Tag: Tips

5 Tips for Using Collateral to Secure a Small Business Loan #small #business #grant

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Here’s a fundamental truth of any organization: you need cash to help grow your business. Whether you’re a start-up, a sole proprietorship, or a limited liability corporation, getting a small business loan will be one of your top priorities if you’re looking to expand your company’s potential. But before you receive funds from a bank, a lender will scrutinize both you and your business to see if you’re a viable borrower.

A bank will look at your company’s history, business credit, revenues, balance sheet, and your equity contributions. If you pass a credit check and you operate a healthy business, most banks will also require an additional, and tangible, guarantee that their loan will be repaid: collateral.

Collateral assets come in many forms. Defined by the Small Business Administration, collateral is “an additional form of security which can be used to assure a lender that you have a second source of loan repayment.” Most commonly, collateral is real property (i.e. an owner-occupied home), but it can also be represented by your business’s inventory, cash savings or deposits, and equipment. In order to structure a loan that benefits both you and your business, you’ll need to make the right decision about what you offer up as collateral to the bank. It’s also important to be realistic when considering the risks of defaulting on a loan, which could have harsh consequences for not only your business, but for your personal life, too.

Editor’s Note: Looking for loan solutions for your business? If you would like information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

Below are a few tips on how you can use your assets as collateral, and how you can mitigate the risks associated of defaulting on a loan.

1. Keep Detailed Records of your Asset’s Worth

Banks are notoriously conservative about valuing a borrower’s assets for collateral. After all, if the borrower does default, the lender must expend resources to take the asset, find a buyer, and sell it.

Jeff Allen, the director of operations for Trendant, a small business consulting firm based in Salt Lake City, says that one of the most common mistakes business owners make about collateral is they think it’s worth a lot more than it actually is. “They’re considering what they paid for it, and the banks only consider the fair market value of today,” he says.

If you’re not sure of what your assets might be worth, it could be worthwhile to find an independent appraiser to give you an idea of how the bank will value your property.

Besides for simply knowing your asset’s worth, it’s critical to keep detailed records of your assets on your balance sheet. When a bank is reviewing your business documents, they’ll want to see that you’re paying careful attention to all of the relevant factors. This is usually simpler than you think. “In keeping records, businesses tend to overcomplicate,” says Allen. “They think there’s some magical solution that the big boys use. The bottom line is that an Excel spreadsheet with a couple of line items is all you need.”

2. Know What You Can Use as Collateral

Essentially, there are two different types of collateral: assets that you own, and assets that you still have a loan against. If you still have a loan on the asset, (e.g. a mortgage for a house) the bank will be able to recoup the loan by refinancing your loan from the institution you have the loan against, and claim the title.

A viable asset to use as collateral will have a title of ownership, and banks will only lend if they can get a title back, says Allen. Homes and cars are the most common forms of collateral, but you can also use watercraft, motorcycles, as well as pieces of equipment that have a title of ownership.

Below are some relevant issues associated with each type of collateral that you should consider before approaching a bank for a loan.

Real Property: Since the housing bubble burst, using real property as collateral financing took a huge hit. Denise Beeson, a commercial loan officer based in San Francisco, says that this has been a significant roadblock for small businesses seeking small business loans. “It’s devastating small business right now,” she says. “In the past they’ve used the equity in their home, and they don’t have any of that equity anymore.” Additionally, banks will not consider vacant land, or “dirt” as its referred to in banking, as viable collateral.

Business Inventory and Accounts Receivable: Asset-based lending can be a great way to get a fast influx of cash to your business. For example, if your firm gets a big purchase order, you may not have the resources to meet the needs of the client without bringing on additional staff, equipment, or raw materials. In some cases, a bank will allow a company to use that purchase order as collateral. “It’s a little trickier to get,” explains Jeff Allen. “It might be more difficult because it’s harder to authenticate. but a bank will usually lend against that.”

Cash Savings or Deposits: “Cash is always king,” says Allen. Using personal savings will almost definitely be allowed as collateral since it’s a low-risk loan for a bank. This also applies to CDs and other financial accounts. The advantage in using these accounts as collateral is that you’re guaranteed a low interest rate because it’s a secured loan. The disadvantage, clearly, is that if you default, the bank will take possession of your savings.

3. Understanding the Risks

Taking a loan using personal assets as collateral presents the risks of losing the assets in the event that you default on the loan. Therefore, it’s important to discuss the risks of using certain assets as collateral with a financial advisor, as well as people that could be affected by the loss of that asset.

“Some business owners are highly risk averse, and I wouldn’t recommend putting some stuff up for collateral,” says Jeff Allen. “Because if you can’t pay it, they’re taking your car or home.”

Be realistic about your company’s needs, and how the company will be using the funds. A financial advisor will help you assess the risks involved, as well as the odds of the loan being successful. “It comes down to being honest with yourself knowing your situation, and knowing what the funds will be used for,” says Allen. “If you really need the money, you might to find alternatives, because you might lose what you’ve leveraged.”

Often, a limited liability company is formed to shield the business owner from these risks, but a default will inevitably still affect the owner, especially if he or she is the only shareholder.

4. Negotiate When-;And If-;You Can

If you’re a qualified borrower with a demonstrable history of good business credit, you should be able to secure a loan with commitments you are comfortable with. Remember, a business can always reject a lender’s offer and seek a loan from a different lending institution.

Since banks tend to be exceptionally conservative when it comes to valuing your assets, it could be worthwhile to request an appraisal review, which is a report that comments on the accuracy of an appraisal. Similarly, a bank that does not require any collateral requirement will often charge extremely high interest rates. Be wary of predatory lending practices that could end up being expensive and harmful to your business.

Dig Deeper: How to Build and Maintain Good Business Credit

5. Consider Peer-to-Peer Lending

If an asset-based loan isn’t ideal for your business, Denise Beeson recommends alternative methods of securing cash. Peer-to-peer lending is becoming an effective way for small businesses to drum up cash in the short run. “Because it is extremely difficult to get a loan based on existing collateral, a lot of borrowers are going to peer-to-peer sites to see if they can get some money from that mechanism,” she says

While loans typically amount to less than $25,000, there’s often less red tape involved in obtaining a peer loan. Prosper.com. for example, allows borrowers to choose a loan amount, a purpose and then post a loan listing. Then, investors choose which loans they prefer to invest in based upon a series of criteria. Borrowers make fixed monthly payments to their investors, who receive the funds directly in their Prosper account.





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6 Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners #business #plan #writer

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6 Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners

If you run a small business, it s likely that you re operating on a relatively limited budget. Whether you bootstrapped your business or are trying to pay back loans you took out to cover your startup costs, it s in your best interest to conserve money wherever you can.

Without a thorough budget plan, however, it can be difficult to track and manage your finances. This is especially true for any unexpected business expenses that may come up, as they often do. A 2015 survey by small business credit provider Headway Capital found that although 57 percent of small business owners anticipated growth this year, nearly 19 percent were concerned about how unexpected expenses would impact their business.

If you want to keep your business operating in the black, you ll need to account for both fixed and unplanned costs, and then create and stick to a solid budget. Experts offered their advice for small business owners looking to keep their finances in order. [4 Tips for Reducing Startup Costs]

Define and understand your risks

Every business venture has a certain degree of risk involved, and all of those risks have the potential for a financial impact on your company. Paul Cho, managing director of Headway Capital, said that small business owners need to consider their long- and short-term risks to accurately plan for their financial future.

How will changes in minimum wage or health care requirements impact your workforce? Cho said. Do you operate in a geography at high risk of a natural disaster? Do you rely heavily on seasonal workers? Understanding the potential risks facing you on a short- and long-term basis is important for all small businesses. Once you ve mapped out the threats to productivity, a clearer picture can be built around emergency planning, insurance needs, etc.

Overestimate your expenses

If your business operates on a project-to-project basis, you know that every client is different and no two projects will turn out exactly the same. This means that often, you can t predict when something is going to go over budget.

Every project seems to have a one-time cost that was never anticipated, said James Ontra, CEO of presentation management company Shufflrr. It usually is that one unique extra item [that is] necessary to the job, but [was] not anticipated when bidding the job.

For this reason, Ontra advised budgeting slightly above your anticipated line-item costs, no matter what, so that if you do go over, you won t be fully unprepared.

I go by the cost-moon-stars theory, he said. If you think it will cost the moon, expect to pay the stars.

Pay attention to your sales cycle

Many businesses go through busy and slow periods over the course of the year. If your company has an off-season , you ll need to account for your expenses during that time. Cho also suggested using your slower periods to think of ways to plan ahead for your next sales boom.

There is much to be learned from your sales cycles, he said. Use your downtime to ramp up your marketing efforts while preventing profit generation from screeching to a halt. In order to keep your company thriving and the revenue coming in, you will have to identify how to market to your customers in new and creative ways.

Plan for large purchases carefully and early

Some large business expenses occur when you least expect them a piece of equipment breaks and needs to be replaced or your delivery van needs a costly repair, for instance. However, planned expenses like store renovations or a new software system should be carefully timed and budgeted to avoid a huge financial burden on your business.

Substantial business changes need to be timed carefully, balancing the risk with the reward and done with a full understanding of the financial landscape you re operating within, Cho told Business News Daily. An up-to-date budget and data-driven financial projections are important components that help guide when to make large investments in your business.

Remember that time is money, too

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is forgetting to incorporate their time into a budget plan. Ontra reminded business owners that time is money, especially when working with people who are paid for their time.

Timing underestimation directly increases costs, Ontra said. For us, the biggest underestimation is allotting time for client feedback. It is a Herculean effort sometimes to meet a deadline with lots of people focused on a single task. Then, the client needs to give feedback for us to proceed. If the client is distracted with other issues, feedback planned for a three-day turnaround, can become a week or longer. Not only do you start to lose time to the delivery schedule, your team also loses momentum as their collective thought shifts focus to another project.

Ontra recommended treating your time like your money, and set external deadlines later than when you think the project will actually be done.

If you believe the project will finish on Friday, promise delivery on Monday, he said. So, if you finish on Friday, deliver the work early and become a star. If for some reason time runs over, deliver on Monday and you are still a success.

Constantly revisit your budget

Your budget will never be static or consistent it will change and evolve along with your business, and you ll need to keep adjusting it based on your growth and profit patterns. Cho suggested revising your monthly and annual budgets regularly to get a clearer, updated picture of your business finances.

Regularly revisiting your budget will help you better control financial decisions because you will know exactly what you can afford to spend versus how much you are projecting to make, Cho said. Take into account market trends from the previous year to help you determine what this year may look like. Once you have a clear understanding of your business s budgetary needs, you can accurately forecast what can be set aside for an emergency fund or unexpected costs.

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 assistant editor. Reach her by email. or follow her on Twitter .

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  • Tips for choosing your professional email address #cool #business #cards

    #business email address

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    Tips for choosing your professional email address

    Andréa Coutu wrote recently about 7 terrible secrets revealed by your email address (and how to fix them). Her advice is good, and I recommend reviewing each of her points before you decide on your “official” email address.

    If you’re in business as an IT consultant, you have no excuse for not having your own domain name. If domain registration and hosting breaks your bank, then you shouldn’t be in this business. Even if your niche has nothing to do with the Internet (as unlikely as that’s becoming), nothing says “I’m not really serious” like an account on hotmail.com, yahoo.com, especially aol.com, and even gmail.com (unless you’re a Google employee). Not that you can’t also have one of those addresses (except aol.com, what were you thinking?! ), but don’t use it professionally.

    When choosing your domain name, you should use the name of your business. If your business doesn’t have a name, get one. Even if it’s just “your name here Consulting,” you should present yourself as a commercial entity. If you feel that your business name is too long for a domain name, you should make sure your abbreviation seems natural and obvious. For example, my business name is “Camden Software Consulting,” and my domain name is “camdensoftware.com”. If I had chosen something like “camdenswcnsltng.com,” then my contacts would always have to look it up to remember how I abbreviated it. Also watch out for unintended words that arise from combining abbreviations. You wouldn’t want to abbreviate “Megara Associates, Inc.” as “megastinc.com” for example.

    I’ve seen some independents who treat their domain name like an 800 number: they make it into an ad. Domains like “peoriacomputerwiz.com” may be cute, but unless it’s also the name of your business, your client will have one more thing to remember when they want to contact you. “Was it peoriacomputerguy.com, or peoriapcguy.com? Or wait, isn’t their office in Pekin?”

    For the top-level domain (TLD), I think “.com” is preferable. It means “commercial” (you’re in business here, aren’t you?) and despite being US in origin, it has international applicability. It’s also what flies off people’s fingers automatically when they’re typing a domain. If you limit your business to one country or region, then a nation-specific commercial TLD could also be appropriate. The “.org” TLD says “I’m a non-profit!” even though you don’t have to use it for that. The “.net” TLD is a little better, but people tend to infer some sort of online community instead of a business. You should avoid “.biz” and “.info” — the spammers polluted that space years ago, and your emails will get filtered for that reason alone.

    There’s nothing wrong with registering the same domain in several TLDs and redirecting them all to the same address, though. In fact, it’s a good way to keep other people from using your business name.

    So, how does your email address compare with these criteria?





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    5 Tips for Starting a Successful Business #business #lenders

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    5 Tips for Starting a Successful Business

    When you start your own business, you re certain to hear a lot of different advice. Most of it will come from people who don t know the first thing about running a successful company. Turn to the internet, and you ll be overwhelmed by a multitude of articles and lengthy lists on the subject. Don t make the mistake of overthinking and overanalyzing it all. A few simple steps now can start your business down the path toward success. Here, we outline the five basic tips we ve followed to help us run our company.

    1. Begin with a detailed plan.

    This one is a must: Develop an in-depth plan that fully details how you ll attack the challenge ahead. Your plan should define any opportunities you ve identified, clearly state your mission, describe your target, establish measurable goals, and set deadlines for each milestone along the way. Remember that while it s important to have a plan, it s equally vital to be flexible enough to pivot when needed.

    2. Get out there and network.

    Our business would not be where it is today without all the professional networking we did when we first started. We continue to emphasize networking today. Until you ve established your business, you ll need to create your own word-of-mouth. Be your own brand ambassador, touting the benefits of working with your business and showing why people should give you a chance.

    Start your own momentum. A wealth of events, trade shows, and networking groups exist to connect you with other professionals. These initial connections can lead to future business prospects, mentors, and strategic partners with the capacity to help grow your business.

    3. Surround yourself with the right people.

    The right mentors and strategic partners aren t the only people with whom you ll need to align. Surrounding yourself with a great team is equally important. Build your staff with smart, talented, and driven employees who share your vision. They can not only transform your business but also accelerate its growth. Hiring positive, can-do employees helps create a culture that encourages teamwork. Foster an environment in which everyone participates, so you can collectively celebrate your company s successes.

    4. Stay ahead of the curve.

    You can t afford to be rooted in the present and solely focused on the day-to-day. It s crucial to keep one eye focused on the future, including upcoming movement in your industry. If you aren t anticipating the next big thing, you re destined to fall behind. Successful business owners study trends and anticipate what s coming around the bend. This allows them to nimbly adapt and evolve.

    Stay current on emerging issues in your field by faithfully reading trade magazines and websites. Keeping pace as your industry changes assures you ll have your finger on the pulse to predict what customers will want — and which direction your competition might move.

    5. Find a healthy work-life balance.

    Running a successful business requires an inordinate amount of time and energy. It s paramount to find a healthy work-life balance, even though it can be a challenge to do so. It s easy to let work dominate your life. Don t. It could result in your losing touch with those whom you consider most important. It s also crucial to take care of your own health and well-being. Your business can t run without you. You might believe you need that perpetual hustle to stay sharp and succeed. But that pace can and will burn you out, ultimately limiting how much you can achieve if you don t take time for yourself.

    Find ways to maintain perspective and preserve healthy relationships outside of work. Set aside time to get your body active in ways that energize and invigorate you, and schedule catch-up time with friends and family. They ll help recharge your batteries and inspire you to persevere as you dream even bigger.

    Copyright 2016 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.





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    Small Business Tax Tips #small #business #ideas

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    Small Business Tax Tips

    Can You Claim Business-Use-Of-Home Expenses?

    Many small business owners have home offices, but having a home office isn’t enough to be able to deduct business-use-of-home expenses from their income tax.

    The Canada Revenue Agency has strict guidelines about who can and can’t claim this deduction. To deduct business-use-of-home expenses, you have to either be:

    • Using your home as your principal place of business; or
    • Using the space only to earn business income and using it on a regular and ongoing basis to meet your clients, customers or patients.

    What Can You Deduct?

    Common business-use-of-home expenses include a portion of:

    • Your property taxes
    • Your home insurance
    • Capital Cost Allowance
    • Utilities such as heat and electricity
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Mortgage interest
    • Rent

    How do I calculate the percentage of use?

    The Canada Revenue Agency recommends that you “use a reasonable basis such as the area of the work space divided by the total area of your home”. Also, if you use part of your home for both your business and personal living, calculate how many hours in the day you use the rooms for your business, and then divide that amount by 24 hours. Multiply the result by the business part of your total home expenses. This will give you the household cost you can deduct. If you run the business for only part of the week or year, reduce your claim accordingly.

    You can’t use business-use-of-home expenses to create a business loss. In other words, your business-use-of-home expenses can’t be more than your business income. (However, you can use any expense you weren’t able to deduct in that tax year the next tax year, as long as you still meet the business-use-of-home expenses conditions.)

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    8 Tips For Starting a Photography Business #business #invoices

    #photography business

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    PetaPixel

    8 Tips For Starting a Photography Business

    I am often asked for advice by those starting out in the photography industry. And if there’s one thing I have no shortage of, it’s advice. So with that in mind, I present you with my 8 Tips for Starting a Photography Business.

    #1. You Are But One of Many

    People will ask you what you do for a living. When you respond with, “I’m a photographer,” 9 out of 10 people will reply, “Oh! I’m a photographer, too!” If not, they will respond by informing you that one of the following people they know is also a photographer: husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew, next-door neighbor, co-worker, mailman, mailwoman, doctor, roofer, midwife, pharmacist, grandma, or their Corgi.

    “Oh my gosh, my former brother-in-law’s next door neighbor’s estranged ex-daughter-in-law is also a photographer.”

    Brace yourself for this. It will happen almost every time. You will have to smile and pretend to care.

    #2. If You Are Making Money, It’s Not a Hobby

    A bona fide business needs to be bona fide. As in, legitimate. This will require applying for and receiving all the necessary paperwork one needs when conducting a legitimate business: business license, tax identification number, register for state and local taxes, register your business name, etc…

    If you accept money for your services, Uncle Sam needs to know about it. And this is one Uncle that will not be swayed with cries of, “But this is just a hobby.” Uncle Sam is not known for his sense of humor, so don’t try to get cute with him.

    #3. Being Your Own Boss is a Blessing and a Curse

    When you are your own boss, no one will make you do anything. This is both a good and bad thing. When you own your own business, you are the boss, which means if YOU don’t make something happen, it never will. You will have to push yourself to be organized, motivated and on top of things. Sounds easy? It’s not. Not by a long shot.

    You always have to be thinking 6 months down the road. You have to learn to be pro-active rather than re-active. It also means that you can make Casual Friday every day if you want to. And if you have no employees, it means that you are always the most popular in the office.

    #4. You Must Sell

    It doesn’t matter how great of a photographer you are, if you can’t sell your work, you won’t make money. This is not to say that you shouldn’t strive to put out quality work you should. It’s much easier to sell beautiful work than it is to try to sell work that has to be explained.

    “I know you can’t see their faces. See, the reason the background is bright and the subjects are so dark is because this session is from my signature “Silhouette Series.”

    Yeah, try to sell THAT.

    The ability to sell your photography to clients is paramount to your financial success. And don’t tell me you can’t sell. I shan’t hear it. No, I shan’t. Listen, if you have convinced a grumpy toddler to eat his vegetables, you have sold. If you have persuaded a hesitant spouse to purchase new living room furniture, you have sold. If you have spoken to a client and based on your conversation, they decided to book with you, you have sold.

    #5. Stuff Will Hit the Fan

    In your business, there will be things that go so spectacularly wrong that you could sell tickets; situations that you in no way could ever prepare for; things that come out of left field and leave you scratching your head, saying, “What fresh hell is this?”

    Because unexpected situations WILL occur, you need to enter into your business as fully prepared as possible. I read an advice column once that urged readers just to “go for it,” because there’s no way to prepare for everything. That’s like telling a swimmer to “just jump in” and figure out how to swim along the way. That’s just crazy talk.

    #6. Vodka

    This should need no explanation.

    #7. There Will Be Days You Won t Like Being a Photographer

    This will happen. It might not feel like it now, but it will. There will be days you feel no enthusiasm for what you do. Zip. Zero. Zilch. There will be days you get more excited about a new episode of “The Walking Dead” than you do a new session. There will be days you sigh. A lot.

    Yes, there will be days like this…and you know what? That’s okay.

    That doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad photographer. It makes you human. I mean, I love my children with all my heart. They are my life and I would gladly die a thousand fiery deaths for them, but there are days I want to sell them to the gypsies.

    For no matter how much you love something, some days you won’t like it. You could be feeling under the weather, have a lot on your plate, or going through some other sort of struggle that robs a bit off the joy from something you really love including your photography.

    It doesn’t mean you throw in the towel or dissolve into a puddle of tears, declaring to the world, “I CAN T DO THIS.” It means, instead, that you have to push yourself through, armed with the knowledge that EVERYONE feels like this at one time or another, which leads me to my last tip…

    #8. Don’t Believe Facebook

    You are working hard. You are struggling some days; soaring others. You feel pretty good about yourself and then you open Facebook. And you are hit smack dab in the gut with photographers’ tales of success. They are everywhere. Your newsfeed is crawling with them. They are like ants at a picnic.

    Stories of utter business bliss where every sale is HUGE, calendars are booked up 3 months in advance, workshops left and right. Sometimes they are out in the open; other times, they are encased in a clever humblebrag:

    “I’m always so embarrassed when my clients tell me how great I am. I mean, when someone says, You are the best photographer on the planet, how are you supposed to respond? It’s truly humbling.”

    And you look at yourself, sitting in your yoga pants, feeling as though you are barely holding on and you feel defeated. Discouraged. Ready to throw in the towel. You see a photo of the top of a baby’s head gets 4K likes, and you wonder what YOU are doing wrong.

    Allow me to tell you: what you’re doing wrong is reading Facebook. Well, not so much reading Facebook, but believing it.

    Anyone can be anything on Facebook. Remember that.

    So, enjoy the cat videos, the photos, the humorous graphics and the heartwarming stories. Cheer for your friends doing well, but when it comes evaluating your life based on others’ Facebook posts, beware.

    The only place a business is perfect is in a Facebook status.

    Now…pick up your camera and go do this thing.

    Note. There has been some confusion as to whether #6 can be substituted with another adult libation. I checked the rulebook and the answer is “Yes, of course.” Sorry for the confusion.

    About the author. Missy Mwac is a photography satirist, a lover of bacon, a drinker of vodka, a lover of sparkle, and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can connect with her on Tumblr and Facebook. This article was also published here .

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    Hello, photographers. For the last two months, I’ve been doing market research for my project Photolemur and looking for different tools in the area of photo enhancement and photo editing. I spent a lot of time searching, and came up with a large organized list of 104 photo editing tools and apps that you should know about.

    The Beauty Dish is revered by many photographers for having a soft, but contrasty quality of light. The classic design puts the flash tube behind an opaque or translucent tube cover, which helps eliminate a central hot spot. Like umbrellas, beauty dishes are available with white or silver interiors and can be fitted with a “sock” or grid to control quality and spread of light even more.





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    Business Search – Search Tips #selling #a #business

    #business search

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    Business Search – Search Tips

    The following tips may be used to refine or modify searches for a particular entity by entity number or entity name:

    Entity Number Search

    • The entity number is the identification number issued to the entity by the California Secretary of State at the time the entity formed, qualified, registered or converted in California.
    • If searching for a corporation, enter the letter “C” followed by the applicable seven-digit entity number.

    Example: Searching for C0254285 will return X,Y,Z CORPORATION. Searching for 0254285 will return no results.

  • If searching for a limited liability company or limited partnership, enter the applicable 12-digit entity number.

    Example: Searching for 200100410071 will return RESEARCH RETRIEVAL, LLC. Searching for 0100410071 will return no results.

    Entity Name Search

    • Punctuation should be omitted. If the entity name includes initials followed by periods, remove the periods and group the initials to form one word.

    Examples: Searching DARE will return entity names containing DARE and D.A.R.E. Searching D.A.R.E. will not return entity names containing D.A.R.E.

    If the entity name includes initials and/or a string of characters followed by periods and spaces. remove the periods but do not remove the spaces.

    Examples: Searching A. B. C. ESCROW CO. or ABC ESCROW CO will return no entity names and searching A B C ESCROW CO will return the entity A. B. C. ESCROW CO.

  • A quotation mark and the character or word that precedes or follows the quotation mark should be omitted.

    Examples: Searching E PLUMBING HEATING will return the entity “T E PLUMBING HEATING CO.” Searching “T E PLUMBING HEATING CO.” will return no entity names.

  • For best results, distinctive words should be used when searching, if possible. Searching a distinctive word will narrow the search results.

    Examples of distinctive words: compensatory, hickory, metrix.

    Examples of nondistinctive words: data, systems, services.

  • For limited results, search multiple words. Searching multiple words will return a list of only those entities containing all of the search words.

    Note, including a word that is not part of the entity name may result in no matching record. Examples: Searching ADVANCED DATA will return all entity names containing both words such as ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS LLC and ADVANCED DATA PROTECTION SERVICES, INC. Searching ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS will return only those entity names containing all three words such as ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS and ADVANCED DATA COMMUNICATIONS LLC

  • For more inclusive results, search a single word. Searching a single word will return a list of all entities containing that word in the entity name.

    Examples: Searching SIMPLE will return all entity names containing the word SIMPLE such as SIMPLE INC. SIMPLE DESIGN, INC. and MAKE IT SIMPLE, LLC.

  • Spacing and plurals will make a difference in the search results.

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    6 Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners #stock #market #info

    #small business tips

    #

    6 Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners

    If you run a small business, it s likely that you re operating on a relatively limited budget. Whether you bootstrapped your business or are trying to pay back loans you took out to cover your startup costs, it s in your best interest to conserve money wherever you can.

    Without a thorough budget plan, however, it can be difficult to track and manage your finances. This is especially true for any unexpected business expenses that may come up, as they often do. A 2015 survey by small business credit provider Headway Capital found that although 57 percent of small business owners anticipated growth this year, nearly 19 percent were concerned about how unexpected expenses would impact their business.

    If you want to keep your business operating in the black, you ll need to account for both fixed and unplanned costs, and then create and stick to a solid budget. Experts offered their advice for small business owners looking to keep their finances in order. [4 Tips for Reducing Startup Costs]

    Define and understand your risks

    Every business venture has a certain degree of risk involved, and all of those risks have the potential for a financial impact on your company. Paul Cho, managing director of Headway Capital, said that small business owners need to consider their long- and short-term risks to accurately plan for their financial future.

    How will changes in minimum wage or health care requirements impact your workforce? Cho said. Do you operate in a geography at high risk of a natural disaster? Do you rely heavily on seasonal workers? Understanding the potential risks facing you on a short- and long-term basis is important for all small businesses. Once you ve mapped out the threats to productivity, a clearer picture can be built around emergency planning, insurance needs, etc.

    Overestimate your expenses

    If your business operates on a project-to-project basis, you know that every client is different and no two projects will turn out exactly the same. This means that often, you can t predict when something is going to go over budget.

    Every project seems to have a one-time cost that was never anticipated, said James Ontra, CEO of presentation management company Shufflrr. It usually is that one unique extra item [that is] necessary to the job, but [was] not anticipated when bidding the job.

    For this reason, Ontra advised budgeting slightly above your anticipated line-item costs, no matter what, so that if you do go over, you won t be fully unprepared.

    I go by the cost-moon-stars theory, he said. If you think it will cost the moon, expect to pay the stars.

    Pay attention to your sales cycle

    Many businesses go through busy and slow periods over the course of the year. If your company has an off-season , you ll need to account for your expenses during that time. Cho also suggested using your slower periods to think of ways to plan ahead for your next sales boom.

    There is much to be learned from your sales cycles, he said. Use your downtime to ramp up your marketing efforts while preventing profit generation from screeching to a halt. In order to keep your company thriving and the revenue coming in, you will have to identify how to market to your customers in new and creative ways.

    Plan for large purchases carefully and early

    Some large business expenses occur when you least expect them a piece of equipment breaks and needs to be replaced or your delivery van needs a costly repair, for instance. However, planned expenses like store renovations or a new software system should be carefully timed and budgeted to avoid a huge financial burden on your business.

    Substantial business changes need to be timed carefully, balancing the risk with the reward and done with a full understanding of the financial landscape you re operating within, Cho told Business News Daily. An up-to-date budget and data-driven financial projections are important components that help guide when to make large investments in your business.

    Remember that time is money, too

    One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is forgetting to incorporate their time into a budget plan. Ontra reminded business owners that time is money, especially when working with people who are paid for their time.

    Timing underestimation directly increases costs, Ontra said. For us, the biggest underestimation is allotting time for client feedback. It is a Herculean effort sometimes to meet a deadline with lots of people focused on a single task. Then, the client needs to give feedback for us to proceed. If the client is distracted with other issues, feedback planned for a three-day turnaround, can become a week or longer. Not only do you start to lose time to the delivery schedule, your team also loses momentum as their collective thought shifts focus to another project.

    Ontra recommended treating your time like your money, and set external deadlines later than when you think the project will actually be done.

    If you believe the project will finish on Friday, promise delivery on Monday, he said. So, if you finish on Friday, deliver the work early and become a star. If for some reason time runs over, deliver on Monday and you are still a success.

    Constantly revisit your budget

    Your budget will never be static or consistent it will change and evolve along with your business, and you ll need to keep adjusting it based on your growth and profit patterns. Cho suggested revising your monthly and annual budgets regularly to get a clearer, updated picture of your business finances.

    Regularly revisiting your budget will help you better control financial decisions because you will know exactly what you can afford to spend versus how much you are projecting to make, Cho said. Take into account market trends from the previous year to help you determine what this year may look like. Once you have a clear understanding of your business s budgetary needs, you can accurately forecast what can be set aside for an emergency fund or unexpected costs.

    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 assistant editor. Reach her by email. or follow her on Twitter .

    You May Also like

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  • 7 Master Tips for Your Next Business Presentation #government #grants

    #business presentation

    #

    Those who give presentations at conferences, as part of a sales demo, in a marketing push for a new product, or even during a TED talk know how to wow an audience. They excel at turning a boring presentation into something people will talk about in the hallway and even on the ride back to the office. Recently, the folks at FlowVella –an app for making presentations on computer, phone, and tablet–sent me tips from some of their customers on how to make sure your presentation is a winner.

    1. Tell a story.

    “Instead of boring your audience to tears, develop a genuine connection with your audience. How? Throughout your presentation, tell stories that add meaning and depth to your message. Telling personal stories will make you more likable, trustworthy, and interesting. In addition, facts and stats typically stimulate only two areas of the human brain, but stories can activate up to seven, and trigger emotional responses within listeners. Presentations that are engaging both mentally and emotionally are more memorable and influential, thus more successful.”
    Leslie Belknap, marketing director at Ethos3

    2. Vary the template.

    “If it looks stock, it probably is. Altering an existing template doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time. It also indicates that the presenter knows how to represent the idea and narrative visually. Don’t be afraid to change colors, add logos, and alter the elements for a totally unique look with just a few minutes of work. Font selection is very important. The font is not just a typeface. It represents the idea through the actual look of the word. It should align with the tone of the core idea/narrative. Furthermore, font selection is most critical for readability. Adding a bursting star doesn’t mean you are increasing the impact of a point or a component of a slide/frame. Instead, add punch with mixed media. Bringing an idea or point to life through text, images, photography, video, etc. is much more memorable than cheap movements. Your software should allow for insertion of PDFs and video.”–Ryan Mack, president of Carrot Creative. a VICE Company

    3. Use a storyboard.

    “The most traditional (and foolish) way to create a presentation is to open up a blank PowerPoint document and try to make magic happen. This can result in mistakes in flow, logic, and overall cohesion, as you try to write and design each concept in real time. Steal a writer’s tip and create a text-only framework for the entire thing before you launch into the full draft. It’s just like the outline you used to create for fifth-grade book reports, where all of your sub points support your main points, and the intro and outro tie everything together. Aim for a single summary of your core idea, supported by three smaller sub points that will prove your summary. And of course, don’t start to design your work without making sure that the outline is airtight. The result? No more strange tangents, lost points, and unnecessary slides.”
    Sunday Avery, content writer at Ethos3

    4. Think about introverts and extroverts in the audience.

    “One of the best pieces of advice came to me from a mentor years ago. He told me all audiences are generally comprised of a 50/50 balance of introverts and extroverts. I have tested his theory on audiences since then and can attest to it’s validity. The grand lesson: never lean your presentation in one direction. For instance, if your presentation is dominated by workshops and activities, your extroverts are going to love you and your introverts are going to despise you. On the opposite end of that spectrum, if you lecture the entire time, your introverts will feel comfortable and your extroverts will get bored. Presenters must make the extra effort to balance their message and activities. Like most things in life, moderation is key.”
    –Scott Schwertly, CEO of Ethos3

    5. Keep it to three points.

    “The human brain works like this: One, two, three. I forget. No one is going to remember your tenth point, yet most presenters today feel it is necessary to showcase everything they know about a specific topic. The sad reality is that we live in a world with short attention span. Presenters either win hearts by being succinct or they neglect this responsibility and get forgotten forever. Therefore, the stage or front of the room is not the appropriate place to exhibit your depth of knowledge via 17 different takeaways. No one is going to remember them, or you.”
    –Scott Schwertly, CEO of Ethos3

    6. Whatever you are selling, you are still selling ideas.

    “It doesn’t matter what widget or service you’re offering. These days, people are not buying either–they are buying ideas. Nobody is buying an Apple Watch. They are buying the ideas of new fitness or faster communication or prestige and early adopter status, or some blend thereof. A presentation is no longer about closing anything but rather about germinating an idea that resonates with the audience. The idea then drives a passion to acquire the product or service. That’s a much stronger way to sell. But how do you create a presentation that plants the idea you are communicating into the mind of the viewer? And how do you stay on track when working with ideas? First, you have to ask who the audience is. Before I start a presentation, I make slide No. 1 and list all I know about the audience on it. Tech savvy or consumer end user? Decision makers or influencers? Buying for self or for the firm? Likes short and sweet or likes story and emotion? After that, I put topics in logical order on each of the following slides and build the images and the story to fit all the info I placed on Slide No. 1. That slide will keep telling me how to position my points to create ideas the audience can relate to and that will fan the fires of desire for my solutions.”
    Jonathan Todd, managing director at 808 Marketing

    7. Balance the theater and the scholar.

    “George Lois said selling is the ultimate mix of scholarship and theatre, expertise and style. This could not be more appropriate to consider when designing presentations because at their core, presentations are a sales pitch–we communicate an idea to another individual or group of individuals in an attempt to make them agree, or ideally, fall in love with the idea. So, always be sure you are demonstrating scholarship with style. If you are all style, then you’re a poser. Potentially a hack. If you are all scholarship, then you’re boring. or worst off, forgettable. The balance is incredibly important.”
    Ryan Mack, president of Carrot Creative, a VICE Company

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





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    15 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know #business #banners

    #business tips

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    15 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

    Author and Managing Partner, Invisor Consulting

    November 24, 2015

    The biggest problem founders and small business owners have is that they re experts in their field and novices in what it really takes to effectively run a business. That s what usually trips them up, sooner or later.

    Don t let that happen to you. Admit that you don t know what you don t know about business, starting with these 15 tips guaranteed to help keep you and your company out of hot water. Some are straightforward, others are counterintuitive, but they re all true. And some day they ll save your butt.

    Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank.

    Period. The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is running out of cash. If you know you ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now.

    You can t fire bad employees fast enough.

    You just can t. Just make sure you know they re the problem, not you (see next tip).

    The problem is probably you.

    When I was a young manager, my company sent us all to a week of quality training where the most important concept we learned was that 90 percent of all problems are management problems. When things aren t going well, the first place to look for answers is in the mirror.

    Take care of your stars.

    This goes for every company, big and small. The cost of losing a star employee is enormous, yet business leaders rarely take the time to ensure their top performers are properly motivated, challenged, and compensated.

    Your people are not your kids, your personal assistants, or your shrink.

    If you use and abuse them that way, you will come to regret it. Capiche?

    Learn to say yes and no a lot.

    The two most important words business owners and founders have at their disposal are yes and no. Learn to say them a lot. And that means being decisive. The most important reason to focus to be clear on what your company does is to be clear on all the things it doesn t do.

    Listen to your customers.

    It boggles my mind how little most entrepreneurs value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat business is the easiest business to get.

    Learn two words: meritocracy and nepotism.

    The first is how you run an organization by recognizing, rewarding, and compensating based solely on ability and achievement. The second is how you don t run an organization by playing favorites and being biased.

    Know when and when not to be transparent.

    Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.

    Trust your gut.

    This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, Damn, I knew that was a bad idea. But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.

    Protect and defend your intellectual property.

    Most of you don t know the difference between a copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent. That s not acceptable. If you don t protect and defend your IP, you will lose your only competitive advantage.

    Learn to read and write effective agreements.

    You know the expression good fences make good neighbors? It s the same in business. The more effective your agreements are, the better your business relationships will be.

    Run your business like a business.

    Far too many entrepreneurs run their business like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life.

    Know your finances inside and out.

    If you don t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits (gross and net), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate among other things you re asking for trouble. Big trouble.

    You don t know what you don t know.

    Humility is a powerful trait for leaders, and that goes for new business owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers.

    Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent business leaders. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don t. Don t end up like one of them.





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