Tag: How

How to get a business loan, options & requirements #stock #prices

#getting a business loan

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Apply for a business loan

On this page

  • Choosing a loan you need
  • Improve your loan approval chances
  • Risk assessment

How to get a business loan

When applying for a business loan, it’s essential to prepare a detailed business plan and fully inform the lender about your proposed venture. This information helps the lender to provide you with the right type of finance and advice.

Decisions to make

Deciding that your business needs a loan is only the first step. There are a number of things to consider before you approach a lender; how much do you need to borrow; what type of loan will you need; how long will you need it for; can the business afford to repay the loan, interest and any one-off or ongoing fees that come with the loan; what security can you offer the lender and how this affects the interest rate offered.

Find and compare loan options for your business with the Infochoice Small business loan tool.

Online repayment calculators are a good tool in researching options but make sure you take the following into account:

Access to funds you borrow

If you need to access the funds on a semi regular basis (i.e. to help with cash flow to keep the business operating while waiting for your customers to pay for goods etc.), ‘at call’ loans such as an overdraft or line of credit are designed for this purpose. However, if you need the funds to buy a new business or equipment etc. to expand your existing business you will need the funds ‘upfront’. This is also known as a ‘fully drawn advance’ and provides you with the entire loan amount all at once.

Loan terms

Loans provided upfront will need a portion of the loan plus interest paid back at regular intervals. The repayment amount will depend on the term or length of the loan. To determine the loan term suitable for your business you will need to calculate how much you can afford to service the loan. Be aware that the longer the loan term the more total interest you will pay. Loans that are at call have no fixed terms.

Ongoing funding

This is the average amount of an overdraft or line of credit that is used at any one time. E.g. You may wish to have an overdraft limit of $20,000 to provide money for the occasional big expense, but usually you won’t use more than $5000 of that credit limit on average. So in this case $5,000 is the level of ongoing funding you need.

When applying for an overdraft limit, things to watch out for are:

  • higher the overdraft amount higher the fees
  • clauses where the lender can demand repayment of the whole loan at any time.

Fixed or variable interest rate

The choice of rate will affect the stability of repayments, overall cost of the loan and the loan features available. With a fixed rate loan the lender bears the risk of interest rate moves, while with a variable rate you will bear this risk. Ultimately, the choice of variable or fixed rates will depend upon how much free cash flow your business generates after you have paid all your expenses, including loan repayments. If your business has a low profit level, a variable rate loan repayment may rise beyond your ability to pay.

Loan security

Loans can be secured or unsecured by various types of assets, including residential, commercial, rural property or business assets. Alternatively, some loans are unsecured by any asset. Generally the less you provide for security the higher the interest rate will be. Be aware the lender has the legal right to seize any property or asset you offer as security if you can’t repay a loan on time.

Fees

There can be fees which can make a loan less attractive than it first seems. These include one-off fees such as establishment/application fees, exit/discharge fees and early termination fees or regular fees such as service fees or line/credit advance fees. The Business Loan Finder tool includes the cost of set-up and ongoing fees in the average monthly repayment to give you a better idea of the true cost of the loan.

Seek advice

The information provided here will provide you with a range of possible finance options. It is important to seek advice from your accountant or business advisers before approaching a lender for a loan.

Tip: Use our below Cashflow forecasting template to plan your cash flow and work out how much you need to lend.

Plan the business, plan the finance

Lenders will ask for a lot of in-depth information about the financial history of the business. It’s also important for you to create a convincing and detailed business plan which should include a profit and loss budget and cash flow forecast. The information you use to build your business plan may also be needed by the lender to assess your project. This includes both the past and future plans for your business, the people working in it and the market itself.

The outcome of your application is strongly influenced by how well your proposal is researched and how well it is presented.

Risk assessment

Banks and other lenders will look at your businesses risk profile when considering your loan application. Understanding what lenders look for and what they consider risky will help you present your business in a favourable manner.

As a general rule, lenders look for:

  • the level and nature of your security (what you’re offering to give them if you can’t repay the loan)
  • your ability to make regular loan repayments (cash flow risk)
  • your ability to ultimately repay the debt (business risk), including any other debts you might already have.

You need to be able to assess the level of cash flow or business risk in your specific circumstances. A projection of the cash requirements of the business is most important to a lender, as it is the actual cash left after expenses that will repay the loan, not income. It also shows you are an effective manager.

A lender’s perception of risk

The following factors can influence your lender’s perception of risk. If a number of these areas apply to you and your business you may need to consider another source of finance.

  • start up businesses incorporate financial, business and management risk
  • lack of security
  • lack of business history
  • industry sector, factors will include levels of competition, barriers to entry, profitability profile and current economic conditions
  • highly seasonal businesses e.g. suimsuits, agriculture. You’ll need to demonstrate how you’ll deal with cash flow pressures in the off season
  • lack of planning, market knowledge and finance skills
  • poor credit history.

Watch out! Before entering into a payment arrangement with the Tax Office, businesses should discuss this with their current or future lenders. Many businesses are unaware that entering into a payment arrangement with the Tax Office or other government agencies may adversely affect their current and future financing arrangements. For instance, a lender may not lend to a business if it is currently in a payment arrangement.

For more details visit the Guide to managing your tax debt on the ATO website.

What’s next?

Handy tools





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How To Set Up A Business Email Address #better #business #bureau

#business email address

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Three Ways to Set Up Your Business Email Address

Not only does a business-branded email address show the world you’re credible, it’s an easy way to start building your company’s online presence – an essential component to the growth and success of your business in this Web-reliant world.

Once you register a domain name for your business, there are generally three ways on where to host and use your new branded email address:

1. Email Service Provider, Like Gmail –

When you purchase your domain name, you’ll have the option to create a business email, and then redirect it to an existing email account like Gmail. It’s a smart, immediate way to look professional when you’re just starting out.

Simple to set up, you can manage your personal and professional emails in one central location. Keep in mind that if your email service provider goes down, you won’t be able to retrieve your emails. And customer support is usually not included.

2. Web Host Provider Who Offers Managed Email Services –

The company you bought your domain name from or using to host your website usually offers a business email service for a low-monthly fee. This is a convenient, more comprehensive way to manage your professional emails and is relatively easy to set up.

Reasonably priced, this option only requires you to manage one provider and typically includes customer service. But the email interface may have limited features and functionalities, and there could be additional costs to increase storage.

3. Online Office Suites –

If you’re in need of other online business tools, consider a package like Google Apps for Work and Office 365 Small Business. Some office suites allow you to purchase tools a la carte, such as document editing, online storage, video conferencing, and secure file sharing or you can just start with the email only option.

In addition to business-class email with 99.9% uptime, you’ll be able to create unlimited email addresses, sync up your email and tools to all of your digital devices, and have controls to secure your company’s data and devices.

Even though all three methods are effective, take into consideration how your business operates (i.e. email dependency, number of staff, budget, etc.) and choose the option which suits your needs best.





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How Business Intelligence Helps Small Businesses Make Better Decisions #business #loans #with #bad #credit

#business intelligence

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How Business Intelligence Helps Small Businesses Make Better Decisions


Credit

We often talk about the benefits of business intelligence, but we rarely explain what business intelligence is and why you should even consider it. More often than not, we are faced with this dilemma as we find ourselves excited at the “prospect” of what our business intelligence (BI) tools should offer, without knowing what it really can do.

In a recent blog post published by Panorama, they tackled an important yet simple business question, “What is Business Intelligence ?”

BI is a tool that helps organizations improve decision making by tracking, processing, storing and analyzing data and transforming it into insights. Business users can in turn use these insights to make the right decisions in the right time, cutting costs, identifying new business opportunities and improving their organization’s performance.

Do we need business intelligence?

Today we live in a world where organizations collect and store huge amounts of data. If that data is not put to good use to serve the company for a specific purpose, it becomes a heavy and expensive burden for the organization. It is very easy to get lost in all the data as the analysis process can be long and tedious; but with BI, the process becomes optimized plus with solutions like panorama NECTO 16. it has become almost automatic! Users can get knowledge that will improve their decision making in just two clicks!


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Not only large corporations need BI. Small businesses do too!

When most of us started our businesses, business intelligence (BI) was a special treat only the big-chip companies could enjoy, because well, employing analytics software required building data centers and hiring IT specialists and consultants.

If it helps big organizations make better business decisions, then it should be able to help small business make sound and effective decisions for their businesses too!

Times have changed, and today, small business BI is a booming industry. The same technological explosion that made the whole world fit into our pockets; in the shape of a smartphone or a tablet, also drastically reduced the size and cost of analytical solutions. For the first time, it is possible for small businesses to deploy BI to fulfill different needs, analyze their performance, predict their future, and make better decisions.

For small businesses where one person is a jack of all trades, it means that your employees can pull out the particular piece of information they need even if it exceeds their immediate area of expertise.

Through this, members of your team are empowered to view the same data from multiple locations and make data-driven decisions together. Business intelligence for small business doesn’t require any programming knowledge; neither need you to invest in trainings. All you need to do is to create a dashboard that will make everybody, from the top of the ladder to the bottom, understand that regular data analysis pays off. Gathering high-quality data is not a one-time effort and you must re-evaluate your goals periodically to determine whether your BI setup is helping you achieve them. The more you empower individuals to use and share data, the better their access to vital customer and financial information, then the more effective they will be in contributing to the achievement of your goal.

Also, getting visual is one of the best ways to explore and understand data, particularly when presenting it to customers, investors or other stakeholders. To present data in a digestible and persuasive way and not to lose your audience’s attention, it’s advisable to use infographics – best choice of BI for small businesses. With this smart solution you can display business data on compelling charts without spending too much time on chart formatting and design.

Furthermore, it helps you to grow your business. How is it possible? BI tools are smart and will help you reveal some trends in your past performance that could otherwise go unnoticed. You can identify crucial trends in your data with the potential to unlock new growth opportunities. By analyzing your past performance in context and trying to understand the factors that influenced the best or worst results, you can discover the key to the future growth.

However, please note.

When small businesses go shopping for BI and analytics solutions. the tendency can be to take a giant leap. The prospect of having all your data integrated and available to end users sounds exciting.
Also, management may think the system they buy should accommodate any future needs that may arise as the business grows. This may make many of them to lose sight of the fact that the solution must be simple and easy to manage in order to be successful in the long term.

Of course, the sweet talking salesmen from different solution providers also play a role in confusing the decision makers and making them sway from their immediate needs, and they sell a complicated system that’s far too expansive for a small business that basically only needs to analyze little data.

Therefore, the best approach for a small business is to consider a BI suite that provides the best data connectors for their most important data. Business intelligence solutions with straight-forward incorporation requirements and immediate impact, is a much better alternative for small companies.

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How to Get Cheap (Or Free) Business Cards #business #franchise

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Best sources for cheap business cards

You hear it time and time again: networking, networking, networking. It s the professional crux that most fall into as we transition further into the digital age and begin to rely increasingly more on social networking sites and quasi-professional job boards like LinkedIn and Monster to create our connections. And while they may be fantastic online resources, they don t carry the same weight in the offline professional world as a good, old-fashioned business card.

Fortunately, there are plenty of cheap alternatives for creating, customizing and printing high-quality business cards should your company refuse to print them or if you simply want more control of what your card says about you. After all, a top-notch business card often leaves a lasting impression — good or bad — well after handshakes and highballs have subsided.

Here are our picks for the best sources for cheap business cards so you can stop sweating bullets like Christian Bale in American Psycho and rest assured that your card ranks among the best.

In a way, VistaPrint is one of the pioneers of the business card world. The company made a name for itself a few years back by offering ultra-cheap printing in modest-size batches (250-500 cards) and a free 250-card run for first-time users looking to try out the printing service (shipping costs still apply). The site is easy to navigate, whether browsing free or premium business cards, and boasts thousands of premade designs in addition to the fully-customizable templates that let you add various levels of personalization (i.e. name, photo, contact info, etc.).

The service doesn t offer the highest quality available — what you pay for is typically what you get — and the cards are thinner and somewhat smaller than your traditional business card. However, VistaPrint is still a great option if you don t mind dealing with less-than-ideal construction and a watermark on the back in lieu of an expensive price tag. Premium card runs start at $10, but keep an eye out for the various ongoing promotions and specials throughout the week.

Just because business cards are an age-old tradition, doesn t mean they can t thrive in a digital realm. The popular card-creating site Moo boasts everything from traditional business and mini cards to free cards tailored specifically for your Facebook and About.me profiles. Hell, they even added a third side to business cards with an embedded NFC chips that activates various functions when touched to a smartphone or other NFC-capable device. Like other sites on our list, Moo offers a wealth of elegant designs and premade layouts housed within the site s Web-based app, providing business cards that can be tweaked and refined for a more personal touch.

A pack of 50 double-sided business cards starts at $20, but the thick cardstock and lavish ink look and feel phenomenal. Plus, Moo will send you a free 10-card sampler and allow you to customize your entire run of cards individually, meaning you can place a different image or design element on every card instead of opting for an entire 200-card run of the same, custom build. They don t come cheap, but they re worthwhile given the great quality and decent price point.

There are probably plenty of indie printing companies in the United States, but Canada is likely a different story. Jukebox, although not the cheapest on our roundup, takes customization and sheer design tenacity to the next level through its abundant variety of cardstock types — from traditional and embossed business cards to more obscure mediums such as wood and cotton. The site hosts an easy-to-use business card creator brimming with pre-built design templates, but you can always opt to start from scratch if you want greater control over the background image and overall design aesthetics.

Specialty business cards such as wood and cotton start in the triple digits when it comes to pricing, but you re standard pack of 500 or 1,000 business cards are competitively priced at an upwards of $60 or $70. The print quality is impressive as well, rigid and accurate, and the company doesn t completely scalp you on international delivery despite its Canadian roots. JukeBox is the way to go if you re looking for a moderately priced pack of business cards that stand out from the pack.

OvernightPrints is the Swiss army knife of online printing services, offering affordable options and quick delivery for all manner of printed products. They may specialize in brochures and announcements, but they also tout a wide selection of cardstock, designs and custom finishes accessible through the built-in wizard. Like most printing services, you can always upload your own creation, but the site does host an number of elegant, premade patterns for those of us who are less crafty or quickly need a set of business cards in a pinch.

OvernightPrints is also one of the few services capable of processing small batch runs of less than 100. You can order card runs between 50 and 5,000, with a meager 50-card run costing a mere $4.15 with free UV finishing, and the site is always hosting on-going sales for customers who subscribe to the mailing list or have the patience to wait for an applicable price reduction on a particular style. The cards are weighty and of higher-quality than the similarly-priced VistaPrint, but they re not superbly crafted either. OvernightPrints is a knockout when it comes to price-quality comparison though, especially if you manage to catch a promotion or just need a few cards to hold you over in a pinch.

Looking to stockpile an abundance of no-frills business cards that ditch the designer chic in favor of something more simple? GotPrint keeps it as basic as it gets, whether uploading your own composition or utilizing the site s barebones templates, and features several card stock options in varying sizes and styles. There are a few special shapes if you prefer to add a touch of pizzazz and uniqueness to your card, such as ovals and rounded rectangles, but they will drastically increase the printing costs and require you to manually upload your personalized design in lieu of using the built-in web app.

Aside from its simplicity, GotPrint is know for its quick turnaround and rock-bottom pricing. A standard 500-card run begins at around $50 and features great quality printing for the price, with stiff card stock and excellent inking, but it s not quite as nice as Moo or some of the more expensive services on our roundup. Although the customer service has been known to give clients the run around when issues arise, the pricing and moderate choice selection still make it a great source for cheap business cards.

Honorable mentions

There s never enough room on our best-of roundups to include each and every service worth mentioning. Below are a few of the runner ups that offer fairly solid business cards for an affordable price. They might not be as speedy or convenient as your local brick-and-mortar print shop, nor do they offer the kind of stellar quality of our top five, but they re still not a bad choice given the price.

What did you think of our choices for the best sources for cheap business cards? Which service do use for all your professional printing needs? Let us know in the comments below.

Also watch: Best Movies on Hulu





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How to Write a Bakery Business Plan #business #school

#bakery business plan

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Sugar and spice and everything nice that’s what bakeries are made of, right? The model looks easy enough when it seems like a new cupcake bakery opens every week.

Private research firm AnythingResearch.com listed bakeries and baked goods as its eighth fastest-growing industry hospitable to small business this year, saying “growth may be the result of people cutting back on larger entertainment expenses (e.g. vacations) and choosing instead to spend more on daily indulgences.”

Without the right recipe, however, dreams of getting a bakery off the ground could crumble like a cookie. This guide will show you how to perfect your recipe for success.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Conduct a Market Study

There’s little doubt that bakeries are big. Bakeries, pastry shops, and bagel sellers are growing at a rate of 5 percent, according to AnythingResearch.com. To figure out if a bakery can provide you with a sweet payoff, however, you’ve got to have a plan.

Start with an in-depth market study that profiles the target customer base, current sales in the market area for the product category, pricing and product features of competitors, plans for differentiation in the proposed products and expected sales, recommends Kirk O’Donnell, vice president/education at the American Institute of Baking .

Next, after determining a research-based sales estimate, look at cost structure, which O’Donnell says starts with building and equipment. He suggests the following questions:

How much building space is needed?
What is the cost of the building space?
Do you need flexibility for expansion?
What is the specific equipment needed?
What is the cost of installation of equipment?
Will you need vehicles for transportation?

Once these costs are known, then costs of ingredients and packaging can be determined from sales projections and current commodity costs, O’Donnell said. But don’t forget staffing needs, transportation and distribution. Determine the number of people needed for production, sales, and their projected salary and benefits.

Finally, estimate all overhead costs and sources of income to help determine your required financing.

Sound like too much work? Maybe you can follow the route taken by Paul Sapienza, owner of Sapienza Bake Shop in upstate New York.

“I took over from my dad who didn’t ask for one,” he says, laughing.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Software or Business Professional?

No need to worry about your lack of business school credentials. Online resources can assist in formulating your bakery business plan such as this sample on Bplans.com. The “Cupcakes Take the Cake” blog had an active discussion about a year ago featuring a video log of Cincinnati’s Funky Brick Bakery efforts to launch its business. And there’s software, such as Business Plan Pro, to help you along.

Neither O’Donnell nor Sapienza is completely sold on the software, however.

“The software that I have seen for bakery management normally focuses on inventory management, scheduling and record-keeping,” O’Donnell says. “In other words, (it’s) a help in managing a business, but not in writing a business plan.”

Sapienza, vice president of operations for the Retail Bakers of America. recommends paying a professional to write the plan or asking a b-school professor for advice.

Kevin VanDeraa, owner of Cupcake in Minneapolis, opted for a hybrid approach when developing his plan. He used software and took advantage of the local chapter of SCORE. which prides itself on being “counselors to America’s small businesses.”

“Partner with a small business association. There are a lot of free resources,” VanDeraa says. Most importantly, he suggests viewing the plan as an evolving document, not something to be filed away once the business gets going. “Go back to it and compare your estimates to your actuals,” he says, “and you’ll have a more realistic sense of how to move the company forward.”

Dig Deeper: How to Write a Great Business Plan

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: What’s in a Name?

Never underestimate the pull of a good name.

When Adriano Lucas opened a New York City bakery called The Best Chocolate Cake in the World, the press, well, ate it up. The mini-chain, which only has one U.S. location, got mentions in both The New York Times and New York magazine before its grand opening in June. Hoards of hungry choco-holics consumed 400 cakes during opening weekend alone.

The key to a good name, according to BabyCakes NYC owner Erin McKenna, is one that strikes a good mix between “warmth and comfort.”

“The name needs to be short and immediately identifiable to the product, not trying to sound too girly or precious,” she said.

For VanDeraa, picking out the name was the hardest part.

“I wanted the name to convey both coffee shop and bakery, to imply you’re going to get both here,” he says. “I had to give it up for a while. I was just calling it ‘Minneapolis coffee shop.'”

Inspiration struck while he was having margaritas with friends. Cupcake was an immediate hit. “I was really lucky,” VanDeraa says. “It was before the trend.”

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Let Them Eat (cup)Cake?

Of course, VanDeraa is referring to the cupcakery explosion.

The much-hyped “Sex and the City” movie sequel helped to put cupcakes in the news again. Hello Cupcake in Washington, D.C. even had a cupcake/movie tie-in with specialty treats inspired by each character.

The popularity of cupcakes is good news for owners like McKenna, who opened her second vegan bakery, BabyCakes LA, in January. But even good news has its limits, she said.

“I don’t think cupcakes are the problem. The press swooning over them so much that people want to by nature reject them is the problem,” McKenna says. “If someone’s going to open up a cupcake bakery, I don’t think they should play up the adorability of it. Just have more a focus on the food.”

Van Deraa found in his market research that a standalone bakery concept didn’t appeal much to his target audience. They wanted soups and sandwiches, too, he said.

He adjusted his model. In addition to baked goods, Cupcake also serves breakfast all day, quiche, paninis, salads and soups. And six different categories of cupcakes simple, gourmet, premium, party line, baby and celebration.

The diverse offerings drive the business year-round, he says. In winter, customers come for the soup. Many come in daily for their morning coffee. Some have never even tasted the cupcakes, he said.

“It’s helped us as a business to have more offerings especially if there’s a diet fad,” he says, with a laugh. “That was a big stroke of luck.”

The bakery-and-restaurant model like Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts is the more profitable model for most owners, Sapienza says.

“I’m aware that Mrs. Fields and Famous Amos started in the kitchen, but very few make the leap (to a successful business),” he says, adding that “cupcakes might be the exception to the rule.”

Whatever model you choose, don’t forget to add the following to your recipe: two cups of passion, an extra serving of hard work and an ounce of luck.





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How to start your t-shirt business in 5 basic steps #work #from #home #ideas

#t shirt business

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How to start a t-shirt business in 5 basic steps

Starting a t-shirt business might seem easy and fun, but behind the scene there is a huge arsenal of strategies that one should know if prepared to launch in the business. These 5 quick steps will help you understand some of the basic aspects on how to start a t-shirt business company selling custom t-shirt designs.

How to start a t-shirt business

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND PLANNING

When deciding to start a business selling t-shirts, you must have some basic information about the clothing industry. You must also have a solid business plan, to ensure profit to your business. Check out successful business brands for tips on how they succeeded, they might be very helpful. You must establish your budget before deciding to go too deep into the business. You might have huge plans, but a small budget, so make sure that you have enough resources to fulfill your expectations.

2. IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A BRAND

Establishing your brand is definitely one of the most important foundations of your business, so you have to pay a lot of attention to this chapter. Your brand represents your whole image and the way you are perceived by the customers.

Your brand must have your distinctive personality, it must be unique, like you, and a brand that has a strong personality always stands out! Think of a strong name and a tagline to encapsulate your brand in one sentence, to make the crowd know what your business is about.

You have to figure out your goals and your target market to decide what kind of t-shirt designs you will get printed.

3. CREATE YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGNS

You have to do some research on the Internet to see the latest apparel trends, what the t-shirt community asks for. Now, after you have decided what to get printed, you should find a graphic artist. In case you are not a graphic designer yourself, you can find lots of talented designers on freelance sites like www.guru.co m. www.elance.com. w ww.odesk.com or on t-shirt competition sites like DesignByHumans, Teetonic or TeeFury. You can find the style that suits you, by checking the artists past works and hire them.

If you have a lower budget, you can chose the cheapest possibility for your business: purchase royalty free vectors and create your own designs. You can find plenty to choose from here: www.tshirt-factory.com. The disadvantage is that the designs will not be unique, but you have to admit that it is much cheaper.

4. KNOW YOUR COMPETITION

You should always keep an eye on the other t-shirt design companies you’ll be competing with. You should check their designs, their pricing and promotions. You should learn from them, not copy them. If they are successful, so can you, but you have to come with fresh ideas in the same old market. Keep track of the successful ones and make sure to price your t-shirts appropriately. Consider the costs incurred in making T-shirts, such as material, printing and marketing.

5. FIND A PRINTING COMPANY AND A BLANK T-SHIRT PROVIDER

The blank t-shirts for printing must be achieved from the company that you find most appropriate. This will be your physical product, and your choice will reflect very strongly upon your brand. There are some websites that accept t-shirt designs, and they will print these for you on demand. www.Jakprint.com and www.Storenvy.com are two great printing companies.

There are plenty of different types of t-shirts, but you have to make a decision based on your kind of t-shirt designs and target market. For instance you can go for Tultex, American Apparel, Anvil, Next Level, Alstyle, Bella, Bay Island and many others. The t-shirt thickness should also be important when you chose your blank t-shirt type. The thickness ranges from 120gr to 200gr, and the ideal is 180gr.





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How to Start a Catering Business: 12 Steps (with Pictures) #start #up #business #loans

#catering business

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How to Start a Catering Business

If you host dinner parties for your family and friends every chance you get, you’re up on food trends and you have an entrepreneurial spirit, consider starting a catering business. You have the advantage of starting small with relatively low overhead and building your business as you gain more clients. Read on for information on how to find your niche, launch your business and spread the word.

Steps Edit

Part One of Three:
Finding Your Catering Niche Edit

Think about what food you love to make. Catering, like any other business, should be rooted in a genuine interest and passion. Consider the following types of food you could focus on as you develop your catering business:

  • Lunch or brunch-style food. If you enjoy making sandwiches, quiches, tarts, salads, and other food that is generally served during the day, you might want to model your business around lunchtime service. You could cater business luncheons, daytime awards ceremonies, school functions, and so on.
  • Wedding reception or special event meals. Wedding caterers typically offer a variety of appetizers and finger foods along with several hearty entrees and a few desserts.
  • Desserts only. If you love baking and have a flair for making cookies and cakes, consider desserts-only catering. This may limit the types of clients who hire you, but you’ll also have less equipment to buy.
  • Appetizers and cocktails. Clients are increasingly hiring caterers to create a trendy, festive atmosphere by serving only appetizers, sometimes accompanied by caterer-prepared specialty cocktails.

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Create a menu. By doing this first, you can figure out how much kitchen space you’ll need, what appliances you should install and how much you can expect to bring in financially.

  • Try to have a variety of items to suit different tastes. Even if you specialize in one cuisine or type of meal, make sure your menu appeals to a lot of tastes. For example, if you want to offer a lot of spicy food, have non-spicy options as well.
  • Consider offering vegetarian and vegan options for clients who don’t eat meat and other animal products.
  • Keep your menu to a manageable size, with food you’re comfortable cooking made with ingredients you know you can source.

Test your dishes. Once you’ve settled on a menu, have a party to test out your dishes on family and friends. Ask them for honest feedback about the entire experience – both the food and the service.

  • Tweak your dishes until you’re convinced they’re delicious and crowd friendly.
  • Practice makes perfect. Make sure you’ve got the techniques, cooking times, and presentation down before you launch your business.

Part Two of Three:
Securing Your Space and Supplies Edit

Find a space to rent. Even if your starting small, most local laws prohibit people from operating catering businesses from a home kitchen. Look into your jurisdiction’s health codes to find out what type of space you’ll need to rent.

  • Consider operating from a commercial kitchen. Some kitchens allow people to rent the space for a day or a few hours at a time. This situation could be the right one for you if you cater only on the weekends or a few times a month.
  • If catering is going to be your full-time business, you’ll probably need a more permanent storage and cooking facility. Find a place with adequate plumbing so you’ll be able to set up your cooking and catering equipment. Check with your landlord and your local zoning office to make sure you can install the proper equipment like ventilation hoods and grease traps.
  • If you plan to host tastings or sell food directly from your kitchen, look for a place with a storefront that’s separate from the kitchen, and provide tables and seating for customers.

Set up your kitchen. Catering work requires industrial equipment that is usually more expensive than equipment you would use in your home kitchen. Create a budget and figure out exactly what you’ll need to run your business efficiently.

  • Base your equipment purchases on your menu. For example, if many of your items are baked, install at least two ovens. If you have a lot of fried foods, opting for more than one fryer might be a good idea.
  • You may want to install multiple sinks to make your prep work more efficient, especially if you plan on hiring people.
  • Plan ahead for food storage, too. Multiple refrigerators and a walk-in freezer might be necessary to store dishes you prepare ahead of time. Heated and non-heated holding areas are important for holding temperature and storing prepared items.
  • Obtain all the pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment you need to make the items on your menu.

Purchase the catering equipment that you will use on-site. The equipment you choose will depend on the type of service you want to provide, but at minimum you will need serving platters and serving utensils.

  • Many catering businesses provide plates, silverware, glassware, or disposable plates and utensils.
  • You may want to offer special display trays and tiered food platters to help make the catered event more festive.
  • Make sure you have the proper equipment to keep the food either cold or hot, such as chafing dishes with liquid fuel burners.
  • Consider buying linens, napkins, table decorations and centerpieces. Some catering businesses also offer tent canopies for outdoor events.




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Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs: How to Find Your Business Idea #business #opportunities

#business ideas for women

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Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs on How to Find Your Business Idea

Credit: Dragon Images/Shutterstock

Women may have once been pigeonholed into certain professions, but no longer are they simply expected to do gender-specific jobs. Female professionals are taking control of their careers in a way that works best for them, including when and how they start their own businesses.

Everyone has to start a business that s meaningful to them; I think it s an old model to tell [women] to go into a specific field, said Carin Rockind. a happiness and life purpose expert. I think that s got us to where we are today. What you re passionate about is way more important. Women need to tap into what they re good at and what makes them feel great.

American Express OPEN s 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report found that 11.3 million U.S. businesses are currently owned by women, and an average of 1,072 new female-owned companies are being started every day. This number is growing five times faster than the national average for all businesses, meaning more women than ever are taking the leap into entrepreneurship. [See Related Story:Money and Connections Still Hurdles for Women Entrepreneurs]

As to what kinds of businesses a female entrepreneur should start, businesswomen agree that the sky is the limit.

I don t think there are any guidelines to the type of companies women should begin, said Cologne Trude, co-founder and creative director of Show Me Your Mumu. a boho-chic clothing line. Women s strengths are so diverse that opportunities are endless.

I think women should get excited about what excites them, added Melinda Emerson. an author and business coach known as SmallBizLady on Twitter. There aren t [enough] women-centric businesses out there.

Where to start

Emerson suggests starting a business you know something about. When you re ready to begin the business you re most passionate about, consider your limitations.

I have seen people quit really good jobs to start businesses they hate, Emerson said. There are fantasies of grandeur about running a business. It s really hard out there.

If you have no savings, no money and bad credit, you should not start a business, Emerson said. She suggests saving 20 to 40 percent per paycheck before you quit your job to begin your business.

Most important, Emerson emphasized the importance of doing your research. Make sure you know who your paying customer is.

You always have to check and make sure your business model makes sense in an industry that s growing and not sinking, Emerson said. It needs to be relevant three to five years from now. You don t want [technological advances] taking your business.

As you get your business off the ground, surround yourself with people who will help you succeed, whether it s through support or lending a hand to get the business started, said Cammy Miller, co-founder and creative director of Show Me Your Mumu.

Being a leader doesn t mean you have all of the answers and the more open you are to learning from everyone around you, the more you can grow in your role, Miller said.

One of the things that s been harder for me to learn is to bring other people with you, happiness expert Rockind added. It s very lonely to have your own business. There are so many important skills, and you can t be good at everything. ItꞋs OK to ask for help and collaborate with other people.

Love what you do

Building a business from the ground up is challenging no matter how you look at it. But, ultimately, you should love what you do.

I always encourage female entrepreneurs to be strong and work hard at what they love. Starting and running a business is by no means easy, and there are going to be a lot of hardships and emotional setbacks, Trude said. As a female, running Mumu has been very stressful and emotional at times, but every tear has been worth it and I am stronger because of it.

If Rockind had to go back in time to give herself advice, it would be to just do it.

You have to put yourself out there, she said. Believe in yourself and your purpose.

Shannon Gausepohl graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in journalism. She has worked at a newspaper and in the public relations field, and is currently a staff writer at Business News Daily. Shannon is a zealous bookworm, has her blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and loves her Blue Heeler mix, Tucker.

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  • How To Start An Import #business #development #plan

    #import export business

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    How To Start An Import/Export Business (Part 1 of 2)

    Updated August 07, 2016

    So you want to sell to the world? You’ve come to the right place. Thanks to the Internet, setting up an import/export business can be ridiculously simple and very profitable. Here are ways to make it happen.

    • Select your business name and set up a website and blog.

    Without a website or blog, you can t have a networked import/export business. Get yourself a platform that allows you to develop a presence online and grow your business beyond your wildest imagination.

    The goal is to balance the flow of communications, sell products online (or offline) and build your customer base to drive profits for your international business.

    But first, remember to register your business name with a reputable web host because your domain name is what customers use to find you and your business. And it can’t hurt to consult with an international lawyer, banker and accountant for advice on establishing a virtual import/export business and keeping it in the best legal and financial position possible.

    A couple of places to get started with a website are Network Solutions. Go Daddy. Intuit and Verio. All offer domain name registrations and affordable website hosting packages with easy-to-use site building capabilities.

    To create a professional blog, which allows a continuous flow of engaging communications, try Blogger. Typepad or WordPress. These services allow you to create a blog in minutes with stunning designs, reliable hosting and on-demand tech support.

    Now you are ready to share your business expertise and capabilities and sell to the world.

    • Pick a product to import or export.

    When it comes to importing and exporting, you cannot be all things to all customers. Decide on something and stick with it.

    You have two viable reasons for choosing a product to import or export: you know it will sell or you like it.

    Hopefully, you can meet both criteria. That’s an ideal business model. Would you buy it if you saw it in another part of the world? Then you are on to something!

    • Find the right market.

    You’ve selected a product, now you must look for someplace to sell it! You will improve your odds of picking a winner if you cultivate a knack for tracking trends, or even spotting potential trends. Getting in on the ground floor and importing or exporting a product before it becomes a super-seller in a country could be the business breakthrough of a lifetime!

    Do the homework and research the market beforehand to locate the best potential foreign market for your product or service. Two places to check are The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business and globalEDGE’s Market Potential Index.

    You might also check with local government officials to best determine sources for conducting market research. For example, in the United States, there are the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s Data and Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade. which governs the reporting of all import/export statistics.

    These resources are helpful for determining where in the world products and services are moving to and from, and why and how to get in on the action.

    Once you have a likely import or export product in mind, learn everything there is to know about it. If you were its creator, how would you improve it? Go to a manufacturer and suggest product improvements to turn a mediocre product into something slightly ahead of its time. Your suggestions might mean the difference between a Sony Walkman and an Apple iPod.

    The easiest access to reputable suppliers might be Alibaba. Global Sources. and Thomas Register. There are others, but these three are considered the holy grail to finding high quality suppliers. manufacturers, exporters, importers, buyers, wholesalers and trade leads.

    In continuation to our first installment which covered how to start and map out an import/export business, here we provide the sales and distribution aspects of establishing an import/export business.

    The business model for an import/export business is based on two critical elements within the international sales operation.

    1. Volume (number of units sold).
    2. Commission on that volume.

    The goal is to price your product in such a way that your commission (markup on the product to customers) does not exceed what your customer is willing to pay and offers you a healthy profit. Typically, importers and exporters take a 10% to 15% markup over cost, which is the price a manufacturer charges you when you buy a product from them.

    The more you sell, the more you make. Keep your product pricing separate from logistics because, at some point, you combine the two to determine a landed price per unit. A good transportation company can assist here. Don’t let this part intimidate you!

    Provided you have done a good job with search engine optimization on your blog or website, customers will find you. But don’t rely on it. You should also go hunting for customers! Check with local contacts, such as trade organizations, Chambers of Commerce. embassies and trade consulates. They generally have a good sense of who’s doing what in the international marketplace. They can offer contact lists specific to your industry and also suggest trade shows that are taking place locally and internationally that might help you connect with customers in a faster and more efficient manner.

    An excellent service on the exporting end is the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) Gold Key Matching Service. The U.S. CS can help you find potential overseas agents, customers, distributors, sales representatives and business partners.

    At the same time, work your social media and networking platforms (your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) by posting information about your product or service and asking specific questions about your audience s needs. This gets the conversation going and keeps it going while making sure it s related to your business. The point is to keep your business on the minds of potential customers worldwide.

    • Transport your products.

    Your next step is to focus on logistics — transporting the product to where you will be selling it. By now, you have located a customer who loves your product, solidified the terms of the sale with them and established a means for getting paid. Now you must move your product.

    Hire a global freight forwarder who serves as an all-round transport agent for moving cargo, typically from a factory door to another warehouse. Their service saves you a lot of time, effort and anxiety for a very reasonable fee. Based on information you provide, they take care of all shipping arrangements, which includes but is not limited to handling documentation, arranging insurance, if requested, and determining necessary licenses, permits, quotas, tariffs and restrictions (country regulations). which can be one of the most complicated aspects of importing/exporting for a newbie international trader.

    You can find freight forwarders online under “transportation,” or check listings in trade magazines or other international handbooks. Pick two or three that seem like a good fit for your product or shipping destination.

    Two well-known companies that are eager to work with brokers, consultants and small businesses are UPS and Fed Express. Either can also assist with getting paid, a critical part of the international sales process.

    • Provide great global customer service!

    The relationship between you and your overseas customer shouldn t end when a sale is made. If anything, it requires more of your attention.

    Think of your after-sales follow-up on your import/export business as part of your product or service offering. The first step is to say, wholeheartedly — whether in person, via Skype, by email or telephone — Thank you for your business! For more on this, take a look at “How to Provide Great Global Customer Service” .

    Congratulations! You have officially learned the fundamentals on how to establish an import/export business. Now start booming and go make the world your business!





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    How to Register for a DBA -Fictitious Business Name #business #phone #systems

    #doing business as

    #

    DBA Filings

    DBA stands for doing business as and is an official and public registration of a business name. DBAs are also known as Fictitious Names, Fictitious Business Names, Assumed Names, and Trade Names. Essentially, a DBA is the name of a business other than the owner’s name or, in the case of a corporation, a name that is different from the legal or true corporate name as on file with the Secretary of State. If you are conducting business under any name other than your own name or your company’s legal name, you must register the fictitious name with your state and/or county.

    DBA registration is necessary if your company conducts any business under a name other than your own name (for sole proprietors) or its legal name (for state-level entities such as corporations and LLCs). “Conducting business” can include marketing, advertising, letterhead, business cards, etc. in addition to actual business transactions. Also, banks generally require a DBA registration in order to open a business bank account. DBA registration is required if you anticipate collecting money under a name other than your own name or your true corporate name.

    Another common reason to register a DBA is when your state-level entity (such as a corporation or limited liability company) has a division or unit that conducts business using a variation of or a completely different name than the true name. For example, a bank whose true name is “ABC Bank Inc.” might market their mortgage services on a website called “abcmortgages.com” and might have a separate division for their loan services called “XYZ Lenders,” in which case they would most likely file DBAs for both “abcmortgages.com” and : XYZ Lenders in all jurisdictions in which these names are used.

    Terms and conditions, features, support, pricing and service options subject to change without notice. Intuit and QuickBooks are registered trademarks of Intuit, Inc. Copyright 1997-2016, MyCorporation All Rights Reserved. MyCorporation is a Document Filing Service and CANNOT provide you with legal or financial advice. The information on the website is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is presented with the understanding that MyCorporation is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If legal advice or other professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations.

    Get State Specific Filing Information





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