internet business is the comparatively lower start up costs, combined with the best potential for growth in a global marketplace marked by an increasing number of people beginning to trust and embrace e-commerce. Amazon, eBay and Google are testimonies to the heights humble and small scale start ups can achieve with the right idea, strategy, persistence, and determination.
Continue to Page 2 for more turnkey business opportunities
#6. Business Consultancy
Business Consultancy ranks among the time tested successful turnkey business opportunities. These businesses work best in a franchise model.
The various turnkey business opportunities in business consultancy include
- Franchise Consulting: A franchise consulting business ties up with various franchise providers and helps people or independent companies identify franchises that best suit them
- Financial Consultancy: Business Debt Restructuring, Mediation, and Capital Acquisition Consultancy provide a wide gamut of products and services such as expense recovery, cost-saving and cost-segregation services, waste identification and management, utility review, commercial property optimization, financial stimulus and planning and more.
- Management Consultancy: General Management Consultancy includes services such as workers compensation review and recovery, employee background checks, recruitment related drug and alcohol testing consultancy, performance management services, ISO, and Total Quality Management audits, and more.
For all such consultancy services, the entrepreneur needs to bring into the business strong communication skills, strong time management skills, the strong desire to help others, the ability to manage business relationships, and the willingness to learn and follow a proven system.
The turnkey franchise provider offers everything else, including
- setting up the physical office
- providing the required training for functional expertise and exposure
- support to acquire the necessary credentials or certifications
- marketing support
- systems and procedures for smooth operations including client management software, invoicing software and others
- initiating relationships with channel partners
- follow-up support including customer support and constant provision of information to remain updated
The biggest advantage of business consultancy is that it attracts high fees and has very low start up and operational overhead, with just one or two transactions recouping the entire overhead. The sense of achievement and personal satisfaction that comes with the accomplishment of the job, and the wide knowledge inculcated as part of the job come as bonus.
#7. Vending Machines
A common type of a turnkey business opportunity is a vending machine business. Vending machine options are wide-ranging, including
- knocking machine,
- game machine,
- weight testing machines,
- candy machines
- soda machines… and much more
A close variant of vending machines are breath-analysis machines to test for alcohol in the breath to promote responsible drinking, and related machinery to check the height, weight, Body Mass Index and other physical specifications.
Vending machines, breath analyzers, and its variants are common in public places such as bars, hostel dorms, pubs, nightclubs, discos, sports bars, casinos, pool halls, pizza parlors, college hangouts, country clubs, hotel bars, amusement parks, baseball parks, boat marinas, and other places.
The turnkey provider offers the machines, arranges for lease for the locations to install the machines, performs the actual installations, and arranges for follow up maintenance and support. All the entrepreneur needs to do is collect the cash from day one.
Vending machines and breath analyzers rank among the most popular turnkey business opportunities owing to the potential to generate cash round the clock with the minimal of effort and overhead. The machine generates income without any staff tending to it and without any credit risks. Moreover, the business requires no inventory or marketing efforts.
Continue to Page 3 for more Turnkey Business Opportunities
Vending machine businesses, electrical efficiency consultancy, computerized sign businesses and flooring businesses rank among four good turnkey business opportunities. A good turnkey business is low risk as it is an already running business, or established with much study. Success depends on selecting such good turnkey opportunities and not falling for scams.
The best turnkey businesses provide minimal risks, for the business is already running, or set up with much planning and foresight. The risks primarily derive from some unexpected changes in the external environment, or if the turnkey provider is a fraudster. Many turnkey offers are cleverly disguised scams and success depends on identifying good legitimate turnkey opportunities from the bad .
Awards are one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tools and winning a prestigious Best Business Award will help your organisation to stand out from the crowd, send a positive message to your existing customers and attract new business.
The Best Business Awards are one of the UKs highest profile awards and winning this accolade will say a lot about the quality of your organisation and the strength of your management team. Due to its high profile, the Awards attract a wide range of entries from across all sectors from large international PLCs and public sector organisations to dynamic and innovative SMEs. But the winners all have one thing in common they are truly excellent at what they do and have proved this by winning a Best Business Award.
We want to help you raise the profile of your organisation and enhance its reputation by promoting the great work you are doing while at the same time providing you with a platform to celebrate your success.
Listen to the Awards Intelligence CEO Mark Llewellyn-Slade explaining the benefits of winning business awards to BBC TV World News
Winning a Best Business Award has provided us with a platform to raise our profile via the media. Since winning we have secured press coverage in key national and regional publications regarding the great work we are doing and we have attracted students to the college that may not have otherwise heard about us. I would recommend the Best Business Awards to any dynamic organisation that wants to prove to stakeholders that it is delivering.
Dave Cooper, director of marketing, Solihull College
If you re a young business without much marketing spend, then entering awards can be a cost-effective way of generating positive marketing and PR, because you re thrown into the spotlight. It also offers a seal of approval. Potential customers can look at that and think I m happy to do business with this company because they have that recognition.
Adam Goodyer, co-founder of Concert Live
Experience has shown that an award gives massive credence to our business, particularly when talking to new customers and vendors that have not dealt directly with us in the past. With existing partners, it reinforces the fact they have made the right choice to work with us. If I equated the benefits of winning an award to other forms of channel marketing, we would probably have to spend tens of thousands of pounds to get similar levels of impact.
David Ellis, director, Computerlinks
The Best Business Awards are open to private and public sector organisations of all sizes. There are four rounds each year with quarterly deadlines being the last working day of January, April, July and October and winners for each round hold their title for twelve months. Therefore you can enter when the time is right for you, as many times as you wish during the course of the year.
A popular feature of the BBAs is that unlike most awards we don’t hold an awards dinner at which winners are announced. So you won’t feel obliged to take a table for ten if shortlisted along with all the associated costs such as hotel accommodation and travel. Instead, winners are advised by email about six weeks after each quarterly deadline. We then offer winners benefit packages to help you make the most of your awards success and to make your budget work as hard as possible.
The 6 Best Advertising Strategies For Small Business
Small business owners need to be realistic about their advertising campaigns. Typically, of course, they ll be looking for effective, low-cost solutions, but typically, too, you can have just one or the other; you re unlikely to find a simultaneously effective and inexpensive channel for your ads.
That s why you absolutely must budget for advertising, not just play with the money you have left over. By assigning the right amount of money to the right channels, you can get the results you want, or at the least, improve the results you have, based on the data you gather along the way. Since your monthly spend will be consistent, you ll be better able to measure overall efficacy, too.
Given your need to optimize your advertising efforts, then, here are the best advertising strategies for small businesses.
1. Target your audience.
Sorry, but that particular product or service you re touting does not match the needs of anyone who currently walks the Earth. Many small businesses don t run adequately targeted campaigns, despite the fact that targeting is one of online advertising s primary advantages.
Indeed, you should be able to create an accurate target customer profile based on the data you ve collected. With this information in hand, and what you know about your current clientele, you can begin to target similar demographics and psychographics with your campaigns to attract more customers.
Whether you re advertising online or off, make sure your copy and imagery reflects the kind of customers you want to work with. This is key to targeting well.
2. Measure and track your advertising.
Many small businesses simply have no idea whether their advertising is actually working. This simply won t do.
Online advertising platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook provide you with extensive stats related to your ads, and will help you determine what is working and what isn t. This doesn t mean that you won t need to test and experiment, as it can take time for you to create an ad that resonates with your target customers, but it does mean that you can make faster decisions about what to try next.
If you re advertising offline, and you have to set up a specific email address or phone number to gain a clearer understanding of how your leads are finding you and what s working, then that effort is worth the hassle. Stop making guesses.
3. Know when to advertise.
At first glance, advertising year-round and spreading out your budget equally month-to-month may appear to be a wise and commonsense approach.
But if you think back to your business launch, odds are you did a lot of things that can t be scaled. There s no way for you to sustain a similar marketing and advertising initiative throughout the entire year.
If you sell seasonal products, you should be advertising in your highest-performing seasons. You may even want to start a little bit early and hold some of your advertising until a little after.
Black Friday and Christmas tend to be high-performing seasons, depending on the type of business you re running. It may be advantageous to set aside some extra ad money for these days and/or other holidays.
Finally, it can also be worthwhile to keep an eye on when your competitors launch their own big promotions. If you have an advertising budget set aside, you may be able to keep pace or even outmaneuver them.
4. Brand well.
Can your customers immediately identify your ads based on your copy, color choice, imagery, logo or typeface? If that question seems absurd, just look at what the major brands and companies are doing. Oftentimes, you can recognize their ads just from the colors they re using.
Over time, your customers will come to identify with and respond to your ad layouts. The temptation may be to change your branding every time you create a new ad, but that could be confusing and ineffective over the long haul. Your goal should be to show up in expected places, with familiar-looking ads that consistently resonate with your target customers.
Bottom line: Brand well, and stick to your image. Build loyalty through resonance.
5. Use your resources well.
You know the importance of ranking well in search, but you may simply not have the resources and time to consistently create new, informative content for your website.
In an instance like that, your best bet is to take advantage of services like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, so you appear higher in SERP results without having to optimize posts for your chosen keywords. If you have the budget to advertise, but not the time to create content, this is a good use of resources.
If you only have a small budget to allocate to advertising, it may not make sense to take out an expensive magazine ad. A Facebook ad campaign would be much more practical, since you can control your daily spend.
Make an honest assessment of the resources available to you, and leverage them in a way that helps you grow your business.
6. Show up in the right places.
It s dangerous to make too many assumptions about your target customer. For example, if there s a certain radio show that you like, and you assume that your customers like it too, you may be misinformed about the wisdom of spending money on a radio ad there that could prove expensive and ineffective.
If your advertising dollars are going to the wrong place, you re wasting your money. Instead, you need to get to know your customers. So, survey them. Get a sense of where they like to hang out online, what books and magazines they read, what podcast and radio shows they listen to and so on.
When your advertising is matched with the right understanding of your customers, you ll begin to attract more worthwhile leads to your business.
There are plenty of opportunities to monetize through advertising. The key is in knowing who your target customers are, where they like to hang out — and thus where to find more people like them — and allocating your resources to those specific channels.
Advertising is not set-and-forget. You need to be strategic in the way you approach it, and amplify your marketing at the right times.
#best small business
Small Business Loans Reviews
How to Choose a Small Business Loan
The top performers in our review are SmartBiz. the Gold Award winner; Grow America Fund. the Silver Award winner; and Wells Fargo. the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a small business loan to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 loans.
As a small business owner, funding obtained through a small business loan enables you to take advantage of profitable opportunities. You may need the funds to expand your business by hiring additional staff to increase your productivity or to purchase equipment or machinery that broadens the range of products you offer. You may need to purchase inventory to stock up for your busy season or jump on a discount offered by a vendor. You may even need working capital to repair or replace old or damaged equipment or to sustain your business during your off season.
If your credit is good, your finances are in order and you have time to apply for a loan backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), you can often obtain the best rates. If a fast turnaround is critical or if your credit needs improving, alternative lending can help you procure the funding you need. Peer-to-peer lending is another option to consider if your credit isn’t quite good enough for a bank loan or if the amount of money that you want to borrow is smaller than banks want to lend. Merchant cash advance lenders can provide you with a useful solution if you need cash quickly, and it’s convenient for you to repay the loan in small daily repayments that the lender automatically subtracts from your credit card sales.
Typically, SBA loans, available through banks and non-bank lenders, offer the best rates and are the first resource that you should consider. These loans are desirable because they carry lower interest rates and favorable terms, which lenders are willing to extend because the federal government assumes a large portion of the risk by guaranteeing a percentage of the loan through the Small Business Administration. The SBA also provides resources can help women, veterans and minorities obtain small business loans. The SBA 7(a) loan is the most common loan available and can range from a few thousand dollars up to five million dollars with repayment terms that can span many years.
The disadvantage of using federal money for starting a new small business with an SBA loan is that it may require you to submit more paperwork than many of your other loan options, which can be time-consuming. Although the lenders we selected for our review are preferred SBA lenders with a nationwide reach, also consider your local and regional banks, as they also offer SBA loans and may be good resources for you, especially if you’ve already established relationships with them.
Small Business Loans: What We Evaluated, What We Found
We looked for lenders that provide SBA 7(a) loans nationwide and that offer the most desirable amounts and a range of terms. We researched the company online and then contacted each lender via email and phone to gather and verify information about its rates and terms. Some key differentiators include the loan amounts offered by each lender, the fees and costs they charge, and how long it takes to get your loan approved and funded.
Loan Size: Amounts Vary by Lender
Although the SBA doesn’t set a minimum amount on loans and caps them at $5,000,000, all lenders set a minimum amount and some also set their own maximum amount. Because of the paperwork required with an SBA 7(a) loan, most lenders prefer to offer larger loans. SmartBiz is the exception, as it caters to small businesses that want smaller loans and it offers the smallest loans in our review, starting at $5,000 and capping out at $350,000, which is around the minimum amount that some lenders are willing to consider. The lender with the highest minimum, starting at $500,000, is CapitalSpring .
Fees Costs: Although Regulated, There Is Variance
Even though SBA 7(a) loans are highly regulated, there is some variance in the fees and costs that lenders are permitted to charge. Packaging fees vary the most, as some lenders, like the Grow American Fund, Wells Fargo, Chase and Ridgestone Bank. don’t charge them at all, while others may charge several thousand dollars. Almost all lenders charge closing costs, which typically bundle due diligence expenses, such as those for appraisals and lawyers’ fees. Because closing costs vary from loan to loan, you should verify with your lender what your closing costs cover and the exact amount you can expect to pay.
Approval Funding Time: A Wide Variation
SBA 7(a) loans are notorious for taking a long time to obtain, but the amount of time it takes lenders to approve and fund a loan varies widely. After you submit you completed application and all accompanying documents, five to seven days is an average amount of time for approval. Most lenders agree that the process is faster when the borrower is motivated and responds quickly when additional information is required. SmartBiz has a faster turnaround time than most because it utilizes sophisticated technology to speed up the process.
What Else Is Important in Selecting a Small Business Loan?
Other factors that influence your overall satisfaction with a loan are the interest rate and whether the loan is secured or unsecured. As you search for the best small business loan, it’s critical that you understand every aspect of the deal and that you thoroughly read and understand every document you sign so that you know precisely what you’re getting and what your obligations and responsibilities are. Consider the following factors as you research your loans options. You can also read articles about small business loans to broaden your understanding of the subject.
Interest Rate Range
The interest rate is the percentage of the amount of money you borrowed that you repay the lender. Although the SBA regulates the range of interest rates that the lender can charge you, it’s influenced by a variety of factors, including your business’s industry, the amount of time you’ve been in business, your business and personal credit history, and the overall health of your business. Most lenders charge a couple of percentage points above prime, which is the published percentage that seven of the 10 largest American banks charge their best customers. The Grow America Fund has the lowest interest rates in our review.
Secured or Unsecured
Most small business loans require you to leverage business assets, such as real estate or equipment, as collateral against the loan in order to minimize the lender’s risk. Most also require a personal guarantee from all individuals owning 20% or more of the business. You may be required to put up personal assets if you don’t have sufficient collateral from your business, particularly if the loan you’re procuring is for a startup. Take care to protect your home and personal savings when entering into a loan. Unsecured business loans are less common, though they are available for SBA 7(a) loans under $25,000.
In the above matrix, you can find information on other additional small business loan features, including details on noteworthy features and the lenders’ status with the SBA. You can also find information on down payments, the time it takes to receive your funds after your application is approved and the availability of customer support resources.
Small Business Loans: Our Verdict Recommendations
The best SBA 7(a) lender we reviewed is SmartBiz, which earned the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for its ability to streamline the process and its willingness to offer loans in amounts smaller than most other lenders are interested in; these qualities make it the most accessible lender in our review. The Grow America Fund earned the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award because it offers the lowest interest rate in our review and specializes in helping small business owners who are women or minorities or who have businesses in underserved communities obtain funding. Likewise, CRF helps small businesses that are owned by women, minorities and veterans and that can provide jobs in low-income areas. Wells Fargo earned the Top Ten Reviews Bronze award for overall excellence as an SBA 7(a) lender, as it gives the most money to the most small businesses nationwide.
Getting a business loan is a significant undertaking for a small business, and it’s important that you take every reasonable step to ensure that it’s the best decision for your company. Shop around for the best interest rates and small business loan terms. Pay particular attention to fees and penalties and don’t be afraid to ask the lender to explain them to you. Request the fee structure and terms in writing and read your contract thoroughly before you sign it to ensure that you understand the details of your loan and your repayment responsibilities.
Top Ten Reviews strives to appraise all services and products using hands-on evaluation and research that, in so far as possible, replicates the careful exploratory process of a typical small business owner. The lenders we evaluated had no influence or input over our testing methodology, nor was the evaluation process provided to any of them in more detail than is publically available by reading our reviews, nor were the results of our research provided to the lenders prior to publication.
Disclaimer: The interest rates listed are reflective of the date this review was last updated.
#best business laptop
Best Business Laptops 2016 (and Why We Love Them)
What do you need in your next business laptop? Whether it is fast performance, long battery life or just something that won t weigh you down on your daily commute, there s a great notebook for you. Here are our top picks for 2016.
[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page .]
Best Laptops For.
- Ultraportable Laptop Dell XPS 13 (2015)
- Screen size: 13 inches
- Battery life: 7:24
- Desktop dock: Yes
- Fingerprint reader: No
- Price: $799.99
- Screen size: 12.5 inches
- Battery life: 15:12
- Desktop dock: Yes
- Fingerprint reader: Yes
- Price: $800.10
- Screen size: 15 inches
- Battery life: 4:46
- Desktop dock: No
- Fingerprint reader: No
- Price: $449.99
- Screen Size: 14 inches
- Battery Life: 8.38
- Fingerprint Reader: Yes
- Desktop Dock: Yes
- Price: $1,394.10
Best Overall Business Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is the most versatile business laptop money can buy, with solid performance, long battery life (check the chart below) and an included active stylus. And like other Yoga laptops, this one has a folding hinge that helps you get a good angle for jotting down digital notes right on its sharp 14-inch display.
The laptop has a flexible folding design and a built-in active stylus, which makes it easy to jot down notes and annotate documents right on its 14-inch display. It also lasts really long on a charge and has an excellent keyboard. – See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8720-lenovo-thinkpad-x1-yoga-business.html#sthash.qiFrf3Qg.dpuf
Click here for a full review of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga from Busiess News Daily.
Best Ultraportable Laptop
Dell has refreshed its super-portable XPS 13 notebook with a more powerful processor, speedier storage and a bigger battery, without changing its stunning design. That makes the XPS 13 an even better option for commuters and frequent travelers who don t want to be weighed down.
- Thin-and-light design
- Long battery life
- Fast performance
- Excellent keyboard
Click here for a full review of the Dell XPS 13 from Business News Daily.
Best Laptop/Tablet Hybrid
Thanks to its much-improved keyboard, we finally feel comfortable calling the latest device in Microsoft s Surface Pro line our favorite 2-in-1 laptop for business. No other hybrid device can quite match the Surface Pro 4 s combination of portability, power and versatility. That includes top-notch pen support, so you can take notes right on the slate s display.
- Digiziter stylus (included)
- Keyboard (sold separately)
- USB port
- SD card slot
Click here for a Surface Pro 4 full review of the Surface Pro 4 from Business News Daily.
Best Small Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
The ThinkPad Yoga 12 is my favorite business notebook with a screen under 13 inches. You get a compact 12.5-inch screen, an industry-leading keyboard and good battery life. And true to its name, the Yoga 12 s screen can fold backward a full 360 degrees so you can use it like a tablet. Plus, the machine comes with a top-notch Wacom pen digitizer and a built-in stylus, so you can take notes right on the notebook s display. And since it s a ThinkPad, you get great business features like an extra-durable design, a TrackPoint pointing stick and a desktop docking port. Plus, it matches up very well against non-hybrid competitors in terms of performance (see chart below).
Toshiba Chromebook 2
Chromebooks aren t for everyone, but they re an affordable alternative for business users who have only basic computing needs. Toshiba s Chromebook 2 is the best overall package, offering a sharp, 13-inch display; a slim, lightweight frame; an impressive 8 hours of battery life; and faster performance than competing Chromebooks (see chart below). And you get all that for an affordable $329. Like other Chromebooks, this model runs on Chrome OS, which is not compatible with software made for Windows or Mac computers. Regardless, the Chromebook 2 is a great bargain for users who primarily want to check email, browse the Web and run basic apps.
Click here for a full review of the Chromebook 2 from our sister site Laptop Mag.
Best Budget Laptop
Asus VivoBook E403SA
The VivoBook E403SA delivers more bang for your buck than just about any other laptop, providing zippy performance in a slim package for just $400. You also get a 14-inch, full-HD display, a comfy keyboard and a lightweight design that won t weigh you down on your commute. Plus, its battery lasts all day.
Best Battery Life Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad X260
Lenovo s ThinkPad X260 is the longest-lasting laptop on the market, bar none. It ran for an amazing 17 hours on a single charge, so it will have no trouble lasting through a long business flight or two. The X260 also gives you a durable design, strong security and fast performance even if it s a bit bulkier than other 12.5-inch notebooks.
- Long battery life
- Durable design
- Excellent keyboard
- TrackPoint pointing stick
- Fingerprint reader (optional)
Click here for a full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X260 from our sister site Laptop Mag.
[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page .]
#business accounting software
How to choose the best accounting software
On this page
- Choose a bookkeeping system
- Set it up properly using a chart of accounts
One of the main reasons businesses fail is because there isn’t a good bookkeeping system in place that would provide warning signs the business could run out of cash.
You can choose to set up a bookkeeping system manually (using accounting books), electronically (spreadsheets) or use accounting software. Unless you want to get familiar with bookkeeping practices, accounting software is the most efficient choice.
What to consider
Every business will have different requirements from an accounting software. When choosing an accounting software consider the following:
- does the system calculate all payroll requirements (PAYE, annual leave, long service leave etc.)
- does the system track stock, work in progress, orders, jobs and other task management requirements
- will the system be able to handle multiple bank accounts
- does the system need to handle foreign currency
- does the system track separate financial records for each business or department within the business
- does the system allow for interface with other computer systems such as online payments
- does the system keep detailed records on customers including what they buy, how often they buy, when they buy etc (often referred to as a Customer Relationship Manager system).
There are many software packages on the market that allow business managers to successfully control records without an accounting degree. Some of them, such as Free Accounting Software. have no cost. Some commonly used accounting systems used by small businesses are:
If you’re unsure which to choose talk to your accountant or business adviser. It’s worth checking to make sure the package has Standard Business Reporting forms needed to report to the ATO such as BAS statements.
It’s also a good idea to ask other business owners what they use. If you don’t know any, the Business Victoria Facebook group is always happy to answer your questions.
Setting up a bookkeeping system
When you set up your financial records you need to make sure they meet any compliance requirements such as GST or other tax compliance.
This is done through setting up classifications, also known as a chart of accounts. A chart of accounts is a listing of all the accounts needed to cover the financial transactions of the business. Classifications are used to separate profit and loss calculations to show where a business is making or losing money. It is also used to determine the overall financial position of a business in a balance sheet.
How to set up a chart of accounts
When setting up a chart of accounts you will need to:
- define the various accounts to be used in the business, such as different classes of assets, liabilities, expenses and sales revenue
- make a list of all of these under the financial classifications as noted above – that is each different type of account for assets, liabilities, sales revenue and expenses
- it can be useful to allocate a numbering system for each account within the chart of accounts, such as all asset accounts will have been classified under the 1000 number and all liability accounts will be classified under the 2000 number etc.
- allocate various sub accounts under these main accounts
- depending on the level of information you need, determine if each sub account needs sub accounts.
The chart of accounts is very important to the overall effectiveness and accuracy of your bookkeeping, so if you don’t feel you understand it enough, then you should discuss with your bookkeeper or accountant before you set up your bookkeeping records.
Your bookkeeper or accountant can help you set up a meaningful chart of accounts if you don’t think you can do this yourself.
Accounting packages have predefined chart of accounts which you can allocate to your own financial transactions.
Case Study: Finding the right accounting software for your business
‘Having really good information means your business can react the way you want it to, rather than how you hoped it would.’ Carolyn Creswell, Carman’s Fine Foods
Best Business Jobs
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10,100 Projected Jobs $79,990 Median Salary 4.0% Unemployment Rate
#2 in Best Business Jobs
From data mining to mathematical modeling, operations research analysts use advanced techniques to help businesses run in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. The BLS predicts employment to grow about 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, which translates to 27,600 new jobs. more
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#3 in Best Business Jobs
Show accountants the money – these financial experts are trained to help you handle it. Accountants prepare taxes, perform audits and offer consulting. According to the BLS,142,400 more jobs will open in the field from 2014 to 2024. more
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#4 in Best Business Jobs
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73,900 Projected Jobs $81,060 Median Salary 3.3% Unemployment Rate
#5 in Best Business Jobs
Mathematicians may have careers as varied as mathematics itself, working everywhere from classrooms to government buildings. While some mathematicians work primarily with theory, others use theory to solve everyday problems. According to the BLS, the profession is projected to grow 21 percent by 2024. more
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Health care systems are like well-oiled machines, and it’s the job of medical and health services managers to keep all the parts running. These professionals might hire staff members, manage budgets, create goals for a department and increase the efficiency of health services, as well as manage a practice for a group of doctors, manage a medical facility or manage a department. According to the BLS, 56,300 new positions will open in this field by 2024, which is a 17 percent increase. more
56,300 Projected Jobs $92,810 Median Salary 1.7% Unemployment Rate
#7 in Best Business Jobs
Time really is money. Management analysts work with companies to improve overall efficiency, proposing plans to increase profitability, reduce costs and increase revenue. The BLS anticipates employment to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024. more
103,400 Projected Jobs $80,880 Median Salary 3.0% Unemployment Rate
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Business operations managers are a business’s go-to person. These managers assist companies of all sizes with hiring, negotiating contacts, budgeting and strategic decision-making regarding consumer purchases. The BLS predicts 151,100 new business operations manager jobs opening from 2014 to 2024. more
151,100 Projected Jobs $97,270 Median Salary 3.7% Unemployment Rate
#9 in Best Business Jobs
Some take risks, others calculate them. Actuaries are experts in uncertainty, using mathematics, statistics and financial theory to measure, manage and mitigate financial risk. The BLS predicts the field will grow by about 18 percent from 2014 to 2024. more
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#10 in Best Business Jobs
If financial managers were doctors, the financial success of their organization would be a testimony to their treatment. These business professionals create financial reports, coordinate investment activity and develop long-term financial strategies for companies. The BLS predicts employment for financial managers will grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024. more
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