Tag: Options

Beyond the Bank Loan: 6 Alternative Financing Methods for Startups, business financing options.#Business #financing

Beyond the Bank Loan: 6 Alternative Financing Methods for Startups

Many aspiring entrepreneurs have an idea for their business but lack the capital to actually start it. Brand-new businesses are often turned down for bank loans, and even if your business is established, funds can still be tough to secure. Loans funded by the Small Business Administration are usually more accessible, but they are becoming increasingly competitive.

So what options are left for someone aspiring to be a small business owner? Here are six options beyond bank loans for financing your startup.

Online lending

Online lenders have become a popular alternative to traditional business loans. These platforms have the advantage of speed, as an application takes only about an hour to complete, and the decision and accompanying funds can be issued within days. Because of the ease and quickness of online lending, economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said at the 2015 Lend It conference that he expects online lenders to eventually reach more than 70 percent of small businesses.

Editor s note: Are you considering a small business loan for your business? If you re looking for information to help you choose the one that s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

Angel investors

Angel investors invest in early-stage or startup companies in exchange for a 20 to 25 percent return on their investment. They have helped to start up many prominent companies, including Google and Costco. Mark DiSalvo, CEO of private equity fund provider Semaphore said, You are likely to get an investor who has strategic experience, so they can provide tactical benefit to the company they are investing in.

Find out what makes angel investors fund a business here.

Venture capitalists

Venture capital is money that is given to help build new startups that are considered to have both high-growth and high-risk potential. Fast-growth companies with an exit strategy already in place can gain up to tens of millions of dollars that can be used to invest, network and grow their company frequently.

Brian Haughey, assistant professor of finance and director of the investment center at Marist College, said that because venture capitalists focus on specific industries, they can generally offer advice to entrepreneurs on whether the product will be successful or what they need to do to bring it to market. However, venture capitalists have a short leash when it comes to company loyalty and often look to recover their investment within a three- to five-year time window, he said.

Learn more about venture capital here.

Factoring/invoice advances

Through this process, a service provider will front you the money on invoices that have been billed out, which you then pay back once the customer has settled the bill. This way, the business can grow by providing the funds necessary to keep it going while waiting for customers to pay for outstanding invoices.

Eyal Shinar, CEO of small business cash flow management company Fundbox, says these advances allow companies to close the pay gap between billed work and payments to suppliers and contractors.

By closing the pay gap, companies can accept new projects more quickly, Shinar told Business News Daily. Our goal is to help business owners grow their businesses and hire new workers by ensuring steady cash flow.

Visit BND s guide to choosing a factoring service here.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding on sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo can give a boost to financing a small business. These sites allow businesses to pool small investments from a number of investors instead of having to look for a single investment.

Make sure to read the fine print of different crowdfunding sites before making your choice, as some sites have payment-processing fees, or require businesses to raise their full stated goal in order to keep any of the money raised.

Check out some emerging trends in crowdfunding here.

Grants

Businesses focused on science or research may be able to get grants from the government. The SBA offers grants through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Recipients of these grants are required to meet federal research-and-development goals, and have a high potential for commercialization.

Learn more about applying for a small business grant here.

Additional reporting by Katherine Arline and Nicole Taylor. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Jennifer Post graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a Bachelor s Degree in Journalism. Having worked in the food industry, print and online journalism, and marketing, she is now a freelance contributor for Business News Daily. When she s not working, you will find her exploring her current town of Cape May, NJ or binge watching Pretty Little Liars for the 700th time.


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3 Free Email Options for Small BusinessesNFIB #applying #for #a #business #loan


#free business email

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3 Free Email Options for Small Businesses

Email is the main mode of communication in professional environments, and every small business hopes for a cost-effective option. While there are many email services available for purchase, several free services might provide better options.

Here are the 3 free email options that you can take advantage of as a small business owner:

Google Apps

“I use Google Apps to completely integrate all of my online services,” says Amanda Brienza, owner of 25th Hour Assistants, a virtual assistance firm, based in Lafayette, Ind. “In addition, I get to take advantage of Google’s spam protection, search and tagging features while portraying a professional image with my own branded email.” (Related: Google Apps That Work for Small Business )

Update. As of December 2012 Google is no longer offering its Google Apps service to new users for free. If you already subscribed to the free service prior to this date, you will be grandfathered into a continued free service. For information on the new pricing model, visit Google Apps for Business .

MailChimp

Shawnee Huie, social media manager at Fuzed Marketing, a marketing firm based in Bloomington, Minn. recommends Mail Chimp. calling it “awesome.” It offers multiple free resources, including webinars that help you understand the product. Huie says an added bonus is being able to set up an autorespond campaign that allows you to send an automatic welcome email to new subscribers, a thank-you email when someone buys one of your products or even happy birthday messages.

Jeff Pohl, owner of 815iMedia, an Internet marketing agency based in Rockford, Ill. also uses MailChimp and says that though there are some limitations on the free option, he finds it to be “pretty liberal for most small businesses.” It allows you to send 12,000 emails per month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers.

Ratepoint

Shai Atanelov, owner of Bigtime Wireless, LLC, a mobile device distributor headquartered in Monsey, NY, uses Ratepoint for newsletter campaigns, promotions, surveys and review requests.

“When we first started our business, we wanted a free email marketing software,” he says. “Ratepoint allowed us to send free emails to up to 550 contacts.”

Ratepoint features unlimited image hosting and email archiving at no extra cost, and the free service includes setup, coaching and support, helping you to import your contacts and build your first email template. Atanelov also uses other Ratepoint services, including review, survey and social-marketing features.


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Best investment options – 10 simple steps for a successful eBay business #cheap #business

#small scale business

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10 simple steps for a successful eBay business

Overview about ebay
One of the ways to earn money through online is starting your own eBay business by selling products on eBay. This is one of the best investment option.

10 simple steps for a successful eBay business?
Follow the below steps to start the ebay business

  1. Create an eBay account Paypal account. Click Register with eBay which would take directly to registration form. Also paypall account is required for the receiving the payments. Click on this to open a Pay Pal account
  2. Get customer experience. Before you start selling any product, first try buying small items so that you get relevant experience on how the buyer expectation is.
  3. Sell the item you know. Sell the product, where you have good knowledge about this product. If you try to sell the product where you do not have much knowledge, you end up keeping them in your warehouse
  4. Try the option of selecting a buyer who would, directly deliver to customer. This is one of the good method where you would not own any product and save shipping charges
  5. Create a list of items you want to sell. Before you jump into business , try selling any unwanted items you are holding now. This would give an idea about the entire process of selling the product in ebay
  6. User your creativity and get good pictures of what you want to sell. You can purchase some good colored bulbs to take the photos of the product you want to sell
  7. List down the item: Once you have taken good picture of item you want to sell, list them on ebay. Ensure you give complete details of the product, else you end up answering the calls from buyers in providing the details.
  8. Clarify buyers queries about your product
  9. Ship the product immediately. Once your item is purchased by buyer, ship them as soon as possible. Reduce the the time taken to deliver the product. This would give good impression to buyer and they can give positive feedback
  10. Try selling popular products. See what are the popular products being sold on ebay. You need to even look for what competitor s price is to sell at lower price.

Readers, in your opinion, what are the other success ways of setting up a success ebay business? Do you have any creative ideas.

Have you enjoyed this post? Please provide your comments on this post. If you found good, share the link in Facebook/Twitter.

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Business funding options #names #for #businesses


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Business finance options

Finance from your bank

Banks offer a range of financial support options for your business. They can also provide advice on the most suitable route for you. The options presented to you may include:

A business loan over a fixed term

With this option, money is borrowed over a set period of time and repaid with interest in agreed instalments usually monthly. A business loan can be used for working capital or to support your medium and long-term plans.

Business overdrafts and credit cards

Businesses may use an overdraft or credit cards to help them when cash levels are low or if the business is more seasonal. They can work if you need an extra source of money to dip into during quieter times, so that you can keep trading until the cash starts coming in again. Barclaycard Business credit cards are another way of providing you with short term credit. They are also a great way to manage and regulate staff spending.

This allows businesses to borrow against the value of their unpaid invoices. Using a cashflow finance solution means that within 24 hours 1 of you issuing an approved invoice, you could receive up to 85% of its face value. You then receive the remainder of the invoice value (minus charges for the invoice financing service) when the invoice is paid by your customer.

Borrowing against assets

You can borrow money against a range of your company s assets, including property, inventory or equipment. The amount you could borrow will depend on the value of the asset, but this can be an effective way of raising cash for working capital or investment.

If you re looking to buy or remortgage business premises, you might consider talking to a Commercial Finance Broker or a Barclays Business Manager they will provide independent advice, take you through the options available to you and deal directly with the lender on your behalf.

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme

If you ve got a strong business idea or project, but are finding it difficult to get a loan agreed because of insufficient security to meet a lender s normal criteria, the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme may help. The scheme is available to those who meet the criteria specified by the British Business Bank .

Business grants

A range of government grants are available under the Government Solutions for Business scheme, administered by a number of different bodies. Most are linked to specific activities, such as research and development. Government grants don t have to be repaid, so they won t be a drain on cashflow, but you will have to meet strict qualification criteria.

Investment

Offering a share of your company (or equity) for an investment by a third party could be an effective way to raise cash. In contrast to a business loan from a bank, you may not have to make any repayments on the money invested. However, so-called angel investors (wealthy individuals who back businesses with their own money) and venture capitalists can strike a hard bargain in terms of the share of your company they take in return for their investment. This kind of investment is often used for financing growth plans.

Family and friends

This is an option that a lot of people will consider, but it s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

  • An investment from family or friends can mean more flexibility if they know you personally they may be more lenient with repayments and allow you to delay until your business is making a profit
  • You may be able to run a loan from friends and family alongside a business loan from your bank, as long as you know you can repay all of the money you borrow in line with the agreements that have been set in place
  • Borrowing money or asking them to invest in your business is a serious commitment on both sides everyone should be clear on the terms
  • Any ambiguities could risk damaging your relationship in the future, so it s advisable to draw up a formal contract with help from an independent solicitor

If you have a Barclays Business account we can arrange a free session with a local solicitor for you talk to your Barclays Business Manager to make the arrangements.

The article is intended for information purposes only. You should always seek independent advice before making changes to your business.


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Fast Business Loans: Best Options for Quick Cash #business #website #design


#fast business loans

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Credit Cards

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Credit Cards

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Fast Business Loans: Best Options for Quick Cash

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here’s how we make money .

Sometimes, your small business just can’t afford to wait for funding. Maybe a major piece of equipment has failed, or your pipes burst. Or perhaps you don’t want to miss out on a business opportunity. You need fast cash, and you’re willing to pay more for the speed and convenience.

Business loans from banks are great for keeping loan costs down, but the lengthy application and underwriting process means it can take months to get your money. Online business loans can make sense when speed is your top concern. Below, we compare some of the best business loans for fast cash.

HERE ARE OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR:

If you want fast cash for immediate needs: Kabbage, OnDeck and Lending Club

Kabbage, OnDeck and Lending Club can provide you with fast cash to handle virtually any immediate need, including dealing with a financial emergency, buying inventory, meeting payroll or other business purposes.

If you have shaky credit, Kabbage could be a good option. The lender does not require a minimum credit score to qualify; instead, your business needs a year of history and at least $50,000 in annual revenue. Kabbage provides a line of credit up to $100,000. You can complete the company’s online application in minutes, with approval and funding just as fast or within a few days, depending on how quickly Kabbage can obtain your business data and verify your bank account. Kabbage, though, comes with high borrowing costs, from 32% to 108% annual percentage rate.

If your personal credit score tops 500 and your annual revenue starts at $100,000, consider an OnDeck term loan. As with Kabbage, you only need a year in business. But OnDeck borrowing costs are lower than those of Kabbage, with APRs of 9% to 98% on term loans and 14% to 40% on lines of credit. The line of credit, which provides more flexibility than a term loan, is a good choice if you have a personal credit score of 600 or more. You can draw and repay funds on an as-needed basis, and with lower overall APRs the line could be less costly than the term loan. You can finish OnDeck’s online application in 10 minutes, with funding as fast as 24 hours but typically in a few days.

Lending Club offers the lowest overall borrowing costs of the three lenders, and funding for its term loan and line of credit typically arrive in less than a week. APRs range from 8% to 32%. You’ll need a personal credit score of at least 600, $75,000 in annual revenue and two years in business to qualify for either product.

  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $500,000 for term loans; up to $100,000 for lines of credit.
  • APR: 9% to 98% for term loans; 14% to 40% for lines of credit.
  • Loan term: Term loans repaid daily or weekly for three to 36 months; lines of credit are repaid weekly.
  • Funding time: As fast as 24 hours but typically a few days.
  • Read our OnDeck review .

Before you apply for an OnDeck loan, find out whether you meet the lender s minimum qualifications.

  • 500+ personal credit score for term loans; 600+ personal credit score for lines of credit.
  • 1+ year in business for term loans; 9+ months in business for lines of credit.
  • $100,000+ in annual revenue for term loans; $75,000+ in annual revenue for lines of credit.
  • No bankruptcies in the last two years.
  • Personal guarantee required.

Before you apply for a Lending Club line of credit, find out whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

  • 600+ personal credit score.
  • 2+ years in business.
  • $75,000+ in annual revenue.
  • Own at least 20% of the business.
  • No recent bankruptcies or tax liens.
  • Provide collateral for loans and lines of credit of more than $100,000.

Lending Club is currently unavailable to borrowers in Iowa and Idaho.

If you need fast cash for a business opportunity: Lending Club, OnDeck and Dealstruck

Small businesses have a number of choices when looking to finance fast expansion or growth.

Lending Club’s term loans come with low rates, but qualifying may be more difficult compared with OnDeck and Dealstruck. You’ll need at least a 600 personal credit score, $75,000 in annual revenue and two years in business.

If you don’t qualify for Lending Club or need cash sooner, OnDeck’s funding turnaround can be as fast as a single day —though, more often, several days to a week. To qualify, you need at least a 500 credit score, a year in business and $100,000 in annual revenue. Your APR will likely be higher than at Lending Club. And, unlike other lenders, OnDeck requires daily or weekly repayments on its term loans, so your business should have steady cash flow to handle the frequent repayments.

If you need more than one type of financing or are unsure which type of financing you need, Dealstruck could be your best bet. The lender has a variety of loan products, such as term loans and inventory lines of credit, with an average of 10 days to funding. To qualify, you need one year of business history, a personal credit score starting at 600 and $150,000 in annual revenue.

Before you apply for a Lending Club loan, find out whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

  • 600+ personal credit score.
  • 2+ years in business.
  • $75,000+ in annual revenue.
  • Own at least 20% of the business.
  • No recent bankruptcies or tax liens.
  • Provide collateral for loans of more than $100,000.

Lending Club is currently unavailable to borrowers in Iowa and Idaho.

Before you apply for an OnDeck loan, find out whether you meet the lender s minimum qualifications.

  • 500+ personal credit score.
  • 1+ year in business.
  • $100,000+ in annual revenue.
  • No bankruptcies in the last two years.
  • Personal guarantee required.

  • Loan amount: $50,000 to $500,000 for term loans; up to $500,000 for inventory and asset-based lines of credit.
  • APR: 10% to 28% for term loans; 22% plus prime rate for inventory and asset-based lines of credit.
  • Loan term: Six months to four years for term loans; six months per draw for lines of credit.
  • Funding time: Average of 10 days.
  • Read our Dealstruck review .

Before you apply for a Dealstruck loan, find out whether you meet the lender s minimum qualifications.

  • 600+ personal credit score.
  • 1+ year in business.
  • $150,000+ in annual revenue.
  • Breaking even or profitable.
  • Personal guarantee and a lien on business assets required.

You may also like

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Why Alternative Financing Options Might Be Best for Your Small Business #women #in #business


#business financing options

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Why Alternative Financing Options Might Be Best for Your Small Business

The small business financing landscape is continually changing, with more options available to business owners than ever before. About half to two-thirds of these businesses seek financing from a number of places, from owner investments to non-bank sources. As small businesses continue to face challenges when it comes to gaining access to capital and taking advantage of opportunities to grow, it s important that they re seeking the right type of financing for their particular needs. There s been a lot of focus on alternative lending recently, but how do small business owners know when this is the right option to pursue?

One of the most obvious and common answers is that businesses seek financing when they re faced with an unexpected opportunity or challenge that requires quick capital. In my early years as a restaurateur, I built a chain of casual dining restaurants that saw strong growth, solid revenue and profitability. We had all the right elements, but excess cash wasn t one of them. When I was presented with the opportunity to purchase the ideal property for a new location, there was only one issue — I needed $250,000. I was able to get the money quickly from an alternative lender, and I saw the power in this financing option.

In my case and in the experiences of many others, this access to capital provided me the freedom and flexibility to take advantage of a deal that allowed my business to grow. I learned firsthand that when opportunities like these are handled properly, the benefits can be enormous.

Most of the time, small businesses don t have the cash on reserve or an established line of credit that enables them to withdraw the necessary funds for these types of opportunities. Alternative sources of lending help fill that void by giving business owners access, availability and speed. The reality is that traditional banks aren t equipped to do this — and it isn t profitable for them to provide loans of under $200,000.

So what are other situations small businesses often face that may benefit from an alternative source of financing? Check them out:

  • Purchasing discounted inventory, raw material or new equipment at a can t-miss price, such as a restaurant looking to make opportunistic purchases of wine during the holidays or a wholesaler in need of additional warehouse space and forklifts
  • Buying out a partner or to avoid taking on a partner who will own a chunk of the business and profits for life
  • Expanding to new locations
  • Harsh weather that forces a business to close days on end
  • Fluctuations in the economy that impact the bottom line
  • Unexpected occurrences that put pressure on cash flow and require an immediate influx of working capital, such as a refrigerator that stops working in a restaurant or a farmer needing to process the harvest

To determine what type of financing makes sense for your business and situation, you must consider what exactly needs to be funded and the timing. Alternative lending helps provide flexibility of repayment and offers creative options, including small daily payments that fluctuate with sales volume. It s also important for small business owners to understand the rates associated with choosing an alternative lender. This type of financing is more costly than a traditional bank loan because these companies act as liaisons, borrow capital from other financial institutions and guarantee the payment. Essentially, they absorb the risk and the losses when a client defaults. This is also further emphasized when taking into consideration that an application can be underwritten and approved in hours instead of weeks with a bank.

Whether you re a restaurant, retailer or medical practice, examining your situation closely will help determine the best financing option. Gaining access to capital can be the deciding factor in whether or not a small business grows or survives, so choose wisely when it comes to funding.


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Why Alternative Financing Options Might Be Best for Your Small Business #business #database


#business financing options

#

Why Alternative Financing Options Might Be Best for Your Small Business

The small business financing landscape is continually changing, with more options available to business owners than ever before. About half to two-thirds of these businesses seek financing from a number of places, from owner investments to non-bank sources. As small businesses continue to face challenges when it comes to gaining access to capital and taking advantage of opportunities to grow, it s important that they re seeking the right type of financing for their particular needs. There s been a lot of focus on alternative lending recently, but how do small business owners know when this is the right option to pursue?

One of the most obvious and common answers is that businesses seek financing when they re faced with an unexpected opportunity or challenge that requires quick capital. In my early years as a restaurateur, I built a chain of casual dining restaurants that saw strong growth, solid revenue and profitability. We had all the right elements, but excess cash wasn t one of them. When I was presented with the opportunity to purchase the ideal property for a new location, there was only one issue — I needed $250,000. I was able to get the money quickly from an alternative lender, and I saw the power in this financing option.

In my case and in the experiences of many others, this access to capital provided me the freedom and flexibility to take advantage of a deal that allowed my business to grow. I learned firsthand that when opportunities like these are handled properly, the benefits can be enormous.

Most of the time, small businesses don t have the cash on reserve or an established line of credit that enables them to withdraw the necessary funds for these types of opportunities. Alternative sources of lending help fill that void by giving business owners access, availability and speed. The reality is that traditional banks aren t equipped to do this — and it isn t profitable for them to provide loans of under $200,000.

So what are other situations small businesses often face that may benefit from an alternative source of financing? Check them out:

  • Purchasing discounted inventory, raw material or new equipment at a can t-miss price, such as a restaurant looking to make opportunistic purchases of wine during the holidays or a wholesaler in need of additional warehouse space and forklifts
  • Buying out a partner or to avoid taking on a partner who will own a chunk of the business and profits for life
  • Expanding to new locations
  • Harsh weather that forces a business to close days on end
  • Fluctuations in the economy that impact the bottom line
  • Unexpected occurrences that put pressure on cash flow and require an immediate influx of working capital, such as a refrigerator that stops working in a restaurant or a farmer needing to process the harvest

To determine what type of financing makes sense for your business and situation, you must consider what exactly needs to be funded and the timing. Alternative lending helps provide flexibility of repayment and offers creative options, including small daily payments that fluctuate with sales volume. It s also important for small business owners to understand the rates associated with choosing an alternative lender. This type of financing is more costly than a traditional bank loan because these companies act as liaisons, borrow capital from other financial institutions and guarantee the payment. Essentially, they absorb the risk and the losses when a client defaults. This is also further emphasized when taking into consideration that an application can be underwritten and approved in hours instead of weeks with a bank.

Whether you re a restaurant, retailer or medical practice, examining your situation closely will help determine the best financing option. Gaining access to capital can be the deciding factor in whether or not a small business grows or survives, so choose wisely when it comes to funding.


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4 Affordable Small Business CRM Options #business #travel


#small business crm

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4 Affordable Small Business CRM Options

When you think of customer relationship management (CRM) software, there’s a misconception that the solutions are not well-suited to a small business environment—that CRM falls into the category of enterprise applications and systems that require dedicated IT teams. Luckily, this isn’t the case, as there are a number of CRM solutions designed specifically for small busineses.

Small business CRM software is typically lightweight (in the good sense), designed to meet the unique needs of a small business without being cumbersome, overwhelming or expensive to maintain. These systems will consolidate customer records and other data to give your business timely access to critical business data and actionable business insights. This means less time wasted trying to maneuver through reports and functions you really don’t need.

If you’re looking to invest in small business CRM software, here are four systems with social integration that are worth a look.

Batchbook: Learn Who Your Customers Are

Batchbook is a cloud-based social CRM platform. Any member of your or team can use Batchbook on any device to keep track of important customers, partners and deals. To get started, you can import existing contacts from a spreadsheet or collect contact information from your website.

Batchbook offers several ways to organize contacts to learn who customers are, how they relate to each other and what steps are needed to close a deal. You can organize contact lists by location, by last contact date or by using custom fields. You can also learn more about customers by connecting to their Facebook profile within the Batchbook interface.

Another important feature of BatchBook for SMBs is easy access to your communication history with a customer. You can record emails automatically, attach notes to the conversation and chat with team members about different company contacts. The Task System lets you assign tasks within a team, create lists to see who you haven’t talked to in a while and keep everyone up to date on who’s conversing with contacts at any point in time.

Batchbook for small businesses starts at $20 per month for unlimited users. A free 30-day trial is available.

ContactMe: Use Modern Web Interface

ContactMe is Web-based small businesses CRM app with a comfortable, easy-to-use interface. The CRM offers a number of useful tools for notes and email forwarding, calendar and reminders and task management in addition to the contact management and reporting tools.

The contact management tool will be useful for small businesses looking to consolidate and sort contacts. Most small business owners use a system of email, documents and spreadsheets to handle contacts. With ContactMe, though, you’ll be able to update your contact list from one place and organize contacts into categories such as lead, potential and customer.

Also worth noting are the ContactMe sales lead buttons and forms. These can be displayed on any website or social page, and the messages that potential customers send messages are added into the CRM.

The reporting tool, while basic, does include graphs to view button views and form submissions, charts to view contacts by sales stage and data charts that show where customers are coming from.

The ContactMe “BizPro” plan starts at $7.42 monthly. A free 14-day trial is available.

Zoho CRM: Automate Day-to-Day Activities

With features such as sales tracking, Google service synchronization and social profiles, Zoho CRM lets your business focus on customers, not data.

One important feature in Zoho CRM is the Opportunity Tracking Tool, which is designed to give your business a comprehensive view of all sales activities. You’ll know where every customer is in the sales cycle, the deal size and contact history. You can even access competitor information. An editable Notes Section displays the time and content of past customer conversations; this lets you make each connection with the customer more personal and productive.

Small businesses using Google Apps and Google Drive can synchronize Google Mail and access other information within Zoho CRM. You can contextually create business opportunities within Gmail, attach documents from Google Docs, export events to Google Calendar and capture leads from Google Sites using Web forms. This makes it easier to collaborate, communicate and share information whether users are in Zoho CRM or Gmail.

Zoho offers a mobile edition for the iOS, Android and BlackBerry operating systems. Users can also link prospects’ and customers’ social profiles from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter directly to Zoho CRM.

Zoho CRM is free for entrepreneurs and startups (up to three users). The Professional plan for SMBs is $12 per user per month.

Nimble: Manage Social Relationships

Nimble aims to help you to better manage social contacts—including co-workers, customers and partners—and all the online conversations you have with them over email, Twitter, Skype, Facebook and other services. All your contacts (and team contacts) can be managed in one screen using this lightweight online platform.

Nimble offers a Daily Digest email to keep you informed of new social engagement opportunities around birthdays, job changes or upcoming meetings.

Nimble’s Contact Manger interface provides options for adding people or companies as a contact and for syncing all messages from email or social media sites to a contact. You can then create new events and manage the list for upcoming and completed tasks.

Nimble also offers team collaboration features, which let any team member check contacts and see what’s pending and who’s working with a particular contact. The team functionality lets all users see all the conversations that have occurred with every contact and team member. This makes it easy to delegate or schedule tasks.

Business plans are priced at $15 per user per month. A 14-day free trial of Nimble is available.


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Home Insurance – Cover for your home #home #insurance, #house #insurance, #home #insurance #buildings,

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Home Insurance.

Home insurance that gives you peace of mind.

With our Home insurance you get to choose from two levels of cover; Essentials if you want to pay less and Extra if you want to cover more. Get Buildings Insurance. Contents Insurance or both from us.

  • Includes cover for Fire, Flood, Storms, Subsidence, Escape of Water and Theft
  • A 24 hour legal and domestic helpline
  • Annual or monthly payment options
  • UK based call centres
  • Renew your policy online using our online payment portal for annual payments
  • Over 90 years of experience in insuring homes

Buildings Insurance

Cover for loss or damage from many causes such as, fire, explosion, lightning, storm, flood; theft and escape of water.

You can also get combined cover from us, add Contents cover to your Buildings insurance.

Contents Insurance

Cover for your household goods and personal belongings from causes such as fire, storm, flood and theft.

You can also get combined cover from us, add Buildings cover to your Contents insurance.

Extra and Essentials – our Home Insurance at a glance

Extra Home Insurance provides a more comprehensive level of cover for a wider range of events, includes some Accidental Damage cover as standard and the option to add additional cover options like Extended Accidental Damage, Personal Possessions cover inside and outside the home and Family Legal Protection.

Essentials Home Insurance provides a lower level of cover, but still includes important protection against events like fire, flood, storms, subsidence, escape of water and theft, with the option to add additional cover like Accidental Damage, Personal Possessions cover inside and outside the home and Family Legal Protection.

Our Buildings insurance also provides Home Emergency cover for up to 500 for Essentials and up to 1000 for Extra – giving you reassurance, should the worst happen.

Important information

Our home insurance is designed to cover certain unforeseen events and doesn’t cover everything. It doesn’t cover things like general wear and tear or damage that happens gradually over a period of time. There’s also an excess on each claim.

To find out more about what is and isn’t covered by our policies, please read the policy summaries and booklets, which can be found in the Key Documents section.

Need further help?

Whether you’re already a customer and have a question about your policy or looking to find out more about our Home Insurance, our frequently asked questions pages will help you find the answer. If your still unsure or want to talk to us, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you.


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5 Small Business Financing Options for Startup Entrepreneurs #financing #for #business


#business financing options

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5 Small Business Financing Options for Startup Entrepreneurs

Credit Cards

According to a 2012 National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) study [click the image above for the full infographic], 79% of small business owners used credit cards to start or grow their business. That says a lot about the significance of using credit cards to capitalize a small business.

According to another study (PDF) conducted by Keybridge Research, the use of business credit cards to start or grow a small business has tremendous positive effects on the business and the economy as a whole. The study found that the expansion of credit card lending between 2003 and 2008 contributed to the creation of 1.6 million jobs and for every $1,000 of business credit card use, a $5,500 increase in revenue was experienced by the small business.

The bottom line is that about 4 out of 5 small business owners will be using credit cards.

Founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, did it in the early days. Most other successful business owners have done it as well. It’s like anything else in that, you can use credit cards the right way or the wrong way. So plan this like you do your business.

I like what T. Boone Pickens says about planning. He said:

“A plan without action isn’t a plan. It’s a speech.”

Don’t make a speech about using credit cards, make a plan. Places like Lendio and NCH Capital help a lot of business owners learn how to use business credit cards to grow their businesses.

Microloans

Microloans are small loans typically issued to borrowers who are low income earners or have less than perfect credit and do not qualify for traditional bank financing.

According to the Microfinance Information Exchange, MicroBanking Bulletin Issue #19. nearly 74 million entrepreneurs across the world have microloans that are equal to a combined total of $38 billion U.S. dollars (as of 2009). Statistics vary but most microlenders report that between 95 99% of their loans are repaid. Kiva.org has over a 99% repayment rate this month alone.

Repayment rates suggest that small businesses have experienced a significant level of success as a result of obtaining microloans. Furthermore, according to a recent survey (PDF) conducted by Accion U.S. Network, 42% of survey respondents said their business income increased (between 2010 2011) as a result of a microloan.

Personal Savings

This is the #1 small business financing option for most people who find that they don’t qualify for credit cards, microloans, or any other type of “traditional bank financing.”

This is a great way to get started. If you don’t quality for things like business credit cards or traditional bank financing, then you may want to take the appropriate steps to correct any credit issues that may be part of the problem. We would all like to have more financing options in the future as we grow our businesses. If you’re like millions of other business owners with less-than-perfect credit, then do something about it.

Resources like Creditera are invaluable as it is currently the only credit monitoring platform that allows business owners to monitor both business and personal credit in one place.

The 3 F’s: Family, Friends and Fools

This is a great example of how the small business financing options are different for everyone. For some people, that list of possible investors from their friends and family is a long one. For others it’s, well, a short list shall we say.

Often times it is difficult to obtain financing from family and friends because they may not fully understand the business or believe it will succeed. You will really need to do what it takes to convince them the business will be lucrative and successful to get them to invest.

Entrepreneurs are famous for over-selling their cool ideas to their Uncle Louie and then seeing things not work out. If you do accept an investment from a friend or family member, then I suggest using something like ZimpleMoney. Whatever you do, be sure to treat your friends and family no different than you would a savvy angel investor. They deserve updates, communication and to be one of the first phone calls when there is a problem.

You should treat them as the partner you allowed them to become when you accepted their check. As for the fools I’ll leave that one alone.

Retirement Accounts

This small business financing option is highly popular for entrepreneurs who want to purchase a franchise. In order to use your retirement account to fund your business, you would use the Rollover for Business Startup (ROBS) Strategy.

This strategy is slightly complicated so you’ll want to consult with an expert such as Benetrends or Tenet Financial Group. It consists of forming a C Corporation and rolling your current retirement plan over to the new corporation’s retirement plan. It’s a relatively complex strategy. So don’t try it on your own and do your due-diligence. The term ROBS actually comes from the IRS ROBS compliance project.

ROBs strategies are common but are right up there as the most risky ways to finance a business along with Home Equity Lines of Credit and using personal savings. Again, in the event that your business fails, you likely lose your nest egg or whatever portion of it you “rolled over.”

I probably side with my friend Joel Libava, The Franchise King, on this when I say that I don’t think of franchisees as “full-fledged,” 100% entrepreneurs. I also cannot negate what my other good friend, Rieva Lesonsky, says when she argues, very respectfully, that franchisees take a lot of risk in buying a franchise. Especially a less established franchise.

When franchisees “roll over” their nest egg and start a franchise they totally get my respect and they clearly are taking a risk. I guess for me, I can’t get past the part about following directions and needing to get permission from the franchisor for many business decisions that an entrepreneur would not only make, but would make quickly, and he/she would laugh at the thought of needing someone’s permission.

Conclusion

Successful business owners all have one thing in common. They take action. They execute.

Mistakes and failures come with the territory, so learn your options, move forward, and accept that there will be lessons to learn along your road to success. Figure out which small business financing option is best for you and your dream.

Tom Gazaway is Founder and President of LenCred. His expertise is in helping small business owners who are in the first two years of business to properly obtain business financing that separates their personal and business credit while also protecting, preserving, and improving their credit profiles. Tom blogs on the LenCred blog, The Business Finance Lounge.

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Thanks for the mention.

I m 100% okay with folks using a PORTION of their retirement savings to buy a franchise.

They need to make sure it s done right, though. The paperwork involved must be perfect. And, several other things need to line up. the right age, enough back-up money, etc.

Great article, Tom

The Franchise King®

Thanks Joel. It s great to have you clarify your position on this.

I think the part I liked the most about your comments was when you said, make sure it s done right. When a franchisee or other type of small business owner works with a qualified representative from a reputable company like the ones I mentioned (or other company that meets those criteria) and uses a ROBS strategy then it can be an excellent way to bring your dream to reality.

Thanks again Joel.

I guess most startup entrepreneurs always go with the three F s or with loans. But then again, there are always the safe players who invests their existing savings. I would like to see some unconventional ways to generate some money for startup.


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