Keep Your Business Finances in Order With These 6 Tips
November 4, 2015
Do you find managing your business finances to be a pain? Although it may appear to be, and often is, tedious, keeping your finances in order is extremely important.
It helps you to project where your business is headed, and when you know exactly how your revenue and expenses are stacking up, you can begin to make more informed decisions for your business. Maintaining your financial records also makes tax reporting and payments a lot more manageable.
Don t try to do it all alone. Leverage the talent and the tools that are available to you. Here are six tips to help you keep your business finances in order:
1. Keep your personal and business finances separate.
Mixing your personal and business finances will inevitably result in confusion. It might seem convenient to charge everything to a single card, but ultimately this will make tracking your spending far more complicated than it needs to be.
Begin by opening separate bank and credit card accounts for your business. For the ongoing tracking and measuring of your finances, and for tax purposes, this practice will take a major headache out of sorting your transactions every quarter, or every year as the case may be.
This will also take the guesswork out of the equation. If you want to be successful in business, you need to be able to monitor and track your key performance indicators. You need to know the score, and some of the most important elements include cash flow, expenses, revenue, profit and so on.
2. Choose accounting software that makes sense for your business.
When it comes to accounting software, there are a variety of different solutions. Think of Xero, QuickBooks and Freshbooks. The best online accounting software depends on your business, and it s worth considering several options before making a decision.
If you haven t moved your financial data from desktop software to the cloud yet, that should be your first order of business. Cloud-based tools allow you to view real-time insights, and they can be accessed from anywhere at any time. The ability to keep an eye on your finances on the fly gives you a great deal of flexibility as a business owner.
If you ve already picked out an online solution, ensure that it s the right one for you and your business. Today more than ever, there are a myriad of options to choose from, and if you aren t satisfied with your current service, you can always make the switch to another platform that better matches your needs.
3. Consider hiring a professional bookkeeper.
Most people aren t numbers people, and will never be excited about them as much as accountants or bookkeepers are. If managing your own finances is starting to get on your nerves, it s time to look into hiring a qualified bookkeeper.
Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to try to handle everything themselves. But as with legal matters, the granular elements of small-business accounting aren t usually within a business owner s wheelhouse.
Although it s easy to balk at the expense of working with a bookkeeper, they will be able to help you save money over the long haul. You ll be freed up to work on high value tasks that keep the business moving forward, while your bookkeeper handles the tedium of number crunching.
4. Stay organized and plan ahead.
The aforementioned tips should help with keeping your finances organized. Moreover, monitoring your finances and projecting future revenue and expenses will enable you to make better long-term decisions for your business.
Without this information, planning ahead can prove challenging. If you aren t looking at the future of your business, you could be taken by surprise. If you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition, you should plan as much as 10 years in advance.
You ll be able to mitigate unwanted surprises if you stay ahead of the ball. Even if unexpected expenses do rise, if you ve been practicing conservatism in your spending, you shouldn t run into any major problems.
5. Make a budget.
Part of staying organized and planning ahead should include creating a budget. Many business owners view this step as dull and unnecessary, but the importance of a budget could be equated with the value of a well-formed business plan.
A budget is not a tool for planning out how every penny should be spent. Rather, it s a framework that you can use to help you make clear-headed decisions, whether it s increasing your marketing spend, or cutting expansion costs to keep your profits on track.
Make a budget and use it as your guide. Don t allow it to force you into decisions you don t want to make, but use it to make adjustments when and where necessary.
6. Find a trusted credit union in your locality.
Credit unions are invaluable to small-business owners, especially since they are often willing to provide loans at competitive rates. Make it a point to seek out the best one in your locality, and make sure they understand your business needs. The partnership could prove immensely beneficial.
Some of the other advantages of credit unions include fewer transaction fees and account service charges, as well as flexible, customized services.
Since credit unions are not answerable to shareholders, they are empowered to put your interests at the forefront. Credit unions also keep profits within the community, and help budding entrepreneurs get their dream businesses off the ground.
The reality is that many business owners do not keep track of their finances. Whether you know it or not, this could mean missing out on opportunities to minimize your expenses and maximize your profits.
Preparing online business accounts can take time, but the end result is worth the effort. Even if you don t consider finances to be the most important part of your business, streamlining your process will allow you to develop a straightforward step-by-step process as opposed to a search-and-find initiative.
Make the effort to simplify the organization of your business finances moving forward. This will allow for long-term stability and sustainability.
Want a New Business Start in 2015? Steal One of These Ideas #stock #market
#new business ideas
I started thinking up potential large businesses to start a few years ago. It was, for lack a better term, a teaching tool.
I was looking for a way to communicate that the place to begin, if you are thinking of trying to start a company, is with a market need-and not a new idea.
Ideas are too easy. My guess is you could come up with 10 new business concepts before lunch, if you had to.
The problem is once you come up with that idea–say you are going to construct real housing out of Lego blocks, something that has always struck me as a cool idea==you then have to go and figure out if it is feasible, and if anyone-other than an 8-year-old-would live in if it were.
If you have identified a market need, then you are assured that you have a market–the people who have the need.
But is starting with the market need the only way to start a business?
Obviously not. You could start with the idea. And therein lies a potential benefit for you.
Each of the following ideas are yours for the taking. (All I ask is you make a large contribution to the charity of your choice should they make you rich.)
1. Personal shopping for the masses
This one struck me over the holidays. It has been a long time since I had to go shopping for 8-year-olds. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was a personal concierge you could call who could walk you through what is popular and/or appropriate? High end department and clothing stores already have this service. This would make it available for the rest of us. (And if mass market stores like Target and Toy “R” Us wanted to offer this service to me, I would be happy to pay them for it.)
2. No more, “For customer service, please hold.”
I am usually willing to trade (a little bit of) money for (a little bit) more time. And while you can do mundane things while waiting on hold when you call the cable, phone or electric company, it really is a) annoying and b) the classic waste of time. Your charge? Figure a way that I can pay a couple of dollars a month in exchange for the various companies letting me jump the line when I need help. I don’t think it would be that hard. It really is just a different form of caller ID.
3. A place where you can sell your killer recipes
There are literally millions of great cooks out there. (My wife among them.) And invariably a great cook comes up with a great recipe–or 10. There should be some sort of marketplace to sell them. This idea already exists in other places. For example, people who crochet can sell the patterns they create on Etsy.com
As I said, I am not going to be doing anything with these ideas. I hope they make you a fortune. (As I said, just play it forward once you do.)
#low investment business ideas
10 ways to save money using these websites
In today’s world everyone wants to save more money that is the reason we always look for buzz words like offers, sale, discount, free etc. When we see something is available like this we grab that opportunity without fail. We even don’t notice word written in smaller font *Condition Applied.
Keeping that in mind we are herewith websites that gives free service and by availing these services you can save your money.
Website to send Text Messages:-
While selecting mobile plan we always select tariff which allows us to send certain number of SMS free, and we pay sometime more money to avail this facility. Many of us are not aware that this type of facility is available free on multiple websites. Just Sign up with website, enter your friend’s number write your message and click ‘send’ completely free.
Website that offer free online storage:-
Few years back small storage facility was costing us big money, but today storage is commodity item. Today you can avail 8 GB storage mini SD card in just 300 Rs. If you want to save money on storage there are multiple website which can provide you personalized storage facility online free of cost. You can store your document, photos, music online free of cost. This storage space is varying from 15GB to 2 GB.
Website for Long distance call
Gone are days where you need to have ISD facility for making long distance call. Today it is very easy to make long distance call to relatives and friends. Just logon to website of Skype and stay in touch with your friends and relative with one click.
Website for Matchmaking
Traditional way to do match making was by relatives, friends and family member. But as time changed the traditional ways has also changed. Today we have multiple matrimony website which provides free trial for match making. Certain site has paid membership but we can always refer to free part to save money.
Website to save commission money
We pay lot of money to buy, sell or rent our property. We can straight away save this money if we try to use online portal available for this purpose. Online portals provide facilities to post our advertisement free of cost. You can use this facility not only for property but also to buy sell products services.
Website for Books
If you are book lover and if you want to save money you spend on book or you want to make sure book you are buying is worth or not you can use these book websites which gives facility to preview and download books from any arena of your interest like, technology, health, finance, fiction, romances and horror etc.
Website delivering free music
In good old days music lover was visiting CD/DVD store for purchasing music CD/DVD but today everything is available online. So if you are music lover and want to save money you can visit following websites which gives facility to listen downloading of songs.
Website for Movies
We all love watching movies so here are sites where you can download/watch movie for free instead of paying money. If you want to capture movie from youtube you can use tool like atube catcher will help you.
Website for Greeting Card
Greeting cards are a ways through which you express your special feelings to your loved and dear ones. Such greetings websites save you money which you might have wasted on a paper card and its postage. Not only that you can always set the date and time in advance, that at which the card to be sent.
Website for learning Language
Many people today love to learn multiple languages, knowing additional language always helps. Livemocha.com is a well-liked language learning site where you can learn many languages around the globe, whether it’s French or Bengali. There you get to interact with other language learners around the world. You can also practice the conversation with a native.
If you come across any website you feel saves you money do share it in comment section given below.
What is variable life insurance? #which #of #these #is #an #element #of #whole #life
What is variable life insurance?
100 % of people found this answer helpful
Variable life insurance is a permanent form of insurance that builds up cash value but allows you to invest the extra in sub-accounts that are managed by many professional management firms. The process of buying a variable policy is to allow your agent or registered representative to run an illustration showing the premiums required to purchase x amount of insurance that will buildup x amount of cash based on the sub-account illustrated performance. It sounds complicated, but it really is not. The key is running a policy that will sustain itself to age 95 to 100 with an interest rate of the sub-accounts that is reasonable, usually 7-8%. The sub-account is the insurance industry equivalent to mutual funds so do not get that confused. The market might average 9-10% for the last 100 years, but it is best to run your sub-account assumed performance a little lower than that for a little more security.
A good, experienced registered representative should take into account if a variable policy makes sense for your insurance/investment portfolio as many times these types of polices can be abused. Consumers can pay into it for a certain period of time and then change their minds mid-stream causing them significant out of pocket expense and then a possible surrender charge on the cash that they did build up. If the consumer does not make the long term commitment to the plan, they likely will lose quite a bit not to mention the time lost. If kept, the policy can be a great tool for insurance protection and cash value options down the road. However, this plan takes many years to complete and insurance needs change over time.
Jason R. Tate, ChFC, CLU, CASL
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81 % of people found this answer helpful
Variable life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy with an investment component. The policy has a cash value account, which is invested in a number of sub-accounts available in the policy. A sub-account acts similar to a mutual fund. except it s only available within a variable life insurance policy. A typical variable life policy will have several sub-accounts to choose from, with some offering upwards of 50 different options.
The cash value account has the potential to grow as the underlying investments in the policy s sub-accounts grow – at the same time, as the underlying investments drop, so may the cash value.
The appeal to variable life insurance lies in the investment element available in the policy and the favorable tax treatment of the policy s cash value growth. Annual growth of the cash value account is not taxable as ordinary income. Furthermore, these values can be accessed in later years and, when done properly through loans using the account as collateral. instead of direct withdrawals, they may be received free of any income taxation.
Similar to mutual funds and other types of investments, a variable life insurance policy must be presented with a prospectus detailing all policy charges, fees and sub-account expenses.
To learn more, be sure to read our related article, Variable Vs. Variable Universal Life Insurance .
This question was answered by Barry Higgins .
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77 % of people found this answer helpful
Variable life insurance is a permanent life insurance policy with an investment component. The policy has a cash value account, which is invested in a number of sub-accounts available in the policy. A sub-account acts similar to a mutual fund, except it s only available within a variable life insurance policy.
I m not a huge fan of this type of Life Insurance. I ve found people can better serve their protection planning needs with Universal Life policies, with additional benefits for things like Terminal Illness and Chronic Illness riders. With a fully invested portfolio, there is just too much market risk for many people who actually need the underlying life insurance coverage. Bad few years in the market could cause the cash value to drop and put the death benefit in jeopardy when you need it the most.
*The investment return and principal value of variable sub-accounts will fluctuate. Your cash value, and perhaps the death benefit will be determined by the performance of the chosen sub-accounts. Variable universal life insurance policies typically include mortality and expense risk charges, administrative fees, and fund expense charges.
Withdrawals may be taxable and subject to surrender charges. Policy Loans and withdrawal will reduce the policy s cash value and death benefit. Loans are subject to interest charges.
Hope this helps,
Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation (NPC), Member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Trilogy Capital Trilogy Financial and NPC are separate and unrelated entities. The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and do not constitute an endorsement by NPC. NPC does not provide tax advice. www.FinancialPlannerLA.com
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67 % of people found this answer helpful
Variable life insurance is the industry s attempt to let you have your cake and eat it too. It was a very popular product when I started my career selling life insurance in 1991. At that time, I was a captive agent with one of the original companies to manufacture it. The pitch was then and still is that the product allows you to get the best deal for a death benefit as well as the best deal for a living benefit. Maybe.
First, a little history.
From its inception, life insurance has typically been the most cost-effective way to pass money on to your heirs. No other product comes close to getting them the exact amount of money they need, exactly when they need it, for pennies on the dollar.
Still, the industry wanted to make the product more attractive, so they installed a cash account. This way people could get value from their purchase without waiting until they die. Whole life became popular and offered strong guarantees. Universal life then became popular and offered weaker guarantees, but more flexibility, and the potential for higher gains.
But, these gains would still be determined by the investment performance of an insurance company, so the industry went a step further. They separated the cash account from the policy and let the insured grow cash through market-based investments. Because life insurance can receive favorable tax treatment, these products offered the chance to make money in the market and not pay taxes.
Under the right circumstances, variable life insurance can do exactly that. These are what I consider to be those circumstances:
First and foremost, you have to qualify for a low premium. If the cost of insuring you is too high, then this overhead will significantly suppress your cash growth. Before you even consider purchasing this product, get prequalified for coverage to confirm competitive rates are available, given your own personal risk profile.
Second of all, you really have to know what you re doing as an investor. This product is treated legally as a security, and rightfully so. Like any investment, you have to manage risk and reward, factor in expenses, stay on top of asset allocation, and do everything else needed to insure optimum performance. If you are not prepared to do this yourself, then make sure you have an advisor who will.
Also as part of the management of the product, make sure you understand how to work within existing tax laws. There s a right way, and a wrong way, to grow cash inside life insurance, and take it out. Mistakes can be very costly. If you are considering paying significant sums into your policy, make sure you get professional tax advice.
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#business loans for bad credit
You Can Apply for These Small Business Loans with Bad Credit
Small business owners are often turned away by lenders when they have poor credit. That’s because a bad credit score implies you have not managed your finances properly in the past.
Luckily, it’s possible to secure small business loans with poor credit.
A number of alternative lenders are offering loan solutions for bad credit today. These lenders place more importance on the operating history and strength of your business. In other words, they do not focus solely on your credit score when they consider your loan application.
Here are some loans for bad credit options worth exploring.
Small Business Loans with Bad Credit
The best thing about Kabbage is that it does not require a minimum credit score to qualify. It does, however, check your credit history. If you are looking for some short-term working capital, Kabbage is worth trying. You can borrow from its line of credit and repay on an as-needed basis.
To qualify, you should have minimum annual revenue of $50,000 and have been in business for at least a year. You must also have a business checking account, bookkeeping software or an online payment platform.
It takes only a few minutes to complete the online application process and if approved you can get funds in just a couple of days.
Fundbox does not have a minimum credit score or minimum annual revenue requirement. Instead, it takes the value of your invoices and ability to repay the loan into consideration.
Funding is prompt and takes up to just three business days.
To qualify, you must use bookkeeping software or online accounting that can link to Fundbox and have a minimum of six months’ activity in one of these software applications.
OnDeck offers both term loans and lines of credit. You can go for the term loan if you are looking for some quick cash to expand. If you want to manage your cash flow and working capital, a line of credit is your best option.
To qualify for OnDeck’s term loan, you must have a personal credit score of 500 or higher. For a line of credit, your personal credit score should be at least 600.
Once you complete the online application process, you’ll get a decision within a few minutes and funding as soon as the following day.
Interestingly, OnDeck reports your payment activity to the three credit bureaus, which means paying off your loan on time can boost your credit score.
If you lack collateral, have poor credit and unpaid invoices, you may consider BlueVine. The lender offers an advance based on the value of your invoices. Approval is based on the strength of your cash flow and the financial strength of your debtors.
You do need to have a personal credit score of 530 or more to qualify. Also you should have at least $120,000 in annual revenue and have been in business for at least three months.
If you have a new business, StreetShares is a good option to explore. The lender requires a minimum of one year in business and $25,000 in annual revenue. But even if you have been in business for only six months and you can qualify with $100,000 in revenue.
You need to have a minimum personal credit score of 600 or more and a strong cash flow to be eligible.
Dealstruck is a good option if you are looking for different loan products. The lender offers a term loan for expansion, an asset-based line of credit for businesses with unpaid invoices and an inventory line of credit for businesses that have recurring inventory purchase requirements.
To qualify, you need to have a minimum credit score of 600, although company CEO Ethan Senturia has said that the company accepts scores in the 500 range. You also need at least $150,000 in annual revenue and need to have been in business for at least a year.
A bad credit score may create problems for you when you try securing funds for your business, but it shouldn t stop you from exploring options. You need to understand your needs and look for options that meet your requirements.
Shubhomita Bose is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers key studies and surveys about the small business market, along with general small business news. She draws on 8 years of experience in copywriting, marketing and communications, having worked extensively on creating content for small and medium sized enterprises.
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Vending Machine Business Plan: Did You Think of These Before You Got Started? #small
#vending machine business
Vending Machine Business Plan: Did You Think of These Before You Got Started?
by Chris Tomasso
The first things you must consider when making a business plan is, What are your goals? , and Does the math work? Many people first get the idea to get into vending because the notion of passive income and controlling their own destiny is so compelling. While this is true, they forget to calculate if it even makes sense for them.
Without a proper business plan, you can set yourself up for failure from the start. This is because, in vending, there is a significant delay between your actions and your financial results. Whether you make the right or wrong decision, you don t see your outcome for a while. So much money is moving from place to place in vending that it can be hard to track. There are many sources of income: Cash from machines, free vend, subsidizations, renting machines, rebates from corporations, and more. Expenses are varied, including but not limited to: Rent on a warehouse, insurance, vehicle repair and maintenance, machine repair and maintenance, buying product, accounting, and acquiring new accounts. Revenue from the business is the result of thousands of small transactions. In general, your profit is not immediately obvious.
Why create a business plan?
It may seem straightforward, but in a business where the average operating profit is 45%, but the average net profit is just 2%, you can’t afford not to plan. Creating a business plan will help you price your product, set up service schedules, set minimum sales requirements for locations, determine how much you can afford to invest in new business, and it lays the groundwork for your future success.
If you don t create a business plan, you could be working for less than minimum wage in a job that is supposed to give you more time and freedom.
Where do I begin?
A business plan can only be effective if it reflects your specific goals. If you haven t already, ask yourself some of these questions:
- How many hours are you willing to work?
- Are you looking to build it and sell it or give it to your kids some day?
- Is it a retirement vehicle?
- Will you need to train someone to eventually run it for you?
- Do you have cash to invest in it or are you building it from scratch?
- Do you want a flexible schedule or time to travel or spend with loved ones?
- What resources do you already have? A person who is well connected will have a lot easier of a time starting out than a person who has just moved to the area.
- Do you have warehouse space or a vehicle you can use?
I strongly encourage you to really consider these questions and how running a vending business will fit in with your overall lifestyle goals. This could take you days or even weeks if you haven t consciously thought of it before. Once you seriously answer all of these questions, you ll need to start doing some math.
Doing the math
The exact math you need to do will be reflective of your specific goals and the resources you need to achieve those goals. As such, it s beyond the scope of this article. If you need help deciding what s realistic for you, I suggest seeking the help of a professional in the vending industry.
What you need to keep in mind is that vending machines have a significant up front investment. It could take a year for the sales of a machine to recoup the cost of buying and installing the machine. This means that, although you will be making cash money immediately, you will not likely profit from those vending machines for at least a year.
This reality needs to be reflected in your business plan. If it takes each of your machines one year to pay off their debt, those machines are not making money for you right now.
How are you making money right now? Do you have this as a side job? Do you offer a service, such as installation or repairing machines for other vendors? Do you have office coffee service where the cost of installation is potentially much cheaper and the per item value potentially much higher?
On the other hand, can you afford to not turn a profit on this machine for the allotted time? Can you afford to add at least 15% to that number to account for maintenance costs? If you can absorb these for the time being, great! If it s not making you a profit, it still may be a good idea, as long as you plan for it.
Growing your vending business
Planning for the future is also part of your business plan. How do you plan to grow your business? Do you plan on making lots of cold calls? Do you plan on generating a referral based business?
Learning vending is a fantastic way to learn how to run any business. This is because, instead of running one giant entity like a restaurant, you are running dozens or hundreds of tiny machines, each with their own cash flow. In doing this you will get really good at recognizing good business opportunities and bad opportunities because you can automatically do the cash flow in your head.
Like many other businesses, a vending business has an economy of scale. Vending supply companies, such as a cash and carry. sell products in cases, so if you only have one snack machine and you buy a case of chips, unless that company only buys one kind of chips then I guarantee your chips will expire before you sell them all.
A case is 64 chips. In an average snack machine, a row for chips is between 10-12 spaces. This means that you will need 6 rows of one kind of chip to sell in no more than two months, because chips usually expire in two months. You will most likely have expired chips in this scenario. If you are in this situation, then you should probably take away your snack machine until you can find a location with a higher volume of sales. A vending business profits immensely from a certain scale, because you can get and utilize cases to offer a variety, get rebates from manufacturers, begin hiring employees so you re not doing as much route driving yourself, and get deliveries from vending supply companies instead of going to them to get product. These are just some of the benefits of scaling up your business.
Since scaling is so important, you must decide if you’ve gotten started in the business too small. If this is your problem, you might be better off selling your route to someone with a larger business and working under them on a contract basis. Otherwise, you will have to secure a large loan in order to purchase a lot more equipment if you want your business to scale up quickly. This debt will then be subtracted from your profits. If you can still make a profit after subtracting all of your business operating costs and paying back the debt for starting the business, then great!
The difficulty of creating a sensible business plan is why so many small time vendors go out of business so quickly. More and more the little guys get squeezed out because the cost of running a business is much harsher for a smaller business as it is for a slightly larger business. This is because often time your fixed costs (rent, insurance, product cost, etc) remain the same whether you have two machines or two hundred machines.
This is just barely scratching the surface. If you feel lost, I suggest seeking the advice of someone in the vending industry. I also recommend speaking with Robert Cornelius. He s our resident vending consultant at Vending How. No matter what you choose to do, it pays to plan and plan well.
Chris is the editor and online marketing guy at Vending How. He can also drive more traffic to your website.
by Chris Tomasso
#how to start a business
Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business. Click on the links to learn more.
Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
Register your business name with your state government.
Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.
Contact your local SBA office to learn more about how SBA can help.
There are a number of available programs to assist startups, micro businesses, and underserved or disadvantaged groups. The following resources provide information to help specialized audiences start their own businesses.