Tag: Startup

Startup Business Loans #business #accounts

#start up business loans

#

Startup Business Loans

Finding the money to finance a startup is one of the toughest tasks a new business owner can face. While you might have an extraordinary idea for a business, and even a solid business plan. you may not qualify for a traditional bank loan. Banks generally don’t lend money to businesses without an abundant credit history, a proven track record of at least two or three years, and/or an owner’s equity stake in the business.

Why are startup business loans so hard to come by? For one thing, lending money to startups is considered riskier than to established businesses because without evidence of a company’s ability to succeed, there’s a smaller chance the business will be able to repay the loan. However, nonprofit organization, Accion can help fund your startup business.

Odilon Celestin, founder of C M Bakery. came to Accion for a loan. He says, “When I started creating my business in 2004, I had no money and no credit. Accion helped with a loan to launch the bakery. It was the best thing I could imagine. They helped me with business development and strategies, too. Now I have 16 employees and my own line of jellies and sauces, which I distribute in other markets as well. And my bakery seats 100 people.”

Part of Accion’s mission is to help small business owners acquire the financing they need to reach for their dreams. When Accion lends capital to your business, you will also gain access to advice and support as you get your business off the ground. We’ll even help you get “loan ready” if you aren’t already. Accion provides the type of relationship and level of service that you just won’t find with other online lenders.

Accion can help you with funding for:

  • purchasing inventory
  • buying or leasing equipment
  • professional expenses
  • hiring employees
  • financing any of the many expenses involved with being an entrepreneur

If you’re in need of financing to start your business, then contact us at 415-636-8200. Read on for more information on how to apply for a loan .

Quick FAQ About Our Loan Process

Q: How long will it take me to complete the loan application?

A: Our loan application can be completed in about 15 minutes.

Q: How much money can I borrow?

A: Loan amounts vary by geography. but range from $300-$1,000,000. Accion’s average loan amount is $10,000.

Q: What if I need help?

A: We’ll give you personalized attention and guide you through each step of the loan process. For loan inquiries, please call 415-636-8200.

Q: How do I figure out if I qualify for a loan?

A: Our requirements are flexible and often make it possible to lend to those who have previously been unable to find financing. Not sure if you qualify? Click here to find out.

More questions? Read our full FAQ or contact us at 415-636-8200. Want proof that Accion is the right lending partner for your startup? 97% of our borrowers are still in business a year after they get their loans. Apply now and turn your dream into reality.

Have Questions?





Tags : , ,

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

#business financing options

#

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.

Latest Trending Business News

Editor’s Picks

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.





Tags : , , , , , , ,

Small Business Startup Guide #business #sale

#small business startup

#

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions

2016 Time Inc. All rights reserved. Part of the Fortune.com Sites. Powered by WordPress.com VIP

YOU BROKE MONEY.COM!

Dear MONEY Reader,

As a regular visitor to MONEY.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.





Tags : , , ,

The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup #business #etiquette

#start up business grants

#

The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup

One of the most frequent questions I get as a mentor to entrepreneurs is How do I find the money to start my business? I always answer that there isn t any magic, and contrary to popular myth, nobody is waiting in the wings to throw money at you just because you have a new and exciting business idea.

On the other hand, there are many additional creative options available for starting a business that you might not find when buying a car, home or other major consumer item. If you have the urge to be an entrepreneur, I encourage you to think seriously about each of these, before you zero in on one or two, and get totally discouraged if those don t work for you.

Of course, every alternative has advantages and disadvantages, so any given one may not be available or attractive to you. For example, professional investors put great priority on your previous experience in building a business, and they expect to own a portion of the business equity and control for the funds they do provide. These are tough for a first-time entrepreneur.

Thus it is always a question of what you qualify for, and what you are willing to give up, to turn your dream idea into a viable business. Here is my list of the 10 most common sources of funding today, in reverse priority sequence, with some rules of thumb to channel your focus:

10. Seek a bank loan or credit-card line of credit.

In general, this won t happen for a new startup unless you have a good credit history or existing assets that you are willing to put at risk for collateral. In the U.S. you may find that the Small Business Administration (SBA) can get you infusions of cash without normal backup requirements.

9. Trade equity or services for startup help.

This is most often called bartering your skills or something you have for something you need. An example would be negotiating free office space by agreeing to support the computer systems for all the other office tenants. Another common example is exchanging equity for legal and accounting support.

8. Negotiate an advance from a strategic partner or customer.

Find a major customer, or a complimentary business, who sees such value in your idea that they are willing to give you an advance on royalty payments to complete your development. Variations on this theme include early licensing or white-labeling agreements.

7. Join a startup incubator or accelerator.

These organizations, such as Y Combinator. are very popular these days, and are often associated with major universities, community development organizations, or even large companies. Most provide free resources to startups, including office facilities and consulting, but many provide seed funding as well.

6. Solicit venture-capital investors.

These are professional investors, such as Accel Partners. who invest institutional money in qualified startups, usually with a proven business model, ready to scale. They typically look for big opportunities, needing a couple of million dollars or more, with a proven team. Look for a warm introduction to make this work.

5. Apply to local angel-investor groups.

Most metropolitan areas have groups of local high-net-worth individuals interested in supporting startups, and willing to syndicate amounts up to a million dollars for qualified startups. Use online platforms such as Gust to find them, and local networking to find ones that relate to your industry and passion.

4. Start a crowdfunding campaign online.

This newest source of funding, where anyone can participate per the JOBS Act. is exemplified by online sites such as Kickstarter. Here people make online pledges to your startup during a campaign, to pre-buy the product for later delivery, give donations or qualify for a reward, such as a T-shirt.

3. Request a small-business grant.

These are government funds allocated to support new technologies and important causes, such as education, medicine and social needs. A good place to start looking is Grants.gov. which is a searchable directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs. The process is long, but it doesn t cost you any equity.

2. Pitch your needs to friends and family.

As a general rule, professional investors will expect that you have already have commitments from this source to show your credibility. If your friends and family don t believe in you, don t expect outsiders to jump in. This is the primary source of non-personal funds for very early-stage startups.

1. Fund your startup yourself.

These days, the costs to start a business are at an all-time low, and over 90 percent of startups are self funded (also called bootstrapping). It may take a bit longer to save some money before you start and grow organically, but the advantage is that you don t have to give up any equity or control. Your business is yours alone.

You can see that all of these options require work and commitment on your part, so there is no magic or free money. Every funding decision is a complex tradeoff between near-term and longer-term costs and paybacks, as well as overall ownership and control.

With the many options available, there is no excuse for not living your dream, rather than dreaming about living.





Tags : , , , , , , , ,

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

#business financing options

#

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.

Latest Trending Business News

Editor’s Picks

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.





Tags : , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Weekend Business Ideas with Little to No Startup Costs #ideas #to #start

#weekend business ideas

#

Tour Guide

Those lucky enough to live in a tourist hotspot could start a business as a weekend tour guide. Walking tours are all the rage, and lend themselves to unique themes. Bike around historic districts, and learn the hidden stories in cobbled streets and family businesses. But before you start collecting fees, talk to your city tourism department about leading tours. No doubt they’d be happy to give you permission to promote tourism in the area, and may even help you plan lucrative routes. Once you’ve become established, consider compiling your expertise into podcasts or guidebooks, or even investing your profits in a fleet of Segways. Segway tours typically charge $60 or more per person.

Farmer’s Markets

Demand for local food is in full swing. Take advantage of the local food craze by starting a business selling at farmer’s markets. Visit your local farmer’s market and talk to the Market Master: she can tell you what’s overdone (tomatoes) and what’s in demand (honey, perhaps). Spend a few hours during the week preparing your wares, and sell all day on Saturday, Sunday or both. This business idea can require some advance work, but the benefits are rich. Build relationships with customers and bring them pleasure with your crisp green beans or heavenly baked goods. This piece on Ideas for Rural Businesses here on Bright Hub can get you started. For the skinny on selling on Farmer’s Markets, see my other article called How to Sell at Farmer’s Markets .

Want to start a small weekend business that you can run out of your home, investing as much – or as little – time and money as possible? Check out these weekend business ideas.

Freelance Writer

Everyone is an expert at something. If you’re a good writer, translate your passion into a weekend business by writing freelance content for websites, travel agencies, entrepreneurs and more. Develop a specialty, like writing business plans or How-To guides, and network with local businesses and organizations to provide high-quality copy. If there’s not much in your area, search Craiglist and other sites that list online freelance writing jobs. Freelance writers can work from home and set their own hours, but it’s up to you to market your skills and keep up a steady stream of work. Beginning pay is low until you build up a quality portfolio of work.

Teach DIY Skills

Handy with a power saw? There’s a DIY novice who would pay to learn your skill. Demand is especially high around all those independent women who would love to learn how to fix their own leaky faucets without calling their dad. See if you can rent a woodwork classroom at a school or community college, or set up more informal classes in your own garage. Organize workshops around themes: putting up shelves and pictures, plumbing problems, and painting tips. DIY classes can be a satisfying weekend business idea.

Home Staging

Weekend entrepreneurs with a flair for interior design can start a business as a professional home stager. Every real estate agent has ’em: those undeniably ugly houses with screaming pink walls, hairy rugs and retro furniture straight out of the ’70s. Talk to your local real estate companies about hiring yourself out as a weekend home stager. Paint the walls a neutral color, tear down those hideous drapes, and improve the look of the home. Network with furniture stores to rent tasteful living room ensembles, and display their logo in return. This could be a time-consuming business, but getting those unsellable homes out of the real estate agent’s hands can lead to rich rewards. A commission of $800 to $1000 is reasonable.

Weekend Musician/DJ

Avid guitarist or drummer? Always current with the hottest musical trends? Starting a weekend business as a musician or DJ might be right for you. Local bars are always looking for live talent, especially if you charge a low fee or tips only to get your foot in the door. DJs are needed for weddings and middle school dances. Including setup and tear-down, gigs usually run anywhere from three to seven hours for a night.

Green House Cleaning

Many household cleansers contain toxic ingredients. These ingredients leach into the environment and contaminate the water we drink. Moreover, their harsh chemicals can spark allergic reactions in children and adults alike. There’s new interest in cleaning households with green products, ranging from baking soda and vinegar to commercially sold cleansers food in natural food stores like Whole Foods. Why not start a weekend business as a green house cleaning service? Market your business to an upscale clientele who will pay for the coveted “organic” label. What’s more, they’ll boast to their friends about their green credentials, and those referrals will boost your profit margin. If you’re into the green movement but not into doing other people’s dirty work, check out this article for more green business ideas .





Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Small Business Financial Tools: Free Startup Budget Template and Guide #ideas #for #new #business

#small business startup

#

Essential Small Business Financial Tools: Free Startup Budget Template and Guide

Creating a startup budget is one of the most important tasks a new business owner will undertake. A startup budget serves as a roadmap for the business. It can help you understand where the business is going and whether you’re on the right path. The cost of starting a company varies widely, so it is critical to create an accurate and realistic startup budget specifically tailored to your business.

There are many reasons to create a startup budget. The main reasons are to figure out how much money you have, how much you will spend, and how much revenue you will need to meet your business goals. A startup budget is usually a key component of your business plan and is useful when applying for a loan or pitching to investors. It explains how your business will spend its resources to reach its goals.

Business owners should always refer to their budget before making important business expenditures. This helps to make sure they can afford to spend the money. Decisions such as purchasing new machinery or whether to expand operations should only be made after checking to make sure it fits into your budget. You can adjust your budget as needed over time, but make sure to stick to those changes.

Determining a business startup costs is critical to ensure enough cash is available to begin business operations on time and within the allotted budget. A startup budget usually covers the period leading up to the commencement of operations. It should only include costs that are necessary to start the business. Use this budget to be on the lookout for areas where you can save money .

Startup costs typically fall within two categories: monthly costs and one-time costs.

Monthly costs cover expenses that are incurred each month on a recurring basis. such as employee salaries, lease payments and utilities. One-time costs are expenses that are incurred only once during the startup period. Examples of one-time costs include the purchase of a building, computer equipment and consultant fees.

This startup budget template can be downloaded and used for any type of business. It should be customized to include the specific cost items that apply to the company.

To fill out this spreadsheet, determine the number of months the startup period will cover. Next, enter the applicable costs into their respective cells. The total amounts will automatically populate based on the embedded formulas. Once completed, you will be able to view an itemized list of your business’ startup costs. An example startup budget is also included to help guide you through the process.

Starting a business can be difficult and overwhelming. By taking the time to create an accurate startup budget now, you can give your business the best chance of succeeding in the future.





Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

How to Find the Right Business Partner for Your Startup #mobile #business #ideas

#business partner

#

How to Find the Right Business Partner for Your Startup

Starting a business is notoriously difficult, and going it alone can make those challenges even harder to overcome. That s why many entrepreneurs choose to launch their company with one or more business partners who can help lighten the load.

Finding good business partners is critical to success, said Sherry Fox, co-founder and chairman of LumiWave. There are many different types of partners, from someone who works with you side by side to build your business, to individuals or companies who contribute in specific areas, such as marketing, engineering, etc. Every person or entity that interacts with your business is a partner in some way and affects your ability to succeed.

I believe there is strength in numbers, added Carlo Ruggiero, co-founder of the U.S. branch of European pizza franchise Kono Pizza. When multiple partners share the same vision, the result is a stronger and more unified team.

But you can t just choose anyone to be your partner; you need to be able to work with that person day in, day out, and both of you must be able to focus on the business s objectives.

Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software. likened a business partnership to a marriage. Your partner is such an important piece of [your] success, and many times, bad partnerships lead to bad business, she said.

If you need a partner but aren t sure where to start, here s how to find, evaluate and work with a prospective business partner. [See Related Story:Choosing a Business Partner? 4 Qualities to Look For]

Look to your network first

Our expert sources agreed that an entrepreneur s connections are the best candidates for potential business partners.

Reaching out to your professional network can provide a rich list, said Jon Weston, CEO of LumiWave and Fox s business partner. I ve received good information and direction from the diaspora of my [previous] companies. General networks or online community groups are too anonymous to find good feedback.

Referrals from trusted colleagues also can be helpful, Fox added. However, Weston cautioned that you should gauge the person making the referral before considering his or her recommendation.

Evaluating a business partner

Once you ve found someone who could be a great potential business partner, how do you evaluate whether that person is truly the right fit? One of your first considerations should be how your personalities, backgrounds, values and experiences complement each other.

While you want a partner that will work well with your culture and style, you don t want a clone, either you want a partner who can fill in the gaps, Weston said. That is the tension you need to look for.

Similarly, Ruggiero said he and his co-founders, David Ragosa and Greg Kinlaw, needed the right combination of personalities and skills to succeed.

[Our] differences allow us to approach each situation in multiple ways, he told Business News Daily. David and I are the go-getters. Greg provides a great balance he is an expert at taking our crazy ideas and making sure we have the numbers to back them. We are constantly learning from each other and are able to use these exchanges to positively influence our business.

However, getting along well isn t enough to ensure a successful partnership. No matter how well you know your potential partner, you re still running a business and thus need to take the appropriate precautions to ensure that any partnership is a smart decision. Weston noted that thoroughly researching your partner is an important part of this process.

Do your due diligence, Weston said. You can do a lot [by] just Googling. Most people and organizations leave a digital trail. Dive into the legal databases. Ask for references, but also research any clients they have worked with or been associated with, and contact them.

Fox agreed, noting that you should vet a partner carefully with all sources available, such as LinkedIn, company websites and former partners. Parsons also advised formally interviewing a prospective partner to better understand his or her skill set.

Finally, before you sign any legal agreements, you must understand how you and your partner will handle a variety of business situations. This is something to discuss at length during your evaluation phase.

Make very clear [written] agreements that take into consideration what happens when things go well and when things go poorly, Parsons said.

Talk openly and frankly about who you are and what you want, Fox added. Spend significant time exchanging ideas and concepts, [and] understand their. short-term and long-term [goals]. Do you agree on the end game?

Making a partnership work

Think you ve found the perfect business partner? Based on their experiences, our sources offered a few pieces of advice for a fruitful and productive partnership.

Define your respective roles. Clearly defining your roles within the company ensures that each partner s time is spent effectively, Ruggiero said. This will prevent partners from stepping on each other s toes and will ultimately save the company money.

Measure your success. Fox recommended that potential business partners work together on a trial basis to test out how well the partnership might work.Set up some parameters and milestones, and make sure what you thought about the potential partner is reality, she said. From there, conduct frequent reviews to make sure you are still on the same page.

Communication is key. Constant honest and open communication is a must. When problems arise, they need to be solved by both (or all) business partners. Ruggiero reminded entrepreneurs that at some point, each partner will make a mistake, and you cannot be afraid to bring it up. Each partner needs to do what s best for the business, he said, and part of doing this is eliminating any negative emotions to avoid a dispute if someone points out a mistake.

Trust your gut. If something doesn t feel right, it probably isn t. Weston recalled little red flags that popped up in conversations with potential partners.

Some things don t quite mesh or add up in the back of your mind. Trust this, he said. It is easier to walk away and be picky than pick up the pieces later.

Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Nicole Fallon Taylor

Nicole received her Bachelor s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the managing editor. Reach her by email. or follow her on Twitter .

You May Also like

4 Common Leadership Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

  • Beating the Odds: 4 Steps to Startup Success





    Tags : , , , , , , , , ,
  • SBA Loans for Your Startup #home #business #ideas #for #women

    #start up business loans

    #

    SBA Loans for Your Startup

    Despite what you might see on late-night infomercials or some websites, none of the SBA s loan programs involve free money, government grants or no-interest loans. In fact, the SBA doesn t even lend funds directly to entrepreneurs–you ll need to strike up a relationship with a loan officer at your local bank, credit union or nonprofit financial intermediary to access the programs.

    But once you do, there s an array of resources aimed at getting you the capital you need to start or expand your small business. Last year, more than $50 million in SBA loans were being provided per day to U.S. small businesses. For this month s column, I thought I d review the latest descriptions and eligibility criteria for the SBA s three most popular loan programs.

    7(a) Loan Program
    The 7(a) is the SBA s most popular loan program. As a small-business owner, you can get up to $750,000 from your local 7(a) lender, backed by a partial guarantee from the SBA. Note that the SBA is not lending you any money directly. What they are doing is making it less risky for a local lender to provide you with financing. 7(a) loans are typically used for working capital, asset purchases and leasehold improvements. All the owners of a business who hold an ownership stake of 20 percent or more are required to personally guarantee the loan.

    Once your lender decides that 7(a) money is what you need, you ll probably start hearing the names of the different 7(a) programs. For example if you re borrowing less than $150,000, you may be headed toward the Lowdoc program, which was created in 1993 to reduce burdensome paperwork. A Lowdoc loan application is a one-page form; your application is on one side and the lender s request to the SBA for the guaranty for your loan is on the other. The SBA responds to Lowdoc applications within 36 hours.

    The SBA Express is a program for lenders with a good SBA-lending track record. It s aimed at getting money–in this case, as much as $250,000–quickly into the hands of entrepreneurs. Based on the success of the SBA Express program, the SBA initiated CommunityExpress, specifically designed to improve access to capital for low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs and to provide both pre- and post-loan technical assistance.

    Eligibility: The eligibility criteria for the 7(a) program are the broadest of all the SBA loan programs, but they re still quite restrictive for startups and businesses related to financial services. See this page on the SBA s website for a list of the types of business that are eligible. In general, all SBA programs are targeted at small companies (that is, businesses with less than $7 million in tangible net worth and less than $2.5 million in net income), but typically most banks won t lend to startup businesses that don t have two to three years worth of financial statements and some owner s equity in the business. Some banks will allow you to use money from relatives as part of your equity, but you re required to formalize these small business loans with a repayment plan that s subordinate to the bank debt.

    504 Loan Program
    The 504 loan program is intended to supply funds for asset purchases, such as land or equipment. Typically, the asset purchase is funded by a loan from a bank or other lender in your area, along with a second loan from a certified development company (CDC) that s funded with an SBA guarantee for up to 40 percent of the value of the asset–which is generally a loan of up to $1 million–and a contribution of 10 percent from the equity of the borrower. This financing structure helps the primary lender–the bank–reduce its exposure by relying on the CDC and the SBA to shoulder much of the risk.

    Eligibility: Like the 7(a) program, the 504 program is restricted to small businesses with less than $7 million in tangible net worth and less than $2.5 million in net income. However, since funds from 504 loans can t be used for working capital or inventory, consolidating or repaying debt, or refinancing, this program tends to exclude most service businesses that need to purchase land or equipment. Personal guarantees are also required for 504 loans.

    7(m) Microloan Program
    The Microloan program is presently under budgetary review, and the political winds aren t currently blowing in its favor. The program is intended to provide small loans of up to $35,000 that can be used for a broad range of purposes to start and grow a business. Unlike the 7(a) program, the funds to be loaned don t come from banks; rather, they come directly from the SBA (now you know why it s unpopular with the folks in charge of the budget) and are administered to business owners via nonprofit community-based intermediaries. To find the name of an intermediary micro-lender in your area, visit this page of the SBA s website.

    Eligibility: The Microloan program is startup friendly. All new businesses are eligible to apply. Although the maximum loan amount is $35,000, the average loan is approximately $10,000. The only catch is that Microloan borrowers typically have to enroll in technical assistance classes administered by the micro-lender intermediaries. For some entrepreneurs, this is a very helpful resource that provides cost-effective business training. Others, however, perceive it as a waste of time, although it s a necessary pre-condition to getting a Microloan.

    Although I promised reviews of just the three top SBA loan programs, I didn t want to fail to mention two other special purpose loan programs targeted at serving particular types of businesses. The Export Working Capital Program provides short-term working capital to small, export businesses, and the DELTA program provides both financial and technical assistance to help businesses dependent on defense installations transition to civilian markets. You can log on to the SBA s website to learn more about these two programs.

    The long and short of it is, if you need small-business loan capital, there s probably an SBA program out there for you.





    Tags : , , , ,

    Small Business Financial Tools: Free Startup Budget Template and Guide #start #your #own #business

    #small business startup

    #

    Essential Small Business Financial Tools: Free Startup Budget Template and Guide

    Creating a startup budget is one of the most important tasks a new business owner will undertake. A startup budget serves as a roadmap for the business. It can help you understand where the business is going and whether you’re on the right path. The cost of starting a company varies widely, so it is critical to create an accurate and realistic startup budget specifically tailored to your business.

    There are many reasons to create a startup budget. The main reasons are to figure out how much money you have, how much you will spend, and how much revenue you will need to meet your business goals. A startup budget is usually a key component of your business plan and is useful when applying for a loan or pitching to investors. It explains how your business will spend its resources to reach its goals.

    Business owners should always refer to their budget before making important business expenditures. This helps to make sure they can afford to spend the money. Decisions such as purchasing new machinery or whether to expand operations should only be made after checking to make sure it fits into your budget. You can adjust your budget as needed over time, but make sure to stick to those changes.

    Determining a business startup costs is critical to ensure enough cash is available to begin business operations on time and within the allotted budget. A startup budget usually covers the period leading up to the commencement of operations. It should only include costs that are necessary to start the business. Use this budget to be on the lookout for areas where you can save money .

    Startup costs typically fall within two categories: monthly costs and one-time costs.

    Monthly costs cover expenses that are incurred each month on a recurring basis. such as employee salaries, lease payments and utilities. One-time costs are expenses that are incurred only once during the startup period. Examples of one-time costs include the purchase of a building, computer equipment and consultant fees.

    This startup budget template can be downloaded and used for any type of business. It should be customized to include the specific cost items that apply to the company.

    To fill out this spreadsheet, determine the number of months the startup period will cover. Next, enter the applicable costs into their respective cells. The total amounts will automatically populate based on the embedded formulas. Once completed, you will be able to view an itemized list of your business’ startup costs. An example startup budget is also included to help guide you through the process.

    Starting a business can be difficult and overwhelming. By taking the time to create an accurate startup budget now, you can give your business the best chance of succeeding in the future.





    Tags : , , , , , , , , ,