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How to Apply for Your First Business Loan #business #search

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How to Apply for Your First Business Loan

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Unless you plan to fund this enterprise solely with savings—not recommended unless you are fabulously wealthy—you’ll need a business loan. As any lender can tell you, the better prepared you are before making your request for business credit. the greater the likelihood of getting approved.

Part of this preparation is understanding what bankers will need to approve you. Banks make a major portion of their profits from loans. They’re not in the business of saying no; they just say it when your application doesn’t meet lending requirements, which are much stricter now than before the financial crisis. But be aware that start-ups are almost always considered risky bets, and many lenders are reluctant to finance them. Also know that many larger banks won’t even consider small loans, which are less profitable than larger loans but require the same amount of time to analyze and administer.

Don’t let these discourage you. Get organized. How small is small? According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the median small business loan from a financial institution is roughly $135,000, with highest around $250,000. SBA loans, which are not underwritten by the US Government but by SBA partners (lenders, community development organizations and microlending institutions), range from $5,000 (a microloan) to $5 million, with the average around $371,000.

Do Your Homework So what exactly are lenders looking for? Basically, they’re searching for clues that your business will be able to repay the loan, plus interest, with metronomic regularity. Most financial institutions will expect the loan to be fully secured. either with business assets or personal collateral. Having some skin in the game, meaning you have your own equity invested in the business, strongly works in your favor.

Lenders also will be looking at opportunities to profit from your success, so as your business grows, so will your business relationship. The buzzword in banking circles these days is cross-selling, so your business loan provider may also seek to be the issuer of your business’s credit cards and holder of your treasury accounts. Lenders will also be looking at you—your personal finance record, your credit score. your assets, your work experience, and your character. If you’re starting a business for the first time, having partners with the experience and track record that you lack may also be a requirement.

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The Questions You Need to Answer Once you’re ready to make your request, ask the financial institution for the documentation it requires. Then, be prepared to answer the questions, in depth, on the right side of the chart. Once you’re ready to make your request, ask the financial institution for the documentation it requires. Then, be prepared to answer the questions, in depth, for each of the categories listed below.

Purpose: What will the funds be used for? (Note that banks won’t lend for speculating, passive investments, pyramid sales or gambling.)

Amount: How much money do you want to borrow? Why that particular amount? Term and

Repayment Plan: For how long will you need the money and what is your specific plan for repayment?

Collateral: What assets, business or personal, do you intend to use as collateral? What is their market value? What portion of their value can you use as collateral?

Asset and Liability Statement: Your current, complete business asset and liability financial statements (your balance sheet).

Current Income and Financial Performance Statement: Your current, complete business statement of income and expenses (your profit and loss statement, or P L).

Business Plan Details: Your written plan for your business including goals and action steps, timetable, resource allocation, funding required, and related financial data. You may be asked for cash flow projections for at least a year.

Historic Financial Performance Information: Past business financial performance information under your ownership or under the previous owner’s ownership.

Other Information As Required: Information about you (your C.V. your loan Guarantor—someone who will pledge his/her assets and financials to guarantee repayment of the loan should you default. Guarantors can be a legitimate tipping point factor in getting a “yes” to the credit request.

If You’re Turned Down What do you do if you get a no? Don’t give up. Pursue the reasons for the rejection. Was it a procedural thing—a missing piece of information on the application—or something else? Then ask what would it take to get a yes.

You can then either alter your request accordingly and resubmit it, or take it elsewhere. If you keep hitting a brick wall, consider alternative sources of funding. Many entrepreneurs seek out financing from family and friends. Some use their available credit from credit cards or home equity lines of credit to finance their businesses.

If your no comes from a commercial bank, consider community banks and credit unions, many of which specialize in small business loans. You may also want to look into alternative sources of business credit, like Kabbage.com, which offers cash advances of between $500 and $50,000 to businesses that already have a performance record, such as online sales. If you do decide to go online to fund your business, be sure you understand all of the terms and conditions of the financing, as they can differ from conventional small business loans.





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How to Finance a Business Acquisition #business #game

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How to Finance a Business Acquisition

Business experts often say that it costs less to buy an existing business than to build one from the ground up. If you are an entrepreneur looking into purchasing a business, there are a few items to consider when seeking financing for the acquisition that may strengthen your viability as a loan candidate and your ability to tap into a variety of potential financing sources.

Most lenders will want to review your business plan, and you should also determine the economic status and value of the business you re considering buying. Review the financials and consider having your banker and/or trusted financial advisor also review the numbers. Ascertain the value of the business, including any equipment, real estate, inventory and other assets.

To increase your viability as a loan candidate, convey your industry expertise and any management know-how to your potential lender. Lenders look for candidates who exhibit strong potential for success after acquiring the business. Show lenders that the transition period will run smoothly, and consider keeping existing managers on staff to help ensure an easy transition. Seasoned employees can also help you learn the inner workings of the business and help secure extended contracts with existing customers.

When seeking financing, consider these lending sources:

  • Family, friends or angel investors. Lenders will likely expect the buyer to provide between 20 percent and 50 percent of the capital upfront. If you do not have the initial capital to invest in the business, consider borrowing from family and/or friends. Another option may be angel investors–wealthy individuals who make equity investments in businesses at the early stages. They typically have expertise in the fields of businesses in which they invest and can also offer their resources and contacts.
  • Seller financing. Consider asking the seller if he or she can provide financing for the sale of all or some of the business. In some cases, sellers may provide a very reasonable interest rate. Some seller financing can also prompt other lenders to invest in the venture.
  • U. S. Small Business Administration. Many lenders across the country offer small-business loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans may provide more lenient and flexible financing for qualifying borrowers.
  • Financial institutions. While the industry is still in the midst of a tight credit market, the fundamentals for loan qualification remain important. They include demonstrating positive cash flow, solid management experience, industry expertise and a strong credit report. Banking relationships are also a significant part of the equation. It is important to cultivate and maintain a relationship with your banker, keeping him/her well-informed about your business experience within a particular industry. Many banks, also have special lending programs for women-, minority- and disabled-veteran-owned businesses.

Be prepared and stay informed when seeking financing for an acquisition. It is not unusual, especially in a tight credit market, for business owners to seek a variety of lending sources.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about financing an acquisition and is not considered financial advice from Union Bank. Please consult your financial advisor.





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How to Finance Your Business Yourself #business #administration #degree

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How to Finance Your Business Yourself

In their book Start Your Own Business , the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors discuss the options you have if you want to fund your startup yourself.

If you re thinking about trying to finance your business yourself, begin by doing a thorough inventory of your assets you re likely to uncover resources you didn t know you had. Assets include savings accounts, equity in real estate, retirement accounts, vehicles, recreational equipment, and collections. You may decide to sell some assets for cash or use them as collateral for a loan.

If you have investments, you may be able to use them as a resource. Low-interest-margin loans against stocks and securities can be arranged through your brokerage accounts.

The downside here is that if the market should fall and your securities are your loan collateral, you ll get a margin call from your broker, requesting you to supply more collateral. If you can t do that within a certain time, you ll be asked to sell some of your securities to shore up the collateral. Also take a look at your personal line of credit. Some businesses have successfully been started on credit cards, although this is one of the most expensive ways to finance yourself.

If you own a home, consider getting a home equity loan on the part of the mortgage that you ve already paid off. The bank will either provide a lump-sum loan payment or extend a line of credit based on the equity in your home. Depending on the value of your home, a home-equity loan could become a substantial line of credit. If you have $50,000 in equity, you could possibly set up a line of credit of up to $40,000. Home-equity loans carry relatively low interest rates, and all interest paid on a loan of up to $100,000 is tax-deductible. But be sure you can repay the loan you can lose your home if you do not.

You could also consider borrowing against cash-value life insurance. You can use the value built up in a cash-value life insurance policy as a ready source of cash. The interest rates are reasonable because the insurance companies always get their money back. You don t even have to make payments if you don t want to. Neither the amount you borrow nor the interest that accrues has to be repaid. The only loss is that if you die and the debt hasn t been repaid, that money is deducted from the amount your beneficiary will receive.

If you have a 401(k) retirement plan through your employer and are starting a part-time business while you keep your full-time job, consider borrowing against the plan. It s very common for such plans to allow you to borrow up to 50 percent of your vested account balance up to a maximum of $50,000. The interest rate is usually 1 to 2 percent above the prime rate with a specified repayment schedule. The downside of borrowing from your 401(k) is that if you lose your job, the loan has to be repaid in a short period of time often 60 days (but occasionally as long as six months) or it s taxed heavily, as if you ve taken an early withdrawal from the plan. Consult the plan s documentation to see if this is an option for you.

Another option is to use the funds in your individual retirement account (IRA). Within the laws governing IRAs, you can actually withdraw money from an IRA as long as you replace it within 60 days. This isn t a loan, so you don t pay interest. This is a withdrawal that you re allowed to keep for 60 days. It s possible for a highly organized entrepreneur to juggle funds among several IRAs. But if you re one day late for any reason you ll be hit with a 10 percent premature-withdrawal fee, and the money you haven t returned becomes taxable.

If you have a Roth IRA, you re entitled to withdrawals tax and penalty free, as long as the funds were in the account for at least five years. That s because a Roth is taxed at the time you put funds into the IRA account not when you retire and withdraw it. Consider switching your regular IRA to a Roth over a couple of years if you know you plan to finance a business this way. You ll have to pay the taxes in the year you make the conversion, but the money will then be free to withdraw when you need it, without the big penalties. Make the conversions well before you need the cash.

If you re employed, another way to finance your business is by squirreling away money from your current salary until you have enough to launch the business. If you don t want to wait, consider moonlighting or cutting your full-time job back to part time. This ensures you ll have some steady funds rolling in until your business starts to soar.

People generally have more assets than they realize. Use as much of your own money as possible to get started; remember, the larger your own investment, the easier it will be for you to acquire capital from other sources.





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How to Finance a Franchise Purchase – Small Business #veteran #business #loans

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How to Finance a Franchise Purchase

Tips

  • Be prepared to put down about 20% of the cash you will need from personal funds.
  • If conventional lenders turn you down, look into an SBA-backed loan.
  • Consider tax implications if you’re considering tapping a retirement plan.
  • Related How-Tos

    Feedback

    Commercial banks fund many franchises, so look to these lenders first. The single most important issue in landing bank financing is your credit rating. You will need to present a complete loan package including a personal financial statement, copies of personal tax returns for three years, and verification of the source of your down payment.

    Bankers favor businesses with brand names and long track records of consistent cash flow, so your choice of a franchise system can help or hurt you. Ventures with few locations are less attractive, in part because they lack proof that they can do well in all types of areas or economic climates.

    Bank loans unsecured by collateral are relatively rare, even for those with good credit. In addition to securing a loan with a mortgage on your home or other asset, be ready to be asked to put your own money into the deal, typically about 20% of the amount needed. Even with healthy businesses and solid collateral, most bank loans to new franchisees occur when a borrower has established relationships with a banker, or has previous experience, or is a figure in the community. If that’s not you, consider a loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

    SBA loans are partially guaranteed by the government, making them less risky. The standard SBA loan for franchisees is known as the 7(a), which is issued by a bank or other qualified lender, and partly guaranteed against default by the government. Because of that backing, such loans are seen as relatively low-risk.

    SBA loans of five- to six-year maturities can provide short-term working capital and equipment. Real-estate loans can run for 20 years or more. About 10% of all SBA loans go to franchisees, with the size running between $250,000 and $500,000, and maximum of $2 million. Most of that money is for franchise entry fees, improvements or working capital. Borrowers must be creditworthy, typically must contribute some equity, and are expected to repay the SBA loan out of the franchise s cash flow.

    Many SBA loans carry fluctuating interest rates. While the actual rate is negotiated between the bank and the borrower, it s subject to SBA maximums, which are tied to the prime rate. While a low rate may be attractive initially, make sure you can generate enough business to cover the payments if the rate rises.

    Another government lending program involves the Department of Veterans Affairs. The program, called Patriot Express because of its relatively fast approval time, makes loans up to $500,000 to active-duty military preparing to transition to civilian life, as well as to spouses and survivors of veterans. The loans come with the SBA s lowest rates.

    A few franchisers offer internal financing. For example, a company may defer a portion of the initial franchisee fee, essentially financing the deal. Interest rates are likely to seem high compared to other options. However, you may not have to put up collateral.

    Sometimes it makes sense to tap 401(k), Individual Retirement Account or other retirement funds rather than seek a loan. But rather than just taking an early withdrawal, which may be subject to taxation, you may want to consider setting up a C corporation that will own and operate the business. Then roll over money from your self-directed retirement account into that corporation s profit-sharing plan and direct that those funds be invested into the franchised business. But this is a risky option: If the franchise fails, your retirement fund can be wiped out. Check with a professional on possible tax implications, and consider the tradeoffs carefully.

    Related WSJ Articles and Blog Posts:

    Online Tools:

    • Franchise Opportunities Directory — A database of more than 1,200 franchise systems, searchable by industry, keyword, start-up cash, investment and other criteria, from the International Franchise Association.
    • The Franchise Registry — A searchable database of franchises whose Small Business Administration (SBA) loan applications receive a streamlined review, from franchise information and analysis provider FRANData and the SBA.
    • VetFran Directory, from the International Franchising Association — A list of more than 250 franchise companies offering financial incentives to veterans who have been honorably discharged.

Additional Resources:

  • Finance Start-Up Guide — A list of links to information about small-business funding, from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  • SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program Overview — An introduction to the most-used type of loan of the SBA’s business-loan programs.




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How to Create a Business Development Strategy #small #business #cards

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How to Create a Business Development Strategy

The Business Development Strategy is used to underpin your main Business Plan and essentially it sets out a standard approach for developing new opportunities, either from within existing accounts or by proactively targeting brand new potential accounts and then working to close them.

This document highlights the key issues you should consider prior to compiling your own plan and will hopefully guide you logically through a proven framework.

The key word is Strategy. because you are creating a workable and achievable set of objectives in order to exceed your annual target.

Your Starting Point :

The key words are Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why? How?

Who are you going to target?

What do you want to sell them?

Where are they located?

When will you approach them?

Which are the appropriate target personnel?

Why would they want to meet with you?

How will you reach them?

If you have conducted regular account reviews with your key accounts during the previous twelve months, you should be aware of any new opportunities that will surface during the next twelve months. You will also, when assessing what percentage of your annual target usually comes from existing accounts, need to review data over the last two or three years. (It is likely that you can apply Pareto i.e. 80% of your business will probably come from existing accounts and in fact 80% of your total revenue will come from just 20% of your customers/clients)

You will be left with a balance (i.e. 20% of my business next year will come from new opportunities) therefore you can then begin to allocate your selling time accordingly.

Next: Ideal Customer Profiling





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How to start a window cleaning business: Starting a business advice and business ideas #business #colleges

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How to start a window cleaning business

What is a window cleaning business and who is it suited to?

Window cleaning is not all buckets and suds and step ladders. It s a lot more dangerous than that. If you believe research conducted by Churchill Insurance way back in 2004, window cleaning might even be the most dangerous job in Britain. Thankfully, it s not quite as risky as such surveys suggest: things have become a little safer with the passing of time. Window cleaners now have equipment that allows them to completely eliminate the need to work at height, Damian Whittaker of the British Window Cleaning Academy (BWCA) explains, Modern window cleaning is no longer the dangerous job it once was.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

Perhaps because of this dangerous reputation, window cleaning has suffered from something of a poor public image in the past, but don t let that deter you. Window cleaners come from all all walks of life. While a City background may not be what you expect from the MD of a successful window cleaning company, there are many who have just that.

Christopher Turner, who set up The London Window Cleaner in 2006, for instance, is a former hedge fund manager. I was actually in a hedge fund for the charitable sector; and I spent eight years in charity work before I left, he says. There are lots of people in the business from the City. I got out because I wanted to go back to something that was fundamental, something practical and useful and that would always have a market.

A City background is not a prerequisite of course although it might help with your start-up costs. Window cleaning is often a family business and, according to Damien of the BWCA, there are a few husband-and-wife teams around. Like most start-up businesses, entry is limited only by commitment and interest. In times of downturn especially, many people who have lost their job use their redundancy payment to start a business in something like window cleaning. So if you want to take up your squeegee and ladder, don t let the scare stories put you off. Read on for our tips on how best to start up.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here .

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How to Start a Successful Window Cleaning Business #small #business #funding

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How To Start a Profitable Window Cleaning Business

Can You Spare 7 Hours Next Saturday? If You Can, Here s How to Earn an Extra $350 With Your Own Window Cleaning Business

How would you like a part time or full time business that s profitable and easy to start? If you re tired of living from paycheck to paycheck and want to start your own business, window cleaning could be your ticket to a better life. You know how hard it can be to make dreams come true when you re working for $10 or $20 an hour.

The beauty of starting a window cleaning business is that you start making money right now, and you can start up for less than $600. The average window cleaner makes $50 to $70 per hour, so just by working four Saturdays a month, you could be bringing in an extra $1,400 to $2,000 next month! Best of all, you can make this extra income without quitting your regular job.

Working full time, the numbers look even better, as you could be pulling in as much as $8,000 per month. Imagine what you could do with a monthly income like that. It s hard to find another legitimate business that has such high earnings potential combined with a low startup cost and no degree or experience required. You can learn the basics in just a few hours.

With our complete startup guide,Profitable Window Cleaning . you ll learn a proven, step-by-step system, with everything you need to start making money right away. You ll learn how to pick the most profitable window cleaning jobs, how to find all the customers you want, and much more. To make this guide a must-have resource, we teamed up with two window cleaning pros, with a combined total of 30 years of experience in the window cleaning business, to give you insider tips and techniques on how to succeed as a window cleaner.

I just wish I had this book when I started my business fifteen years ago. Just the tips on marketing your business and add-on businesses could have increased my income by 50 percent. Bill Weber, Ohio

Eight Reasons You Should Get Started Right Now

  1. You can start a window cleaning business for less than $600.
  2. You ll be your own boss.
  3. Recession Proof. Windows get dirty regardless of the economy.
  4. You can make as much money as you want. You re in charge!
  5. Repeat business. Most window cleaning customers are repeat customers.
  6. Flexible schedule.
  7. Work from home you don t need an office or shop.
  8. Quick easy startup learn the basics in just a few hours.

You ve probably cleaned a few windows before, and know the difference between a squeegee and a scrubber. At this point, you may be tempted to head down to Home Depot, pick up a few tools, and get started. Sure. you could, but why not give yourself a big head start by learning the right way to do it all. Here s a small sample of what you ll find in Profitable Window Cleaning that can save you many frustrating hours of learning by making mistakes, and start your profits flowing sooner rather than later.

  • The best way to structure your window cleaning business to reduce taxes and give yourself liability protection.
  • Be sure to get this type of insurance if you want to do commercial buildings.
  • Pick a catchy name to stand out from the competition here s how.
  • How to turn a simple business card into a marketing secret weapon for getting jobs.
  • Buy this instead of a yellow pages ad, and save thousands.
  • How to set up a basic window cleaner s tool kit for around $200.
  • The perfect window cleaning solution just pennies per gallon.
  • Why you should never bid by the hour.
  • Why you never want to be the low bidder.
  • How to charge top dollar a $20 trade secret.
  • How to find the perfect price for window cleaning in your home town.
  • How to write a window cleaning bid.
  • Don t make these bidding mistakes 12 tips to save you grief.
  • Six simple add-on businesses that most window cleaning customers need all you have to do is ask.
  • The $75 an hour natural sideline to a window cleaning business.
  • 5 steps to perfectly clean windows. Be sure to practice this until it s second nature.
  • Window cleaning tips and techniques that can speed up your work, keep customers coming back for more, and avoid a few potential disasters.
  • Links to how-to videos that will have you looking professional in no time.
  • How to use simple flyers to bring in thousands of dollars in new business.
  • Six ways to use postcards to market your window cleaning business.
  • Six sample letters to get new customers, get referrals from existing customers, remind customers it s time for another window cleaning and sell add-on services. Ready for your use.
  • How to grow your business just from referrals from happy customers.
  • How to set up a free web site.
  • How to make money by giving away your window cleaning services!
  • Safety solutions seven steps to avoiding work-related accidents.
  • Resources links for window cleaning trade associations, magazines, forums, videos, marketing materials and professional window cleaning products.
  • Sample customer information form ready to copy.

I have had a six-figure window cleaning business for years, and still learned a lot from your book. The section on marketing is great, and you lay out the entire process of starting a building a profitable one-man operation. Nicely done! Sid Graef California

Order Profitable Window Cleaning Now, and Start Making Money this Weekend!

To make it affordable for you to get started in this business, I m offering you Profitable Window Cleaning for only $19, a $10 savings off the $29 cover price. That way, the tight economy and money are no excuse for not taking the first step in starting your own business. But I urge you to hurry. This special low price of only $19 is for a limited time only.

Of course, there is no risk to you. If you decide it s not right for you, just let us know within 30 days, and you ll have a full refund. No questions asked.

There has never been a better time to set up your own window cleaning business, at a cost anyone can afford. You ll be thrilled when you complete your first job, and get paid $200-$300 the same day.

How to Order

Profitable Window Cleaning is a 75 page eBook. delivered instantly as a PDF file so you can read it on your computer screen or print it out. You can start enjoying the guide right now, even if it s 2 a.m.

If you prefer a printed copy, you can print out the book on your printer and put it in a 3-ring binder for easy reading. You will still have the full-color eBook with all the links to resources. No printer? No problem. Just email the PDF file to your local copy shop, and they can print it for you.

P.S. Questions? Just call us at: (360)230-1917

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How to Get a Small Business Loan – Finance a Business – Wells Fargo #business #cards #design

#getting a small business loan

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Financing a growing business

Learn about financing options for small businesses.

Supporting both the operation and expansion of a growing small business often requires some additional financial support. Getting a small business loan or grant can help you bridge the gap when you need to make capital investments, increase your workforce, or move to a larger space. To help you decide which type of funding might be right for you, here are a few great small business-financing options:

Line of credit. Using a line of credit as working capital can make it easier for you to manage your cash flow as your income or expenses fluctuate. It allows you to borrow only the funds that you need giving you more control over the amount of interest you will accrue.

Business loans. For larger investments, it may be time for a term loan. Like a mortgage or personal loan, term loans come with fixed interest rates and monthly payments over a period of years. Unlike a line of credit, a business loan will provide you with a large sum of cash upfront. These loans can be ideal for expanding your space or funding other large investments.

Commercial loans. For established businesses that own commercial real estate, a commercial loan is another option. Like a home equity loan, a commercial loan allows you to borrow against the equity you’ve built in your business property. Depending on the value of the property and the equity you hold, this could mean more borrowing power.

Equipment loans. If you’re specifically looking for cash to fund the purchase of new equipment – including vehicles, manufacturing or production machinery, farming equipment, or other necessary equipment – then an equipment loan or leasing program may be what you need. Like business loans, equipment loans offer fixed interest rates and payment plans over a period of time.

SBA loans. Wells Fargo is the nation’s #1 provider (by dollar volume) of loans guaranteed by the US Small Business Administration – or SBA 7(a) loans. SBA 7(a) loans have longer repayment terms and lower down-payments than most conventional bank loans, and can be used for the purchase of owner-occupied real estate, business acquisition, equipment, or working capital. Wells Fargo also offers the SBA 504 program for larger, fixed asset purchases or construction.

Federal or state grants. Small business grants – money that does not need to be repaid – are limited and harder to secure than loans. State and federal business grants are funded by taxpayer dollars, and the money is awarded through a complicated legislative process. For more information on how to get a small business grant, visit www.grants.gov.

By knowing which small business financing options are available, you’ll have a better idea of where to turn when you’re ready to take your business to the next level.

Business insights from experts

Discover our comprehensive resource library, offering guidance and information to help you start, run and grow your business.

Wells Fargo Works for Small Business ®





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How to Make Your Business Sign Memorable #business #seminars

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How to Make Your Business Sign Memorable

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, you need a sign out front. It s how customers find you. It s also the first impression you give the general public about your company. Needless to say, making your sign memorable is important. Most businesses make the mistake of designing a sign that s understated or too elegant, they try to blend into their environment, include too much information on the sign, they cheap out on the materials, or they place the sign too high off the ground. The idea is to get people to remember you, not to make it hard to figure out what you do (or that you exist).

Quality is important. It s probably the most important factor in your sign. A cheap sign can be spotted a mile away. If you know you don t have a good sense for quality, ask a friend or business partner for help. In general, you should buy the most expensive sign your company can afford. Buy good materials that stand up to UV light, harsh winds, torrential downpours, ice and snow, and any other extreme weather common to your area.

If you want to make your brand memorable, you have to be a little outrageous audacious even. No one remembers a sign that blends into the background. People remember signs that stick out like a sore thumb. For example, if your business is in a wooded area, consider using colors that contrast, even outright clash, with the scenery. It s not supposed to fit in. On the contrary, it s supposed to get noticed.

Think about businesses that have over the top signage Hard Rock Cafe. The company has a guitar as its logo. In some areas of the country, their signs are 3D, actually coming out of the building. No one forgets these signs after they see them.

Another example is the Hollywood sign in California. It s not a business sign, but it s very memorable. Why? Because it s dramatic, it s grossly oversized, there s nothing near it to distract you, it s in a strange place, and there s something oddly wrong about it the letters are all sitting at different heights instead of each one being perfectly level with the next one.

Don t make your signs overly complicated. A complex sign isn t always a better sign. You should be able to communicate your message simply, clearly, and unequivocally. Think about the signage that Apple uses. It s logo is simple an apple. To be more exact, it s a blue apple with the words Apple Campus One Infinite Loop. That s it. Everyone recognizes the logo and the sign when they see it and they never forget the brand.

You want your customers to want to do business with you. In general, regardless of the color scheme you use, your customers should be enticed to do business with you (or, at least, be enticed to walk in the door). The most attractive companies from the street are the ones with the cleanest signs. In other words, there s not a lot of clutter on the sign.

A simple sign doesn t try to jam in every possible offering of the company, the phone number, the fax, the company name, logo, tag line, etc. It simply tries to convey the business name and possibly a tag line if it s not clear what the company does from its name.

Robert M. Smyth is an entrepreneur. He loves sharing his tips on small business blogs that he learned while starting his own company.

Published by valentine belonwu





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