Tag: Know

How to Name Your Business: 10 Things You Need to Know #business #leads


#naming a business

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Picking a killer name for your business is harder than it might seem.

One of the things to think about when choosing a company name is how it will look in the subject line of an email, according to cloud-based analytics company DataHero. Then there’s how it will sound when it’s said aloud. A number of leading companies in recent history have chosen names with between five and 10 letters and at least one hard consonant: Google. Starbucks, Verizon.

Before naming your company. check out these tips from entrepreneurs who have been through the process, some of whom have even named the same company more than once.

1. Don’t rush the process.

There’s no set amount of time it should take for you to settle on a name for your company, but know that it could take six months of iterating before you make a final decision. An important thing to remember is to continue working on other aspects of the business as you get closer to picking a name, says Charlie Miner, founder of furniture and lighting e-commerce company WorkOf. “You don’t want the process of naming to prevent you from moving the business forward,” he says.

2. Think about your audience.

Venture capital database CB Insights was initially founded under the name Chubby Brain, something co-founder Anand Sanwal says represented his attempt to come up with a name that was cool, funky, and “startup-sounding.” Sanwal’s philosophy changed after he heard from the investment banks and other institutional clients that would be citing his startup’s data in their marketing materials. “Nobody wanted to put ‘Source: Chubby Brain’ at the bottom of a deck, because it’s not a real big credibility builder,” Sanwal says.

3. Make it easy to spell.

It’s okay to use unique spelling, a la Chick-fil-A, but don’t make your company’s name so unconventional that it’s hard to remember. “I’ve seen some startup names where I’ll think, was that four ‘E’s’ or three?” CB Insights’s Sanwal says.

4. Short is better than long.

Not every company can have a short, simple, one-syllable name like Box, Dell, or Lyft, but if you come up with a great long name and a great short name, you should probably go with the short one. Acquiring the rights to short web domain names, however, can be pricey, if not impossible, so make sure to check the availability of your desired URL first.

5. Factor in search engine optimization.

Making your company easy to find in search engines is an important consideration when picking a name. If you’re going to use a proper noun for your name, you should think about how that decision will impact SEO. Choosing a common term like “Bell,” for example, would make it hard to place your company on the first (or second) page of search results on Google.

6. Enlist a focus group (or groups).

Once you have a shortlist of names you like, it’s a good idea to see how other people respond to each one. “Survey as many people as you can,” says Bridie Loverro, co-founder of QuadJobs, an online marketplace connecting college and grad students to local employers. “The name to choose may not necessarily be the one people like best, but the one they remember most.”

7. Keep your options open.

Having to change your name after pivoting from one business model to another isn’t the end of the world, but if you can pivot and still retain the brand identity you’ve already built up, that’s ideal. Picking a name that doesn’t pigeonhole your company to one specific service will help. “The goal is to create something that is broad enough to intuitively answer who you are and that speaks to your core customer base, but also gives you room to grow into other areas,” says Logan Sugarman, co-founder of wellness concierge service Refresh Body.

8. Keep mobile in mind.

If customers can buy your products through a mobile app, you might want to factor in how your company name will look on a mobile app icon. A friendly sounding name like Shopify might also lend itself better to mobile users compared a three-letter acronym that doesn’t convey anything about your brand.

9. Don’t obsess over a descriptive name.

The name of your company doesn’t have to make it clear what your business is. While it helps to reference the spirit of your brand in some way (think: food delivery company Seamless), avoid a name that sounds specific to an entirely different industry. As Neil Patel, co-founder of web analytics company Crazy Egg writes, the name NomNom suggests food, and therefore doesn’t work if you’re starting a financial services software-as-a-service company.

10. Make the name visually distinctive.

After you pick your name, you should consider adding a custom feature that makes the brand more than just the word or words in the title. Some examples include unconventional capitalization, combining two words into one, or adding a unique design touch, like the curled “C” in the first letter of the bedding startup Casper. “It’s about developing a more fully fleshed out visual identity,” says WorkOf’s Miner.


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Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know #business #insurance #quotes


#how do business loans work

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Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know

Small Businesses are increasing their payrolls, but hours worked and wages earned are down slightly. Photo: Reuters

For small business startups, knowing how loans work and getting them are absolutely crucial.

Many entrepreneurs, however, wait until the last minute to think about loans and prefer to dwell on grandiose plans, never mind that they often need loans to fund those plans.

Asking for loans is “unpleasant; it’s like asking your dad for the car keys,” said Charles H. Green, Executive Director at the Small Business Finance Institute and author of The SBA Loan Book .

Small businesses should start this “unpleasant” process early, however, partly because it could prove to be long and difficult.

One entrepreneur Green encountered secured his loan at the 60th bank he approached.

While this might be an extreme example, small business owners often need to try at more than one bank to get a small business loan.

During the process of dealing with a bank, moreover, they may be asked to provide additional documents they previously did not anticipate needing.

Green stressed that small business owners need to be patient in this entire process.

Banks Want Their Money Back

In making any small business loans, the goal of the bank is to get its money back. Even if the loan is made through the Small Business Administration (SBA), it is still a bank that ultimately risks its capital.

Banks usually get their money back from the borrower’s revenues. If that is not possible, banks can also get their money back from selling assets pledged as collateral or from the small business owners personally.

Therefore, besides documents relating to the business projections, banks may often request documents relating to the personal finances of the small business owner and whatever assets that can be pledged as collateral.

Backing up Projection Numbers

Regarding business projection numbers – that is, assessing the probability of repayment from borrower revenues – it is all about justifying those numbers, preferably with facts, said Green. For existing businesses, that may mean financial statements.

Some of the hard questions a lender may ask include:

*How many customers do you need?

*How do you find them?

*Who are satisfying these customers already?

*Why would they feel compelled to buy from you?

*What is your capacity to deliver those products?

*What is the cost to deliver those products?

Learning from Mistakes

Sometimes, the best efforts of small businesses to secure a loan are not good enough.

When rejections happen, Green recommended turning them into learning lessons. Often times, if the small business owner manages to remain calm and polite, he can get candid responses as to why he was rejected.

These explanations often turn into keys to successfully securing a loan from another bank in the future.

Choosing the Right Banks

Other times, though, a rejection from a bank has nothing to do with the borrower at all. That is, a lender may not have any money to lend.

Therefore, Green recommended that small businesses avoid banks under consent agreement with or issued a cease and desist order by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Generally speaking, smaller banks have more flexibility in their lending standards while bigger banks usually offer cheaper rates, added Green.


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Everything You Need to Know About Business Partnerships #top #business #schools


#business partnership

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Everything You Need to Know About Business Partnerships

Author, Attorney, and CPA

In his book The Tax Legal Playbook , CPA and attorney Mark J. Kohler targets the leading tax and legal questions facing small-business owners, and delivers clear-cut truths, thought-provoking advice, and underutilized solutions to save you time, money, and heartache. In this edited excerpt, the author offers some smart advice for creating a strong partnership.

You d be astounded at the number of clients I meet with who literally know nothing about their partner s background, their approach to business, and their vision for the partnership. They rush into the relationship so quickly that they don t even gather this fundamental knowledge about their partner.

Here are some issues to consider before you ink any partnership deal:

  • Obviously, only go into business with those you trust. Vet everyone in your business dealings, whether it be a contractor, a tenant, etc. This could mean conducting background checks and calling personal references. This is especially true with your business partner(s) and is by far the most important way to protect yourself when entering a partnership.
  • Address potential issues before they become issues. Talk about worst-case scenarios. If your partner isn t willing to do so, for whatever reason, you have the wrong partner.
  • Read and understand your partnership documents before you sign them. A good attorney can help you identify possible issues and present solutions, but ultimately you and your business partner(s) need to take ownership of the agreement and share a thorough understanding of how it will govern your business.
  • Consider getting separate counsel if using the same attorney as your partner(s) is presenting concerns.
  • If you live in a community property state, have every business partner s spouse sign the partnership/operating agreement and any amendments. The spouse presumably has an ownership interest in the business, and you want them to agree to the provisions of the partnership/operating agreement. This is especially important regarding the method of valuing the business when buying out a partner in the event of a divorce.

Setting Up the Partnership

Creating the partnership agreement and setting up the proper entity/structure for the partnership are the two most important steps in the partnership process. Understanding the mechanics of how your business will be managed is the key to designing your partnership agreement and documenting the terms. While the list of items to consider in a solid partnership agreement is indefinable every partnership is different I ve narrowed it down to my top ten:

1. Partner roles in signing and authorizations. Have a very clear understanding of what the managers or officers of the business are authorized to do on behalf of the company.

2. Duties and responsibilities of each partner. There should be a description of each partner s responsibilities and duties so each partner knows what to expect from the other. Furthermore, there should be predetermined consequences for partners not completing their duties.

3. Contributions of capital. What amount of time, money, and assets is each partner contributing to the partnership? This includes the initial contributions as well as additional contributions that may be necessary to continue operating the business in the future.

4. Rights to distributions, profits, compensation, and losses. Any right of the partners to receive discretionary or mandatory distributions, which includes a return of any or all of their contributions, needs to be clearly and specifically set forth in the partnership agreement.

5. Unanimous vote requirements. Which events or decisions will require a unanimous vote of the business partners? It s crucial that you and your business partners decide the procedure together from the outset.

6. Dissolution or exit strategy. The partnership agreement should indicate the events upon which the partnership is to be dissolved and its affairs wound up. It s possible the business concept and model don t lend themselves to answering this question. But, for example, in a real estate deal, it s important to have a timeline and possible triggering events that will lead to either selling the property or buying out one of the partners if they don t want to stick around for the long haul.

7. A buy-sell provision or separate buy-sell agreement. This type of agreement addresses major changes in the partnership arrangement. For example, what if one partner voluntarily or involuntarily leaves the partnership? How are they bought out? What happens if you want to sell your ownership interest should your business partner have a right to buy it before you sell it to a third party? What if your business partner dies? Or gets divorced? Or files for bankruptcy? Or just wants to retire?

8. Expulsion provision. Carefully consider this provision, which is a double-edged sword. The benefit of such a provision is that you can put in writing when a partner can be forced out of the business. For example, you and your partners could agree that if one partner isn t pulling their weight, they can be forced out. But be certain your well-deserved, three-week vacation to Tahiti doesn t trigger the expulsion clause.

9. Noncompete provision. For example, you and your business partner(s) may agree that if one of the partners leaves the business, they cannot open a competing business or work for a competing business within a certain number of miles and for a certain period of time.

10. Miscellaneous provisions. Some examples include a provision for attorney s fees for the non-breaching party if they win a lawsuit, a mediation or binding arbitration clause so you don t have to go to court if you don t want to, or a venue or choice of law provision on which state law would be applied in a contract dispute and where the dispute would be litigated.

Make sure you sit down with your partner(s) to discuss the best- and worst-case scenarios. Have a competent and honest attorney represent the company or have each partner hire an attorney to review the partnership documents and address the above issues, as well as the individual and specific needs of your and your partners particular situation.

The Best Entity for a Partnership

In most cases, the best structure for a partnership is the limited liability company (LLC). I realize there are unique situations where a corporation or a limited partnership might make sense; however, those are the exception and not the rule. In fact, if you need to save taxes, it s typical to have each member s share of the LLC owned by an S corporation.

There are three significant reasons why the LLC is such a perfect entity for partnerships. Here s a brief summary:

1. Its limited liability protection shields you from the acts of your partner (and vice versa). Without it, you have unlimited vicarious liability.

2. The operating agreement and corresponding initial minutes and formation documents are fantastic documents to define all of the partnership terms.

3. The flexibility of the LLC is beneficial for allocating profits, losses, and capital, as well as for allowing individual partners to do their own tax planning after they receive their allocated share of profit.

Partnership Management Tips

After all the documentation s been completed and you begin operating as a partnership, you should follow several procedures for a successful venture.

Here are the top three habits that will help a partnership succeed:

1. Communication and documentation. As the business partnership evolves, record and document anything that s contrary to your initial partnership/operating agreement. A good partnership/operating agreement will allow for revisions due to changing circumstances, but these should always be in writing and signed by each business partner.

2. Be involved in your business. Don t ever think a partnership is a turnkey operation. People who aren t in constant communication with their partners will soon find themselves on the outside and in a dispute. Clearly understand your duties and responsibilities, and fulfill the expectations of your partners or readdress what those expectations should be.

3. Bookkeeping and tax deposits. Don t cut corners on bookkeeping and finances. This is the lifeblood of your business and will determine when and how your profits are distributed. Making sure your tax deposits are made on time and in the right amounts is also the backbone of good tax planning in your partnership. Beware of phantom income, which is income from the partnership that exists on paper but has no corresponding distributions. This can wreak havoc on a partner s individual tax return without proper bookkeeping and planning.

Copyright 2016 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.


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What You Need to Know About Stock Markets Today #at #home #business #ideas


#financial markets today

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What You Need to Know About Stock Markets Today

By Anne Kates Smith | October 2010

Thanks to electronic trading, the stock market is wilder than ever.

Editor’s Note: We are re-featuring this guide to understanding the markets in light of the announcement on February 15 that the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange has agreed to merge with Deutsche Boerse. The merger would create the world’s largest operator of financial markets. Deutsche Boerse shareholders would own 60% of the merged company; NYSE Euronext shareholders, 40%. The text below has been updated since publication in the October 2010 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and the data is as of February 16, 2011.

1. There’s no “there” there. You may picture a bustling exchange, where commerce begins and ends with the clang of a bell. But the “stock market” is an increasingly fragmented collection of more than 50 trading platforms, almost all electronic, with various protocols, rules and oversight.

2. The Big Board has shrunk. Images of the New York Stock Exchange still dominate business-news broadcasts. But, in fact, just 34% of the trading volume in stocks listed on the NYSE actually occurs on the exchange, down from 79% in 2005. Nasdaq, the first electronic exchange, accounts for about one-fifth of all U.S. stock trading. Newer exchanges, such as Direct Edge, in Jersey City, N.J. and BATS Exchange, in Kansas City, Mo. each account for about 10% of trading volume. About 30% of U.S. trading volume takes place off exchanges.

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3. ECNs are the new matchmakers. Electronic communication networks match up buy and sell orders at specified prices for institutional investors and brokers. This is where “after-hours” trading occurs. In addition, hundreds of broker-dealers execute trades internally, filling orders out of their own inventory.

4. Some trades are shrouded in mystery. You’ve heard of dark stars. Now there are dark pools — private networks, sponsored by securities firms, where professionals trade without displaying price quotes to the public beforehand. Such dark pools account for more than 10% of stock-trading volume. The Securities and Exchange Commission wants to make dark pools more transparent to avoid a two-tier market that denies the public important pricing information.

5. You’re sure to get the best price — most days. According to an SEC rule, your trade is supposed to be routed to the platform with the best price at that moment. But when some venues aren’t functioning as normal, exchanges may override the rule. The rule didn’t apply during the “flash crash” of May 2010, when an intentional slowdown on the NYSE caused orders to be routed elsewhere, at lower prices.

6. There are fewer traffic cops. In the old days, specialists and market makers kept markets liquid by stepping up to buy — or sell — when a stampede of investors headed the other way. Now, not all exchanges require market makers. High-frequency traders, who program computers to profit from minute price discrepancies and can execute trades in milliseconds, were supposed to fill the void. But they don’t have to, despite the fact that they often account for 50% or more of total trading volume.

7. Stoplights are coming. A pilot plan, recently extended until April, calls for stock-by-stock circuit breakers that would be applicable across all trading platforms. The plan currently applies to stocks in Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, the Russell 1000 index and certain exchange-traded funds, and calls for a trading pause if the share price changes by 10% within a five-minute period. Since December, market makers in exchange-listed securities have been required to maintain continuous buy and sell quotes within a certain range of a security’s most recent share price, putting an end to occasionally ridiculous quotes, far removed from prevailing prices, that were never meant to be executed.


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Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know #stock #market #quotes


#how do business loans work

#

Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know

Small Businesses are increasing their payrolls, but hours worked and wages earned are down slightly. Photo: Reuters

For small business startups, knowing how loans work and getting them are absolutely crucial.

Many entrepreneurs, however, wait until the last minute to think about loans and prefer to dwell on grandiose plans, never mind that they often need loans to fund those plans.

Asking for loans is “unpleasant; it’s like asking your dad for the car keys,” said Charles H. Green, Executive Director at the Small Business Finance Institute and author of The SBA Loan Book .

Small businesses should start this “unpleasant” process early, however, partly because it could prove to be long and difficult.

One entrepreneur Green encountered secured his loan at the 60th bank he approached.

While this might be an extreme example, small business owners often need to try at more than one bank to get a small business loan.

During the process of dealing with a bank, moreover, they may be asked to provide additional documents they previously did not anticipate needing.

Green stressed that small business owners need to be patient in this entire process.

Banks Want Their Money Back

In making any small business loans, the goal of the bank is to get its money back. Even if the loan is made through the Small Business Administration (SBA), it is still a bank that ultimately risks its capital.

Banks usually get their money back from the borrower’s revenues. If that is not possible, banks can also get their money back from selling assets pledged as collateral or from the small business owners personally.

Therefore, besides documents relating to the business projections, banks may often request documents relating to the personal finances of the small business owner and whatever assets that can be pledged as collateral.

Backing up Projection Numbers

Regarding business projection numbers – that is, assessing the probability of repayment from borrower revenues – it is all about justifying those numbers, preferably with facts, said Green. For existing businesses, that may mean financial statements.

Some of the hard questions a lender may ask include:

*How many customers do you need?

*How do you find them?

*Who are satisfying these customers already?

*Why would they feel compelled to buy from you?

*What is your capacity to deliver those products?

*What is the cost to deliver those products?

Learning from Mistakes

Sometimes, the best efforts of small businesses to secure a loan are not good enough.

When rejections happen, Green recommended turning them into learning lessons. Often times, if the small business owner manages to remain calm and polite, he can get candid responses as to why he was rejected.

These explanations often turn into keys to successfully securing a loan from another bank in the future.

Choosing the Right Banks

Other times, though, a rejection from a bank has nothing to do with the borrower at all. That is, a lender may not have any money to lend.

Therefore, Green recommended that small businesses avoid banks under consent agreement with or issued a cease and desist order by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Generally speaking, smaller banks have more flexibility in their lending standards while bigger banks usually offer cheaper rates, added Green.


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Know When and How to Sell Your Business #free #business #advertising


#sell your business

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Know When and How to Sell Your Business

Writer, Journalist, Storyteller

October 13, 2015

John West is a serial entrepreneur in the truest sense. Prior to his latest startup, he had already built and sold two companies in very different industries. And he says that while developing an idea to start a business takes time, selling that same business is just as complicated.

West started building Whistle Sports Network in 2008 after selling his second company, Silver Oak. After the Silver Oak sale, he decided to spend time with his children. As his children started watching sports, he started to notice that the media coverage, content and delivery weren t geared toward younger generations. West started to research the media industry and decided to launch a linear cable network. Today, Whistle Sports has 315 channels and 115 million aggregate fans and followers.

During a sale, business owners have key financial and emotional considerations, like figuring out what to do once they don t own that business and developing a personal financial plan. While the lump sum from a sale can be life-changing money, it s secondary to the work as an entrepreneur, according to West.

I ve never believed you should start a company to sell it, says West. You start a company to solve a problem and do something cool. You sell it based on how the markets are doing and how the industry is doing — you can t plan this.

Nadia Allaudin, senior vice president of Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management in Century City, agrees and says that there needs to be an understanding for the impetus for the sale or walking away. There needs to be a lot of conversations about how you re going to handle this.

Once a business owner receives an offer, whether expected or not, that s when the planning begins.

Buyers can be anywhere.

West started his first company, Enstrat, an environmental consulting firm, out of college in 1989. Soon after graduating Harvard Business School, he sold the firm to a member of his managerial team in 1996 because he wanted to make a change.

The business was profitable, so we were able to finance the sale through debt, says West.

Many companies are sold to key employees since these people know and understand the business and have a passion for it.

Entrepreneurs should think about that when they re hiring people and consider grooming employees, since they may be the people to take over your business in a few years, says Tim Sabol, private wealth advisor at Ameriprise Financial in Philadelphia.

In 1999, West went on to build Silver Oak, a company that helped state governments save money. His company created a niche and was earning about $23 million in revenues. After eight years, he accepted an offer from CGI in 2005. Three years later, he started Whistle Sports. Deals can take up to a year or two to close, which can be used to plan for what s next.

Most of the time, how long [a sale] takes hinges on who the buyer is — if it s an internal candidate or a competitor down the street — and it always seems to take longer than people expect, says Sabol.

Prepare for the exit.

Leaving a business requires understanding the business s value and worth. You may need multiple valuations depending on the buyer, nature of the business and the deal. Having clear books and records helps a buyer with due diligence, and you want to have years of financials readily available so you re prepared for that unexpected offer.

There are a lot of different business valuations companies, and you want to find one that s reputable and specific to your industry, so they know your business and the cash flow, says Laurie Barry, wealth advisor at UBS Financial Services in Chicago.

Negotiate your responsibilities.

As part of the Silver Oak sale to CGI, West stayed with the company for 18 months to manage the integration of Silver Oak into the bigger business and work on special projects.

A lot of times, the company wants you there to shepherd your old employees into the new system, says Sabol.

If you re asked to stay, inquire about the length of the commitment and the expectations of that position since this will affect your future plans.

Make sure you understand what those parameters are, says Barry. If you don t want to stay on, what are the ramifications of those as well. That s really important for the business owner.

Create a plan for your finances and time.

What you plan to do with your time and how your life will look is as important as the financial aspect of leaving your business. After selling Enstrat, West moved to New York to work as a management consultant. When that firm was sold, he then started Silver Oak.

I knew I wanted to do something on my own, so I came up with the idea for Silver Oak on napkins and planned the budget for the company, says West.

After selling Silver Oak, since he had started a family, he put half of the sale proceeds towards college funds and his retirement. Once he started Whistle Sports, he invested the rest into the seed round. He also had to budget for the years that he didn t take a salary along the way. For many serial entrepreneurs, what s next isn t to just go sit on the porch, at least not for a long time. And it s tempting to use the entire lump sum for a new business.

Do some analysis to figure out how much of the proceeds you should set aside for retirement, and with the balance of the proceeds, think about how much you can risk for the next deal, says Sabol.

While some business owners have a vision for what to do next, others may decide to take some time to figure out next steps. If you don t have a plan, rediscover strengths and build your network to make a transition into something new easier. Be sure to budget for these expenses, since just rolling with it often doesn t work.

When you re an entrepreneur, it defines a big piece of your identity, and when that goes away, it s definitely a transition, says West. I didn t appreciate that after selling the first company, but you have to find something else to focus on.

Don t ever go it alone.

Find a good set of advisors who you work well with and can give you great advice, says West.

Corporate accountants, lawyers and investment bankers can help shepherd your company through a sale, and a personal accountant and attorney can assist with your personal financial planning when you do receive that lump sum. Build a team of people who commit to your business like you do because as an entrepreneur, these people will help determine your success.

If you surround yourself with capable people with different strengths and weaknesses, you can get around any obstacle, says West. That sounds sort of clich , but it s the absolute difference.


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11 Grants for Women-Owned Businesses You Need to Know About #small #business #loan


#small business grants

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding grants

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

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

Finding federal and state grants

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

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

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

Private grants for women

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

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

Applying for a grant

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

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

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


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Louisville Business First: 20 People to Know: Trey Riddle #online #business #degree


#business first louisville

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Louisville Business First: 20 People to Know: Trey Riddle

Favorite way to spend time away from work:

Describe your company:

Sunstrand is a manufacturer and supplier of biomaterials for a variety of technical and industrial applications. Our focus markets are polymer composites, plastics and technical nonwovens. Basically, we take raw agricultural feedstocks (bamboo, kenaf, flax, hemp) and manufacture our products that take the form of fibers and fillers (particulates).

Our customers (upstream manufacturers) then incorporate these materials into their products. Ultimately, our materials will be used in a variety of applications, including consumer goods, automotive, building materials and sporting goods.

What is the biggest hurdle for entrepreneurs in the area?

Acquisition of capital is probably the No. 1 most challenging issue facing startups in the area. The community has done a really good job of highlighting some of the bigger names in local investment, but that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

How do we get below the water line? Additionally, there are way more companies needing capital than investors, and that breeds deal partiality.

What is some advice for people who want to start a company?

Seek out help. I have found that people are generally willing to have open discussions with you about a variety of business-related topics if you just ask nicely. The key in those situation is to not push product, but rather reach out for advice. Be dedicated and stay vigilant — there will be ups and downs. It is not all about the money. If you are not passionate about the business, don’t even think about starting it.

What’s the most interesting question a potential investor has ever asked you?

What is your plan? Not what is the business plan, but where do I see myself personally in 10 years. I think the key here was that the potential investor was interested in my personal goals because he knew that it would affect the business in the long run.

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Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know #business #plan #outline


#how do business loans work

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Small Business Loans: How They Work and What You Should Know

Small Businesses are increasing their payrolls, but hours worked and wages earned are down slightly. Photo: Reuters

For small business startups, knowing how loans work and getting them are absolutely crucial.

Many entrepreneurs, however, wait until the last minute to think about loans and prefer to dwell on grandiose plans, never mind that they often need loans to fund those plans.

Asking for loans is “unpleasant; it’s like asking your dad for the car keys,” said Charles H. Green, Executive Director at the Small Business Finance Institute and author of The SBA Loan Book .

Small businesses should start this “unpleasant” process early, however, partly because it could prove to be long and difficult.

One entrepreneur Green encountered secured his loan at the 60th bank he approached.

While this might be an extreme example, small business owners often need to try at more than one bank to get a small business loan.

During the process of dealing with a bank, moreover, they may be asked to provide additional documents they previously did not anticipate needing.

Green stressed that small business owners need to be patient in this entire process.

Banks Want Their Money Back

In making any small business loans, the goal of the bank is to get its money back. Even if the loan is made through the Small Business Administration (SBA), it is still a bank that ultimately risks its capital.

Banks usually get their money back from the borrower’s revenues. If that is not possible, banks can also get their money back from selling assets pledged as collateral or from the small business owners personally.

Therefore, besides documents relating to the business projections, banks may often request documents relating to the personal finances of the small business owner and whatever assets that can be pledged as collateral.

Backing up Projection Numbers

Regarding business projection numbers – that is, assessing the probability of repayment from borrower revenues – it is all about justifying those numbers, preferably with facts, said Green. For existing businesses, that may mean financial statements.

Some of the hard questions a lender may ask include:

*How many customers do you need?

*How do you find them?

*Who are satisfying these customers already?

*Why would they feel compelled to buy from you?

*What is your capacity to deliver those products?

*What is the cost to deliver those products?

Learning from Mistakes

Sometimes, the best efforts of small businesses to secure a loan are not good enough.

When rejections happen, Green recommended turning them into learning lessons. Often times, if the small business owner manages to remain calm and polite, he can get candid responses as to why he was rejected.

These explanations often turn into keys to successfully securing a loan from another bank in the future.

Choosing the Right Banks

Other times, though, a rejection from a bank has nothing to do with the borrower at all. That is, a lender may not have any money to lend.

Therefore, Green recommended that small businesses avoid banks under consent agreement with or issued a cease and desist order by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Generally speaking, smaller banks have more flexibility in their lending standards while bigger banks usually offer cheaper rates, added Green.


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Anyone did the indiana state university LPN to BSN online? Or have any info?

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Anyone did the indiana state university LPN to BSN online? Or have any info.

I am currently a BSN student with ISU, and I must say my experience has been great. I want too say too those who are not good at taking online classes this program is NOT for you. I am finishing up my first semester now, I took two classes LVN to RN as well as Physical Assessment class. It was alot of work, but all it takes is time management and you can get the work done.

You must have all your pre req complete before applying to the nursing program then you must complete the 4 nursing modules as well as the ATI TEAS exam. All the information is on on the ISU Nursing web site.

Kgeiger1 and I are of the same mind. Distant learning is not for everying. It is rigorous and requires committment. You are in nursing school; just because you are in distant learning does not make the program any easier. In fact, it may be even more rigorous.

The decision to enter into the program should not be taken lightly. You must have time to study, do all the assigned reading work, papers, and exams. every week. The program expects that you are a nurse, have previous nursing knowledge, and able to do the same work as any regular BSN student in the same class in the ISU campus.

Welcom aboard KG1.

Thanks for the input and info on ISU’s LVN/LPN to BSN program. I am BSN student at ISU and am just finishing my first semester. The program is very good. As others have said, it does require a lot of self discipline and use of goof time management skills. I think the eduction is very similar, if not the exact same, as what you would receive in a ‘in class’ BSN program. The only flaw with the program, from my experience, is that you must maintain your LPN or LVN license while completing clinicals. When I started ISU’s BSN program I was living in CA and working as a LVN. I received my LVN license through CA’s military challenge option, as I was a prior Corpsman. I’ve recently move to WI, and found out that WI will not let me transfer my LVN license here, because I did not attend an accredited LPN/LVN program. So now, I may not be able to continue in ISU’s program because I will not be able to get a WI LPN license. This seems very odd to me. If was not a LPN/LVN and applied to any BSN program as a generic entry student, I would participate in clinicals as a BSN student, not as a LPN/LVN. Very frustrating to say the least.

Hello,
Im completing the prereqs as what ISU wants but I am having difficulty trying to find a proctor for exams. Does anyone know of a proctor service that is provided in California?
BTW, its great to hear that you are enjoying the program so far, gives me confidence that I am going in the right direction. I also had distance learning in the past and am very comfortable with it.


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