Tag: Know

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

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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

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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

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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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Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants – Small Business Blog #business

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Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants

Minorities are choosing entrepreneurship in leaps and bounds. The pool of minority-owned business includes members of the African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American ethnic groups. According to the SBA, this number rose to 14.6 percent in 2012 in part because of the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.

As with their non-minority counterparts, proper access to funding is crucial for the creation, growth, and sustainability of their businesses. Although minority business ownership is growing, there continues to be great disparities in their access to business funding. In their effort to even the playing field, minority business owners continue to search for various funding resources.

Grants for Minority Business

Federal Grants

As part of their quest for funding, the first choice for minority business owners is to seek out grants. The belief that there are federal grants available for the start up and growth phases for small businesses is a myth. The federal government does not provide grants to businesses for start up, expansion, to cover operational expenses, or to pay off debts. However there are federal grants available in the areas of research in the fields of medicine, scientific research, education, and technology development. Here are a few such grants.

  1. Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – This grant is for the purpose of funding small business projects that are research related. Research areas include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See a full list of program descriptions and research topics allowed on their site.
  2. The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program – The purpose of this grant is to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The amount of the award ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.

You can search additional federal grants at grants.gov .

Corporate Grants

We have included a list of some grants available to black and minority owned businesses.

  1. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest The FedEx Small Business Grant awards 10 different grants to small business owners in the following amounts: (1) grand prize grant of $25,000, (1) grant of $10,000, and (8) grants of $5,000. Deadline is January 12, 2015. To enter, the applicants must share their business story including their motivation and plans for growth. Winners will be announced April 21, 2015.
  2. The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grant Program This grant allows business owners to apply for financing for a particular business need. Each grant is worth up to $5,000. To apply visit nase.org, create an account, become a member, and click on the link apply today. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.
  3. MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series – This grant supports urban entrepreneurs by awarding up to $150,000 in business grants to five entrepreneurs annually.
  4. Huggies MomInspired Grant Program – Grant proposals are accepted from businesses that nurture the relationship between mother and child either through a product or service. The amount of the award is $15,000 plus additional business resources for further development.

Organizations that Provide Minority Business Grants

The Role of the SBA

While the SBA has the authority to provide grants to certain non-profit and educational organizations, it is not permitted to provide grants to small businesses, including minority owned businesses. However, minority business owners can take advantage of the SBA (8) a Business Development Program. The program assists qualifying minority-owned businesses develop and growth through one on one counseling, training workshops, management, and technical assistance.

The 8(a) program has been designed for some minority groups that are considered socially and economically disadvantaged. Those groups include: African American, Hispanic American, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. A business must be at least 51% owned by a minority of the group listed. Other groups can apply for this program if they can prove that they have been discriminated against or are at an economic disadvantage. Those groups include: Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Community Development Corporations.

To learn more about this program contact the local SBA office in your area.

The Minority Business Development Agency

Another great resource for minority business owners is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). MBDA maintains a national network of 44 business centers whose purpose is to assist minority businesses with access to capital, contracts, and new markets. The specialists that work at the business centers can assist with the grant application.

Minority Business Grants: The Process

Applying for a grant is not a quick process. First the application can be more than a few pages and it is normally a detailed application. Most grants have an opening date, which is the date when the grant became available for application. The deadline date is the final date you must submit your grant by. Keep in mind that the decision may take a few months.

Additional Grant Preparation Tips

  • Create a business plan – Writing a business plan is an important step. The business plan will act as the roadmap for your business. Be sure to provide specific information in the plan about your minority business and how it will improve the economy and your community.
  • Read through grant information thoroughly Once you have decided which grant you will apply for, make sure that you read through all of the information. This will ensure that you have all of your ducks in a row. Most grant synopsis’ are detailed and require a lot of specific information.
  • Keep track of the application deadline – Obviously it is important that you do not miss the deadline. So be sure to apply for the grant before the deadline. A good idea would be to create a project checklist which includes dates and milestones. It’s a good idea to submit the grant before the deadline approaches.
  • Gather all of your documents – Make sure you gather all of the documents required for the grant. Prepare a checklist, check, and double check. You do not want to have any missing documents that may cause the grant to be denied.
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What do the titles mean? RN, BSN, ADN? #step #up, #what, #need, #titles, #going,

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what do the titles mean? RN, BSN, ADN.

So are BSN and ADN forms of RN. What is the difference in college time, pay, etc?

No, RN is a professional license. BSN and ADN are college degrees. An ADN is an ASN or AAS degree obtained from a community college after two to three years of school (including prerequisites). A BSN is obtained from a four year university after four to six years of school (including prerequisites). You also have the option of an entry level MSN, masters in science nursing, which may grant a BSN along the way or may simply pass up the BSN.

Okay, I graduate school to be an LVN in August and already I’m being asked when I’m going back to become an RN. I hear so many titles and I need help clearing them up. I need to know what I’m going into to know the prereqs I need to get out of the way online or what online program to look into. What is my next step up from LVN? Is a BSN and ADN the same as RN? Aggghhhh. Please help

You need to set up an appointment with an Allied Health Nursing advisor at your institution. We have no way of knowing what prereqs are required for your school since not all schools are the same.

RN: Anyone who has completed at least their ADN, aka Associate Degree Nursing, at a minimum. The ADN is a two-year program excluding the general one year of prereqs (so it’s really a three-year program).

BSN is a four-year degree, aka Bachelor of Science Nursing. There is little, if any, difference in pay between a registered nurse with his/her ADN vs. BSN. The difference is management opportunity, which is geared toward the BSN.

Hopefully the pay rates will be raised in the future to reflect educational attainment, especially for those with a master or doctorate degree in nursing. It’s this lack of difference in pay that pushes me only up to my Bachelor degree, and I only want to go that far because I know when I am in my fifties I will want to lessen my load by doing less bedside care.

Last edit by ZanatuBelmont on Apr 19, ’09

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8 Things You Need to Know About Small Business Loans #business #cards #cheap

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Small businesses may be the engine of our economy, but many small business owners view the lending process as complicated and frustrating.

Too often, growing enterprises find themselves shut out when they attempt to obtain small business loans. In theory, it should be difficult to obtain funding–lenders are in the business of making money, not providing charity. Still, there are many ways to improve your odds of getting a loan .

Here are some things to consider.

  1. Put yourself in the lender’s shoes–why should they lend you money? When applying for a loan, treat it as if you’re applying for a job. Instead of a great resume, however, you need a stellar application. That means understanding your financial situation and deciding what you can use for collateral, which might include your house. A business person who does the latter shows they believe in their business. Cash flow and credit quality are other key factors. And dress professionally; if you look like you don’t need the money, you’re more likely to get it.
  2. Figure out how much money you really need. Businesses too often seek more money than they really need and, the more you seek, the more likely you will be rejected.
  3. Learn from your mistakes. If one lender rejects you, figure out why. When you go to the next small business lender, address that deficiency.
  4. Those with poor credit in a business-to-business environment that have receivables can use them as collateral. Alternative lenders, such as so-called Internet lenders, will charge higher interest rates, but generally have more relaxed standards.
  5. Always consider–in most cases it should be your first consideration–working with Small Business Administration-backed (SBA) lenders. Many businesses incorrectly assume they aren’t eligible. SBA loans often feature low interest rates and generous repayment terms. Also note that just because one SBA lender turns you down, not all lenders will do likewise.
  6. Know what you’re getting into. That means learning the annual percentage rate (APR) of the loan. Know what the fees will be, as well as any prepayment penalties. Be an informed shopper.
  7. As mentioned earlier, online lenders may provide funding (and quickly) if other alternatives fail, especially for those with bad credit. Aside from higher interest rates, Internet lenders are known for onerous terms and poor transparency, so be sure you really need the money–and can pay it back–if you go this route.
  8. Small banks are likely to be more helpful than bigger banks that prefer working with larger customers.

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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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Know When and How to Sell Your Business #business #today

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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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How Do I Know If I – m Qualified to Be a Business Analyst?

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How Do I Know If I m Qualified to Be a Business Analyst?

Are you exploring a career in as a business analyst? Do you find yourself wondering if your skills and experience are relevant to a business analyst role? Would you be interested in learning about how qualified you are to be a business analyst?

We re going to talk about how to know if you are qualified to be a business analyst, but first I m going to share a funny story with you.

(Before I forget, I want to be sure you know about my step-by-step BA career planning course (it’s free) that’s designed to help you, the mid-career professional, kick-start your business analysis career. The course will help you dig deeper into each of the concepts outlined below.)

Just last week, the night before my birthday, I walked down the short flight of stairs after putting our daughter to bed. I smiled at my husband. He was making an odd expression. I continued to look more deeply at him to figure out why.

I walked over to where he was sitting and said, What s that goofy face for?

He says, You didn t see it, did you?

Me: See what?

He shifts his eyes back toward the stairs. On the ledge we have right in front of our stairway were a dozen yellow roses laying out in plain sight.

I couldn t believe I had completely missed them. For a split second, I even starting thinking that just maybe my husband tele-ported them there, but then I remembered the laws of physics and found my own eyes to be the culprit.

I was looking at my husband and his funny expression instead of what was right in front of me.

This same sort of thing happens to all of us, all of the time. We often don t see what can be obvious to other people or even what other people expect we should obviously be seeing. In all the work I do with professionals transitioning into the BA profession, the most prevalent problem I see is that they overlook significant relevant and transferable skills from their own career background.

As a result, their answer to the question, Am I qualified to be a business analyst? is a resounding no when it should be a yes or at least a some of the time . (And as we ll see in a bit, some of the time can be a very effective path to business analysis.)

Today, I d like to help you see the bouquet of roses waiting for you on the ledge at the bottom of the stairs. And to do that we need to look at the concept of transferable skills.

What are Transferable Business Analyst Skills?

Transferable skills are skills that you’ve built through experiences in your past roles. In the context of business analysis, transferable skills are BA techniques you’ve used in non-BA jobs or soft skills you’ve developed in perhaps unrelated roles.

Transferable skills can help you skip past entry-level business analyst positions. This is especially important because there tend to be very few entry-level business analyst positions. And those savored few entry-level positions tend to favor recent college graduates without the salary requirements of an experienced professional.

If you do have even a few years of professional experience, and a fair amount of the 42 reasons to become a business analyst resonate with you, then you have transferable skills. Getting clear and confident about them is part of your path to success as a business analyst and figuring out what roles you qualify for.

But What Business Analyst Qualifications Are Transferable?

When transitioning to business analysis, there are many areas in which to look for your business analyst qualifications. A good first step is to review our list of core business analysis skills that are important for a new business analyst and start mapping your experience to these skill areas.

Here s a rundown of what you can expect to find during this process:

  • The core business analyst skills. those you might find mapped out in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®). will help you get past the screening process for a business analyst role. Any given hiring manager tends to have a checklist of key qualifications they absolutely want to have met by a potential candidate. And even if your experience is informal. it s likely that you can map it to a more formal deliverable or analysis technique. Use the BA terms (appropriately) in your resume and in a job interview and you ll increase your chances of qualifying yourself for a business analyst role.
  • Although managers screen for a specific set of core business analyst skills, they often hire for soft skills. such as relationship-building and the ability to communicate with a diverse set of stakeholders from the business and technical communities. Understanding the key soft skills you bring to the table is critical. Being able to speak to specific experiences where you used those soft skills in a BA context (or close to BA context) can increase the number of BA jobs you ll qualify for.
  • Then there will be skills that set you apart as a candidate and qualify you for specific types of BA positions. These vary widely from technical skills, to specific business domain knowledge, to experience with specific types of business applications.

What Do I Do with My List of Business Analyst Qualifications?

Even with a list of transferable business analyst qualifications in hand, a transitioning BA can get understandably frustrated. What business analyst roles do these skills qualify you for? It can often seem as if the grass is greener on the other side of the proverbial fence .

  • If you don t have an IT background, it can seem as if every possible BA job you look at requires some obscure technical skill you have no interest in building.
  • If you do have an IT background, but no business experience, it can see as if every possible BA job you look at requires business domain experience.

While you will most likely find that the number of roles you aren t qualified for outweigh the number of roles you do qualify for, your career background will qualify you very strongly for a specific set business analyst jobs .

  • If you have a technical background. consider BA roles that include systems analysis responsibilities or blend selected IT duties with a business analyst role. Your experience with specific technologies could qualify you for specific BA roles.
  • If you have a business background from a specific functional area (such as customer service, human resources, or finance), consider BA roles working on the business applications with which you are familiar or supporting this area of the company. Your familiarity with the terminology and processes for that functional area could qualify you for specific BA roles.
  • If you have deep experience in a specific industry. consider business analyst roles in that industry. Your understanding of the industry environment, terminology, and core processes could qualify you for specific BA roles.

To sum things up, the answer to the question about whether or not you are qualified to be a business analyst requires a bit of analysis. First, you must discover your business analyst skills. Then you want to map them to the types of roles you see in your local job market. Most likely, you will find yourself to be very qualified for some roles, partially qualified for others, and not at all qualified for still others (and this last set will most likely be the biggest, and that s true even for BAs with formal experience).

With this information in hand, you can decide how and if to move forward in your BA career. And keep in mind, just like those I work with on their career transitions, it s quite possible and actually very likely that you have more relevant experience than you think, and you won t realize what those qualifications are until you go through a skills discovery process .

Find Your Path Into a Business Analyst Career

After reading and working through the exercises in How to Start a Business Analyst Career. you’ll know how to assess and expand your business analysis skills and experience.

This book will help you find your best path forward into a business analyst career. More than that, you will know exactly what to do next to expand your business analysis opportunities.

Click here to learn more about How to Start a Business Analyst Career

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